A Hidden Life in God with Jesus Christ Strikes at the Root of the Majority of Temptations against Humility.

St. Bruno, ora pro nobis.

A Hidden Life in God with Jesus Christ Strikes at the Root of the Majority of Temptations against Humility.

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.

A Hidden Life in God with Jesus Christ Strikes at the Root of the Majority of Temptations against Humility.

We will meditate upon a new means for becoming humble, which St. Paul teaches us when he says: “ You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Coloss. iii. 3), and we shall see that this hidden life: 1st, cuts down the root of the greater number of temptations against humility; 2d, renders humility easier. Our resolution shall be: 1st, never to say or do anything with a view to the esteem of creatures; 2d, to love modest and quiet positions, which will leave us less in sight and will make us to be less spoken of. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Apostle to the faithful of his day: “You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Ibid.).

Let us pour forth our hearts in admiration, love, and praise of the hidden life of Jesus Christ. The God of glory hides Himself under the veil of mortal nature; He hides Himself in the womb of a virgin, and His virginal conception itself remains hidden beneath the veil of marriage. When He appears upon the earth, the whole universe ignores Him; He grows up, and allows His divine knowledge to be ignored by all the people, until they say of Him: Where did He learn what He knows, seeing that He has never studied? During thirty years He is hidden in the dwelling at Nazareth; during the three years of His mission He allows it to be said of Him: He is a deceiver, a lover of good cheer, a Samaritan; that is to say, a heretic, an impious man, possessed by the devil; and at the time of His passion He allows it to be said of Him: He is the least of men, a worm, a thief, an assassin; Barabbas is preferable to Him. Let us render our homage to Jesus Christ thus hidden to teach us to love a hidden life, as an element of Christian humility.

The first temptation against humility is to esteem ourselves and to desire to be esteemed. It is difficult not to yield to this temptation when we feel ourselves to be honored, esteemed, and praised by every one. The odor of the incense burned in our honor turns our head, intoxicates us, and we finish by becoming proud beings. The hidden life, on the contrary, keeps away from us the honors, praises, and applauses which possess so great a power of seduction, and of which St. Francis de Sales said: “I cannot think of them without trembling; I have not a soul strong enough to resist them.” It leaves man in the presence of God and of himself: in presence of God, who sees what we really are; and when beneath the eyes of such a judge, we are not tempted to esteem ourselves or to desire to be esteemed; and when in presence of ourselves, alone with our conscience, we see ourselves such as we are, we feel the falsity of all human opinions, we easily recognize that we are worth nothing and that we are not worthy of any esteem. The second temptation lies in what the world says to us, urging us to come out of our obscurity and to place ourselves in evidence: You are not made, it tells us, for this obscurity in which your life passes in so sad a manner, for this nullity to which you are reduced; you were born for something quite different, for a position equal, at any rate, to the one held by this person or that, who is certainly not worth more than you are. Why, then, bury yourself alive and conceal yourself? Be silent, deceiving world, he answers who has learnt to enjoy a hidden life; be silent; if I were to listen to you, you would make of me a man who indulges in pride here below and who would be lost here-after. Oh, how much more I delight to hide myself here below that I may appear one day in glory! In my modest life you cannot seduce me either by your words or your example. There I enjoy God alone, with His infinite amiabilities (Ps. xxx. 21). I will speak to Him and He will listen to me, a holy intercourse which will be for me as a beginning of Paradise (Job xxxi. 27). A third temptation lies in the speeches made to us by the devil. It is all very well for you to speak as you do, the enemy of our salvation objects in his turn, but all the same it is a good thing to force men to esteem and praise you, to occupy a position in which you will be looked up to, to exhibit in it all the riches of your nature and of your mind, to conquer envy or to condemn it to silence. It is still better, answers the man who leads a hidden life, to live ignored in God with Jesus Christ. It is much more safe, for if I sought to please men I should no longer be a Christian (Gal. i. 10); it is much more agreeable, for I am much more tranquil and quiet in it; it is much more noble, for I am able to raise myself therein above public opinion instead of being the slave of it; it is much more honorable in regard to God, for it is saying to Him that He only suffices us.

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.

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October Devotions: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary

Virtue to practice: Confidence

PRAYER TO ST. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL. Glorious Archangel, St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day. .


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