St. Alphonsus Liguori: Daily Meditations for the Second Week of Epiphany
Monday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation

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Be you, then, also ready; for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come (Luke xii. 40).

All know that they must die, but the misfortune is that many consider death at such a distance away that they lose sight of it. Even the old, the most decrepit and the most sickly flatter themselves that they will live three or four years longer. At what hour you think not, the Son of man will come.


It is certain that we shall die, but the hour of death is uncertain. "Nothing," says the author who styles himself Idiota, "is more certain than death; but nothing is more uncertain than the hour of death." God has already fixed the year, the month, the day, the hour, and the moment, when I and you are to leave this earth and go into eternity; but the time is unknown to us. To exhort us to be always prepared, Jesus Christ tells us that death will come unawares, and like a thief in the night. The day of the Lord shall so come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. v. 2). He tells us to be, then, always vigilant; because, when we least expect Him, He will come to judge us. At what hour you think not, the Son of man will come. St. Gregory says that for our good, God conceals from us the hour of death, that we may always be prepared to die. "Since, then," says St. Bernard, "death may take away life at any time and in any place, we ought, if we wish to die well and save our souls, to live always in expectation of death."

All know that they must die: but the misfortune is, that many consider death such a distance off, that they lose sight of it. Even the old, the most decrepit, and the most sickly, flatter themselves that they will live three or four years longer. But how many, I ask, have we known, even in our own times, to die suddenly -- some sitting, some walking, some sleeping? It is certain that not one of these imagined that he should die so suddenly, and on the day he died. I say, moreover, that of all who have gone to the other world during the present year, no one imagined that he should die and end his days this year. Few are the deaths which do not happen unexpectedly.

Lord, the place in which I ought to be at this moment is not that in which I find myself, but hell, which I have so often merited by my sins! "Infernus domus mea est" -- Hell is my house! St. Peter says: The Lord waiteth patiently for your sake, not willing that any one should perish, but that all should return to penance (2 Peter iii. 9). Then Thou hast had so much patience with me, and hast waited for me, because Thou didst wish me not to be lost, but return to Thee by repentance. My God, I return to Thee. I cast myself at Thy feet, and supplicate for mercy. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. Lord, to pardon me requires a great and extraordinary act of mercy, because I offended Thee, after I had been favoured with special light. Other sinners also have offended Thee, but they have not received the light Thou gavest me. But in spite of all my sinfulness and ingratitude, Thou commandest me to repent of my sins, and to hope for pardon. Yes, my Redeemer, I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee, and I hope for pardon through the merits of Thy Passion.


When, therefore, Christian soul, the devil tempts you to sin by saying, -- Tomorrow you can go to confession -- let your answer be, -- How do I know but this will be the last day of my life? If this hour, this moment, in which I would turn my back on God, were the last of my life, so that I should have no time for repentance, what would become of me for all eternity? To how many poor sinners has it happened, that in the act of feasting on the poison of sin they were struck dead and sent to hell? As fishes are taken with the hook, says Ecclesiastes, so men are taken in the evil time (Eccles. ix. 12). The evil time is that in which the sinner actually offends God. The devil tells you that this misfortune will not happen to you; but you should answer him: If it should happen to me, what would become of me for all eternity?

O my Jesus, though innocent, Thou hast wished to die like a criminal on the Cross, and to shed all Thy Blood to wash away my sins. O Sanguis Innocentis, lava culpas poenitentis! O Blood of the Innocent, wash away the sins of the penitent! O Eternal Father, pardon me for the sake of Jesus Christ. Hear His prayers now that He intercedes for me and makes Himself my Advocate. But it is not enough to receive pardon; I desire also, O God, worthy of infinite love, the grace to love Thee. I love Thee, O Sovereign Good, and I offer Thee henceforth my body, my soul, my liberty, and my will. I wish henceforth to avoid not only grievous but also venial offences. I will fly from all occasions of sin. Lead us not into temptation. For the love of Jesus Christ, preserve me from the occasions in which I would offend Thee. But deliver us from evil. Deliver me from sin, and then chastise me as Thou pleasest. I accept all infirmities, pains, and losses which Thou mayest be pleased to send me: it is enough for me not to lose Thy grace and Thy love. Ask and you shall receive (John xvi. 24). Thou promisest to grant whatever we ask; I ask these two graces -- holy perseverance and the gift of Thy love. O Mary, Mother of Mercy, thou dost pray for me: in thee do I put my trust.

Spiritual Reading



If the reading of the Lives of the Saints is a great means of preserving piety, as St. Philip Neri tells us, and as is taught by all the masters of the spiritual life, we shall find it yet more useful to read about the Victories the holy Martyrs gained by sacrificing their lives amid torments. Hence before relating their individual triumphs, we shall find it of great spiritual advantage to consider the principal virtues of which they gave proofs in their combats.

There is no doubt that the Martyrs are indebted for their crown to the power of the grace which they received from Jesus Christ; for He it is that gave them the strength to despise all the promises and the threats of tyrants, and to endure all torments even unto an entire sacrifice of their lives. So that all their merits, as St. Augustine writes, were the effects of the grace that God in His mercy imparted to them. But it is also certain, and even of Faith, that on their part the Martyrs co-operated with the grace which enabled them to win their victory. Innovators have blasphemed against this truth, saying that all the crimes of the wicked and all the good works of the just are the result of necessity; but the same St. Augustine gives them the lie when he says that if such were the case no reward or punishment would be just.

The Martyrs, therefore, acquired great merits, because the virtues of which they gave proofs in their combats were great and heroic. We shall briefly describe these virtues in order that we may imitate them in the midst of all the tribulations to which we may be exposed in this life.

We at first remark that the Martyrs were firmly attached to all the dogmas of the Christian Faith. In the early ages of the Church two false religions specially opposed ours: these were the religion of the Gentiles and that of the Jews. The religion of the Gentiles, by admitting several gods, furnished itself the proof of its falsity; for if the world had been under the dominion of several masters, it could not have maintained that regular and constant order which we see has been preserved for so many centuries up to the present time. This is evident even to the eyes of natural reason; for every kingdom divided against itself shall be destroyed (Luke xi. 17). Moreover, the very words of the idolatrous priests clearly demonstrated the falsity of their worship, since the actions that they attributed to their gods represented the latter as filled with passions and vices. This was how the holy Martyrs reproached the tyrants when the latter exhorted them to sacrifice to their idols: "How can we," they said, "adore your gods, if, instead of offering us models of virtue, they exhibit to us only examples of vice?"

The religion of the Jews, although formerly holy and revealed by God, was at that time not less manifestly obsolete and false. In fact, in the Scriptures themselves which they had received from God and had preserved with so much care and transmitted to us, it was predicted that at a certain time the Son of God was to come upon earth, to be made Man and to die for the salvation of the world; that they themselves would put Him to death on the Cross, as they actually did, and that in punishment of this impiety they would be driven from their own kingdom, and without a king, without a temple, without a country, they would live scattered, and be wanderers throughout the world, abhorred and despised by all nations. These were predictions that were manifestly realized in every particular after the death of the Saviour. What rendered still more certain the truth of our Faith was the formation of a new people of God by the conversion of the Gentiles. This was known to have been announced beforehand in the Scriptures, and this was realized as soon as the Apostles spread throughout the world to promulgate the New Law preached by Jesus Christ. This event was an evident proof of the protection that God gave the Christian Religion; for how could those poor sinners, those publicans or fishermen, such as the Apostles were -- men devoid of learning, of wealth, of every human assistance, and even persecuted by magistrates and emperors, have induced, without Divine assistance, so many Christians to renounce all their property, their honours, and generously to sacrifice their lives amid tortures the most excruciating that the power and the cruelty of the tyrants could invent?

