The Holy Angels Render Us Great Services for Eternity.

The Holy Angels Render Us Great Services for Eternity.

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.

The Holy Angels Render Us Great Services for Eternity.

STRICTLY speaking, there is but one only affair, which is the affair of affairs, the only great, the sole affair, and that is the affair of eternity. Everything which does not tend to that is nothing, and it is thus we must both think and speak of it. Oh, how contemptible, then, are the honours, the pleasures, and the goods of this perishable world! Oh, how unworthy are all temporal matters to occupy a Christian soul! Truly, truly, the whole world, and all that the world contains of what is sweetest or most afflicting, does not deserve that we should turn aside for one moment to look at it. How clearly shall we perceive these truths at the moment of our death, and how soon shall we thus behold them! for soon shall we with astonishment perceive that the world exists for us no longer. Oh the folly of the human heart to allow itself to rest in it! Would to God that this truth of Scripture might never depart from before our eyes: “The world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof” (1 John ii. 17); and that we might once for all understand that that which passeth away ought to have no place in our hearts. Eternity alone ought to fill our minds; and the services we receive to help us to arrive there happily are the really great services which we ought to value. And here the love of the angels bears away the palm; it is in this matter that they show themselves to be our true friends, and that the aid they render us is indeed inestimable.

These blessed spirits apply themselves with unimaginable zeal to procure for us the life of grace, which is the life of a glorious eternity. To accomplish this end they have been known lovingly to urge apostolic men to go and announce the Gospel to the people who were walking in the shadow of death, as appears in the case of St. Paul and St. Francis Xavier; and with this design they have even been pleased to accompany those divine workmen who laboured to establish the life of eternity in souls; as is related of St. Martial, who had for associates in his apostolic functions twelve angels, who visibly assisted him. How many souls receive holy baptism through their charitable care, who, without their ministry, would have died in the death of original sin! Father de Loret, of the Company of Jesus, relates a very remarkable example of this kind. In the month of January in the year 1634, in the city of Vienna, three souls delivered from Purgatory appeared to a religious of the same Company, to thank him because, through his prayers and mortifications, they were going to the enjoyment of eternal repose.

“On the day of your birth,” said they, “our good angels brought us the news of it, and promised us that you should one day be our deliverer, which consoled us much. Know, besides, that you are much indebted to your angel-guardian, because, had it not been for him, you would never have received baptism: the nurse had so tightened up your chest and throat, that you would have been suffocated if this loving guardian had not loosened the swaddling bands a little to enable you to breathe.”

These amiable spirits are not satisfied with procuring for us that life of blessedness, but, like fond mothers, they take every possible care to preserve it to us, to maintain it, and to augment it. This is why they are so lovingly solicitous to procure for us the blessing of receiving the Adorable Body of our Good Master, who is the Life of our lives, and without whom we cannot have true life. How often have they carried this life-giving Sacrament of the Body of Jesus into deserts and other places, to preserve and increase the life of the souls to whom they gave It! The blessed Stanislas, a novice in the Company of Jesus, of angelic purity, and himself a very angel upon earth, was honoured with these favours; and St. Onuphrius furnishes in his own person an illustrious testimony to this truth. They neglect none of all the other means which may promote our eternal well-being. Prayer is one of the most certain and most profitable; and it is through their ministry that our prayers are offered before the throne of the Divine Majesty; indeed, amongst all the exercises of the spiritual life, there is none in which they are more present to assist us. Mortification is the twin sister of prayer; they should ever go together, and never be separated. What have not these holy spirits done, and what are they not continually doing, to engage us in the solid practice of this virtue, which is so necessary that without it nothing can be expected from a soul? for it is certain that to be truly Christian, we must be truly mortified. They have frequently appeared in a visible form to give holy lessons in this virtue, and their instructions have been worthy of the lights they possess.

It is also their holy occupation to inspire us with the love of all the other virtues, and particularly with the love of virginal purity, for it renders us like to themselves: it makes us their brethren, says St. Cyprian; it unites us with them in a more intimate friendship. What have they not been known to do in its defence! They fight, they disguise themselves, they cause the death of those who assail it; they render invisible the persons who possess it, to deliver them from their peril; they change everything in nature for the preservation of a virtue which, raising man above human nature, causes him to lead upon earth a life all heavenly.

