Consideration on Hell.
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.
Consideration on Hell.
See you, sinner, this foul prison full of fire and smoke? It is prepared for you, if you do not set about mending your ways. Observe that fire: there you will burn with the soul and the body that was its accomplice in so many sins. This flame will penetrate into your bowels, your throat, your bones, your skull; you will have to become like an iron heated red hot in a forge; and, struck by the arms of devils, you will send forth sparks of fire in all directions. How will you bear living in that fire, you that could not bear in one finger the weak flame of a candle? And do you not bethink yourself about it!
If you are damned, what will be your occupation? It will be to think that you could have saved yourself with so little, and would not; to call to mind such and such a sermon, or exercises, or book, or inspiration with which God called you, and you did not hearken; to observe so many, and so many of your own condition, your own age, your own powers, your own school, your own Congregation, saved, and yourself damned; and after this to howl, to be in despair, to curse yourself, … ! Oh, what a life, what an occupation is that in hell!
And if you fall into that flame, how long, think you, will you be there? A hundred years? More. A thousand years? More. A million years? More. A million million years? More. Millions and millions of millions of years? More, and still more. But how long? While God is God, for ever, for all eternity. And in all that time, will there never be a moment’s truce? Never. Shall we never be able to move so much as a finger? Never. Shall we never be able to shut an eye for a quarter of an hour? Never. Shall we never obtain so much as one drop of water? Never, never. Oh, fire! oh, hell! oh, eternity!
If you wish to be saved, pray often to MARY to make you understand the nature of hell. Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany, had given himself up to a most licentious life; and although admonished by the Blessed Virgin, for whom he cherished some sort of devotion, yet nevertheless he had never repented. He went one day to a hunt on Mount Senario (Auriem. t. ii. p. 313), and, drawn by his eagerness in the chase, he directed his course towards the mountain, where he saw the air darkened for some distance with thunder, lightning, and horrible rain. He, wishing to find some retreat, lighted upon a cave, and, entering into it, he saw many devils under the form of black and deformed men, who were tormenting human limbs upon an anvil, and he thought that they were necromancers. Ugo shuddered, and shrieked aloud when he heard resound from the depth of the cavern these words, “Carry him off;” and they answered as follows, “At his time, for She that is so powerful, to our loss, will not yet consent;” these devils meaning to say that, by reason of the Blessed Virgin, he was not tormented yet like the rest. At these words the marquis remained more terrified than ever, and turning himself to the Mother of holy fear, he requested her assistance, made the sign of the cross, and the devils dispersed. Going from the cave, he found, not far off, the hovel of a hermit named Eugenius, where he passed that night in spiritual discourses. The morning after, he went to find the Bishop of Florence, Eustachius by name, and told him how much the Blessed Virgin had assisted him, commenced a new life, did penance publicly, and, confessing his sins, said again and again, with many tears, “Ugo will not be Ugo any more.” He founded seven monasteries, and endowed them with great munificence; and lived, in truth, such a son of MARY, that he was deservedly styled, “the most excellent prince.”
ACT OF HOMAGE.
When in church, collect yourself, and keep on ruminating in thought, as follows: If I had to remain in church here upon my knees for all eternity, how I should despair? And in hell! yes, in hell!
“A pœnis inferni libera me, Domina!”
“O MARY! let no child of thine
In hell’s eternal exile pine.”
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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.