St. Alphonsus Liguori: Daily Meditations for Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost
Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Meditation

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Come ye blessed of my Father! (Matt. xxv. 34). Such will be the glorious sentence which in the day of triumph God will pronounce in favour of those who have loved Him. O faithful souls, who love God, be not troubled if you are despised and humiliated in this world. Your sorrow shall be turned into joy!


Come ye blessed of my Father! (Matt. xxv. 34). Such will be the glorious sentence which in the day of triumph God will pronounce in favour of those who have loved Him. St. Francis of Assisi having had it revealed to him that he was one of the predestinate, almost died of the consolation which such a revelation afforded him. What, then, will be the joy of the elect when they hear Jesus Christ inviting them: Come, ye blessed children, come and possess the inheritance of your Divine Father! Come and reign with Him forever in Heaven!

How often, O God, have I, through my own fault, forfeited Thy blessed kingdom! But, O Jesus, Thy precious merits encourage me to hope that I shall regain it. My dear Redeemer, I trust in Thee and love Thee.

Oh, how will the Blessed congratulate one another when they behold themselves placed upon thrones and united in the enjoyment of God for all eternity, without the least fear of ever being again separated from Him! What joy and glory will be theirs to enter on that day crowned into Heaven, singing together songs of gladness and the sweet praises of God! Happy souls, that are destined to such a blessed lot!

O God of my soul, bind me to Thee with the sweet bonds of Thy holy love, so that I may enter into Thy kingdom and praise and love Thee forever. The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever (Ps. lxxxviii. 2).


Let us arouse our slumbering Faith! It is certain that we shall one day be judged, and that we shall receive sentence either of eternal life or of eternal death. If we be not secure of obtaining the sentence of life, let us endeavour now to make it certain. Let us fly from all those occasions which may expose us to the loss of our souls; and unite ourselves to Jesus Christ by frequently approaching the Sacraments, by pious meditations, by spiritual reading and continual prayer. The practice or neglect of these means will be the sign of our salvation or of our perdition.

My beloved Jesus, and my Judge, I hope through Thy Precious Blood that Thou wilt on that day bless me. Do Thou bless me now, and pardon me all the offences I have committed against Thee. Grant me to hear the same consoling words that Thou didst address to Magdalen: Thy sins are forgiven thee (Luke vii. 48). I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee; pardon me, and at the same time give me grace always to love Thee. I love Thee, my sovereign Good; I love Thee more than myself, my Treasure, my Love, my All. Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever (Ps. lxxii. 26). O my God! Thee alone do I desire. Holy Mary, by thy powerful intercession thou canst procure my salvation, and thou desirest to do so. In thee do I confide.

Spiritual Reading


Whosoever loves God, loves solitude. There the Lord communicates Himself more familiarly to souls, because there He finds them less entangled in worldly affairs, and more detached from earthly affections. Hence, St. Jerome exclaimed: "O solitude, in which God speaks and converses familiarly with His servants." O blessed solitude, in which God speaks and converses with His beloved ones with great love and confidence! The Lord is not in the earthquake (3 Kings, xix. 11). But where is He found? I will lead her into the wilderness, and I will speak to her heart (Osee ii. 14). He is found in solitude and there He speaks to the heart in words that inflame it with holy love, as the sacred spouse attests: My soul melted when my Beloved spoke (Cant. v. 6). St. Eucherius relates that a certain man, desirous of becoming a saint, asked a servant of God where he should find God. The servant of God conducted him to a solitary place, and said: "Behold where God is found!" By these words he meant to say that God is found not amid the tumults of the world, but in solitude.

Virtue is easily preserved in solitude; and, on the other hand, it is easily lost by intercourse with the world, where God is but little known, and therefore His love, and the treasures He gives to those who leave all things for His sake, are but little esteemed. St. Bernard says that he learned more among the trees of the forest than from books and masters. Hence the Saints, in order to live in solitude and far from tumult, have so ardently loved the caves, the mountains, and the woods. The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily; it shall bud forth and blossom ... They shall see the glory of the Lord and the beauty of our God (Is. XXXV. 1, 2). The wilderness shall be a perennial fountain of joy and gladness to the soul that seeks it; it shall flourish like the lily in whiteness and innocence of life, and shall produce fruits of every virtue. These happy souls shall in the end be raised on high to see the glory and infinite beauty of the Lord. It is certain that to keep the heart united with God we must preserve in the soul the thought of God, and of the immense reward He prepares for those who love Him. But when we hold intercourse with the world, it presents to us earthly things that obliterate spiritual impressions and pious sentiments.

Worldlings shun solitude, and with good reason; for in solitude they feel more acutely the remorse of conscience, and therefore they go in search of the conversations and bustle of the world, that the noise of these occupations may stifle the stings of remorse. It is true that man loves society; but what society is preferable to the society of God? Ah! to withdraw from creatures and to converse in solitude with our Creator brings neither bitterness nor tediousness. Of this the Wise Man assures us: For her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness (Wisd. viii. 16). The Venerable Father Vincent Carafa, General of the Society of Jesus, said that he desired nothing in this world, and that were he to desire anything he would wish only for a little grotto, a morsel of bread, and a spiritual book, in order to live there always in solitude.

It is not true that a life of solitude is a life of melancholy: it is a foretaste and beginning of the life of the Saints in bliss, who are filled with an immense joy in the sole occupation of loving and praising their God. St. Jerome tells us that flying from Rome he went to shut himself up in the Cave of Bethlehem, in order to enjoy solitude. Hence he afterwards wrote: "To me solitude is a paradise." The Saints in solitude appear to be alone, but they are not alone. St. Bernard said: "I am never less alone than when I am alone"; for I am then in the company of my Lord, Who gives me more content than I could derive from the conversation of all creatures. They appear to be in sadness, but they are not sad. The world, seeing them far away from earthly amusements, regards them as miserable and disconsolate; but they are not so; they, as the Apostle attests, enjoy an immense and continual peace. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Cor. vi. 10). The Prophet Isaias attested the same when he said: The Lord therefore will comfort Sion, and will comfort all the ruins thereof; and he will make her desert as a place of pleasure, and her wilderness as the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of praise (Is. li. 3). The Lord well knows how to console the solitary soul, and will give a thousandfold compensation for all the temporal pleasures which it has forfeited: He will render its solitude the garden of His delights. There joy and gladness shall be always found, and nothing will be heard but the voice of thanksgiving and praise of the Divine goodness. Cardinal Petrucci describes the happiness of a solitary heart in the following words: "It appears to be sad, and it is filled with celestial joy. Though it treads on the earth, its dwelling is in Heaven. It asks nothing for itself, because in its bosom it contains an immense treasure. It appears to be agitated and overwhelmed by the tempest, and it is always in a secure harbour."

In order to find this happy solitude, it is not necessary to hide yourself in a cave or in a desert. David found it, even in the midst of the great concerns of a kingdom, and therefore he said: Lo, I have gone far off, flying away; and I abode in the wilderness (Ps. liv. 8). St. Philip Neri desired to retire into a desert, but God gave him to understand that he should not leave Rome, but that he should live there as in a desert.

Hitherto we have spoken of the solitude of the body; we must now say something on the solitude of the heart, which is more necessary than the solitude of the body. "Of what use," says St. Gregory, "is the solitude of the body without the solitude of the heart?" That is, of what use is it to live in the desert if the heart is attached to the world? A soul detached and free from earthly affections, says St. Peter Chrysologus, finds solitude even in the public streets and highways. On the other hand, of what use is it to observe silence if affections to creatures are entertained in the heart, and by their noise render the soul unable to listen to the Divine inspirations? I here repeat the words of our Lord to St. Teresa: "Oh, how gladly would I speak to many souls, but the world makes such a noise in their hearts that My voice cannot be heard. Oh that they would retire a little from the world!"

Let us then understand what is meant by solitude of the heart. It consists in expelling from the soul every affection that is not for God, by seeking nothing in all our actions but to please His Divine eyes. It consists in saying with David: 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). Except Thee, O my God, what is there on earth or in Heaven that can content me? Thou alone art the Lord of my heart, and Thou shalt always be my only Treasure. In fine, solitude of the heart implies that you can say with sincerity: My God, I wish for Thee alone, and for nothing else.

Someone complains that he does not find God; but listen to what St. Teresa says: "Detach the heart from all things -- seek God, and then you will find Him." God can neither be sought nor found if He is not first known; but what can a soul attached to creatures know of God and His Divine beauty? The light of the sun cannot enter a crystal vessel filled with earth; and in a heart occupied with attachment to pleasures and wealth and honours, the Divine light cannot shine. Hence the Lord says: Be still, and see that I am God (Ps. xlv. 11). The soul, then, that wishes to see God must remove the world from her heart, and keep it shut against all earthly affections. This is precisely what Jesus Christ gave us to understand under the figure of a closed chamber, when He said: But when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret (Matt. vi. 6). That is, the soul, in order to unite itself with God in prayer, must retire into its heart, which, according to St. Augustine, is the chamber of which our Lord speaks, and shut the door against all earthly affections.

This is also the meaning of the words of Jeremias: He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace; because he hath taken it up upon himself (Lam. iii. 28). The solitary soul, that is, the soul that is free from all attachments, and in which earthly affections are silent, will unite itself with God in Mental Prayer by holy desires, by oblations of itself, and by acts of love: and then it will find itself raised above all created objects, so that it will smile at the worldling who sets so high a value on the goods of this earth, and submits to so many toils in order to secure enjoyment of them, while it regards them as trifles, and utterly unworthy of the love of a heart created to love God, the infinite Good.

Evening Meditation



Through fear of losing his kingdom the wicked Herod sought the life of the Divine Child. St. Fulgentius contemplating little Jesus flying into Egypt, tenderly exclaims: "Why art thou troubled, O Herod? The King Who is just now born comes not to overthrow other kings by force of arms, but to subjugate them by dying for them." As though he had said: The King of Heaven is not come to conquer us by war, but by love; He is not come to put us to death, but to rescue us from death by dying for us. Hence it is that Jesus may indeed be styled the King of Love.

Oh that I had always loved Thee, O Jesus, my sovereign King, and that I had never offended Thee! Thou didst spend thirty-three years in pain and labour to save me, and I have wilfully renounced Thee, my sovereign Good, for the sake of momentary pleasures! Father of mercy, forgive me, and embrace me with the kiss of peace.

Ungrateful Jews! why did you refuse to acknowledge for your King One so lovely and so loving towards you? Why did you exclaim: We have no king but Caesar? (Jo. xix. 15). Caesar did not love you, nor desire to die for you; while your true King Jesus descended from Heaven upon the earth to die for the love of you.

