St. Alphonsus Liguori: Daily Meditations for Eighteenth Week after Pentecost
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Morning Meditation

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The Church assures us that St. Michael has been given as our defender, and that he comes to the aid of all who have recourse to him. Beseech him that he may be thy special protector with God Who loves him so much.


Among the angels in Heaven none surpass St. Michael in glory; and, according to St. Basil and others, none, indeed, equal him. St. Michael was chosen before all others to subdue the pride of Lucifer and of all the rebel angels, and to expel them from Heaven. If thou lovest this Archangel, who has so great love for men, rejoice at the glory he enjoys in Heaven, and beseech him, that, as he is the protector of the whole Church and of all the faithful, he will be thy special protector with God, Who loves him so much, and Who rejoices in beholding one who is so faithful to Him and so zealous for His honour, so much glorified by all.

In the Mass for the Dead, the Church prays: "Let the standard-bearer, St. Michael, bring them into the holy light." The learned explain this prayer, and say that St. Michael has the honourable office of presenting to Jesus Christ the Judge, all the souls that depart out in this world in the grace of God.

Protect me, therefore, O holy Archangel, and by thy protection enable my soul to become worthy to be presented by thy hands on the day of my death, clothed with Divine grace, before my Judge Jesus Christ.


St. Laurence Justinian says that our holy mother the Church honours St. Michael as her own special protector and faithful intercessor, and the holy Church herself declares she venerates St. Michael, as the ancient Synagogue venerated him, as protector and patron. The holy Archangel, then, as the protector of the whole Church continually intercedes with God in favour of Christians, and obtains for them all the help they need. He also aids the Sovereign Pontiff and all the bishops in the government of souls, and most carefully watches over the defence of the faithful against the attacks of those demons whom he formerly expelled from the heavenly kingdom.

The Church prays to St. Michael, in the name of all the faithful, to defend us from the assaults of the wicked enemy at the hour of our death, that we may not be conquered and may not lose our souls: Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the battle, that we may not perish in the dreadful Judgment.

O holy Archangel, the devil has many weapons to employ against me at the hour of my death; these weapons are my sins, by which he will then endeavour to cast me into despair. He is also preparing furious assaults of temptation, to cause me to fall again into sin. Do thou, who hast conquered him, and expelled him from Heaven, conquer him now for me, and drive him far away from me at the hour of my death; I beseech thee to hear my prayer, for the love of that God Who so much loves thee, and Whom thou dost so much love. O Mary, Queen of Heaven, procure for me the assistance of St. Michael at the hour of my death.

Spiritual Reading


Mankind being lost through the fall of Adam, God sent on earth His only Son to redeem it, and He at the same time charged St. Michael, as a valiant combatant, to repress the powers of hell. He moves through the whole world with great rapidity in order to strengthen men against the temptations of the devil.

We should take care to honour and invoke this great minister of God, for the Church assures us that St. Michael has been given to us as our defender, and that he comes to the aid of every one who has recourse to him. He is specially prompt in succouring those who are tempted by the devil. Pantaleon says that he discloses to us the snares of our enemy, and that he baffles his artifices. The evil spirit often tempts us to regard a bad action as permissible, and even as good, and seeks by this means to destroy us; but St. Michael permits us to see the danger, and thus enables us to avoid the dangers that threaten us.

Father Nieremberg relates that the servant of a great lord, after having, during many years, led a wicked life, was at the point of death. The devil placing inwardly before his mind all his sins, strongly tempted him to despair, and succeeded in making him say that he did not wish to make his Confession, nor to receive any other Sacrament, because he was damned. But as this unfortunate sinner in the midst of his disorders had never ceased to keep up some sentiment of devotion towards St. Michael, and to recommend himself to him, the good Archangel appeared to him at the moment of death and revealed to him that he had prayed for him, adding that the Lord, through his intercession, had granted him three hours more to live in order that he might confess and receive the Sacraments, so as to be able to die in the grace of God. Thereupon the dying man with tears in his eyes, thanked his heavenly benefactor for having obtained for him so great a favour. He then called his brother and begged him to go at once and bring him a confessor. His brother set out at once and directed his steps towards a Dominican convent that was not far away. On the road he met two of these Religious, who told him that they had been called by an unknown person to hear the Confession of the sick man, and that they were going to his house for this purpose. It is presumed that the holy Archangel himself gave them this information and requested them to seek out the dying man. When they arrived the sick man made his Confession and received the Sacraments with lively sentiments of compunction; and after the lapse of the three hours, the man died, giving every hope that he had saved his soul.

Evening Meditation



The Deacon Pantaleon assures us that St. Michael not only obtains for his pious servants the courage and the strength to resist the temptations of hell, but comes in person to fight when he sees any one hard pressed by the devil, and exposed to the proximate danger of falling into sin. Moreover, St. Bruno, bishop of Segni, who lived at the end of the Eleventh Century, says that this generous Archangel loves us so much that he does not cease day or night to give battle for us against the infernal dragon, and that he even calls together those angels under him to combat with him, so that we may not be overcome by our enemy. Pantaleon also adds that St. Michael is always encamped, as it were, near God's people, that is to say, he comes with his angel, and places his guards around Christians, in order that they may not become the prey of hell, especially when they implore him to come to their aid.


St. Michael comes to the assistance of his pious servants if they happen to fall into sin. He obtains for them the grace to know the baseness of their faults, and to detest them. This is the reason why the Church wishes us to confess ourselves guilty, first to God, then to the Blessed Virgin, and then to St. Michael. Here we see that the holy Archangel is also specially asked to help us to recover the grace of God.

St. Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem in the Seventh Century, in a discourse in which he greatly eulogizes St. Michael, calls him the guide of those who go astray; that is to say, he brings back to the path of duty sinners who live far from God, and helps them to find the means of obtaining pardon. The Archangel is also described by the same Saint as the one who raises up those who have fallen; for the holy Archangel by means of salutary inspirations induces sinners to rise out of the unhappy state in which they find themselves.

The Deacon Pantaleon pronounces the same eulogy: "The Archangel leads them forth to the road of penance, and procures for them the remission of sins." St. Michael, who ardently loves our souls, when he sees them lying in the abyss of sin, seeks in different ways to conduct them to penance, which is the only way to return to the state of grace. He adds that the generous Archangel goes so far as to make himself responsible for sinners; that is, seeing one of his pious clients in disgrace with God, he supplicates the Lord to wait for him till he does penance, and he becomes in some way surety for him by promising God that this sinner will offend Him no more, because he will take care to aid him when he sees him in danger of relapsing into 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
Monday--Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


The man sick of the palsy besought Jesus Christ to restore the health of his body; but before doing so the Lord first restored health to his soul. Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. ix. 2). The pain will not be removed till the thorn has been taken out.


God commanded Jonas to go and preach to Ninive. Instead of obeying God, Jonas fled by sea towards Tharsis. But, behold, a great tempest threatened to sink the ship; and Jonas knowing that the tempest was raised in punishment of his disobedience, said to the crew of the vessel: Take me up and cast me into the sea, and the sea shall be calm to you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you (Jon. i. 12). And they actually cast him into the sea, and the tempest ceased. And the sea ceased from raging (Jon. i. 15). If Jonas had not been thrown into the sea the tempest would not have ceased. What do we learn from all this? We may learn that if we do not cast sin out of our souls, the tempest, that is, the scourge of God, will not cease. The tempest is excited by our sins; the tempest which is hurrying us to destruction. Our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Is. lxiv. 6). We may practise many external devotions, but to what purpose if we be not converted, if we do not rid our souls of sin? If we do not abandon our sins, we cannot please God.

It is said that the pain is not removed before the thorn has been plucked out. St. Jerome writes that God is never angered, since anger is passion, and passion is incompatible with God. He is always tranquil; and even in the act of punishing, His tranquillity is not in the least disturbed. But thou being master of power, judgest with tranquillity (Wis. xii. 18). But the malice of mortal sin is so great, that if God were capable of wrath and affliction, it would anger and afflict Him. This is what sinners do as far as in them lies, according to the words of Isaias: But they provoked to wrath, and afflicted the spirit of his holy One (Is. lxiii. 10). Moses writes, that when God was about to send the Deluge, He declared Himself to be so much afflicted by the sins of men as to be obliged to exterminate them from the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, he said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth (Gen. vi. 6, 7).


St. John Chrysostom says that sin alone is the cause of all our sufferings and chastisements. Commenting upon these words in Genesis which the Lord spoke after the deluge: I will set my bow in the clouds (Gen. ix. 13), St. Ambrose remarks that God does not say: I will set My arrow, but My bow, in the clouds; giving us thereby to understand that it is always the sinner who fixes the arrow in the bow of God by provoking Him to chastise.

