WOULDST thou be perfectly cleansed from thy faults;
Wouldst thou be richly endowed with virtues;
Wouldst thou have deep insight into Holy Writ; Wouldst thou triumph gloriously over thy enemies;
Wouldst thou have abundant consolation when things go wrong with thee;
Wouldst thou upon earth walk humbly with thy God;
Wouldst thou sorrow often upon thy bed; Wouldst thou shed sweet tears in prayer; Wouldst thou be on fire in thy meditations; Wouldst thou persevere in good works; Wouldst thou be filled with spiritual joy; Wouldst thou be rapt in ecstasy; Wouldst thou enter into the deep things of God; Wouldst thou die happily at the last; Wouldst thou reign for ever in Heaven— exercise thyself in the Life and in the Passion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Whom the Father sent into the world, that He might give to all men the example of a perfect life, and might bring to an everlasting Kingdom those who follow Him.
Love Christ therefore: follow Jesus: hold fast to the Crucified.
mi Devout thanksgivings for the whole Life of Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and man: and firstly a prayer arousing the soul to the praise of God
LORD my God, I wish to praise
Thee; for I know that to praise
Thee was the end for which I was
Open Thou my lips to praise Thee, that I may worthily magnify Thy name.
Lift up my heart to Thee; keep me from being weary; shed forth upon me Thy grace; kindle in my heart the fire of Thy love; that so I may be able to render to Thee the thanks that are Thy due. Take Thou away the iniquity of Thy servant; wash me from all uncleanness, whether of the flesh or of the spirit; that so I may be made worthy to open my lips to glorify Thy Name.
But who can worthily extol the depth of Thy infinite Majesty? All the powers of Heaven, all the Angelic hosts, can never praise Thee worthily: how then can frail man attain thereto, who is a thing of corruption, and a worm?
No creature, no thought, no tongue, no language, can ever duly praise Thee.—What then? Shall I cease from praising Thee, because I cannot praise Thee worthily? Shall I be silent, and close my lips, because I know them to be unclean, and myself to be a thing of nought?
Far from me be such ingratitude, as that I should cease to praise Thee, Whom every creature is bound to praise: and above them all man, whom Thou hast endowed with reason; on whom, beyond all others, Thou hast bestowed so many gifts.
O Father of mercies, and God of infinite goodness, I know in truth, I confess from the bottom of my heart, that in Thy sight I am a sinner of utter vileness, one who with downcast eyes, with groans and tears, should rather plead for mercy, than think of taking upon his polluted lips Thy most sweet name, and dare to praise it.
And yet, trusting in Thy lovingkindness and in Thy unfathomable goodness, I long to praise Thee, beseeching from the depth of my heart the bowels of Thy mercies, that Thou wouldst not despise me, nor hold me back from praising Thy glorious name, impure worm and foul carcase though I be: but wouldst kindle and inflame my inmost soul to praise Thee with devout and joyful lips.
Thine own praise, O my God, Thou Thyself art; nor canst Thou be worthily praised by any other than Thyself; for of all things Thou art the Maker and the Ruler; and from Thee do all things come, whose excellence and whose work declare the Glory of Thy name.
Evertherefore shouldstThoube praised, shouldst Thou be blessed, by every creature. But when the mind contemplates Thy majesty, and longs to join Thee in praising Thee in Thyself for Thy supreme goodness, words come not.
May then, O my God, Thy own incomprehensible Essence, Thy own unspeakable Almightiness, Thy own unsearchable Wisdom, Thy own unutterable Sweetness, Thy own boundless Tenderness, praise Thee!
Praise Thee Thy supreme Goodness; Thy surpassing Mercy; Thy eternal Power also, and Thy transcendent Majesty!
Praise Thee Thy infallible Truth, Thy unchangeable Equity, Thy inextinguishable Light, Thy Knowledge from which no secrets are hid, Thy Own unapproachable Substance!
Praise Thee Thy unerring Justice, Thy all-wise Providence, Thy most calm Governance, and Thy unconquerable Power!
Praise Thee Thy infinite Dignity, Thy supreme Lovingkindness, Thy all-surpassing Sweetness, Thy peerless Beauty, and Thy all-excelling Charity!
May every name that can be used of Thee, and every word that can be spoken of Thee, praise Thee and magnify Thee for ever!
May the most noble Queen of Heaven, the glorious Virgin Mary, praise Thee; and may she, and the whole Court of Heaven, magnify for ever Thy infinite Majesty!
May the thousand thousands of Thy ministering Angels extol Thee with the worship which is Thy due, and sing praises of endless gratitude to the honour of Thy Name!
May the ten thousand times ten thousand citizens of Heaven, who ever stand before Thee, praise Thee with boundless rejoicing, and adore Thee with the deepest reverence!
May all this most joyous Company of the household of Heaven pay to Thee, on my behalf, devout and acceptable homage; may they praise Thee and magnify Thee for ever!
May all the fervent desires of the Saints, all the sweet utterances of the Doctors of the Church, all the several virtues put forth, and all the most perfect actions wrought, in honour of Thy name, join the universal melody of all created things, in praising and in magnifying Thee to the utmost of their power, blessing the most Holy Name of the Lord their God for ever and ever!
And may all Thy Saints, and all Thy Elect, whose names are written in the Book of Life, laud and magnify Thee with never-ending praise; and may their prayers obtain for me the full remission of my sins, a good death, a happy end, deliverance from the pains of Hell, and an entry into Heavenly glory, there to have the bliss of dwelling with Thee for ever!
<MT A Prayer concerning the creation of the first man, and his unhappy fall
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Holy Trinity, and undivided Unity— Father, Son and Holy Ghost—one true and Almighty God, Who, that Thou mightest proclaim the unspeakable abundance of Thy Goodness, didst in the beginning create the heaven and the earth, and the sea and all the things that are therein; and didst exalt man above Thy other creatures, to Thine own image and likeness, by making him powerful in dominion, wise in understanding, and innocent in life.
I praise and glorify Thee for Thy surpassing
munificence in endowing man in paradise with delights of every kind, giving him the things above him to enjoy, and the things beneath him to rule —all to be held upon condition of ever praising Thee.
I praise and magnify Thee, most gracious God, for Thy infinite compassion, and Thy unspeakable mercy, in sparing man, who had gone astray, and been ungrateful for all Thy benefits, from a fall beyond recovery, when depriving him for his sins of the joys of paradise, that so he might be brought to repent of them. He had indeed, by his transgression, deserved to be condemned for ever, without hope of pardon; but Thou, by allowing Thy unspeakable mercy to take the place of the severity of Thy Justice, didst lay upon him the burden of a fitting penance, the smart of which was to be healed after many days by the balm of a longwished-for pardon. And this was done that the creature, whom Thou hadst endowed with reason, and who had fallen into sin by his own fault, might be saved by Thy grace.