Evening Meditation



The day of destruction is at hand (Deut. xxxii. 35).

The day of death is called the Day of Destruction, because then is destroyed all that man has acquired; honours, friends, riches, possessions, kingdoms -- all are then no more. What, then, doth it profit us to gain the whole world if in death we must leave all? All comes to an end at the bedside of the dying man. Is there any king, think you, -- said St. Ignatius to Xavier when he sought to bring him to God, -- who has taken with him into the other world even a thread of purple to mark his sovereignty? Has any rich man taken with him a single coin, or even one servant to attend him? In death all is left behind. The soul enters eternity alone and unattended, except by its works.

Woe to me! Where are my works to accompany me to a blessed eternity? I can discover none but such as render me deserving of eternal torments!

Men come into the world in unequal conditions: one is born rich, another poor; one a noble, another a plebian; but all go out of it equal and alike. Consider the graves of the dead: see if you can discover among the bodies which are there interred, who was a master and who a servant, who was a king and who a beggar.

O God, while others amass the fortunes of this world, may my only fortune be Thy holy grace. Thou alone art my only Good both in this life and in the next.


In one word, everything on earth will come to an end. All greatness will end, all misery will end, honours will end, ignominies will end, pleasures will end, sufferings will end. Blessed in death, therefore, not he who has abounded in riches, honours and pleasures, but he who has patiently endured poverty, contempt and sufferings! The possession of temporal goods affords no consolation at the moment of death: that alone consoles us which has been done or suffered for God.

O Jesus, detach my heart from this world before death entirely takes me from it. Help me with Thy grace. Thou indeed knowest how great is my weakness. Permit me not to be any longer unfaithful to Thee, as I have hitherto been. I am sorry, O Lord, for having so often despised Thee. Henceforward I will love Thee above every good, and die a thousand times rather than forfeit Thy grace. But the infernal one ceases not to tempt me. In mercy abandon me not; leave me not to myself; permit me not to be any more separated from Thy love. O Mary, my hope, obtain for me the grace of 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
Tuesday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation


The Lord wishes that we be not lost but saved, and therefore by threats of chastisement He unceasingly exhorts us to a change of life. He Who wishes you to take care does not wish to destroy.


Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword (Ps. vii. 13). Behold, God says in another place, how many, because they would not cease to offend Me, have met with a sudden death, when they least expected it, and were living in peace, secure of a life of many years. For when they shall say: Peace and security, then shall sudden destruction come upon them (1 Thess. v. 3). Again God says: Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish (Luke xiii. 3). Why so many threats of chastisement before the execution of vengeance? It is because He wishes us to amend our lives, and thus avoid an unhappy death. He, says St. Augustine, who tells you to beware, does not wish to take away your life. It is necessary, then, to prepare our accounts before the day of accounting arrives. Dearly beloved Christian, were you to die, and were your lot for eternity to be decided before night, would your accounts be ready? Oh, how much would you give to obtain from God another year or month, or even another day, to prepare for Judgment? Why then do you not, now that God gives you this time, settle your accounts? Perhaps it may not happen-that this shall be the last day for you? Delay not to be converted to the Lord and defer it not from day to day; for his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee (Ecclus. v. 8, 9). To save your soul you must give up sin. If, then, you must renounce it at some time, why do you not abandon it this very moment? Perhaps you are waiting till death arrives? But, for obstinate sinners, the hour of death is the time, not of pardon but of vengeance. In the time of vengeance he will destroy thee.

Ah, my dear Redeemer, Thou hast spent all Thy Blood, and hast given Thy life in order to save my soul, and I have often lost it by presuming on Thy mercy. I have, then, so often abused Thy goodness to offend Thee! By doing so, I have deserved to be suddenly struck dead, and to be cast into hell. In a word, I have been engaged in a contest with Thee. Thou didst treat me with mercy, and I offended Thee; Thou didst seek me, and I fled from Thee; Thou gavest me time to repair the evil I had done, and I employed that time in adding insults to insults. Lord, make me understand the injustice I have done Thee, and the obligation under which I am to love Thee. Ah, my Jesus, how could I be so dear to Thee Whom I chased away as often as Thou didst seek me. How hast Thou been able to bestow so many graces on one who has given Thee so much displeasure? From this I see the ardour of Thy desire to save me from perdition.


Should any one borrow from you a large sum of money, you take care to get legal security for it. Who knows, you say, what may happen? Why are you not equally careful about the salvation of your soul, which is of far greater importance to you than all the riches of the earth? When eternity is at stake, why do you not say: Who knows what may happen? If you lose a sum of money, all is not lost; though in losing it your entire property should be lost, you may still have hopes of recovering it. But if at death you lose your soul, then you shall truly have lost all, and can never hope to regain it. You are careful to keep an exact account of all the goods you possess, lest, by dying suddenly, any of them might be lost; and if you meet with a sudden death, and find yourself in enmity with God, what will become of your soul for all eternity?

I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee, O infinite Goodness! Ah, receive this ungrateful sheep, that casts itself sorrowful at Thy feet; receive it and bind it on Thy shoulders, that it may never more stray away from Thee. I will never again abandon Thee. I wish to love Thee; I wish to be Thine, and, provided I belong to Thee, I am content to suffer every pain. And what greater punishment can fall upon me than to live without Thy grace, to be separated from Thee, Who art my God, Who hast created me and died for me? O accursed sins, what have you done? You have made me displease my Saviour Who has loved me so tenderly. Ah, my Jesus, as Thou hast died for me, so I ought to die for Thee. Thou hast died through love for me -- I should die through sorrow for having despised Thee. I accept death in whatever manner and at whatever time Thou art pleased to send it. Hitherto I have not loved Thee, or I have loved Thee too little. I do not wish to die in this state. Ah, grant me a little more time that I may love Thee before I die. Change my heart; wound it; inflame it with Thy holy love. Through that affection of charity which made Thee die for me, grant me this favour. I love Thee with my whole heart. My soul is enamoured of Thee. Do not permit me to lose Thee. Give me holy perseverance. Give me Thy holy love. Most holy Mary, my refuge and my Mother, perform the office of advocate in my behalf. Amen.

Spiritual Reading


It was still more marvellous to behold so many Gentiles embrace a Religion difficult to believe and difficult to practise. It was a Religion difficult to believe, for it taught Mysteries beyond the reach of human reason; for example, the Trinity of One God in Three distinct Persons Who have but one Nature, one Power, and one Will; the Incarnation of the Son of God Who came upon earth to die for the salvation of mankind; and many other Articles regarding Original Sin, the spirituality and the immortality of the soul, the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It was difficult to practise because the Religion of Jesus Christ commanded things contrary to the inclinations of nature corrupted by sin and repugnant to the libertinism in which the pagans were living, accustomed as they were to follow their passions and to give themselves up to the pleasures of the senses. Nothwithstanding these obstacles, the Christian Religion was embraced by so many nations! From this universal consent of the nations St. Augustine argues the divinity of our Religion, saying that had not God illuminated by His powerful grace so many people -- civilized and barbarian, learned and illiterate, noble and plebian, all immersed in the superstitions of their country, imbued from their earliest years with maxims so opposed to the sanctity of Faith -- how could they have embraced it?