If we wish to please the Lord, we must remove the cause of His anger, which is sin. The man sick of the palsy besought Jesus Christ to restore the health of his body; but, before granting his request, our Lord first restored his soul's health by giving him sorrow for his sins, and then saying to him: Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee (Matt. ix. 2). St. Thomas says that the Redeemer first removed the cause of his infirmity -- namely, his sins, and then freed him from the infirmity itself. "He asked for the health of the body, and the Lord gave him the health of the soul; because, like a good physician, He wished to remove the cause of the disease." Sin is the root of every evil, and hence the Lord, after having healed him, warned him against sin in these words: Sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee (John v. 14). Ecclesiasticus had said the same: My son, in thy sickness ... turn away from sin ... and then give place to the physician (Ecclus. xxxviii. 9-11). You must first apply to the physician of the soul in order that he may free you from your sins, and then to the physician of the body that he may cure you of your disease.

Spiritual Reading


Oh, surely God is not mocked! (Gal. vi. 7). I never commanded you, God says, to perform those devotions and acts of penance: For I spoke not to your fathers ... concerning the matter of burnt offering and sacrifices, but this thing I commanded them, saying: Hearken to my voice, and I will be your God (Jer. vii. 22-23). What I wish of you, says God, is that you hear My voice and change your life, and make good Confessions with real sorrow, for you must know yourselves, that your other Confessions, followed by so many relapses, have been worth nothing. I wish that you should do violence to yourselves in breaking with that danger, with that company. I wish that you should endeavour to restore that property, to make good to your neighbour such a loss. Hearken to my voice, and I will be your God. I will then be to you the God of mercy, such as you would have Me to be. Cardinal Hugo, in his commentary upon these words of our Lord, in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (Matt. xi. 15): He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, says: "Some have ears, but not ears to hear." How many attend sermons and receive admonitions from the confessor, in which they are told all that they must do in order to please God; but they leave the church only to live worse than before. How can God be appeased by such? or how can such be delivered from Divine chastisements? Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord (Ps. iv. 6) -- says David. Honour God not in appearance, but by your deeds. It is that which is meant by "the sacrifice of justice"; honour God by bewailing your sins, by the frequentation of the Sacraments, by a change of life and then hope in the Lord. But to hope while you continue the state of sin, is not hope -- it is rashness, it is a snare of the enemy, and renders you more odious in the sight of God, and more deserving of punishment.

You see that the Lord is angry, that He already has His hand lifted to strike with the scourge which threatens us. How do you think to escape? Who hath showed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore, fruit worthy of penance (Matt. iii. 7, 8). Thus spoke St. John the Baptist, preaching to the Jews of his day. You must do penance, but penance deserving of pardon. It must be true and resolute. Your anger must be changed into meekness, by forgiveness of those who offend you; your intemperance must become abstinence, by observing the fasts of the Church, and by abstaining from the immoderate use of intoxicating drink which changes man into a beast. Therefore you must avoid the public house. Chastity must reign and all impurity be cast out. Resist evil thoughts; use no bad words, and flee from bad companions and dangerous conversation. Bring forth, therefore, fruit worthy of penance, and the bringing forth of such fruit implies also that you attend to the service of God, and endeavour to serve Him more than you have offended Him; For, as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity ... so now yield your members to love justice (Rom. vi. 19). Thus did St. Mary Magdalen live after her conversion, and St. Augustine, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Margaret of Cortona who by their works of penance and sanctification rendered themselves more dear to God than others who had sinned less. St. Gregory says: "For the most part, a fervent life after sin is the more pleasing to God than a life which, though innocent, is tepid." And thus does the Saint explain the following passage of the Gospel: There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance (Luke, xv. 7). This is understood of the sinner who, after having risen from sin, sets about serving God with greater fervour than others who have long been just.

This is truly to bring forth fruit worthy of penance. To content one's self with hearing sermons and going to devotions in the church, without abandoning sin, or avoiding the occasion of it, is rather a mockery of God, and calculated to provoke His greater wrath. And, think not, as St. John the Baptist warned sinners, think not to say within yourselves: We have Abraham for our father (Matt. iii. 9). It will not do to say, we have the Mother of God to assist us, we have our Patron Saints to deliver us; because if we do not abandon our sins the Saints cannot help us. The Saints are the friends of God; hence they not only have no inclination, but they would even be ashamed to succour the obstinate. Let us tremble, because the Lord has already pronounced the sentence: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire (Matt. vii. 19). How many years have you been in the world? Tell me what fruit of good works have you hitherto borne, what glory have you rendered to God by your life? Sin, outrage, contempt, such are the fruit you have borne, such the glory you have rendered to God! God now in His mercy gives you time for penance, in order that you may bewail the injuries you have done Him, and love Him the remainder of your days. What have you resolved to do? Resolve at once to give yourself to God. What do you expect but that unless you turn at once to God, you shall be cut down and cast into the fire of hell?

Let those, then, tremble who have not yet resolved to change their lives. But, on the other hand, be joyful if you mean to turn in good earnest to God. Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord (Ps. civ. 3), because God is all tenderness and love for those that seek Him. The Lord is good ... to the soul that seeketh him (Lam. iii. 25). Neither does the Lord know how to reject a humble heart that is sorry for its offences. A contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps. 1. 19). Let us be joyful, then, if we are determined to change our lives; and if, on seeing ourselves guilty of many sins before the Lord, we stand in fear of the Divine Judgments, let us have recourse to the Mother of Mercy, the most Holy Mary, who defends and screens from the Divine vengeance all those who take refuge under her mantle.

Evening Meditation



The Deacon Pantaleon teaches that St. Michael, according to the order that God has established, takes care of all the faithful. Hence, though residing in Heaven, he nevertheless does not omit to console here below those Christians who are in tribulation.

St. Bruno de Segni adds that St. Michael having been raised by the Lord to the dignity of Chief of all the Angels, it is his duty to give to each soul on earth a Guardian Angel; and he invites us to consider how much we are indebted to him for this. As St. Michael is the light and the guide of all the Angels, who are all inferior to him, it is he who directs our Guardian Angels by teaching them the best manner of guiding us and of protecting us against our enemies. When, therefore, we see a person who is drawn into ruin by his vices, or who persecutes us, we shall do well to pray to St. Michael to advise the Angel Guardian to whom this person is intrusted by pointing out to him the best manner of enlightening him in order that he may correct himself or that he may cease to persecute us.

Again, Pantaleon assures us that this powerful Archangel, when we invoke him, delivers us from dangers and even from temporal necessities. He says St. Michael aids his faithful clients to accomplish the Divine will. Every one knows that our salvation consists in the accomplishment of the will of God. Let us, therefore, pray especially to the holy Archangel to aid us through his intercession to fulfil the Divine will.


Our salvation, the life of our souls, consists in doing God's will: Life in his good will (Ps. xxix. 6). Consequently what we should always ask of God, after the example of David, is that He may teach us to do His will: Teach me to do thy will (Ps. cxlii. 10). We should ask this too of the Blessed Virgin, of our Guardian Angel, of our holy Patrons, that they would obtain for us the grace to do the will of God.

But we should well understand that we must conform to the Divine will not only in prosperity, but even in adversity, and in the tribulations that come from those who persecute us. Everything comes from God. Here we have the true means of sanctifying ourselves and of enjoying true peace, which nothing will be able to take from us: Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad (Prov. xii. 21).
"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--Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


The cause of all our punishment by God is sin, especially obstinacy in sin. If we do not remove the cause of the scourge, how can we escape the scourge itself?


The cause of all our chastisements is sin; and still more than sin, our obstinacy in it. We have offended God, and are, notwithstanding, unwilling to do penance. When God, calls us by His chastisements, He desires that we should hear Him; if He be not listened to, He will be compelled by our obstinacy to curse us: But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God ... all these curses shall come upon thee; ... Cursed shalt thou be in the city, cursed in the field ... (Deut. xxviii. 15, 16, 17). When we offend God, we provoke all creatures to punish us. St. Anselm says that in the same manner as a servant, when he offends his master, draws down upon him the wrath, not only of his master, but of the whole family; so we, when we offend God, excite against ourselves the anger of all creatures. And St. Gregory says that we have more especially irritated against us those creatures which we have made use of against our Creator. God's mercy holds back those creatures that they may not afflict us, but when He sees that we make no account of His threats, and continue to live on in our evil ways, He will then make use of those creatures to take vengeance on us for the injuries we have done Him: He will arm the creature for the revenge of his enemies. And the whole world shall fight with him against the unwise (Wis. v. 18-21). "There is no creature," says St. John Chrysostom, "that will not feel anger when it sees its Lord in anger."

If then we do not appease God by a true conversion, we shall never be free from chastisement. What folly, says St. Gregory, could be more extreme than to imagine that God should cease to chastise before we cease to offend? Many now come to the church, and hear a sermon, but go away without Confession, or change of life. If we do not remove the cause of the scourge, how can we expect to be delivered from the scourge itself?