O sweet Saviour Christ, if others will not receive Thee as their King, I will have no other King but Thee: "Jesus, Thou art my King." I know that Thou alone lovest me; Thou alone hast redeemed me with Thy Blood; where then shall I find one who has loved me as Thou hast loved me? I am grieved for having hitherto rejected Thee as my King by rebelling against Thee! Pardon me, O Jesus, my King! for Thou hast died to purchase pardon for me.


To this end Christ died and rose again; that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living (Rom. xiv. 9).

My beloved King, dearest Jesus, since Thou camest upon earth to gain our hearts to Thyself, if hitherto I have resisted Thy loving calls, I will now no longer resist them. Do not disdain to accept me; I now give myself to Thee, I give Thee my whole self. Take, O my King, possession of my whole will, and of my whole self. Make me loyal to Thee; and grant that I may rather die than betray Thee any more, O my King, my Love, my only Good. O Queen, and Mother of my King, O Mary, obtain for me that I may be faithful to what I this day promise to thy Divine Son.


O King of Heaven, from starry throne descending,
Thou takest refuge in this wretched cave;
O God of bliss! I see Thee cold and trembling!
What pain it cost Thee fallen man to save!

Thou, of a thousand worlds the great Creator,
Dost now the pain of cold and want endure;
Thy poverty but makes Thee more endearing,
For well I know 'tis love has made Thee poor.

I see Thee leave Thy Heavenly Father's bosom,
But whither has Thy love transported Thee?
Upon a little straw I see Thee lying;
Why suffer thus? 'Tis all for love of me.

But if it is Thy will for me to suffer,
And by these sufferings my heart to move,
Wherefore, my Jesus, do I see Thee weeping?
'Tis not for pain Thou weepest, but for love.

Thou weepest thus to see me so ungrateful;
My sins have pierced Thee to the very core;
I once despised Thy love, but now I love Thee,
I love but Thee; then, Jesus, weep no more.

Thou sleepest, Lord, but Thy Heart ever watches,
No slumber can a heart so loving take;
But tell me, darling Babe, of what Thou thinkest,
"I think," He says, "of dying for thy sake."

Is it for me that Thou dost think of dying!
What, then, O Jesus! can I love but Thee?
Mary, my hope! If I but love Him little--
Be not indignant -- love Him thou 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
Monday--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


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Mary offered herself to God promptly and entirely, for she well understood the voice of God calling her to devote herself as a perpetual victim in His honour. Arise! Make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one and come! (Cant. ii. 10). Let us this day present ourselves to Mary without delay and without reserve, and let us entreat her who was the delight of her God to offer us to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.


Let us consider how prompt Mary was in offering herself to God. In her infancy, having scarcely attained the age of three years, knowing that her parents had made a vow to consecrate her to God, she was the first to request them to accomplish their promise by assuring them that the time had already come. She also it was who obtained from God the strength for her parents to fulfil such a promise; for certainly very great was the violence that the holy parents had to do to themselves to deprive themselves so soon of a daughter whom they had so much desired to have, and who from the tenderest age had charmed them so much by her amiability.

Behold now Joachim and Anne generously sacrificing to the Lord that which was dearest to their hearts, setting out from Nazareth, accompanied by few relatives, indeed, but by choirs of Angels. They had to carry their well-beloved little daughter by turns, on account of the length of journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem.

Having reached Jerusalem they brought their cherished little daughter to the Temple. The holy child immediately ascended to the first step, and turning to her parents, on her knees kissed their hands and asked them to bless her and to recommend her to God. After having received the blessing, and being strengthened by the love with which she was going to serve her God, Who had deigned to call her to His house, she ascended all the steps of the Temple, and did so with so much haste and zeal that she turned back no more, not even to look on her parents who remained there deeply afflicted, and at the same time filled with wonder at the sight of so much strength and courage in so young a child.

Ah! holy child, it is thou who art the happy daughter of the prince of the earth praised by Holy Scripture: How beautiful are thy steps, O prince's daughter (Cant. vii. 1). Indeed, very dear and very pleasing in the eyes of thy Lord and thy God have been the generous steps that thou dist take in the tenderest years of thy life, leaving thy parents, thy house, and thy relatives to go to consecrate thyself entirely to God's honour and service. Go thou, O Sovereign Lady, will I say with St. Germanus, go with joy into the house of God, to prepare thyself for the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who is to come to make thee the Mother of God Himself. O happy Virgin, who didst begin so soon to serve God, and who didst always serve Him so faithfully, cast a look on me, returning to Him with such tardiness after so many years lost in the love of creatures, and obtain for me the grace to give God at least the remainder of my life, be it long or short. I know that I have very many times deserved to die in sin; I know that it is thou who didst obtain for me the time to do penance -- a grace that has not been granted to so many others. Ah, my most amiable Queen, may my life, so unlike to thine, excite in thee not the disgust that it deserves, but rather thy compassion. Since thou hast already done so much for me, finish the work of my salvation; do not abandon me till thou seest me safe at thy feet in Paradise.


Let us consider that which was the most beautiful part in Mary's offering was that she consecrated herself not only at an early age, but also entirely and without the least reserve.

Already from the first moment of her existence in the womb of her mother, when by a singular privilege she received the use of reason, with the great light with which at the same time the Lord enriched it, she gave herself up entirely to God. Yet her holy soul was waiting with great longing for the day in which she might consecrate herself to God more effectively and thoroughly by becoming detached from all earthly things, even from every innocent affection for her parents, who loved her so tenderly. Hence we may understand the consolation she felt when at her entrance into the holy Temple, by a new act of the most ardent love, she devoted herself entirely to the glory of the Divine Majesty.

Let us consider that this wonderful child, as soon as she found herself in the Temple, first presented herself to her mistress, and on her knees humbly besought her to teach her all that she had to do. Afterwards she saluted her companions and begged them to condescend to admit her into their society.

After these acts of reverence and humility, the youthful Mary turned all her thoughts towards God. She prostrated, and kissed the floor for joy of being in the house of the Lord. She adored His infinite Majesty, and thanked Him for the great favour she was receiving from Him -- namely, that He had so sweetly arranged for her to come to live for a time in His house. Then it was that she offered herself entirely to God, without the least reserve, by consecrating to Him all her faculties and all her senses, her whole mind and her whole heart, her whole soul and her whole body. For at this time, in order to please God the more, she made the vow of virginity, a new vow, unusual at that time, and regarded by the Jews rather as a disgrace. But if Mary was the first to make such a vow, she was not the only one to do so; for, as David had foretold, After her shall virgins be brought to the King (Ps. xliv. 15). Oh, how many very pure virgins have followed the example of Mary their Queen!

Again, Mary offered herself thus entirely without limitation of time; for by this offering of herself she had the intention of devoting herself to the service of God in the Temple during her whole life, if such should be the good pleasure of the Lord, and never to depart from this holy place. Behold me now before Thee, O Lord, this holy child must have said; I come into Thy house only to be Thy servant; accept the desire I have of rendering Thee all the honour I can render, and receive me into Thy service by giving me grace to be faithful to Thee. The Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, that when she was placed in the Temple she resolved in her heart to think of nothing but of God alone.

O Virgin full of sweetness, when will the day come for me, on which, detached from all earthly affections, I shall give myself entirely to God, Who during so many years has been waiting for me and calling me to His love? My most holy Mother, today at last, animated by thy example, I give myself with thee to God entirely and without reserve; I give Him my soul, my body, my will; but I desire that thou first unite this offering of mine to that which in thy infancy thou didst make in the Temple: and then that thou present it to the Lord with thy own hand. Still, this is not enough; obtain for me, besides, grace to be faithful to God as thou hast been thyself, in order that I may never take back what I give Him today.

Spiritual Reading


St. Anselm speaks of the life of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple, and says that "Mary was docile, spoke little, was always composed, did not laugh," and that her mind was never disturbed. She also persevered in prayer, in the study of the Sacred Scriptures, in fastings, and all virtuous works.

St. Jerome and St. Bonaventure enter more into detail. They say that Mary thus regulated her life: In the morning until the third hour she remained in prayer; from the third hour until the ninth she employed herself with work; and from the ninth hour she again prayed until the Angel brought her food, as he was wont to do. She was always the first in watchings, the most exact in the observance of the Divine law, the most profoundly humble, and the most perfect in every virtue. No one ever saw her angry: her every word carried such sweetness with it that it was a witness to all that God was with her.

We read in St. Bonaventure's Life of Christ, that the Divine Mother herself revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary that "when her father and mother left her in the Temple she determined to have God alone for her Father, and often thought how she could please Him best." Moreover, as we learn from the Revelations of St. Bridget, "she determined to consecrate her virginity to God, to possess nothing in the world, and to give God her entire will." Besides this, she told St. Elizabeth that of all the Commandments to be observed she especially kept this one before her eyes: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; and that at midnight she went before the Altar of the Temple to beg that God would grant her the grace to observe them all, and that she might live to see the birth of the Mother of the Redeemer, entreating God at the same time to preserve her eyes to behold her, her tongue to praise her, her hands and feet to serve her, and her knees to adore her Divine Son in her womb. St. Elizabeth, on hearing this, said: "But, Lady, wast thou not full of grace and virtue?" Mary replied: "Know that I considered myself most vile and unworthy of Divine grace, and therefore thus earnestly prayed for grace and virtue." And finally, that we might be convinced of the absolute necessity under which we all are of asking the graces that we require from God, she added: "Dost thou think that I possessed grace and virtue without effort? Know that I obtained no grace from God without great effort, constant prayer, ardent desire, and many tears and mortifications."

But above all we should consider the Revelation made to St. Bridget of the virtues and practices of the Blessed Virgin in her childhood, in the following words: "From her childhood Mary was full of the Holy Ghost, and as she advanced in age she advanced also in grace. Thenceforward she determined to love God with her whole heart, so that she might never offend Him, either by her words or actions; and therefore she despised all earthly goods. She gave all she could to the poor. In her food she was so temperate, that she took only as much as was barely necessary to sustain the life of her body. Afterwards, on discovering in the Sacred Scriptures that God was to be born of a Virgin, that He might redeem the world, her soul was to such a degree inflamed with divine love, that she could desire and think of nothing but God; and finding pleasure in Him alone, she avoided all company, even that of her parents, lest their presence might deprive her of His remembrance. She desired, with the greatest ardour, to live until the time of the coming of the Messias, that she might be the servant of that happy Virgin, who merited to be His Mother." Thus far the Revelations of St. Bridget.

