The Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul – pt. 6.
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. 6.
Forlorn mother of the young pilgrim Tobias! She had intrusted him to the care of an angel, whom she fully believed to be none other than some man of distinguished benevolence and extraordinary wisdom. Notwithstanding, in her passionate fondness for her son, she soon repented of this step; and, deeming him to be anything but safe from some terrible disaster on his journey, she was “very sorry,” she sighed, she wept, she groaned; “Woe, woe is me, my son, why did we send thee to go to a strange country, the light of our eyes, the staff of our old age, the comfort of our life, the hope of our posterity? We, having all things together in thee, ought not to have let thee go from us.” Such were the constant lamentations of this wretched creature; nor was it of the least use that her aged husband tried to raise her spirits by assuring her that the man who was the guide of her beloved son in his journey was most trustworthy; that she might therefore fully rely and rest upon him. “Hold thy peace and be not troubled: our son is safe; that man with whom we sent him is very trusty.” All this was utterly unavailing: it yielded her no comfort whatever. Every day, like one almost frantic, she left her house, traversed the different quarters of the city, visited all the gates, if by chance they would bring back her son. Sometimes she took her station on an elevated piece of ground in the suburbs, and thence looked all round in the fond hope of being able to recognize him and to welcome him home. But, when this failed, she renewed her complaints, redoubled her expressions of sorrow, and in the evening returned home completely disconsolate. “Ah! most certainly,” she would exclaim, “my son is in some great danger. It may be that at this very moment he is dashed over some precipice, and even now is lying at the bottom of it crying aloud to his mother, to come and help him. Peradventure he is mangled by some ferocious beast, and is now upbraiding his mother, as the cause of his death.”
My dearest sirs, every one of us ought to guard his soul with such an intense feeling of jealousy, as not even to venture to intrust it to an angel, unless quite convinced of his being an angel, having well examined his outward gorgeous apparel, lest some fraud should lurk within. “Believe not every spirit,” was the advice of St. John, in an affair of so much consequence, but “try the spirits whether they be of God.” What then shall I say, when I observe how many there are, who intrust their souls to the very devil himself, who hand them over to him, as their guide, who suffer them to be led blindfolded over terrible rocks and precipices, to be conveyed to those lewd resorts of impurity and licentiousness, which, if I may so speak, border upon hell! Must I say that these persons have any love for their souls? that they care for them? that they value them? that they treasure up all their happiness in them? Ah! were it so, never would they so desperately consign them into the hands of the devil; no, not even to any man would they commit them in this reckless manner; they would not believe every spirit. How then? Had they to procure a companion, their first concern would be that he should be a decided enemy to vice. Had they to attach themselves to a master, their first care would be that he should be a firm friend to virtue. For a spiritual guide, they would prefer the man of deepest learning; for a theological teacher, the man of deepest piety; for an adviser in general, they would cling to the man who was most thoroughly honest: and by such methods they would always seek to ensure, as far as they possibly could, the safety of the soul. But alas! how many do the direct contrary to all this, and, if I may apply to them the words of Jeremias, “give their dear soul into the hand of her enemies.” For not only have they the greatest liking for those companions, who are most dissolute, and those masters, who are most licentious; but even in matters of conscience, when they have to consult a spiritual guide, they look out for one, who is most likely to speak peace to them in their sins. Do they require a theologian? they choose the least orthodox, that he may favor their view; or a counsellor? they prefer one personally interested, that he may flatter them. Oh, what an awful thing! “They give their dear soul into the hand of her enemies.” And call you this an anxiety to be saved? Alas! it seems rather to be a desperate anxiety to perish, in spite of the assistance which is offered you; a perverting your helps into hindrances, your supports into stumbling-blocks, and your very antidotes into deadly poison.
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 we are to rest in God above all goods and gifts.
II. For Thou, O Lord, my God! art the best above all things; Thou alone most high; Thou alone most powerful; Thou alone most sufficient and most full; Thou alone most sweet and most comfortable.
Thou alone most beautiful and most loving, Thou alone most noble and most glorious above all things; in whom all things are found together in all their perfection, and always have been and always will be.
And therefore whatever Thou bestowest upon me, that is not Thyself, or whatever Thou revealest to me concerning Thyself, or promisest, as long as I see Thee not, nor fully enjoy Thee, is too little and insufficient.
Because indeed my heart cannot truly rest, nor be entirely contented, till it rest in Thee, and rise above all Thy gifts, and all things created.– Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XXI.
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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