We continue to irritate God, and then wonder that God continues to chastise us. "We wonder why we are so unhappy, we who are so impure," says Salvian. Do we think that God is appeased by the mere circumstance of our appearing at church without repenting of our sins, without restoring the property or character of our neighbour, without avoiding those occasions of sin which keep us at a distance from God? Ah, let us not mock the Lord! And now do not mock, lest your bonds be tied strait. (Is. xxviii. 22). Do not mock God, says the Prophet, lest those bonds which are binding you for hell be tied more tightly. Cornelius a Lapide, in commenting on the above passage of Isaias, says that when the fox is caught in the snare, its efforts to disentangle itself only serve to entangle it the more. "So also will it happen to sinners who while mocking at God's threats and punishments, become more and more involved in them." Let us be done with sin. Let us cease to irritate God. For I have heard of the Lord the God of Hosts, continues the Prophet, a consumption, and a cutting short upon all the earth. (Is. ib.)

Hear what the Lord says to you: Who required these things at your hands? (Is. i. 12). Who asked for your perpetual exercises and your visits of devotion to the church? I will have nothing from you unless you abandon sin: Offer sacrifice no more in vain (Ib. 13). Of what use are your devotions if you do not amend your lives? My soul hateth ... your solemnities (Ib. 14). Know, says the Lord, that your homage and external devotions are hateful to my soul, if you think by these to avert chastisement without removing your offences: With burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted; a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit (Ps. 1. 18, 19). Neither devotions, nor alms, nor penitential works are accepted by God from a soul in the state of sin, and without repentance. God accepts the acts of him alone who is sorry for sin, and resolved upon a change of life.

Spiritual Reading


"Heu! Consolabor super hostibus meis!" "Alas! I will comfort myself over my adversaries: and I will be revenged of my enemies."

Such is the language of God when He speaks of punishment and vengeance. He says He is constrained by His Justice to punish His enemies. But mark the word: Heu! Alas! -- an exclamation by which God would give us to understand how grieved He is when He has to punish creatures whom He so dearly loved as to give His life for love of them. "Heu! Alas!" says Cornelius a Lapide, is uttered by one who is lamenting and not rejoicing; God signifies by this word that He grieves, and is unwilling to punish sinners. This God, Who is the Father of Mercies, and so much loves us, is not One to punish and afflict, but to pardon and console. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction (Jer. xxix. 11). But since such is God's merciful spirit, why does He punish us? or appear as if He meant to punish us? Because He wishes to show us mercy; for this anger which He now displays is all mercy and patience.

At present God appears to be angry with us, not with a view to our punishment, but in order that we may cleanse ourselves from our sins, and thus enable Him to pardon us. God threatens to chastise in order to deliver us from chastisement.

The threats of men ordinarily proceed from pride or impotence. If they have it in their power to take vengeance, they make no threats lest they should thereby give their enemies an opportunity of escape. It is only when they have not the power to wreak their vengeance that they betake themselves to threats, in order to gratify their passion, by at least causing alarm to their enemies. Not so the threats of which God makes use. His threats do not arise from inability to chastise, because He can be avenged when He wills; but He bears with us in order to see us penitent, and thus saved from punishment. Thou hast mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance (Wis. xi. 24). Neither does God threaten from hatred, in order to torture us with fear; God threatens from love, in order that we may return to Him, and thereby escape chastisement: He threatens, because He does not wish to see us lost: He threatens, because He loves our souls. But thou sparest all because they are thine, O Lord, who lovest souls (Ibid. 27). He threatens; but notwithstanding, bears with us and delays inflicting the punishment, because He wishes to see us converted and not lost. He dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance (2 Pet. iii. 9). Thus the threats of God are all acts of tenderness, and the loving calls of His goodness, by which He means to save us from the punishment we deserve.

Yet forty days, exclaimed Jonas, and Nineve shall be destroyed (Jonas, iii. 4). Wretched Ninevites, he cries, the day of chastisement is come; I announce it to you on the part of God: Know that within forty days Nineve shall be destroyed! But how comes it that Nineve was not destroyed? God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil ways and God had mercy (Ibid. 10). Jonas was afflicted at this, and making lamentation before the Lord, said to Him: I beseech thee, O Lord, is not this what I said when I was in my own country? Therefore, I went before thee into Tharsis, for I knew that thou art a gracious and merciful God, patient and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil (Jonas, iv. 2). He then left Nineve, and sitting down outside the city, was screened from the rays of the burning sun by an ivy which God caused to overshadow his head. But the Lord withered the ivy. Whereat Jonas was so much afflicted that he wished for death. God then said to him: Thou art grieved for the ivy for which thou hast not laboured, nor made it to grow; ... and shall not I spare Nineve? (Ibid. 10, 11). Thou grievest for the ivy which thou hast not created, and shall not I pardon the men who are the creation of My hands?

The destruction which the Lord caused to be held out against Nineve was, according to the explanation of St. Basil, not an actual prophecy, but a simple threat, by which God wished to bring about the conversion of that city. The Saint says, that God often appears in anger because He wishes to deal mercifully with us; and threatens not with the intention of chastising but of delivering us from chastisement. St. Augustine adds, that when any one cries out to you: Look out! Take care! it is a sign he does not mean to injure you. And thus exactly does God act in our regard: He threatens us with chastisement, not that He means to inflict it, but to spare us if we profit by the warning. Thou, O Lord, says the Saint, art severe, but most so when Thou wishest to save us; Thou threatenest, but in threatening, Thou hast no other object than to bring us to repentance. The Lord could chastise sinners by a sudden death without warning, which would not leave them time for repentance; but no, He displays His wrath, He brandishes His scourge, in order that He may see them reformed, not punished.

Evening Meditation



St. Michael is specially charged by the Lord to assist us at the hour of death. Every one knows that then the assaults of the devil become more terrible, whilst our strength diminishes and our minds are weighed down by great anguish. Three causes chiefly torment those who are at the point of death: first, the remembrance of sins committed; secondly, the fear of eternal damnation; and thirdly, the attacks of hell. This is the reason why the Church wishes us to pray to St. Michael that he may protect us in the great conflict that we must sustain at the hour of death against the devil. She prays: "Holy Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, that we may not perish in the dreadful Judgment." And in the recommendation of a soul departed, she wishes that those present should pray to the holy Archangel that he may take it under his protection: "May St. Michael the Archangel receive him." Moreover, we read in the Office these words as having been said by the Lord himself: "Michael Archangel, I have appointed thee prince over the ingathering of souls." It is, therefore, to St. Michael that God has confided the care of those souls that pass from this life to eternity.

Many examples prove that St. Michael obtains for his pious servants a happy death. A Religious of the Capuchin Order, named Ivo, cherished a great devotion to the glorious Archangel. The latter one day appeared to him and warned him to prepare himself for death, which was near. From that moment Ivo thought only of preparing himself to die well by numerous acts of virtue, and so he died in the odour of sanctity, as is related by Father Palocci, who wrote his Life. We also read in the Life of St. Galtan, written by Father Falcone, that in his last moments the devils appeared to him and tormented him by temptations, but St. Michael, to whom he was greatly devoted, also appeared to him and delivered him from all the anxieties caused by the evil spirits.


St. Michael is also charged with the care of consoling the Souls in Purgatory. In his Office it is said that God confides to him all the souls that are saved, in order that he may conduct them to Paradise: "To whom God has confided the souls of the saints that he may lead them into the Paradise of joy." And in the Mass of the Dead the Church prays to the holy Archangel: "Let the standard-bearer, St. Michael, bring them into the blessed light." Also, full of a tender solicitude for these holy souls that have been intrusted and recommended to him, he does not fail to assist and to succour them by procuring for them many alleviations of the pains they suffer in Purgatory. And as for those persons who have a devotion to this heavenly prince, I said that even in this life he consoles them in all their tribulations; how much more should we not believe that he is anxious to help them and console them in Purgatory, where their sufferings are much greater than all the sufferings of this life!

James Massi informs us that a priest in the Mass one day specially recommended some souls by pronouncing the words quoted above: "Let the standard-bearer, St. Michael, bring them into the blessed light." At the same moment he saw the glorious Archangel descend from Heaven into Purgatory to deliver them.

The same author relates that a monk of Citeaux appeared after his death to a priest, his friend, and told him that he was still in Purgatory, but that he would be delivered if at the Mass he would recommend him to St. Michael. The priest did as he had been requested, and saw, what others also saw, the soul of his friend conducted to Heaven by the holy Archangel.

From all this we infer that it is most pleasing to St. Michael to apply ourselves by good works and devotions to the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, that they may be delivered from their sufferings. This is also most pleasing to Jesus Christ, Who, full of love for these Holy Souls, His eternal spouses, desires very much that we assist them by our prayers.
"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
(October 2)

Morning Meditation

He hath given his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. (Ps. xc. 11).

St. Bernard says there are three ways by which we ought to honour our Angels: by Reverence, by Devotion and by Confidence.


He hath given his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. St. Bernard says that there are three ways by which we should honour our Guardian Angels: by Reverence, by Devotion, and by Confidence.

By Reverence; because these holy spirits and princes of Heaven are always present with us, and assist us in all our actions. And on this account, out of regard for our Guardian Angels, we should carefully refrain from every action that can displease them. St. Frances of Rome saw that the Angel who attended her in a human form used to cover his face every time he observed in any one anything improper in word or action.

