Self-love Corrupts the Gifts of God in us.
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.
Self-love Corrupts the Gifts of God in us.
We will meditate upon a sixteenth reason for being very humble; it is that we have within us a seed of self-love, which as a mortal poison: 1st, corrupts the gifts of God; 2d, engenders all the vices. We will then make the resolution: 1st, to watch with special care over all the movements of our heart, that we may keep alive the spirit of humility within it; 2d, gladly to seize upon all opportunities for humbling ourselves.
“Do not imagine you have made the least progress as long as you do not esteem yourself to be the lowest of all creatures” (II. Imit. ii. 2).
Let us adore the dispositions of the heart of Jesus abased with the feeling of His littleness and of His nothingness in presence of the lofty majesty of His Father (Ps. xxxviii. 6). Let us bless Him in this state, wherein He teaches us to despoil ourselves of the vain esteem of ourselves, which is so harmful to our souls and so dangerous for our salvation.
God has given us a body, the masterpiece of all the visible creation; a mind which feeds upon intelligence and truth, capable of attaining all distances, the height of the heavens as well as the depths of the abyss, which embraces the infinite and cannot content itself with anything less. Now, self-love perverts these so excellent gifts to the extent of converting them into a misfortune, or at any rate into a danger in regard to our salvation. He who esteems his body and takes pleasure in it makes of it an idol of insane vanity, as hurtful to his soul as it is unworthy of his great and eternal destinies. He who holds his talents in esteem attracts to himself the chastisement of the proud, presumes upon his own intelligence, and allows himself to be blinded. Oh, how many will be lost for having adored their own minds and who have had too high an opinion of its conceptions! Why have they not fewer talents and more humility? He who esteems the qualities of his heart and glorifies himself for them puts into it a worm which eats them and spoils them at their root. God has indeed given us the grace of prayer, by which we may obtain all things; but if self-love mingles with our prayer it will be accursed and condemned by God, like the prayer of the Pharisee, who, whilst he was thanking God, spoilt his thanksgiving by the vain complaisance he took in himself. God, to the grace of prayer, has, of course, added the grace of good works and the acts of different virtues, but if self-love is mingled with these good works, the whole merit of them will be lost. He who has a high esteem of his own virtue puts it to death; he who has a high opinion of his own piety kills it; he who takes pleasure in the good works he does spoils his harvest, throws down his edifice, destroys his work. What self-examinations may we not make on this point! How many merits have we not lost!
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.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
O Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957).
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