Consideration of the Sacrament of Confession.
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 of the Sacrament of Confession.
Do you sin, and not go presently to confession? And yet, if you are ill, you call in a physician; a sign that you prize the health of the body more than that of the soul. But if you die in your sin without confession, woe to you for all eternity! Meantime while you put off confession, sin strikes root in the soul; it becomes a habit, it grows into a nature. A solemn time comes, Easter is here; and then only you go to confession. So, then, you must die at Easter, or at some solemn time, if you mean to be saved!
You do not sin, and that is why you do not go to confession. However, for all that, venial sins you commit every day. What a great debt to make satisfaction for in the fire of purgatory! You might disburden yourself of them by a frequent confession, and you do not care to do so; you are then behindhand in the interests of the soul. You would not venture to appear in public with a single spot of dirt upon your face without washing yourself; and yet, with so many spots upon your soul, you dare to present yourself every day without blushing before the eyes of the whole of heaven?
You will say, I have tried going often to confession, and am only just the same as I was. But have you ever tried making a good confession? If after examining yourself, grieving, making resolution, and confessing, you fall into sin, how will it turn out when you give up doing any thing of the kind? Oh, if one of the damned had the opportunity of confessing that you have! Yet a time will come, when even you will wish to be able to make a good confession, and will not be able.
If you reflected that God may punish you in your sin, you would not put off confessing it so long. A youth of Mexico (Auriem. t. i. p. 58), in the year 1611, though he frequented the Congregation, yet allowed himself to be induced, by bad company, to consent to a grievous sin. He arranged the time and the place with his companions, and went with them to put the infamous design into execution. There met him in the street a grave man with a majestic look (I should think it was his Angel Guardian), who was seen by himself only, and not by his companions, who drew close up to him, and gave him a great blow on the breast, saying: “You that are a brother of the Congregation, dare you commit such wickedness as this?” At this he fell half dead on to the ground. His companions ran up to him quickly, cheered him, and asked him what was the matter. He replied, “Lead me to a confessor;” he would say no more. His companions, though their thoughts were running in another direction, yet, not to distress him, made the best of their way with him to a church, where he called a confessor. He told him all that had happened, and then made a devout confession, and kept a pure conscience for the rest of his life. Blessed be the hand which drew him from sin, which put him again into the right path to virtue, and by striking his breast gave him compunction at heart!
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Examine yourself about your confessions, and resolve to correct your defects.
“Mater divinæ gratiæ, ora pro nobis!”
“Sweet Stewardess of God, thy prayers
We beg, who are God’s ransom’d heirs.”
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.
Sequence of Pentecost
O HOLY SPIRIT! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height
Thy pure and beaming radiance give.
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou light of all that live!
Thou of all Consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.
Thou in toil art Comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.
If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness, pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold Gifts descend.
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. 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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