How Useful a Life of Trial is to Make us Learn 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.
How Useful a Life of Trial is to Make us Learn Humility.
We will meditate upon a last means for becoming very humble; it is a life of trial; and we shall see: 1st, how useful this life is for making us humble; 2d, how useful in its turn is humility to enable us to bear in a Christian manner the trials of life. We will then make the resolution: 1st, to receive all crosses and all trials as warnings that God gives us to humble ourselves beneath His hand; 2d, to receive them consequently with perfect resignation.
“Be you humbled, therefore, beneath the mighty hand of God” (I. Pet. v. 6).
Let us adore Jesus Christ in His holy passion, admirable in His humility and His patience.
The state of suffering to which He is reduced, His face covered with blood and spittle, His head crowned with thorns, His body torn, His feet and His hands pierced, the mockery of all the people. His death between two thieves as being the most guilty of the three, cover Him with confusion; on the other hand, the humble sentiments which He has of Himself, laden as He is with all the sins of the world, like the scape-goat destined to, die for the whole people, make Him feel these severe trials to be light; and render His patience invincible. It is thus that in Him patience and humility seem to give one another the hand and to sustain each other. Let us thank Him for this great example and ask of Him grace to imitate it.
The life of man, says the Holy Ghost, is a life of constant trial; for the same reason it is a life of constant humility. There are trials of suffering and of infirmities; therein is a lesson of humility, teaching us that we are always in a state of continual dependence upon God, who is the supreme Master of health and sickness, and that when we are well we ought not to be proud, as though health were our own doing; and because, in addition, having sinned, we deserve always to suffer as a penance for our faults. There are trials arising from want of success in our enterprises; therein is a lesson of humility, which tells us that we have not much intelligence, ability, or prudence; that we ought to be modest and not prefer ourselves to others. There are trials arising from reverses of fortune which oblige us to descend from the position we had occupied; therein is a lesson of humility which preserves us from the pride engendered by higher positions. Prosperity swells the heart and leads to contempt of our inferiors; reverses bring us down, destroy our pretensions, and dispose us to entertain humble sentiments in regard to ourselves. There are trials arising from humiliations; others speak or think ill of us, and do not render us the justice which is our due. We are treated without consideration, and are despised; therein is a lesson of humility, which recalls to us that, being nothingness and sin, we deserve nothing but contempt; that we are always treated too well, and that present humiliations are a grace for which we can never be thankful enough towards God, since it is the only path by which we can arrive at the attainment of humility (St. Bernard). There are trials arising from temptations, which incline us to evil and against which we must constantly maintain a painful combat; therein is a lesson of humility which recalls to us that our nature is evil and cannot of itself produce anything but sin (Council of Orange); that we ought to mistrust ourselves, avoid occasions which expose us to sin, keep ourselves continually abased in the sentiment of our profound wretchedness (Nahum iii. 14). Finally, we should never finish if we attempted to describe all the trials of this present life; but all of them have one characteristic in common, which consists in the fact that, by making us feel our misery and our weakness, they lead us to have recourse to God, as to our sole source of strength, our sole support (Ps. cxix. i), and to imitate the dove of the deluge, which, not finding any resting-place upon the earth, returned to take refuge in the ark. God is the true ark wherein the afflicted heart finds its consolation, the weak heart its strength, the tempted heart its defence. Let us examine whether we have made use of our trials to become more humble, more detached from ourselves, and more united to God.
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.
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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