Every faithful soul therefore is bound to render thanks to Thee, and never to trust in its own strength, or boast of its own merits or righteousness. Thy creatures, O my God, are we all: by Thy Goodness we exist: of Thy Bounty have we received all that we have: of our own perversity it is that we fall, and are found wanting in Thy sight; and were it not that by Thy merciful aid we are again raised up and strengthened, we should sink lower and lower, and end by being consumed in our iniquities.
Thy compassion, then, most gracious God, we entreat; the abundance of Thy tender lovingkindness we remember, we joyfully extol, we proclaim as best we may; and for the multitude of Thy compassions, poured forth without stint upon us, Thy polluted children, sold under sin, we offer to Thee, with thanksgiving, our Sacrifice of love and praise.
•* Of the reinstatement of man, and the promise of Christ's coming
ALMIGHTY and most gracious God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose Will is power, Whose property it is to have mercy, I bless Thee, and render thanks to Thee for Thy infinite love, and for Thy free and undeserved goodness, in that Thou didst lose no time in calling back man, who had been taken captive in the snare of the devil, and brought low by the poison of a mortal disease, from his manifold wanderings from the right way, and from the defilement of his sins, into the way of repentance, and a state of righteousness; by giving to him, through the saving promise of Thy coming, the hope of pardon, and the prospect of a remedy to be brought within his reach.
And lest man should at any time seek to plead ignorance as an excuse for the malice of his sin, Thou didst give him frequent warning of the error of his ways, by revealing to him Thy law, by smiting him with Thy heavy hand, by exercising open judgements upon sinners, by workingfrequent miracles, and by promising good things to come; that so they might be without excuse who should not turn to Thee as their God, and to a knowledge of the truth.
For all through the five ages of the world,1 by means of Patriarchs, of Judges, of Priests, of Kings, and of Prophets, from righteous Abel even unto John the Baptist, Thy forerunner, Thou didst never cease, by wonderful miracles and manifold prophecies, to foretell, to promise, and to prefigure Thy coming, without which we are undone: that so, by means of so many witnesses going before Thee, and proclaiming Thy mysteries, Thou mightest implant in our minds the grace of faith, and by the lively examples of so many ancient Fathers, mightest kindle in our dull cold hearts the fire of Thy love.
«C Of the redemption of the human race by the mystery of the Incarnate Word
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, my Lord and my God, Creator and Redeemer of the human race, for Thy exceeding great love in willing that man, whom Thou hadst wonderfully created, should be still more wonderfully redeemed. For it was when we were yet thine enemies, and death had long tyrannized over all the human race, that Thou didst call to mind Thy rich mercies, and from the place of Thy habitation in glory, didst look down upon this vale of tears and wretched
1 [Probably an allusion to a sermon of St. Gregory the Great (on the gospel for Septuagesima Sunday) in which the five hours of the day, during which the labourers were hired to work in the vineyard, are explained as representing five ages of the world. ]
It was when Thou hadst seen that the affliction of Thy people was great upon the earth, and that the burden of the sons of Adam was grievous to be borne, that, inwardly moved by the tenderness of Thy charity, Thou didst set Thyself to think in our behalf thoughts of Redemption and of peace.
For, when the fullness of time was come, Thou Thyself, the Dayspring from on high, didst come to visit us, and didst fulfil the desires of the prophets by taking upon Thyself our Flesh, and appearing among men true God and true man.
I bless and praise Thee, Jesus Christ, our Saviour, for Thy exceeding great humility in deigning to choose for Thy Mother a poor young maiden, and for causing her to be espoused to the poor carpenter Joseph, a just and holy man.
I bless Thee for making known Thy most illustrious Incarnation, and for the reverent angelic greeting, with which the Angel Gabriel most devoutly saluted the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, making known to her the Divine Mystery that she should be the Mother of the Son of God.
I praise and magnify Thee for the grandeur of the faith of Mary the Virgin, for the courage of her assent, for the lowliness of her reply, and for all the other virtues which she so conspicuously displayed, when she made her obedient answer to the angel's message in the words: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to Thy word."
I praise and glorify Thee, O Eternal Wisdom of the Father, for the marvellous condescension of Thy unapproachable Majesty in entering the vile prison of our mortal frame, and for Thy most pure Conception, by the operation of the Holy Ghost upon Mary; in whose virgin womb the
Power of the most Highest, overshadowing her, formed Thy most sacred Body from the undefiled flesh of a pure virgin. For Thou, being at the same time true God, consubstantial with the Eternal Father, wast made one flesh with us, without spot of sin, to make us one spirit with Thee, through the adoption of the sons of God.
I praise and magnify Thee for voluntarily emptying Thyself of Thy fullness, and for graciously taking upon Thyself our weak and degraded nature, capable of suffering and of death; that so Thou mightest fill us by emptying Thyself, mightest save us by Thy sufferings, mightest raise us by Thy lowliness, mightest strengthen us by Thy weakness, and by Thy death mightest bring us to a glorious immortality.
I praise and magnify Thee, for that Thou, Whose Divine nature knows neither times nor seasons, but Who hast ordered all things here below in their season and time, didst vouchsafe to dwell for nine long months within the narrow limits of a virgin's womb, and to lie hid there as a babe waiting for the due time of his birth.
O the gracious and most wondrous condescension of Him, Who, though God of boundless glory, did not think scorn of becoming a contemptible worm; and Who, though He had created all things by His own mere Will, yet, to free us from them, was ready to take upon Himself our sorrows!
O most sweet Jesus, Thou Brightness of the Eternal Glory, the lower Thou hast made Thyself, by taking upon Thee our nature, the more exalted dost Thou appear to me in Thy Goodness; the viler Thou hast made Thyself for me, the dearer hast Thou become to me.
#€ Of the birth and poverty of the Lord Jesus
BLESS, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten of the Father, born before all worlds, Who, of Thy unspeakable condescension, didst vouchsafe to be born in a filthy stable, and for love of holy poverty, to be laid in a narrow manger.
I praise Thee, most loving Jesus, for Thy illustrious origin; for Thy glorious birth of the pure Virgin Mary; for Thy poverty; and for Thy humility in lying in so poor and mean a crib. Who can meditate as he should on the thought of the most High God, so demeaning Himself for our sake? O what thanks does not the human race owe to Thee, Who, for its redemption, didst choose to lie in a narrow manger!
O boundless tenderness, O wondrous sweetness, O sweetest love—God born a helpless babe, wrapped in mean swaddling clothes, laid in a narrow manger, with brute beasts surrounding Him!
O humility passing human thought, that the Lord of all lords should deign to become the fellowservant of His own servants! But, O my Lord, and my God, it seemed to Thee too small a thing, that Thou Who art my Creator shouldst also be my Father; Thou didst even stoop to become my Brother, and to be made flesh of my flesh, taking in very truth my nature upon Thee, sin only excepted.
O Birth, outside the course of nature, triumph
ing over the natural order of our births, and assuaging by Divine power the tears which we shed at them, in order that, by It, our nature might be restored!