Their great care, however, is directed to inspiring us with love for Jesus and Mary, so worthy of all love. As they know that the love of these sacred Persons is the soul of all virtues, they bend all their endeavours to root it deeply in our hearts. St. Dominic was one of the most fervent lovers of Jesus and Mary who ever lived, and he was also the well-beloved of the angels. He received at their hands all kinds of help during those long watches of the night which he spent prostrate at the foot of the holy altar, pouring forth the affections and longings of his heart without restraint in presence of his Good Master in the Most Holy Sacrament, and invoking with tears the protection of the Blessed Virgin. However wearied he might be while he was journeying on the road, he was never tired of watching whole nights in prayer, and used his utmost endeavours that it should be before the Adorable Eucharist. The angels, enraptured with this indefatigable love, associated themselves with him. These spirits of Heaven took pleasure in accompanying this heavenly man. They were seen to bring lights, and take them to the room into which he had retired, open first the doors of the house, and then of the church, whither they conducted him; and afterwards, when the time was come, they escorted him back in the same manner. The servants of a bishop with whom he lodged, having observed this marvel, mentioned it to the prelate, who watched the holy man about the time when the prodigy used to occur, and had the consolation of witnessing it, beholding with admiration the goodness of the heavenly spirits to men.

But because it is needful, in order to the practice of virtue, to have the mind enlightened and the will moved, they do not fail to communicate light to the understanding, and pious impulses to the heart; sometimes enlightening the understanding and moving the will by the manifestation of certain hidden truths under sensible similitudes; filling the mind with holy images which produce good thoughts; acting upon the external and internal senses; stirring the spirits and humours of our bodies, and exciting desires in the sensitive appetite. They reveal the most divine mysteries of religion. It was through them that the Old Law was given, and that the greater truths of the New Law were manifested. The whole ancient dispensation is full of revelations made by the holy angels; and under the new they announced to the glorious Mother of God the adorable mystery of the Incarnation; to the shepherds, the Birth of the Son of God; to St. Joseph, the Conception of the Uncreated Word in the pure womb of his virginal spouse, and the place to which he was to conduct the Holy Child, in order to save Him from the persecution of Herod; to the Maries, the Resurrection of our Saviour; to the disciples, His tremendous coming at the Last Judgment-day.

It is their constant thought, also, and unremitting care, to preserve us from sin, or to deliver us from it when we have fallen into it; at one time by disclosures of Paradise, of Hell, or of Eternity; at another, by the consideration of the fatal effects which follow crime; sometimes by piercing thoughts of death, and of the shortness of life; and again, by the examples of saints, or by the punishment of sinners. Those lights, which sometimes in an instant open the eyes of the soul to the greatest truths, those sudden impressions, which surprise us when we least expect them, and which move us so efficaciously, come to us by the ministry of the good angels. There are happy moments when the heart feels itself strangely urged to give itself to God, without knowing why; and that, too, in the midst of recreation, amusement, or festivity, on chance occasions, and even at the very time when we have resolved to commit some sin. It is the angels who produce these master-strokes of salvation, if we but know how to profit by them, obtaining for us from the mercy of God powerful graces, and on their part working wonders in our internal and external senses, moderating our passions, removing out of our way hindrances to the use of grace, overthrowing devils, and rendering easy to us all the means fitted to make us faithful to the attractions of the Spirit of God. They discover to us both our great and our little faults; they show us our imperfections; they manifest to us the most secret opposition which we offer to the Spirit of grace; they dispose us to do penance, to make a good confession, to satisfy divine justice; and they have often assumed bodies to make themselves visible, that they might thereby converse with men on the affair of their salvation in a more sensible manner.

In fine, they animate and encourage us in arduous undertakings; they comfort us in labours and sufferings; they support us that we may persevere in virtue; they obtain for us strength in mental distresses and scruples; they conduct us amidst the darkest paths; they revive our dejected spirits; they fill us with joy, and procure for us that peace which surpasses all imagination, preserving the depth of the soul, amid all the storms and tempests which, in its own despite, agitate its inferior part, in a tranquillity which nothing can disturb. To these spirits it belongs to bestow joy and peace; and so we see St. Raphael saluting old Tobias with the words, “Joy be to thee always,” and saying, “Peace be to you,” on taking his leave (Tob. v. 11; xii. 17). It is not the fault of the holy angels if peace reign not in the recesses of our souls; but it is attachment to created things that hinders its sway. To remain ever at peace we must ever belong to God only.

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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