O my holy Guardian Angel, how many times have I by my sins obliged thee to cover thy face! I ask thy forgiveness, and I beseech thee to implore pardon for me from God, for I am resolved not to offend God or thee any more by my negligences.

We ought to honour our good Angels by Devotion to them, because of the respect they deserve, and the love they bear us. No love of father, brother, or friend can equal the love our good Angels have for each one of us. Our worldly friends often love us from motives of interest, and on this account very easily forget us when we are in adversity, and much more when we offend them. Our Angel Guardians love us solely from motives of charity, and hence when we are in difficulties, they assist us more particularly, and will not cease to help us after we have rebelled against God. Then will they endeavour to enlighten us, in order that we may soon return to God by repentance.

O how much I should thank thee, my holy Guardian Angel, for the lights thou hast bestowed upon me! O that I had always obeyed thee! Continue to enlighten me; rebuke me when I fail, and do not forsake me even unto the last moment of my life.


We ought, lastly, to have great Confidence in the assistance of our good Angels. God’s love for us was not satisfied with giving us His Son Jesus for our Redeemer, and Mary for our advocate; He has been pleased to give us also His Angels to be our Guardians, and has commanded them to assist us during the course of our lives: He hath given his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways (Ps. xc. 11.)

O God of infinite mercy, what more canst Thou do for me that I may be saved? I thank Thee, O my Lord; and I thank thee also, O Prince of Paradise, my good Angel, who for so many years hast assisted and protected me. I have been unmindful of thee, but thou hast not forgotten me. Who knows how much longer I may have to live before I enter eternity? O my good Angel, guide me in the way to Heaven, and cease not to assist me, until thou seest me thy companion for ever in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

Spiritual Reading


The Lord said to Jeremias: Speak to all the cities of Juda; if so be they will hearken and be converted every one from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil that I think to do unto them (Jer. xxvi. 2, 3).

Go, God says, and tell sinners that if they cease from their sins I will spare them from sentence of punishment. St. Jerome says: “God is wroth, not with us, but with our sins”; and St. John Chrysostom adds, that if we remember our sins God will forget them. He desires that we being humbled should reform, and crave pardon of Him. — Because they are humbled I will not destroy them (2 Par. xii. 7).

In order to amend, we must fear punishment, otherwise we shall never be brought to change our lives. True it is, God protects him who hopes in His mercy. He is the protector of all who trust in Him (Ps. xvii. 31). But he who hopes in the mercy of the Lord always fears His justice. They that fear the Lord have hoped in the Lord: He is their helper and their protector (Ps. cxiii. 11). The Lord often speaks of the rigour of His judgment, and of hell, and of the great number who go thither. Be not afraid of them who kill the body … fear ye him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell (Luke xii. 4, 5). Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat (Matt. vii. 13). And why does God so often speak thus? In order that fear may keep us from vice, and from following our passions, and from occasions of sin; and that thus we may reasonably hope for salvation which is only for the innocent, and for the penitent who hope and fear.

Oh, what strength has not the fear of hell to hold us back from sin! To that end has God created hell. He created us, and redeemed us by His death, that we might be happy with Him. He has imposed upon us the obligation of hoping for eternal life, and on that account encourages us, by saying that all those who hope in Him shall be saved. For none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded (Ps. xxiv. 3). But it is His wish, too, and command that we should be in fear of eternal damnation. Some heretics hold, that all who are not in sin should consider themselves as justified and predestined; but these have with reason been condemned by the Council of Trent, because such a presumption is as perilous to salvation as fear is profitable. And let him be your dread, and he shall be a sanctification to you (Is. viii. 13, 14). The holy fear of God makes man holy. Wherefore David begged of God the gift of fear, in order that fear might destroy in him the inclinations of the flesh. Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear (Ps. cxviii. 120).

We should, then, fear on account of our sins, but this fear ought not to deject us: it should rather excite us to confidence in the Divine Mercy, as was the case with the Prophet himself. For thy name’s sake, O Lord, thou wilt pardon my sin; for it is great (Ps. xxiv. 11). How is this? Pardon me because my sin is great? Yes, because the Divine Mercy is most conspicuous where there is the greatest misery; and he who has been the greatest sinner is he who glorifies most the Divine Mercy, by hoping in God, Who promises to save all those who hope in Him. He will save them, because they have hoped in him (Ps. xxxvi. 40). For this reason Ecclesiasticus says: The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy and gladness and length of days (Ecclus. i. 12). Thus this very fear leads to the acquisition of a firm hope in God, which makes the soul happy: He that feareth the Lord shall tremble at nothing, and shall not be afraid, for he is his hope. The soul of him that feareth the Lord is blessed (Ecclus. xxxiv. 16, 17). Yes, blessed, because fear drives sin away from man. The fear of the Lord driveth out sin (Ecclus. i. 27), and at the same time infuses a great desire of observing the commandments: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments (Ps. cxi. 1).

We must, then, persuade ourselves that God is not inclined by nature to punish. Because by His nature He is infinite goodness, says St. Leo, and has no other desire than to bless us, and to see us happy. When He punishes, He is obliged to do so in order to satisfy His justice, not to gratify His inclination. Isaias says that punishment is a work strange to the Heart of God. The Lord shall be angry … that he may do his work, his strange work; … his work is strange to him (Is. xxviii. 21). And therefore does the Lord say, that He sometimes almost feigns the intention of punishing us. And why does He do so? He does so for our reformation, and consequently to exempt us from the chastisement we deserve. God wishes to love us, but we force Him to condemn us. He calls Himself the Father of mercies, not of vengeance. Whence it comes that His tenderness all springs from Himself, and His severity from us.

Evening Meditation



God does not allow Himself to be found in the midst of the world’s tumults, and hence the Saints have been wont to seek Him in the most rugged deserts and in solitary caves, that there they might converse with God alone. St. Hilarion made trial of many desert places, going from one to another, ever seeking the loneliest, where none could communicate with him. In the end he died in a desert in Cyprus, after having lived there for five years. When called by God to leave the world, St. Bruno went with his companions to find St. Hugh of Grenoble that he might assign them some desert place in his diocese. St. Hugh assigned them a district so wild and lonely as to be more fitted for the beasts of the forest than for men. There they went with joy to build themselves each a little cell at a distance from one another.

The Lord once said to St. Teresa: “I would willingly speak to many souls, but the world makes such a noise in their hearts they cannot hear My voice.” God does not speak to us in the midst of the clamours and affairs of the world, knowing that if He were to speak He would not be heeded. The voice of God are the holy inspirations and lights He sends. By these the Saints are enlightened and inflamed with Divine love, but those who are not lovers of solitude will not be able to hear these messages from God.

God Himself says: I will lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart (Osee, ii. 14). When God desires to raise a soul to a high degree of perfection, He inspires it to retire to some solitary place, far from the converse of creatures, and there He speaks to the ears, not of the body, but of the heart; and thus He enlightens and inflames it with His Divine love.

St. Bernard said that he learned much more of the love of God in the midst of the oaks and beeches of the forest, than from books and from the servants of God. Therefore, St. Jerome left the pleasures of Rome, and shut himself up in the Cave of Bethlehem. Then it was he exclaimed: “O solitude, in which God speaks and converses familiarly with His own!” In solitude God converses familiarly with His beloved souls, and there He makes them hear words that melt their hearts with holy love, as the sacred spouse said: My heart melted when my Beloved spoke (Cant. v. 6).


We see by experience that conversing with the world, and occupying ourselves in the acquisition of earthly goods, lead us to forget God; but at the hour of death what do we get from all the toil and time we have spent on the things of earth, except pain and remorse of conscience? Our only comfort then will be what we have done and suffered for God. Why, then, do we not separate ourselves from the world, before death separates it from us?

He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace, because he hath taken it up upon himself (Lam. iii. 28). He who lives in solitude is not moved as he was formerly in the midst of worldly affairs; he sits in repose, and is at peace, and asks not for sensual delights to satisfy him, for he is lifted above himself, and above all created things; in God he finds every good, and all his contentment.

Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly, and be at rest? (Ps. liv. 7). David desired to have the wings of a dove, that he might leave this earth, and not touch it even with his feet, and thus give rest to his soul. But while we are in this life, it is not given to us to leave this earth. We must, however, take care to love retirement, so far as it is practicable, conversing alone with God; and thus gaining strength to avoid those defects that arise from our being obliged to have intercourse with the world; as David said, at the very time he was ruling his kingdom: Lo, I have gone far off flying away, and abode in the wilderness (Ps. liv. 8).

Oh that I had ever kept my thoughts on Thee, O God of my soul, and not on the goods of this world! I curse those days in which I went about seeking earthly pleasures, and offended Thee, my greatest Good. Oh that I had ever loved Thee! Oh that I had died, and not caused Thee displeasure! Miserable that I am, death draws near, while I find myself still attached to the world! No, my Jesus, from this day I resolve to leave all, and to be wholly Thine. Thou art almighty; Thou must give me strength to be faithful to Thee. O Mother of God, pray to Jesus for 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
Thursday--Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


Who has ever been able to comprehend the greatness of the Divine Mercies? Even when God is angry with us because of our sins, He feels compassion for us. O merciful wrath thou art enkindled but to succour; thou threatenest but to pardon!


