God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.
‘I think, too, that these locutions have done your soul good, and in particular that they have made you see your own wretchedness and your faults more clearly, and amend them.
They have lasted long, and always with spiritual profit. They move you to love God, and to despise yourself, and to do penance.
I see no reasons for condemning them, I incline rather to regard them as good, provided you are careful not to rely altogether on them, especially if they are unusual, or bid you do something out of the way, or are not very plain.
In all these and the like cases you must withhold your belief in them, and at once seek for direction. . . Also it should be considered that, even if they do come from God, Satan may mix with them suggestions of his own; you should therefore be always suspicious of them.
Also, when they are known to be from God, men must not rest much on them, seeing that holiness does not lie in them, but in a humble love of God and our neighbour; everything else, however good, must be feared, and our efforts directed to the gaining of humility, goodness, and the love of our Lord.
It is seemly, also, not to worship what is seen in these visions, but only Jesus Christ, either as in Heaven or in the Sacrament, or, if it be a vision of the Saints, then to lift up the heart to the Holy One in Heaven, and not to that which is presented to the imagination: let it suffice that the imagination may be made use of for the purpose of raising me up to that which it makes me see.’
‘How are you to meet the swarm of foolish attachments, triflings, and undesirable inclinations which beset you?
By turning sharply away, and thoroughly renouncing such vanities, flying to the Saviour’s Cross, and clasping His Crown of thorns to your heart, so that these little foxes may not spoil your vines.
Beware of entering into any manner of treaty with the Enemy; do not delude yourself by listening to him while intending to reject him.
For God’s Sake, my daughter, be firm on all such occasions; the heart and ear are closely allied, and just as you would vainly seek to check the downward course of a mountain torrent, so difficult will you find it to keep the smooth words which enter in at the ear from finding their way down into the heart. . .
If unhappily you are already entangled in the nets of any unreal affection, truly it is hard to set you free! But place yourself before His Divine Majesty, acknowledge the depth of your wretchedness, your weakness and vanity, and then with all the earnestness of purpose you can muster, arrest the budding evil, abjure your own empty promises, and renounce those you have received, and resolve with a firm, absolute will never again to indulge in any trifling or dallying with such matters.
If you can remove from the object of your unworthy affection, it is most desirable to do so.
He who has been bitten by a viper cannot heal his wound in the presence of another suffering from the like injury, and so one bitten with a false fancy will not shake it off while near to his fellow-victim. Change of scene is very helpful in quieting the excitement and restlessness of sorrow or love.
St. Ambrose tells a story in his Second Book on Penitence, of a young man, who coming home after a long journey quite cured of a foolish attachment, met the unworthy object of his former passion, who stopped him, saying, “Do you not know me, I am still myself?” “That may be,” was the answer, “but I am not myself.” – so thoroughly and happily was he changed by absence.’
‘Poor men and women who are sinners, I, a greater sinner than you, wish to give you this rose, a crimson one, because the precious blood of our Lord has fallen upon it. Please God that it may bring true fragrance into your lives – but above all, may it save you from the danger that you are in. Every day unbelievers and un-repentant sinners cry, “Let us crown ourselves with roses.” But our cry should be, “Let us crown ourselves with the roses of the holy Rosary.”
How different are theirs from ours! Their roses are pleasures of the flesh, worldly honours and passing riches which wilt and decay in no time, but ours, which are the Our Father and Hail Mary which we have said devoutly over and over again, and to which we have added good penitential acts, will never wilt or die, and they will be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today.’
Eternal Light, Divinity, O Unity in Trinity, Thy holy name Thy servants bless, to Thee we pray, and Thee confess.
We praise the Father, mighty One; we praise the sole-begotten Son; we praise the Holy Ghost above, who joins Them in one bond of love.
O Verity! O Charity! O Ending and Felicity! in Thee we hope, in Thee believe, Thyself we love, to Thee we cleave.
Thou First and Last, from whom there springs the Fount of all created things, Thou art the Life which moves the whole, sure hope of each believing soul.
