St. Alphonsus Liguori: Daily Meditations for the Week of Epiphany
The Feast of the Epiphany
(January 6th)

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Morning Meditation


They found the child with Mary, his mother (Matt. ii. 11). The kings find a poor Maiden, and her poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, and not one to attend on Him or assist Him. They adore, they acknowledge Him for their God, and, kissing His feet, they offer Him their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Let us adore our little King, and offer Him all our hearts.


The Son of God is born humble and poor in a stable. There indeed the Angels of Heaven acknowledge Him, singing: Glory to God in the highest (Luke ii. 14); but men on earth, for whose salvation Jesus is born, leave Him neglected: only a few shepherds come and acknowledge Him, and confess Him to be their Saviour. But our loving Redeemer desires from the very beginning to communicate to us the grace of Redemption, and therefore He begins to make Himself known even to the Gentiles, who neither knew Him nor looked for His coming. For this purpose He sends the star to give notice to the holy Magi, enlightening them at the same time with interior light, in order that they may come to acknowledge and adore their Redeemer. This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us; our call to the true Faith.

O Saviour of the world, what would have happened us if Thou hadst not come to enlighten us? We should be like our forefathers, who worshipped as gods, animals, stones, and wood, and consequently we should have all been damned. I give Thee thanks today on behalf of all men.


Behold, the Magi without delay set out on their journey; and led by the star they arrive at the place where the Holy Infant is lying: They found the child with Mary his mother (Matt. ii. 11). They find there only a poor Maiden, and a poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes. But on entering into that abode, a stable for beasts, they feel an interior joy, and their hearts are drawn towards this sweet Infant. The straw, the poverty, those cries of the Infant Saviour, are all darts of love and fire to their enlightened hearts.

The Infant looks upon these holy pilgrims with a joyful countenance, and thus shows that He accepts these first-fruits of His Redemption. The divine Mother is also silent, but welcomes them wth her smiling looks, and thanks them for the homage done to her Son. They adore Him also in silence, and acknowledge Him for their Saviour and their God, offering Him gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Yes, my Infant Jesus, the more humbled and poor I behold Thee, the more dost Thou inflame me with Thy love.

O Jesus, my Infant King! I also adore Thee, and offer Thee my miserable heart. Accept it and change it. Make it wholly Thine own, so that it may love nothing but Thee. My sweet Saviour, save me, and let my eternal happiness be to love Thee always and without reserve. O Mary, most holy Virgin, I hope for this grace from thee.

Spiritual Reading


The Eternal Word became Man in order to inflame us with His divine love. Adam, our first parent, sinned. Ungrateful for the benefits bestowed upon him, he rebelled against God by a violation of the precept given him not to eat of the forbidden fruit. On this account God is obliged to drive him out of the earthly paradise in this world, and in the world to come to deprive not only Adam, but all the descendants of this rebellious creature, of the heavenly and everlasting Paradise which He had prepared for them after this mortal life.

Behold, then, all mankind together condemned to a life of pain and misery, and forever shut out from Heaven. But hearken to God, Who, as Isaias tells us, would seem, after our manner of understanding, to give vent to His affliction in lamentations: And now what have I here, saith the Lord, for my people is taken away gratis (Is. lii. 5). "And now," says God, "what delight have I left in Heaven, now that I have lost men who were My delight?" My delights were to be with the children of men (Prov. viii. 31).

But how is this, O Lord? Thou hast in Heaven so many Seraphim, so many Angels; and canst Thou thus take to heart having lost men? Indeed, what need hast Thou of Angels or of men to fill up the sum of Thy happiness? Thou hast always been, and Thou art in Thyself, most happy; what can ever be wanting to Thy bliss, which is infinite? "That is all true," says God, "but" (and these are the words of Cardinal Hugo on the above text of Isaias) -- "but, losing man, I deem that I have nothing." I consider that I have lost all, since My delights were to be with men; and now I have lost these men, and, poor hapless creatures, they are doomed to live forever far away from Me.

But how can the Lord call men His delight? Yes, indeed, writes St. Thomas, God loves man just as if man were His God, and as if without man He could not be happy; "as if man were the God of God Himself, and without him He could not be happy." St. Gregory of Nazianzen adds, moreover, that God, for the love He bears to men, seems beside Himself: "we are bold to say it, God is out of Himself by reason of His immense love." So runs the proverb: "Love puts the lover beside himself."

And here St. Bernard, in his contemplations on this subject, imagines a struggle to ensue between the Justice and Mercy of God. Justice says: "I perish if Adam die not." Mercy, on the other hand, says: "I perish if he does not obtain forgiveness." In this contest the Lord decides, that in order to deliver man, who was guilty of death, some innocent one must die "Let one die who is no debtor to death."

On earth, there was not one innocent. "Since, therefore," says the Eternal Father, "amongst men there is none can satisfy My Justice, let Him come forward Who will go to redeem man." The Angels, the Cherubim, the Seraphim -- all are silent; not one replies. One voice alone is heard, that of the Eternal Word, Who says: Lo, here am I; send me (Is. vi. 8). "Father," says the Only-Begotten Son, "Thy Majesty, being infinite, and having been injured by man, cannot be fittingly satisfied by an Angel, who is merely a creature; and though Thou mightest accept of the satisfaction of an Angel, reflect that, in spite of so great benefits bestowed on man, in spite of so many promises and threats, We have not yet been able to gain his love, because he is not yet aware of the love We bear him. If We would oblige him to love Us, what better occasion can we find than that, in order to redeem him, I, Thy Son, should go upon earth, should there assume human flesh, and pay by my death the penalty due by him. In this manner Thy justice is fully satisfied, and at the same time man is fully convinced of Our love!" "But think," answered the Heavenly Father -- "think, O My Son, that in taking upon Thyself the burden of man's satisfaction, Thou wilt have to lead a life full of sufferings!" "It matters not," replied the Son: Lo, here am I, send me. "Think that Thou wilt have to be born in a cave, the shelter of the beasts of the field; thence Thou must flee into Egypt whilst still an Infant, to escape the hands of those very men who, even from Thy tenderest Infancy, will seek to take away Thy life." "It matters not: Lo, here am I, send me." "Think that, on Thy return to Palestine, Thou shalt there lead a life most arduous, most despicable, passing Thy days as a simple boy in a carpenter's shop." "It matters not: Lo, here am I, send me." "Think that when Thou goest forth to preach and to manifest Thyself, Thou wilt have indeed a few, but very few, to follow Thee; the greater part will despise Thee and call Thee impostor, magician, fool, Samaritan; and finally, they will persecute Thee to such a pass that they will make Thee die shamefully on a gibbet by dint of torments." "It matters not: Lo, here am I, send me."

So, then, for us miserable worms, and to captivate our love, has a God deigned to become Man? Yes, it is of Faith; as the Holy Church teaches us: For us men, and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven ... and was made Man (Nicene Creed). Yes, indeed, so much has God done in order to be loved by us.

Evening Meditation



When the fullness of time had come, God sent his son ... that he might redeem them who were under the law. (Gal. iv. 4).

How thankful should we not be to Almighty God for having caused us to be born after the great work of man's redemption was accomplished! This is what is meant by the fulness of time, a time blessed by the fulness of grace, which Jesus Christ obtained for us by coming into the world. Miserable should we have been if, guilty as we are of manifold sins, we had lived on this earth before the coming of Jesus Christ.

Oh, in what miserable state were all men before the coming of the Messias; the true God was hardly known even in Judea, and in every other part of the world idolatry reigned, so that our forefathers worshipped stones, and wood, and devils; they worshipped innumerable false gods, but the true God was neither loved nor known by them. Even now, how many countries are there in which there are scarcely any Catholics, and all the rest of the inhabitants are either infidels or heretics, and all these are certainly in the way to be lost! What obligation do we not owe God for causing us to be born, not only after the coming of Jesus Christ, but also in countries where the true Faith reigns!

I thank Thee, O Lord, for this. Woe to me if, after so many transgressions, it had been my lot to live in the midst of infidels and heretics! I know, O my God, that Thou willest that I should be saved; and I, miserable wretch, have willed so many times to damn myself by losing Thy favour. Have pity, my Blessed Redeemer, on my soul, which has cost Thee so much.


God sent his son that he might redeem them that were under the law (Gal. iv. 4). The slave therefore sins, and by sinning gives himself over to the power of the devil, and his own Lord comes and ransoms him by His death.

O immense love, O infinite love of God towards man! O My Saviour, if Thou hadst not redeemed me by Thy death, what would have become of me? Of me, who so many times have deserved hell by my sins. Oh, if Thou, my Jesus, hadst not died for me, I should have lost Thee forever, and there would have been no hope for me of recovering Thy grace, or of seeing Thy beautiful face in Paradise. My dearest Saviour, I thank Thee; and I hope to come to Heaven, there to thank Thee for all eternity. I regret above every evil that of having despised Thee in times past. In future, I purpose to choose every suffering, every kind of death, rather than offend Thee. I beseech Thee, my Jesus, let me never do so again. Never let me be separated from Thee, never let me be separated from Thee. I love Thee, O infinite Goodness, and I will always love Thee in this life, and for all eternity. O my Queen and advocate Mary, keep me always under thy protection, and deliver me from sin.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Presentation in the Temple
(January 7th)

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Morning Meditation


He delivered himself ... an oblation and a sacrifice to God (Eph. v. 2).

If Jesus offers His life to His Father for the love of us, it is just that we should offer Him our life and our entire being. This is what He desires, as He signified to the Blessed Angela de Foligno, saying to her: "I have offered Myself for thee, in order that thou shouldst offer thyself to Me."


The time having now come when, according to the Law, Mary had to go to the Temple for her purification, and to present Jesus to the Divine Father, behold she sets out in company with Joseph. Joseph carries the two turtle doves they are to offer to God; and Mary carries her dear Infant: she takes the Lamb of God to offer Him to the Almighty, in token of the great Sacrifice that this Son would one day accomplish on the Cross.