0 how blessed and how lovely was Thy Nativity, O sweetest Jesus, Child of the illustrious Virgin, Who, by Thy birth from the womb of Thy highly exalted Mother Mary, dost make good the faults of our birth, renew our condition, cancel our condemnation, blot out the handwriting of the decree which was against us ; that so, if a man is tempted to repine at being born of Adam's stock, he may rejoice in Thy undefiled Nativity, and in the most blessed trust that by Thy grace he has been born again.
1 thank Thee, for Thy self-chosen and glorious Nativity, O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, by Whom we have access to that Grace in which we stand, and trust in the hope restored to us from above of the glory of the sons of God. Thou art the pledge of our redemption: Thou art the everlasting hope of all men; to Thee do we sinners humbly fly for refuge—to Thee, Who didst come to seek us, when as yet we knew Thee not.
O sweet and holy Infancy, from which alone true innocency comes to human hearts; by which, however old a man may be, he may go back to blessed infancy, and may be made like to Thee, not by the shrinking of his limbs, but by the lowliness of his mind, and the holiness of his life!
O most gentle Jesus, Who, that Thou mightest give to all men an example of a holy life, and the means of everlasting salvation, didst will to be born of Mary the Virgin, at the hour of midnight, grant that I may tread in the sacred footsteps of Thy humility and poverty! Grant that I may join, in giving praise and thanks to Thee, the Angels and the whole company of the heavenly host, whom Thou didst cause to be the joyful heralds of Thy Nativity!
•* Of the hardships and want of Jesus in His low estate
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that, as soon as Thou hadst taken upon Thee our flesh, Thou didst, for love of us, endure many hardships, and didst make trial, in all its bitterness, of the stress of utter poverty. For when Thou, very God, wast born into the world, Thou didst choose for the hour of Thy birth the secrecy of the night, and for its ease and comfort the winter cold: Thou didst not seek, as a home for Thy sovereign Majesty, the grandeur of a stately palace, but didst find instead, in a little crib, a shelter for Thy infant helplessness.
O poverty beyond compare, that Thou couldst scarce find swaddling clothes wherein to wrap Thee—Thou Who holdest the world in the hollow of Thy hand, Who unto Adam and to his wife didst make coats of skins, Who in wondrous variety dost adorn the sky with stars, the earth with flowers, and beasts with their coats of hair.
O holy poverty of the Son of God, more precious
than all earthly wealth, poverty in which scarce
one of us can follow Thee! For which of us has
come into the world in straits such as Thine? In what language, in what story, shall we find examples of any of Thy Saints born under conditions so mean and so poor?
To Thee, then, O my Jesus, mighty King, Infant worthy of all love; to Thee do I offer from the bottom of my heart the tribute of all the gratitude of which my heart is capable, beseeching Thee that, of Thy love, Thou wouldest grant me lovingly to cherish the joys of holy poverty, and by the help of Thy grace to bear its hardships patiently. Thou didst leave Thy Throne on high that Thou mightest commend the state of poverty to our love: to Thy riches, as God, no limits can be set; but as man, for our sakes, Thou madest Thyself poor.
I praise and magnify Thee, for taking upon Thyself our poverty and weakness; and for holding us so dear, that laying aside Thy royal diadem, Thou didst vouchsafe to be numbered among the sons of men, and as if Thou hadst been one of them, to share the frailty of our nature, yet without any spot of sin.
m4 Of the crying of the Infant Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee,
O Lord Jesus Christ, Joy of Angels,
Comforter of the sad at heart, for Thy
infant crying and tears, wherewith Thou
didst sorrowfully mourn over the sins of the sons
O thing of wonder, O surpassing condescension,
that He Who is very God should cry in a cradle as
a helpless babe; that He, to Whom in Heaven Angels sing praise, should, as one subject to death, hang upon a Mother's breasts; that He Who sustains and gives food to all flesh, Who makes the clouds to thunder, and the rain to water the earth, should be held by the hand, and be carried about as a helpless child!
How is that which is highest joined with that which is lowest, that which is of man with that which is of God!
It was to wash me from my iniquity that, as an Infant, Thou didst weep; it was over my sins that Thy tears were shed. Therefore, O my Lord and my God, I owe Thee more for the sorrows, by which Thou didst redeem me, than for that mighty working by which Thou didst create me. How ought I not to bewail my sins, since Thou, O Lord, didst weep so constantly over them! How grievous must have been the wounds of my soul, when the tears which Thou didst shed over them were so many!
And yet there is nothing strange or wondrous in the thought that Thou, Who camest down from heaven to shed Thy precious Blood to wash us from our sins, shouldst shed tears of pity for them.
I praise Thee, therefore, my beloved Jesus, and I will never cease to praise Thee, for the love and for the pity Thou hast shown to me, a miserable sinner.
mi Of the suckling of the hungry Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, never-failing Fountain of life, for being suckled at the breasts of Mary the Virgin, by whose sacred milk Thou wast fed—Thou Who givest food to all, Thou Who art the Food and Bread of Angels.
0 the unspeakable sweetness of the condescension of God to man! Who can rightly think of the excellence of the mystery and the bounty of the undeserved mercy, that God should be suckled at a Mother's breasts, and be nourished by a Virgin's milk? O my Lord and my God, with what tenderness of love hast Thou made Thyself one with me, by thus subjecting Thyself to the needs of our human weakness! O great and tremendous mystery that Thou, one and the same Person, art thus made known to us as God of the substance of God the Father, and very man of the substance of Thy virgin Mother: that we thus confess Thee to be, at one and the same time, the son of a woman, and the Only-Begotten of the Father's Glory: that Thou art made a partaker of our human nature, and yet, being one and the same person, art worshipped as the Lord of Angels.
1 praise Thee, therefore, and bless Thy infinitely tender love, for that Thou didst think no scorn of being nourished at Thy Mother's breasts, if so Thou mightest make it plain that Thou hadst indeed taken upon Thee our flesh, of the substance of Thy Virgin Mother.
O Thou Who givest food to all, and wast Thyself content with so little, feed my soul, I beseech Thee, with the rich banquet of Thy Holy Word, and give me grace to serve Thee, and to give thanks to Thee, so long as I shall dwell in this frail tenement of clay.
mi Of the painful Circumcision of the Lord Jesus
LORD JESUS CHRIST, Saviour of the world, Fountain of purity, Pattern of spotless innocence, I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee for the painful circumcision of Thy most tender Flesh, according to the law of Moses; to which, in order that in all things Thou mightest conform to it, Thou didst submit Thyself, albeit Thou wast Thyself without any spot of sin.
I praise Thee for the first spilling of Thy innocent Blood, which on this day Thou didst shed for us. O most meek Lamb of God, how brightly were the excellence of Thy love and the depth of Thy patience shown forth, when, at so tender an age, Thou didst submit Thy holy and innocent Flesh to the pain of circumcision, a pain which It had not deserved.