Ah, yes, for the love of this exalted child the Redeemer did indeed hasten His coming into the world; for whilst she, in her humility, looked upon herself as unworthy to be the servant of the Divine Mother, she was herself chosen to be this Mother; and by the sweet odour of her virtues and her powerful prayers she drew the Divine Son into her virginal womb. For this reason Mary was called a turtle-dove by her Divine Spouse: The voice of the turtle is heard in our land (Cant. ii. 12). Not only because as a turtle-dove she always loved solitude, living in this world as in a desert, but also because, like a turtle-dove, which always sighs for its companions, Mary always sighed in the temple, compassionating the miseries of the lost world, and seeking from God the redemption of all. O, with how much greater feeling and fervour than the Prophets did she repeat their prayers and sighs, that God would send the promised Redeemer! Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth (Is. xvi. 1).Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just (Ib. xlv. 8). O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down (Ib. lxiv. 1).

Evening Meditation



Let us consider how holy and pleasing to God was the life of Mary in the Temple. She progressed without intermission in the perfection of every virtue, as the morning rising (Cant. vi. 9). Who can describe how from day to day all her virtues appeared more beautiful -- especially her modesty, silence, mortification, humility, sweetness? St. Anselm says she was accustomed to speak little, was affable, charitable towards every one, and most obliging. In fact, as was revealed to St. Bridget, the virtues she practised most in the Temple were humility, charity, and obedience.

She did not walk, she flew, in the way of the Lord. St. Jerome says that her blessed soul was the abode of every virtue. She spent a certain time as it is related, in doing some work that had been assigned to her. But the greatest part of the day and of the night she consecrated to prayer and to close communion with God in solitude; for this was the most cherished and most desired occupation of her heart that was burning with love; it was her sweetest delight. Oh, how well did Mary in the Temple know how to treat with God of the great work of the Redemption of the world! Seeing clearly the miserable condition of the world, in which so many souls were lost, in which so few knew the true God, and among this number so few who loved Him -- ah! how much better than Patriarchs and Prophets did she pray: Come, O Lord, do not delay! Show us Thy mercy, and send us the Lamb that is to rule the world. Ye heavens, let your rain descend and send down the Just, that the earth may bring forth the Saviour.


It was a delight to the Lord to behold this tender Virgin always ascending towards the highest perfection, like a pillar of smoke, rich in the sweet odour of all virtues, as the Holy Ghost Himself clearly describes her in the sacred Canticles: Who is she that goeth up by the desert as a pillar of smoke, of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense, and of all the powers of the perfumer? (Cant. iii. 6). "This child," says St. Sophronius, "was truly God's garden of delights; for He found in her every kind of flower, and all the sweet odours of virtues." Hence St. John Chrysostom affirms, that God chose Mary for His Mother in this world, because He did not find on earth a Virgin more holy and more perfect than she was, nor any dwelling more worthy than her most sacred womb. St. Bernard also says, "that there was not on earth a more worthy place than the temple of the Virgin's womb." This also agrees with the assertion of St. Antoninus, that the Blessed Virgin, to be chosen for, and destined to the dignity of Mother of God, was necessarily so great and consummate in perfection as to surpass all other creatures: "The last grace of perfection is that which prepared her for the Conception of the Son of God."

As, then, the holy child Mary presented and offered herself to God in the Temple with promptitude and without reserve, so let us also present ourselves this day to Mary without delay and without reserve; and let us entreat her to offer us to God, Who will not reject us when He sees us presented by the hand of that blessed creature, who was the living Temple of the Holy Ghost, the delight of her Lord, and the chosen Mother of the Eternal Word. Let us also have unbounded confidence in this high and gracious Lady, who rewards with the greatest love the homage she receives from her clients.

O thou most holy Child, mistress of virtue and of love, since it was through thy love that the Eternal Word was drawn from the Bosom of His Father to thy own, be ever blessed and ever thanked! How many beautiful lessons dost thou give by thy example, if we are only attentive in considering the life that thou didst lead in the Temple! Ah, sweet Queen, have compassion on me; thou knowest the bad use I have made of my past life; thou knowest the severe account I am to render to Jesus Christ, thy Son and my Judge. O kindliest teacher, since thou hast been so good to me in helping me when I little thought of imploring thy aid and thy counsel, I do not fear that thou wilt abandon me now that I wish to obey thee, and that I ask thy assistance. Do not banish me from thy school in which thou trainest so many souls to sanctity. Teach me what I should do to belong entirely to God, and thus to repair the time I have lost. Should I fail in my duty, O my Sovereign Lady, be so kind as to correct me and chastise me as thou mayest think fit. The chastisements coming from thy sweet hand, to make me a saint, will always be very dear to me. For pity's sake, O Mary, do not abandon me till thou seest me become thy perfect disciple in love towards my God: for I know that it is only in order to love Him that the time I have yet to live has been granted to me. My Sovereign Lady, I ask this favour of thee, and it is from thee that I hope to receive it. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Tuesday--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


The Practice of the presence of God is justly called the foundation of the spiritual life. The spiritual life consists of three things: the avoidance of evil, the practice of virtue, and union with God. The practice of the presence of God preserves the soul from sin, leads it to virtue and unites it to God in holy love.


The Practice of the presence of God preserves the soul from sin. Indeed, there is no more efficacious means of subduing the passions, of resisting temptations, and consequently of avoiding sin, than the remembrance of God's presence. The angelic Doctor says: "If we thought that God was looking at us, and saw all, we would never, or scarcely ever, commit a sin." And St. Jerome has written that the remembrance of God's presence closes the door against all sins. "The remembrance of God," says the holy Doctor, "shuts out all sins." And if men will not dare in their presence to transgress the commands of princes, parents, or superiors, how could they ever violate the laws of God if they thought that He was looking at them? St. Ambrose relates that a page of Alexander the Great, who held in his hand a lighted torch whilst Alexander was offering sacrifice in the temple, suffered his hand to be burnt sooner than be guilty of irreverence by allowing the torch to fall. The Saint adds, that if reverence to his sovereign could conquer nature in a boy, how much more will the thought of the Divine presence make a faithful soul overcome every temptation, and suffer every pain rather than insult the Lord before His face!

All the sins of men flow from their losing sight of the Divine presence. "Every evil," says St. Teresa, "happens to us because we do not reflect that God is present, but imagine that He is afar off." And David said the same: God is not before his eyes; his ways are filthy at all times (Ps. x. 26). Sinners forget that God sees them, and therefore they offend Him at all times. The Abbot Diocles went so far as to say that "he who puts away the remembrance of the presence of God becomes either a beast or a devil." And justly; for he shall be instantly assailed by carnal or diabolical desires which he will not have strength to resist.


On the other hand, by the very thought that God was looking upon them, the Saints bravely repelled all the assaults of their enemies. This thought gave courage to holy Susanna to resist the temptations of the Elders, and even to despise their threats against her life. Hence she courageously said to them: It is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it than to sin in the sight of the Lord (Dan. xiii. 23). It is better to fall into your hands and to die without sin than to offend God before His face. This thought also converted a wicked woman who dared to tempt St. Ephrem; the Saint told her that if she wished to sin she must meet him in the middle of the city. But, said she, how is it possible to commit sin before so many persons? And how, replied the Saint, is it possible to sin in the presence of God Who sees us in every place? At these words she burst into tears, and falling prostrate on the ground asked pardon of the Saint, and besought him to point out to her the way of salvation. St. Ephrem placed her in a monastery, where she led a holy life, weeping over her sins till death. The same happened to the Abbot Paphnutius and a sinner called Thais. She tempted him one day, saying that there was no one to see them but God. The Saint with a stern voice said to her: "Then you believe that God sees you, and will you commit sin?" Thais was thunderstruck, and filled with horror for her sinful life: she gathered together all her riches, clothes, and jewels which she had earned by her infamous practices, burned them in the public square, and retired into a monastery, where she fasted on bread and water every day for three successive years, always repeating this prayer: "O Thou Who hast made me, have mercy on me!" After these three years she happily ended her life by a holy death. It was afterwards revealed to Paul, a disciple of St. Anthony, that this happy penitent was placed among the Saints on an exalted throne of glory.

Behold the efficacy of the remembrance of the Divine presence to make us avoid sins. Let us then always pray to the Lord, saying with Job: Set me beside thee, and let any man's hand fight against me (Job. xvii. 3). My God, place me in Thy Presence: that is, remind me in every place that Thou seest me, and then let all my enemies assail me: I shall always defeat them. Hence St. Chrysostom concludes: "If we keep ourselves always in the presence of God, the thought that He sees all our thoughts, that He hears all our words, and observes all our actions will preserve us from thinking any evil, from speaking any evil and from doing any evil."

Spiritual Reading


What valour does not the soldier show when fighting Under the eyes of his Sovereign! The sole thought that his prince by whom he shall be punished or rewarded is present, inspires him with great courage and strength. Hence, if men only reflected that God was looking at all their actions, they would do all things well, with a pure intention, without seeking to please any one but God, and without any regard to human respect. St. Basil says that were a person to find himself in the presence of a king and a peasant, his sole concern would be to please the king without any regard to the wishes of the peasant. Thus he that walks in the Divine presence is regardless of the pleasure of creatures, and seeks only to please God, Who sees him always.

Finally, as to the third effect of the Divine presence, that is, to unite the soul to God, it is an infallible rule that love is always increased by the presence of the object loved. This happens even among men, although the more they converse together, the more their defects are discovered. How much more shall the love of a soul for God increase if it keep Him before its eyes! For the more it converses with Him, the better it comprehends His beauty and amiableness. The morning and the evening Meditation are not sufficient to keep the soul united with God. St. John Chrysostom says, that even water, if removed from the fire, soon returns to its natural temperature; and therefore after prayer it is necessary to preserve fervour by the presence of God, and by renewing our affections.

St. Bernard says of himself, that in the beginning of his conversion, when he found himself disturbed, or his fervour cooling, peace and the ardour of Divine love were instantly restored by the remembrance of a deceased or absent Saint. Now, how much greater the effect which must be produced on a soul that loves God, by remembering that He is present, and that He is asking her love! David said that by the remembrance of his God he was filled with joy and consolation. I remembered God, and was delighted (Ps. lxxvi. 4). However great the affliction and desolation of a soul may be, if it loves God it will be consoled and freed from its affliction by remembering its beloved Lord. Hence, souls enamoured of God live always with a tranquil heart and in continual peace; because, like the sunflower that always turns its face to the sun, they in all events and in all their actions seek always to live and act in the presence of God. "A true lover," says St. Teresa, "always remembers her Beloved."

Evening Meditation



The exercise of the presence of God consists partly in the operation of the intellect and partly in the operation of the will. The intellect represents God as present, and the will unites the soul to God by acts of adoration, of love, of humility and the like. In regard to the intellect, the presence of God may be practised in various ways.