Consider the holy Virgin entering the Temple; she makes an oblation of her Son on behalf of the whole human race, and says: Behold, O Eternal Father, Thy beloved Only-Begotten One, Who is Thy Son and mine also; I offer Him to Thee as a Victim to Thy divine justice, in order to appease Thy wrath against sinners. Accept Him, O God of mercy! Have pity on our miseries; and for the love of this immaculate Lamb do Thou receive men into Thy grace.

Eternal Father, I, a miserable sinner, who have deserved a thousand hells, present myself this day before Thee, O God of infinite Majesty, and I offer Thee my poor heart. But, O God, what a heart I offer Thee -- a heart that has never known how to love Thee, but has, on the contrary, so often offended Thee and so often betrayed Thee! But now I offer it to Thee full of penitence, and resolved to love Thee at all costs and to obey Thee in all things. Pardon me, and draw me entirely to Thy love. I do not deserve to be heard; but Thy Infant Son, Who offers Himself to Thee in the Temple as a Sacrifice for my salvation, merits for me this grace. I offer Thee this Thy Son and His Sacrifice, and in this I place all my hopes.


The offering of Mary is joined to that of Jesus. Behold Me, (says the Holy Infant), behold Me, O My Father; to Thee do I consecrate My whole life; Thou hast sent Me into the world to save it by My Blood; behold My Blood and My whole self. I offer Myself entirely to Thee for the salvation of the world. He delivered himself ... an oblation and a sacrifice to God.

No sacrifice was ever so acceptable to God as this which His dear Son then made -- Who had become, even from His infancy, a Victim and Priest. If all men and Angels had offered their lives, their oblations would not have been so pleasing to God as this of Jesus Christ, because in this offering alone the Eternal Father received infinite honour and infinite satisfaction.

I thank Thee, O my Father, for having sent Thy Son upon the earth to sacrifice Himself for me. And I bless Thee, O Incarnate Word, Lamb of God, Who didst offer Thyself to die for my soul. I love Thee, my dear Redeemer, and Thee alone will I love; for I find none but Thee Who has offered and sacrificed His life to save me. It makes me shed tears to think how ungrateful I have been to Thee; but Thou willest not my death, but that I should be converted and live. Yes, my Jesus, I turn to Thee, and repent with my whole heart of having offended Thee, of having offended the great God, Who has sacrificed Himself for me. Do Thou give me life, and life shall then be spent in loving Thee, the sovereign Good; make me love Thee, I ask Thee nothing more. Mary, my Mother, thou didst offer thy Son in the Temple even for me; do thou offer Him again for me, and beseech the Eternal Father to accept me for His own, for the love of Jesus. And thou, my Queen, do thou also accept me for thy faithful servant. If I am thy servant, I shall also be the servant of thy Son.

Spiritual Reading


In this valley of tears every man is born to weep, and all must suffer by enduring the evils which are of daily occurence. But how much greater would the misery of life be, did we also know the future evils which await us! "Unfortunate, indeed, would his lot be," says Seneca, "who, knowing the future, would have to suffer all by anticipation."

The Lord shows us this mercy -- He conceals the trials that await us, that, whatever they may be, we may endure them but once. He did not show Mary this compassion; for she, whom God willed to be the Queen of Sorrows, and in all things like His Son, had always before her eyes, and continually suffered, all the torments that awaited her; and these were the sufferings of the Passion and Death of her beloved Jesus; for in the Temple, St. Simeon, having received the Divine Child into his arms, foretold to her that her Son would be a mark for all the persecutions and opposition of men. Behold, this child is set ... for a sign which shall be contradicted. And, therefore, that a sword of sorrow should pierce her soul. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce (Luke ii. 34, 35).

The Blessed Virgin herself told St. Matilda, that, on this announcement of St. Simeon, "all her joy was changed into sorrow." For, as it was revealed to St. Teresa, though the Blessed Mother already knew that the life of her Son would be sacrificed for the salvation of the world, yet she then learnt more distinctly and in greater detail the sufferings and cruel death that awaited her poor Son. She knew He would be contradicted, and contradicted in everything -- contradicted in His doctrines; for, instead of being believed, He would be esteemed a blasphemer for teaching that He was the Son of God. This He was declared to be by the impious Caiphas, saying: He hath blasphemed, he is guilty of death (Matt. xxvi. 65). He was Wisdom itself and was treated as ignorant: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? (Jo. vii. 15). As a false prophet: And they blindfolded him, and smote his face ... saying: Prophesy, who is it that struck thee? (Luke xxii. 64). He was treated as a madman: He is mad, why hear you him (Jo. x. 20). As a drunkard, a glutton, and a friend of sinners: Behold the man that is a glutton, and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners (Luke vii. 34). As a sorcerer: By the prince of devils he casteth out devils (Matt. ix. 34). As a heretic, and possessed by the evil spirit: Do we not say well of thee that thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil? (Jo. viii. 48). In a word, Jesus was considered so notoriously wicked, that, as the Jews said to Pilate, no trial was necessary to condemn Him. If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to thee (Jo. xviii. 30). He was contradicted in His very soul; for even His Eternal Father, to give place to divine justice, contradicted Him, by refusing to hear His prayer, when He said: Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me (Matt. xxvi. 39); and abandoned Him to fear, weariness, and sadness; so that our afflicted Lord exclaimed: My soul is sorrowful even unto death! (Ib. 38); and His interior sufferings even caused Him to sweat Blood. Contradicted and persecuted, in fine, in all His body and all through His life; for He was tortured in all His sacred members, in His hands, His feet, His face, His head, and His whole body; so that, drained of His Blood, and an object of scorn, He died of torments on an ignominious Cross.

When David, in the midst of all his pleasures and regal grandeur, heard from the Prophet Nathan, that his son should die -- The child that is born to thee shall surely die (2 Kings xii. 14), he could find no peace, but wept, fasted, and slept on the ground. Mary with the greatest calmness received the announcement that her Son should die, and always peacefully submitted to it; but what grief must she continually have suffered, seeing this amiable Son always near her, hearing from Him words of eternal life, and witnessing His holy demeanour!

Abraham suffered much during the three days he passed with his beloved Isaac, after knowing that he was to lose him. O God, not for three days, but for three and thirty years had Mary to endure a like sorrow! But do I say a like sorrow? It was as much greater as the Son of Mary was more lovely than the son of Abraham.

Evening Meditation

(First Dolour)


The Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Bridget, that while on earth, there was not an hour in which grief did not pierce her soul: "as often," she continued, "as I wrapped my Son in His swaddling-clothes, as often as I saw His hands and feet, so often was my soul absorbed, so to say, in fresh grief; for I thought how He would be crucified."

The Abbot Rupert contemplates Mary suckling her Son, and thus addressing Him: A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me; he shall abide between my breasts (Cant. i. 12). Ah, Son, I clasp Thee in my arms, because Thou art so dear to me; but the dearer Thou art to me, the more dost Thou become a bundle of myrrh and sorrow to me when I think of Thy sufferings. "Mary," says St. Bernardine of Sienna, "reflected that the Strength of the Saints was to be reduced to agony; the Beauty of Paradise to be disfigured; the Lord of the world to be bound as a criminal; the Creator of all things to be made livid with blows; the Judge of all to be condemned; the Glory of Heaven despised; the King of kings to be crowned with thorns, and treated as a mock king."

It was revealed to the same St. Bridget, that the afflicted Mother, already knowing what her Son was to suffer, "when suckling Him, thought of the gall and vinegar; when swathing Him, of the cords with which He was to be bound; when bearing Him in her arms, of the Cross to which He was to be nailed; when sleeping, of His death." As often as she put on His garment, she reflected that one day it would be torn from Him, that He might be crucified; and when she beheld His sacred hands and feet, she thought of the nails which would one day pierce them; and then, as Mary said to St. Bridget, "my eyes filled with tears, and my heart was tortured with grief."

I pity thee, O afflicted Mother, on account of the first Sword of Sorrow that pierced thee, when, in the Temple, all the outrages which men would inflict on thy beloved Jesus, were made known to thee by St. Simeon, and which thou already knewest from the Sacred Scriptures; outrages which were to cause Him to die before thine eyes, on that infamous Cross, exhausted of His Blood, abandoned by all, and thyself unable to defend or help Him. By that bitter knowledge, then, which for so many years afflicted thy heart, I beseech thee, my Queen, to obtain for me the grace that during my life and at my death I may ever keep the Passion of Jesus and Thy sorrows impressed on my heart.


The Evangelist says that as Jesus Christ advanced in years, so also did He advance in wisdom and in grace with God and men (Luke ii. 32). This is to be understood as St. Thomas explains it -- that He advanced in wisdom and grace in the estimation of men and before God, inasmuch as all His works would continually have availed to increase His merit, had not grace been conferred upon Him from the beginning, in its complete fullness, by virtue of the hypostatic union. But, since Jesus advanced in the love and esteem of others, how much more must He have advanced in that of Mary! And, O God, as love increased in her, so much the more did her grief increase at the thought of having to lose Him by so cruel a death; and the nearer the time of the Passion of her Son approached, so much the deeper did that Sword of Sorrow, foretold by St. Simeon, pierce the heart of His Mother. This was precisely revealed by the Angel to St. Bridget, saying: That Sword of Sorrow was every hour approaching nearer to the Blessed Virgin, as the time of the Passion of her Son drew near."

Since, then, Jesus our King, and His most holy Mother, did not refuse, for love of us, to suffer such cruel pains throughout their lives, it is reasonable that we at least should not complain if we have to suffer something. Jesus, crucified, once appeared to Sister Magdalen Orsini, a Dominicaness, who had long been suffering under a great trial, and encouraged her to remain, by means of that affliction, with Him on the Cross. Sister Magdalen complainingly answered: "O Lord, Thou wast tortured on the Cross only for three hours, and I have endured my pain for many years." The Redeemer then replied: "Ah, ignorant soul, what dost thou say? From the first moment of My conception I suffered in Heart all that I afterwards endured dying on the Cross." If, then, when we suffer we also complain, let us imagine Jesus and His Mother Mary adressing the same words to ourselves.

