Consideration upon Scandal.
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 Scandal.
The sin of scandal is a great enormity. Consider what a soul cost Jesus Christ. It cost Him prison, ignominy, torments, and the cross; it cost Him all His Blood; it cost Him His life! And do you rob Him of this soul for so little, render His passion useless to it, embitter His heart as if in sport? In this you are like the devil, who “from the beginning was a murderer” of souls (John viii. 44). You, too, are murderers from your childhood; with those jests, with those signs, with those looks, with those invitations, killing by treachery the most innocent souls. Oh, how iniquitous!
The sin of scandal is a great abyss of sins. That sin which you have made that soul commit is your own sin; and all those sins which it has committed after the first, and which originated in that advice and teaching of yours, are also your sins. He sinned through your means; and then he also became to others a master in iniquity. All their sins are yours, since all are indebted for their beginning to your scandal. Oh, how great a burden of sins is this!
The sin of scandal is a great debt with God. With this sin you wage war with God Himself, and join with hell to obscure, as far as in you lies, His glory. With irreverence, with laughing, with talking, and, moreover, with courting, you profane His temple and altar. You snatch souls from Jesus Christ, take His heart away, and give it as a prey to His enemies, and remove them far from the kingdom of Heaven. Consequently, as far as you can, you impoverish His eternal kingdom of glory, deprive God of the thanksgivings and hymns of so many faithful servants of His, to people the kingdom of perdition, and multiply in hell those who blaspheme and curse Him. Reflect, then, with yourself how deeply you are in debt to God for so many scandals of so many years, and so great malice. And yet He will be content, if, at least with your example, and with your counsel, you gain to His heart some souls in the place of those which you have taken away. He is content with so little for a debt so great, and you do not do it.
If you have the guilt of scandal, have recourse to MARY, that she may obtain you pardon for it. She herself pardoned a scandalous person in Avignon, who drew others away from devotion to her. This man had been not only most obstinate in refusing to go to the Congregation, but, moreover, hindered others from doing so (Auriem. t. ii. p. 66). By speaking ill of those in the Congregation, and murmuring against it, and by being of some standing in life, he obtained credit with many. Meantime an infirmity came upon him, which made him take to his bed. But though he saw death close at hand, he did not change. Upon the very day of the Conception, Upon which the associates of the Congregation kept a solemn feast, there came to the infirm old man an inspiration, inducing him to think of his crimes, and to view things then, through MARY’S intercession, in a different way to what he had viewed them when he was well. In that very hour he had that father called in who had the care of the Congregation which he had abhorred and despised, to make his confession to him. He came; and the sick man embraced him, begged his pardon, prayed him to hear his confession, and to admit him into the Congregation. The father received him; and at the same time the sick man got well both in body and in soul.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Behave with special modesty in church, in the streets, and in school, to make reparation for the scandals you have given to your neighbour.
“A delictis meis munda me, et ab alienis parce servo tuo.”
“O for my own or other’s sin
Do thou, who canst, free pardon win.”
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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