Consideration upon Venial Sin.
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 upon Venial Sin.
It is said, in an off-hand way, that venial sin is no great evil. But offending God is never a light thing. A God so great, a Father so good, a Spouse so pure, a Redeemer so merciful, cannot be offended by a Christian wilfully, without the highest rashness and ingratitude. Would it seem to you a slight thing that the whole world should be reduced to ashes? Or what would you say if the whole of Paradise was to be cast into the abyss? And yet a single venial sin is a much greater evil, as being an offence of God.
To commit a sin in a passion, from want of reflection, may be excusable; but to know that a certain lie or act of disobedience is a venial sin, and to commit it willingly again and again, this is as much as saying: “This little satisfaction to myself pleases me more, than offending God displeases me.” And yet to displease Him habitually, to disobey Him at every turn, at every little occasion, without making any account of it, without trying to get the better of it, what a continual embittering of a Father’s heart! What disregard, what contempt for Him in the heart of a son! If there were no hell, you would, with the same readiness, commit any atrocity, since it is plain that you make no account of God.
But if you go on so, you will fall, sooner or later, into mortal sin too. How long, think you, will God dwell with a soul which is continually displeasing Him? And yet are you not aware that every day your strength is diminishing, and that you will fear death and hell less and less; and that God keeps retreating from you? Often you are upon the confines of mortal sin: you do not know yourself whether you have passed them: who can be sure that you have not committed it? You wish to be saved, and yet are always walking on the brink of the precipice.
How many failings that may seem light ones, either from want of reflection, or from age, nevertheless are highly displeasing to the Virgin. In Douay, in the church of St. Peter (Auriem. t. i. p. 44), there is in the outer wall a statue of our Lady, before which some lads had set about playing rudely at a time when certain persons, who were passing that way, had prostrated themselves to pray. The Blessed Virgin wished to shew how much she was displeased with the little respect they bore her; the statue moved, and lifted up its arm, as if about to strike the boys at play. Some of these youths, perhaps the more modest of the set, perceived it, and, turning to their companions, said: “Don’t you see that our Lady has lifted up her arm, and is going to strike us, because we are at play here before her?” All of them were frightened when they saw the miracle, and they went in haste to their own homes to give an account of it to their relations, and in less than half an hour there was a great concourse to see the wonder; and those good people, to repair the affront offered to the statue of MARY, for eight days together went, with great devotion and in great numbers, to visit it, and to beg pardon for the irreverence of those youths; and she, in token that she was appeased, wrought many miracles upon that occasion.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Behave with particular modesty in church, always keeping your eyes upon the ground at the time of the Holy Sacrifice.
“Munda me ab omni iniquitate mea, sancta Dei Genitrix.”
“Thou who wert pure as driven snow,
Make me as thou wert here below.”
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.
Sequence of Pentecost
O HOLY SPIRIT! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height
Thy pure and beaming radiance give.
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou light of all that live!
Thou of all Consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.
Thou in toil art Comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.
If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness, pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold Gifts descend.
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. 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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