Ah, my Blessed Mother, it is not one sword only with which I have pierced thy heart, but I have done so with as many as are the sins which I have committed. Ah, Lady, it is not to thee, who art innocent, that sufferings are due, but to me who am guilty of so many crimes. But since thou hast been pleased to suffer so much for me, ah, by thy merits, obtain me great sorrow for my sins, and patience under the trials of this life, which will always be light in comparison with my demerits, for I have often deserved hell.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Flight into Egypt

Morning Meditation


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Arise! and take the Child and his mother and fly into Egypt (Matt. ii. 13).

Behold, Jesus is no sooner born than He is persecuted unto death. Herod is a figure of those miserable sinners who, as soon as they see Jesus Christ born again in their souls by the pardon of their sins, persecute Him unto death by returning to their sins, for they seek the Child to destroy him (Ibid.).


The Angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, and informed him that Herod was seeking the Infant Jesus to destroy His life; wherefore he said: Arise, and take the Child and his mother and fly into Egypt. Behold, then, how Jesus is no sooner born than He is persecuted unto death. Herod is a figure of those miserable sinners who, as soon as they see Jesus Christ born again in their souls by the pardon of sin, persecute Him unto death by returning to their sins: for they seek the Child to destroy him.

Joseph immediately obeys the command of the Angel, and gives notice of it to his holy spouse. He then takes the few tools that he can carry, in order to make use of them in his trade, and to be able in Egypt to support his poor family. Mary at the same time puts together a little bundle of clothes for the use of the holy Child; and then she goes into her cell, kneels down first before her Infant Son, kisses His feet, and with tears of tenderness says to Him: O my Son and my God, hardly art Thou born and come into the world to save men, than these men seek Thee to put Thee to death! She then takes Him; and the two holy spouses, shedding tears as they go, at once set out on their journey.

My dear Jesus, Thou art the King of Heaven, but now I behold Thee as an Infant wandering over the earth; tell me whom dost Thou seek? I pity Thee when I see Thee so poor and humbled; but I pity Thee more when I see Thee treated with such ingratitude by the same men whom Thou camest to save. Thou dost weep; but I also weep, because I have been one of those who in times past have despised and persecuted Thee. But now I value Thy grace more than all the kingdoms of the world; forgive me, O my Jesus, all the evil I have committed against Thee, and permit me to carry Thee always in my heart during the journey of my life to eternity, even as Mary carried Thee in her arms during the flight into Egypt.


Let us consider the occupation of these holy Pilgrims during their journey. All their conversation is upon their dear Jesus alone, on His patience and His love; and thus they console each other in the midst of the trials and sufferings of so long a journey. Oh, how sweet it is to suffer at the sight of Jesus suffering! "O my soul," says St. Bonaventure, "do thou also keep company with these three poor holy Exiles, and have compassion on them in the long, wearisome, and painful journey which they are making. And beseech Mary that she will give her divine Son to me to carry in my heart."

Consider how much they must have suffered, especially in those nights which they had to pass in the desert of Egypt. The bare earth serves them for a bed in the cold open air. The Infant weeps; Mary and Joseph shed tears of compassion. O Holy Faith! who would not weep at seeing the Son of God become an Infant, poor and forsaken, flying across a desert in order to escape death?

My beloved Redeemer, I have many times driven Thee out of my soul; but now I hope that Thou hast again taken possession of it. I beseech Thee, do Thou bind it to Thyself with the sweet chains of Thy love. I will never again drive Thee from me. But I fear lest I should again abandon Thee, as I have done in times past. O my Lord! let me die rather than treat Thee with fresh and still more horrible ingratitude. I love Thee, O infinite Goodness; and I will always repeat, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee; and so I hope to die saying: God of my heart, and the God that art my portion forever (Ps. lxxii. 26). O my Jesus! Thou art so good, so worthy of being loved, oh, do Thou make Thyself loved; make Thyself loved by all the sinners who persecute Thee; give them light, make them know the love Thou hast borne them and the love Thou deservest since Thou goest wandering over the earth as a poor Infant, weeping and trembling with cold, and seeking souls to love Thee! O Mary, most holy Virgin, O dearest Mother and companion of the sufferings of Jesus, do thou help me always to carry and preserve thy Son in my heart, in life and in death!

Spiritual Reading


(Second Dolour)

As the stag, wounded by an arrow, carries the pain with him wherever he goes, because he carries with him the arrow which has wounded him, so did the divine Mother, after the sad Prophecy of St. Simeon, as we have already seen, always carry her sorrow with her in the continual remembrance of the Passion of her Son. Hailgrino, explaining this passage of the Canticles: The hairs of thy head, as the purple of the king (Cant. vii. 5) -- says that these purple hairs were Mary's continual thoughts of the Passion of Jesus, which kept the Blood which was one day to flow from His wounds always before her eyes: "Thy mind, O Mary, and thy thoughts, steeped in the Blood of our Lord's Passion, were always filled with sorrow, as if they actually beheld the Blood flowing from His wounds." Thus her Son Himself was that arrow in the heart of Mary; and the more amiable He appeared to her, so much the more deeply did the thought of losing Him by so cruel a death wound her heart.

Now Herod having heard that the expected Messias was born, foolishly feared that He would deprive him of his kingdom. Hence St. Fulgentius, reproving him for his folly, thus addresses him: "Why art thou troubled, O Herod? This King Who is born comes not to conquer by the sword, but to subjugate men wonderfully by His death." The impious Herod, therefore, waited to hear from the holy Magi where the King was born, that he might take His life; but finding himself deceived, he ordered all the infants found in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem to be put to death. Then it was that the Angel appeared in a dream to St. Joseph, and commanded him to arise, and take the Child and his mother, and fly into Egypt (Matt. ii. 13). According to Gerson, St. Joseph immediately, on that very night, made the order known to Mary; and taking the Infant Jesus, they set out on their journey, as it is sufficiently evident from the Gospel itself: Who arose and took the Child and his mother, by night, and retired into Egypt (Ibid. ii. 14).

O God, says Blessed Albert the Great, in the name of Mary, "must He then fly from men Who came to save men!" Then the afflicted Mother knew that already the Prophecy of Simeon concerning her Son began to be verified: He is set for a sign that shall be contradicted (Luke ii. 34). Seeing that He was no sooner born than He was persecuted unto death, what anguish, writes St. John Chrysostom, must the intimation of that cruel exile of herself and her Son have caused in her heart: "Flee from thy friends to strangers, from God's temple to the temples of devils. What greater tribulation than that a new-born child, hanging on its mother's neck, and she, too, in poverty, should be forced to fly?"

Any one can imagine what Mary must have suffered on this journey. The distance to Egypt was great. Most authors agree that it was three hundred miles, so that it was a journey of upwards of thirty days. The road was, according to St. Bonaventure's description of it, "rough, unknown, and little frequented." It was in the Winter season; so that they had to travel in snow, rain, and wind, over rough and dirty roads. Mary was then but fifteen years of age -- a delicate young maiden, unaccustomed to such journeys. They had no one to attend upon them. St. Peter Chrysologus says: "Joseph and Mary have no servants; they were themselves both masters and servants." O God, what a touching sight must it have been to behold that tender Virgin, with her new-born Babe in her arms, wandering through the world! "But how," asks St Bonaventure, "did they obtain their food? Where did they repose at night? How were they lodged?" What can they have eaten but a piece of hard bread, either brought by St. Joseph, or begged as an alms? Where can they have slept on such a road unless on the sand or under a tree in a wood, exposed to the cold and the dangers of robbers and wild beasts, with which Egypt abounded? Ah, had anyone met these three greatest Personages in the world, for what could he have taken them but for poor wandering beggars?

They resided in Egypt, according to Brocard and Jansenius, in a district called Maturea; though St. Anselm says that they lived in the city of Heliopolis, or at Memphis, now called Cairo. Here let us consider the great poverty they must have suffered during the seven years which, according to St. Antoninus, St. Thomas, and others, they spent in Egypt. They were foreigners, unknown, without revenue, money, or relatives, barely able to support themselves by their humble efforts. "As they were destitute," says St. Basil, "it is evident that they must have laboured much to provide themselves with the necessaries of life." Landolph of Saxony has moreover written, and let this be a consolation for the poor, that "Mary lived there in the midst of such poverty that at times she had not even a little bread to give to her Son, when, urged by hunger, He asked for it."

The sight, then, of Jesus and Mary wandering as fugitives through the world, teaches us that we also must live as pilgrims here below; detached from the goods which this world offers us, and which we must soon leave to enter eternity: We have not here a lasting city, but seek one that is to come (Heb. xiii. 14). To which St. Augustine adds: "Thou art a guest: thou givest a look, and passest on." It also teaches us to embrace crosses, for without them we cannot live in this world. Blessed Veronica de Binasco, an Augustinian nun, was carried in spirit to accompany Mary with the Infant Jesus on their journey into Egypt; and after it the divine Mother said: "Daughter, thou hast seen with how much difficulty we have reached this country. Now learn that no one receives graces without suffering." Whoever wishes to lighten the sufferings of this life must go in company with Jesus and Mary: Take the Child and his mother. All sufferings become light, and even sweet and desirable to him who by his love bears this Son and this Mother in his heart. Let us, then, love them; let us console Mary by welcoming in our hearts her Son, Whom men even now continue to persecute by their sins.

The most holy Virgin one day appeared to Blessed Colette, a Franciscan nun, and showed her the Infant Jesus torn to pieces, and said: "Thus it is that sinners continually treat my Son, renewing His death and my sorrows. My daughter, pray for them, that they may be converted." To this we may add another vision vouchsafed the Venerable Sister Joanna of Jesus and Mary, also a Franciscan nun. She was one day meditating on the Infant Jesus persecuted by Herod, when she heard a great noise, as of armed men pursuing some one; and immediately she saw before her a most beautiful Child, Who, all out of breath and running, exclaimed: "O my Joanna, help Me, conceal Me! I am Jesus of Nazareth; I am flying from sinners, who wish to kill Me and persecute Me as Herod did. Do thou save Me."

