Brother Giles on Temptation.
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.
Brother Giles on Temptation.
One cannot enjoy in peace and tranquility the great graces which he receives from God; for many contradictions, many disturbances and adversities, run counter to grace, inasmuch as the more a man is in the grace of God, so much the more violently is he assaulted by the devils. Therefore one should never cease fighting, if he would follow the grace he has received from God; because, as the battle is fiercest, the crown will be the more precious, if he overcome in the fight.
But we have not many battles, or many impediments, or temptations, because we are not such as we should be in the spiritual life. Yet most true it is, that if a man will walk well and discreetly in God’s way, he shall have neither toil nor weariness in his journey; whilst the man who goes the way of this world, can never escape much toil and tediousness, and anguish and tribulation and sorrow, until the day of his death.
One of the Brothers said to Brother Giles: “My Father, it seems to me that thou sayest two things, one contrary to the other: for first thou sayest; the more virtuous a man is, and the more in God’s favor, the more contradictions and battles he has in the spiritual life; and then thou sayest the opposite; namely, that the man who walks well and discreetly in the way of God, shall know neither toil nor tediousness on his journey.”
To which, Brother Giles, explaining the contradiction between these two sayings of his, replied thus: “My Brother, it is certain that the devils wage the war of temptations more fiercely against those who have a good will, than against those who have not. But what trouble, or weariness, or injury, can all the devils and all the adversities in the world cause to him who walks well and discreetly in the way of God, knowing and seeing, as he does, that the tempter sells his wares at a price a thousand times greater than they are worth? For I tell thee of a truth, that he who is enflamed with Divine love, holds vice in greater abomination the more he is attacked by it.
“Most of the devils usually hasten to tempt a man when he is in any sickness, or weakness of body, or when he is in any anxiety, or in much distress, or cold, or hungry, or thirsty, or when he has received some injury or slight, or any hurt, whether temporal or spiritual, because, in their malice, they know that at such moments and in such circumstances a man is more liable to succumb to temptations. But I say to thee, that by every temptation, and every vice which thou shalt overcome, thou shalt acquire fresh virtue; and through that very vice by which thou wert assaulted, if thou overcome, thou shalt receive so much the greater grace, and the brighter crown.”
A Brother once came to ask counsel of Brother Giles, saying: “Father, I am often assaulted by a most grievous temptation, and many a time I have prayed God to deliver me from it, and yet the Lord has not taken it away; counsel me, Father, what to do.” To whom Brother Giles replied: “My Brother, the better a king arms his soldiers with strong and knightly armor, the more ardently he will have them fight against his enemies, for love of him.”
A Brother once asked Brother Giles: “Father, what remedy shall I use, that I may go to prayer more willingly, and with greater desire and fervor? for when I go to my prayers, I am slothful, tepid and indevout.”
Brother Giles answered: “A king has two servants, and one has arms, that he may fight, and the other has no armor for the combat; and both of them would enter into the battle, and fight against the enemies of the king. The one who is armed will go into battle and fight valiantly; but the other who is unarmed, will say thus to his master: ‘My lord, thou seest that I am naked and without arms; but for thy love, I will willingly go into the battle, and fight thus unarmed.’ And then the good king, seeing the love of his faithful servant, will say to his ministers: ‘Go to my servant, and arm him with all that is needful for the combat, that he may securely enter into battle; and seal all his arms with my royal seal, that all may know him as my faithful knight.’
“And thus it often happens, that when one goes to prayer, he finds himself naked, indevout, slothful, and hard of heart; but if he force himself, for the love of his Lord, to enter into the battle of prayer, then our merciful King and Lord, seeing the effort of His servant, will give him, by the hands of His ministering angels, the fervor of devotion and of a good will. It happens sometimes, that a man begins some great work with much toil, so as to clear and cultivate the ground, and plant the vine, that he may gather the fruits of it, in season. And many, because of the great labor and toil, leave off by degrees, and repent of the work they have begun: but if they would persevere until the vintage, they would forget all pains, and be comforted and filled with gladness, securely enjoying the fruits of their labor.
“And so shall a man also, that is strong in temptations, obtain much consolation; ‘according to our tribulations,’ says St. Paul, ‘shall be the recompense,’ and the crown of eternal life that shall be given to us. But not only shall the reward in heaven be given to them who withstand temptations, but even in this life also, as the Psalmist says: ‘Lord, according to the multitude of my temptations, and of my sorrows, thy consolations have delighted my soul:’ therefore the greater the temptation and the combat, the more glorious shall be the crown.”
Another Brother asked counsel of Brother Giles on account of his temptations, saying: “O Father, I am attacked by two most violent temptations: one is this: that as soon as I do anything good, immediately I am tempted to vainglory; and the other, that when I do an evil, I fall into such rashness and bitterness that I almost despair.”
To which Brother Giles replied: “My Brother, well dost thou do and wisely to grieve for thy sins, but I counsel thee to grieve discreetly and in measure, and ever to remember that the mercy of God is greater than thy sins. But if the infinite mercy of God receives to repentance the man who is a great sinner, and who sins wilfully, thinkest thou that this God will abandon the good sinner who sins not wilfully, seeing him contrite and penitent? Also, I counsel thee never to leave off doing good for the fear of vainglory; for if a man who was about to sow his corn should say: ‘I will not sow, for if I do, perchance the birds will come and devour it,’ and so saying should leave his field unsown, of a surety he should gather in no harvest that year.
“But if he sow his seed, though the birds should come and eat a part of it, yet the greater part shall remain to the laborer; so it is with a man who is attacked by vainglory, and who will not do good works for the fear of vainglory; but if he continually strive against it, I say to thee, that he shall not lose the merit of the good he has done, for having been tempted.”
A Brother once said to Brother Giles: “Father, it is said that St. Bernard once said the seven penitential psalms with such tranquillity of mind and devotion, that he had not a single distraction, or a thought of aught else besides each sentence of the psalms.” To which Brother Giles replied: “My Brother, I esteem it a much greater thing if a knight, being assailed by his enemies, should defend himself so bravely that he should not suffer one of them to enter in, than if he were to be left in peace, and without any trouble.”
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.
That temporal Miseries are to be borne with Patience after the Example of Jesus Christ.
[Disciple.] II. Lord, because Thou wast patient in thy life-time, in this chiefly fulfilling the commandment of Thy Father, it is fitting that I, a wretched sinner, should, according to Thy will, take all with patience; and, as long as Thou pleasest, support the burden of this corruptible life, in order to my salvation.
For though this present life be burthen-some, yet it is now become through Thy grace, very meritorious; and by the help of Thy example and the footsteps of Thy saints, more supportable to the weak, and more lightsome.
It is also much more comfortable than it was formerly under the old law, when the gate of heaven remained shut, and the way to heaven seemed more obscure; when few concerned themselves to seek the kingdom of heaven.
Neither could they, who were then just and to be saved, enter into Thy heavenly kingdom, before Thy passion, and the payment of our debt by Thy sacred death.– Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVIII.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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