Consideration upon Delaying Conversion.
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 Delaying Conversion.
Have you the intention of being converted? Are you intending to give yourself to God some day? Yes, certainly. But when? to-day? Oh, not to-day. I have got an engagement to get over, an attachment, a human respect, a habit, a passion; but to-day I perceive it will be too hard a task, I will do it some other time. But when? I will wait till this obstacle is removed, till the passion gives way, till youth is over. I will do it, without fail, at these exercises next year. How long you have been saying so, and yet you have never done any thing yet!
You put off, you wait; and will God be likely to wait for you? Who can say? And do you leave settling the affairs of your salvation under such uncertainty? But God has waited for me hitherto. This is just the reason why I doubt if He will wait for you any longer; He is tired with your promises and your infidelity. But God is good. With you He has been so quite enough already. Who knows if now He will not begin to be severe? and if He is willing to continue being good with you, is that any reason why you should be willing to continue offending Him? Do consider what black ingratitude this is!
Nearly all the Christians that are in hell have plunged themselves into it by waiting and putting off. Nobody is so stupid as to say, I have no wish to be converted; but few are so wise as to say, I wish to be converted this moment. So death comes, and yet even then they keep putting off; they hope to get well of their complaint this day, this hour. Only think, if it is likely that that which has not been done at a suitable time, should get done at a time when God will mock them, as they have done Him their whole life long. Bethink yourself well, then. If you do not change your life at once, there is good reason to fear that you will never change it at all.
Even those who have amended their ways in their lifetime, have reason to fear at the point of death. Think, then, how matters will stand with those who put off their conversion till that moment. There once was a person of this kind (Auriem. t. ii. p. 317), as careful in his domestic affairs as he was negligent in those of his soul. With this avarice of his there were many other vices conjoined. Still he had a great devotion to Mary, and recited the holy rosary. One day, as he went into her chapel to pray, he heard a voice say, “James render to me and to my Son the same exact account of every minute, that you make your servants render you.” James, being in the mire of his sins, did not care the least for these words; but the Mother of Mercy did the same again. At this he entered into himself, and began to examine his own goings on exactly; and finding himself a great debtor to God and his Mother, mended his life in good earnest; and he who before made no conscience of the most grievous things, had now a very delicate conscience about the smallest, remembering what God said by the mouth of the prophet, “I will judge justice.” With such dispositions and tenour of life he drew near to the end of his days. Then he saw many devils, and heard them accuse him of all his sins (and they were grievous and many), and pressing the supreme Judge to have him given up to themselves, as having many times merited hell. The poor dying man was in great fear about his salvation, when the Mother of Mercy appeared to him, and bade the Archangel St. Michael put into one scale the acts of homage done to honour her, and into the other the sins of his past life now confessed; and since the former out weighed these, the devils fled, and James was led by most holy Mother into Paradise.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
If you have a mortal sin on your mind, go at once and confess it; if in a state of grace, consider what is the greatest hindrance to your giving yourself wholly to God, and overcome it speedily.
“Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, I am yours in heart and soul.”
“O Jesus, Joseph, Mary, deign
My soul in heavenly ways to train.”
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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