How to Spend the Year Holily.
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.
How to Spend the Year Holily.
Let us adore Jesus Christ, giving us, in His goodness, another year in which to work out our sanctification and to merit a place in His Paradise. Let us thank Him for this grace, and endeavor to profit by it.
Motives for Spending this Year Holily.
1st. We have a miserable past to repair. God gave us the year that has just closed in order to employ it for our sanctification. What use have we made of it? He bestowed upon us all kinds of blessings in the natural and the spiritual order. What fruit have we drawn from them? Have we become better? Alas! how much evil committed! how much good omitted or ill-done! What an abuse of graces! Great God! when Thy justice shall put in one of the scales of Thy balance all that Thou hast done for me, and in the other all that I have done against Thee, together with the small amount of good which I have performed, I tremble lest Thou shouldst say to me as Thou didst to the King of Babylon: “Thou art weighed in the balance” (Dan. v. 27), and the weight of My grace has borne down the weight of your merits. The only resource remaining to me is to amass during the present year a superabundance of good, which shall compensate the superabundance of evil. 2d. We have the present to sanctify. We shall have to render to God a strict account of all the moments of the present year. Each moment ill-employed or even only uselessly, will be brought against us. Oh, if we but knew the value of the gift of God! (John iv. 10.) 3d. We have the future to foresee. And what more uncertain to foresee! Upon the globe about seventy-six persons die every minute, 4,560 every hour, 109,440 every day; nearly forty millions every year. Shall I not be of this number during the year which has begun? If I but knew it, how well I would live! how I would abstain from all sin! how holily I would perform even my least important actions! how I would keep my soul always pure! My death might be sudden, but it would not be a calamity, because it would not be unforeseen. Therefore St. Antony said to his disciples: “Live each day as though it were the last of your life;” and St. Bernard recommended his disciples to do everything as if they were to die immediately afterwards.
Means Whereby to Spend this Year in a Holy Manner.
1st. We must attach ourselves to performing our ordinary actions well, even down to the most common amongst them, which appear to be nothing in the eyes of the world; that is, to do them at the proper time and in the right manner; to perform them for God, with an ardent desire to please Him. Therein holiness consists, much more than in the extraordinary actions which, for the very reason that they are extraordinary, are rare. 2d. We must always be endeavoring to live better during the present moment than during the one which preceded it. If we have done well we must strive to do still better. True virtue never says: It is enough. In this matter, not to advance is to go back. Always to advance, such is the word of command; always to rise higher, such is the rule of the just (Ps. lxxxvi. 5). 3d. We must study our besetting sin, and when we know it well, make war to the death against it all the year long, by means of vigilance, of examination of your conscience, of good confession, and fervent prayer. “If every year,” says the author of the Imitation, “we tear out a vice from our hearts, we shall soon be perfect” (I. Imit. xi. 5). Let us be deeply penetrated with these three means for passing the year holily, and let us make a strong resolution to do so.
Make the resolution: 1st, to endeavor more ardently to perform our ordinary actions with greater perfection; 2d, to attach ourselves to repairing past evils by present good, and above all every day to make war to the death against our besetting sin. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the recommendation of St. Paul : “While we have time let us work good to all men” (Gal. vi. 10).
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. Titus (bishop) & St. Gregory (bishop), orate pro nobis.
Twelfth Night Prayer for the Tenth Day of Christmas.
May the adorable name of Jesus be the sweet and daily music of my soul, and the seal of my heart.
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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