We can imagine that Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is present; that He is in our company, and that He sees us in whatsoever place we may be. We can at one time represent Him in one Mystery, and again in another: for example, now an Infant lying in the Manger of Bethlehem, and again a Pilgrim flying into Egypt; now a Boy working in the shop of Nazareth, and again suffering as a criminal in His Passion in Jerusalem, scourged, or crowned with thorns, or nailed to a Cross. St. Teresa praises this method of practising the presence of God. But it is necessary to remark, that though this method is good, it is not the best, nor is it always profitable. Hence, should you wish to practise it, you must do it sweetly, only when you find it useful, and without labouring to represent in the mind the peculiar features of our Saviour, His countenance, His stature, or colour. It is enough to represent Him in a general manner, and as beholding all we do.

The second method, which is more secure and more excellent, is founded on the truth of Faith, and consists in beholding with eyes of Faith God present with us in every place, in considering that He encompasses us, that He sees and observes whatever we do. We indeed do not see Him with the eyes of the flesh. Nor do we see the air, yet we know for certain that it surrounds us on every side, that we live in it; for without it we could neither breathe nor live. We do not see God, but our holy Faith teaches that He is always present with us. Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord? (Jer. xxiii. 24). And as a sponge in the midst of the ocean is encompassed and saturated with water, so, says the Apostle, in God we live and move and are (Acts xvii. 28). And our God, says St. Augustine, observes every action, every word, every thought of each, as if He forgot all His other creatures, and had to attend only to us. Hence, observing all we do, and say, and think, He marks and registers all, in order to demand an account on the day of Judgment, and to give us then the reward or the chastisement we have deserved.

This second way of practising the Divine presence does not fatigue the mind; for the exercise of it we need only enliven our Faith with an affectionate act of the will, saying: My God, I believe firmly that Thou art here present. To this act we can easily add the acts of love, or of resignation, or of purity of intention, and the like.


The third way of preserving the remembrance of God's presence is to recognize Him in His creatures, which have from Him their being, and their power of serving us. God is in the water to wash us, in the fire to warm us, in the sun to give us light, in food to nourish us, in clothes to cover us, and in like manner in all other things that He has created for our use. When we see a beautiful object, a beautiful garden, or a beautiful flower, let us think that there we behold a ray of the infinite beauty of God, Who has given existence to that object. If we converse with a man of sanctity and learning, let us consider that it is God Who imparts to him a small portion of His own holiness and wisdom. Thus, also, when we hear sweet sounds, when we feel a fragrant odour, or taste delicious meat or drink, let us remember that God is the Being Who by His presence imparts to us these delights, that by them we may be induced to aspire to the eternal delights of Paradise.

Let us accustom ourselves to behold in every object God, Who presents Himself to us in every creature; and let us offer Him acts of thanksgiving and of love, remembering that from eternity He has thought of creating so many beautiful creatures to bring us to His love. St. Augustine says: Learn to love your Creator in creatures; and fix not your affection on what God has made, lest you should become attached to creatures and lose Him by Whom you, too, have been created. This was the practice of the Saint. At the sight of creatures he was accustomed to raise his heart to God; hence he exclaimed with love: Heaven and earth and all things tell me to love Thee. When he beheld the Heavens, the stars, the fields, the mountains, he seemed to hear them say: Augustine, love God, for He has created us for no other end than that you might love Him.

Thus, likewise, St. Teresa, when she beheld the plains, the sea, the rivers, or other beautiful creatures, felt as if they reproached her with ingratitude to God. Thus also St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, holding in her hand a flower or an apple, and looking at it, became enraptured with Divine love, saying within herself: Then my God has thought from eternity of creating this fruit for my sake, and to give me a proof of the love He bears me! It is also related of St. Simon Salo, that when walking through the fields he saw flowers or herbs, he would strike them with his staff, saying: "Be silent! Be silent! You reproach me with not loving that God Who has made you so beautiful for my sake, that I might be induced to love Him: I hear you! Cease! Reprove me no longer; be silent!"
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Wednesday--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


The most perfect way of living in the Divine Presence is to consider God present within us. We need not ascend to Heaven to find God. We shall find Him within ourselves. Know ye not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? St. Teresa writes: For myself, I confess I never knew what it was to pray with satisfaction till our Lord taught me this way, and I have always found great advantages from this custom of recollection and entering within myself."


The most perfect way of living in the Divine presence is to consider God present within us. We need not ascend to Heaven to find God. We shall find Him within ourselves. Know ye not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? St. Teresa writes: For myself I confess I never knew what it was to pray with satisfaction till our Lord taught me this way, and I have always found great advantages from this custom of recollection and entering within myself." We must know of course that God is present in us, in a manner different from that in which He is present in other creatures; in us God is present as in His own temple and His own house. Know you not, says the Apostle, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. iii. 16). Hence our Saviour says, that into a soul that loves God, He comes with the Father and Holy Ghost, not to remain there for a short time, but to dwell in it forever, and there to establish an everlasting habitation. If any one love me ... my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him (Jo. xiv. 23).

The kings of the earth, though they have their great palaces, have, notwithstanding, their particular apartments in which they generally live. God is in all places; His presence fills Heaven and earth; but He dwells in a particular manner in our souls, and there, as He Himself tells us by the mouth of the Apostle, He delights to remain as in so many gardens of pleasure. I will dwell in them, and walk among them, and I will be their God (2 Cor. vi. 16). There He wishes us to love Him and to pray to Him: for He remains in us full of love and mercy, to hear our supplications, to receive our affections, to enlighten us, to govern us, to bestow on us His gifts, and to assist us in all that can contribute to our eternal salvation.


Let us often endeavour to enliven our Faith in the great truth that God is present in our souls, and let us annihilate ourselves at the sight of the great majesty that condescends to dwell within us; and let us also be careful to make acts at one time of confidence, at another of oblation, and again of love of His infinite goodness; now thanking Him for His favours, at another time rejoicing in His glory; and again asking counsel in our doubts; consoling ourselves always in the possession of this Sovereign Good within us, certain that no created power can deprive us of Him, and that He will never depart from us unless we first voluntarily banish Him.

This was the little cell that St. Catharine of Sienna built within her heart, in which she lived always retired, always engaged in loving colloquies with God; thus she defended herself against the persecution of her parents, who had forbidden her to retire any more to her own room for the purpose of praying. And in this little cell the Saint made greater progress than she did by retiring to her room; for she would have to leave her chamber several times a day, while this interior cell she never left, but remained in it always recollected with God. Hence St. Teresa, speaking of the Divine presence in our interior, said: "I believe that they who are able to lock themselves up in this little heaven in their souls, where He Who created them is always present, walk in an excellent path, because they make great progress in a short time."

Spiritual Reading


We have spoken of the operation of the intellect; we will now say a few words on the application of the will to the holy exercise of the Divine Presence. And it is necessary to understand that to remain always before God, with the mind continually fixed on Him, is the happy lot of the Blessed; but in the present state it is morally impossible to keep up the thought of the presence of God without interruption. Hence we should endeavour to practise it to the best of our ability, not with a solicitous inquietude and indiscreet effort of the mind, but with sweetness and tranquillity.

There are three means of facilitating the application of the will to this exercise.

1. The first method consists in frequently raising the heart to God, by short but fervent ejaculations, or loving affections towards God present with us. These may be practised in all places and at all times, in walking, at work, at meals, and at recreation. These affections may be acts of election, of desire, of resignation, of oblation, of love, of renunciation, of thanksgiving, of petition, of humility, of confidence, and the like. In whatever occupation you find yourself, you can very easily turn to God from time to time and say to Him:

My God, I wish for Thee alone, and nothing else. I desire nothing but to be all Thine. Dispose as Thou pleasest of me, and of all that I possess. I give myself entirely to Thee. Thy will alone be done! I renounce all things for the love of Thee. I thank Thee for the great graces Thou hast bestowed upon me. Give me Thy holy love. But for Thy mercy, O Lord, I should be at this moment in hell. I delight in Thy felicity. I would that all men loved Thee! Never permit me to be separated from Thee. In Thee I place all my hopes. When shall I see Thee and love Thee face to face? Let all that I do and suffer be done and suffered for Thee. Thy holy will be always done!

The ancient Fathers set great value on all these short prayers, by which we can practise the presence of God more easily than by long prayers. And St. John Chrysostom used to say, that he that makes use of these short prayers or acts shuts the door against the devil, and prevents him from coming to molest him with bad thoughts. At certain special times it is necessary more particularly to enliven our Faith in the Divine presence. First, in the morning when we awake, by saying: My God, I believe that Thou art here present, and that Thou wilt be present with me in every place to which I shall go this day; watch over me, then, in all places, and do not permit me to offend Thee before Thy Divine eyes. Secondly, at the beginning of all our prayers, whether mental or vocal. The Venerable Cardinal Caracciolo, bishop of Aversa, used to say, that he who makes Mental Prayer with distractions, shows that he has been negligent in making the Act of Faith in the presence of God. Thirdly, on occasion of any temptation against patience or chastity; for example, if you are seized with any sharp pain, or receive any grievous insult, or if any scandalous object be presented to you, instantly arm yourself with the Divine presence, and excite your courage by remembering that God is looking at you. It was thus that David prepared himself to resist temptations. My eyes are ever towards the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare (Ps. xxiv. 15). I will keep my eyes on my God, and He will deliver me from the snares of my enemies. You must do the same when you have occasion to perform any very difficult act of virtue. You should imitate the valorous Judith, who, after having unsheathed the sword, turned to God before she gave the stroke, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, in this hour (Judith, xiii. 9).

2. The second method of preserving the presence of God by acts of the will is to renew always in distracting employments the intention of performing them all with the intention of pleasing God. And therefore, in the beginning of every action or occupation, whether you apply yourself to work, go to table, or to recreation, or to repose, say: Lord, in this work I do not intend my own pleasure, but only the accomplishment of Thy will. In the course of the action endeavour to renew your intention, saying: My God, may all be for Thy glory! By these acts the presence of God is preserved without fatiguing the mind; for the very desire of pleasing God is a loving remembrance of His presence. It is also useful to fix certain times, or particular signs, in order to remember the Divine presence; as when the clock strikes, when you look at the Crucifix, when you enter or leave your room. Some are accustomed to keep in their room some particular sign, to remind them of the presence of God.