Who has ever been able to comprehend the greatness of the Divine Mercies? David says that God, even while yet angry, feels compassion for us: Thou hast been angry, and hast mercy on us (Ps. lix. 3). "O merciful wrath, thou art enkindled but to succour, thou threatenest but to pardon!" exclaims the Abbot Beroncosius. God shows Himself to us armed with a scourge, but He does so in order that we may become penitent and contrite for the offences we are committing against Him: Thou hast given a warning to them that fear thee: that they may flee before the bow: that thy beloved may be delivered (Ps. lix. 6). He appears with the bow already bent, upon the point of speeding the arrow, but He waits, because He wishes that our fear may bring about amendment, and that thus we may escape chastisement. That thy beloved may be delivered. Give us help from trouble (Ps. lix. 13). This was the prayer of David; and thus ought we to pray. Grant, O Lord, that our afflictions may open our eyes, so that we depart from sin. The Lord is angry. Our sins increase, says St. John Chrysostom, and the scourges of God increase likewise. God is wroth: but with all His anger He says: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you (Zach. i. 3). Sinners, saith the Lord, you have turned your backs upon Me, and therefore you have constrained Me to deprive you of My grace. Do not oblige me to drive you forever from My face, and punish you in hell without hope of pardon. Have done with sin! Abandon sin and be converted to Me, and I promise to pardon you all your offences, and once more to embrace you as My children.


Turn ye to me ... and I will turn to you. Why do you wish to perish? Oh, how tenderly the Lord speaks. And why will you die, O house of Israel (Ezech. xviii. 31). Why will you fling yourselves into the burning furnace of hell? Return ye and live (Ib. 32). Return to Me, I await you with open arms, ready to receive and pardon you. Doubt not this, O sinner. Cease to do perversely. Learn to do well ... And then come and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow (Is. i. 16, 17). Take courage; change your life; come to Me, and if I do not pardon you, accuse Me. Accuse Me of lying and bad faith. But, no, I shall not be unfaithful: your soul now so black will by My grace become as white as snow. I will not punish you if you reform, says the Lord, because I am God, not man. I will not execute the fierceness of my wrath, ... because I am God, and not man (Osee, xi. 9). Men never forget an injury, but when God sees a sinner repentant, He forgets all his offences. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done (Ezech. xviii. 22) Let us then at once return to God, but let it be at once. We have offended Him too much already, let us not tempt Him any further. Behold, He calls us, and is ready to pardon us if we repent of our evil deeds, and promise to change our lives.

Spiritual Reading


After the Lord had commanded our First Parents not to eat of the forbidden fruit, unhappy Eve approached the tree and was addressed by the Serpent, who said to her: Why has God forbidden you to eat of this delightful fruit? Why hath God commanded you that you should not eat? Eve replies: God hath commanded us that we should not eat, and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die (Gen. iii. 3). Behold the weakness of Eve! The Lord had absolutely threatened them with death, and she now begins to look upon it as doubtful: Lest perhaps we die. If I eat of it, I might perhaps die. But the devil, seeing that Eve was still somewhat in fear of the Divine threat, proceeded to encourage her, saying: No, you shall not die the death (Ibid. 4), and thus he deceived her, and caused her to prevaricate, and she ate the apple. Thus, even now, does the enemy continue to deceive many poor sinners. God threatens: Sinners, do penance, because if not, you will damn yourselves, as so many others have done. Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish (Luke xiii. 5). The devil says to them: No, you shall not perish. Fear nothing: sin on; continue to enjoy yourselves; God is merciful; He will pardon you by and by, and you will be saved. "God," says St. Procopius, "inspires us with fear, the devil robs us of it." God desires by His threats to inspire fear only in order that men may give up sin, and thus be saved. The devil wishes to destroy that fear, in order that they may persevere in sin, and so be lost. Innumerable the wretches who believe the devil rather than God, and are thus miserably damned. At present the Lord displays His anger and threatens us with chastisement. Who knows how many there may be in this place who have no thought of changing their lives, and live in the hope that God will be appeased; who will not believe in the Divine threats until chastisement has come upon them. If we do not amend, chastisement will come; if we do not put an end to our crimes, God will put an end to them.

When Lot was warned by the Lord that He was about to destroy Sodom, Lot at once informed his sons-in-law: Arise! get you out of this place, because the Lord will destroy this city (Gen. xix. 14). But they would not believe him: And he seemed to them to speak as it were in jest. They imagined that God wished to sport with their fears, by terrifying them with such a threat. But the punishment overtook them, and they remained to be the sport of the flames in the burning city. God warns us that chastisement will come. Let us put an end to sin, or shall we wait for God to do it? Hear what St. Paul says to you: See, then, the goodness and severity of God -- towards them, indeed, that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Rom. xi. 22). Consider, says the Apostle, the justice which the Lord has exercised towards so many whom He has punished, and condemned to hell; towards them, indeed, that are fallen, the severity. Consider the mercy with which He has treated you; but towards thee, the goodness of God. You must abandon sin; if you change your ways, avoid the occasions of sin, frequent the Sacraments, and continue to lead a Christian life, the Lord will remit your punishment, if you abide in goodness; if not, thou also shalt be cut off. God has already borne with you too long, He can bear with you no longer. God is merciful, but He is also just; He deals mercifully with those who fear Him; He cannot act thus towards the obstinate.

Such a person laments when he sees himself punished, and asks: Why has God deprived me of my health? Why has He taken from me this child? What do you say? It is your sins have withholden good things from you (Jer. v. 25). It was not the wish of God to deprive you of any blessing, of any gain, of your son, or your father or mother: it was the wish of God to make you happy in all things, but your sins have not allowed Him. In the book of Job we read these words: Is it a great matter that God should comfort thee? but thy wicked words hinder this (Job, xv. 11). The Lord would fain console you, but your sins have prevented Him. It is not God, but accursed sin, that renders us miserable and unhappy. Sin maketh nations miserable (Prov. xiv. 84). We are wrong, says Salvian, in complaining of God when He deals severely with us. Oh! how cruelly do we deal with Him, repaying with ingratitude the favours He has bestowed upon us!

Sinners imagine that sin procures them happiness; but on the very contrary it is sin which makes them miserable, and afflicted in every respect. Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God, saith the Lord, with joy and gladness of heart ... thou shalt serve thy enemy, whom the Lord will send upon thee, in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all things ... till he consume thee (Deut. xxviii. 47, 48). David says that the sinner himself by his crimes digs the pit into which he falls. He is fallen into the hole he made (Ps. vii. 16). Recall the prodigal Son. In order to live without restraint, and feast as he pleased, he left his father; but then very soon he is reduced: to tend swine; reduced to such a degree of misery, that he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him (Luke, xv. 16).

Evening Meditation



St. Gregory asks: "What does solitude of body profit, if solitude of heart be wanting?" We have considered how much solitude assists recollection of mind; but, as St. Gregory says, it profits us little or nothing to be in a desert if the heart be full of worldly thoughts and earthly affections. That a soul may be wholly given to God, two things are necessary: to detach ourselves from the love of created things, and to consecrate all our affections to God alone. This is implied in true solitude of the heart.

We must, then, detach our heart from every earthly affection. St. Francis de Sales said: "If I knew there was a single fibre in my heart which was not given for God, I would instantly pluck it out." If we do not purify and strip the heart of everything earthly, the love of God cannot enter in and possess it all. God would reign with His love in our hearts, but He would reign there alone. He will have no companions to rob Him of a portion of that affection which He justly claims to have all his own.

Some souls lament that, in all their spiritual exercises, in Meditations, Communions, Spiritual Readings, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, they do not find God, and know not by what means to find Him. To these St. Teresa suggests the right means when she says: "Detach thy heart from all created things, seek God, and thou shalt find Him."

There are many persons who cannot leave the world and go to live in deserts, as they would wish, in order to converse with God alone, but we must remember that deserts and caves are not necessary in order to enjoy solitude of the heart. Those who, from necessity, are obliged to converse with the world, should remember that as long as their hearts are free from worldly attachments, even in the public streets, in places of resort, and public assemblies, they can possess solitude of heart, and continue united with God. All those occupations we undertake in order to fulfil the Divine will have no power to prevent solitude of the heart. St. Catharine of Sienna truly found God in the midst of the household labours in which her parents kept her employed in order to draw her from devotional exercises; but in the midst of these affairs she preserved a place of retirement in her heart, which she called her cell, and there ceased not to converse alone with God.

Be still, and see that I am God (Ps. xlv. 11). In order to possess that Divine light which enables us to know the goodness of God, the knowledge of which draws to itself all our affections, our hearts must be emptied of all those earthly attachments that hinder us from knowing God. As a crystal vase, when filled with sand, cannot receive the light of the sun, so a heart attached to riches, worldly honours, or sensual pleasures, cannot receive the Divine light; and, not knowing God, it does not love Him. In every condition in which a man is placed by God, if creatures are not to draw him from God, it is necessary that he give attention to perform his duties according to the pleasure of God, and then in everything else act as if there were no other beings in existence except himself and God.

