Mary in the Temple – Prayer. (continued 2)

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.

Mary in the Temple – Prayer. (continued 2)

Sursum corda!—Lift up your hearts!

But perhaps some hard working man may say, I have not time to pray: here is the dawn of day; I must hasten to work. And then he sets out. He sees the morning in its splendour: he thinks not of it. When the burden of the day comes, he works without having in his heart that strength which should make his labour light. He rests without a thought of blessing the Hand which gave us the trees to shelter us during the heat. In vain the Angelus rings to call faithful hearts to prayer: he does not listen. Then he works through more long hours, and in the evening he returns home tired, and perhaps with discontent in his heart. He has only cross words for the little children who run to meet him. The day ends as it began, without his having once blessed God. Do the poor say that they cannot pray? What, the poor, the friends of God, whom He has blessed above all others, they cannot pray! No; they say they have no time; they must gain bread for themselves and their families, and have nothing but their own hands to depend upon. Let those pray who have the time. This is false reasoning. How will they gain, their daily bread if they have not asked it of Him whose fatherly kindness alone can give it to them? Will not He who finds food for the smallest of the birds render to them a hundred-fold for the time that they spend in calling upon Him? And, besides, does it really take so much time to pray? Are long words or difficult prayers required of us? Surely not. It cannot be doubted that there is great merit before God in the prayers our mothers taught us when we were children, and to say them but little time is needed. A few minutes in a day is not much. Do we never spend as long a time in a cause less good? But if, now and then, we really have no time, let us raise our hearts towards God, and kneeling down for a moment before leaving our home, let us say, “My God, I love Thee,” and the “Our Father;” let us sign our foreheads with the sign of the cross, and set out with happy hearts. Then let the thought of God go with us on our road. Let us continue our prayer; let us hail Mary our Mother, when the church bell rings, that bell which we love, and the sound of which has mingled with the best joys of our lives.[1] How happy should we be if this good habit remained with us, when this month of Mary, in which we have prayed and meditated together, is passed. The day thus begun would be blessed. If the work is heavy and the heat burning, the Christian “who has begun the day by prayer will feel in his heart a new life, and a happiness which will overcome weariness. He will offer his suffering to God, and that alone is enough to lighten its weight. Work thus offered to God is itself a prayer. At the hour of rest his thoughts will once again be quickly and fervently raised towards God. In the evening he will bless God again, while returning gaily to his home; he will there find happiness and joy, for the mother and children will have worked and prayed, like the father, and the blessing of God will be on the family. Can anyone think that this day will have been less good, even as regards earthly labour, than that which is begun a few minutes earlier, and without prayer? Such a thought would be absurd.

True prayer consists in offering to God every action of the day, every discouragement, and every hope, in asking with confidence for all that we need, in thanking God with our whole soul for graces received, in imploring His pardon for sins committed, with true repentance and childlike trust. This is true prayer. Let us not refuse it to Him, who gives us all. Let us not refuse such a help to ourselves. Let us pray to Mary our dear Mother to obtain for us this constant thought of God which alone engrossed her blessed soul. Let us love her in order to be like her. Let us think of her oftener during this beautiful month. What a rich harvest of graces would it bring us if we would constantly renew in our souls during these blessed days, the remembrance of our Mother. Let the labourer at his plough, the mother while spinning at her wheel, the child while tending his flock, let each one think of Mary and call upon her. Children, during the long days that you pass thus in the fields alone with your sheep, without other work than that of preventing them from straying, what hinders you from praying? Call without fear, and in the simplest words, upon your Mother who is in heaven; sing some simple hymn in her praise; gather on the grass, or in the hedges, some pretty flowers to carry to her chapel, or to deck her image in your houses. I was reading this morning the touching history of a little shepherdess, who every evening, on returning from the fields; went to place at the foot of a statue of the Blessed Virgin a crown of flowers, and kneeling in the chapel; prayed for a few minutes, and then went her way with a happy heart. On the day of her death, the Blessed Virgin, whom she had loved so much, was seen to appear at her bed-side: she bent over the sick child, placed on her brow a crown of white roses, and bore up to heaven the soul of her gentle servant.

Prayer.

Let us all pray, let us all pray, young and old.

O Mary, who didst pray so unceasingly, teach us to offer to God, like thee, the sacrifice of a heart full of love, of humility, and of gratitude. Teach us to pray in joy and in suffering, to bless God every day of our lives, until thy Motherly hand leads us to the throne of thy Divine Son, to obtain from His mercy everlasting rest.

Practice.

Never to put off morning prayer for vain excuses.

[1] The author lives in a country in which the Ancient Churches have not been unjustly taken from the Catholics, as they have in England.—Translator.

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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August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary

Virtues to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things


O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.

An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901)

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