Besides the interior lights of grace, there were many other causes that induced the people to embrace Christianity and to remain firm in professing it. Miracles contributed much to inflame their zeal; for from the moment in which the Apostles began to preach, the Lord caused miracles to abound in testimony of the Faith, as St. Mark says: They preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed (Mark xvi. 20). It is certain that the great miracles that had been wrought by the Apostles and their disciples contributed largely to the conversion of the world. In vain the adherents of idolatry tried to make men believe these prodigies were the effect of magical incantations: every one well understood that God would never permit them if they were to serve the purpose of giving support to diabolical agency or to a false religion. The proof of miracles was therefore a truly Divine proof by which the Lord confirmed the Christian Religion and the Faith of believers.

The Faith became further strengthened by the constancy of Martyrs of both sexes, of every age and condition; men and women, the aged and the young, the noble and the plebian, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, married and single. They were seen to renounce their homes, their parents, their titles, their fortunes, and everything they possessed, to embrace scourges, racks, fire, torture, and to encounter death under its most horrible aspects; and all this, not only with courage, but with joyfulness and thanksgiving to God, Who made them worthy to suffer and die for His love. St. Justin, who was himself a Martyr, confessed that this heroic virtue of the Christians had been to him a powerful stimulus to embrace the Faith.

The Martyrs received great courage in their sufferings from the desire of quickly arriving at the fruition of the promises made by Jesus Christ to His followers: Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you ... Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven (Matt. v. 11). Every one therefore that shall confess me before men I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven (Matt. x. 82).

But what above all filled the Martyrs with courage and ardour and made them wish to die was their great love for their Divine Master Whom St. Augustine calls the King of Martyrs, Who wished to die on the Cross in pain and in desolation for the love of us, as St. Paul says: He hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us (Eph. v. 2). Actuated by this love, they went with joy to suffer and to die for Jesus Christ; so that, not content with enduring the pains that were inflicted upon them, they besought, they provoked the executioners and the tyrants, to obtain from them an increase of torture, in order that they might show themselves more grateful to God Who died for love of them.

Hence it came to pass, according to St. Justin, that in the course of three Centuries the whole earth was filled with Martyrs and Christians. "There is no nation, Greek or barbarian," writes the holy Martyr to Trypho, "that does not offer prayers and thanksgivings to the Creator of the universe by invoking the Name of Jesus Christ." St. Irenaeus, in like manner, attests that at his time the Faith of Jesus Christ was extended over the entire world. Pliny, in his celebrated letter to the Emperor Trajan, declared that the Christian Faith was spread to such a degree that the temples of the gods were abandoned, and that victims were no longer offered to the idols. And Tiberian also wrote to the same Emperor that it would be unwise to put to death all the Christians, since the number of those who were anxious to die for Jesus Christ was incalculable.

Evening Meditation



There are two ways by which the devil endeavours to deceive men to their eternal ruin. After they have committed sin he tempts them to despair on account of the severity of Divine justice; while before they had sinned he encouraged them to do so by the hope of obtaining the Divine mercy. And he effects the ruin of numberless souls as much by the second as by the first artifice. "God is merciful," says the obstinate sinner to him who would convert him from the iniquity of his ways. "God is merciful." But as the Mother of God expresses it in her Canticle, His mercy is to them that fear him (Luke i. 50). Yes, the Lord deals mercifully with him who fears to offend Him, but not with the man who presumes upon His mercy to offend Him still more.

O God, I give Thee thanks for having made me sensible of Thy patience in bearing with me. Behold, I am of the number of those who, presuming on Thy goodness, have offended Thee again and again!

God is merciful, -- but He is also just! Sinners are desirous that He should be merciful only, without being just; but that is impossible, because were He only to forgive and never to chastise, He would be wanting in justice. Hence Blessed Father Avila observes that patience on the part of God towards those who avail themselves of His compassion to offend Him all the more, would not be mercy but a want of justice. He is bound to chastise the ungrateful. He bears with them for a certain time, but after that abandons them.

Such a punishment, O God, has not as yet overtaken me, or else I had now dwelt in hell, or had been obstinate in my sins. But no: I desire to amend my life; I desire to offend Thee no more. Though I have hitherto displeased Thee, I am sorry for it with my whole soul. I desire henceforth to love Thee, and I desire to love Thee more than others, because Thou hast not shown the same patience towards others as towards me.


God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7). But He would be mocked if the sinner could go on continually offending Him, and yet afterwards enjoy Him in Heaven. What things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap (Gal. vi. 8). He who sows good works shall reap rewards; but he who sows iniquities shall reap chastisements. The hope of those who commit sin because God is forgiving, is an abomination in His sight. Their hope, says holy Job, is an abomination (Job xi. 20). Hence the sinner, by just such hope, provokes God to chastise him the sooner, as that servant would provoke his master, who, because his master was good, took advantage of his goodness to behave wickedly.

O Jesus, such, I fear, has been my conduct towards Thee. Because Thou wast good I made no account of Thy precepts! I confess that I have done wickedly, and I detest all the offences I have committed against Thee. Now I love Thee more than myself, and I desire never more to displease Thee. Ah, if I should again offend Thee by mortal sin! Permit it not, O Lord, but rather let me die. O Mary, Mother of perseverance, do thou assist me.
"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
Wednesday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation


The Lord does not tell us to prepare ourselves for death, but to be prepared, when death arrives. Be ye ready! The time of death will not be the time to prepare ourselves to die well. To die well and happily we must prepare ourselves beforehand.


Be ye ready. The Lord does not tell us to prepare ourselves, but to be prepared, when death arrives. When death comes it will be almost impossible, in that tempest and confusion, to tranquillise a troubled conscience. This, reason tells us: this, God threatens, saying that then He will come, not to pardon, but to avenge, the contempt of His graces. Revenge is mine, I will repay (Rom. xii. 19). It is, says St. Augustine, a just punishment, that he who was unwilling, when he was able, to save his soul, will not be able when he is willing. But you will say: Perhaps I may still be converted and saved. Would you throw yourself into a deep well, saying, Perhaps I may not be drowned? O God! how sin blinds the understanding, and deprives the soul of reason. When there is question of the body, men speak rationally; but when the soul is concerned, they speak like fools.

Who knows, dear Christian, but this point which you read is the last warning that God may send you? Let us immediately prepare for death, that it may not come upon us without giving us time to prepare for judgment. St. Augustine says that God conceals from us the last day of life, that we may be always prepared to die. St. Paul tells us that we must work out our salvation, not only with fear, but also with trembling. St. Antoninus relates that a certain king of Sicily, to make one of his subjects understand the fear with which he sat on the throne, commanded him to sit at table with a sword suspended over him by a slender thread. The apprehension that the thread might give way filled him with so much terror that he could scarcely taste food. We are all in like danger; for the sword of death, on which our eternal salvation depends, may at any moment fall upon us.

Ah my God! who has ever loved me more than Thou hast? And whom have I despised and insulted more than I have insulted Thee? O Blood! O Wounds of Jesus, you are my hope. Eternal Father, look not upon my sins, but look at the Wounds of Jesus; behold Thy Son dying through pain for my sake, and asking Thee to pardon me. I repent, O my Creator, of having offended Thee. I am sorry for it above all things. Thou didst create me that I might love Thee; and I have lived as if Thou hadst created me to offend Thee.


It is indeed a question of Eternity. If the tree fall to the south or to the north, in which place soever it shall fall there shall it lie (Eccles. xi. 3). If, when death comes, we are found in the grace of God, oh! with what joy shall we say: I have secured all; I can never again lose God; I shall be happy forever. But, if death finds the soul in sin, with what despair will it exclaim: Ergo erravimus! I have erred! And for my error there will be no remedy for all eternity. The fear of an unhappy eternity made the Blessed Father Avila, apostle of Spain, say, when the news of death was brought to him: Oh! that I had a little more time to prepare for death! This fear made the Abbot Agatha, who spent so many years in penance, say at death: What will become of me? Who can know the judgments of God? St. Arsenius, too, trembled at the hour of death; and being asked by his disciples, why he was so much alarmed, he said: "My children, this fear is not new to me; I have had it always during my whole life." Above all, holy Job trembled when he said: What shall I do when the Lord shall rise to judge? and when he shall examine, what shall I answer him? (Job xxxi. 14).

O Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus Christ, pardon me and give me grace to love Thee. I have hitherto resisted Thy will, but I will resist no longer, and will do whatsoever Thou commandest. Thou commandest me to detest the outrages I have offered Thee; behold, I detest them with my whole heart. Thou commandest me to resolve to offend Thee no more; behold, I resolve to lose my life a thousand times, rather than forfeit Thy grace. Thou commandest me to love Thee with my whole heart; yes, with my whole heart I love Thee, and I wish to love nothing else but Thee. Thou wilt henceforth be my only beloved, my only love. From Thee I ask, and from Thee I hope for holy perseverance. For the love of Jesus Christ grant that I may be always faithful to Thee, and that I may always say to Thee, with St. Bonaventure: "My beloved is one, my love is one." I do not wish that my life be employed any longer in giving Thee displeasure; I wish to spend it only in weeping over the offences I have committed against Thee, and in loving Thee. Mary, my Mother, pray for all who recommend themselves to thee, -- pray to Jesus also for me.

Spiritual Reading


From the foregoing facts Clement of Alexandria subsequently inferred, that if God Himself had not upheld the Christian Faith, it could never have withstood the efforts of so many philosophers who endeavoured to obscure it with sophisms, or the violence of so many kings and emperors who laboured to extinguish it by persecution. The number of Christians, far from having been diminished by the slaughter of the Saints, became so wonderfully increased, that Tertullian said: "Our number grows in the same measure that you decimate us; the Blood of the Christians is as it were a seed." He used the word seed because the Blood of the Martyrs was that which multiplied the faithful. Tertullian, indeed, boasted of this, and upbraided the tyrants with their impotency; since, notwithstanding all their endeavours to exterminate the followers of the Gospel, the streets, the Forum, and even the Senate, were filled with Christians. Origen likewise wrote: "It is a thing worthy of note and eminently calculated to excite wonder, the steady progress of the Christian Religion,in spite of the most untiring persecution and continual Martyrdoms." "Greeks and barbarians," continues this celebrated writer, "the learned and unlearned, voluntarily embraced it; from which we may conclude that its propagation is due to a higher than human power."

Before the end of the Second Century, we are assured by Tertullian, that all nations (universae gentes) had embraced the Faith of Jesus. He makes special mention of the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Armenia, and of Phrygia, of Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Cirenasia, and Palestine; the Gethuli, the whole of Spain, many of the Gallic tribes, Bretagne, the Sarmatians, the Dacians, the Scythians, and many remote nations, provinces and islands. Arnobius, who died a hundred years after Tertullian, adds to the list of those converted to the Faith, the Indians, the Sarii, the Persians, and the Medes; Arabia, Syria, Gallacia, Acaja, Macedonia, and Epirus, with all the islands and provinces from the rising to the setting sun. Besides those regions enumerated by Tertullian, St. Athanasius, half a century afterwards, mentions others. Writing to the Emperor Jovinian, he says: "Know that this Faith has been preached from the beginning, approved by the Nicene Fathers, and professed by all the Churches of the world -- in Spain, in England, and in Gaul; throughout the whole of Italy, in Dalmatia, Dacia, Mysia, and Macedonia; in all Greece, and in all Africa; in Sardinia, Cyprus, Crete, Pamphylia, Lysia, and Isauria; in Egypt and Lybia, in Pontus and Cappadocia."

Thus we see that, after the Ten Persecutions of the Roman emperors, which lasted for more than two hundred years, beginning from the first under Nero, the greater part of the human race, having abandoned the worship of false deities, had embraced the doctrines of Christianity. Finally, after so many struggles, it pleased the Almighty Disposer of events to grant peace to His Church under Constantine. This emperor was, after a miraculous manner, chosen by Heaven for the carrying out of the merciful dispensations of Divine Providence. Having first overcome Maxentius and afterwards Licinius, in the strong arm of the Lord, -- for, as Eusebius relates, in whatever direction the Labarum, or Standard of the Cross, appeared, the enemy either fled or surrendered, -- after peace had been established he forbade the Gentiles to sacrifice any longer to their idols, and caused magnificent temples to be erected to the honour of Jesus Christ. And oh, how glorious did not the Church then appear! Still more widely extending her blessed influence, and, with every new conquest, bringing additional joy to the hearts of her once persecuted children! Then ceased the torments of the Martyr, and with them the bitter calumnies of the idolater. Busy multitudes of zealous converts were to be seen in every city destroying the idols they once adored, pulling down the ancient shrines of superstition, and erecting new Altars to the worship of the true God! The confines of so vast an empire were too narrow a limit for the active zeal of the great Constantine. He laboured to propagate the saving doctrines of Religion in Persia and among the barbarous nations he had subdued; nor would he, according to Eusebius and Socrates, grant them the friendship of the Roman Empire except upon the condition of their becoming Christians.

Evening Meditation



Holy David said that the happiness of this life is as the dream of one awaking from sleep: As the dream of them that awake (Ps. lxxii. 20). All the greatness and glory of this world will appear no more to poor worldlings at the hour of death than a dream to one awaking from sleep, who finds that the fortune he had acquired in his dreams ends with his sleep. Hence did one who was undeceived wisely write on the skull of a dead man: Cogitanti omnia vilescunt: To one who thinks, all things are worthless. Yes, to him who thinks on death, all the goods of this life appear, as they really are, vile and transitory. Nor can that man fix his affections on the earth who reflects that in a short time he must leave it forever. Ah, my God, how often have I despised Thy grace for the miserable goods of this world! From henceforth I desire to think of nothing but of loving and serving Thee. Assist me with Thy Holy grace.

And is it thus then, that worldly grandeur and sovereign power must end! Such was the exclamation of St. Francis Borgia, when he beheld the corpse of the Empress Isabella, who had died in the flower of her youth. Reflecting upon what he saw, he resolved to bid adieu to the world, and to give himself entirely to God, saying: I will henceforward serve a master who will never forsake me. Let us detach ourselves from the goods of the present life before death tears us away from them. What folly it is to expose ourselves to the danger of losing our souls, for the sake of some attachment to this miserable world, from which we shall soon have to depart, for soon it will be said to us by the minister of God: Go forth, Christian soul, out of this world! O my Jesus that I had always loved Thee! How many offences have I been guilty of against Thee! Teach me how to correct my disorderly life, for I am willing to do whatever Thou pleasest. Accept of my love, accept of my repentance, in which I love Thee more than myself, and crave Thy mercy and compassion.


Reflect that you cannot remain for ever in this world. You must one day leave the country in which you now reside; you must one day go out from the house in which you now dwell, to return to it no more. Think that many before you inhabited the same room in which you are at present reading; that they slept in the same bed in which you are accustomed to sleep: and where are they now? Gone into eternity. The same will happen to you. Make me to understand, O God, the injustice I have been guilty of in turning my back upon Thee, my Sovereign Good; and grant me sorrow to bewail my ingratitude as I ought. O that I had died rather than ever offend Thee. Suffer me not to live any longer ungrateful for the love Thou hast shown me. My dear Redeemer, I love Thee above all things and I desire to love Thee with all my strength during the remainder of my life. Strengthen my weakness by Thy grace. And do thou, O Mary, Mother of God, intercede for me. 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
Thursday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation

(For Twenty-Fifth of January)


The Prophet Isaias calls Jesus Christ the man of sorrows, because His life was to be full of sorrow. His Passion did not begin at the time of His death. It commenced with His life -- a life of internal and external sorrows from beginning to end.


