IX. The Prayer to Increase the Three Divine Virtues.

IX. The Prayer to Increase the Three Divine Virtues.

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.

IX. The Prayer to Increase the Three Divine Virtues.

“And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”—I. Cor. xiii, 13.

Dear brethren, in beginning the Rosary one Our Father and three Hail Marys are said in supplication for the three divine virtues. These virtues are called divine because they have God for their Author or their object. In Baptism these virtues are infused into the soul together with sanctifying grace. Through sanctifying grace, received in Baptism, we are made children of God. From that moment there is imposed upon us the duty, as soon as we shall be able to use our reason, of thinking, speaking and acting as behooves the true children of God. This duty we perform if we imitate the example of Jesus Christ, and if we endeavor to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. But as this cannot be done by human power, the Holy Ghost has willed to enable us to do so, by imparting to us, in Baptism, the three divine virtues. By the infused grace of faith God gives us a supernatural light, in addition to the natural light of our reason, with the aid of which we may comprehend His revelations. God bestows upon us thus, through the virtue of faith, a share in His own wisdom. The supernatural grace of hope turns our thought heavenward, gives us an incentive to co-operate with grace.

The supernatural virtue of charity renders us capable of loving God in a worthy and meritorious manner and of loving that which God loves.

As the child arrives at the age of discretion, and obtains the right use of reason, he is obliged to practise these virtues, and thus strengthen his soul and grow in grace.

We are obliged to awaken frequently faith, hope, and charity towards God and our neighbor, in a practical manner. By the possession, practise and application of these three divine virtues we attain to Christian perfection. The more we learn to know these virtues, the more zealous we shall be in practising them, the more earnestly we shall strive for their increase, the more incessantly shall we pray for them.

Let us, therefore, take these three divine virtues for the subject of our consideration.

Faith is the first of the three divine virtues; it is the foundation of the other virtues. Without faith in God, in His revelations and promises, there can be no Christian hope, no Christian charity. For this reason faith is the foundation of virtuous living: Christian faith is a virtue infused by God into our souls by which we are enabled to believe firmly all that which God has revealed and which the infallible Catholic Church proposes for our belief.

An act of faith requires the use of the understanding and the use of the will. The mysteries surpass our natural understanding; they are, furthermore, to be believed in a supernatural manner, and we require, therefore, the supernatural light of faith, added to the natural light of our understanding, and we require also that our natural willpower be strengthened by the supernatural power of grace. This light and this power we receive in Baptism. The supernatural light of faith qualifies us to understand that the truths revealed by God are divine.

In order to believe it does not suffice to know the divine truths as the Church teaches them, we must also, of our own free will, assent to them, and acknowledge as divine truths even those mysteries which surpass our human understanding. To that extent faith is a matter of the will. God, through the light and the power of the grace of faith, comes to the assistance of our reason and will, in order that we may confidently submit both to divine revelation, that is, to God. In order that the infused virtue of faith may be meritorious for us, we must co-operate with grace by readily submitting our understanding and our will to divine revelation. Then this virtue of faith will not only be an infused one but, also, will be an acquired one and thus become a meritorious virtue. This actual and acquired virtue is for every adult the first condition of salvation. Still the acceptance of the divine doctrine is alone not sufficient for salvation. We must live in accordance with our faith; we must do good and shun evil. Such is the teaching of faith. “He truly believes who practises what he believes,” says St. Gregory, and St. James tells us that “Faith without works is a dead faith and avails nothing to salvation.” A living faith is the first condition and the beginning of salvation. Eternal happiness consists, as we are aware, in the vision of God. The living faith is a beginning of this vision. We know God through the Christian faith, but only as in a mirror. “Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known” (I. Cor. xiii, 12).

The second of the divine virtues is hope. Christian hope is a virtue infused into our souls by which we confidently expect of God everything which He has promised us through the merits of Christ. God has promised us eternal happiness, also all things which we stand in need of, and that are profitable for us in our endeavor to attain eternal happiness. Jesus has merited these for us, and God has promised them to us for the sake of the merits of Jesus Christ. And because God has promised them to us we must confidently expect and hope for them, because God is omnipotent, merciful and faithful to His promises.

This Christian confidence in God is bestowed by the virtue of hope, infused into our souls at Baptism. We must frequently exercise it in order to make it conducive to salvation.

The virtue of hope is based upon the virtue of faith. Faith informs us of the promises of God, and that He is all-powerful and faithful in fulfilling His promises. Without faith Christian hope would not be possible. This the Apostle Paul teaches in his Epistle to the Corinthians, in plain words: “Faith,” he writes, “is the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. xi, i). Hope is really, therefore, an active faith in the mercy and generosity of God. Christian hope is just as necessary for salvation as faith. “For we are saved by hope.” Thus the Apostle writes in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. viii, 24). Hence, when we lose hope we forfeit our salvation.

Christian hope is in part desire, in part confidence. It is a lively desire for eternal happiness, for the possession of God and for the means which aid us in gaining salvation. It contains in itself a heartfelt desire for forgiveness of sins, and for liberation from the punishment due to sins. It includes an ardent longing for a virtuous Christian life. It is that hunger and thirst for justice of which Christ speaks in the eight Beatitudes. As God is the supreme good, combining every other good, so our desire for the blessed possession of God must be the sincerest, indeed, the sole, desire of our hearts. All other things we may desire only on God’s account, and only in so far as they are the means to help us to the possession of God. Whoever experiences this desire will zealously pray for all things; he will be a man of prayer.

Christian hope is not only desire, but also confidence. God has promised us forgiveness of our sins and the grace to do the good that is required of us. He has promised us after a Christian life the eternal happiness of heaven. He is ready to fulfil His promises. The fulfillment of the divine promise depends, however, upon our own co-operation, upon our sincere good-will, upon our co-operation with grace. Our confidence must, therefore, never become presumption. The Apostle admonishes us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. St. Francis de Sales calls confidence in God and distrust in ourselves the two balancing poles by the help of which we are enabled to keep our equilibrium. To distrust ourselves, and to have the fullest trust in God, this is the essence of Christian hope.

Christian hope is an essential condition for eternal happiness. By hope we anticipate life eternal. It is to us a pledge and a foretaste, and when we shall pass into eternity with this living hope, our hope will be transformed into possession of that which we have hoped for the possession of God, the supreme good.

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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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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