Thou who alone the world hast made, art still its one sufficing aid, the only Light for gazing eyes, and, unto them that hope, the Prize.
O Father, Source of God the Word, O Word with Him co-equal Lord, O Spirit of like majesty, O Triune God, all praise to Thee. Amen.
LORD JESUS, we humbly pray You to give us all a great reverence and respect for Your most holy name. Forgive us for ever having used the name of Jesus in vain, or without due respect.
Help us remember how reverently and lovingly Your Mother Mary used the name of Jesus, and how humbly Saint Joseph called You and spoke to You by name.
Your name, dear Jesus, is above every other name in heaven or on earth, because You are Jesus, the Savior of all men. You have saved us, and You have told us to ask God anything in Your name, and it would be granted.
We ask You, humbly and confidently, to bless us and our work, and give us the rich treasures of Your divine grace, without which we cannot even so much as pronounce the name of Jesus.
O kind and merciful Savior, from my heart I earnestly desire to return Thee love for love. My greatest sorrow is that Thou art not loved by men, and, in particular, that my own heart is so cold, so selfish, so ungrateful.
Keenly aware of my own weakness and poverty, I trust that Thy own grace will enable me to offer Thee an act of pure love. And I wish to offer Thee this act of love in reparation for the coldness and neglect that are shown to Thee in the sacrament of Thy love by Thy creatures.
O Jesus, my supreme good, I love Thee, not for the sake of the reward which Thou hast promised to those who love Thee, but purely for Thyself. I love Thee above all things that can be loved, above all pleasures, and above myself and all that is not Thee, promising in the presence of heaven and earth that I will live and die purely and simply in Thy holy love, and that if to love Thee thus I must endure persecution and suffering I am completely satisfied, and I will ever say with Saint Paul: Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God.” O Jesus, supreme master of all hearts, I love Thee, I adore Thee, I praise Thee, I thank Thee, because I am now all Thine own. Rule over me, and transform my soul into the likeness of Thyself, so that it may bless and glorify Thee forever in the abode of the saints.
When the messenger came to announce to Job that the Sabeans had plundered his goods and slain his children, he said: “The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away.”
He did not say: “The Lord hath given me my children and my possessions, and the Sabeans have taken them away.” He realized that adversity had come upon him by the will of God. Therefore he added: “As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
We must not therefore consider the afflictions that come upon us as happening by chance or solely from the malice of men; we should be convinced that what happens, happens by the will of God.
Apropos of this it is related that two martyrs, Epictetus and Atho, being put to the torture by having their bodies raked with iron hooks and burnt with flaming torches, kept repeating: “Work thy will upon us, O Lord.” Arrived at the place of execution, they exclaimed: “Eternal God, be thou blessed in that thy will has been entirely accomplished in us.”‘
‘Sacred Scripture records the divine word saying that men will remember the just man forever, for even though he is dead, he yet speaks.
Both in word and deed the Church has for a long time verified the truth of that saying. She is the mother and the nurse of holiness, ever renewed and enlivened by the breath of the Spirit Who dwells in us. She alone conceives, nourishes, and educates the noble family of the just. Like a loving mother, she carefully preserves the memory of and affection for the saints.
This remembrance is, as it were, a divine comfort which lifts her eyes above the miseries of this earthly pilgrimage so that she finds in the saints “her joy and her crown.” Thus she sees in them the sublime image of her heavenly Spouse.
Thus she shows her children in each age the timeliness of the old truth: “For those who love God all things work together unto good, for those who, according to his purpose, are saints through his call.” The glorious deeds of the saints, however, do more than afford us comfort.
In order that we may imitate and be encouraged by them, one and all the saints echo in their own lives the saying of Saint Paul, “I beg you, be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”‘
A heart I need, to soothe me and to bless,
A strong support that cannot pass away,
To love me wholly, e’en my feebleness,
And never leave me through the night or day.
There is not one created thing below,
Can love me truly, and can never die.
God become man – none else my needs can know;
He, He alone, can understand my cry.