Jesus Christ could have saved man without suffering and without dying; but no, He chose a life full of tribulations in order to make us know how much He loved us. Therefore the Prophet Isaias called Him the Man of sorrows (Is. liii. 3), because the life of Jesus Christ was to be a life full of sorrows. His Passion did not begin at the time of His death, but from the commencement of His life.

Behold Him, as soon as He is born, laid in a stable where for Jesus everything is a torment. His sight is tormented by seeing nothing in the cave but black, rough walls. His sense of smell is tormented by the stench of the dung of beasts lying there. His sense of touch is tormented by the pricking of the straw that serves Him as a bed. Soon after His birth He is obliged to fly into Egypt where He passed several years of His childhood poor and despised. The life which He afterwards led in Nazareth was not less poor and lowly. Behold Him at length terminating His life in Jerusalem, dying on a Cross by dint of torments.

O my sweet Love, have I, then, by my sins kept Thee in a state of affliction all Thy life long? Oh, tell me, then, what I can do that Thou mayest forgive me, for I will leave nothing undone. I repent, O sovereign Good, of all the offences I have committed against Thee; I repent, and I love Thee more than myself. I feel a great desire to love Thee. It is Thou that givest me this desire; give me, therefore, strength to love Thee ardently.


Thus, then, the life of Jesus was one of continual suffering, and, indeed, a double suffering; for He had constantly before His eyes all the sorrows that would afflict Him until the day of His death. Sister Mary Magdalen Orsini, complaining one day before the Crucifix, said to Him: "O Lord, Thou wert on the Cross only for three hours, but I have suffered this pain for several years." Jesus answered her: "Oh, ignorant that thou art, what dost thou say? I suffered even from My Mother's womb all the pains of My life and My death." But all these sufferings did not so much afflict Jesus Christ -- because He chose voluntarily to suffer them -- as did the sight of our sins, and of our ingratitude for His great love. St. Margaret of Cortona was never satisfied with weeping over the offences she committed against God. Wherefore her confessor said to her one day: "Margaret, cease crying, because God has already forgiven thee." But she replied: "Ah, Father, how can I cease weeping, when I know that my sins kept Jesus Christ in a state of affliction all His life?"

It is only just, O Jesus, that I, who have offended Thee so much, should also love Thee much. Oh, remind me constantly of the love Thou hast borne me, in order that my soul may always burn with the love of Thee; that it may think of Thee alone, desire Thee alone, and strive to please Thee alone. O God of love, I, who once was the slave of hell, now give myself entirely to Thee. Accept me in Thy mercy, O Jesus, and bind me with Thy love, from this day forth. I will love Thee in life, and loving Thee I will die. O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love Thy dear Jesus and mine. This favour alone I desire and hope from thee.

Spiritual Reading


True it is that from time to time divers heresies have sprung up in the Church, which have been productive of much evil; but the hand of the Lord hath not been shortened. Even in these latter days we have had authentic accounts of very considerable advances made by the Church, both among heretics and pagans. A learned author writes that ten thousand Arians have recently been converted in Transylvania. In Prussia a very large number of Catholic churches have been erected. In Denmark the public profession of the Catholic Religion is now tolerated. The missions in England are being carried on with very happy results. We have been assured by persons of authority and undoubted veracity, that in the East forty thousand Armenian and other oriental heretics have been received into the communion of our holy Church; that in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Chaldea the number of Catholics is every day increasing; and that during the last few years several Nestorian Bishops have abjured the errors of that sect. Finally, during the present Century a considerable number of pagans have been converted in India and China.

But to return to the Martyrs. The number of Christians who had received the Crown of Martyrdom previous to the accession of Constantine was almost incredible. Many authors calculate the number of those who had laid down their lives for the Faith to have been nearly eleven millions! So that if this number were equally distributed in the course of one year, thirty thousand would be allotted to each day.

Oh, the beautiful harvest of holy Martyrs that Paradise has reaped since the preaching of the Gospel! But, O God, what will be the confusion of the tyrants and of all the persecutors of the Faith on the day of General Judgment, at the sight of the Martyrs once so despised and so maltreated by them, when these celestial heroes shall appear in glory, extolling the greatness of God, and armed with the sword of divine justice to avenge themselves for all the injuries and cruelties exercised against them, as was foretold by David: The high praises of God in their mouths, and two-edged swords in their hands to execute vengeance upon the nations; to bind their kings in fetters, and their nobles in manacles of iron (Ps. cxlix. 6). Then shall the Martyrs judge the Neros, the Domitians, and other persecutors, and shall condemn them; yea, as we read in the Gospel of St. Matthew, even to the exterior darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. xxii. 13).

But it will be for us a subject of more profitable meditation to reflect upon another scene which the great day of general and irrevocable doom will present -- the despair of so many Christians who, having died in mortal sin, will behold with unavailing anguish the triumph of so many Martyrs, who, rather than lose God, suffered themselves to be despoiled of all things, and underwent the most horrid torments that hell could suggest or tyrants inflict; while they, rather than yield a point of honour or forego a momentary gratification, despised the suggestions of divine grace and lost their souls forever!

Evening Meditation



God Himself declares that the sinner treats Him with contempt and complains of it in these words: I have brought up children, and exalted them; but they have despised me (Is. i. 2). I have brought up My children, I have preserved and nourished them, but with base ingratitude they have despised Me. But who is God Who is thus despised by men? He is the Creator of Heaven and earth; He is the sovereign, infinite Good, in Whose sight men and Angels are as a drop of water, or a grain of sand: as a drop of a bucket ... as a little dust (Is. xl. 15). In a word, all things created, in the presence of His infinite greatness, are as though they were not: All nations are before him as if they had no being at all, and are counted to him nothing and vanity (Is. xl. 17).

Behold me, O God, a daring sinner who has presumed to despise Thy infinite majesty. But whilst Thou art infinite majesty, Thou art also infinite mercy. I love Thee, O Lord, and because I love Thee I am sorry for having offended Thee; do Thou have pity on me.

And, O God, who am I who have despised Thee? A poor helpless worm who have nothing but what Thou in Thy bounty hast bestowed upon me. Thou hast given me my soul, my body, the use of reason, and numberless other benefits in this world; and I have made no other use of them all but to offend Thee, my Benefactor. Nay, more; at the very time that Thou didst preserve my life, that I might not fall into hell as I deserved, I abused Thy goodness and forbearance. O my Saviour, how couldst Thou have had such patience with me? Wretch that I am, how many nights have I slept under Thy displeasure! But Thou wouldst not have me perish. I trust, O my Jesus, in Thy Blessed Passion that Thou wilt enable me to change my life. Let not that sacred Blood be lost, which with so much pain and sorrow Thou didst shed for my salvation.


Man is a miserable worm that can do nothing; he is so blind that he knows nothing; so poor and naked that he possesses nothing. And this miserable worm voluntarily insults God! Vile dust, says St. Bernard, dares to provoke such tremendous Majesty!

