Venial sin disposes to mortal sin.
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 disposes to mortal sin.
Oh, awful effect of venial sin! Hearken, O sinner, you who make a jest of light faults, hearken to this oracle of St. Thomas: ‘Frequent falls into venial sin are a disposition to mortal.’ Five times in the same article he repeats this proposition, and he even returns to it elsewhere to develop it still more. This teaching is perfectly in accordance with that of all the Fathers of the Church, especially of St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. ,John Damascene, and St. Gregory. But it is not merely the Fathers who have taught us that venial sin disposes to mortal, the Holy Ghost Himself has done so in these words: ‘He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.’ He whom this menace fails to inspire with a horror of venial sin is very near his ruin. No one reaches an excess of crime at the first step; and probably there is not a soul in hell to-day who had not sinned venially before falling into mortal sin; so that very frequently eternal damnation is but the sad consequence of a single venial sin.
Not that of itself it deserves eternal punishment, but it gradually conducts to such a degree of prevarication as consummates the ruin of the soul. St. Teresa beheld in a vision the place prepared for her in hell if she persisted in a habit she had contracted of idle, worldly conversation with a young relative of a light disposition. And mark, this was not a mortal sin, for she had always sedulously shunned grave faults. My God! if a fault apparently so excusable would have compassed the destruction of that great saint, how should not we tremble considering the many and far more reprehensible habits of which we are the slaves!
You say that possibly your salvation may not depend on these little things; but perhaps also it may depend on them. Will you then risk your soul, your eternity, the possession of God, on so chimerical an alternative?
Had St. Teresa reasoned thus, she would have been lamentably deceived and have perished for ever. Why should you not fear a similar fate? Unhappy you if you persevere in despising venial faults, as the forfeiture of your eternal happiness may possibly be the result of what now causes you so little uneasiness.
Oh, inexcusable folly! the fear of death has sufficient influence over us to induce us to avoid, with the utmost care, all that could impair our health; and yet we deliberately commit venial sin which may imperceptibly lead us to hell.
Ah! let us dread and vigilantly guard against the wily and perfidious serpent which, if cherished in our bosom, would compass the ruin of our immortal soul by the deadly venom of its bite.
Alas! ‘my life hath drawn nigh to hell,’ ‘and I knew not.’ Hurried on by my light faults to the brink of the precipice, I was already enveloped with ‘the smoke of their torments,’ ‘which shall ascend for ever and ever,’ and I experienced no anxiety.
Ah! Lord, hadst Thou not hastened to my assistance I should have long since fallen from venial into mortal sin, ‘I should dwell with devouring fire, and with everlasting burning.’ But, ‘O Keeper of men,’ who ‘hatest the least iniquity,’ to Thy creature, ‘reach out Thy right hand,’ ‘lift me up from the gates of death,’ and lead me on the paths of justice,’ in order that I may no longer stray away from Thee, and may shun even the least faults. ‘Place Thy Angel with a flaming sword at the gate of my heart to guard the entrance of it.’
 St. Thom. 1. 2, q, 88, a. 3.
 Ps. Ixxxvii. 4.
 Ps. Ixxii. 22.
 Apoc. xiv. 11.
 Isai. xxxiii. 14.
 Job vii. 20.
 Ps. xliv. 8.
 Job, xiv. 15.
 Ps. ix. 15.
 Ps. xxii. 3.
 Gen, iii. 24.
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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