O glorious St. John of the Cross, through a pure desire of being like Jesus crucified, you longed for nothing so eagerly as to suffer, to be despised, and to be made little of by all, and your thirst after sufferings was so burning that your noble heart rejoiced in the midst of the cruelest torments and afflictions.
Grant, I beseech you, O dear Saint, by the glory which your many sufferings have gained for you, to intercede for me and obtain from God for me a love of suffering, together with strength and grace to bear with firmness of mind all the trials and adversities which are the sure means to the happy attainment of all that awaits me in heaven.
Dear Saint, from your most happy place in glory, hear, I beseech you, my prayers, so that after your example, full of love for the cross I may deserve to be your companion in glory.
O GOD of sanctity! Who am I, that Thou shouldst come to me?
“The heavens are not pure in Thy sight,” and wilt Thou dwell in my heart? “Lord! I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof.”
The consciousness of my unworthiness would prompt me to exclaim: “Depart from me, O Lord! For I am a sinner.” But oh, the wonderful condescension of Thy love! Thy pressing invitation encourages me, and dispels my fears.
“Here I am, for Thou didst call me.” Come then, O Jesus! Take possession of a heart that wishes to belong to Thee.“Behold! They that go far from Thee shall perish.
” But, O my God! this house of my heart is too narrow for Thee: do Thou enlarge it; it is falling to ruin; do Thou repair it; it has been defiled by sin: do Thou cleanse and purify it.
Look Thou upon me, and have mercy on me. Oh, heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee! Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, and I shall live!
Lord! I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.
Most Holy Trinity, I thank Thee for having formed the hosts of Thy ministers in Heaven so marvelously, and for having adorned their leader so magnificently. Be Thou adored and loved in the beauty and grandeur of Thy ministers: be Thou praised in their jubilant songs of praise and thanksgiving, through all eternity. Amen
O holy princes of Heaven, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, I praise you for the love with which the Most High has loved you and placed you so near to His own throne. Be mindful of our necessities, and at the head of the Holy Angels, do battle for the Church of God upon earth, that Satan may be forced to yield ever more, and the Kingdom of light and grace, virtue and the holy love of God, may flourish in splendor, and its beauty be acknowledged by all. Amen.
There is no one who does not experience a hundred small annoyances every day, caused either by our own carelessness or inattention, or by the inconsideration or spite of other people, or by pure accident.
Our whole lives are made up of incidents of this kind, occurring ceaselessly from one minute to another and producing a host of involuntary feelings of dislike and aversion, envy, fear and impatience to trouble the serenity of our minds.
We let an incautious word slip out and wish we had not said it; someone says something we find offensive; we have to wait a long time to be served when we are in a hurry; we are irritated by a child’s boisterousness; a boring acquaintance buttonholes us in the street; a car splashes us with mud; the weather spoils our outing; our work is not going as well as we would wish; a tool breaks at a critical moment; we get our clothes torn or stained — these are not occasions for practicing heroic virtue but they can be a means of acquiring it if we wish.
If we were careful to offer all these petty annoyances to God and accept them as being ordered by His providence we would soon be in a position to support the greatest misfortunes that can happen to us, besides at the same time insensibly drawing close to intimate union with God.’
– St. Claude de la Colombiere
In these last days Christ took a soul and body from Mary. It is this flesh that he came to save, that he did not abandon to the underworld: he united it with his own spirit and made it his own. This is the marriage of the Lord, united with the flesh of man, a mystery uniting the two — Christ and the Church — in one flesh.
From this marriage and from the coming of the Spirit of the Lord from above, the Christian people is born. The substance of our souls receives the seed of heaven: we are conceived in the womb of our mother and born of that womb we receive life in Christ. So St Paul says, The first man, Adam, as scripture says, “became a living soul;” but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. It is through his priests that Christ sows his seed in the Church. St Paul, again, says: It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus. It is the seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, that produces the new man through the priest’s hands, conceived in the womb of his mother and born in the baptismal font under the auspices of faith.