Thus, O Mary, even after thy Son has died by the hands of men who persecuted Him unto death, ungrateful sinners have not yet ceased persecuting Him by their sins, and continue to afflict Thee, O sorrowful Mother! And I, O my God, also have been one of these. Ah, my most sweet Mother, obtain me tears to weep over such ingratitude. By the sufferings thou didst endure in that journey to Egypt, assist me in the journey which I am now making to eternity; that I may at length be united to thee in loving my persecuted Saviour in the Kingdom of the Blessed. Amen.

Evening Meditation



Seeing that on this earth so many miscreants live in prosperity, and so many Saints live in tribulations, the very Gentiles, by the sole aid of the light of nature, came to this conclusion -- that, as there is a just God, there must be another life in which the wicked are punished and the good rewarded. But what the Gentiles learned by the light of reason, we Christians know by the light of Faith. We have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come (Heb. xiii. 14). This earth is not our country; it is for us a place of passage, from which we shall soon go to the house of eternity. Man shall go into the house of his eternity (Eccles. xii. 5). The house, then, dear reader, which you inhabit is not your home; it is a hospital, from which you will soon, and when you least expect, be dislodged. Remember that when the time of death has arrived, your dearest relatives will be the first to banish you from it; and what will be your true home? The home of your body will be a grave, in which it will remain till the day of Judgment; but your soul will go to the house of eternity -- either to Heaven or to hell. St. Augustine tells you that you are a stranger, a traveller, a spectator. It would be foolishness in a traveller to spend all his patrimony in purchasing a villa, or a house in a country through which he is merely passing, and which he must leave in a few days. Reflect, says the Saint, that in this world you are only on a journey; fix not your affections on what you see; look and pass on, and labour to procure a good house, in which you will have to dwell forever.

Behold, then, O Lord, the home which I have deserved by the life I led. Alas! it is hell, in which, from the first sin I have committed, I ought to dwell, abandoned by Thee, and without having it ever in my power to love Thee. Blessed forever be Thy mercy, which has waited for me, and which now gives me time to repair the evil I have done. O my God, I will no longer abuse Thy patience. I am sorry above all things for having offended Thee, not so much because I have merited hell, as because I have outraged Thy infinite goodness. Never more, my God, never more will I rebel against Thee; I desire death rather than offend Thee.


Happy you, if you save your soul! Oh how delightful is Heaven! All the princely palaces of this world are but stables compared with the city of Paradise, which alone can be called the city of perfect beauty. There you will have nothing to desire; for you will be in the society of the Saints, of the divine Mother, and of Jesus Christ, and will be free from all fear of evil; in a word, you will live in a sea of delights, and in unceasing joy, which will last forever. Everlasting joy shall be upon their head! (Is. xxxv. 10). This joy shall be so great, that at every moment for all eternity it will appear new. But unhappy you, if you are lost! You will be confined in a sea of fire and of torments, in despair, abandoned by all, and without God. And for how long? Perhaps after the lapse of a hundred thousand years, your pains will have an end? A hundred and a thousand millions of years and ages will pass by, and your hell will always be at its commencement. What are a thousand years compared with eternity? Less than a day which is gone by. A thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday, which is past (Ps. lxxxix. 4). Would you wish to know the house which will be your dwelling for eternity? It will be that which you merit, and which you choose for yourself by your works.

O my Sovereign Good! were I now in hell, I could never love Thee, nor couldst Thou love me. I love Thee, and wish to be loved by Thee; this I do not deserve, but Jesus merits it for me because He has offered Himself to Thee in sacrifice on the Cross, that Thou mightest be able to pardon and love me. Eternal Father, give me, then, for the sake of Thy Son, the grace to love Thee, and to love Thee with all my heart. I love Thee, O my Father, Who hast given me Thy Son. I love Thee, O Son of God, Who didst die for me. I love Thee, O Mother of Jesus! who, by thy intercession, hast obtained for me time for repentance. O Mary, obtain for me sorrow for my sins, the love of God, and holy perseverance.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
January the Ninth

Morning Meditation


The affair of eternal salvation is not only the most important, it is the only affair to which we have to attend in this life. Only one thing is necessary. If you save your soul, it will do you no harm to have lived here in poverty, afflictions and contempt.


But one thing is necessary (Luke x. 42). It is not necessary that in this world we should be honoured with dignities, favoured with riches, with good health, and earthly pleasures; but it is necessary that we should be saved; for there is no middle course -- we must either be saved or be damned. After this short life, we shall be either eternally happy in Heaven, or eternally wretched in hell.

How many worldly persons there are who, loaded with riches and honours in this life, and lifted up to high positions, and even to thrones, now find themselves in hell, where all their fortune in this world serves only to increase their pains and their despair. This is what the Lord warned us of: Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth destroy (Matt. vi. 19). The acquisition of earthly goods perishes with death; but the acquisiton of spiritual goods is an unrivalled treasure, and is eternal.

God has taught us that He wills the salvation of all, and to all He gives the power of being saved. Miserable is he who is lost; it is all his own doing: Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in me (Osee xiii. 9). And this will be the greatest pain of the damned, the thought that they are lost through their own fault. Fire and the worm (that is, the remorse of conscience) will torture the damned in punishment for their sins, but the worm will forever torment them more terribly than the flame. How much pain do we not suffer through the loss of any object of value -- a diamond, a watch, a purse of money -- especially when this happens through our own carelessness! We cannot eat or sleep, for thinking of our loss, so long as there is hope of repairing it in some way or other. What, then, will be the torment of one who, through his own fault, has lost God and Paradise, without a hope of ever recovering them!

O my God! what is it that will befall me? Shall I be lost? One lot or the other must be mine. I hope to be saved; but who shall assure me of it? I know that I have repeatedly deserved hell. Yes, my Saviour, Thy death is my hope.


We have erred from the way (Wis. v. 6). The eternal complaint of the souls miserably damned will be: We have gone astray, destroying ourselves of our own accord, and there is no remedy for our error! In most of the misfortunes that occur to persons in this life, a remedy comes with time, or with a change of state, or, at least, through a holy resignation to the will of God. But none of these remedies will help us when we have reached eternity, if in this life we have wandered from the path to Heaven.

Therefore, the Apostle St. Paul exhorts us to labour for our eternal salvation with a continual fear of losing it: Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. ii. 12). This fear will cause us to walk with caution, and to avoid occasions of evil; it will aid us continually to recommend ourselves to God, and thus we shall be saved. Let us pray the Lord that He will fix this thought in our hearts -- that upon the life we lead in this world depends the question whether we shall be eternally blessed or eternally miserable without hope of remedy.

My God, many times have I despised Thy grace; I deserve no mercy, but Thy Prophet teaches me that Thou showest mercy to all who seek Thee. In the past I have fled from Thee; but now I seek nothing, I ask nothing, I love nothing but Thee. Do not despise me in Thy goodness. Remember the Blood Thou hast shed for me. This Blood, and thy intercession, O Mary, Mother of God, are my only hope.

Spiritual Reading


St. Augustine called the thought of Eternity the great thought -- Magna cogitatio. This thought has brought the Saints to count all the treasures and greatness of this life as nothing more than straw, dust, smoke, and refuse. This thought has sent anchorites to hide themselves in deserts and caves, noble youths, and even kings and emperors, to shut themselves up in cloisters. This thought has given courage to Martyrs to endure the torture of piercing nails and heated irons, and even of being burnt in the fire.

No; we are created not for this earth: the end for which God has placed us in the world is -- that with our good deeds we may inherit eternal life. The end is eternal life (Rom. vi. 22). Therefore, St. Eucherius said that the only affair we should attend to in this life is Eternity; that is, win a happy Eternity, and escape a miserable one: the object for which we contend is Eternity. If assured of this end, we are forever blessed; if we fail in it, forever miserable.

Happy he who lives with Eternity ever in view, in a lively Faith that he must speedily die, and enter upon Eternity. The just man lives by faith (Gal. iii. 11). It is Faith that makes the just live in the sight of God, and which gives light to their souls, by withdrawing from them earthly affections, and placing before their thoughts the eternal blessings which God promises to them that love Him.

St. Teresa said that all sins had their origin in a want of Faith. Therefore in order to overcome our passions and temptations, we ought constantly to revive our Faith by saying: I believe in life everlasting. I believe that after this life, which will soon be ended, an eternal life awaits me, either full of joys, or full of pains, according to my merits or demerits.

St. Augustine says that the man who thinks of Eternity, and yet is not converted to God, has either lost his senses or his Faith. "O Eternity!" (these are his words), "he that meditates upon thee, and repents not, either has not Faith, or if he has Faith, he has no heart." In reference to this, St. John Chrysostom relates that the Gentiles, when they saw Christians sinning, thought them either liars or fools. If you believe not, they said, what you say you believe, you are liars; if you believe in Eternity and sin, you are fools. "Woe to sinners who enter upon Eternity without having known it, because they would not think upon it!" exclaims St. Caesarius; and then he adds: "But oh, double woe! They enter upon it and they never come forth."

St. Teresa used to say to her disciples: "My children, there is one soul, one Eternity!" By which she meant: My children, we have one soul, and when that is lost, all is lost; and, once lost, it is lost forever! In a word, upon the last breath we breathe in dying, depends whether we shall be forever blessed, or forever in despair. If the Eternity of the next life, if Paradise, if hell, were mere fictions of literary men, things of doubtful reality, even then we ought to bestow all our care to live well, and not to risk our soul to be lost forever. But it is not so; these things are not doubtful; they are beyond dispute; they are things of Faith; they are more real than the things we see with our bodily sight.

Let us then pray to our Lord: Increase our Faith (Luke xvii. 5); for we may, if weak in Faith, become worse than Luther or Calvin. On the other hand, one thought of living Faith upon the Eternity that awaits us can make us Saints.

St. Gregory writes that they who meditate on Eternity are neither puffed up by prosperity, nor cast down by adversity; for they desire nothing and fear nothing in this world. When infirmities or persecutions come upon us, let us think of the hell we have deserved through our sins. Thus every cross will seem light, and we shall thank the Lord, saying: It is the mercy of the Lord that we are not consumed (Lament. iii. 22). And with David: Unless the Lord had been my helper, my soul had almost dwelt in hell (Ps. xciii. 17). Through myself I was already lost; Thou hast done this, O God of mercy! Thou hast stretched forth Thy hand, and drawn me forth from hell: Thou hast delivered my soul, that it should not perish (Is. xxxviii. 17).

