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.
If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them. (John xiii, 17.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that the teaching of worldly people which places happiness in riches, in pleasures, in honours, is the teaching of a false wisdom. Of such St. James speaks: This is not wisdom descending from above, but earthly, sensual, devilish. (James iii, 15.) That wisdom which places happiness in earthly riches is earthly, because it has for its aim earthly things. That which places happiness in pleasures is sensual, because it has for its end the things of the body. That which places happiness in honours is devilish, because it has for its end that which was the aim of Lucifer, the King over all the children of pride. (Job xli, 25.)
APPLICATION. Conclude therefore that such cannot then be true wisdom. For true wisdom is that alone which knows our last end which is God, and orders all things in consequence according to the rules laid down by that same God.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. They have called the people that hath these things; but happy is the people whose God is the Lord. (Ps. cxliii, 15.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY how all these three kinds of wisdom are mere deceit and lying. Earthly wisdom falsely promises to give happiness through riches, which in themselves profit not as an end, but only as a means, and that a very uncertain means too. Indeed it often happens, as Scripture says, that riches are kept to the hurt of the owner. (Eccles. v, 12.) Sensual wisdom promises happiness by means of the pleasures of the body, and not of the spirit, which is the nobler part of man, and, as it were, seeks to please the servant and not the master. The devilish wisdom promises happiness through honours, which do not constitute the excellence of man but only proclaim it. These are not therefore true signs, but often false, not like the honours that come from God Who honours him only who merits honour.
APPLICATION. Ponder well these important truths. Examine and see how you have been mistaken in the past. Make some few brief and practical resolutions.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened. (Ps. cxxxviii, 17.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that the only true wisdom is Christ’s, which leads man on to the pursuit of his proper end which is true happiness. And the more it detaches him from riches, from pleasures and from honours, so much the more it detaches him from all that keeps him back from his end, and makes him advance to it by the path of merit in this life and by reward in the next. Even in this present life it often brings a beginning of the reward, to be enjoyed by the devout persons as a foretaste of future blessedness. This true and sublime wisdom is learned only in the school of Christ. He brought it to us from Heaven, and taught it with His own lips saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit.
APPLICATION. Give therefore complete exclusion to the wisdom of the world, and apply yourself as diligently as you can in the school of Christ. Beseech Him constantly to make you wise with His divine wisdom, since He has in His mercy gathered you into the number of His intimate disciples.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones. (Ps. xviii, 8.)
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.
Of the Consideration of the Misery of Man.
II. Many unstable and weak men are apt to say: Behold how well such a one lives, how rich, how great, how mighty and powerful!
But attend to heavenly goods, and thou wilt see that all these temporal things are nothing, but very uncertain, and rather burdensome! because they are never possessed without care and fear.
The happiness of a man consisteth not in having temporal things in abundance: but a moderate competency sufficeth.
It is truly a misery to live upon earth. The more a man desireth to be spiritual, the more this present life becomes distasteful to him; because he the better understands and more clearly sees the defects of human corruption.
For to eat, drink, watch, sleep, rest, labour, and to be subject to other necessities of nature, is truly a great misery and affliction to a devout man, who desires to be released and free from all sin.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXII pt II.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross.
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer.
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days
Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.
The cross is my sure salvation.
The cross I ever adore.
The cross of my Lord is with me.
The cross is my refuge.
His Holiness, Pope Pius IX., by an autograph rescript, June 21, 1874, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall say these prayers, drawn up in the form of a cross by the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas Aquinas: AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe, benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O most blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, we bless Thee; because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of indulgences, March 4, 1882, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall recite this ejaculation: AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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