Consideration on the Presence of God.
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 Presence of God.
With whom are you now? You are with God. And when you walk, study, sleep, when you talk and when you eat, with whom are you? You are with God. And when you sin, with whom are you? You are still even then with God. He is before you, around you, within you, in every part of you; He sees every action you do, He hears every word you speak, He observes every feeling you have, measures every thought; He guards you by day, He stands over you at night, when you are alone, when you are in company, at every time, in every place. You never said, then, “I can sin without blushing, nobody sees me.” Ah, did nobody see you? Yes, God saw you.
How contemptuous, how insolent to sin in the face of God Himself; to sin in the face of a God so holy, a God so powerful! to sin under the eye of your Redeemer, your Father, your Spouse, your Judge! to be ashamed of a sin in the presence of man, and not to be ashamed of it in the presence of God! He has written in His heart the whole catalogue of your iniquities, and keeps reading and meditating upon them continually; and ever and anon stirs up His wrath by saying, “Coram facie mea facta sunt.”
“Look, he has done them before my face!”
When you appear before His divine tribunal to be judged, you will not need any accuser or witnesses to convict you. “I,” God will say, “am judge and witness.” “Ego sum judex et testis.” What confusion, then, for you to look at those terrible eyes, full of wrath against you, and yet to remember that these were spectators of those infamous and shameful actions! How great is the blindness of the Christian who sins in the sight of the devil, who has always an eye to accusing him; under the eye of an angel who cannot defend him; in the presence of God, who must judge him!
If you wish yourself to go on rightly in what you do, imagine yourself often to be not only in God’s presence, but also in that of MARY, especially when there is a call upon you to do somewhat in honour of her. A youth in the city of Dola (Auriem. t. i. p. 64) one day fell in with the prefect of the Congregation, and was lovingly invited by him to go there; and he, in order not to appear discourteous, accepted the invitation, and I believe the thing would have ended there, it being the case that many similar promises are to be found in young men’s mouths, if the Blessed Virgin had not given a helping hand. When things were in this state, this youth saw our Lady, who addressed him as follows: “Do this, and you will do a thing agreeable to me, and I will never abandon you.” Being at once frightened and encouraged at such a sight and at such a promise, he sought the Congregation with great eagerness, and obtained admission to it after many trials, they being afraid of his in constancy and of the very bad life he had led hitherto. The issue shewed that his call was one by a voice more than human, for he lived with great purity and spirit; and where he had been before the scandal of those of the company, he became a mirror of virtue. Observe that pretty word that MARY used, “I will never abandon you.” This ought to draw every one to the like act of homage, and to confirm those in the Congregation in their good beginning.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Before beginning any action, and much more in temptations, repeat with yourself merely these simple words, “God sees me.”
“Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.”
“Look at us, Mother MARY! see
How piteously we look to thee.”
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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