O my God, Thou knowest how often I have deserved hell; but, notwithstanding, Thou biddest me hope, and I desire to hope. My sins terrify me, but Thy death gives me courage, and Thou dost promise pardon to him that repents. A contrite and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. I have dishonoured Thee in the time past, but now I love Thee above all things, and I grieve more than for any other evil, that I have offended Thee. O my Jesus, have mercy upon me. Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.

Evening Meditation



Jesus chose to dwell in Egypt during His infancy, that therein He might lead a hard and a more abject life. According to St. Anselm and other writers, the Holy Family lived in Heliopolis. Let us with St. Bonaventure contemplate the life of Jesus during the seven years He remained in Egypt, as was revealed to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi.

The house is very poor, for St. Joseph has little wherewith to pay rent; their bed is poor, their food poor; their life, in short, is one of strict poverty, for day by day they barely gain their livelihood by the work of their hands, and they live in a country where they are unknown and are despised, having neither relatives nor friends.

The Holy Family does indeed live in great poverty; but oh, how well-ordered are the occupations of these three sojourners! The Holy Infant speaks not with His tongue, but in His Heart He continually speaks to His Heavenly Father, offering all His sufferings, and every moment of His life for our salvation. And Mary does not speak, but at the sight of that dear Infant she meditates on the Divine love, and the favour that God has conferred upon her by choosing her for His Mother. Joseph also works in silence; but at the sight of the Divine Child his heart is inflamed, and he thanks the Child for having chosen him for the companion and guardian of His life.

O Holy Infant, Who livest in this country of barbarians, poor, unknown, and despised, I acknowledge Thee for my God and Saviour, and I thank Thee for all the humiliations and sufferings Thou didst endure in Egypt for the love of me. By Thy manner of life there Thou dost teach me to live as a pilgrim on this earth, giving me to understand that this is not my country; but that Paradise which Thou hast purchased for me by Thy death, is my home. Ah, my Jesus, I have been ungrateful to Thee because I have thought but little of what Thou hast done and suffered for me. When I think that Thou, the Son of God, didst lead a life of such tribulation upon this earth, so poor and neglected, how is it possible that I should go about seeking the amusements and good things of the earth? Take me, I pray Thee, my dear Redeemer, for Thy companion; admit me to live always united with Thee upon this earth, in order that, united with Thee in Heaven, I may love Thee there, and be Thy companion throughout eternity.


In this house Mary weans Jesus: at first she fed Him from her breast, now she feeds Him with her hands; she holds Him in her lap, takes from the porringer a little bread soaked in water, and puts it into the sacred mouth of her Son. In this house Mary released her Infant from His swathing-bands, and made Him His first little garments and dressed Him in them. In this house the Child Jesus begins to walk and speak. Let us adore the first steps of the Incarnate Word, and the first words of Eternal Wisdom uttered by Him. Here also He began to do the work of a little servant-boy, occupying Himself in all the little services that a child can render.

Ah, weaning! ah, little garment! ah, first steps! ah, lisping words! ah, little services of the little Jesus, how do you not wound and inflame the hearts of those who love Jesus and meditate on everything in His life. Behold God trembling and falling! God lisping! God become so weak that He can occupy Himself in nothing but little household affairs, unable even to lift a bit of wood, if too heavy for the strength of a child! O Holy Faith, enlighten us, and make us love this good Lord, Who for the love of us has submitted Himself to so many miseries! It is said that on the entrance of Jesus into Egypt all the idols of the country fell down; oh, let us pray God that He will make us love Jesus from our hearts, since in the soul into which the love of Jesus enters, all idols of earthly affections are overthrown.

Give me light, O God; increase my Faith. What are riches, or pleasures, or dignities, or honours! All is vanity and folly. The only real riches, the only real good, is to possess Thee Who art the Infinite Good. Blessed he who loves Thee! I love Thee, O my Jesus, and I seek none other but Thee. I desire Thee, and Thou desirest me. If I had a thousand kingdoms, I would renounce them all to please Thee. "My God and my All!" If in times past I have sought after the vanities and pleasures of this world, I now detest them, and am sorry that I have done so. My beloved Saviour, from this day forward Thou shalt be my only delight, my only love, my only treasure. Most holy Mary, pray to Jesus for me. Beseech Him to make me rich in His love alone, and I desire nothing more.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
January the Tenth

Morning Meditation


An irreparable affair! No error can be compared with the error of neglecting one's eternal salvation. For all other failures there is a remedy. If you lose your soul the loss is irreparable, for the soul, once lost, is lost for ever!


No error, says St. Eucherius, can be compared with the error of neglecting eternal salvation. For all other errors there is a remedy: if you lose property in one way, you may recover it in another; if you lose a situation, there may be some means of afterwards regaining it; if your life be but brief, provided your soul be saved, all is safe. But if you lose your soul, the loss is irreparable. Death happens but once; the soul, once lost, is forever lost. Nothing remains but to weep for all eternity with the other miserable wretches in hell, whose greatest torment is the conviction, that the time for repairing their ruin is gone forever. The summer is over, and we are not saved (Jer. viii. 20). Ask the worldly wise now in that pit of fire, what are their present sentiments; ask them if, condemned to that eternal prison, they feel happy at having made a fortune in this life. Listen to their wailing and lamentation: We have erred (Wis. v. 6). But of what use is it to know their error now, when there is no remedy for their eternal damnation? Should a man find his palace in ruins, how great would be his pains in reflecting on the impossibility of repairing the evil, when his loss is due only to his own neglect.

The greatest torment of the damned consists in the thought of having lost their souls and of being damned through their own fault. Destruction is thy own, O Israel (Osee xiii. 9). St. Teresa says that if a person loses a ring or even a trifle through his own fault, his peace is disturbed; he neither eats nor sleeps. O God! how great will be the torture of the damned Christian when, on entering hell and finding himself shut up in that dungeon of torments, he reflects on his misfortune, and sees that for all eternity there will be no relief, no mitigation of pain! He will say: "I have lost my soul! I have lost Paradise! I have lost my God! I have lost all -- and all is lost forever! And why? Through my own fault."

Ah my Jesus, remind me always of the death Thou hast suffered for me, and give me confidence. I tremble lest the devil should make me despair at death by bringing before my view the many acts of treason I have committed against Thee. How many promises have I made never more to offend Thee after the light Thou hast given me! and, after all my promises, I have, presuming on pardon, again turned my back upon Thee. Thus have I insulted Thee because Thou didst not chastise me! My Redeemer! give me a great sorrow for my sins before I leave this world. I ask of Thee sorrow and love.


But you will say -- If I commit this sin why may I not hope to escape damnation? I may still be saved. Yes; but you may also be damned: and it is more likely that you will be damned, for the Scriptures threaten eternal woes to all obstinate traitors, such as you are in your present dispositions. Woe to you, apostate children, saith the Lord (Is. xxx. 1). Woe to them, for they have departed from me (Osee vii. 13). By committing this sin, you at least expose your eternal salvation to great danger. And is it an affair to be exposed to risk? There is no question of a house, of a villa, or of a situation. There is question, says St. John Chrysostom, of being sent into an eternity of torments, and of losing an eternity of glory. And will you risk this business of sovereign importance on a perhaps?

You say: Perhaps I shall not be lost: I hope that God will hereafter pardon me. But in the meantime what happens? You condemn yourself to hell. Tell me, would you cast yourself into a deep pool of water, saying: Perhaps I shall not be drowned? Surely you would not. Why then risk your eternal salvation on such a groundless hope, on a perhaps? Oh! how many has this accursed hope sent to hell! Do you realise that the hope of those who are obstinately determined to commit sin is not Hope, but an illusion and presumption which move God, not to mercy, but to greater wrath? If you say you are now unable to resist the temptation and passion to whose domination you submit, how will you resist them hereafter, when, by yielding to sin, your strength will not be increased, but greatly diminshed? For, on the one hand, your own malice will render you more blind and obdurate; and, on the other, Divine help will be withdrawn. Do you expect that the more you multiply your sins and insults against God, the more abundantly He will pour upon you His lights and graces?

I am sorry, O Sovereign Good, for having offended Thee. I promise to die a thousand times rather than abandon Thee. But make me in the meantime feel that Thou hast said to me what Thou didst say to Magdalen - Thy sins are forgiven thee - by giving me, before death, a great sorrow for all my iniquities, otherwise I fear my death will be troubled and unhappy. Be not thou a terror unto me; thou art my hope in the day of affliction (Jer. xvii. 17.). O my crucified Jesus! be not a terror to me in my last moments. If I die before I have wept over my sins and have loved Thee, Thy Wounds and Thy Blood will inspire me with fear rather than confidence. I do not ask of Thee consolations and earthly goods during the remainder of my life; I ask of Thee sorrow and love. O my dear Saviour, hear my prayer for the sake of that love which made Thee offer Thy life as a sacrifice for me on Calvary. Mary, my Mother, obtain for me these graces, along with holy perseverance till death.

Spiritual Reading


God wishes us all to be saved: Who will have all men to be saved (I Tim. ii. 4). He is ready to give to all the help necessary for salvation; but He grants it only to those who ask Him, as St. Augustine says: "He gives only to those who ask." Hence it is the common opinion of Theologians, and of the Holy Fathers, that prayer is necessary for adults as a means of salvation; that is to say, a person who does not pray, but neglects to ask of God the help requisite for overcoming temptations, and for preserving grace already received, cannot be saved.

On the other hand, Our Lord cannot refuse to give grace to those who ask it, because He has promised to do so: Cry to me, and I will hear thee (Jer. xxxiii. 3). Have recourse to Me, and I will not fail to hear you. Ask of Me all you desire, and you shall obtain it: Ask, and it shall be given to you (Jo. xv. 7). These promises, however, are not to be understood with reference to temporal goods, because God gives these only when they are for the benefit of the soul; but He has promised absolutely to give spiritual graces to one who asks Him; and having made the promise God will keep it. "By His promise, He has made Himself our debtor," says St. Augustine.

