We are Made up of Nothing but Miseries and Subjects of Humiliation.
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.
We are Made up of Nothing but Miseries and Subjects of Humiliation.
We will meditate upon the fourth reason for being very humble, which is that we are worth nothing, and that: 1st, because we are made up of nothing but miseries and subjects for humiliation; 2d, because what remains in us beyond these miseries is worth nothing. We will then make the resolution: 1st, to reject from the very first moment all idea of esteeming ourselves because of the graces God bestows upon us; 2d, to feel that when but little esteem is shown us it is because there is reason in it, and when we are praised a mistake has been made.
“We are worth nothing.”
Let us adore Jesus Christ not being able to endure that it should be said of Him that He is good (Mark x. 18). All that is in Him, down to the slightest thought, the least action, is of infinite value, and yet He wills to be treated throughout His whole life as though He were worth nothing. He wills to be despised in His words, in His works, in all that He is, as though it were all worth nothing. He wills to suffer the blackest calumnies, the most unworthy treatment, both in His mortal and His Eucharistic life. Let us adore, admire, thank, and imitate Him.
What is there, in fact, in us which is worth anything, or because of which we can esteem and glorify ourselves? Is it our body? God took it, as regards its beginning, out of the earth. In respect to its actual existence, it is a vessel of uncleanliness, a sink of corruption, hidden beneath a more or less agreeable coat of varnish. As to its future destiny, it will be the food of worms, a mass of decomposition, which men will hasten to bury beneath the ground, that they may not be poisoned by it. Is it our intellectual faculties in which we can glory? Alas! as regards our understanding, how limited it is, what darkness and obscurity there is in it; in our judgments, what temerity and precipitation, what errors and uncertainties; in our imagination, what extravagances, what ridiculous and absurd images; in our knowledge, what defects and ignorance! The more we know, the more clearly we see that we know nothing; and the knowledge of the philosopher who is sufficiently instructed to be able to measure the field of science, reveals to him his profound ignorance with respect to a thousand more objects than there are stars in the heavens or grains of dust on the earth. Is it the qualities of our heart respecting which we may glorify ourselves? Alas! all the vices exist there as seeds, and there is not a single vice committed by a man of which another man would not be capable if God did not hold him back. All the passions have their root therein; it is like an infected pit, whence exhale a thousand malignant vapors of vanity and pride, of sensuality and impurity, of impatience and a disordered will, of the love of pleasure and of riches. Is it our good actions and our virtues of which we have a high opinion? Alas! where is the good work in which something evil is not mingled—sometimes self-love and vain complaisance, sometimes negligence and tepidity? Is there in us a single virtue such as that possessed by the saints? Have we their humility, their mortification? And what is our whole life except inconstancy in our resolutions, weakness in our temptations, indiscretion in our words, susceptibility in our self-love, distractions and coldness in our prayers? Is it, lastly, the graces which we have received of which we may be vain? But it is that, on the contrary, which ought to put me most to shame. So many graces ought to have made of me a great saint, and I am still miserable and a sinner, still as imperfect, as negligent, as tepid as ever in the service of God. Lord, the abyss of my miseries cries out towards Thee, the depth of my nothingness raises its hands towards Thy mercy (Hab. iii. 10).
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.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtue to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901).
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