The Angels’ Song.
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 Angels’ Song.
On the night of the Nativity a countless multitude of the heavenly host were singing the praises of the new-born King. Let us listen to them.
1. They are singing Gloria in excelsis Deo—“Glory to God in the highest!” It is the first song they have sung on earth since the Fall. It is sung on the occasion of the infinite humiliation of the Son of God. Yet they sing, Glory to God in the highest! It must, therefore, be a source of unspeakable glory to God that He has taken the form of a servant, that He has humbled Himself to the very dust. If this is such a source of glory to God, my true glory must consist in humbling myself.
2. They are also singing of peace to men. What sort of peace? Not external peace, for Christ came not to bring peace, but a sword; but true peace, internal peace, that tranquillity of soul that nothing can destroy. This is the boon that Christ gives to all who love Him, in proportion to their love.
3. But peace not for all, only for men of good will. Christ, indeed, brought peace to all, but all did not accept it, only those whose good will and loyal spirit of submission made them ready to acknowledge Him as their Lord, and whom, therefore, the good will of God had predestined to the eternal peace and joy of heaven. God grant that I may be one of these!
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. Thomas of Canterbury, ora pro nobis.
Twelfth Night Prayer for the Fourth Day of Christmas.
O sweet Jesus, with all Thy chosen friends, especially the saints of Christmastide, let me proclaim Thee, suffer for Thee, and finally die for Thee, O Jesus, Who art my Model, my Master, and my King.
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