We must receive Christ so that he can give us birth, as the Apostle John says:
To all who accepted him he gave power to become children of God.
But this cannot be brought about except by the sacrament of cleansing and anointing, the sacrament which the bishop administers. Sins are washed away by the cleansing waters of the font; the Holy Spirit is infused by oil of chrism; and we receive both at the bishop’s hands and through his words. Thus the whole man is born again and made new in Christ: so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. That is, having put behind us the errors of our former life, we should through the Spirit follow a new way of life in Christ.
Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings
From a Sermon of Saint Pacian on Baptism
O Holy Spirit, be present,
and from heaven shed down your consolation
on those that expect you;
sanctify the temple of my body,
and consecrate it as a dwelling place for yourself.
Make the souls that desire you joyful with your presence.
Make the house fit for you, the Inhabitant:
adorn your chamber and surround the place of your rest with all virtues;
expel whatever is unholy and the spring of corruption;
and make this joy permanent and lasting:
continuing the renewal of your creature forever
in unfading beauty.
‘A good Christian watches continually, sword in hand. The devil can do nothing against him, for he resists him like a warrior in full armour; he does not fear him, because he has rejected from his heart all that is impure.
Bad Christians are idle and lazy, and stand hanging their heads; and you see how they give way at the first assault: the devil does what he pleases with them; he presents pleasures to them, he makes them taste pleasure, and then, to drown the cries of their conscience, he whispers to them in a gentle voice, “You will sin no more.” And when the occasion presents itself, they fall again, and more easily than the first time. If they go to confession he makes them ashamed, they speak only in half-words, they lower their voice, they explain away their sins, and, what is more miserable, they perhaps conceal some.
The good Christian, on the contrary, groans and weeps over his sins, and reaches the tribunal of Penance already half justified.’
We must imitate the forbearance of God.
Oh, how great is God’s forbearance! He endures patiently the temples of the profane men who outrage His Majesty; He endures idols and sacrilegious ceremonies; He makes the sun to shine on the evil and upon the good, and His rain descend upon the just and upon the unjust; He makes the elements serve all men alike, the impious as well as the good; the winds blow, the springs burst forth, the harvests swell with waving corn, the grapes ripen, the trees cover themselves with fruit, the forests put on thick foliage, the meadows adorn themselves with the enamel of flowers.
God delays vengeance, and patiently waits, that man may correct himself and return to his Saviour.
Such is the forbearance of the Eternal Father, and similar to it was that of the Son, for all the actions of Jesus Christ were characterized by patience and by that Divine evenness of soul of which nothing could disturb the tranquility.
‘And the more we so subject ourselves for that divine love, so much the more shall we emancipate ourselves from that evil plague of our self-will which is so subtle and hidden within us, and works in so many ways, and defends itself by so many pleas that it is like the very demon.
What it cannot effect in one way, it does in another, and this under many disguises. Now it is known as charity, now as necessity, justice, perfection, or suffering for God, or seeking for spiritual consolation, or for health, or as a good example to others, or a condescension to those who seek our advantage. It is an abyss, so deep and dangerous, that no one but God can save us from it.
And as he sees this more clearly than we, he has great compassion for us, and never ceases to send us good inspirations and to seek to liberate us, not by forcing our free-will, but rather by disposing us in so many loving ways, that the soul, when she comes to understand the great care which God has taken of her, is forced to exclaim:
“O my God, it appears to me that thou hast nothing else to think of but my salvation! What am I that thou shouldst so care for me? Thou art God who thus carest for me, and I am nothing but myself. Can it be possible that I should not esteem what thou esteemest? that I should not remain ever obedient to thy commandments, and attentive to all the gracious inspirations thou sendest me by so many ways?”
Inviolate, spotless and pure art thou,
O Mary Who wast made the radiant gate of the King.
Holy mother of Christ most dear,
receive our devout hymn and praise.
Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee
that our souls and bodies may be pure.
By thy sweet sounding prayers
obtain for us forgiveness forever.
O gracious queen, O Mary,
who alone among women art inviolate.