It should also be observed that if God binds Himself by a promise to hear us, He binds us by precept to ask. Ask, and it shall be given to you (Matt. vii. 7). We ought always to pray (Luke xviii. 1). These words "ask" and "we ought" convey, as St. Thomas teaches, a grave precept, which is binding for our whole life; but especially is it binding when a man is in danger of death or of falling into sin; because if he does not then have recourse to God, he will certainly be overcome. And he who has already fallen under God's displeasure, commits a fresh sin when he neglects to turn to God for help to rise out of his miserable state. But will God hear him while he is yet His enemy? Yes, He will hear, if the sinner humbles himself, and from his heart prays for pardon; since it is written in the Gospel: For everyone that asketh, receiveth (Luke xi. 10). It says that God has promised to hear all who pray to Him, whether they are just or sinners. In another place God says: Call upon me ... and I will deliver thee (Ps. xlix. 15). Call upon Me, and I will deliver thee from hell, to which thou dost stand condemned.

There will be no excuse on the Day of Judgment for one who dies in mortal sin. It will be of no use for him to say that he had not the strength to resist the temptation which troubled him, because Jesus Christ will answer: If you had not the strength, why did you not ask it of Me, and I should certainly have given it you? If you fell into sin, why did you not have recourse to Me, that I might deliver you from it?

You see, then, if you desire to be saved, and would keep yourself in the grace of God, you must often pray to Him, that He may keep His hand over you. The Council of Trent declares that for a man to persevere in the grace of God, it is not enough that he should have only that general aid which God gives to all, but he must also have that special assistance which can be obtained by holy Prayer. For this reason the Doctors of the Church say, that one is bound, under grievous sin, to recommend himself often to God, and to ask for the grace of holy perseverance at least once a month. And any one who finds himself in the midst of dangerous occasions is under the obligation of asking more frequently for the grace of perseverance.

It is besides most useful to keep up some particular devotion to the Mother of God, to obtain the grace of perseverance, for she is called the Mother of perseverance. A person who has not this special devotion to the Blessed Virgin will find it very difficult to persevere, for, as St.Bernard says, all divine graces, and especially this grace of perseverance, which is the greatest of all, come to us through the hands of Mary.

Would to God that preachers were more mindful in putting before their hearers this great means of prayer! They ought often to make it their chief subject, besides speaking of it in every discourse. If they omit to do so they will have to render a severe account to God. Many confessors, too, are particular about the resolution their penitents make not to offend God again, but few take the trouble to inculcate that they must pray when they are again tempted to fall. We must be well persuaded that, when a temptation is violent, if the penitent does not beg for God's assistance, all his resolutions will avail him little. Prayer alone can save him. It is certain that he who prays is saved; he who prays not is damned.

Therefore, I repeat, if you wish to be saved, pray continually to the Lord that He may give you light and strength not to fall into sin. We must be importunate with God, in asking Him for His grace. "This importunity with God is our opportunity," says St. Jerome. Every morning we must beseech Him to keep us from sin during that day. And when any bad thought presents itself to your mind or you are tempted by some dangerous occasion, immediately have recourse to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, saying: "My Jesus help me! Most Blessed Virgin, come to my aid!" It is enough at such a time to pronounce the Names of Jesus and Mary, and the temptation will vanish; but should the temptation continue, persevere in invoking the assistance of Jesus and Mary and you will be victorious.

Evening Meditation



According to the common opinion of the Doctors of the Church, Jesus lived as an exile in Egypt for seven years, and then, after the death of Herod, the Angel again appeared to St. Joseph and commanded him to take the Holy Child and His Mother and return to Palestine. St. Joseph, consoled by this command, communicates it to Mary. Before their departure, these holy spouses courteously informed the friends whom they had made in the country. Joseph then collects the few instruments of his trade, Mary her little bundle of clothes, and taking the Divine Child by the hand, they set out on their journey homewards, leading Him between them.

St. Bonaventure considers that this journey was more fatiguing to Jesus than was the flight into Egypt, because He had now grown to boyhood, and on this account Mary and Joseph could not carry Him in their arms on so long a journey, and at the same time the Holy Child, at that age, was not able to make a long journey. Jesus was therefore obliged through fatigue, frequently to stop and rest on the way. But Joseph and Mary, whether they walk or sit, always keep their eyes and thoughts fixed upon the beloved little Child, Who was the object of all their love. Oh, with what recollection does that happy soul pass through this life who keeps before its eyes the love and the example of Jesus Christ!

Beloved and adored Child, Thou dost return to Thy country; but whither, O God, whither dost Thou return? Thou comest to that place where Thy countrymen prepare for Thee insults during life, and scourges, thorns, and a Cross at Thy death. All this was already present to Thy divine eyes, O my Jesus! and yet Thou comest of Thy own will to meet that Passion which men prepare for Thee. My beloved Redeemer, if Thou hadst not come to die for me, I could not go to love Thee in Paradise, but must have always remained far away from Thee. I acknowledge that hell would be but a slight punishment for me. But Thou hast waited to pardon me. I thank Thee, O my Redeemer; I repent, and detest all the offences I have committed against Thee. O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver me from hell. Ah, if I were miserable enough to damn myself, how would my torments in hell be increased by the remorse caused by my having meditated during life on the love Thou hast borne me!


The holy Pilgrims interrupt, at times, the silence of this journey by some holy conversation; but with whom and of whom do they converse? They speak only with Jesus and of Jesus. He who has Jesus in his heart, speaks only with Jesus or only of Him.

Consider again the pain that our little Saviour must have endured during the nights of this long journey, in which He had no longer the bosom of Mary for His bed, as in His flight, but the bare ground; and for His food He had no more milk, but a little hard bread, too hard for His tender age. He was probably also afflicted by thirst, for, in this desert the Jews had been in such want of water, that a miracle was necessary to supply them with it. Let us contemplate and lovingly adore all these sufferings of the Child Jesus.

I love Thee now, dear Jesus, but I love Thee too little. Thou dost merit an infinite love. Grant at least that I may love Thee with all my strength. Ah, my Saviour, my Joy, my Life, my All, whom should I love if I love not Thee, the infinite Good? I consecrate all my wishes to Thy will; at the sight of the sufferings Thou hast undergone for me, I offer myself to suffer as much as it shall please Thee. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt. vi. 13). Deliver me from sin, and then dispose of me as Thou wilt. I love Thee, infinite Good, and I am content to receive any punishment, even to be annihilated, rather than live without loving Thee.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Second Friday of January

Morning Meditation


St. Teresa used to say that nothing that ends ought to be considered of any consequence. Death approaches, the curtain falls, the scene closes, and thus all things come to an end. Let us therefore strive to gain that fortune which will not fail with time.


What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul (Matt. xvi. 26). O great maxim, which has conducted so many souls to Heaven, and given so many Saints to the Church! What doth it profit us to gain the whole world, which passes away, and lose the soul, which is eternal?

The world! And what is this world but mere show -- a scene which quickly passes away? The fashion of this world passeth away (1 Cor. vii. 31). Death approaches, the curtain falls, the scene closes, and thus all things come to an end!

Alas! at the hour of death, how will all worldly things appear to a Christian -- those silver vessels, those heaps of money, that rich and vain furniture -- when he must leave them all forever?

O Jesus! grant that henceforward my soul may be wholly Thine; grant that I may love no other but Thee. I desire to renounce all things before death tears me away from them.

What does it avail a man to be happy for a few days (if anything can be called happiness without God), if afterwards he must be unhappy forever?

David says that earthly goods, at the hour of death, will seem as a dream to one waking from sleep: As the dream of them that awake (Ps. lxxii. 20). What disappointment does he feel who, having dreamt that he was a king, on awaking finds himself still lowly and poor as ever!

O my God! who knows but that this Meditation which I am now reading may be the last call for me? Enable me to root out of my heart all earthly affections, before I enter into eternity. Grant that I may be sensible of the great wrong that I have done Thee, by offending Thee, and by forsaking Thee for the love of creatures. Father, I am not worthy to be called thy son (Luke xv. 21). I am grieved for having turned my back upon Thee; do not reject me, now that I return to Thee.


No post of honour, no pomps, no riches, no amusements, will console a Christian at the hour of death; the love of Jesus Christ, and the little that he has suffered for His love, will alone console him.

Phillip II., when dying, said: "Oh that I had been a Lay-brother in some monastery, and not a king!" Philip III. said: "Oh that I had lived in a desert! for now I shall appear but with little confidence before the tribunal of God." Thus do those express themselves at the hour of death, who have been esteemed the most fortunate in this world.

In short, all earthly goods acquired during life generally end at the hour of death in remorse of conscience and fears of eternal damnation. O God! will the dying sinner say, I have had sufficient light to direct me to withdraw myself from the world, but yet I have followed the world, and the maxims of the world; and now what sentence will be pronounced upon me? Fool that I have been! I might have been a Saint, with the opportunities and advantages that I enjoyed! I might have led a happy life in union with God; and now what do I get from my past life? But when will he say this? When the scene is about to close, and he is entering eternity -- at the very moment on which will depend his happiness or misery forever!

O Lord, have pity on me! In the past I have not been so wise as to love Thee. From this day forward, Thou alone shalt be my only Good. My God and my All! Thou alone deservest all my love, and Thee alone will I love.

Spiritual Reading



Father Balthassar Alvarez, a great servant of God, used to say that we must not think we have made any progress in the way of God until we have come to keep Jesus crucified ever in our heart. And St. Francis de Sales said that "the love which does not spring from the Passion is feeble." Yes, because we cannot have a more powerful motive for loving God than the Passion of Jesus Christ, by which we know that the Eternal Father, to prove His exceeding love for us, was pleased to send His only-begotten Son upon earth to die for us sinners. Hence the Apostle says that God, through the excess of love wherewith He loved us, willed that the death of His Son should convey life to us: For his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Ephes. ii. 4). And this was precisely the expression used by Moses and Elias on Mount Tabor, in speaking of the Passion of Jesus Christ. They did not know how to give it any other appellation than an excess of love: And they spoke of his excess, which he should consummate in Jerusalem (Luke ix. 31).

