Consideration on Devotion to the Virgin Mary.
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 Devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Devotion to MARY is a most efficacious devotion, since she is the Mother of God. Hence one has every reason to say, that she has in her hands all the treasures of the omnipotence, the grace and the mercy of her Son. Is it possible that Jesus should deny any thing to a Mother so holy, who has given Him milk, watched Him, nourished Him, brought Him up; who has followed Him in His pilgrimages, even to the foot of the cross, and to the sepulchre itself? MARY loved Jesus above all things; and will not Jesus love MARY more than all ?
It is a most sweet devotion, since she is our Mother. “Our Lady,” says St. Joseph Cupertinus, “is my Mother, and the other mother is only my nurse.” What a sweet thing to be able to say: “My Mother is Mother of Jesus, and my Mother. We are sons of one and the same Mother.” Hence MARY always accompanies her graces with a maternal sweetness. She is not content with hearing us, she speaks to us and answers us in our heart with such a feeling of compunction, that often she makes us weep.
It is a most tender devotion, since she is the Mother of sinners. It is they who crucified her Jesus, and yet MARY loves them if they will repent. Loving them would be too little; she protests that she is their Mother: “Ego sum Mater peccatorum.” What joy does her heart feel when she can reconcile these two brothers, these two sons of hers, the sinner and Jesus! Are you a sinner? You are able to give MARY a great pleasure. Throw down at her feet the knife with which you have pierced Jesus; put it into her hands; say to her, with a heart truly penitent, “Mother of sinners, pray for me.”
Let not him deceive himself as being truly devout to MARY who lives obstinately in sin. A certain man of Valenciennes, in Flanders, in the year 1713, had the misfortune to fall into a most grievous sin (Auriem. t.ii. p. 27). Shame, however, assaulted him in such way, that on no account whatever could he induce himself to reveal it to his confessor. He confessed, how ever, other sins; about this alone he preserved an obstinate silence. Meanwhile, his remorse of conscience was most bitter; but to what advantage, if he neither wished nor knew how to free himself of it? One day the thought came across him, that if he went to visit the church of MARY in Halle he would be free; and he bound himself by a vow to do so, not at present with the design of making his confession, but with the hope that this act of homage would restore to him peace of conscience. He set off, and having arrived at the threshold of the church, he found himself stopped. He made an effort to enter, but could not; he found himself immovable, but without knowing what held him there; he examined himself closely to see whence the hindrance came, made a firm resolution of making a good confession, and, this done, he was able to enter at once into the church without further obstacle. He had a confessor called, and with great grief disclosed his whole life to him; and returned home justified, and receiving a greater grace by this visit than he had asked for.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Recite the rosary in honour of our Lady; and if it prospers with you, invite others to keep you company.
“Mater amabilis, ora pro nobis!”
“We love thee, light of sinners’ eyes!
Oh, let thy prayer for sinners rise!”
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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