Consideration upon Paradise.
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 Paradise.
What is it that pleases you in this world? Does liberty please you? Ah, if you went to Paradise, you might expatiate at your pleasure over the air, moon, stars, and sun. You would be able in a moment to transport yourself from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven; you could penetrate into places the most shut up, into corners the most secret, without obstacle and without fear.
Does music please you? But what sweet music will be that of the Angels and Saints in Paradise! One single instrument, touched only for a few moments by a seraph’s hand, rapt St. Francis of Assisium into ecstacies beyond his senses.
Are you pleased at making a good appearance? If you enter into bliss, your eyes will be like two stars, your countenance will resemble the sun, your hands will be adorned with gems, and your body will be all clothed with light!
Are you pleased with being a man of letters? Go into Paradise, and, in a moment, you will become more learned than Solomon, more enlightened than all the philosophers. You will learn, in an instant, sciences most abstract and most sublime, without trouble and without fatigue.
Are you pleased with gazing in admiration upon the beauties of creatures? But how much more beautiful must the Creator be! And then you will see Him in Paradise face to face; you will contemplate His countenance close at hand; and, in a single glance, you will be happy. And what satisfaction, too, will it be to see the Angels! To see Adam, Abraham, David, the Apostles, the Martyrs, your patron Saints! To see Jesus, to see MARY!
Are you pleased with possessing goods? Well, then, save yourself, and you will possess God Himself, the very Owner of all the goods in the world. He will be yours, and no one can take Him away from you; and you cannot ever lose Him. He will be yours, and you will be His for ever, and for all eternity.
Fool that you are, if, for a shameful pleasure, you go and lose the grand good of Paradise.
A little gift made to MARY has oftentimes gained Paradise, when forfeited for sinners the most dissolute. A noble youth of giddy nature (Auriem. t. ii. p. 115) was making a voyage from Genoa to Savona: in his ship there were three religious. He, being used to profane things, set about reading an obscene book of amorous verses; and, as he read it, he said he felt so much delight, and so much pleasure in that little book, that he would not sell it for a pound. One of the religious said: “Would you dislike giving something to MARY?” “No,” answered he. “Come, then,” replied the other, “will you, for the love of MARY, let this book be torn up and thrown into the sea?” “Take it, father,” said the youth. “No,” replied he; “do you make the gift to MARY?”—so the youth drew out his knife, and cut the book through the middle, and threw half into the sea; and the other he gave to the religious, who tore it up into very small pieces, and threw it also into the water. This act did not remain unrewarded; for having returned a few days after to Genoa, the youth was called by MARY to the safe harbour of religion; and the good religious, with whom he had made the voyage, were spectators of the act. Oh, how would our Lady be pleased, if every one who had imitated this youth, in keeping and reading books like this, in which there is poison hidden, would make an offering of it to MARY, depriving himself of it for the love of her! He might hope that she would obtain a change of life for him from her Son.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Look among your books, your pictures, and your writings, and see if you find any thing improper; for the honour of MARY, throw it courageously into the fire.
“Janua cœli, ora pro nobis.”
“To thee our love and troth are given;
Pray for us, pray, bright Gate of heaven.”
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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