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.
Let us adore Jesus Christ, choosing St. Genevieve, a simple and ignorant girl, weak and having no influence, a humble shepherdess belonging to the lowest ranks of society, in order to make of her a great saint, the wonder of her century, the patroness of France and of the Church. Let us praise Him for this marvel (Ps. lxvii. 36), and let us ask of Him a share in the virtues of this saint.
How Eminent was the Holiness of St. Genevieve.
Two features characterize the eminent holiness of St. Genevieve: her life was a life of death to herself, and of union with God.
1st. A life of death to herself. Subject to continual infirmities, she was not satisfied courageously to bear only that one cross; she added to it long fasts combined with all the austerities of penance; then all kinds of interior mortifications, bearing silently and meekly the bad treatment of an ill-tempered mistress, and, some years later on, calumnies and persecutions inflicted on her by those to whom she had done nothing but good. 2d. A life of union with God. From the age of seven, enlightened by a supernatural illumination on the excellence of Christian perfection, upon the lofty wisdom of detaching ourselves from everything in order to belong to God alone, she consulted St. Germain of Auxerre and St. Lupus of Troyes. Following their advice, she made the vow of perpetual virginity, and received from her bishop the sacred veil of religion. Thenceforth, separating herself as much as possible from intercourse with her fellows, she gave herself up to pious exercises, spent in prayer a portion of her days and nights, and when not engaged in prayer she raised herself to God by means of all that met her eyes, by the aspect of the skies and of the fields, even by the sight of her flock, of which she was the shepherdess. These intimate communications with God, soon followed by raptures and ecstasies, enlightened her with such a profound knowledge of divine things that she spoke of them like an angel come down from heaven, that people came from all parts to consult her as though she were an oracle, and that the most intelligent teachers had recourse to her counsels. What admirable effects of the union of prayer with mortification! We perform our prayers so badly only because we do not mortify ourselves, and the reason of our not being mortified is because we perform our prayers so ill. Mortification, by detaching the heart from the creature, disposes it for union with God; and union with God, enabling it to comprehend that all which is not God is nothing, renders mortification easy to it. Have we, up till now, well understood this double truth: no prayer without mortification, and no mortification without prayer?
How Fruitful in Good Works was the Holiness of St. Genevieve.
The soul which is empty of creatures and of itself, but full of God, is precisely the instrument of which God loves to make use for great works. Let us admire in St. Genevieve the truth of this principle. The saint, burning with zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, visits prisons, hospitals, the huts of the poor, consoling the afflicted, solacing the unfortunate, instructing the ignorant, converting pagans and sinners. The care of virgins and widows is confided to her; she forms them in virtue and teaches them the duties of their state. Sick people attacked by incurable maladies are brought to her: her prayers cure them. Attila, King of the Huns, besieges Paris with a formidable army: the prayer of Genevieve puts him to rout. Childeric, the father of Clovis, comes in his turn to besiege Paris; the city is about to die of famine, Genevieve sends for victuals as far as Champagne; and if she did not prevent the taking of Paris, at least she obtains from the prince many acts of clemency, and from Clovis, his son, the liberty of several prisoners. Later on, she saves the Capital from the miseries of a fresh siege, from inundations of the Seine, from conflagrations which threaten to reduce it to ashes, from war and from famine. Lastly, it is not only Paris, but Meaux, Laon, Troyes, Orleans, and Tours which are made to feel the happy effects of the gift of miracles granted to this holy soul. Her great works carry her name to the most distant regions, and from the interior of Asia St. Simon Stylites recommends himself to her prayers. After her death, her sepulchre becomes more glorious than even her life; crowds visit it from all parts, and numerous miracles are obtained there, amongst others, the cessation of the scourge styled des ardents, in 1129. Even at the present day, the devotion to her tomb is kept up, and people go there in multitudes on the day of her feast. Thus it is that God glorifies His saints who, during their life, have done great things for His glory. What do we do for this same glory? Let us examine our conscience and our life.
Make the resolution: 1st, not to seek ourselves, but God alone, in our acts and our projects; 2d, heartily to embrace all the good works compatible with the duties of our station. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the maxim of the Holy Spirit: “The simplicity of the just shall guide them” (Prov. xi. 3).
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.
St. Genevieve, ora pro nobis.
Twelfth Night Prayer for the Nineth Day of Christmas.
O blessed Virgin, beseech thy Son to imprint in my heart that esteem and love of His Holy Name, which He imprinted in thine.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nine Day Novena
(December 31 – January 8)
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, thou are after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, thou art strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, thou art our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then, to our help, and as thou didst once save thy beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.
O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor, and obtain for us [mention your request here]. Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)
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