O God, what have I done? Thou, my Redeemer, hast shown such regard for my soul as to shed Thy Blood for its salvation, and I have been so wretched as to allow it to perish for a mere nothing, for a caprice, for a maddening passion, for a miserable gratification, in contempt of Thy grace and love. Ah! if Faith did not assure me that Thou didst promise to pardon those who repent, I should not now dare to implore Thy forgiveness. O my Saviour, I kiss Thy sacred Wounds, and for the love of these Wounds I beseech Thee to forget the injuries I have committed against Thee. Thou hast said that when the sinner repents, Thou wilt forget all his ingratitude. I am sorry above every evil for having despised Thee, my sovereign Good; make haste to pardon me, as Thou hast promised; let me be quickly reconciled to Thee. I love Thee now more than myself; may I never more incur Thy displeasure! O Mary, refuge of sinners, succour a poor sinner who invokes thy assistance.
"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
Friday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation


The poor dying sinner will be assailed, not by one, but by many causes of distress and anguish. Devils will tempt him, and his sins like so many satellites will say to him: We are thy works; we shall not desert thee.


The poor dying sinner will be assailed, not by one, but by many causes of distress and anguish. On the one hand the devils will torment him. At death these horrid enemies exert all their strength to secure the perdition of the soul that is about to leave this world. They know that they have but little time to gain it, and that if they lose it at death, they lose it forever. The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time (Apoc. xii. 12). The dying man will be tempted, not by one, but by innumerable devils who will labour for his damnation. Their houses shall be filled with serpents (Is. xiii. 21). One tempter will say: Fear not; you will recover. Another: You have been deaf to the inspirations of God for so many years, and do you now expect that He will have mercy on you? Another will ask: How can you make satisfaction for all the injuries you have done to the property and character of your neighbours? Another: Do you not see that your Confessions have been useless; that they have been made without sorrow or purpose of amendment? How will you be able to repair them now?

On the other hand, the dying man will see himself surrounded by his sins. Evils, says David, shall catch the unjust man unto destruction (Ps. cxxxix. 12). These sins, says St. Bernard, shall, like so many satellites, keep him in chains, saying unto him: We are your works; we shall not desert you. We are your fruits, and we will not leave you; we will accompany you into the other world and will present ourselves with you to the Eternal Judge. The dying man will then wish to shake off such enemies; but, to get rid of them, he must detest them and return sincerely to God. His mind is darkened and his heart hardened. A hard heart shall fare evil at the last; and he that loveth danger shall perish in it (Ecclus. iii. 27). St. Bernard says that the man who has been obstinate in sin during life, will make efforts, but without success, to get out of the state of damnation; and that, overwhelmed by his own malice, he will end his life in the same unhappy state.

My dear Saviour, assist me; do not abandon me. I see my whole soul covered with the wounds of sin; my passions attack me violently; my bad habits weigh me down. I cast myself at Thy feet; have pity on me and deliver me from so many evils. In thee, O Lord, I have hoped; may I not be confounded forever (Ps. xxx. 6). Do not suffer a soul that trusts in Thee to be lost. Deliver not up to beasts the souls that confess to thee (Ps. lxxiii. 19).


Having loved sin till death, the sinner has also loved the danger of damnation. Hence the Lord will justly permit him to perish in that danger in which he has voluntarily lived till the end of his life. St. Augustine says that he who is abandoned by sin before he abandons it, will scarcely detest it as he ought; because what he will then do will be done through necessity.

Miserable the sinner that hardens his heart and resists the divine calls: His heart shall be as hard as a stone and as firm as a smith's anvil (Job xli. 15). Instead of yielding to the graces and inspirations of God, and being softened by them, the unhappy man becomes more obdurate, as the anvil is hardened by repeated strokes of the hammer. In punishment of his resistance to the divine calls, he will find his heart in the same miserable state at the very hour of death, at the moment of passing into eternity. A hard heart shall fare evil at the last. Sinners, says the Lord, have, for the love of creatures, turned their back upon Me. They have turned their back upon me and not their face; and in the time of their affliction they will say: Arise and deliver us! Where are the gods thou hast made thee? Let them arise and deliver thee. (Jer. ii. 27). They will have recourse to God at death; but He will say to them: Is it to Me you have recourse now? Call on creatures to succour you, for they have been your gods! The Lord will address them in this manner, because, in seeking Him, they do not sincerely wish to be converted. St. Jerome says that he holds, and has learned from experience, that they who have to the end led a bad life, will never die a good death.

I am sorry for having offended Thee, O infinite Goodness. I have done evil, I confess my guilt. I wish to amend my life, whatsoever it may cost me. But if Thou dost not help me by Thy grace, I am lost. Receive, O my Jesus, the rebel who has so grievously outraged Thy Majesty. Remember that I have been purchased by Thy Blood and Thy life. Through the merits then of Thy Passion and Death, receive me into Thy arms and give me holy perseverance. I was lost, Thou hast called me back: I will resist no longer: to Thee I consecrate myself. Bind me to Thy love and never permit me to lose Thee by again losing Thy grace. My Jesus, do not permit it. Mary, my Queen, do not permit it: obtain for me death and a thousand deaths, rather than that I should again forfeit the grace of thy Son.

Spiritual Reading


From an earnest consideration of the illustrious examples of virtue which the Saints have given us during their Martyrdom, oh, how much is to be learned!

When we behold in devout meditation, the utter contempt in which the Martyrs held the world and all the allurements of its pompous vanities, we are taught to despise the fleeting vanities and empty pleasures which it offers its deluded votaries. Many of them, previous to having been put to torture, had been offered by the tyrants immense rewards, posts of honour and noble marriages, to induce them to abandon the Faith. Yet they not only indignantly refused them, but willingly renounced the riches and honours which they already held, and offered themselves to tortures the most excruciating and deaths the most ignominious, in order not to lose those heavenly graces which a benign Providence fails not to impart to the servants of the Lord, as the earnest of the eternal blessings which shall be the recompense of their fidelity. To St. Clement of Ancyra the tyrant offered a great quantity of gold and precious stones if he would deny the Name of the Lord Jesus; but the Saint, raising his eyes to Heaven, exclaimed: "And is it thus, O my God, that men treat Thee! -- to compare Thee to dust and dross!" The pontifical dignity was offered to St. Theodore of Amasea, as a reward if he gave up the Faith. The holy Martyr, ridiculing the proposal, replied: "Pontifical dignity! I am about to enjoy God forever in Heaven; and is it likely, think you, that I should prefer remaining on earth, to follow the trade of cook and butcher like your priests who offer sacrifice to false gods?"

From the example of the Martyrs we learn also to place our hope in God, and to become daily more enamoured of the excellence of our Faith: since in their constancy we cannot help admiring the wonderful power of God which enabled them to encounter torments and death with heroic fortitude and ecstatic joy. For without the interposition of the most powerful assistance from Heaven, how could persons of a delicate constitution, or in the tottering decrepitude of age, how could tender virgins and children be equal to tortures, the bare recital of which fills us with horror? Caldrons of boiling oil and liquid pitch; red-hot coats of mail; hooks to pull out the eyes and teeth; irons combs to tear off the flesh; fires quick to consume, or tediously to torture; scourging until bones and bowels appeared: beheading, quartering, lacerating, impaling -- these were only some of the ingredients of the Martyr's cup.

St. Barlaam, a poor labourer of a village in Antioch, having evinced extraordinary fortitude during his sufferings, and been scourged until the executioners had exhausted their strength, was forced by the tyrant to hold his hand over the flame that burned before the shrine of an idol. At the same time burning coals were placed with some incense upon his hand, in the hope that he might be obliged by the pain to let the burning incense fall upon the altar, and thus afford them the opportunity of asserting that he had sacrificed to the idols; but the constancy of the Saint was greater than their malice -- he allowed his flesh to be burned to the bone, and expired in the effort.

St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom have eulogized this Martyr.