It is I who have sinned; it is Thou Who payest the penalty of my sin. I indeed was conceived and born in sin: Thou wast conceived without sin, and yet dost Thou meekly submit to be branded with a sinner's mark. What was there in Thee faulty, or useless, that needed to be cut away? And yet, because I could myself never make to Thee full satisfaction for my sins, Thou didst come to my help by Thy grace; and didst apply, by the cruel circumcision of Thy Flesh, a cleansing remedy to my soul. But what wonder is it that Thou, Who wast ready to give Thy life, shouldst submit to be circumcised, for us? Having given Thyself wholly for me, Thou art willing to be wholly spent for me. O most good and gracious Lord Jesus, Thou Who didst meekly undergo the circumcision of Thy innocent Flesh, circumcise, I pray Thee, all my members with the cutting-stone of Thy Grace; order all my actions, and direct all my ways, in conformity with Thy most holy life. All that Thou findest in me unspiritual cut away, I beseech Thee, and destroy: root out all that Thou seest in me to be useless: keep down with all the needful force of Thy discipline whatever in me is false and frivolous; so that, inwardly cleansed from my faults, and adorned with the virtues that I lack, I may have a perpetual love of Thy Holy Name, and be found meet to dwell with Thee in Thy Heavenly Kingdom.
CHAPTER X •* Of the bestowal of the Saving Name of Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the giving to Thee of Thy Saving and Adorable Name, Jesus. This Name was first made known by the Angel to Blessed Mary the Virgin; later it was revealed to holy Joseph in a dream; but now, on this day, it was given Thee by Thy parents.
O sweetest Name of Jesus, Name blessed above every name, whether in Heaven or on earth! According to Thy Name, O my Jesus, so be Thy praise to the ends of the world. From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, may Thy glorious Name be worthily magnified from this time forth for evermore! From everlasting was this most Holy and Adorable Name made Thine by God the Father; but only when the fullness of time was come, was it made known unto men. For there is no other Name given to men, whereby we must be saved.
Just, therefore, and right is it, that to Thee should bow every knee in Heaven and on earth; and that every tongue should confess that Thou art Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Redeemer. O most sweet Jesus, how excellent is Thy Name in all the earth! Great indeed is Thy Name above the name of Solomon, and above those of all the kings which were before or after him. Therefore shall all the kings of the earth fall down and worship Thee; and Thee shall all peoples and languages serve and obey; for Thou art the Lord our God, the King, and the Saviour of all Christians.
O sweet and saving Name of Jesus, which heals all our infirmities, enlightens our minds, sets on fire our hearts, drives away our grief, softens anger, sheds forth peace and concord, fosters charity, and turns our sorrow into joy!
This dearest of all names was brought down to earth by an Angel from Heaven. This name was preached throughout the world by the Apostles. For this name it was that the Martyrs suffered. This name it was that Confessors proclaimed aloud. This name it was that Holy Virgins ardently loved. This name it is which is praised and hymned by old and young. The most sweet Name of Jesus it is which, rather than deny, thousands upon thousands of the faithful have preferred to suffer death.
This saving Name it is which princes and kings now worship and adore. This name it is which Priests and Doctors publish and proclaim. This name it is which all faithful Christians especially venerate and love; for, renouncing the devil and the world, it is in the name of Jesus that they hope to be saved. For Jesus is the Saviour, and the Protector, of all who are His, and who believe in, and who love, Him to the end.
O most sweet Jesus, my one hope of salvation, write, I beseech Thee, Thy Name upon my heart, not in the letter but in the spirit; and grant that by Thy Grace it may be so strongly there impressed, and may there remain, that neither prosperity nor adversity may ever dim my love for Thee. Be Thou to me a strong tower from the face of the enemy, my comforter in tribulation, my counsellor when I am in doubt, my refuge in distress, my lifter-up when I fall, the model of my life, my restorer when I go astray, and my ever-faithful guide through all the dangers and temptations of this mortal life to my home which is above.
•€ Of the Epiphany of Jesus, and the devout
oblation of the Holy Kings
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee,
O Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of the
kings of the earth, for Thy glorious
Manifestation of Thyself to the three
Kings. For after that Thou hadst been born in
r Bethlehem of Judaea, Thou wast not slow in revealing Thy Majesty to men who came from afar; and having led them by a heavenly light to Thy humble resting-place, Thou didst manifest to them Thy holy poverty.
0 my God, mighty and wonderful, Who alone orderest all things here below, and workest mightily in heaven above, Thou thoughtest it no scorn to be seen in Thy poverty and neglect by so many kings and nobles, if only Thou mightest be to us a pattern of humility. Having for our sakes chosen Thy resting-place, and Thy apparel, Thou didst make no change in them, but didst show Thyself in them, alike to shepherds and to kings.
1 praise Thy gracious mercy for these firstfruits of the Gentile world, and for Thy call to these strangers, whom, by a secret inspiration of Thy grace, Thou didst draw from Eastern lands to behold the light of faith. Among the princes of Israel were found none who made ready, with such reverence and trust, to seek the place of Thy Nativity: far more lively was the faith, far more fervent the devotion, of those strangers to the Covenant.
I glorify Thy Holy Name for Thy wondrous enlightenment of Gentiles; for-so gloriously didst Thou sent forth Thy light into the hearts of those men of the East, who as yet were sitting in darkness, that without thinking of the length of their journey, they followed with a trust which knew no doubt, the leading of Thy sign from heaven.
I reverently join the Holy Magi in adoring Thee; and following them step by step, I would devoutly offer to Thee their three precious gifts, each containing a deep mystery. For, falling at Thy feet, they offered to Thee gold in token of Thy kingly dignity, frankincense as doing homage to Thy Divine Majesty, myrrh as confessing Thy submission to the law of death.
Wherefore, O my Lord Jesus Christ, most gracious King of Kings, Ruler of Heaven and of earth, accept, I beseech Thee, at the hand of Thy servant, the mystic offering, which I now humbly present to Thee, through the intercession of the Holy Kings.
I offer to Thee in the first place right faith, firm hope, and pure charity, in which I trust that I may continue to the end. I believe that Thou art the King of Heaven and of Earth: I adore Thee as very God, the Only-Begotten of the Father: I confess that, for my salvation, Thou didst take of the Virgin Mary a mortal Body.
Accept further, I beseech Thee, also these other gifts, each having in itself a sweet-smelling savour. Lo, I give to Thee that which also I received from Thee, namely all my worldly goods, which I renounce for love of Thee. I would not in this life have anything of my own. I wish to be content with common food and simple raiment. This is in a moral sense my oblation of pure gold.
I would add also the gift of frankincense, by which I mean the incense of devout prayer; beseeching Thee, with sighs and tears, for the forgiveness of my sins; praising and thanking Thee for the good gifts Thou hast bestowed upon me; and grieving for all who are in trouble or distress. This, surely, is the burning of fragrant incense, acceptable to Thee.