3. The third method is, when you find yourself very much distracted during the day, and the mind oppressed with business, to retire at least for a little in order to recollect yourself with God. Were you on any day to feel bodily weakness, arising from excess of labour and long fasting, would you not take some refreshment in order to be able to proceed with the work? How much more careful should you be to treat the soul in a similar manner, when it begins to fail in courage, and to grow cold in Divine love, in consequence of being a long time without food; that is, without prayer and recollection with God? I again repeat what Father Balthasar Alvarez used to say, that a soul out of prayer is like a fish out of water; the soul is, as it were, in a violent state. Hence, after being a long time engaged in business and distracting occupations, a Christian should retire, if I may say so, to take breath in solitude, recollecting himself there with God, by affections and petitions. The life of bliss in Heaven consists in seeing and loving God, and therefore I infer that the felicity of a soul on this earth consists also in loving and seeing God, not openly as in Paradise, but with the eyes of Faith, by which it beholds Him always present with it; and thus acquires great reverence, confidence, and love towards its beloved Lord. He that lives in this manner begins, even in this valley of tears, to live like the Saints in Heaven who always see God's face, and therefore cannot cease to love Him. Thus he that lives in the Divine presence will despise all earthly things, knowing that before God, such things are misery and smoke; and will begin in this life to possess that Sovereign Good Who contents the heart more than all other goods.

Evening Meditation



We must all be persuaded that we cannot perform any good action without the actual graces of God. But the Lord declares that these graces He gives only to those who ask them of Him: Ask and it shall be given you (Matt. vii. 7). He, then, says St. Teresa, who does not ask, will not receive.

For adults, prayer is necessary, as a matter of strict precept. We ought, says Jesus Christ, always to pray (Luke xviii. 1). Pray that you enter not into temptation (Mark xiv. 38). Ask, and you shall receive (Jo. xvi. 24). The words, we ought, pray, ask, according to St. Thomas, and the generality of Theologians, imply a strict precept that binds under pain of grievous sin. "Every man," says the angelic Doctor, "is bound to pray, because he is bound to procure spiritual goods, which cannot be obtained unless they are asked." A person is obliged to pray, particularly in three cases: when he finds himself in the state of sin; when he is in danger of death; when he is assailed by any violent temptation.

Prayer is necessary, not only as a matter of strict precept, but, according to St. Basil, St. Augustine, and others, it is also necessary as a means of salvation, without which it is absolutely impossible for us to preserve ourselves in the grace of God, and to be saved. "It is simply impossible," says St. John Chrysostom, "without the aid of prayer, to lead a virtuous life."

The angelic Doctor teaches that "after Baptism continual prayer is necessary for a man, in order to enter Heaven." Because, adds the Saint, though sins are cancelled by Baptism, we still have temptations to conquer, which we shall not have strength to overcome without prayer. Hence he says in another place: "After a person is justified by grace, he requires to ask of God the gift of perseverance, that he may be preserved from evil to the end of life."

To understand the reason of this doctrine, it is necessary to know, first, that without special aid from God we cannot continue for a long time in His grace without falling into mortal sin. For we have so many enemies that continually combat against us, and we are at the same time so weak, that if God does not assist us with special helps, or if He gives us only the common graces given to all, we shall not have strength to resist. This is even a Dogma of Faith defined by the Council of Trent in the following words: "If any one shall say that a person who has been justified can, without special aid from God, persevere in the justice which he has received, or cannot persevere with such aid, let him be anathema." It is necessary to know also, that this special aid to persevere in grace is given, at least ordinarily speaking, only to those who ask it. "It is evident," says St. Augustine, "that God gives, even to those who do not pray, some gifts, such as the beginning of Faith; and that He prepares other graces, such as perseverance to the end, only for those who ask them,"

From all that has been said we must conclude that prayer is strictly necessary for the attainment of salvation. All the reprobate have been damned in consequence of their neglect of prayer; had they prayed they would not have been lost; and the Saints have become Saints by prayer; had they neglected prayer they would not have become Saints, and could not have been saved. We must be persuaded, as St. John Chrysostom says that to neglect prayer, and to lose the life of the soul or the grace of God, are one and the same thing. Lord assist me, and hasten to my aid, for if Thou delay Thy assistance, I shall fall, and lose Thy grace. If we pray, then, we shall be certainly saved; if we neglect to pray, we shall be certainly lost.


Consider the efficacy of holy Prayer. "Prayer, though, one can do all things," says Theodoret. He who prays obtains whatsover he wishes. And in this it appears to me that God displays the immense love He bears us, and His ardent desire to promote our welfare. What greater love can a person show to a friend than to say to him; Friend, ask what you wish from me, and I will grant your petition. This God says to each of us: Ask, and it shall be given you (Luke xi. 9). He makes no exception: You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you (Jo. xv. 7). He tells us to ask whatsoever we desire, and promises that our prayer shall be heard. St. John Climacus asserts that prayer is so powerful before God, that it, as it; were, constrains Him to give us all the graces we ask. Devout prayer does violence to God. We are, as David says, poor mendicants: But I am a beggar and poor (Ps. xxxix. 18). But to be rich depends on ourselves: let us ask graces of God, and they will be given us: let us ask them frequently, and they will be poured out upon us abundantly. David blessed the Lord in a special manner for His goodness in always uniting His mercy to our prayers. Blessed be God who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from Me (Ps. lxv. 20). St. Augustine explains this passage in these words: "When you see that your prayer has not been turned away, be assured that the mercy of God is not turned away from you." When you see that you pray, be certain that the Divine mercy will not fail to assist you. And St. John Chrysostom says that when we pray, the Lord hears us before the conclusion of our prayer. For this we have even God's own promise: As they are yet speaking I will hear (Is. lxv. 24).
"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--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


It will be the very Paradise of the Blessed to rejoice in the joy of the Lord. Thus he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy for all eternity, can say that even here below on earth, he enters into the joy of the Lord and begins to share in the bliss of Paradise.


Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord! (Matt. xxv. 21). When the soul enters the Kingdom of the Blessed, and the barrier which hinders its sight is taken away, it will see openly and without a veil the infinite beauty of God; and this will be the joy of the Blessed.

Every object that the soul will then see in God Himself will overwhelm it with delight. It will see the rectitude of His judgments, the harmony of His regulations for every soul, all ordained to His Divine glory, and the soul's own good.

The soul will especially perceive, in respect to itself, the boundless love God has entertained towards it in becoming Man, and sacrificing His life upon the Cross through love of it. Then will it know what an excess of goodness is comprehended in the Mystery of the Cross; in the sight of a God become a servant, and dying condemned upon an infamous tree; and in the Mystery of the Eucharist, God beneath the species of bread, and made the food of His creatures!

In particular the soul will perceive all the graces and favours shown to it, which, until then, had been hidden from it. It will see all the mercies God bestowed on it, in waiting for it, and pardoning its ingratitude. It will see the many calls, and lights, and aids that had been granted to it in abundance. It will see that those tribulations, those infirmities, those losses of property or of kindred, which it counted punishments, were not really punishments, but loving arrangements of God for drawing it to His perfect love.

In a word, all these things will make the soul know the infinite goodness of its God, and the boundless love He deserves. Wherefore, as soon as it has reached Heaven, it will have no other desire but to behold Him in His blessedness and content; and, at the same time, comprehending that the happiness of God is supreme, infinite, and eternal, it will experience a joy that is not infinite only because a creature is not capable of anything that is infinite. It will enjoy, nevertheless, a pleasure extreme and full, which inundates it with delight, and with that kind of delight that belongs to God Himself; and thus will be fulfilled in it the words: Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.


The Blessed are blessed not so much through the delight which they experience in themselves as in the joy with which God rejoices; for the Blessed love God so immeasurably more than themselves that the blessedness of God delights them immeasurably more than their own blessedness, through the love which they bear Him. Their love of God makes them forget themselves, and all their delight is to please their Beloved.

And this is that holy and loving inebriation which causes the Blessed to lose the memory of themselves, to give themselves wholly to praise and love the dear object of all their love, which is God. They shall be inebriated with the fulness of thy house (Ps. xxxv. 9). Happy from their first entrance into Heaven, they continue, as it were, lost, and, so to say, swallowed up in love, in that boundless ocean of the goodness of God.

Wherefore every blessed soul will lose all its desires, and will have no other desire but to love God, and to be loved by Him; and knowing that it is sure of ever loving Him, and of being ever loved by Him, this very thing will be its blessedness, filling it with joy, and making it throughout eternity so satisfied with delights that it will desire nothing more.

In a word, the Paradise of the Blessed will be to rejoice in the joy of God. And thus, he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy through eternity, can say that even in this life he enters into the joy of God, and begins to enjoy Paradise.

Yet, O my sweeet Saviour, and my soul's Love, in this vale of tears I still see myself surrounded by enemies, who would separate me from Thee. O my beloved Lord, suffer me not to perish; make me love Thee for ever in this life and in the next, and then do with me what Thou wilt. O Queen of Paradise, if thou prayest for me, assuredly I shall be with thee eternally, to be in thy company, and to praise thee in Paradise.

Spiritual Reading



1. We must pray with humility. St. James says: God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble (Jas. iv. 6). God rejects the prayers of the proud, and does not listen to them; their pride is a wall that hinders the Lord from hearing their petitions. But, on the other hand, Ecclesiasticus says that the prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds ... and he will not depart till the Most High behold (Ecclus. xxxv. 21). The prayer of a soul that esteems itself unworthy of being heard penetrates the Heavens, and is presented at the throne of God; and it departs not till God beholds and hears the petition. When, therefore, we ask Divine graces, we must first cast a glance at our own unworthiness, particularly at the frequent infidelities into which, because we trusted too much in our own strength, we have fallen, after so many resolutions and promises. And, full of diffidence in ourselves, we should pray and implore of the Divine mercy the aid of which we stand in need.

2. It is necessary to pray with confidence. Ecclesiasticus says that no one ever trusted in the Lord and was confounded or not heard. No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded (Ecclus. ii. 11). We should, as St. James says, pray without wavering, and with a secure confidence of being heard. Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (James, i. 6). The Apostle adds: For he that wavereth, is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore, let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord (Ibid. 6, 7). He says that the man who prays with a want of confidence, being tossed like a wave of the sea, encouraged by one thought and disheartened by another, shall receive nothing from the Lord. We must, then, trust in the Divine mercy, and believe that if we pray we shall certainly receive the graces we ask. Our prayer will be certainly heard, and, as our Saviour assures us, the objects of our petitions will surely be granted. All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive: and they shall come unto you (Mark xi. 24).

