Holy desires: Fourth 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.
Holy desires: Fourth Beatitude.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.—ST. MATT. V.
Let us take our place again amongst that privileged assembly, who hear our Lord pronouncing those blessed that hunger and thirst after justice.
Excite in our souls, O Jesus, holy desires after justice; so that, in accordance with Thy promise, we may be nourished and satisfied with Thy goodness.
Holy desires are the result of the presence of God in our souls.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. What is this hunger—this thirst? Nothing else but the ardent desires which the true friends of God entertain, for His glory and their own perfection. The Holy Spirit possessing them, they appreciate the merit of sanctity—the happiness of belonging entirely to God; at the same time holy desires are excited, and increase in ardour, in proportion to their increasing love for heavenly things. Hence arises that fervent zeal which we admire in the Saints. One step made in the way of perfection has the effect of provoking the desire of making another: thus the more one advances, the more still one wishes to advance. As the flame attests the presence of the fire, so fervour attests the reality of the presence of holy desires in the heart. Do we truly long to attain perfection? do we crave for more grace, in order to please God better, day by day? Is our zeal with regard to our growth in holiness becoming more vigorous? Can we compare the natural hunger and thirst which we may sometimes have experienced, with our spiritual hunger and thirst? and then conscientiously claim the promise made by our Lord, and expect that He will replenish us with an abundance of grace? If not, we shall do well to humble ourselves in God’s sight, begging Him to make us understand our many needs, and to arouse in us more efficacious desires after sanctity. Thus saith the Lord: I have inebriated the weary soul: I have filled every hungry soul. The weary soul—the hungry soul! Let us mark these words.
The advantages of holy desires.
The soul that is full of sincere and holy desires, may be said to have unbounded power over the Heart of God, for He cannot refuse the prayers which are prompted by them. Of this we are assured by the words of the Angel, who was sent to comfort Daniel after he had fasted and mourned for three weeks: Fear not, Daniel: thou man of desires, I am sent to thee; for from the first day thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard: and I am come for thy words: Fear not, O man of desires, peace be to thee: take courage and be strong. And these same words are addressed to all, in all ages, who earnestly long to progress in virtue—to become saints, for the glory of God. He accepts these desires as prayers; even though they may never be shaped into words. If we hunger and thirst after justice, we shall not walk leisurely in the path of holiness: our heart being enlarged with the desire of perfection, we shall run in the way of God’s commandments. And what is the goal, to reach which we should be taking rapid strides? Where is the centre of attraction, towards which we should allow ourselves to be drawn on, each day more and more swiftly? It is nothing less than the unending Beatific Vision of our God; with which we shall be satisfied throughout eternity. Does not the very thought stimulate our energies, and intensify our desire to reach that special place in Heaven, and win that special crown, which Jesus has prepared for each one of us.
Thou knowest my thoughts, O Lord! that my hope is in Thee! My desires stretch forth towards Heaven, and I long to behold Thee there. Attract me along the way of holiness: may I each day acquire some fresh step in virtue, so that at length I may appear before Thy sight in justice: and be satisfied when Thy glory shall appear. Hungering and thirsting for Thee now, let me be aided by Thy grace to prepare for the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb.
To have only such desires as I can offer to God.
Thought for the Day.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
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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