The Necessity of Faith.
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 Necessity of Faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. xi. 6).
FAITH is a divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed. These revelations we find in Holy Scripture, and in the verbally transmitted tradition of the Church, or, in other words, in the written and unwritten word of God. We have reached so far in our instructions.
The next point is to consider the necessity of faith. Is faith necessary for mankind? To that question we reply: Yes, faith is necessary for mankind, and we will go further and add that it is also a source of happiness. We propose, with the help of the Holy Ghost, to examine briefly these two statements.
Faith is necessary, but to what end? Certainly, in order to lead a comfortable and enjoyable life, faith is not only unnecessary, but it is a positive hindrance and drawback. It is with regard to eternal life, if we wish to save our souls, that faith is necessary. But, we ask, how far is it necessary? Faith is so indispensably necessary that just as we must have air in order to breathe and nothing in the world can supply the need of it, so, if we wish to be saved, we must have faith.
But, what grounds have we for representing faith as so imperatively essential to salvation? It must suffice that our Saviour Himself spoke in the most decisive way of the necessity of faith. “He that believeth not shall be condemned,” and, again, “He that believeth not is already judged.” Why should he be already judged? Because, unbelief is in itself a sin so grievous that it is alone sufficient to condemn a soul. There is no gain-saying Our Lord’s own words. By their sin our first parents lost for themselves and their descendants the grace of God and their right to eternal life. They were already judged—all were children of wrath. Then our Saviour came and by His sufferings and death opened once more for us the source of grace and the gate of heaven. He reversed, so to speak, the judgment pronounced upon us. But, in order to participate in this merciful sentence we must keep ourselves in close union with our Saviour, and the first connecting link in the chain is to believe in Him, His works, His merits, and His Church. Therefore, the unbeliever remains still under the ban pronounced by God in Paradise, and is already judged. St. Paul confirms this statement of Our Lord when he says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
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