But, you will say, I am a sinner, I deserve chastisement, and not favours; and therefore I am afraid, because I am not worthy to be heard. But St. Thomas answers that the efficacy of prayer to obtain the Divine graces depends not on our merits, but on the mercy of God. Hence Jesus Christ has said: Ask and it shall be given you ... for every one that asketh receiveth (Luke xi. 9). Every one, whether he be a just man or a sinner. But to remove every apprehension, our loving Redeemer has said: Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you (Jo. xvi. 23). As if He would say: Sinners, you have no claim to be heard by My Father; but ask His grace in My Name, that is, through My merits, and I promise that He will give whatsoever you ask. How consoling the words of St. James: If any want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not (Jas. i. 5), that is, when we ask God for His gifts, He does not reject our petition, and upbraid us with the insults we have offered to Him, but appears then to forget all our ingratitude; He accepts our homage and hears our prayer.

3. It is finally necessary to pray with perseverance. St. Hilary says that to obtain Divine grace depends on our continuance in prayer. The Lord wishes to hear some the first time, others the second, and others the third time. Hence, since we know not how often we are to present our supplications in order to be heard, we must always continue to ask the graces of which we stand in need, and particularly the gift of final perseverance, which, as the Council of Trent teaches, we cannot merit. But St. Augustine says that it may be merited in a certain manner by prayer; that is, by praying for it it is infallibly obtained. But to obtain this gift and to be saved, it is necessary, as St. Thomas observes, for every one to ask it continually of God. The Apostle says: Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. v. 17). It is not enough, says Cardinal Bellarmine, to ask the gift of perseverance once, or a few times. In order to obtain it every day, we must ask it every day. On the day we neglect to pray for it, we may fall into sin and be lost.

St. Gregory teaches that God wishes to give us perseverance, but in order to give it, He wishes to be importuned, and as it were forced by our prayers. "God," says the holy Doctor, "wishes to be asked, He wishes to be forced; He wishes, in a certain manner, to be overcome by importunity." This appears from the repeated exhortations of our Lord: Ask and it shall be given; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you(Luke xi. 9). Ask, seek, knock: this is necessary especially to obtain strength to conquer violent temptations; we must pray and multiply prayers until we are freed from the temptations. Let us continually repeat: My Jesus, mercy; Lord assist me; do not permit me to be separated from Thee.

It is also necessary to ask always the spirit of prayer, or the grace to pray continually -- that great gift that God had promised to the family of David. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers (Zach. xii. 10). Mark the words, of grace, and of prayers; which mean, that prayer is always united to the grace we desire. He who perseveres in prayer will always be certain to escape the snares of his enemies. A net is spread in vain before the eyes of them that have wings (Prov. i. 17). In vain, says the Wise Man, is the net cast before the eyes of the bird; for it instantly flies away and escapes the snare. Thus, they that pray escape all temptations; for by prayer they instantly fly to God, and He delivers them.

And here let us remember that there never can be any excuse for a sinner, who says that he fell because he had not strength to resist; for the Coucil of Trent has declared that "God does not command impossibilities, but by His precepts He admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do, and He assists you that you may be able to do it."

The Lord then hears the prayers of all, because He has promised to hear them; but it is necessary to know that this promise does not extend to temporal favours -- such as bodily health, the acquisition of wealth, or the attainment of a post of honour, and the like. For God frequently, and justly, refuses these gifts, because He knows that they would be injurious to the soul. "The physician," says St. Augustine, "knows better than the patient what is useful for him." If these temporal favours be the object of prayer, they should be asked with resignation, and on condition that they will be conducive to our eternal salvation; if we ask them without this resignation, the Lord will not listen to our prayers. But in praying for spiritual blessings, we must pray not conditionally, but absolutely, and with a firm confidence of obtaining them. Behold how our Saviour encourages us to ask such graces: If you, then, He says, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good spirit to them that ask him (Luke xi. 13).

O God, how often are the prayers of certain persons offered for temporal graces only! The time of prayer, says St. Teresa, is not a time for treating with God on matters of little importance. Let us ask for virtues, for Divine light in order to fulfil the Divine Will. Let us ask for meekness, for patience under crosses, for perseverance, and for Divine love, which, as St. Francis de Sales says, contains all other good gifts. Let us ask the grace to pray always, and to recommend ourselves continually to God. "If," says St. Augustine, "Thou dost not hear these prayers of Thy servants, what wilt Thou hear?" Ah! the Lord desires ardently to enrich us with His gifts, because He is Infinite Goodness! So great is His desire that, as St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi says, when we ask His graces, He, in a certain manner, considers Himself under an obligation to us, and thanks us, because we then give Him an opportunity of satisfying His desire of promoting our welfare. If He does not bestow His graces upon us, the fault is ours; it is because we do not ask them of Him. He, then, that remains in his poverty, is undeserving of compassion: he is poor because he does not wish to ask of God the graces that are necessary for him. Hence, St. Teresa used to say, that she would have wished to ascend a mountain, from which she could be heard by all men, and from which she would continually exclaim: O men, pray! pray! pray!

I will not dilate more on this subject, because, as I have said in the beginning, I have written at length on it in several places, and particularly in the little book on Prayer, which is now in the hands of many, and therefore I will not weary those who have read it, by repeating the same things.

But I would wish to do nothing else than write, and speak always on this great means of prayer: for I see that the Scriptures, the Old as well as the New Testament, exhort us so often to pray, to ask, and cry out, if we wish for the Divine graces. Cry to me and I will hear thee (Jer. xxxiii. 3). Call on me ... and I will deliver thee (Ps. xlix. 15). Ask and it shall be given you (Matt. vii. 7). All things whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you (Mark xi. 24). You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you (Jo. xv. 7). lf you shall ask me anything in my name, that I will do (Jo. xiv. 14).

There are a thousand similar passages. The holy Fathers of the Church, also, are continually exhorting us to pray. And to speak the truth, I complain of preachers, of confessors, and of spiritual writers, for I see that neither preachers, confessors, nor spiritual writers speak as much as they ought of the Great Means of Salvation -- Prayer. Hence I have written at length on this subject in so many of my little works; and when I preach, I do nothing else but say: Pray! Pray, if you wish to be saved and to become saints.

Our Lord wishes us to ask, to seek, to knock -- to pray and pray again and never cease to pray, that God may keep His hand over us, and never permit us to be separated from Him by sin. Let us not forget to recommend ourselves to the Divine Mother. "Let us ask for grace and let us ask it through Mary" (St. Bernard).

Evening Meditation



St. Thomas of Villanova gives us excellent encouragement, saying: "What art thou afraid of, O sinner? ... How shall He reject thee if thou desirest to retain Him Who came down from Heaven to seek thee?" Let not the sinner, then, be afraid, provided he will be no more a sinner, but will love Jesus Christ; let him not be dismayed, but have full trust; if he abhor and hate sin, and seek God, let him not be sad, but full of joy: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord (Ps. civ. 3). The Lord has sworn to forget all injuries done to Him, if the sinner is sorry for them: If the wicked do penance ... I will not remember all his iniquities (Ezech. xviii. 21). And that we might have every motive for confidence, our Saviour became an Infant: "Who is afraid to approach a Child?" asks the same St. Thomas of Villanova.

"Children do not inspire terror or aversion, but attachment and love," says St. Peter Chrysologus. It seems that children know not how to be angry; and if perchance at odd times they should be irritated, they are easily soothed; one has only to give them a fruit, a flower, or bestow on them a caress, or utter a kind word to them, and they have already forgiven and forgotten every offence.

A tear of repentance, one act of heart-felt contrition, is enough to appease the Infant Jesus. "You know the tempers of children," St. Thomas of Villanova goes on to say, "a single tear pacifies them, the offence is forgotten. Approach, then, to Him, while He is a little One, while He would seem to have forgotten His majesty." He has put off His Divine majesty, and appears as a Child to inspire us with more courage to approach His feet.

"He is born as an Infant," says St. Bonaventure, "that neither His justice nor His power might intimidate you." In order to relieve us from every feeling of distrust, which the idea of His power and of His justice might cause in us, He comes before us as a little Babe, full of sweetness and mercy. "O God!" says Gerson, "Thou hast hidden Thy wisdom under a Child's years, that it might not accuse us." O God of mercy, lest Thy Divine wisdom might reproach us with our offences against Thee, Thou hast hidden it under an Infant's form. "Thy justice under humility, lest it should condemn." Thou hast concealed Thy justice under the most profound abasement, that it might not condemn us. "Thy power under weakness lest it should punish." Thou hast disguised Thy power in feebleness, that it might not visit us with chastisement.


St. Bernard makes this reflection: "Adam, after his sin, on hearing the voice of God: Adam, where art thou? (Gen. iii. 9), was filled with dismay" -- I heard thy voice, and was afraid (Gen. iii. 10). But, continues the Saint, the Incarnate Word now made Man upon earth, has laid aside all semblance of terror: "Do not fear; He seeks thee, not to punish, but to save thee. Behold, He is a Child; the voice of a child will excite compassion rather than fear. The Virgin Mother wraps His delicate limbs in swaddling-clothes: and art thou still alarmed?" That God Who should punish thee is born an Infant, and has no voice to terrify thee, since the accents of a child, being sounds of weeping, move us rather to pity than to fear; thou canst not fear that Jesus Christ will stretch out His hands to chastise thee, since His Mother is occupied in swathing them in linen bands.

"Be of good cheer, then, O sinners," says St. Leo, "the Birthday of the Lord is the Birthday of peace and joy." The Prince of peace (Is. ix. 6), was He called by Isaias. Jesus Christ is a Prince, not of vengeance on sinners, but of mercy and of peace, constituting Himself the Mediator betwixt God and sinners. If our sins, says St. Augustine, are too much for us, God does not despise His own Blood. If we cannot ourselves make due atonement to the justice of God, at least the Eternal Father knows not how to disregard the Blood of Jesus Christ Who has made atonement for us.

We have offended God; already has sentence of everlasting death been passed upon us; Divine justice requires satisfaction, and rightly. What have we to do? Should we despair? God forbid! Let us offer up to God this Infant, Who is His own Son, and let us address Him with confidence: O Lord, if we cannot of ourselves render Thee satisfaction for our offences against Thee, behold this Child, Who weeps and moans, Who is benumbed with cold on His bed of straw in this cavern; He is here to make atonement for us, and He pleads for Thy mercy on us. Though we ourselves are undeserving of pardon, the tears and sufferings of this Thy guiltless Son merit it for us, and He entreats Thee to pardon us.

