Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Confessor
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.
Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Confessor
This saint received his surname from the town which was his fixed residence for the most considerable part of his life, and in which he died. He was a native of St. Angelo, a town near Fermo, in the Marca of Ancona, and was born about the year 1245. His parents were of mean condition in the world, but rich in virtue, and he was reputed the fruit of their prayers, and a devout pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari, in which his mother especially, who was then stricken in years, had earnestly begged of God a son who should faithfully serve him. At his baptism he received the name of his patron, and appeared by his towardly dispositions from his infancy to be prevented by an extraordinary share of divine grace. In his childhood he spent whole hours together at his prayers with wonderful application of his mind to God, and he heard the divine word with the utmost eagerness, and with a modesty which charmed all who saw him. He had a tender love for the poor, and used to conduct home those that he met, in order to divide with them whatever he had for his own subsistence. From his infancy he made it a cardinal maxim to renounce all superfluities, practised great mortifications, and from his tender age contracted a habit of fasting three days a week, namely, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; to which, when he was grown up, he added Mondays, allowing Himself on these days only one refection, and that of bread and water. From his very infancy he seemed exempt from the weaknesses and passions to which children are generally liable, his greatest pleasure was in reading good books, in his devotions, and in pious conversation, and his heart was always in the church. His parents neglected nothing that was in their power to improve his genius and happy dispositions. In his studies, as his parts were quick, apprehensions lively, and his memory and judgment strong, so his progress was rapid.
He was yet a young student when, for his extraordinary merit, he was preferred to a canonry in our Saviour’s church. This situation was extremely agreeable to his inclination, as by it he was always employed in the divine service. But he aspired to a state which would allow him to consecrate his whole time and thoughts directly to God, without interruptions or avocations. Whilst he was in this disposition, a sermon preached by an Austin friar or hermit, on the vanity of the world, determined him to take a resolution absolutely to quit the world and to embrace the Order of that holy preacher. This he executed without loss of time, entering himself a religious man in the convent of that Order of Tolentino, a small town in the ecclesiastical state. He went through his novitiate under the direction of the preacher himself, and made his profession before he had completed the eighteenth year of his age. His humility made him look on all his brethren as so many superiors, and he studied in all things as much as possible to do the will of every one, that he might the more perfectly learn to deny his own, and the love of humiliations gave him particular affection for the meanest and most mortifying employments in the house, and he embraced whatever was most painful and. abject with the greatest pleasure. Such was the unalterable sweetness of his temper, and the equality of his mind, that he never betrayed the least impatience or irregularity of humour: a mark of the constant tranquillity of his soul, and the perfect victory which he had gained over himself. His extraordinary fasts and austerities showed that he looked on his body as a constant enemy to his soul. His ordinary food was only coarse bread with pulse or herbs; his bed was the bare floor, with a stone for his pillow. In obedience to his general, he once in time of sickness took a mouthful of flesh-meat; but immediately begged with tears, that since he had satisfied his precept, he might be allowed not to eat any more; to which the general assented.
He was sent successively to several convents of his Order at Recanati, Macerata, and others; in that of Cingole he was ordained priest by the bishop of Osimo. From which time, if he seemed an angel in his other actions, he appeared like a seraph at the altar; so wonderfully did the divine fire which burned in his breast manifest itself in his countenance, and sweet tears flowed in streams from his eyes. Devout persons strove every day to assist at his mass as at a sacrifice offered by the hands of a saint. In the secret communications which passed between his pure soul and God in contemplation, especially after he had been employed at the altar or in the confessional, he seemed already to enjoy a kind of anticipation of the delights of heaven. The last thirty years of his life he resided at Tolentino, and his zeal for the salvation of souls, produced there wonderful fruit. He preached almost every day, and his sermons were always signalized by remarkable conversions. His exhortations, whether in the confessional or in giving catechism, were always such as reached to the heart, and left lasting salutary impressions on those who heard him. What time could be spared from those charitable functions, be spent in prayer and contemplation. He was favoured with visions and wrought several miraculous cures. For the exercise of his virtue he was long afflicted with divers painful distempers. His holy death happened on September the 10th, in 1306, and he was canonized by Eugenius IV. in 1446. His body was buried in the church of his convent at Tolentino, in a chapel in which he used to say mass, and his tomb there is held in veneration.
The saints, how much soever they had subdued their passions, and strengthened themselves in habits of all virtues, always watched with extraordinary vigilance over all their words and actions, and every motion of their hearts, knowing this life to be a state of perpetual warfare and danger. To prevent all attacks from the enemy, it is the duty of a Christian to be always provided, and in time of peace to expect his return: this disposition will contribute to keep him at a distance; and a neglect of it will certainly invite him to take advantage of our supine sloth, and, by subtle stratagems, or by open force, easily to overthrow us at unawares. By frequent self-examination, the practice of self-denial, the dispositions of humble fear and compunction, and by watchfulness against all occasions of danger, we must continually be armed, and ready to repulse him: if we leave the avenues of our soul open or unguarded and trust him within our gates, he enters smoothly, but, like a cancer, brings death.
Reflection: Would you die the death of the just? There is a certain way and only one, to secure the fulfillment of your wish — live the life of the just. It is impossible that one who has been faithful to God in life should have a bad or an unhappy end.
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 Compunction of Heart.
I. IF thou wilt make any progress, keep thyself in the fear of God, and be not too free, but restrain all thy senses under discipline, and give not thyself up to foolish mirth.
Give thyself to compunction of heart, and thou shalt find devotion.
Compunction opens the way to much good which dissipation is wont quickly to lose.
It is wonderful that any man can heartily rejoice in this life, who weighs and considers his banishment and the many dangers of his soul.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXI pt I.
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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