Consideration upon the Two Patrons.
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 the Two Patrons.
Reflect sincerely whom you wish to serve, God or the devil. Think well upon it, since you cannot serve the one and the other. To serve two enemies so irreconcilable as God and the devil, and to please both of them, is impossible. One day a penitent with the escutcheon of Jesus Christ, and another day a sinner with the livery of the devil; some prayers, a Mass, a fast, and yet sinful affections and actions; this is a state perfectly agreeable to Lucifer; this is making open mockery of God.
If you wish to serve God, the suffering will be for a short time, the rejoicing for all eternity. Fifty, sixty years of mortification, and an eternity of joys. And besides, remember that a patron so good as God knows how to assist, to comfort, to caress you, even in this life. But if, in order to serve God, you must carry the cross, console yourself with thinking that it will never be so heavy as that which His innocent Divine Son carried.
If, however, you wish to serve the devil, the rejoicing will be short, and the suffering will last eternally. “Forty years of royalty,” cried Elizabeth of England after death, “and an eternity of hell!” And after all it is not true that the devil is able to satisfy in this world those who follow him. You have proved it, and prove it even now. The devil is a patron who hates you as much as ever an enemy can hate. What, then, can you expect of him!
Who is more able to liberate us from the slavery of the devil than MARY? There was a youth (Auriem. t. ii. p. 276), who, being unable to succeed in a wicked design he had, gave himself up to the devil, binding himself to him for a slave in his own handwriting, if he would make him succeed in that at which he aimed. However, having repented of so doing, he went into a church of MARY, where, with great grief, he confessed his grievous sin, and was ready to do any penance that his confessor imposed upon him. He ordered him, before being absolved, first to fast for three days, to put on sackcloth, and to take the discipline, imploring the aid of our Lady; and he promised that for three days he would celebrate the holy Mass for him. After these three days were over, he went into the Holy Chapel by the advice of the same confessor; where, with many tears, he set about praying to our Lady that she might cause the writing to be restored to him; and while he said, “Monstra te esse Matrem”—“Oh, most holy Mother, shew yourself to be a mother of love to me, though I am unworthy of being your Son, and am even a slave of the devil;” he saw descend into his hands the writing he had made. Then he gave himself up more entirely than ever to tears of joy, and rendered many thanks to the Blessed Virgin; and after going out of the chapel, as happy as he could be, he went to the priest, shewed the favour he had received of MARY, and received absolution, with great hope of having received pardon. Thus, all that fear left him, which he had great reason to entertain, owing to the bill of promise remaining in the devil’s hands.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Kiss three times the image of MARY, and say each time affectionately to it, “I wish to serve you, my Mother, and to disown the devil.”
“O Domina, servus tuus sum ego!”
“I am thy slave; nor would I be,
For worlds, from this sweet bondage free.”
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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