If we would have still another means to secure our forgiveness, let us obtain the intercession of this Divine Mother Mary in our behalf; she is all-powerful with her blessed Son to promote the interests of repentant sinners, as St. John Damascene assures us. Yes, for the prayers of Mary, adds St. Antoninus, have the force of commands with her Son, in consideration of the love He bears her: "The prayer of the Mother of God has the force of a command." Hence St. Peter Damien wrote that when Mary entreats Jesus Christ in favour of one who is dearest to her, "she appears in a certain sense to command as a mistress, not to ask as a handmaid, for the Son honours her by denying her nothing." For this reason St. Germanus says Mary can obtain the pardon of the most abandoned sinners. "Thou, by the power of thy maternal authority, gainest for the most enormous sinners the most excellent grace of 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
Friday--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation

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Jesus Crucified! Oh, what a spectacle to the Angels in Heaven to behold a God Crucified! And we? What sentiments should we conceive when we behold the King of Heaven hanging on a gibbet, covered with wounds, agonising, dying of pure unmitigated pain! O death of Jesus! O love of Jesus, take possession of all my thoughts and affections!


Jesus Crucified! Oh, what a spectacle to the Angels in Heaven to behold a God Crucified! And we? What sentiments should we not conceive when we behold the King of Heaven hanging on a gibbet, covered with wounds, agonizing and dying of pure, unmitigated pain!

O God, why does this Divine Saviour, this innocent and Saintly One, suffer such torments? Ah, He suffers them to expiate the sins of men. And who has ever seen such an example? The Lord suffering for His slaves! The Shepherd dying for His sheep! The Creator immolated and offered as a holocaust for His creatures!

Jesus on the Cross! Behold the Man of Sorrows foretold by Isaias. Behold Him on that infamous tree, full of exterior and interior sorrows. In His body He is torn with scourges, thorns, and nails: blood flows from every wound, and each member suffers its own torment. In His soul He is afflicted with sadness and desolation; He is abandoned by all, even by His very Father. But what tormented Him most severely was the horrid sight of all the sins that the very men, redeemed by His blood, would commit after His death.

Ah, my Redeemer, among these ungrateful ones Thou didst see me, and all my sins. Then I too had a great part in all Thy afflictions on the Cross, when Thou wast dying for me. Oh that I had died, and had never offended Thee!


Oh, Jesus, my Hope, death terrifies me. I know I shall then have to render an account of all the insults I have offered to Thy love. But Thy death encourages me, and makes me hope for pardon. I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee. If I have not hitherto loved Thee, I now wish to love Thee during the remaining days of my life, and I wish to do and suffer all things in order to please Thee. O my Redeemer, Who died on a Cross for me, assist me.

Lord, Thou hast said that when Thou wouldst be exalted on the Cross, Thou wouldst draw all hearts to Thee. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself (Jo. xii. 32). By dying on the Cross for us, Thou hast already drawn to Thy love so many who, for Thy sake, have forsaken all things, their goods, their country, their relatives, and their life. Ah, draw also my poor heart, which, through Thy grace, now longs to love Thee. Permit me not to love mire, as I have hitherto done. O my Redeemer, would that I could see myself stripped of every worldly affection, so as to forget all things, to remember only Thee, and to love Thee alone! I hope for all things from Thy grace. Thou knowest my inability to do any good: through the love which made Thee submit to so cruel a death on Calvary for my sake, I pray Thee to assist me. O death of Jesus, O love of Jesus, take possession of all my thoughts and affections, and grant that, for the future, Thy pleasure, O Jesus, may be the sole object of all my thoughts and desires. O most amiable Lord, hear my prayer, through the merits of Thy death.

O thou, too, O Mary, who art the Mother of Mercy, hear me: pray to Jesus for me. Thy prayers can make me a saint. Such is my hope.

Spiritual Reading


O my Jesus, by that humiliation which Thou didst practise in washing the feet of Thy disciples, I pray Thee to bestow upon me the grace of true humility, that I may humble myself to all, especially to such as treat me with contempt.

My Jesus, by that sorrow which Thou didst suffer in the garden, sufficient, as it was, to cause Thy death, I pray Thee to deliver me from the sorrow of hell, from living evermore at a distance from Thee, and without the power of ever loving Thee again.

My Jesus, by that horror which Thou hadst of my sins, which were then present to Thy sight, give me a true sorrow for all the offences I have committed against Thee.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst experience at seeing Thyself betrayed by Judas with a kiss, give me the grace to be ever faithful unto Thee, and nevermore to betray Thee, as I have done in time past.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst feel at seeing Thyself bound like a culprit to be taken before the judges, I pray Thee to bind me to Thyself by the sweet chains of holy love, that so I may nevermore see myself separated from Thee, my only Good.

My Jesus, by all those insults, buffetings, and spittings which Thou didst on that night suffer in the house of Caiphas, give me the strength to suffer in peace, for love of Thee, all the affronts I shall meet with from men.

My Jesus, by that ridicule which Thou didst receive from Herod in being treated as a fool, give me the grace to endure with patience all that men shall say of me, treating me as base, senseless, or wicked.

My Jesus, by that outrage which Thou didst receive from the Jews in seeing Thyself placed after Barabbas, give me the grace to suffer with patience the dishonour of seeing myself placed after others.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy most holy Body when Thou wast so cruelly scourged, give me the grace to suffer with patience all the pains of my sickness, and especially those of my death.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy most sacred head when it was pierced with the thorns, give me the grace never to consent to thoughts displeasing unto Thee.

My Jesus, by that act of Thine by which Thou didst accept of the death of the Cross, to which Pilate condemned Thee, give me the grace to accept of my death with resignation, together with all the other pains which shall accompany it.

My Jesus, by the pain which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy Cross on Thy journey to Calvary, give me the grace to suffer with patience all my crosses in this life.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in having the nails driven through Thy hands and Thy feet, I pray Thee to nail my will to Thy feet, that so I may will nothing save that which Thou dost will.

My Jesus, by the affliction which Thou didst suffer in having gall given Thee to drink, give me the grace never to offend Thee by intemperance in eating and drinking.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst experience in taking leave of Thy holy Mother upon the Cross, deliver me from an inordinate love for my relatives, or for any other creature, that so my heart may be wholly and always Thine.

My Jesus, by that desolation which Thou didst suffer in Thy death in seeing Thyself abandoned by Thy Eternal Father, give me the grace to suffer all my desolations with patience, without ever losing confidence in Thy goodness.

My Jesus, by those Three Hours of affliction and agony Thou didst suffer upon the Cross, give me the grace to suffer with resignation, for love of Thee, the pains of my agony at the hour of death.

My Jesus, by that great sorrow which Thou didst feel when expiring, and Thy most holy soul separated itself from Thy most sacred body, give me the grace to breathe forth my soul in the hour of my death, offering up my sorrow then to Thee, together with an act of perfect love, that so I may go to love Thee in Heaven, face to face, with all my strength, and for all eternity.

And thou, most holy Virgin, and my Mother Mary, by that sword which pierced thy heart when thou didst behold thy Son bow down His head and expire; do thou assist me in the hour of my death, that so I may go to praise thee and to thank thee in Paradise for all the graces thou hast obtained for me from God. Amen.

Evening Meditation



O Christian, lift up your eyes, and behold your Jesus dead on the gibbet of the Cross. Look at His body full of wounds and streams of blood flowing. Faith teaches you that He is your Creator, your Saviour, your Life, your Deliverer; and that He, Whose love for you exceeds the love of all others, is the only Being that can make you happy.

Yes, my Jesus, I believe it; Thou hast loved me from eternity, without any merit of mine; and even with the foreknowledge of my constant ingratitude, Thou hast, through Thine own goodness, given me existence. Thou art my Saviour, Who, by Thy death, hast delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. Thou art my Life, by the grace Thou hast given me, without which I should have remained dead in hell. Thou art my Father, and a loving Father, Who hast pardoned me with so much mercy the many insults I have offered Thee. Thou art my Treasure, enriching me with so many lights and favours, instead of chastising me as I deserved. Thou art my Hope, for I can hope for no good from any one but from Thee. Thou art my true and only Lover; it is enough to say that Thou hast even died for me. In fine, Thou art my God, my sovereign Good, my All.


O men! O men! let us love Jesus Christ! Let us love a God Who sacrificed Himself entirely for the love of us. He has sacrificed the honours which were due to Him on this earth; He has sacrificed all the riches and pleasures He could have enjoyed, and was content to lead an abject life in poverty and tribulations; and finally in order to atone by His sufferings for our sins, He has voluntarily sacrificed His blood and His life, dying in an ocean of sorrows and ignominies.

Son, exclaims the Redeemer from the Cross to each of us -- son, what more could I do than die for you, in order to gain your love? See if any one in this world has loved you more than I, your Lord and God, have loved you. Love Me, then, at least in return for the love which I have borne you.

Ah, my Jesus, how can I remember that my sins have made Thee die through pain on an infamous gibbet, and not weep unceasingly for having thus despised Thy love? And how can I behold Thee hanging on this Cross for my sake, and not love Thee with all my power?

But, O Lord, how does it happen that Thou hast died for all, that no one might live any longer to himself, and that afterwards, instead of living only to love Thee and give Thee glory, I have lived only to afflict and dishonour Thee? Christ died for all, that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again (2 Cor. v. 15).

Ah, my crucified Lord, forget the insults I have offered Thee; I am sincerely sorry for them: draw me, by Thy grace, entirely to Thyself. I wish to live no longer to myself, but only to Thee, Who hast loved me so tenderly, and Who dost merit all my love. I give Thee myself and all that I possess, without reserve. I renounce all the honours and pleasures of this life, and I offer myself to suffer for Thy sake whatsoever Thou pleasest. I entreat Thee, Who dost give me this good will, to grant me strength to execute it. O Lamb of God, immolated on the Cross, O Victim of love, O enamoured God, would that I could die for Thee as Thou hast died for me!

O Mary, Mother of God, obtain for me the grace to sacrifice all the remaining hours of my life to the love of thy most amiable Son.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Saturday--Twenty-fourth Week after Pentecost

Morning Meditation


Oh, what an evident sign of predestination have the servants of Mary! St. Bonaventure says the gates of Heaven open to all who confide in Mary's protection. St. Ambrose prays: "Open to us, O Mary, the gate of Paradise, for thou hast its keys!" And Holy Church prays to Mary: "Gate of Heaven, pray for us!"


Oh, what an evident sign of predestination have the servants of the Blessed Virgin! The holy Church, for the consolation of Mary's clients, puts the words of Ecclesiasticus on her lips: In all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord (Ecclus. xxiv. 11). Cardinal Hugo explains these words, and says: "Blessed is he in whose house the most holy Virgin finds repose." Mary, out of the love she bears to all, endeavours to excite in all devotion towards herself; yet many either do not admit it into their souls, or do not preserve it. But blessed is he that receives and preserves it, He shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. Devotion towards the Blessed Virgin reigns in all who are the inheritance of our Lord; that is to say, in all who will praise God eternally in Heaven. Mary continues, speaking in the words of Ecelesiasticus: He that made me rested in my tabernacle, and he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect (Ib. 12, 13). My Creator has condescended to come and repose in my bosom, and His will is, that I should dwell in the hearts of all the elect, and that devotion and confidence in me should take root in all the predestined.