I offer to Thee also, in figure, myrrh, in memory
of Thy most bitter Passion, praying that I too may
have grace to run in the way of perfection by the
austerity of my self-mortification. For, as often as, for love of Thee, I call to mind the bitterness of Thy Passion, I offer to Thee, in figure, the choicest myrrh: and whenever I overcome in myself evil desires, and renounce my own will, I bruise, as best I may, in the mortar of my heart, fragrant myrrh, that so from thence may come forth a sacrifice acceptable to Thee. Oh, how happy should I be, if I could offer to my Jesus a bundle of myrrh, by gathering together into one all the labour, all the sorrow, and all the bitterness of Thy Passion! For it is by such a mingling of myrrh and frankincense that the faithful soul is moved to earnest efforts after amendment, to acts of penance, and to the mortification of corrupt desires.
I give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the high sanctity of this day, which Thou didst adorn with three mighty wonders. For on this day Thou didst lead three kings to the Manger in Bethlehem; on this day Thou wast baptized of John in the river Jordan; on this day Thou didst turn water into wine at the marriage at Cana in Galilee—by all which things Thou didst plainly manifest Thyself to be both God and man.
I pray Thee, therefore, O my meek and gracious Lord, that Thou wouldst never suffer me to be led astray by Herodian wiles, that is to say by worldly honours, and the allurements of the flesh; but that, through the merits of the Holy Kings, and the prayers of Thy most chaste Mother, and under the protection of Thy angelic host, Thou wouldest lead me, together with the Blessed Kings, along the way that leadeth to the Heavenly Country, there to behold Thee in Thy everlasting glory.
«* Of the Purification of Blessed Mary, and the Presentation of Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Fountain of purity, for Thy lowly Presentation in the Temple
of God, where, with victims and with
gifts, Thou wast offered by Thy parents as one of the sons of Adam, and wast redeemed with five shekels of silver, as if Thou hadst been some chattel of a slave, sold and bought back again.
I bless Thee, for Thy lowly obedience to the Law of God, O most Holy Redeemer of the world, Who—Thyself free from any debt of sin—didst make Thyself subject to all the ordinances of the Law, that Thou mightest be to us an example of perfect obedience.
I glorify Thee for the exceeding humility of Thy most blessed Mother, and for her obedience, of her own free choice, to the Law of Moses: for, although she was both before and after child-birth, a Virgin undefiled, yet did she not think scorn of submitting to the rite of Purification.
O most pleasing oblation! O most sweet satisfaction! For it was free: it was full: and it was faultless.
But what shall I offer, what shall I render unto Thee, my Lord and my God, for all Thy benefits to me? O how needful for me is purification, for the washing away of my sins; how expedient for me is satisfaction for my acts of transgression— for me who am polluted with the stains of so many sins.
To Thee, therefore, O most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, to Thee do I look up, beseeching Thee, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to make satisfaction for me, and to wash away my sins by Thy most pure oblation of Thyself: that so, cleansed and purified by Thy grace, I may win an entrance into the Temple of Thy heavenly Abode, there to praise Thy Holy Name for ever.
And do Thou also, Holy Mother of God, glorious Virgin Mary, pray for me that my sins may be forgiven: that there may be granted to me time for repentance, and a firm purpose of amendment, by the help of God's grace: and that there may be nothing wanting in me to win back my place in God's favour. Do thou plead for me, O most gracious Mother, by offering thyself, together with thy most dearly beloved Son, before our Father in heaven. May thy virginal purity atone for my impurities, whether of body or of soul; may thy love inflame the coldness of my heart; may thy humility subdue my pride; may thy voluntary obedience break down the hardness of my perverse will.
I place myself in thy hands, and in those of thy dearly-beloved Son: and whatever I can do, that I shall always be ready to do, in His service, and in thine.
I offer a pair of turtle doves, to wit, a twofold compunction of heart, first by way of grieving for my sins and shortcomings, and next by way of sighing for the joys that have no end.
I also present willingly, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord, two young pigeons: earnestly desiring, that is, to keep a twofold simplicity of heart, first by way of rendering to no man evil for evil, and next by way of overcoming evil with good.
For all which do Thou vouchsafe to grant me Thy grace, O kind Jesus, Who wast on this day presented in the Temple by Thy lowly virgin Mother, and wast taken up with joy into the loving arms of the just and devout Simeon.
mi Of the persecution of Jesus, and His flight into Egypt
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, most mighty King of Kings, for Thy persecution, and for the hardships forced upon Thee, in the days of Thy childhood, when Thou didst flee from the face of the most wicked King Herod, and wast driven forth as a stranger and an outcast from Thine own land, and hadst to enter in secret that land of Egypt, from which, in the days of old, Thou hadst with a mighty hand led forth the children of Israel.
I praise and magnify Thee for the toilsome journey and long exile, which Thou didst undergo, dwelling in a foreign land for the space of seven years, amidst a barbarous people, and men altogether strange to Thee.
How cruel was the wickedness which could seek to slay the Author of life, and could drive out, from the land into which He had been born, the King of heaven! What tears would not one have shed, could one have seen the graceful virgin Mother, with her Child, so fair and so beloved, hurrying away, sheltered by the darkness of the night, to take refuge in a land of which they knew nothing! Truly this instance of persecution is to us a bright example of patience, and is a lesson to all Christ's people not to wonder at having to suffer many things at the hands of men who know Him not. CHAPTER XV
I praise and magnify Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for Thy blessed return from Egypt; for journeying back again into Thine own land ; for dwelling with Thy parents in the City of Nazareth, as their son; for the innocent life led by Thee in that city among their friends and neighbours; and for submitting to share the poverty of Thy Mother, and of her Spouse, the holy Joseph.
Grant to me now, I beseech Thee, O my beloved Jesus, to tread, at least in my small degree, in Thy steps, in this matter of patience; give me grace not to murmur when I have to suffer wrong; but rather humbly to give way to an angry man, to submit cheerfully to being laughed at, and evil spoken of; and when any one vexes and annoys me, give me grace to curb my anger against him, to pray earnestly for his salvation, and so far as may be, to set down his fault to the account of the old serpent who led him into it.
Give me grace to live peaceably with my brethren, willingly to give way to them, and with them patiently to bear, for Thy honour and glory, the lack of this world's goods, no matter how great it may be.
me Of the Holy Innocents, put to death by Herod
for the Name of Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee,
O Lord Jesus Christ, Hope of those
who die young, glory of the lowly, and
crown of all the saints, for the deaths
of so many innocent children put to death on account of Thy Holy Name.
I praise and magnify Thee for these first fruits of the Holy Martyrs, who suffered without having ever sinned, whom Thou didst deliver out of this world pure in body and in soul; thus bestowing the crown of martyrdom upon those who had not yet come to the use of reason.
I adore the equity of Thy judgements, manifested in all Thy works: Thou didst exalt the pure and humble to Thy everlasting glory; but didst cast down into Hell, there to be confounded for ever, Herod and the partners in his guilt.