When our Saviour came into the world, the shepherds heard the Angels singing: Glory to God in the highest (Luke ii. 14). But the humiliation of the Son of God in becoming Man through His love for man, might have seemed rather to obscure than to manifest the Divine glory; but no; and there was no means by which the glory of God could have been better manifested in the world than by Jesus Christ dying for the salvation of mankind, since the Passion of Jesus Christ has made us realize how great is the Mercy of God, in that a God was willing to die to save sinners, and to die, moreover, by a death so painful and ignominious. St. John Chrysostom says that the Passion of Jesus Christ was not an ordinary suffering, nor His death like the death of other men.

It has made us know the Divine Wisdom. Had our Redeemer been merely God, He could not have made satisfaction for man; for God could not make satisfaction to Himself in place of man; nor could God make satisfaction by means of suffering, being impassible. On the other hand, had He been merely man, man could not have made satisfaction for the grievous injury done by him to the Divine Majesty. What, then, did God do? He sent His very own Son, true God as the Father, to take human flesh, that as Man He might by His death pay the debt due to the divine Justice, and as God might make full satisfaction to it.

It has, moreover, made us understand how great is Divine Justice. St. John Chrysostom says that God reveals to us the greatness of His Justice, not so much by hell in which He punishes sinners, as by the sight of Jesus on the Cross; since in hell creatures are punished for the sins of their own, but on the Cross we behold a God cruelly treated in order to make satisfaction for the sins of men. What obligation had Jesus Christ to die for us? He was offered because it was his own will (Is. liii. 7). He might justly have abandoned man to his perdition; but His love for us would not let Him see us lost; wherefore He chose to give Himself up to so painful a death in order to obtain for us salvation: He hath loved us, and delivered himself up for us. (Eph. v. 2).

From all eternity He loved man: I have loved thee with an everlasting love (Jer. xxxi. 3). But then, seeing that His Justice obliged Him to condemn man, and to keep him at a distance, separated from Himself in hell, His Mercy urged Him to find a way by which He might be able to save him. But how? By making satisfaction Himself to the divine Justice by His own death. And consequently He willed that there should be affixed to the Cross whereon He died the sentence of condemnation to eternal death which man had merited, in order that it might remain there, cancelled in His Blood. Blotting out the writing of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us, he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross (Col. ii. 14). And thus, through the merits of His own Blood, He pardons all our sins: Forgiving you all offences (Col. ii. 13). And at the same time He despoils the devils of the rights they had acquired over us, carrying along with Him in triumph not only ourselves, but even our enemies, whose prey we had become. And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open show, triumphing over them in himself (Col. ii. 15). On which Theophylact comments: "As a Conqueror in triumph, carrying with Him the booty and the enemy."

Hence, when satisfying divine Justice on the Cross, Jesus Christ speaks but of Mercy. He prays His Father to have mercy on the very Jews who had contrived His death, and on His murderers who were putting Him to death: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke xxiii. 34). While He was on the Cross, instead of punishing the two thieves, who had just before reviled Him -- And they that were crucified with him reviled him (Mark xv. 32) -- when He heard one asking for mercy: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom (Luke xxiii. 42), overflowing with mercy, He promised him Paradise that very day: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise (Luke xxiii. 43). Then, before He expired, He gave to us, in the person of St. John, His own Mother to be our Mother: He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. (Jo. xix. 27). There upon the Cross He declares Himself content in having done everything to obtain salvation for us, and He completes the sacrifice by His death: Afterwards Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished ... said: It is consummated; and bowing his head he gave up the ghost (Jo. xix. 28).

And behold, by the death of Jesus Christ, man is set free from sin and from the power of the devil; and, moreover, is raised to grace, and to a greater degree of grace than Adam lost: And where sin abounded, says St. Paul, grace did more abound (Rom. v. 20). It remains therefore for us, writes the Apostle, to have frequent recourse with all confidence to the throne of grace, which Jesus crucified is, in order to receive from His Mercy the grace of salvation, together with aid to overcome the temptations of the world and of hell: Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid (Heb. iv. 16).

Evening Meditation



Does Jesus Christ, perhaps, claim too much in asking us to give ourselves wholly to Him, after He has given us all His Blood and His life, in dying for us upon the Cross? The charity of Christ presseth us (2 Cor. v. 14). Let us hear what St. Francis de Sales says upon these words: "To know that Jesus has loved us unto death, and even the death of the Cross, is not this to feel our hearts constrained by a violence which is all the stronger in proportion to its loveliness?" And then he adds: "My Jesus gives Himself all to me, and I give myself all to Him. On His bosom will I live and die. Neither death nor life shall ever separate me from Him."

It was for this end, says St. Paul, that Jesus Christ died, that each of us should no longer live to the world or to himself, but to Him alone Who has given Himself wholly to us. And Christ died for all, that they who live may not now live to themselves, but to him who died for them (2 Cor. v. 15). He who lives to the world seeks to please the world; he who lives to himself seeks to please himself; but he who lives to Jesus Christ seeks only to please Jesus Christ, and fears only to displease Him. His only joy is to see Him loved; his only sorrow, to see Him despised. This is to live to Jesus Christ; and this is what He claims from each one of us. I repeat, does He claim too much from us, after having given us His Blood and His life?

Ah, my Jesus, I love Thee above all things, and whom would I wish to love if I love not Thee, Who art infinite Goodness, and Who hast died for me. Would that I could die of grief every time I think of how I have so often driven Thee away from my soul by my sins, and separated myself from Thee, Who art my only Good, and Who hast loved me so much. Who shall separate us from the charity of Christ? (Rom. viii. 35). It is sin only that can separate me from Thee. But I hope in the Blood Thou hast shed for me, that Thou wilt never allow me to separate myself from Thy love, and to lose Thy grace, which I prize more than every other good. I give myself wholly to Thee. Do Thou accept me, and draw all my affections to Thyself, that so I may love none but Thee.


Why, then, O my God! do we employ our affections in loving creatures, relatives, friends, the great ones of the world, who have never suffered for us scourges, thorns, or nails, nor shed one drop of blood for us; and not in loving a God, Who for love of us came down from Heaven and was made Man, and has shed all His Blood for us in the midst of torments, and finally died of grief upon a Cross, in order to win to Himself our hearts! Moreover, in order to unite Himself more closely to us, He has left Himself, after His death, upon our altars, where He makes Himself one with us, that we may understand how burning is the love wherewith He loves us? "He hath mingled Himself with us," exclaims St. John Chrysostom, "that we may be one and the same thing; for this is the desire of those who ardently love." And St. Francis de Sales, speaking of the Holy Communion, adds: "There is no action in which we can think of our Saviour as more tender or more loving than this in which He, as it were, annihilates Himself, and reduces Himself to food, in order to unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful ones."

But how comes it, O Lord, that I, after having been loved by Thee to such an excess, have had the heart to despise Thee? According to Thy just reproach: I have brought up children, and exalted them, but they have despised me (Is. i. 2), I, too, have dared to turn my back upon Thee, in order to gratify my senses. Thou hast cast me behind thy back (Ezech. xxiii. 35). I have dared to drive Thee from my soul. The wicked have said to God: Depart from us (Job xxi. 14). I have dared to afflict that Heart of Thine which has loved me so much. And what am I now to do? Ought I to be distrustful of Thy Mercy? I curse the days wherein I dishonoured Thee. Oh, would that I had died a thousand times, O my Saviour, rather than that I had ever offended Thee! O Lamb of God! Thou hast bled to death upon the Cross to wash away our sins in Thy Blood. O sinners! what would you not pay on the day of Judgment for one drop of the Blood of this Lamb! O my Jesus! have pity on me, and pardon me; but Thou knowest my weakness; take, then, my will that it may never more rebel against Thee. Expel from me all love that is not for Thee. I choose Thee alone for my Treasure and my only Good. Thou art sufficient for me, and I desire no other good but Thee. The God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever (Ps. lxxii. 26).

O little Sheep beloved of God (so used St. Teresa to call the Blessed Virgin), who art the Mother of the divine Lamb, recommend me to thy Son. Thou, after Jesus, art my hope; for thou art the hope of sinners. Into thy hands I entrust my eternal salvation. [i]Spes nostra, salve![/i]
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Morning Meditation


Our Lord, having given us the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model of perfection, it was necessary that she should be laden with sorrows, that in her we may admire heroic patience and endeavour to imitate it. The loss of her Son in the Temple was one of the greatest sorrows that Mary had to endure in her life. Therefore do I weep, and my eyes run down with water because the Comforter, the relief of my soul, is far from me (Lament. i. 16).


St. Luke relates that Mary and Joseph went every year to Jerusalem on the Feast of the Pasch, and took the Infant Jesus with them. It was the custom, says the Venerable Bede, when the Jews made this journey to the Temple, or at least on the return journey, for the men to be separated from the women; and the children went at their pleasure, either with their fathers or their mothers. Our Redeemer, Who was then twelve years old, remained during this Solemnity for three days in Jerusalem. Mary thought He was with Joseph, and Joseph that He was with Mary: Thinking that he was in the company (Luke ii. 44).

The Holy Child employed all these three days in honouring His Eternal Father, by fasts, vigils, and prayers, and in being present at the sacrifices, all of which were figures of His own great Sacrifice on the Cross. If He took a little food, says St. Bernard, He must have procured it by begging and if He took any repose, He could have no other bed but the bare ground.

When Mary and Joseph had come a day's journey, they did not find Jesus; wherefore, full of sorrow, they began to seek Him amongst their relatives and friends. At last, returning to Jerusalem, after three days they found Him in the Temple, disputing with the Doctors, who, full of astonishment, admired the questions and answers of this wonderful Child. On seeing Him Mary said: Son why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing (Luke ii. 48).

