The Faith of the Magi.
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 Faith of the Magi.
Let us admire Jesus Christ causing the light of faith to shine in the soul of the Magi at the same time that He caused the miraculous star to shine before their eyes. Let us admire the liveliness of their faith which made them resolve to leave their country and their throne and to brave the criticism of the world; to undertake a distant journey, and to recognize the great God of heaven in the form of a poor little child, laid upon straw in a stable. O truly admirable faith! Let us bless Our Lord who inspired it, and let us beg Him to make us sharers in it.
What the Price of Faith Is.
Faith is of inestimable price. 1st. It is the principle of all justification, of all merit, of all true greatness. Without it sin is irremissible, all good works devoid of merit, and man a being without greatness. By it, on the other hand, we recover innocence; the least actions are raised into the supernatural order, they gain for us an immense weight of glory, and man becomes a child of God, a member and co-heir of Jesus Christ, an heir of the kingdom of heaven, the temple of the Holy Ghost, the delight of the Blessed Trinity.
2d. It is the charm of the intelligence; it is the torch which enlightens and hinders it from going astray. Reason alone often casts only uncertain light; faith, the true sun of reason,
- reveals to us the secrets of heaven,
- teaches us what is most necessary for us to know,
- God and His unity,
- His nature,
- His infinite perfections,
- man and his origin, his destinies, his end, with the means of attaining to it,
- the falsity of wealth, which passes away,
- the immortal riches of a future life,
- the importance of salvation,
- the emptiness of pleasures,
- the futility of self-love, of its exigencies and its susceptibilities.
Oh, how sad is the condition of men without faith! They are carried away by every wind of doctrine, and they know not in what to trust as regards what is the most important for them to know.
3d. Faith does still more than enlighten the intelligence: it confirms it in what it knows, in confirming by Divine Authority our own conceptions; it aggrandizes and enriches it by adding to the circle of natural sciences the lofty truths which we should never have been able to attain to by means of our own strength.
4th. It is the joy of our heart. By it man unites himself to eternal truth, plunges with delight into this ocean of light, and enjoys the happiness of honoring God by believing on Divine Authority what he already knew, and by believing on the same Authority what he does not comprehend, because there where God affirms we have no need to understand, and because, on the contrary, the less we comprehend, the more beautiful homage we render to divine veracity, which is of itself the sole sufficient foundation of all belief
5th. It consoles and sustains man in the trials of this life, which are so severe. A glance cast upon the cross, another raised to heaven, console, encourage, and fortify to such an extent as to make us find happiness in suffering, to sustain the heart in its weaknesses, to raise it up in its depression, and to hold the place of all that is wanting to us. Oh, how much to be pitied is the man who has not faith, amidst the many trials of which this life is full!
Of the Use to be made of Faith in the Conduct of Life, or of the Spirit of Faith.
Without a spirit of faith we are not Christians; to act without reflection and without a motive is to move like a machine; to act for the satisfaction of our senses is to live like a brute; to act from reason is to live like a pagan or a philosopher; to act from faith or from the motive of pleasing God—it is in that alone that Christian life consists, the life which pleases God and which counts for heaven. We may do all we can in giving alms through human compassion, serve our neighbor in order to be served by him, be modest in order to be esteemed, restrain our passions in order not to give others a bad opinion of us; we only lose our time and our trouble, and after a life which has, perhaps, been laborious and painful, we arrive before the tribunal of God with our hands empty.
With the spirit of faith, on the contrary, the soul rises and grows. Our whole life is noble and supernatural, all our actions are meritorious. When engaged in prayer, the spirit of faith renders us attentive, reverential, fervent; in our conduct it renders us punctual, exact, careful to do all things well. In our relations with our neighbor, it inspires charity, gentleness, condescension, the endurance of defects. In reverses, suffering, and infirmity, it renders us patient, resigned, and abandoned to the will of God. In the use of riches, it renders us disinterested and generous. Finally, in all our thoughts and designs, there is a great loftiness of ideas, a perfect nobility of sentiment, in all and everywhere it is holiness in action. Happy the souls, then, who have the spirit of faith, miserable those who do not possess it!
Make the resolution: 1st, often to thank God for the gift of faith; 2d, often to ask ourselves: from what principle of faith do I perform this action? Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of St. Paul: “The just man liveth by faith” (Rom. i. 17).
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.
St. Lucian (martyr), ora pro nobis.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nine Day Novena
(December 31 – January 8)
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, thou are after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, thou art strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, thou art our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then, to our help, and as thou didst once save thy beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.
O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor, and obtain for us [mention your request here] Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)
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P.S. 8th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!