Consideration on the Wickedness of Christians.
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 Wickedness of Christians.
What can you do, O my God, to save me? Even I cannot tell Thee. If you invite me with the voice of mercy, I sin, hoping in your goodness. If you make me understand the depth of your justice, then I go on sinning, despairing of your pardon. If you make my heart tender, I offend you; if you rebuke me, I offend you. I bathe with tears the image of the Crucified, and, a few hours after, I go and open His wounds with my sins again. What an abyss of wickedness is this, that even I cannot understand it!
What remains that you can do, O my God, to save me? You have put me in the bosom of holy Church, have given me lights to know with, inspirations to rouse me, graces to resist with, sacraments to strengthen me, examples to encourage me, tribulations to reclaim me. I have sinned; you might have punished me, and you have pardoned me. With others you have been severe; with me always merciful. You have done every thing to make a convert of me; and I every thing to make myself obstinate.
What can I ask of you, O my God, to be saved by? Your blood? You have shed it all for me. Your life? You have given it to your Father for me. Your body? It has been crucified for me. Your flesh? It is always kept ready for me. Even I do not know what to ask you for to keep me from sin. And yet, when I sin, at the bottom of my heart I often complain of you, as if your grace had failed me. Foolish that I am! So I do not understand that I hasten to destruction by my own wickedness only.
If you still wish something extraordinary, whereby to be saved, you may always hope for it from the intercession of MARY. In Travancore, in East India (Auriem. t. ii. p. 290), a vessel put ashore, in which, among others, there was a soldier who had lost all hope of salvation, having given himself to the devil. He, by the will of God, entered a church, where he saw there was an image of our Lady, and fell on his knees before it, asking her help and intercession with Jesus. Then, as he said, he saw the Child Jesus, who was in her arms, weeping; and from MARY’S hands the water ran in such abundance as to bathe the whole altar. Who can recount now the tears of this man? He immediately conceived great hopes of being pardoned by means of her who is the fountain of mercy, and trusted that the Son would be appeased by the prayers of His Mother, seeing He received the penitent sinner with tears. This fact could not be concealed; his companions ran from the vessel, and saw the altar swimming. The effect was, that this soldier went at once to confess his sins with great sorrow, and made a vow to become a religious, as, in effect, he did, in order that the more wickedly he was bound to the devil, by the more binding a tie he might be united to God.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Make a visit to MARY, praying her to thank her divine Son for the benefits He has done you, and to obtain the pardon of your ingratitude.
“Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.”
“Thou, MARY, art my hope and life,
The starlight of this earthly strife.”
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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