St. Eulalia affords another instance of the wonderful aid the Almighty gives to those who are devoted to His service. She was a youthful virgin, of only twelve years. The tyrant ordered her to be cruelly scourged, and then caused boiling oil to be poured into the wounds, and burning torches to be applied to her breasts and sides. During these tortures she ceased not to praise the Lord. Her joints were entirely dislocated, the flesh torn from her bones with iron hooks, and she was finally burned alive, having baffled the ingenuity of her inhuman executioners.

The Martyrdom, also, of St. Vitus and St. Agapitus shows us the wonderful assistance of grace, which never fails the servants of the Lord. The former when only fourteen years of age, was scourged, racked, and torn with irons. His father who was a Gentile, wept with anguish to see his son expire in such torments. "No, father," exclaimed the boy, "I do not die: I go to live with Christ forever!" St. Agapitus, also a youth, evinced the same fortitude. The tyrant threatened that he would place upon his head a red-hot helmet: "And what better fortune could await me," said the Saint, "than to exchange your instrument of torture for a heavenly crown?" Then the emperor ordered that red-hot coals should be placed on his head, that he be scourged, and suspended by the feet over a thick smoke. He afterwards had boiling water poured over his breast, and finally had him beheaded.

The triumph of divine grace in the aged was manifested in St. Simeon, who at the age of one hundred and twenty endured the most excruciating tortures and expired on a cross, as is related by Eusebius of Caesarea. St. Philip, Bishop of Heraclea, in his decrepit old age, was dragged by the feet through the city, scourged till his bowels appeared, and afterwards burned alive. The venerable Martyr, till his last breath, ceased not to return thanks to the Lord Who had made him worthy to die for His glory.

Evening Meditation



So, then, my Jesus, in order to save my soul, Thou hast prepared a bath of thine own Blood wherein to cleanse it from the filth of its sins. If, therefore, our souls have been bought by Thy Blood, for you are bought with a great price (1 Cor. vi. 20), it is a sign that Thou lovest them much; and as Thou dost love them, let us pray thus to Thee: We therefore pray thee to help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood. (Te Deum). It is true that by my sins I have separated myself from Thee and have knowingly lost Thee. But remember, my Jesus, that Thou hast purchased me with Thy Blood. Ah, may this Blood not have been given in vain for me, which was shed with so much grief and so much love!

By my sins I have driven Thee, my God, from my soul, and have merited Thy hatred; but Thou hast said that Thou wouldst forget the crimes of a repentant sinner. But if he do penance ... I will not remember all his iniquities (Ezech. xviii. 21). Thou hast also said, I love them that love Me (Prov. viii. 17). I pray Thee, therefore, my Jesus, to forget all the injuries that I have offered Thee, and love me; whilst I also will now love Thee more than myself, and repent above all things for having offended Thee. Ah, my beloved Lord, for the sake of that Blood Thou hast shed for the love of me, hate me no longer, but love me. It is not enough for me that Thou shouldst only forgive me the chastisement I deserve, I desire to love Thee and to be loved by Thee. O God, Who art all love, all goodness, unite me and bind me to Thyself, and permit not that I should ever again be separated from Thee and deserve Thy hatred. No, my Jesus, my Love, let it not be, I will be all Thine, and I desire that Thou shouldst be all mine.


He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death; even the death of the cross (Phil. ii. 8).

What great thing is it that the Martyrs did in giving their lives for God, while this God humbled himself to the death of the Cross for their love! To render a just return for the death of a God, it would not be sufficient to sacrifice the lives of all men; the death of another God for His love would alone compensate for it. O my Jesus, allow me, a poor sinner, to say to Thee with Thy true lover, St. Francis of Assisi: "May I die, Lord, for the love of Thy love, Who, for the love of my love didst deign to die."

Is it true, my Redeemer, that hitherto, for the love of my own pleasures, I, unhappy that I am, renounced Thy love? Would that I had died before I had ever offended Thee! I thank Thee that Thou givest me time to love Thee in this life that I may afterwards love Thee throughout all eternity. Ah, remind me continually, my Jesus, of the ignominious death Thou hast suffered for me, that I may never forget to love Thee in consideration of the love Thou hast borne me. I love Thee, infinite Goodness; I love Thee, my supreme Good. To Thee I give myself entirely, and by that love which caused Thee to die for me, do Thou accept my love; and let me die, destroy me, rather than ever permit me to leave off loving Thee. I will say to Thee, with St. Francis de Sales: "O Eternal Love, my soul seeks Thee and chooses Thee for all eternity! Come, O Holy Spirit and inflame our hearts with Thy love. Either to love or to die! To die to all other affections, to live only to the love of Jesus!"
"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
Saturday--Second Week after Epiphany

Morning Meditation


Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways ... Blessed is the man that watcheth daily at my gates (Prov. viii. 32, 34).

Blessed is he who, like the poor who stand before the gates of the rich, is careful to seek for the alms of graces before the doors of the mercy of Mary! And thrice blessed is he who moreover seeks to imitate the virtues which he remarks in Mary, and more especially her purity and humility.


St. Augustine says that to obtain with more certainty and in greater abundance the favour of the Saints, we must imitate them; for when they see us practising their virtues, they are moved all the more to pray for us. The Queen of Saints and our principal Advocate, Mary, has no sooner delivered a soul from Lucifer's grasp and united it to God, than she desires that it should begin to imitate her virtues, otherwise she cannot enrich it with the graces that she would wish, seeing it so opposed to her in conduct. Therefore Mary calls those blessed who with diligence imitate her life: Now, therefore, ye children, hear me; blessed are they that keep my ways

Whosoever loves, resembles the person loved, or endeavours to become like that person, according to the well-known proverb: Love either finds or makes it like. Hence St. Sophronius exhorts us, if we love Mary, to endeavour to imitate her, because this is the greatest act of homage we can offer her. "Let the child, then," says St. Bernard, "endeavour to imitate his Mother, if he desires her favour; for Mary seeing herself treated as a Mother will treat him as her child."

O my Mother, I love thee, but I fear I do not love thee as I ought. I know that love makes lovers like to the person loved. If, then, I see myself so unlike thee, it is a mark that I do not love thee. Thou art so pure, and I, defiled with many sins! Thou so humble, and I so proud! Thou so holy and I so wicked. This, then, is what thou hast to do, O Mary, since thou lovest me! Make me like thyself. Thou hast all power to change hearts; take mine and change it. Show the world thou canst do it for those that love thee. Make me thy worthy child.


As the devotion most dear to Mary is to endeavour to imitate her virtues, it would be well, therefore, to propose to ourselves the imitation of some virtue that corresponds to her Festivals. As, for example, on the Feast of her Immaculate Conception, purity of intention; on her Nativity, renewal of spirit and to throw off tepidity; on her Presentation, detachment from something to which we are most attached; on her Annunciation, humility in supporting contempt; on her Visitation, charity towards our neighbour, in giving alms, or at least in praying for sinners; on her Purification, obedience to Superiors. And finally, on the Feast of her Assumption, let us endeavour to detach ourselves from this world, to do all we can to prepare ourselves for death, and regulate each day of our lives as if it were our last.

"Mary was such," says St. Ambrose, "that her life alone was a model for all ... Let the virginity and life of Mary be to you as a faithful image in which the form of virtue is resplendent. Thence learn how to live, what to avoid, what to retain."

O Mother of mercy, behold I, the most miserable of all men, have now recourse to Thy compassion in order that thou mayest grant me what I ask. Others may ask bodily health, worldly goods and advantages, but I come, O Lady, to ask thee for that which thou desirest of me and which is most agreeable to thy most holy heart. Thou who wast so humble, obtain for me humility and love of contempt. Thou who wast so patient under the sufferings of this life, obtain for me patience in trials. Thou who wast all filled with the love of God, obtain for me His pure and holy love. Thou who wast all love towards thy neighbour, obtain for me charity towards my neighbour. Thou, in fine, art the most holy of all creatures, O Mary, make me a Saint. Thou canst do all things, O my Mother, my hope, my love, my refuge, my help and my consolation. Amen.