I earnestly implore Thee, O most pure Jesus, to give me, of Thy mercy, grace to follow, in heart and life, the innocence, and the humility of those little ones; so that, laying aside all rancour and arrogance, I may henceforth show myself among my brethren, more gentle, more pure, more lowly, more patient, and more cheerful. May no weakness of the flesh defile me; but by a thorough mortification of my faults may I be kept pure and without offence.
•€ Of the finding of Jesus in the Temple
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Pattern of humility and mighty Teacher of eternal truth, for the example of Thy stupend
ous humility, and for the light of Thy hidden wisdom, shown forth to men, at Thy going up to Jerusalem with Thy parents for the Feast; what time Thou didst offer for us to God the Father sacrifices of holy prayer and praise, and didst sit humbly, as a boy of twelve, in the midst of the Doctors, hearing them and discreetly asking them questions, fixing upon Thyself the attention of all who beheld Thee.
I praise Thee, and I magnify with the deepest devotion Thy Holy Name, for the reverent obedience which Thou didst show to Thy parents who long time sought Thee, and at length found Thee; in that Thou, the King of Heaven, renouncing straightway Thine own Will, didst humbly submit Thyself to their authority; and, although they did not understand the saying which Thou spakestunto them, yet didst go down with them from Jerusalem to Nazareth, and didst there show Thyself the most obedient of sons to the best of Mothers.
O most sweet Jesus, most loving of sons, mirror of holiness and of every virtue, teach me, I pray Thee, to subdue the perverseness of my will; cheerfully to bow to the advice of my elders; devoutly to visit the Temple of God; diligently to hear and declare Thy Word; to venerate the
Doctors of the Church; to obey my superiors cheerfully; and to serve Thee joyfully all the days of my life, submitting myself in all things to Thy Holy Will.
m€ Of the holy and hidden life of the lowly Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the surpassing holiness of that hidden life, which Thou didst for so long time lead in the house of Thy parents at Nazareth, where Thou didst dwell with them in great poverty, lowliness, and subjection, from the twelfth to the thirtieth year of Thy age.
I most heartily praise and magnify Thee for Thy condescension in veiling Thy Majesty from those among whom Thou didst dwell, in that Thou didst deign to be called, and to be believed to be, the son of a carpenter; and openly didst nothing from which Thy Godhead might be known.
O the humility of Christ! O my God, how dost Thou confound by it my foolish self-conceit; how, by Thy bright example, dost Thou bid me avoid all outward show, turn aside from men of the world, choose to lead a secluded life, seek to be known to God alone, make the salvation of my soul my chief aim, not put myself forward, even for the sake of edification; but rather strive to lay diligently to heart the Word of Life, until such time as the heavenly call shall come to bring forth fruit!
Help me, sweet Jesus, Thou gracious Master,
to understand, by diligent meditation upon it, the
character of Thy hidden life; to dedicate my own
inner self to Thee; ever to love a humble and cluded life, taking no heed of the things of this world; but cherishing rather, as the objects of my love, the things which concern Thee and my home in Heaven; and, in the secret closet of my heart, to treasure up the story of Thy most holy life and conversation.
iM? Of the Baptism of Jesus, and our sanctification in its waters
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Fountain of goodness, and source of every virtue, for humbly receiving holy Baptism; for fulfilling all righteousness; for voluntarily putting Thyself into the hands of Thy forerunner, by whom Thou didst deign to be baptized in the river Jordan; thus consecrating for us the waters of Baptism, and by Thy example showing to all those who come to that Holy Rite, be they of high or be they of low estate, how needful it is for them humbly to receive the Sacrament of new birth unto Salvation, if they would find a place at last in the mansions of Thy heavenly Kingdom.
In Thy Baptism we too have been washed; that sanctification was for our profit, not for Thine; for Thou wast without any spot of sin.
I praise and magnify Thee, O Divine and Adorable Head, before Which even the angelic spirits veil their faces, for most humbly bowing Thyself, for going down into the Jordan, and for receiving its waters upon Thyself, for the washing away of our sins.
I bless Thee, and glorify Thy Holy Name, for Thy revelation of heavenly mysteries; for the presence of the most Holy Trinity manifestly shown forth; for the way of entrance into everlasting life opened out to us; for Thy wondrous enlightenment of John the Baptist, Thy blessed Forerunner; for his humble answer to those who questioned him; and for his ready obedience to Thy word.
0 my Jesus, most highly exalted King, how greatly didst Thou abase Thyself this day for me, the vilest of sinners; what stores of Divine grace hast Thou opened to me by this Thy condescension! Look Thou upon me, and mercifully forgive all the sins, of which, openly and secretly, I have in so many ways been guilty.
1 pray to be baptized by Thee with the Holy Ghost and with fire; for I have in many things offended Thy goodness. Wash me throughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. No one is free from the stain of sin, not even the infant of a day; in all the world no one is pure but Thou alone, the Purifier; Thou alone, the Sanctifier, art Holy, Who, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, hast power to forgive men their sins.
Be gracious unto me, I beseech Thee, O Lord, and let my soul live; nor do Thou remember my former sins, but renew my youth like the eagle's. Forgive what is past; cause me to take heed to my ways in the days that are to come: grant me ever fresh supplies of grace, that so at last I may be found meet to dwell with Thee in the Kingdom of Thy everlasting glory.
tH! Of the fasting, and the temptations, of the altunconquered Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the holy fast, which, in the loneliness of the desert, Thou didst keep for forty days and forty nights, that Thou mightest be to us a model of holy abstinence. There, as a hermit, far from the abodes of men, Thou didst dwell with the wild beasts, and yet hadst Thou Angels for Thy companions; thus setting to all Religious a great example of detachment.
I praise and magnify Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Food of Angels, and Refreshment of men, for the many pangs of hunger, for the wondrous abstinence, for the stern chastisement of Thymost sacred Body, for the many long watchings, for the holy prayers, and for the most pure meditations, which Thou didst accomplish there in the wilderness.
I praise and magnify Thee for ever for Thy mighty conflict with the devil; for the many attacks of that most wicked tempter; for Thy scorning of all his evil suggestions; for the wise answers from Holy Writ, with which Thou didst confound him; and for Thy most glorious victory over the three cardinal sins—all which Thou didst mercifully bring to pass for the perpetual confounding of Satan, and for the strengthening of our weakness.
On meekly bended knees, I join the holy Angels,
who, with the reverence which is Thy due, then
ministered to Thee, in praising and adoring Thee:
and I beseech Thee that, so long as I live in the wilderness of this present world, Thou wouldest give me daily bread, the help of Thy grace, comfort in tribulation, firmness under temptation, and protection against all the snares of the enemy.
I believe and confess that Thou art Christ, the Son of God, very God, and Lord of Angels, Creator and Redeemer of the human race, in all points proved and tempted in the weakness of our flesh; that so Thou mightest be led to pity us; and having suffered, being tempted like as we are, mightest be able to cure us from the diseases of our sins.
