Venial sin cools charity.
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.
Venial sin cools charity.
Another lamentable effect of venial sin is, that it not merely vitiates virtuous actions and impedes our increase of merits, but it likewise ‘diminishes’ in us the ‘fervour of charity’ by rendering us so slothful in the service of God and so callous to our eternal interests that the heart of our Divine Master cannot long tolerate our tepidity.
‘A servant of God must avoid the least faults, if he would not soon see his love grow cool’ and a mortal languor take possession of his soul. Religious themselves, notwithstanding the powerful grace of their vocation, if they allow themselves to entertain ‘a contempt for small faults, insensibly lose their fervour’ and fall into tepidity, a state whose fatal effects should induce us to fly it as the empoisoned source of countless evils. Yes; sad experience teaches that even the slightest faults lead us unawares to tepidity. See a man who commits them almost every moment without scruple: his soul grows languishing; the exercises of piety disgust him; he practises no self-imposed mortifications; shrinks from everything that requires the least effort; commences slothfully and continues apathetically whatever he undertakes, so that no, or at least very little, fruit results from anything he does. Completely engrossed with earthly things, those of heaven are perfectly insipid to him: he has not courage to restrain his sensual appetites, he tires of meditation, and religious practices of all kinds are irksome to him; he is hurried on to vice as by a natural tendency; self-indulgence and the gratification of the senses seem to be the one object of his life. With virtue thus enfeebled, how can the fervour of charity be preserved, or rather, how can it fail to be extinguished altogether? What pen could depict in sufficiently vivid colouring a misfortune so great? So perfect and precious a gift is the charity of God, or, if you will, sanctifying grace which ‘is poured forth in our hearts,’ that there is nothing which can bear the remotest comparison with it. When you renounce it, therefore, O soul created for heaven, what a loss do you not sustain? Now, ‘venial sin’ indirectly ‘attacks the possession of this inestimable treasure’ and ‘paves the way to its utter loss.’ Not that venial sin immediately destroys or even gradually diminishes sanctifying grace, but it arrests its progress and leads the way to its ruin by causing the soul that commits it to fall into tepidity. Thus, St. Thomas teaches that, ‘though charity, according to its nature, cannot be diminished directly, it can nevertheless be diminished indirectly by venial sin, which is a disposition to the corruption and loss of this virtue.’ Charity, it is true, ‘is a devouring fire and a consuming flame’ but the ardours of this divine virtue are extinguished by a multitude of venial sins, as fire is extinguished by too great a quantity of super-incumbent ashes.
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.
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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