We must detach ourselves from everything, and especially from ourselves, by continually thwarting our self-love. In a word, we must desire, or not desire, what God desires or does not desire, without any attachment to our own will, because we do not know that what we ourselves will is the will of God.


Oh how easily he finds God who detaches himself from creatures in order to find Him! The Lord is good ... to the soul that seeketh him (Lam. iii. 25). St. Francis de Sales wrote, "The pure love of God consumes everything that is not God, in order to convert everything into itself." We must, therefore, offer ourselves as an enclosed garden, as the holy spouse in the Canticles is called by God, My sister, my spouse, is a garden inclosed (Cant. iv. 12). The soul that keeps itself shut against earthly affections is called an inclosed garden. It is God Who has given us everything we have, and it is right that He should require of us all our love. When, then, any creature would enter to take a portion of our love, we must altogether deny it entrance, and, turning to God, we must say, with all our heart: What have I in heaven, and besides thee what do I desire upon earth? ... Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever (Ps. lxxii. 25, 26). O my God! Who but Thyself can satisfy my soul? After Thee I desire nothing either in Heaven or on earth; Thou alone art sufficient for me, O God of my heart, and my portion forever!

Oh! happy is he who can say: "I have despised the kingdoms of the world, and all the glory thereof, for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ." Truly, that great servant of God, Sister Margaret of the Cross, the daughter of the Emperor Maximilian II, could say this, when, at her Profession, she put off her rich garments and gems, to clothe herself in the poor woollen habit of the Daughters of St. Clare; and when, as the author of her Life relates, she cast them away with such contempt as to move to tears of devotion all who were present at the function.

O my Jesus, I do not desire that creatures should have any part in my heart; Thou must be my only Lord, by possessing it altogether. Let others seek the delights and grandeurs of this life; Thou alone, both in the present and future life, must be my only portion, my only good, my only love. And, as Thou lovest me, help me to detach myself from everything that can draw me from Thy love. Grant that my soul may be wholly taken up with pleasing Thee, as the only object of all my affections. Take possession of all my heart; I would be no longer my own. Do Thou rule me, and make me ready to follow Thy will in all things. O Mary, Mother of God, in thee I trust. Thy prayers can make me belong wholly to 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
Friday--Eighteenth Week after Pentecost
(First Friday of October)

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Morning Meditation


Jesus has no need of us. He is equally happy, rich and powerful, with or without our love, and yet He loves us so intensely that He desires our love as much as if man were His God. This so filled Job with astonishment that he cried out: What is man that thou shouldst magnify him? Or why dost thou set thy heart upon him?


Jesus has no need of us. He is equally happy, rich, and powerful with or without our love; and yet, as St. Thomas says, He loves us so intensely that He desires our love as much as if man were His God, and His felicity depended on that of man. This so filled holy Job with astonishment that he cried out: What is man that thou shouldst magnify him? Or why dost thou set thy heart upon him? (Job vii. 17).

What! can God desire or ask with such eagerness for the love of a worm? It would have been a great favour if God had only permitted us to love Him. If a vassal were to say to his king: "Sire, I love you!" he would be considered impertinent. But what would one say if the king were to tell his vassal, "I desire you to love me"? The princes of the earth do not humble themselves to this; but Jesus, Who is the King of Heaven, is He Who with so much earnestness demands our love: Love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart (Matt xxii. 37). So pressingly does He ask for our hearts: My son, give me thy heart (Prov. xxiii. 26). And if He is driven from a soul, He does not depart, but stands outside the door of the heart, and calls and knocks to be allowed to return: I stand at the gate and knock (Apoc. iii. 20). Jesus beseeches the soul to open to Him, calling her sister and spouse: Open to me, my sister, my love (Cant. v. 2). In short, Jesus takes delight in being loved by us, and is quite consoled when we say, and repeat often: "My God! My God! I love Thee!"

My dearest Redeemer, I will say to Thee with St. Augustine, Thou dost command me to love Thee, and dost threaten me with hell if I do not love Thee; but what more dreadful hell, what greater misfortune, can happen to me than to be deprived of Thy love! If, therefore, Thou desirest to terrify me, Thou shouldst only threaten me that I should live without loving Thee; for this threat alone will terrify me more than a thousand hells. If, in the midst of the flames of hell, the damned could burn with Thy love, O my God, hell itself would become a Paradise; and if, on the contrary, the Blessed in Heaven could not love Thee, Paradise would become a hell.

I see, indeed, my dearest Lord, that I, on account of my sins, did deserve to be forsaken by Thy grace, and at the same time condemned to be incapable of loving Thee; but still I understand that Thou dost continue to command me to love Thee, and I also feel within me a great desire to love Thee. This my desire is the gift of Thy grace, and it comes from Thee. Oh, give me also the strength necessary to put it into execution, and make me, from this day forth, say to Thee earnestly, and from the bottom of my heart, and to repeat to Thee always: My God, I love Thee! I love Thee! I love Thee!


The great desire of Jesus' Heart to be loved by us is the effect of His own great love for us. He who loves necessarily desires to be loved. The heart requires the heart; love seeks love: "Why does God love, but that He may be loved?" said St. Bernard; and God Himself first said: What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou fear the Lord thy God ... and love him? (Deut. x. 12). Therefore, He tells us that He is that Shepherd Who, having found the lost sheep, calls all the neighbours to rejoice with Him: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke xv. 6). He tells us that He is that Father Who, when His lost son returns and throws himself at His feet, not only forgives him, but embraces him tenderly. Jesus tells us he that loves Him not is condemned to death: He that loveth not abideth in death (1 John 14). And, on the contrary, that He takes him who loves Him and keeps possession of him: He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him (1 John iv. 16). Oh, will not such invitations, such entreaties, such threats, and such promises move us to love God Who so much desires to be loved by us?

Thou, then, desirest my love, O Jesus. I also desire Thine. Blot out, therefore, from Thy remembrance, O my Jesus, the offences that in past times I have committed against Thee; let us love each other henceforth forever. I will not leave Thee, and Thou wilt not leave me. Thou wilt always love me, and I will always love Thee. My dearest Saviour, in Thy merits do I place my hope; oh, do Thou make Thyself to be loved forever, and loved greatly, by a sinner who has so greatly offended Thee.

O Mary, Immaculate Virgin, do thou help me; do thou pray to Jesus for me.

Spiritual Reading


And I will give my fear in their heart, that they may not revolt from me (Jer. xxxii. 40). The Lord says that He infuses His fear into our hearts, in order that He may enable us to triumph over our desires for earthly pleasures, for which in the past we ungratefully left Him. And when sinners have left God, how does He make them look into themselves, and recover grace? By putting on the appearance of anger, and chastising them in this life; In thy anger thou shalt break the people in pieces (Ps. lv. 8). Another version, according to St. Augustine, has: "In thy wrath thou shalt conduct the people." The Saint inquiring: What is the meaning of God conducting the people in His wrath? He replies: "Thou, O Lord, fillest us with tribulations, in order that, being thus afflicted, we may abandon our sins and return to Thee."

When a mother wishes to wean her infant she puts gall upon her breast. Thus the Lord endeavours to draw our souls to Himself, and wean them from the pleasures of this earth, which make them live in forgetfulness of their eternal salvation. He fills with bitterness all their pleasures, pomps, and possessions, in order that, not finding peace in those things, they may turn to God, Who alone can satisfy them. In their affliction they will rise early to me (Osee vi. 1). God says: If I allow those sinners to enjoy their pleasures undisturbed, they will remain in the sleep of sin: they must be afflicted, in order that, recovering from their lethargy they may return to Me. When they will be in tribulation they will say: Come, let us return to the Lord, for he hath taken us, and he will heal us; he will strike and he will cure us (Ib. 1, 2). What shall become of us, those sinners will say, as they enter into themselves, if we do not turn from our evil courses? God will not be appeased, and will with justice continue to punish us: come, let us retrace our steps, for He will cure us; and if He afflicts us now, He will upon our return think of consoling us with His mercy.

In the day of my trouble I sought God ... and I was not deceived (Ps. lxxvi. 3), because He raised me up. For this reason does the Prophet thank the Lord that He hath humbled him after his sin; because he was thus taught to observe the Divine laws: It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications (Ps. cxviii. 71). Tribulation is for the sinner at once a punishment and a grace, says St. Augustine. It is a punishment inasmuch as it has been drawn upon him by his sins; but it is a grace, and an important grace, inasmuch as it may ward off eternal destruction from him, and is an assurance that God means to deal mercifully with him if he look into himself, and receive with thankfulness that tribulation which has opened his eyes to his miserable condition, and invites him to return to God. Let us, then, be converted and we shall escape from our several chastisements: "Why should he who accepts chastisement as a grace be afraid?" says St. Augustine. He who turns to God, smarting from the scourge, has no longer anything to fear, because God scourges only in order that we may return to Him; and this end once obtained, the Lord will scourge us no more.

