Advancement in God’s Service.
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.
Advancement in God’s Service.
I must work the works of Him that sent me whilst it is day. (John ix, 4.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY the meaning of those words of Ecclesiasticus: When a man hath done then shall he begin. (Ecclus. xviii, 6.) It is that in your spiritual life you must always act as if you were a beginner, and with the same fervour with which you began seriously to serve God. Hold steadfastly to those eternal maxims that you saw to be the foundations of your religious edifice, and it will come to pass that you advance in virtue, day by day, but always along the path by which you began.
APPLICATION. Never imagine, as some do, that you have become sinless, as it were, or that you have advanced sufficiently along the path of perfection. Be always on your guard against sin. Cultivate a holy fear of God and neglect not the practice of penance. If you fail in this, you will begin in advanced years to commit faults and sins which you did not in your youth.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. He hath commanded His covenant for ever; holy and terrible is His name (Ps. cx, 9.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY another meaning, which is, that having finished one work in the service of God you must at once begin with another. Lose not a moment of time in idleness. Would you always be healthy in soul as well as body? Be then continually occupied, for idleness is the root of all evil. Bear ever in mind that you must render a strict account to God of the time that you waste, and have wasted. At your death you will know it well. For seeing time coming to an end for you, you will perceive then how much good you might have done during the days of your life.
APPLICATION. Say to your own soul the words of Ecclesiasticus, Son, observe the time. (Ecclus. iv, 23.) Pass from one good work to another; from prayer to labour, from mental fatigue to that of the body. Lose no time in useless chatter or unnecessary repose.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. (Ps. xxxiii, 2.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY a third meaning, namely that when you are much advanced in spiritual things, then you will perceive that you are only at the beginning. Perhaps you now appear to yourself to have attained perfection. This is because you are merely a beginner. When you have attained any degree of it, you will then realise that you are not what you now imagine yourself to be. He who travels over a mountain, the more he climbs, sees the more how far he is from the summit, which at the beginning he thought he could reach with a few steps.
APPLICATION. So it will be with you. The more you rise towards perfection, the more you will see how far off you are from real mortification and true abnegation of self; how far from true humility and obedience; from true resignation and conformity to the divine will. Then will you say with David: Now I have begun (Ps. lxxvi, II.), and this will be the best sign for you that you have made progress in the way of perfection.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Now have I begun: this change is of the right hand of the Most High. (Ps. lxxvi, II.)
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.
Pain is at the bottom of human life. Sufferings of the body, maladies of the soul, inquietudes, afflictions, sin, of such is the overpowering burden which we must carry from our birth to the grave; and nevertheless, by hard labour, man succeeds in discovering, in the midst of his miseries, certain insensate joys with which he greedily intoxicates himself. Let us fly those mad joys of the world; let us fix our thoughts on the punishment which must follow them, on our innumerable faults ; and let us ask of God, with compunction of heart, that repentance full of love. those happy tears which Jesus has blessed by those consoling words: Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much (Luke. vii. 47).–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXI reflection.
[compunction = contrition, remorse, reservations.]
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.
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