Consideration on the Example of Christ when Young.
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 the Example of Christ when Young.
Christ, when young, was always obedient to MARY and to Joseph. The Son of God obeyed two creatures; and in what? In all the most humble offices of labouring, sweeping, sawing; that He might be thought in all respects to be a carpenter’s son. And in what way did He obey? With pleasure, with readiness, with submission. Oh, what a reproof for my disobedience to my betters!
Christ, when young, was always employed in work and in prayer. But what reason had He to be afraid of ease? If He had been tempted, was He in any danger of yielding to temptation? No, certainly not; He wished to shew frail and feeble youths by example what to do in order to avoid temptations. Oh, what a reproach to my love of ease!
Christ, when young, appeared outwardly more holy as He grew in years. He appeared more holy not only before God, but before men also, in order to shew us that we ought to grow even in exterior holiness, for the edification of our neighbour. But He appeared more holy, first, to the eyes of God, and then to those of men, to teach us that our first object should be that of pleasing God. Oh, what a reproach to my scanty growth in holiness, to the bad example I often set, and to my human respect!
Dominica of Paradise, of the sacred order of St. Dominic, was an imitator of Christ’s obedience, and in reward for this had singular favours from the Holy Virgin. It is said, in her life (Auriem. t. ii p. 321), that when she was but a child she saw the Mother of God, who gave her these instructions: “Live at home obedient to your mother (her father was dead), spend your time there with your own family; be so cautious, humble, and quiet, as not to give occasion to any one for quarrels and disturbances; rather take a burning coal on to your tongue than tell a lie; keep silence much, and speak little; open your eyes to heaven, and shut them to all the vanities of the world. Take care not only never to touch any body else, but not even to look at or touch yourself or any of your relations; beware of all sins; and to avoid mistake, do nothing without first having the consent of JESUS.” Thus said the holy Mother, and the good and simple child listened readily; but when she had need to wash her hands, she, in her simplicity, covered her right hand with a white cloth, and plunging it in the water, with her hand thus covered up, she washed the other hand, her face and arms; and when her elder sister wanted to wash her head, Dominica would not consent to it; yet finding herself once obliged to let it be done, she went to ask help of MARY, who told her not to use any longer this over-particularity in washing herself, nor make resistance to her sister in necessary matters; this not having been her intention in the advice she gave her. Not long after, her mother, whose name was Constance, gave her some cloth, and told her to make herself a dress of it. At these words the child was in great confusion, inasmuch as she had had orders from MARY to obey her mother, and on the other hand did not know how to sew or to cut out, she having been used to work in the field; so she had recourse to the Blessed Virgin, who taught her how to make a dress. “But, Lady,” said Dominica, “ if I do not see, I shall never learn.” Oh, how kind is MARY, Mother of Him of whom it is written, His discourse is with the simple! The Blessed Virgin took the scissors into her hand, and began cutting the cloth and sewing it with the needle too. The child soon learnt the art of sewing so well, that though she was but a poor country girl, she knew this trade excellently. But as she was of a tender age, she did not easily get to manage the scissors; so the Virgin blessed her hands, saying, “Now try it; I have taught you,” and she vanished. What think you of the tender love of MARY, who did the office of a mother for Dominica in reward of her obedience?
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Never be idle; and if you have nothing else to do, read some book that treats of the praises of Mary.
“Monstra te esse Matrem.”
“Mother of God! to me no less
Vouchsafe a mother’s sweet caress.”
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.
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