St. Bernard says: "It is difficult, even impossible, for any one to enjoy present and future goods; to pass from delights to delights." Therefore, does the Lord say: Envy not the man who prospereth in his way, the man who doth unjust things (Ps. xxxvi. 7). "Does he prosper?" says St. Augustine; "ay, but 'in his own way'. And do you suffer? You do, but it is the way of God." You who walk before God are in tribulation, but the sinner, evil as is his way, prospers. Mark now what the Saint says in conclusion: "He has prosperity in this life, he shall be miserable in the next; you have tribulation in this life, you shall be happy in the next." Be glad, therefore, and thank God when He punishes you in this life, and takes vengeance of your sins; because you may know thereby that He means to treat you with mercy in the next. Thou wast a merciful God to them, and taking vengeance on their inventions (Ps. xcviii. 8). The Lord when He chastises us has not our punishment so much in view as our conversion. God said to Nabuchodonozor: Thou shalt eat grass like an ox, and seven times shall pass over thee till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men (Dan iv. 29). For seven years Nabuchodonozor, shalt thou be compelled to feed on grass like a beast in order that thou mayest know I am the Lord; that it is I Who give kingdoms, and take them away; and that thou mayest thus be cured of thy pride. And in fact this judgment did cause the haughty king to enter into himself and change; so that, after having been restored to his former condition, he said: Therefore I, Nabuchodonozor, do now praise and magnify the King of heaven (Ibid. 34). And God gave him back his kingdom. "He willingly changed his sentence," says St. Jerome, "because he saw his life was changed."

Evening Meditation



Since the coming of Jesus Christ, it is no longer a time of fear, but a time of love, as the Prophet foretold: Thy time is a time of lovers (Ezech. xvi. 8), because God has gone so far as to die for us: Christ hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us (Eph. v. 2). Under the Old Law, before the Word was made flesh, man might, so to speak, have doubted whether God loved him with a tender love; but after having seen Him suffer a bloody and ignominious death on a cross of infamy, we can no longer possibly doubt that He loves us with the utmost tenderness. And who will ever arrive at comprehending the excess of the mercy and the love of the Son of God in being willing to pay the penalty of our sins? And yet this is of faith: Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows ... He was wounded for our iniquities: He was bruised for our sins (Is. liii. 4, 5). All this was the work of the great love which God bears us: He hath loved us, and hath washed us from our sins in his own blood (Apoc. i. 5). In order to wash us from the defilements of our sins, He was willing to empty His veins of all His Blood, to make of it for us a bath of salvation. O infinite mercy! O infinite love of a God!

Ah, my Redeemer, too truly hast Thou obliged me to love Thee; too truly should I be ungrateful to Thee, if I did not love Thee with my whole heart. My Jesus, I have despised Thee, because I have lived in forgetfulness of Thy love, but Thou hast not forgotten me. I have turned my back on Thee, but Thou hast come near to me. I have offended Thee, and Thou hast so many times forgiven me. I have returned to Thee only to offend Thee again; Thou hast returned to pardon me. Ah, my Lord, by that affection with which Thou didst love me on the Cross, bind me tightly to Thee by the sweet chains of Thy love; but bind me in such wise that I may nevermore see myself separated from Thee. I love Thee, O my chief Good, and I desire to love Thee ever for the time to come.


That which ought most inflame our love for Jesus Christ is not so much the death, the sorrows, and the ignominies which He suffered for us, as the end which He had in view in suffering for us so many and so great pains; and that was to show us His love and to win our hearts: In this have we known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us (1 Jo., iii. 16). For it was not absolutely necessary in order to save us that Jesus should suffer so much and die for us; it were enough that He should pour forth but one drop of Blood, should shed but one tear for our salvation; this drop of Blood, this tear shed by a Man-God, were sufficient to save a thousand worlds: but He willed to pour out all His Blood, He willed to lose His life in a sea of sorrows and contempt, to make us understand the great love He has for us, and to oblige us to love Him. The charity of Christ presseth us, says St. Paul (2 Cor. v. 15). He does not say that the Passion or the death, but the LOVE of Jesus Christ constrains us to love Him.

And what were we that Thou, O Lord, wert willing at so great a price to purchase our love? Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them (Ibid. 15). Hast Thou, then, my Jesus, died for us, that we might live wholly for Thee alone, and for Thy love? But, my poor Lord, permit me so to call Thee, Thou art so full of love that Thou hast suffered so much in order to be loved by men, and, after all, what is the number of those who love Thee? I see men intent on loving -- some their riches, some honours, some pleasures, some their relatives, some their friends, some, in fine, the very animals; but of those who truly love Thee, Who alone art worthy of love, oh, how few such do I see! O God, how few indeed they are! Among these few, nevertheless, I too desire to be, who at one time, just like the rest, offended Thee by loving filth; now, however, I love Thee above every other good. O my Jesus, the pain Thou hast suffered for me urges and obliges me to love Thee; but that which binds me to Thee the more and enkindles my love is hearing of the love which Thou hast shown in suffering so much in order that Thou mightest be loved by me. O my Lord, most worthy of love, through love Thou hast given Thyself wholly to me; I, through love, give myself wholly to Thee. Thou for love of me didst die; I for love of Thee am willing to die when and as it shall please Thee. Accept of my love, and help me by Thy grace to do so worthily.
"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
[b]Saturday--Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


If the sinner fears to approach Jesus Christ on account of His Divine Majesty, God has given him an advocate with Jesus Himself, and that advocate is His own Mother Mary. She finds peace for sinners, salvation for the lost, mercy for those who are in despair.


Divine grace is an infinite treasure, because it makes us friends of God. For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God (Wis. vii. 14). Hence it follows, that as there cannot be a greater happiness than to enjoy the grace of God, so there cannot be a greater misery than to incur God's displeasure by sin, which makes us His enemies. But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike (Wis. xiv. 9). But if you have had the misfortune to forfeit Divine grace by sin, do not despair, but console yourself with the reflection, that you have in Jesus Christ Himself a Mediator, Who can obtain pardon for you, and restore you the grace you have lost. And he is the propitiation for our sins (1 Jo., ii. 2).

What have you to fear, says St. Bernard, when you can have recourse to so great a Mediator? He is all powerful with His eternal Father. He has satisfied Divine justice for you, and has nailed your sins to the Cross, having taken them away from your soul. But if, notwithstanding all this, you fear to approach Jesus Christ on account of His Divine majesty, God has given you an advocate with Jesus Himself, and that advocate is Mary, His own Mother.

Thus Mary has been given to the world as a mediatrix between God and sinners. Hear the words which the Holy Ghost makes her speak in the Divine Canticles: I am a wall, and my breasts are as a tower, since I am become in his presence as one finding peace (Cant. viii. 10). I am, she says, the refuge of those who fly to me; my breasts, that is, my mercy, are like a tower of defence to every one who has recourse to me; and he who is the enemy of God, let him know that I am the mediatrix of peace between God and sinners. "She finds peace for enemies, salvation for the lost, mercy for those who are in despair," says Cardinal Hugo. For this reason is Mary called beautiful ... as the curtains of Solomon (Cant. i. 4). In the tents of David naught was to be heard of but war; in the tents of Solomon naught but peace. By this we are to understand that Mary has no other ministry in Heaven than that of peace and pardon. Hence St. Andrew Avellino calls her "the pleader of Paradise"; but what are those occupations in which Mary is engaged? "Mary," says Venerable Bede, "stands in the presence of her Son, praying unceasingly for sinners." And Blessed Amadeus says that "Mary, all-powerful by her prayers, stands before the face of God, continually interceding for us." Thus Mary never ceases to implore of God by her all-powerful prayers all the graces we wish to receive. And are there any found to refuse the graces obtained for them by this Divine Mother? Yes, there are found such -- yes, those who will not abandon sin, who will not give up this friendship, this occasion of sin; who will not restore their neighbour's property -- these are they who will not receive the graces offered to them by Mary. Holy Mary wishes to bestow upon them the grace to break off this connection, to fly this occasion of sin, and they will not have it. And such as will not do it, positively refuse the graces sought for them by Mary. From Heaven she sees well all our miseries and dangers; and oh, how deeply is she touched with compassion for us! With what motherly affection is she always endeavouring to assist us! "For she sees our dangers," says the Blessed Amadeus, "and, as our merciful Sovereign, compassionates us with maternal affection."


One day St. Bridget heard Jesus Christ saying to Mary: "My Mother, ask of Me what you will." And Mary answered Him: "I ask mercy for the miserable." As if she were to say to Him: Son, since Thou hast made me the Mother of Mercy, and Advocate of Sinners, can I ask aught else of Thee than mercy for poor miserable sinners. In a word, St. Augustine says, that amongst all the Saints, we have not one who is so solicitous for our salvation as Mary.

