The Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul.
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 Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul.
“When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeketh rest, and findeth none.”—St. Matt. xii. 43.
I. There was once a time, when people thought they had performed a wondrous feat, if they could only secure themselves from the attacks of the numerous wild beasts inhabiting the gloomy forests or the verdant plains around them. Their care was simply confined to this; to avert all danger of being strangled by bears, torn by wild boars, bit by serpents, or stung by scorpions. We are disposed at the present day to smile at the very moderate degree of courage possessed by our ancestors; so far have we out stripped them in our spirit of daring enterprise and bold adventure. We have not been content with getting rid of every possibility of danger from these animals; we have managed to enlist them in our service. We have nobly discovered the way of clothing ourselves with their skins, of nourishing ourselves with their flesh, of making their very bones useful, and of turning their poisonous venom itself into antidotes against disease: so that it will be found on inquiry, that many more men’s lives are now preserved, than used once to be destroyed, by means of these wild beasts. It is precisely in this way that we should treat the devil, who is unquestionably the very worst beast in the world, “an evil beast.” But what good, you will ask me, can be got out of him? The very greatest, be we only willing. It is simply this; from him we shall learn to value our souls. So jealous is he over our souls, that, according to the declaration of Christ, when he finds them snatched out of his hands, he allows himself no rest; he strives with the utmost toil and anxiety to recover them. “When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeketh rest, and findeth none.” And what if he should succeed and recover them? Does this not at all pain us? Only consider how studiously he labors to get the possession of our souls. He winds round about us with his devices, as he did round Eve; he assaults us with calamities, as he did Job; he bewitches us with his tricks, as he did Judas; he tempts us with his glozing caresses, as he did Christ; he pursues us, he adapts himself to us, he flatters us, he offers us the most munificent gifts. We, on the contrary, will be at no trouble whatever for our preservation. Ah, dearly beloved, and is it then possible we can so deceive ourselves? Not to value our souls! Not to value our souls! Not to desire to escape damnation! Oh, let me yield for a moment to my feelings, let me deplore so extraordinary a negligence; and try to sympathize with me, for, if you will listen, this negligence will also seem most grievous to you.
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.
Of the Confession of our own Infirmity, and of the Miseries of this life.
IV. How can a life be loved, that hath so great bitterness, that is subject to so many calamities and miseries?
How can it be called life, since it begets so many deaths and plagues?
And yet it is loved, and many seek their delight in it.
Many blame the world that it is deceitful and vain, yet they are not willing to quit it, because the concupiscence of the flesh too much prevails.
But there are some things that draw them to love the world,-others to despise it.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, draw to the love of the world; but the pains and miseries which justly follow these things, breed a hatred
and loathing of the world.– Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XX.
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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