Spiritual Reading


From the Patience which the Martyrs displayed during their tortures, we should learn to suffer with holy resignation the crosses and afflictions of this life. Poverty, sickness, persecution, contumely, injustice, and all other evils are but trifling when compared with their sufferings. The reflection that it was the will of God that they should suffer for His love, was their only solace. We also in our tribulations should remember the necessity of resignation to the Divine will; and, calling to mind the more grievous sufferings of the Martyrs, should blush to complain. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: "Conformity to the Divine will is a sovereign remedy for all our trials."

It may be useful here to remark, with St. Augustine, that it is not the torture but the cause which makes the martyr. Whence St. Thomas teaches that Martyrdom is to suffer death in the exercise of an act of virtue, from which we may infer that not only he who by the hands of the executioner lays down his life for the Faith, but whoever dies in order to comply with the Divine will, and to please God, is a Martyr, since in sacrificing himself to the Divine love he performs an act of the most exalted virtue. We all have to pay the great debt of nature; let us therefore endeavour in holy prayer, to obtain resignation to the Divine will -- to receive death and every tribulation in conformity with the dispensations of God's Providence. As often as we perform this act of resignation with sufficient fervour, we may hope to be made partakers of the merits of the Martyrs. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, in reciting the Gloria Patri, etc. in the Office, always bowed her head in the same spirit as she would have done in receiving the stroke of the executioner.

The example of the Martyrs teaches us also to have immediate recourse to the assistance of God by earnest supplication, when we feel ourselves disconsolate or weak under affliction. Thus acted the holy Martyrs. As their torture increased they multiplied their prayers and secured the victory. St. Theodore, after a long endurance of his tortures, was stretched upon burning tiles; feeling the pain penetrating to his very heart, he besought the Lord to sweeten his suffering.; and so persevered to the end. There have been on the contrary examples of Christians, who, failing to invoke the assistance of the Almighty, have fallen off from the confession of the Faith, and forfeited the glorious crown. An example is found in the Acts of the Martyrs of Japan. An aged man, having been condemned to a protracted Martyrdom, endured the torture for a considerable time, but failing to invoke heavenly aid, denied his Faith a few moments before he expired -- a startling warning to all, that perseverance in prayer in times of temptations and distress is that which alone can assure us the victory.

But the most important lesson that we learn from the martyrs is to love God: He who loveth not abideth in death (Jo. iii. 14). We cannot manifest our love of God by a multitude of actions performed for His glory so well as by a willingness to suffer for His sake. St. Gordianus replied to the tyrant who threatened to put him to death if he did not deny the Name of Jesus: "You threaten death! But my greatest regret is, that I can die only once for Jesus Christ!" In a similar manner St. Procopius exclaimed to the tyrant, who was directing further tortures: "Torment as much as thou wilt, but know that to one who truly loves Jesus Christ, nothing is dearer than to suffer for His sake." "And did the Saints speak thus," asks St. Bernard, "because they were in a state of stupor or insensible to torments?" No, says the holy Doctor, it was neither stupor nor insensibility, but their love of Jesus Christ which caused them to esteem it all joy to suffer and to die for His glory. This ardent love of God is certainly the greatest spiritual advantage to be derived from the perusal of the Acts of the Martyrs; the recollection of their conduct will make us ashamed to repine under the tribulations Divine Providence sends us, and will strengthen us to receive them with resignation.

Evening Meditation



St. Paul says that Jesus Christ, by dying for us, was made our justification: He is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. i. 30). "Justice," comments St. Bernard, "in the washing-away of sins." Yes, for God, accepting on our behalf the torments and death of Jesus Christ, is obliged to pardon us by virtue of the compact made: Him that knew no sin, for us he hath made sin, that we might be made the justice of God in him (2 Cor. v. 21). The innocent One was made a Victim for our sins in order that forgiveness through His merits might of right belong to us. For this reason David prays God to save him, not only for His Mercy's sake, but likewise for the sake of His Justice: Deliver me in thy justice (Ps. xxx. 2).

The eagerness of God to save sinners was always immense. This eagerness led Him to reproach them with that cry: Return, ye transgressors, to the heart (Is. xlvi. 8). Sinners, enter once more into your own hearts; think of the benefits you have received from Me, of the love I have borne you, and offend Me no more. Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you (Zack. i. 3). Return to Me, and I will receive you into my embraces: Why will you die, O house of Israel? Return ye and live (Ezech. xviii. 31). My children, why will you destroy yourselves, and of your own free-will condemn yourselves to everlasting death? Return to Me and you shall live.

In a word, His infinite mercy induced Him to descend from Heaven to earth to come and free us from eternal death: Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us (Luke i. 73). But here we must be mindful of what St. Paul says. Previously to God becoming Man He was full of mercy for us; but He could not feel compassion for our miseries, because compassion implies suffering, and God is incapable of suffering. Now, says the Apostle, in order to be moved also with compassion for us the Eternal Word willed to become Man, capable of suffering, and similar to other men who are affected with compassion, so that He might be able not only to save us, but also to compassionate us: For we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15). And in another passage: It behoved him, in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful high priest ( Heb. ii. 17).

So, then, my Jesus, Thou art my God, and not being able to die as God, Thou hast been pleased to become Man capable of dying in order to give Thy life for me. My sweet Redeemer, how is it that, at the sight of such mercy and love Thou hast shown towards me, I do not die of grief? Thou didst come down from Heaven to seek me, a lost sheep, and how many times have I not driven Thee away, preferring my miserable pleasures before Thee! But since Thou dost wish to have me, I leave all; I wish to be Thine, and I will have none other but Thee.


Oh, what tender compassion Jesus Christ has for poor sinners! This makes Him say He is that Shepherd Who goes about seeking the lost sheep, and on finding it He prepares a feast saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost. And he lays it upon his shoulders rejoicing (Luke xv. 4, 6); and thus He carefully keeps possession of it in His fond embrace for fear He should again lose it. This, too, caused Him to say He is that loving Father Who, whenever a prodigal son that has left Him returns to His feet, does not thrust him away, but embraces him, kisses him, and as it were, faints away for the consolation and fondness which He feels in beholding His repentance: And running to him, he fell upon his neck and kissed him (Luke xv. 20). This causes Him to say: I stand at the gate and knock (Apoc. iii. 20); that is, although driven away from the soul by sin, He does not abandon her, but He places Himself outside the door of her heart and knocks by His calls to gain re-admittance. Hence He said to His disciples who with indiscreet zeal would have called down vengeance on those who repulsed them: You know not of what spirit you are (Luke ix. 55). You see I have so much compassion on sinners; and do you desire vengeance on them? You are not of My spirit. Finally, this compassion made Him say: Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matt. xi. 28). Come to me, all you that are afflicted and tormented with the weight of your sins, and I will give you peace.

Ah, my Jesus, make me know the evil I have committed, and the love which Thou desirest to have. But since Thou hast borne with me till now, permit me not to give Thee any more cause for sorrow. Inflame me altogether with Thy love, and remind me always of all Thou hast suffered for me, that from this day forth I may forget everything, and think of nothing but loving and pleasing Thee. Thou didst come on earth to reign in our hearts; take, then, from my heart all that could prevent Thee from possessing it entirely. Make my will to be wholly conformed to Thy will; may Thy will be my will, and may it be the rule of all my actions and desires.
"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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