Consideration of Christ’s Example in the Desert.
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 Christ’s Example in the Desert.
Christ in the desert teaches me a retired life by His solitude. He has no fear of objects to deceive Him, of companions to seduce, of discourses to pervert, of creatures to overthrow Him; and yet, notwithstanding this, He flies from the town into the desert. Why, then, am I, who am so weak in every little conflict with things and creatures, for ever seeking conversation?
Christ in the desert teaches me the mortification of the flesh with His fast. To what purpose forty whole days without taking a mouthful of food or a cup of water, and living meanwhile with beasts, and sleeping upon the bare ground? yet His flesh is perfectly subject to the spirit, and He unable to sin by nature. What a difference there is between the guiltless Christ and a man such as I am, conceived in sin, inclined to sin, and perhaps actually a sinner! He fasted forty days with such rigour; and I, perhaps, do not observe even the fasts of the Church, or else try to observe them with the least rigour I can.
Christ in the desert taught me the use of frequent prayer by His continual praying. But what had He need to ask for? Not grace, since He could not lose it; not virtue, for He had all the fulness of it; not learning, since He is the very Wisdom of the Father. And do I, with so many needs, make such short prayers, and make them by force, with so little recollection and with so much distraction? Prayer made in honour of her pleases MARY; but mortification of the flesh pleases her much more.
There was in Sardinia (Auriem. t. ii. p. 27) a girl of twelve years old, who was exhorted by her mother, who was very devout to MARY, to recite the rosary every day, and fast on Saturday, in honour of her. As for the rosary, in that the child obeyed; but not so in the fast, excusing herself as unable to observe it. Her mother pressed it, saying it was no such great thing to fast once a week. Still her daughter clung to her refusal, alleging a pretended “I can’t,” for the real “I won’t,” which is often the way with excuses; until one night, when she was asleep, she heard some one call her by name, looked to see who called her, and saw it was our Lady, from whom she heard the following words : “Obey your mother, and fast on the Saturday: if you do so, I will help you in your needs.” Upon this she immediately began the fast; and the event shewed that the vision was not a vain one; for having followed this devotion for the space of thirty years, she found MARY ever propitious to her, and at hand to assist her.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Be as much retired as you can, and observe silence, particularly in school and at your work.
“Pone, Domina, custodiam ori meo.”
“Be love of thee, my whole life long,
A seal upon my wayward tongue.”
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.
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.