The Incomparable Goodness of these Spirits of Love.

The Incomparable Goodness of these Spirits of Love.

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.

Exhortation to Love and Devotion for the Holy Angels.

“NOTHING so touches a good heart as to see itself beloved,” says the holy Bishop of Geneva, in his book on “The Love of God;” but the motives for a return of love are much increased when the person who loves us is one of exalted character. If this be so, we must either love the angels or give up loving. We have but just now seen that their power, their knowledge, their beauty, are beyond compare; add to this, that they are great princes, yea, kings, who reign with the Sovereign King of Eternity over an empire which knows no end. Consider, moreover, that these amiable princes of the blessed Paradise not only love us, but love us with every different kind of love, and this to such a degree, that it would appear as if they had resolved that none should surpass them in love.

It may be truly said that they are the passionate lovers of men. They love us, then, these lords of the empyrean, with a father’s love: being always anxious for our advancement, and the promotion of our welfare; always filled with the desire of procuring us some benefit; never ceasing to do us good; looking upon our interests as their own; labouring with inexpressible care to obtain for us a large share in the high honours of a glorious eternity; and neglecting nothing to secure to us the inheritance of glory which has been purchased for us by the mercies of the Adorable Jesus. They love us with a mother’s love: for it is written (Ps. xc. 12) that they shall “bear” us “in their hands.” Like a good mother, who folds her child to her bosom, they carry us in their arms; they watch over both our bodies and our souls; they keep their eyes always fixed upon us, and caress us with all the tenderness which a holy love inspires. They love us with a brother’s love: for they look upon us as their younger brethren; and, what is indeed most wonderful and rare, worthier of heaven than of earth, not only do our holy guardians feel no displeasure at seeing us their equals in glory, but they are delighted that it should be so, and do all they can that they may behold us more glorious in Paradise than they are themselves. They love us with the love of a passionate lover: always thinking of us, always striving to win our love; never losing sight of us day or night; abandoning even the delightful abode of heaven in order to abide with us continually on earth; and desiring and seeking our good more than their own. They love us with the love of a vigilant pastor: for is it not of these blessed spirits that it may be said that “they who keep Israel neither slumber nor sleep”?[1] They love us with the love of a kind physician: for they dress our wounds, heal our maladies, restore us to health, and all with an incomparable gentleness. They love us with the love of a pleader and an advocate: devoting themselves with goodness unspeakable to all our affairs, both heavenly and earthly, but especially to the great affair of eternity. They love us with the love of a faithful guide: conducting us with marvellous love through all the painful ways of this life, and preserving us from the precipices which surround us on all sides. They love us with the love of a good master: keeping us under their protection, and enabling us to earn rewards exceeding beyond all proportion the small services we render them. They love us with the love of a wise and patient doctor: teaching us the science of the saints and the high doctrine of Jesus Christ. They love us with the love of a good king: defending us from our enemies, causing us to live in peace, and keeping us in all security. In a word, they love us as much as it is possible for them to love us.

Behold, then, how our hearts are constrained to love, seeing themselves beloved in such various ways by creatures so noble, so beautiful, so powerful, so perfect,—these mighty kings of Paradise! But when did they begin to love us? From the very moment that we came into being. And how long has their friendship lasted? Without intermission, during every single instant of our life. Will it be enduring? It will endure to our last breath, and, if we will, even after death, for ever, for ever, as long as God is God, throughout a long and never-ending eternity. Do they love us in all things? In all things whatsoever which concern our true happiness. And is there no exception? None whatever. And what do they do to advance our good? They do all they can; no employment seems too vile or abject for them when it is question of serving us. In what places do they labour for our good? In every place, country, and land, wherever we go, in heaven itself, and under the earth, in the midst of the fires and flames of Purgatory. Does not our ingratitude repel them? No; they remain unchangeably attached to our service, without disgust, without weariness, whatever cause we may give them to the contrary.

It is true, then, that the holy angels are our oldest friends, that their love is the most constant, the most faithful, the most sweet, the most patient, the most universal that can be. All therein is great, all is enchanting, all is admirable, and, let us add, all is disinterested: for what do they receive from men? Ingratitude beyond conception, insolent contempt, shameful neglect. The heathen know them not; heretics know them without paying them the respect which is their due; the greater part of the poor country-people know as little of them as the heathen. Often they who know most about them neglect them most; they who pass for loving them think of them at times, and on occasions honour them; and here we see the whole extent of the love of men for these spirits, who are ever near them, and ever thinking of them. These truths, seriously meditated upon from time to time, will fill the soul with profound amazement, as it compares the exceeding love displayed by the angels towards men with the exceeding ingratitude and coldness evinced by men towards the angels. Once again, then, let us ask, Whence is it, O heavenly spirits, that ye love these men, and wherefore do ye desire their love? Here every mind must stand confounded. Let him who can fathom this mystery; for my part, I confess that the love of the angels is past all understanding. Fain would I go through the earth exclaiming against the ingratitude and the insensibility of the human heart. Truly it must be confessed that herein the ingratitude of man is displayed in all its blackness, and the hardness of his heart in its most revolting form. O men, rouse yourselves from this unhappy state, and surrender yourselves at length to all these attractions of love. Love the angels, love the God of the angels; for it is in Him alone that all is to be loved that is worthy of love.

[1] Ps. cxx. 4.

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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