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.
Woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep. (Luke vi, 25.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that they, who give themselves up entirely to pleasure and seek thus to secure happiness for themselves, are justly reproved by our Blessed Lord. For they laugh in a valley of tears, which this world really is, where there is nothing but misfortune, sin, and misery, for which they should in all reason weep. This is not the time to laugh and rejoice; the future life is meant for that, and not the present one. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. (Eccles. iii, 4.) Moreover so many laugh and rejoice precisely over those things for which they should most bitterly weep: Who are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in most wicked things. (Prov. ii, 14.)
APPLICATION. At least learn to pity such unhappy beings, and thank God for having freed you in great measure from this worldly folly. At the same time, however, reflect seriously and be watchful lest a too great liberty and the too great satisfaction that perchance you seek, may not also in the end bring forth for you weeping and mourning.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Going, they went and wept, casting their seeds. (Ps. cxxv, 6.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY the punishment with which Christ threatens such unhappy souls. Woe to you, for you shall mourn and weep. (Luke vi, 25.) Grief indeed belongs to the soul, weeping to the body; but they will carry both one and the other down to hell with them. Think of the intense grief that the soul will experience amid the sufferings of the damned. So many in this life are inconsolable at the loss of a child, of some possession, of a position in life. What then will be the grief of those who realise that they have lost for ever an infinite good, which is God, and that they lost Him for a vile little pleasure which vanished in a moment? How their vivid realisation of the intense happiness enjoyed in heaven, greater far than all the evil of hell, will increase their agony, their torments, and their despair.
APPLICATION. Think often of this, that so you may rejoice to have no part in their vain and empty laughter. Thus you will not come to be a partaker also of their folly and of their misery.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The sorrows of death surrounded me: and the torrents of iniquity troubled me. The sorrows of hell encompassed me. (Ps. xvii, 5, 6.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY how the tears of the body reveal the sufferings of the mind. What tears does not an intense internal pain draw from the eyes of a sick man who is convulsed by it? And yet who in this life can suffer in his body the torments all the damned suffer in hell, in a fire that will make them feel at the same time all the horrors of all evils, however contrary to each other, such as freezing cold and flames of fire. In one fire they will feel all kinds of torments, says St. Jerome. Thus will they have to pay for their short time of laughing by never-ending tears.
APPLICATION. How much better it is for you to forego in this present life these sinful diversions, and to weep for your own sins and for those of your neighbour. Thus you will not have to weep hopelessly in the future life, where according to the measure of your sinful pleasures here there will be grief and torment there! As much as she hath glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her. (Apoc. xviii, 7.)
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The unjust shall be punished: and the seed of the wicked shall perish. But the just shall inherit the land, and shall dwell therein for evermore. (Ps. xxxvi, 28, 29.)
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.
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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