Poverty of Spirit: First Beatitude.
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.
Poverty of Spirit: First Beatitude.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.—S. Matt v.
Let us place ourselves on the mountain amongst the persons assembled there around our Lord; and listen to the first words of His discourse: Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Deign, O Lord, to replenish us with Thy Spirit, so that we may fail not to understand and to love the maxim Thou dost here lay down for our consideration.
The excellence of poverty of spirit, and the happiness of such as practise it.
To be poor in spirit is to love, with heart and soul, to be deprived of all that attracts us unduly to any earthly possession. Rather would they, who really practise this virtue, lose all that this world can afford, than suffer the loss of the goods which are eternal. It is this motive which prompts so many souls to be generous towards God; and voluntarily to renounce all that they possess, in order to follow Jesus in His poverty, as closely as possible. Lovers of the world covet for their portion, gold, silver, and vast possessions: lovers of God eagerly desire a possession that surpasses all these—that is Himself. God is the patrimony of the truly poor in spirit; and the hope of Heaven is more to them than gold and precious stones. Happy indeed are they who procure all this, at the cost of a few years of detachment from the pleasures and riches of this life. They who possess Jesus, possess more than all the treasures of the universe: in Him they find all—they need nothing—they desire nothing. In possessing the Supreme Good, all that is terrestrial seems unworthy of their affection. If into their hands have been committed wealth or honour, they use them according to the designs of God, and make them to be instrumental for His glory; while (all unseen it may be, by human eye) many voluntary and self-enforced privations are endured. O Lord Jesus! grant that we, whom Thou hast called to an eternal inheritance, may put so high a value upon it, that for sake of it we may renounce gladly all that could attach our hearts to this fleeting world Be Thou Thyself our All.
The recompense promised to those who are voluntarily poor.
The recompense that our Divine Lord has promised to such as leave all, to possess only Himself, consists in an abundance of spiritual blessings in this world; and in the next world, eternal life—the joy, and rest, and glory of Heaven. God alone, the Master of all things, could give or accomplish so magnificent a promise. They who make choice of a life of poverty in religion realise its fulfilment in all its entirety. They have given everything to God, and preferred Him before all other possessions; and He, in return, takes special care of them, in relation both to body and soul. Saint Ambrose, exalting the nobleness and magnanimity of soul in those who practise great poverty of spirit, says “He is truly rich before God, who esteems the world as an atom, and the earth as a particle of dust: he is rich for eternity, for he is amassing, not undurable goods, but those imperishable treasures whose price cannot be estimated.” It may be that we are far from being poor in spirit—and yet how is this? How can we be so unheedful of those words of Jesus: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
O my God, how greatly ought I to praise and bless Thee, for having sent Thy Son to teach me to know and to appreciate what true riches are,—what the eternal results of taking Thee for my portion, and renouncing the transitory advantages of this world, will be. How little, alas! do I practise poverty of spirit! I find the exercise of detachment difficult, because the bright promise of the Kingdom of Heaven is often eclipsed by glittering illusions surrounding earthly possessions. Dispel these, O God, once and for ever; and enable me by Thy Holy Ghost’s aid, to love poverty as Jesus did, and for His Sake.
To remind myself constantly of the promise attached to poverty of spirit.
Thought for the Day.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Take, O Lord, and receive.
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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