O, how many blessed souls are there now in Heaven who would never have been there had not Mary, by her powerful intercession, led them thither: I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth (Ecclus. xxiv. 6). Cardinal Hugo, in his commentary on the above text of Ecclesiasticus speaks in the name of Mary: "I have caused as many lights to shine eternally in Heaven as I have clients"; and then he adds, "There are many Saints in Heaven through Mary's intercession, who would never have been there but through her."


Saint Bonaventure says that "the gates of Heaven will open to all who confide in the protection of Mary." Hence St. Ephrem calls devotion to the Divine Mother "the unlocking of the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem." The devout Blosius also, addressing our Blessed Lady, says: "To thee, O Lady, are committed the keys and the treasures of the kingom of Heaven." And therefore we ought constantly to pray to her, in the words of St. Ambrose: "Open to us, O Mary, the gates of Paradise, since thou hast its keys." Nay, more, the Church calls her: "the Gate of Heaven": Janua coeli.

For the same reason, again, is the great Mother called by the Church the Star of the Sea, "Hail, Star of the Sea!" "For," says the angelical St. Thomas, "as sailors are guided by a star to the port, so are Christians guided to Heaven by Mary."

And finally, Mary is called by St. Fulgentius, "the heavenly ladder." "For," says the Saint, "by Mary God descended from Heaven into the world, that by her men might ascend from earth to Heaven." "And thou, O Lady," says St. Athanasius, "wast filled with grace, that thou mightest be the way of our salvation, and the means of ascent to the heavenly kingdom."

Spiritual Reading

St. Bernard calls the Blessed Virgin "the heavenly Chariot." St. John Geometra salutes her: "Hail! resplendent car!" signifying that she is the car in which her clients mount to Heaven. "Blessed are they who know thee, O Mother of God," says St. Bonaventure; "for the knowledge of thee is the high road to everlasting life, and the proclaiming of thy virtues is the way of eternal salvation."

In the Franciscan Chronicles it is related that Brother Leo once saw a red ladder, on the summit of which was Jesus Christ; and a white one, on the top of which was His most holy Mother; and he saw some who tried to ascend the red ladder, and they mounted a few steps and fell -- they tried again, and again fell. They were then advised to go and try the white ladder, and by that one they easily ascended, for our Blessed Lady stretched out her hand and helped them, and so they got safely to Heaven (Wadding, Ann. 1232, n. 28).

Denis the Carthusian asks: "Who is there that is saved? Who is there that reigns in Heaven?" And he answers: "They are certainly saved and reign in Heaven for whom this Queen of mercy intercedes." And this Mary herself confirms in the book of Proverbs: By me kings reign (Prov. viii. 15), through my intercession souls reign, first in this mortal life by ruling their passions, and so come to reign eternally in Heaven, where, says St. Augustine, "all are kings." "Mary, in fine," says Richard of St. Laurence, "is the Mistress of Heaven; for there she commands as she wills, and admits whom she wills." And applying to her the words of Ecclesiasticus: And my power was in Jerusalem (Ecclus. xxiv. 15), he makes her say: "I command what I will, and introduce whom I will." Our blessed Lady, being Mother of the Lord of Heaven, it is reasonable that she should also be sovereign Lady of that kingdom, according to Rupert, who says that "by right she possesses the whole kingdom of her Son."

St. Antoninus tells us that "this Divine Mother has already, by her assistance and prayers, obtained Heaven for us, provided we put no obstacle in the way." Hence, says the Abbot Guerric, "he who serves Mary, and for whom she intercedes, is as certain of Heaven as if he was already there." St. John Damascene also says, that "to serve Mary and to be her courtier is the greatest honour we can possibly possess; for to serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there, and to live under her commands is more than to govern." On the other hand, he adds, that "those who do not serve Mary will not be saved; for those who are deprived of the help of this great Mother are also deprived of that of her Son and of the whole court of Heaven."

"May the infinite goodness of our Lord be ever praised," says St. Bernard, "for having been pleased to give us Mary as our advocate in Heaven, that she, being at the same time the Mother of our Judge and a Mother of Mercy, may be able, by her intercession, to conduct to a prosperous issue the great affair of our eternal salvation." St. James, a Doctor of the Greek Church, says that, "God destined Mary as a bridge of salvation, by using which we might with safety pass over the stormy sea of this world, and reach the happy haven of Paradise." Therefore St. Bonaventure exclaims: "Give ear, O ye nations, and all you who desire Heaven! Serve and honour Mary, and certainly you will find eternal life."

Nor should those even who have deserved hell be in the least doubtful as to obtaining Heaven, provided they are faithful in serving this Queen. "O how many sinners," says St. Germanus, "have found God and have been saved by thy means, O Mary!" Richard of St. Laurence remarks, that St. John in the Apocalypse says that Mary was crowned with stars: And on her head a crown of twelve stars (Apoc. xii. 1). In the sacred Canticles, she is said to be crowned with wild beasts, lions, and leopards: Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come; thou shalt be crowned ... from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards (Cant. iv. 8). How is this? He answers, that "these wild beasts are sinners, who by the favour and intercession of Mary have become stars of Paradise, better adapted to the head of this Queen of mercy than all the material stars of heaven."

We read in the Life of the servant of God, Sister Seraphina of Capri, that once during the Novena of the Assumption of Mary she asked our Blessed Lady for the conversion of a thousand sinners, but afterwards thought that she had asked too much; and then the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, and corrected her for her ungrounded anxiety, saying: "Why dost thou fear? Is it that I am not sufficiently powerful to obtain from my Son the conversion of a thousand sinners? See, I have already obtained the favour." With these words, she took her in spirit to Heaven, and there showed her innumerable souls which had deserved hell, but had been saved through her intercession, and were already enjoying eternal happiness.

It is true that in this world no one can be certain of his salvation: Man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love or hatred, says Ecclesiastes (Eccles. ix. 1). But St. Bonaventure, to the words of King David, Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? (Ps. xiv. 1), answers, "Sinners, let us follow Mary closely, and casting ourselves at her feet, let us not leave them until she has blessed us; for her blessing will ensure our salvation."

"It suffices, O Lady," says St. Anselm, "that thou willest it, and our salvation is certain." And St. Antoninus says that "souls protected by Mary, and on which she casts her eyes, are necessarily justified and saved."

"With reason, therefore," observes St. Ildephonsus, "did the most Holy Virgin predict that all generations would call her blessed; for all the elect obtain eternal salvation through the means of Mary." "And thou, O great Mother," says St. Methodius, "art the beginning, the continuation, and the end of our happiness"; -- the beginning, for Mary obtains us the pardon of our sins; the continuation, for she obtains for us perseverance in Divine grace; and the end, for she finally obtains us Heaven. "By thee, O Mary, was Heaven opened," says St. Bernard; "by thee was hell emptied; by thee was Paradise restored; and through thee, in fine, is eternal life given to so many miserable creatures who deserved eternal death."

But that which above all should encourage us to hope with confidence for Heaven, is the beautiful promise made by Mary herself to all who honour her, and especially to those who, by word and example, endeavour to make her known and honoured by others: They that work by me shall not sin; they that explain me shall have life everlasting (Ecclus. xxiv. 30). "O happy they who obtain the favour of Mary!" exclaims St. Bonaventure; "they will be recognised by the Blessed as their companions, and whoever bears the stamp of a servant of Mary is already enrolled in the Book of Life."

Evening Meditation



The servants of Mary are protected by her, and their names are written in the Book of Life. St. John Damascene says that God gives the grace of devotion to His Mother only to those whom He will save. This is also clearly expressed by our Lord in St. John: He that shall overcome ... I will write upon him the Name of my God, and the name of the city of my God (Apoc. iii. 12). And who but Mary is this city of God? observes St. Gregory on the words of David: Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God (Ps. lxxxvi. 3).

Correctly, then, can we here say with St. Paul: Having this seal, the Lord knoweth who are his (2 Tim. ii. 19). That is to say, whoever carries with him the mark of devotion to Mary is recognized by God as His own. Hence St. Bernard writes that devotion to the Mother of God is a most certain mark of eternal salvation. Blessed Alan, speaking of the "Hail Mary," also says, that "whoever often honours our Blessed Lady with this Angelical Salutation has a very great mark of predestination." He says the same thing of perseverance in the daily recital of the Rosary -- "that those who do so have a very great assurance of salvation." Father Nieremberg says that "the servants of the Mother of God are not only privileged and favoured in this world, but even in Heaven they are more particularly honoured." He then adds: "in Heaven they will be recognized as servants of its Queen, and as belonging to her court, by a distinguishing and richer garment," according to the words of the Proverbs: All her domestics are clothed with double garments (Prov. xxxi. 21).

Ah, my most beloved Mother, never allow a servant of thine to become the enemy of God Whom thou lovest so much! Alas, there was a time when I offended God. But then, O Lady, I loved thee but little! O my Mother, pray to Jesus for me. Nothing else is needed. Thou hast to save me. Thou art my hope. I will sing for ever: O Mary, thou hast to save me!


St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi saw a vessel in the midst of the sea, and in it were all the clients of Mary, and this Blessed Mother herself steered it safely into the port. By this the Saint understood, that those who live under the protection of Mary are secure, in the midst of the dangers of this life, from the shipwreck of sin, and from eternal damnation; for she guides them safely into the haven of salvation. Let us then enter this blessed ship of the mantle of Mary, and there we can be certain of the Kingdom of Heaven; for the Church says: "O holy Mother of God, all those who will be partakers of eternal happiness dwell in thee, living under thy protection."

Most holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, I (N.N.), although most unworthy to be thy servant, yet moved by thy wonderful compassion, and by my desire to serve thee, now choose thee, in presence of my Guardian Angel and of the whole celestial court, for my especial Lady, Advocate, and Mother: and I firmly purpose always to love and serve thee for the future, and to do all in my power to induce others to love and serve thee also. I beseech thee, O Mother of God, and my most compassionate and loving Mother, by the Blood which thy Son shed for me, to receive me into the number of thy servants, to be thy child and servant forever. Assist me in all my thoughts, words, and actions in every moment of my life, so that every step I take, and every breath I draw, may be directed to the greater glory of my God; and through thy most powerful intercession, may I never more offend my beloved Jesus, but may glorify Him and love Him in this life, and love thee, my most beloved and dear Mother, and thus love thee and enjoy thee in Heaven for all eternity. AMEN.


"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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