Isaias complains in his day: Behold, Thou art angry; ... there is none who riseth up and taketh hold of Thee (Is. lxiv. 5-7). Lord, Thou art justly angry with us for our sins, and there is no one to appease Thee, or hold Thee from chastising us. St. Bonaventure says that the Prophet had reason to speak thus, since there was no Mary then. But at present, if Jesus Christ wishes to chastise a sinner, and the sinner recommends himself to Mary, she by her prayers for him restrains her Son, and averts the chastisement from him. There is no one so well able to hold back the sword of the Lord. Justly, then, is Mary called the peace of the Lord with men. And St. Justin called her the Arbitress, saying, "The Word uses the Virgin as arbitress -- an arbitress, to whose decision disputants bind themselves to yield." By which St. Justin means to say, that Jesus lays before Mary all His reasons for punishing such a sinner, that she may negotiate a peace; and the sinner, on the other side, places himself in her hands. Thus Mary on the one side obtains for the sinner the grace of amendment and penance: on the other, she obtains pardon for him of her Son, and thus is peace concluded. Such is the ministry in the exercise of which Mary is continually occupied as Mediatrix of Sinners.

Spiritual Reading


In the Thirteenth Century St. Dominic was greatly afflicted at the deplorable state of the Christian world. Vices and heresies filled Germany and France, and had penetrated into Italy and Rome itself. Desiring to oppose a barrier to such a flood of errors and sins, he had recourse to the august Mother of God, who approved of his zealous intentions, and revealed to him as a remedy for so great an evil the devotion of the Rosary. The Saint at once began to preach this devotion, and he did so with so much fruit that large numbers of people, even entire cities, were thoroughly reformed. Conversions were so astonishing and so universal, that, as the History of the Dominicans attests, when the people heard of the members of any family leading bad lives, they usually said that they either did not recite the Rosary or they recited it badly.

Now in order that we may profit by this devotion and know how to recite the Rosary, we shall consider how the Rosary should be recited in order that it may be meritorious.

The Rosary is a prayer. Prayer is defined by St. John Damascene: "As an elevation of the mind to God." Without a raising or elevation of the mind to God there is no true prayer. It is divided into mental prayer and vocal prayer: mental prayer consists wholly in the interior exercise of the mind; vocal prayer consists in praising God and praying to Him with the tongue and the mind. If one speaks to God only with the tongue, this would be a prayer without fruit and without merit, like that of a parrot which articulates words without knowing what it says. "Whoever prays merely with the voice," says St. Bonaventure, "without any application of the mind and without knowing what he says, acts like a parrot."

The elevation of the mind required in the recitation of the Rosary should be a pious meditation on the Joyous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries; hence, while we are reciting with the voice the "Our Fathers" and the "Hail Marys" which compose the Rosary, we should consider the Mystery that belongs to each decade.

It is true that a vocal prayer, like the Rosary, may be meritorious without the application of the mind to the consideration of the designated Mysteries; it is sufficient that one reflects either on the Presence of God, His Omnipotence, His Mercy, or some of His other perfections; on the temporal or eternal chastisements which one merits, or on other subjects that refer to God; but if one recites the Rosary with such thoughts, and does not consider its Mysteries, he does not gain the Indulgences granted by the Sovereign Pontiff, as Benedict XIII has expressly declared.

We err, then, if we think that we shall have some merit when during the recitation of the Rosary we permit ourselves to listen to those that speak; to look at what is done; to interrupt our prayer in order to speak of what we see or to give answers to questions put to us. We should then deserve the reproach of the Lord: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me (Matt. xv. 8). And would to God that we only gave ourselves up to distractions without going so far as to meditate revenge, harbour feelings of hatred, or occupy ourselves with wicked thoughts; for then, very far from acquiring merit, we should make ourselves worthy of eternal chastisements!

If, therefore, we wish to find in the devotion of the Rosary a sure support in the hope that we have of saving our souls by the means of it, it should produce in us true amendment, a true reform of our lives, according to what the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, expects of us. But we shall never obtain this fruit, if in the recitation of the Rosary there is not united to our words a pious meditation on these Mysteries, which place before our eyes the loving inventions, the labours, the humiliations, and the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

There are some that deceive themselves still more. They are those who imagine that in carrying with them the Rosary they will be fortified with a formidable arm against the devil, and thus promise themselves a good death. They rely on antiquated examples of sinners, who, after a life full of crimes, because they recited and carried with them the Rosary, obtained through the intercession of Mary the grace of dying repentant. But these examples, if true, are miraculous; and I do not think that you love your soul so little that you wish to save it only by a miracle. What is certain is that one often sees sinners die without the Sacraments and without any sign of contrition, although they had carried about with them the Rosary and recited it as you do. Should not these examples, which are so frequent, fill us with terror? And as to the miraculous examples, which are very rare, do they take from you all fear of dying a bad death, and give you the assurance that you will die well? If I must say to you what I think, I should say: As for those Christians that live without the fear of God, and that rest their hope of salvation on the Rosary, which they recite through habit and without the least devotion, I very much fear that at their death the devil may frighten them with this very Rosary, by representing to them the little devotion they had in the manner of reciting it, and the life they led -- a life altogether contrary to the Mysteries that they should have honoured and to the end for which the Rosary was established by the Blessed Virgin.

If, then, you wish to be saved through the protection of Mary, it is fitting you should make a better use of the devotions instituted in her honour; for we know that by the devotions badly performed, or undertaken in order to live without the fear of the justice of God, far from obtaining the protection of the Blessed Virgin, we only merit her disfavour.

Evening Meditation



When Noe judged that the Deluge ought to have ceased, he sent forth the dove from the Ark. The dove returned with an olive branch significant of the peace which God had concluded with the world. This dove was a figure of Mary. "Thou art," says St. Bonaventure, "that most faithful dove of Noe which became the most faithful Mediatrix between God and the world submerged by a spiritual deluge." Pelbart inquires how it happens that in the Old Law, the Lord was so rigorous in His chastisements, of universal deluge, of fire from Heaven, of fiery serpents, and such like punishments; whereas He now deals so mercifully with us, who have sinned more grievously than those of old. And he answers that God is thus merciful for love of Mary, who intercedes for us. "Oh, how long since should the heavens and the earth have been destroyed," says St. Fulgentius, "if Mary had not interposed."

Wherefore the Church wishes that we should call this Divine Mother our hope. The impious Luther could not endure that the Church should teach us to call Mary our hope. He said that our hope ought to rest only in God -- not in the creature; and that God curses him who places his confidence in creatures: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man. (Jer. xvii. 5). True, but that is understood of those who trust in creatures, in contempt of God, or independently of Him. But we hope in Mary, as our Mediatrix with the Lord. In the same manner as Jesus is our Mediator of right with His Eternal Father, because by the merits of His Passion He obtains pardon for penitent sinners, so Mary is Mediatrix by Divine favour with her Son, and is such a Mediatrix that her Son grants her every request; nay, that He wishes that every grace should pass through her hands. "The Lord," says St. Bernard, "has placed in Mary the plenitude of all good; so that if aught of hope or grace or salvation is in us, we know that we derive it from Mary." The Lord has confided to Mary the treasure of mercies which He wishes to have dealt out to us, and therefore wishes that we should acknowledge every grace as coming through her. Whence the Saint calls her his chief confidence, and the principal ground of his hope. For which reason he exhorts us to look for grace always through the intercession of Mary. And for the same reason the Church, despite Luther, calls Mary our hope -- Spes nostra salve.


The Saints call Mary the ladder, the moon, and the city of refuge. She is called by St. Bernard the ladder of sinners. It is sin which separates us from God. But your iniquities have divided between you and your God (Is. lix. 2). A soul in the state of grace is in union with God, and God in union with it. He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him (1 Jo. iv. 16). But when the soul turns its back upon God, then is it separated from Him -- plunged into an abyss of misery, and as far removed from God as sin itself. But where shall this wretched soul find a ladder by which to mount once more to God, and be again united to Him? Mary is that ladder, to whom if the sinner has recourse, no matter what his misery, or how great the filth of his sins, he can come out of the pit of perdition. "Thou," says St. Bernard, "dost not abhor the sinner, however loathsome he be; if he once sigh to thee, thou reachest out to him thy hand to draw him out of the gulf of despair." For the same reason is she called the moon: Fair as the moon (Cant. vi. 9). -- "As the moon," says St. Bernard, "is placed between the sun and earth, so is Mary stationed between God and us, to pour out His graces continually upon us." Hence, also, she is called the City of refuge, as she is made to call herself by St. John Damascene. "I am the city of all those that have recourse to me." In the ancient law there were five Cities of Sanctuary; to which, if any one fled, he was secure of not being pursued by justice, no matter what his crime. At present we have not so many Cities of Sanctuary -- we have only Mary, to whom if any one shall have fled he may rest secure of not being pursued by the Divine justice. In the cities of the Old Law every delinquent was in danger, nor could all his crimes escape unpunished; but Mary is a city of refuge which receives every criminal. There is no one so cast off by God," said this Blessed Mother to St. Bridget, "who, if he have recourse to me, shall not return to God, and receive pardon."
"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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