Practice: to hold Interior Converse with the Holy Angels.

Practice: to hold Interior Converse with the Holy Angels.

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.

Practice: to hold Interior Converse with the Holy Angels.

THE life of the Christian is a spiritual life: if, then, we live in the spirit, why do we not walk and act in the spirit? We are raised to a supernatural state: being, then, in a condition so divine, ought we to live a life wholly sensual? Woe to us who are immersed in flesh and blood; who are like to the idols of the heathen; who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not! We act like men devoid of faith; this spiritual eye of our soul,—it is thus St. Augustine describes faith,—remains inactive in us, and, well-nigh utterly useless. We could scarcely be more attached to things of sense, or in a profounder forgetfulness of the interior world, if we lived amidst Pagan darkness. Ah, what heavenly beauties are discoverable in this spiritual world! What magnificence, what wonders, what glory! And it must be confessed that the holy angels shine therein conspicuously, and that, if our conversation, as the Apostle testifies (Phil. iii. 20), ought to be heavenly, we are under an obligation of conversing frequently with these amiable spirits of Heaven.

St. Bernard, that devoted client of the angels, was truly of this opinion when, exhorting his brethren to be devout to these angelic spirits, he said, “Accustom yourselves, my dear brethren, to bold familiar conversation with the angels, and think often of them;” and what, indeed, are we thinking of when we bestow not a thought on these dazzling splendours of Paradise? O my God, Thy creatures here below love so much whatever is beautiful, and take such pleasure in contemplating it; they have such difficulty in detaching themselves from it; they are so ready to converse with those on earth who are amiable and attractive: and behold the world is full of angels of Paradise, since each man has his own, not to speak of so many others sent by God, and these angels are perfectly beautiful, and endowed with a marvellous power; the sweetness of their love for man is most attractive; they possess all imaginable qualities which can inspire a holy love; add to which, they are the princes and kings of the empyrean, and yet, alas! scarcely any one thinks of them, and it is very rare to meet with persons who hold much converse with the angels. “Is it,” says again the Saint whom I have just quoted, “that we doubt their presence, because we see them not?” But ought we, then, to judge of the presence of things solely by our bodily eyes? Have men no souls, because we cannot see souls? Is God not everywhere, because our senses do not perceive His presence? It is because we have not faith, you will reply; and this is true. We may add to this that it is also because we are too much attached to earthly things: let us, then, weep bitterly over our want of faith and our earthly attachments. The holy solitaries used to converse familiarly with the angels: it was because they lived an angelic life; and we, miserable creatures that we are, can scarcely think of them for a quarter of an hour: it is because our life is altogether earthly.

Here is a practice tending to remedy this evil. A person standing at a window which opened upon a public thoroughfare, was struck with a ray of light which sensibly touched his heart: in this heavenly ray he discerned that men lived in an incredible oblivion of the world of grace. Penetrated with this truth, he set himself to listen to what the persons who were passing through the street were talking about; and he heard not one word of God, or of the things of God. No one spoke except of earth—of fine weather, of eating and drinking, of dress, of horses, and such like things. Oh, how many angels, he said to himself, are passing by here, accompanying these poor people! Is it possible that not one among all this crowd is thinking of these princes of Paradise? This thought affected him much, and then he went to a neighbouring fair, with the object of paying his respects to the angels of the persons who were flocking thither in crowds from all quarters. He sighed when he beheld in so large a gathering so little attention paid to the numerous angels present there. He went from place to place in order to salute them and converse with them. Truly, he exclaimed to himself, here are far other sights to be seen than all the merchandise and rareties of the fair!

This practice is well worthy of our imitation. We are in some town, and are walking through the streets filled with people: Oh, why, then, do we not contemplate interiorly the angels who accompany all this multitude? Why do we not go out sometimes for the mere purpose of conversing with them? You enter a church, or some large assembly: Oh, why do you not raise yourself above the region of sense and contemplate all the holy angels present? You are travelling in company with others; you speak to them, you converse with them: why not also with their guardian angels?

I was told by a person who was given to these practices, that he took pleasure in counting the number of people he was in company with, so that he might know the number of angels who undoubtedly were present; and in course of time the All-Good God, desiring to encourage his devotion, rendered him on occasions as sensibly conscious of their presence as if he had beheld them with his bodily eyes. He told me that sometimes, even when seated at dinner, all of a sudden the angels made themselves known to him in a manner which he could not explain, but which was more evident to him than if they had formed part of the visible company. You are journeying along the road: all the villages you pass through contain as many angels as there are inhabitants. Alas! how many of the great lords of Heaven abide in all these places; and yet these poor country-people, far from thinking of them with devotion, are scarcely aware of the fact. Why, then, do you not pay your court to all these kings of the glorious Paradise? Know that the more they are neglected, so much the more will they favourably regard the honour you show them. There are many angels in these villages to whom no one will ever give a thought: if you should honour them, they will be constrained to make you some return; for, indeed, these blessed spirits do not know what it is to be unthankful, and are incomparable in their gratitude. You would be very glad to be honoured with the gratitude of some prince of the blood-royal, or of some of the great monarchs of this world. Why, then, do you not enter into the same sweet alliances with thousands and thousands of the kings of the heavenly court? You sometimes say that you would be glad, when on your journeys, to be cheered with the society of some pleasant companion: but can you, in truth, have anything sweeter or more agreeable than the conversation you may enjoy with these amiable Intelligences? You go into the country: why do you not choose certain times for conversing in spirit with the angels who are there? Why not retire sometimes into your garden, why not take a solitary walk, that you may profit by this favour?

But what do you say of the presence of your holy Angel Guardian? Shall he be continually thinking of you, and will you scarcely ever think of him? Do you believe that a short prayer, morning and evening, is a worthy acknowledgment of the favours he bestows upon you? I would have a serious answer to my question: in good truth, if one of the princes of the earth were to visit you, would you leave him from morning till night all alone, and think you acquitted yourself of your duty towards him if you made him an obeisance once or twice during the day—especially if all through the day he attended you everywhere, and rendered you all kinds of services; while, on the other hand, you were yourself some poor disfigured wretch, foul with disease and corruption, loathed by all the world, yea, condemned to the gibbet for your crimes? And suppose you were continually turning your back on this obliging prince, what astonishment would you create in those who might become acquainted with behaviour so grossly rude and contemptuous! I ask you, moreover, whether your indignation is not excited at the mere imagination of such conduct? Tell me, do you feel yourself capable of it? Oh, no: men are not insensible where earth is concerned, such insensibility is reserved for Heaven: for it is thus you treat the great prince of Heaven who is your guardian. O ye angels of Paradise, is it possible that you endure such insulting treatment? It is most fitting, then, that we should converse with our angels; to leave them without a word would, indeed, be intolerable.

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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