Self-love is a Never-ceasing Danger.
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 is a Never-ceasing Danger.
We will meditate upon a twentieth reason for being very humble, which is that self-love is: 1st, a never-ceasing danger; 2d, often a more serious danger than we suspect it to be. We will then make the resolution: 1st, never to seek after praise and esteem; 2d, never to make any endeavor to hide what is humiliating to us.
“Humble thy heart” (Ecclus. ii. 2).
Let us adore the Holy Ghost giving us this counsel: Humble your heart and serve God in all humility and patience (Ecclus. ii. 2, 4). He could not give us more useful advice, for self-love every moment exposes us to danger, often of a more serious kind of danger than we dream of. Let us thank the Holy Spirit for a counsel so precious.
Self-love is constantly at work around us, occupied in seducing us, as well in little matters as in great, in solitude as well as in the world, in private as well as in public. Always and everywhere it is at the door of our heart, with its arrow in its hand ready to pierce us. We labor with our minds or with our hands; it is there to tell us that we are doing well, and to congratulate us; to persuade us that we do better than others; that we are more clever, more intelligent; or if we do not succeed, to fill us with vexation; to put us into a bad temper, and to make us dream of something or other in which we believe we are superior to our rivals. If, instead of working, we do nothing, self-love is still there, making our imagination wander back to the past to praise us for what we have done; to the future, to dream about what we will do, what we shall become, and to compliment us upon it; upon persons of our acquaintance, to penetrate into their hearts that we may see what they think of us; or to assist at conversations where we suspect that they are speaking of us. If we converse it invites us to prove that we are intelligent, to speak of ourselves and of what we are doing, to hide what humbles us, only to let the good side of us be seen, to put in relief whatever lowers others, even if we should be obliged to lie in order the better to succeed. Hence the taste for a spirit of raillery and criticism, because it makes us enjoy the superiority which a person who turns another into ridicule seems to have over the one who is ridiculed, his wit if the arrow be shot with delicacy in a diplomatic manner, and, lastly, the fault which is criticised, and from which we imagine ourselves to be free. If we give up ourselves to the practice of good works and of virtues, self-love is still there to compliment us, to intimate that we are worth more, that we have more merit, that we do more good than many others. Lastly, if we are endeavoring to acquire sincere humility, it is still there to assure us that we are really very humble, that we know ourselves; it even feeds itself on our belief that we are contemptible. What can we do with so determined an enemy, of whom it has been said that it is the first thing which lives in us and the last which dies? We must remember that no one has more self-love than he who imagines he has none; we must mistrust ourselves and our heart ceaselessly; we must often cry out to God, “Lord have pity on me, for I am proud.”
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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