The Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul – pt. 2.
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 – pt. 2.
If any worldly business weighs much on our minds, one very obvious sign of it will be our talking about it, our reasoning over it, our asking and inquiring how we may get guided and assisted in it. Jacob, setting out to seek Laban in a strange country, is really anxious to find him: he makes particular inquiries of those shepherds, who he thinks can inform him. Joseph, setting out to seek his brethren in a desert place, is really anxious to find them; he eagerly questions the wayfaring man, from whom he hopes to receive tidings. And Saul, leaving his home on no higher errand than that of recovering a few stray asses, belonging to his father, simply because he was sincerely anxious about them,—what means does he not adopt, what hardships does he not encounter, what attempts does he not make, in order to find them! Would you believe it? He does not think it enough for this object to scale mountains, to cross plains, to pursue his unwearied course through various towns; he does not hesitate even to apply to an oracle for some favorable intelligence, to consult a prophet, a prophet, too, of no ordinary rank, yea, one eminent, yea, the very chief, Samuel himself. “Come, let us go to the seer.” What say you, then, my hearers? Can you bring yourselves to believe that the business of your Salvation really weighs upon your minds, so long as you never take advice on this important matter, never hold any consultation about it with intelligent and learned men?
St. Luke relates that the hearers of the Baptist, being alarmed by his preaching, felt an anxiety for their salvation, unknown to them before, springing up in their minds; and hence they went in pursuit of him among the caverns and asked him, “What shall we do?” The common people went to him and asked, “ What shall we do?” The publicans went to him and asked, “What shall we do? “The men of war, even they in a like state of anxiety, went to him and all asked, “What shall we do?” Now speak the truth: Have you ever asked of any one in good earnest, “What good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?” Sometimes, it is true, and none will deny it, you make your appearance in a sacred secluded cloister; but then with what object? ‘Tis to enjoy the pleasure of the garden, and to talk with one of the holy men about the triumph of the Tartars, the defeat of the Transylvanians, or any news which may come from Ireland. But, as to any serious inquiries about the best way to save your souls, I am not aware of any instance of your having ever compelled a single monk to turn out of his cell for such a purpose. Yet what wonder you should consider this matter so little and discuss it so seldom, when even among yourselves you are not in the habit of fixing your thoughts upon it? He, who is harassed and anxious about any worldly business, cannot prevent his thoughts, however much he may wish it, from continually recurring to that subject. He seems like the stricken deer, that, wherever it goes, carries along with it the arrow that gives it pain. The man thinks of it by day, and thinks of it again by night; he has it even present to his mind, when he lies buried in profound sleep. Others, actuated by some vehement emotion of the mind, were wont even in their sleep to give it some spontaneous expression; precisely as we read of Solomon in Sacred history, that, when demanded of God in a dream what gift he would choose, “Ask what thou wilt that I should give thee,” he made his petition exclusively for wisdom, because this was the constant and only subject of his waking thoughts. “Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me.” How then can you pretend to any earnest anxiety to secure your everlasting salvation, while you suffer whole days, not to speak of nights, to pass over your heads without giving it the slightest consideration? And since, when you are asleep, your minds will revert to the various amusements and pleasures of the world and of its jovial society—(so Micheas intimated, “They work evil in their beds,” ) —how much less, when you are awake, can you ever once feel your thoughts powerfully drawn up to high and heavenly things?
Of the Confession of our own Infirmity, and of the Miseries of this life.
IV. But, alas! the pleasures of sin prevail over the worldly soul, and under these thorns she imagines there are delights, because she has neither seen nor tasted the sweetness of God, nor the internal pleasures of virtue.
But they that perfectly despise the world, and study to live to God under holy discipline, experience the divine sweetness, that is promised for those that forsake all: and such clearly see how grievously the world is mistaken, and how many ways it is imposed upon.– 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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