O kind Jesus, Thou most dauntless champion, Who for my sake didst fast so unflinchingly, and didst so bravely fight and conquer, help me, I beseech Thee, to fight manfully against the world, the flesh and the devil, and to repel with steadfast heart every assault of the evil one! For my support and comfort in my exile, send to me, I beseech Thee, Thy holy Angels, ministers of light and peace; may they often visit me, defend me faithfully, succour me powerfully, graciously comfort me, richly bless me; and, when this short life is ended, may they bring me safe and sound, in joy and bliss, to Thee, my only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen.
•* Of the holy preaching, and the saving Doctrine of Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou good Shepherd and most faithful Keeper of Thy
, , sheep, for Thy tender care for the
salvation of souls, and for Thy ardent longing to bring to men glad tidings of good things; in that, on leaving the wilderness, Thou wentest forth to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven, and didst sound the trumpet of salvation throughout Judaea, urging all men to repent, to despise the things of this world, and to make haste to lay up for themselves treasures in heaven. O most sweet Jesus, with what earnest care didst Thou go about the villages and the streets, the cities and the towns, busy in the conversion of sinners, in healing the contrite of heart, and in forgiving the sins of the truly penitent.
From the bottom of my heart I praise and glorify Thee for Thy most sweet Doctrine; for Thy fervent preaching of the Gospel throughout all Galilee and Judaea; and for Thy fame so gloriously spread abroad among the people which sat in darkness.
Blessed be those sacred lips and that most gracious tongue, with which Thou didst so often proclaim the sweetness of heavenly life, and speak maxims of eternal truth; and with a voice that all might understand, didst declare Thyself to be, that which indeed Thou art, the true and marvellous Light that had come into the world!
O most loving Jesus, of all Masters the best, grant to me, I beseech Thee, that I may with a thirsting heart drink in the streams of Thy saving Doctrine; that I may diligently give my mind to, wisely discern, and lovingly delight in, the words which then fell from Thy sacred lips. Grant, I beseech Thee, that I may fashion all my ways conformably thereto; for no otherwise can I find the way of perfection so brightly and so clearly made plain to me, as in the shining mirror of Thy most holy Gospel set up before me, and before all men, to be read by us. In Thee, O Lord, Who art the Fountain of eternal wisdom, are to be found in never-ceasing abundance the light of life, and the fullness of joy. Incline, therefore, I beseech Thee, my heart unto Thy testimonies: open Thou mine ear to the words of Thy mouth: turn away mine eyes that they may not behold vanity, and quicken Thou me in Thy way. For although the meaning of the Gospel may appear simple and easy to be understood, yet is it so deep and lofty, and so full of heavenly mysteries, that the whole world would not be large enough to contain them.
mi Of the glorious miracles, and the kindness and goodness of Jesus
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Power of God, and Wisdom of the Father, for the glorious signs and mighty wonders, by which Thou didst shed forth upon the world Thy glorious Light, and didst make known Thy Truth even to those sitting in darkness; openly showing Thyself, by infallible proofs and incontestable miracles, to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who had come into the world to be the Saviour of mankind.
I praise and glorify Thee for Thy boundless love, in that Thou didst show Thyself to all men so kind and so good, that not only the poor and the sick, but even the vilest sinners, were not afraid to come to Thee; and were allowed freely to speak to Thee, and to touch Thee.
Blessed be those Eyes, shining more brightly than the sun, Which Thou didst turn, full of pity, upon the crowds who came to Thee, to whom Thou wast so gracious and so compassionate that Thou wouldst in no wise send them away fasting to their homes; but rather didst, not once only but twice, by working a great miracle, more than satisfy many thousands with a few loaves, and some small fishes.
Blessed be those adorable Hands, Which Thou didst freely lay upon so many sick folk; healing at once, by the touch of Thy most sacred Body, all their diseases and infirmities.
Blessed be those all-beautiful Feet, so often wearied, and besmeared with dust, for the Salvation of souls, Which Thou didst use when going to and fro upon the earth, sowing plenteously the Word of Life, proclaiming it to all men, now upon the mountain side, now upon the open plain— working moreover in proof of Thy holy doctrine, frequent miracles, causing men sick of the palsy to go upon their feet, giving sight to the blind, cleansing lepers, casting out devils, and, by the power of God, bringing back the dead to life.
O adorable Jesus, Light of the World, Salvation of Thy people Israel, our Life, our Might, and our Glory, turn Thine Eye of mercy, I beseech Thee, upon my infirmity, and drive out from my heart every evil lust: give sight to the eyes of my soul, that I may see the heavenly light: open the ears of my understanding that I may hear, O my God, what Thou hast to say to me: raise me from my bed of sloth, that I may go on from strength to strength: direct my feet in the path of Thy commandments, and give power to my withered hands for earnest work in Thy service: cleanse me from the leprosy of the flesh; cure me of the madness of anger; subdue in me the swelling of pride; pluck out from my heart the sting of envy; keep me from excess in eating; drive far from me the plague of covetousness, and crush within me all my impure desires. These most grievous afflictions of an ailing soul, these secret impulses of the devil and his angels, can be healed by Thee alone,
0 Lord; can be cast out no otherwise than by Thy resistless Word. None can heal these spiritual wounds, none can work wonders of holiness in the inner life, but Thou alone, O Almighty God, Who speakest and it is done, Who commandest and straightway Thy order takes effect. Say therefore,
1 beseech Thee, to my soul: "Be thou clean," and forthwith it shall be cleansed: say to the unclean spirit which so often tempts me: "Go out of the man, and enter no more into him": say to my soul, whenever trouble comes upon me, "Fear not, I am Thy salvation": speak but one word only, and my soul shall be healed.
mt Of the Example, and the Holy Life, of Jesus, and His tribulations in the world
LORD JESUS CHRIST, Pattern of holiness, Model of all perfection, Flower of virtue, Savour of life, Mirror of patience, I bless Thee and give thanks to Thee, for all Thy virtues, for Thy beauteous Life, for Thy surpassing gentleness, and for the faultless example which Thou didst openly set to Thy disciples, and to all the people of Israel; thus
sweetly drawing to the love of Thee the souls of the lowly in heart, moving to repentance, by the gentle tenderness of Thy words, the hard hearts of sinners, and matchlessly instructing the learned, by Thy every act, and by every word of Thy teaching.
I praise and glorify Thee for all the bodily wants and hardships suffered by Thee whilst in the world. Having taken upon Thyself our mortal nature, Thou didst from the hour of Thy Birth to the hour of Thy Death upon the Cross, vouchsafe to undergo for us, worms of earth and appointed to death, hunger often and thirst, cold and heat, toil and weariness, sadness and anxiety; and Thou didst endure all this with perfect mildness and resignation of heart.