O Mary, thou weepest because thou hast lost thy Son for a few days; He has withdrawn Himself from thy eyes, but not from thy heart. Dost thou not see that the pure love with which thou lovest Him keeps Him constantly united and bound to thee? Thou knowest well that he who loves God cannot but be loved by God, Who says: I love those that love me (Prov. viii. 17); and with St. John: He that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him (Jo. iv. 16). Wherefore, then, dost thou fear? Wherefore dost thou weep? Leave those tears to me, who have so often lost God through my own fault, by driving Him away from my soul. O my Jesus! how could I offend Thee thus with my eyes open, when I knew that by sinning I should lose Thee?


There is not upon earth a sorrow like to that which is felt by a soul that loves Jesus, when she fears that Jesus Christ has withdrawn Himself from her through some fault of her own. This was the sorrow of Mary and Joseph, which afflicted them so much during these days; for they feared, in their humility, as says the devout Lanspergius, that perhaps they had rendered themselves unworthy of the care of such a treasure. Wherefore, on seeing Him, Mary said to Him, in order to express this sorrow: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And Jesus answered: Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke ii. 49).

Let us learn from this Mystery two lessons: the first, that we must leave all our friends and relatives when the glory of God is in question; and secondly, that God easily makes Himself found by those who seek Him: The Lord is good to the soul that seeketh him (Lam. iii. 25).

Thou willest not that the heart that seeks Thee should despair, but rather that it should rejoice: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord (Ps. civ. 3). If hitherto I have forsaken Thee, O my Love, I will now seek Thee, and will seek none but Thee. And provided I possess Thy grace, I renounce all the goods and pleasures of this world; I renounce even my own life. Thou hast said that Thou lovest him who loves Thee; I love Thee, do Thou also love me. I esteem Thy love more than the dominion of the whole world. O my Jesus, I desire not to lose Thee any more; but I cannot trust myself, I trust in Thee: In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; I shall not be confounded forever (Ps. xxx. 6). I beseech Thee, do Thou bind me to Thee, and permit me not to be again separated from Thee. O Mary, through thee have I found my God, Whom I had once lost; do thou obtain for me also holy perseverance; wherefore I will also say to thee with St. Bonaventure: "In thee, O Lady, have I hoped; let me not be confounded forever."

Spiritual Reading

(The Third Dolour)

There are some who assert, and not without reason, that this Dolour was not only one of the greatest, but the greatest and most painful of all.

For, in the first place, Mary, in her other Dolours, had Jesus with her; she suffered when St. Simeon prophesied to her in the Temple; she suffered in the Flight into Egypt; but still in company with Jesus. But in this Dolour she suffered far from Jesus, not knowing where He was: And the light of my eyes itself is not with me (Ps. xxxvii. 11). Thus weeping she then said: "Ah, the light of my eyes, my dear Jesus, is no longer with me; He is far from me, and I know not whither He is gone!" Origen says, that through the love which this holy Mother bore her Son, "she suffered more in this loss of Jesus than any Martyr ever suffered in the separation of his soul from his body." Ah, too long indeed were those three days for Mary; they seemed three ages; they were all bitterness, for there was none to comfort her. And who can ever comfort me, she said with the Prophet, who can console me, since He Who could alone do so is far from me? And therefore my eyes can never weep enough: Therefore do I weep, and my eyes run down with water, because the Comforter ... is far from me (Lam. i. 16). And with Tobias she repeated; What manner of joy shall be to me who sit in darkness and see not the light of heaven (Tob. v. 12).

In the second place, Mary, in all her other Sorrows, well understood their cause -- the Redemption of the world, the Divine will; but in this she knew not the cause of the absence of her Son. "The sorrowful Mother," says Lanspergius, "was grieved at the absence of Jesus, because, in her humility, she considered herself unworthy to remain longer with or to attend upon Him on earth, and have the charge of so great a Treasure." "And who knows," she thought within herself, "maybe I have not served Him as I ought; perhaps I have been guilty of some negligence, for which He has left me." "They sought Him," says Origen, "lest perchance He had entirely left them." It is certain that, to a soul that loves God, there can be no greater pain than the fear of having displeased Him. Therefore in this Sorrow alone did Mary complain, lovingly expostulating with Jesus, after she had found Him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing (Luke ii. 48). By these words she had no thought of reproving Jesus, as heretics blasphemously assert, but only meant to express to Him the grief proceeding from the great love she bore Him, which she had experienced during His absence: "It was not a rebuke," says Denis the Carthusian, "but a loving complaint."

In fine, this sword so cruelly pierced the heart of the most holy Virgin, that the Blessed Benvenuta, desiring one day to share the holy Mother's pain in this Dolour, and entreating her for this favour, Mary appeared to her with the Infant Jesus in her arms; but while Benvenuta was enjoying the sight of this most beautiful Child, in a moment she was deprived of it. So great was her grief that she had recourse to Mary, entreating her to mitigate it, that it might not cause her death. In three days the holy Virgin again appeared, and said: "Know, my daughter, that thy sorrow is only a small part of that which I endured when I lost my Son."

This sorrow of Mary ought, in the first place, to serve as a consolation to those souls who are desolate, and no longer enjoy, as they once enjoyed, the sweet presence of their Lord. They may weep, but they should weep in peace, as Mary wept over the absence of her Son; and let them take courage and not fear that on this account they have lost the divine favour; for God Himself assured St. Teresa, that "no one is lost without knowing it; and that no one is deceived without wishing to be deceived." If Our Lord withdraws Himself from the sight of a soul that loves Him, He does not, therefore, depart from the heart; He often conceals Himself from a soul, that it may seek Him with a more ardent desire and greater love. But whoever wishes to find Jesus must seek Him, not amidst delights and pleasures of the world, but amidst crosses and mortifications, as Mary sought Him. We sought thee sorrowing, as Mary said to her Son. "Learn then, from Mary," says Origen, "to seek Jesus."

Moreover, in this world she would seek no other good than Jesus. Job was not unhappy when he lost all that he possessed on earth; riches, children, health and honours, and even descended from a throne to a dunghill; but because he had God with him, he was even then happy. St. Augustine says: he had lost what God had given him, but he still had God Himself." Truly miserable and unhappy are those souls that have lost God. If Mary wept over the absence of her Son for three days, how should sinners weep, who have lost divine grace, and to whom God says: You are not my people, and I will not be yours (Osee i. 9). For this is the effect of sin; it separates the soul from God: Your iniquities have divided between you and your God (Is. lix. 2). Hence, if sinners possess all the riches of the earth, but have lost God, all, even in this world, becomes vanity and affliction to them, as Solomon confessed: Behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccles. i. 14). But the greatest misfortune of these poor blind souls is, as St. Augustine observes, that if they lose an ox, they do not fail to go in search of it; if they lose a sheep, they use all diligence to find it; if they lose a beast of burden, they cannot rest; but when they lose their God, Who is the supreme Good, they eat and drink and repose.

It is related that in India a young man was leaving his room with the intention of committing a sin, when he heard a voice saying: "Stop! whither art thou going?" He turned around, and saw an image in relief, representing our Lady of Sorrows, who, drawing out the sword which was in her breast, said: "Take this dagger and pierce my heart, rather than wound my Son by committing such a sin!" On hearing these words the youth prostrated himself on the ground, and bursting into tears, with deep sorrow, asked and obtained pardon from God and our Blessed Lady.

Evening Meditation



St. Joseph, on his return to Palestine, heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea instead of his father, Herod, whereupon he was afraid to go and live there; and being warned in a dream, he went to live in Nazareth, a city of Galilee, and there in a poor little cottage he fixed his dwelling. O blessed house of Nazareth, I salute and venerate thee! There will come a time when thou wilt be visited by the great ones of the earth: when the pilgrims find themselves inside thy poor walls, they will never be satisfied with shedding tears of tenderness at the thought that within them the King of Paradise passed nearly all His life.

O my adorable Infant, I see Thee an humble servant-boy, working even in the sweat of Thy brow in this poor shop. I understand it all; Thou art serving and working for me. But since Thou dost employ Thy whole life for the love of me, so grant, I pray Thee, my dear Saviour, that I may employ all the rest of my life for Thy love. Look at my past life: it has been a life of sorrow and tears both for me and for Thee -- a life of disorder, a life of sin. Oh, permit me at least to keep Thee company during the remainder of my days, and to labour and suffer with Thee in the shop of Nazareth, and afterwards to die with Thee on Calvary, embracing that death which Thou hast destined for me. My dear Jesus, my love, suffer me not to leave and forsake Thee again, as I have done in times past.


In this house, then, the Incarnate Word lived during the remainder of His infancy and youth. And how did He live? Poor and despised by men, performing the offices of a common working-boy, and obeying Joseph and Mary: and he was subject to them. (Luke ii. 51). O God, how touching it is to think that in this poor house the Son of God lives as a servant! Now He goes to fetch water; then He opens or shuts the shop; now He sweeps the room; now He collects the shavings for the fire; now He labours in assisting Joseph at his trade. O wonder! To see God sweeping! God serving as a boy! O thought that ought to make us all burn with holy love for our Redeemer, Who has reduced Himself to such humiliations in order to gain our love!

Let us adore all these servile actions of Jesus, which were all divine. Let us adore, above all, the hidden life that Jesus Christ led in the house of Nazareth! O proud men, how can you desire to make yourselves seen and honoured, when you behold your God, Who spends thirty years of His life in poverty, hidden and unknown, to teach us the love of retirement and of a humble and a hidden life!

O my God, Thou art suffering such poverty in a shop, hidden, unknown, despised; and I, a vile worm, have gone about seeking honours and pleasures, and for the sake of these have separated myself from Thee, O sovereign Good! Now, my Jesus, I love Thee; and because I love Thee I will not remain any longer separated from Thee. I renounce all things, in order to unite myself to Thee, my hidden and despised Redeemer. Thy grace gives me more happiness than have all the vanities and pleasures of the world, for which I have so miserably forsaken Thee. Eternal Father, for the merits of Jesus Christ, unite me to Thyself by the gift of Thy holy love. Most holy Virgin, how blessed wert thou, who, being the companion of thy Son in this poor and hidden life, didst make thyself so like to thy Jesus! O my Mother, grant that I also, at least during the short remainder of my life, may endeavour to become like to thee and to my Redeemer. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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A reminder ...
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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