Christian Perfection – 4.

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

All are bound to become Perfect.


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.

All are bound to become Perfect.

We have proved that man’s perfection consists in the love of God and in the love of his neighbour. We will now show that God has imposed on each and everyone the obligation to strive after perfection in his respective state.
Jesus Christ speaks clearly on this point, and speaks to all. Our Redeemer commands us to be perfect, and sets before us the model which we are to strive to realize; it is nothing less than the perfection of His heavenly Father, “Be you therefore perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. v. 48).
St. James, the Apostle, will have us to be wholly perfect, and in nothing deficient (St. James i. 4).
St. Paul warns us to stand ever armed against the assaults of our enemies, and to be in all things perfect (Eph. vi. 13).
There can, then, be no question as to our obligation of striving after perfection.
But since, according to the various conditions of different individuals, the perfection varies to which each one must tend, we must distinguish, in order to act with method and discretion, between such as are Religious, consecrated to God by holy vows, and seculars who are free and their own masters.
We must be careful neither to heap burdens unnecessarily on the former: nor to exempt others from the obligations they have contracted.
Religious men and women, according to the teaching of St. Thomas, though not bound under pain of grievous sin to be perfect, are bound by such an obligation to tend to, and to aspire after perfection.
Just as apprentices who are put to learn the trade of a smith or carpenter, are not bound to turn out perfect specimens of work in wood or iron, but are obliged to endeavour to perfect themselves in their trade; and though they may not deserve blame for blunders in their handiwork, they would still deserve both rebuke and chastisement were they not to amend and improve day by day: even so, God will never call a Religious to account for not being perfect since the religious state into which one has entered, is not a gathering of persons already perfect, but a school of perfection.
Yet such a one will be grievously guilty, and deserving of punishment, should he fail to strive after the perfection to which he is bound to aspire by his religious profession, and to amend and improve his life and conversation by the means his rule prescribes.
Every Religious is most strictly bound to the observance of the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
A Religious has engaged himself by solemn vow to keep these counsels as a means of attaining to perfection. A Religious is also strictly held to the observance of his rules, the means by which he has bound himself at his religious profession to tend to perfection. Such is the teaching of St. Thomas, who says: “A Religious is not bound to every exercise whereby perfection may be attained, but only to such as are prescribed by the rule he has professed.”
That priests, and monks, and nuns are bound to tend to, and to aspire after perfection seems to be admitted by all. This is, if we may so speak, their profession in life. This is the reason why they left home, and friends, and the world with all its attractions to follow Christ.


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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