Consideration upon the Preciousness 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.
Consideration upon the Preciousness of the Soul.
Consider, O my soul, how precious you are, from the nobleness of your origin. From what hands did you come forth? From, the hands of God. In whose image were you made? In the image and likeness of God. This is not an exaggeration, is not a figure, is not a way of speaking; it is a truth. “God created man out of the ground, and made him according to His own image” (Ecclus. xvii. 1). And you, so far from thinking of your nobleness, forfeit this image through sin, in order to take the shape of a demon.
Consider, next, how precious you are by the price given for your ransom. O my soul, you were lost, and lost for ever! And who was it that redeemed you from the devil’s hand? Your Heavenly Father. And what has He expended to ransom you? Was it gold, silver, precious stones? Ah, much more, infinitely more. He has spent for your ransom the life and blood of His own Divine Son. And a life so precious, a life that cost so much, will you lose it again for a caprice, for a satisfaction of naught?
Consider, lastly, how precious you are, from the happiness you are destined for. You are the daughter of the Supreme Monarch of the world, destined to sit near His throne, and to reign with Him. But the daughter of a king, who is to succeed to the crown, with what watchfulness, with what solicitude is she educated in her father’s court; and you, O my soul, the heir of Paradise, where is it that you are watched over? where that you dwell? O my God, in the midst of mire, in all this filthiness, like an unclean animal! And do you not perceive the disgrace? and do you not fear, then, that God will disinherit you?
MARY will not allow a thing dedicated to her to follow sin. Now, consider, if she can bear to see a soul, consecrated by the blood of her Son, defiled with sin. There was a secretary of the Congregation of MARY in Seville, who (Auriem. pt. ii. p. 57) had two pens made, elegantly worked with silk and gold, in order to write the names of the members, to make out letters-patent, and things of the kind. A lad of the same society saw them, desired to have them, and stole one: but it cost him very dear, not so much for the theft, as for the work for which he employed it. He had dealings with a lady of disreputable character, and wishing to write to shew his affection to her, he took this worked pen which he had stolen. As he began writing, he felt a very brisk blow upon his cheek, without seeing the hand which struck him; still he heard these words: “Have you still the hardihood, then, you wicked man, to defile a thing dedicated to me ?” At the sudden blow and fearful voice the wretched man was scared; the pen was taken from his hand by a hidden force, and he, struck to the ground, came to himself, and acknowledged his error, humbly begged pardon, and resolved upon amendment. Yet the mark of the blow was not thus got rid of; for he had his cheek blue for many days, and in it were the marks of the slap, to shew that it had not been given by any earthly hand; and if he had wished to keep his mouth silent about what had happened, nevertheless he proclaimed it by his look. It would have been better for him if, like many devout people, he had written with the pen the name of MARY.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Examine yourself, to see if you have any mortal sin in your soul; and if you find any, go at once and confess it, or else detest those that you have done in times past.
“Solve vincla reis; profer lumen cæcis.”
“Direct my wandering feet aright,
And be thyself mine own true light.”
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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