The Goodness and the Severity of God.
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.
The Goodness and the Severity of God.
None is good but one, that is God. (Mark x, 18.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY the goodness and the severity of God, of which the Apostle speaks (Rom. xi, 22), of the goodness with which He bestows His benefits upon us without any merit of ours, the severity with which He visits our offences against Him. And yet, in fact, God is never really severe, for He never punishes as much as He might, for His justice is always tempered with mercy. It is said that God is severe when He shows justice rather than mercy. The consideration then of His goodness and of His justice is to be for you a ladder by which you shall escape from the enemy. When you are tempted to distrust, contemplate the goodness of God towards those even who are undeserving of it. When you are tempted to presumption, abase yourself by thinking of the divine justice and severity even towards those who are most dear to Him.
APPLICATION. Reflect whether it is by such considerations you avoid the extremes of discouragement and of excessive security.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves. (Ps. xviii, 10.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY the justice and severity of God in the persons of so many whom He allowed to fall from the loftiest heights, such as Judas, and Saul, and Solomon. How many there are who shamefully fall from sublime heights of sanctity and are lost in hell, many perhaps for their first sin! Oh, what a terrible thought! On the other hand consider the goodness of God towards yourself, in bearing with you after so many sins and heaping blessings on you. Assuredly you cannot attribute this to anything in yourself. It comes entirely from His own goodness.
APPLICATION. Beware however lest you think yourself secure, since you cannot tell if God will still extend His goodness towards you, by reason of your poor correspondence with it. To save your soul God must continue to favour you with His efficacious aid, which He is not bound to give you. See then that you correspond with His divine grace.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Give heed unto my help, O Lord, Thou God of my salvation. (Ps. xxxvii, 23.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that if God takes from you the favours and graces of His goodness, you will then be eternally lost. Thou shalt be cut off. You will be cut off as a useless branch from the tree of life without pity and cast into the unquenchable fire.
APPLICATION. Like unto one therefore standing between hope and fear, ever recommend yourself most fervently and constantly to God and to His mercy. Remember that if He is good and benignant, He is also just and severe.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for my soul trusteth in Thee. And in the shadow of Thy wings will I hope, until iniquity pass away. (Ps. lvi, 2.)
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.
Of the Love of Solitude and Silence.
V. No man is worthy of heavenly comfort who has not diligently exercised himself in holy compunction.
If thou wouldst find compunction in thy heart, retire into thy chamber, and shut out the tumults of the world, as it is written: Have compunction in your chambers.-Ps. iv. 5.
Thou shalt find in thy cell what thou shalt often lose abroad.
Thy cell, if thou continue in it, grows sweet; but if thou keep not to it, it becomes tedious and distasteful.
If, in the beginning of thy conversion, thou accustom thyself to remain in thy cell, and keep it well, it will be to thee afterwards a dear friend, and a most agreeable delight.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XX pt V.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross.
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
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
Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.
The cross is my sure salvation.
The cross I ever adore.
The cross of my Lord is with me.
The cross is my refuge.
His Holiness, Pope Pius IX., by an autograph rescript, June 21, 1874, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall say these prayers, drawn up in the form of a cross by the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas Aquinas: AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe, benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O most blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, we bless Thee; because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of indulgences, March 4, 1882, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall recite this ejaculation: AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Act of Perfect Contrition
Oh my God! I am heartily sorry
for having offended Thee and
I detest all my sins because
I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell;
But most of all because I have offended Thee, My God,
Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
To confess my sins, to do penance,
And to amend my life. Amen.
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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