Consideration on the Universal Judgment.
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 on the Universal Judgment.
In the judgment I have to appear before Christ the Judge. Oh, what an appearance! He was my Father, and I loved Him not; He was my Spouse, and I abandoned Him; my God, and I disregarded Him. In a single glance He will make me understand my ingratitude, my infidelity, and my insolence. Shall I turn myself to MARY? But with what face shall I do so, if, with my sins, I have crucified her Son? Shall I recommend myself to my Angel Guardian? But with what heart shall I do so, if I have almost always disobeyed him? My only advocate will be the demon. And he, just at that day, will be my accuser.
In the judgment all my sins have to be read in the face of the world. How I shall blush! In the face of those companions among whom I appeared an angel; in the face of my parents, who thought me innocent; in the face of my confessor, from whom I concealed things. They have all to be read. Even the most secret thoughts, the desires not carried out, the compliances so shameful! The sin I committed alone by myself, with a companion, in that place, in that school, in that place of business, in that church! How confounded shall I be!
In the judgment I have to receive my sentence, either blessed or cursed, and from whom? From Jesus! Either blessed by Jesus with the elect, or cursed by Jesus with the damned. And what more? Either with Jesus in Paradise, or with devils in hell. But cannot this sentence be suspended? No, not even for a single moment can it be recalled; not for all eternity. What pleasure to hear it said by Jesus: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess My kingdom.” What horror to hear it signified by Jesus: “Depart, ye cursed, go into eternal fire.” O God, what will be my sentence! Woe to me who must go to judgment, yet meanwhile think so little thereon!
One of the most intimate companions and familiar friends (Aur. t. ii. p. 289) of Father St. Francis was Brother Leo; and among other visions that he had, one was this: He saw a large plain, and in it the form of the universal judgment; there was a great multitude of people who expected their sentence, and heard the trumpets sound, which called the dead to judgment. At this he saw two ladders descend from heaven, one of white colour, the other red, upon the top of which Jesus Christ was supported; and there, near to Him, the seraphic father, who called his friars, who were standing on the plain with the rest; and he invited them to mount the ladder, animating them with sweet words. They obeyed: but what then? As they mounted by this ladder, one fell from the third, another from the fourth, another from the tenth round. Then Francis, looking sad, exhorted them to go to the other white ladder, on which Mary was supported. They did so, and our Lady reached out her blessed hand to them, and so they mounted easily to heaven. Poor creatures that we should be, if we had not this most powerful Mother, who helps, in the most important matters, him that is mounting to heaven only by the ladder of justice.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
As you get into bed, imagine yourself to be judged by God, and hearken to what your conscience says.
“In die judicii libera me, Domina.”
“Oh, when before the Judge I stand,
My holy shield be Mary’s hand.”
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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