On False and True Virtue. – continued.

On False and True Virtue. – continued.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!On False and True Virtue. – continued.

(3) We have said, the third necessary condition for true virtue is perseverance. We must not be satisfied to do good for a certain length of time, such as to pray for a while, to mortify ourselves at times, to renounce our self-will, to bear with the weaknesses of others, to combat the temptations of the devil, to bear patiently contempt and calumnies, to watch over the movements of our hearts. No, dear brethren, we must persevere until death if we wish to be saved. St. Paul says that we must be firm and steadfast in the service of God, and that we should work at the salvation of our souls every day of our lives, knowing well that our labor will not be rewarded unless we persevere until the end. He says: “Neither riches nor poverty, neither health nor sickness, should induce us to neglect the salvation of our soul, and to separate ourselves from God: for we know that God will only crown that virtue which perseveres until death.”

We see this in a remarkable manner in the Apocalypse in the person of a Bishop, who led such a holy life that God Himself lavished praises upon him: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear evil men; and thou hast tried them who say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars; and thou hast patience, and hast borne for my name, and hast not failed. But this I have against thee: that thou hast become negligent in the practise of these virtues. Be mindful, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and do penance as thou didst before, or else I shall reject thee, and punish thee.” Tell me, dear brethren, should not we be seized with fear when we hear how God menaced even a Bishop who had been negligent? Alas, what has become of us ever since our conversion! Instead of making progress daily, what tepidity, what indifference, is ours! No, God can not bear this perpetual inconstancy with which we turn from virtue to vice, and from vice to virtue again. Tell me, dear brethren, is this not your manner of living, too? Is your life anything else but an intermingling of sins and virtues? Do you not confess your sins, and the following day commit the same faults again? Or, maybe, even on the same day? How many there are who, for a certain length of time, seem to love God with all their strength, and then again forsake Him! What is it that you find so hard and difficult in the service of God that you are so soon discouraged, and return again to the world? And yet, at the moment when God allowed you to know your condition, you sighed, and you perceived how much you had deceived yourself! The reason of this misfortune is because Satan is angry at having lost you, and he works till he gets you back again, and hopes to hold you forever. How many faithless persons are there who have forsaken their religion, and yet they bear the name of Christians!

II. Now, you will ask, how can we know if we have virtue in our hearts, that virtue which remains ever true to itself? Now, listen, dear brethren, and you will perceive whether you have that virtue on account of which God will receive you into heaven. A person who is truly virtuous does not waver in the least; he is like a rock beaten by the storm in the midst of the sea. Whether you are blamed, or calumniated, or mocked at, or regarded as a hypocrite, or treated as a prude, none of these things should be capable of robbing you of your peace of soul. You should be just as well disposed toward your enemies as if they had spoken well of you. You should not fail to show them kindness, although they have spoken badly of you. You should say your prayers, go to Confession and Holy Communion, and attend Holy Mass, with disregard of anything the world may say. Our virtue, also, to be true should be steadfast. That is to say, we must be just as resigned to the will of God and zealous under crosses and ill-fortune, as at the time when nothing disagreeable comes in our way. This is how the saints acted. Look at the great multitude of the martyrs who endured everything that the frenzy of a tyrant could think of, and who, far from neglecting God, were, on the contrary, drawn closer to Him. Neither torments nor persecutions inflicted upon them caused them to waver.

Let us, then, conclude, dear brethren, by remembering that our virtue must have its source in the heart, in order to be fruitful and pleasing to God. We must hide our good works. We should also be well on our guard so as to neglect nothing in the service of God; on the contrary, we should grow and increase in the knowledge and love of God. In this way the saints assured themselves of eternal bliss, the blessing which I wish you all. Amen.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of avoiding Rash Judgement.

O my God, I earnestly beseech Thee to impart to me some portion of Thy heavenly knowledge, and to grant me sufficient disinterestedness, humility, and charity, not to flatter myself, but to spare my neighbours, that I may never judge others, nor speak too much to my own advantage. Amen.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIV prayer.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

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