I praise and glorify Thee for the malicious snares so often set for Thee; for the many and grievous persecutions and shameful blasphemies so often inflicted upon Thee by the Scribes and Pharisees; and for the monstrous ingratitude, and the odious slanders, with which Thy chosen people repaid Thee for the innumerable benefits and the mighty wonders, which Thou didst so gloriously work among them.
I praise and magnify Thee for the unspeakable travail of Thy Soul for the conversion and salvation of mankind; for the many long watches of the night which Thou didst pass in prayer for us; for the groans and for the tears, which Thou didst pour forth in Thy pity for us; for Thy joy and satisfaction over those who were converted to the Faith; for Thy sublime thanksgivings, and the upliftings of Thy Soul; and for the works—so many and so marvellous—wrought by Thee, to the praise and glory of Thy Heavenly Father.
O most adorable Jesus, brightest Mirror of a holy life, grant, I beseech Thee, to me, Thy unworthy servant, whose life has hitherto been most grievously at variance with Thy Holy Will, so to meditate upon Thy most sweet and perfect example, that I may be led to fashion all my actions and behaviour in accordance with it; that I may learn from it to be meek and lowly in heart; to be moderate in my taking of food; simple in my dress; modest in my bearing; not hurried in my gait; calm in my mind; not an idle talker; prudent in my actions; guarded both as to my outward and my inward life; watchful in prayer; devout in meditation; patient under correction; prompt in obedience; easy to be led in every good way; not slow, not careless, not sullen, not restless, not inconstant, not noisy; but kind, cheerful, affable, and unassuming.
(t€ Of the Feast of Palms, and the lowly entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, loving Saviour of the world, and merciful Preserver
of mankind, for the splendour of Thy
marvellous humility, and for the greatness of that unspeakable love, which Thou didst vouchsafe on this day to show forth, when with bare feet Thou didst ride upon an ass, and amid the Hosannas of a vast multitude of children, didst enter the Holy City of Jerusalem.
I praise and glorify Thee, O my Jesus, illustrious Son of David, for the solemn reverence offered to Thee this day by the people of Israel, by whom Thou wast owned and acclaimed with snouts, as King and mighty Prophet.
I praise and honour Thee for Thy marvellous love, and Thy surpassing clemency, in that, of Thy own free will, Thou didst meekly place Thyself in the hands of those murderers, knowing that Thou wouldst shortly afterwards be put to death by them; and didst shed mariy tears for their sins and wickedness, when warning them how great were the woes which were so soon to follow their present rejoicings.
I praise and glorify Thee for Thy burning zeal against transgressors of the Law, in that Thou didst straightway go into the Temple, and didst drive out from Thy Father's House those who sold and bought therein, and so were making the House of Prayer a den of thieves.
And as Thou didst show Thyself stern against the covetous and unrighteous, against men who were selling their own souls; so on the other hand didst Thou show Thyself tender and full of pity for the sick and poor, by graciously bestowing upon many of them Thy gifts of healing and of holy Doctrine.
O the unspeakable Power of Christ! O the surpassing Love of the Son of God! Who can declare Thy mighty acts, O Lord, or set forth all Thy praise? Remember me, O my Jesus, in the favour of Thy people, and visit me with Thy salvation! Come, my beloved Jesus, and lead me into the holy city of Jerusalem; not that Jerusalem which killed the prophets, but that Jerusalem which is above, whose inhabitants dwell together in unity. Ride, I pray Thee, upon that foal of an ass, the light and wanton lusts of my flesh, by subduing them with the bridle of continence.
Good indeed it is for me to bear my Lord upon my back, and to be subject to His law; never to kick against the ruleof obedience, but with patience and with gentleness to endure whatever burden may be laid upon me. For never must I cease from toil, or from spiritual progress; this way, and no other must I go; in this holy course must I proceed ; if at length, by Thy merciful help and guidance, I am to reach the Heavenly Jerusalem, where there is peace for evermore.
Therefore, with the Hebrew children, I devoutly acclaim Thee, saying "Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna in the highest!" Hail King of all the world, Saviour of the House of Israel, Whose coming the Prophets had foretold since the beginning of the world, Whom the people of the Jews on this day joyfully greeted with their songs of praise.
I adore Thee, I glorify Thee, Who eamest, in the Name of Thy Father, to redeem us from the hand of the enemy, and to reconcile us to God the Father by Thy own most precious Blood.
I pray Thee also, O Lord Jesus, to enter the temple of my heart, and to purge and to cast out thence, far from me, whatever Thou shalt find therein that is filthy and profane. Cast out, I pray Thee, from that which should be Thy tabernacle, all the many kinds of worldly cares, all the idols, whether of things, or of persons; overturn the tables of the money-changers, lest covetous lusts should lead me astray. Take away the noise of cattle and of doves, lest an abundance of things earthly should check my longing for things heavenly. Lay hold of the scourge, made of the small cords of the fear of Thee, and with ceaseless vigour drive out, I pray Thee, all the fancies and foul imaginations which the devil, that most shameless of pedlars, is so often wont to spread out before me in Church, at the time of prayer; lest my soul, being sorely tempted, and led astray by the wiles of that deceiver, should be drawn into consent, and should be thereby choked. Make haste to help me, O most mighty Lord Jesus; suffer me not to be taken in the snares of the devil, or to be overcome of my own wickedness. Keep me from that which is evil, strengthen me in that which is good; that so I may escape the peril of eternal damnation, and may pass with Thee into the everlasting tabernacles of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
m€ Of the Lord's Supper, in which, after partaking of the Paschal Lamb, Christ Jesus instituted the Sacrament of His Own Body and Blood
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Bread of Life, and Fountain of the Water of Salvation, for the most Holy Feast of Thy Last Supper with Thy disciples, which with great desire Thou hadst long time desired to celebrate. At that Feast, Thou, O Lord, King of Heaven and of Earth, didst sup at the same table, and from the same dish, as Thy poor and humble disciples, and in the presence of the traitor Judas; and, during that supper Thou didst pour forth sweet words of holy exhortation, and didst strive by gentle warning, to turn back from his wicked purpose Judas himself.
I praise and glorify Thee for the measureless abundance of Thy wondrous love, in that, after eating of the Paschal lamb, that so Thou mightest fulfil the old Law, Thou didst for the first time celebrate the Sacrament of Thy own most precious Body and Blood, as a memorial of Thy Passion, and of Thy everlasting love for us. At that first Eucharist, Thou didst Thyself, with yearnings of intense devotion, deliver with Thy own ever-blessed Hands, the self-same Sacraments which we now receive to Thy disciples, to be eaten by them; and didst also at the same time make known the form of Its Consecration to be used by them, and by the Priests to be afterwards ordained by them; giving to them, and to their successors, full power to celebrate Mass, so long as the world shall last.
O matchless and wondrous outpouring of love! O the supreme generosity of the bounty of God,— the Giver coming into the Gift; the Gift being wholly the same with the Giver! O worthy and ever to be observed memorial, in which the faithful soul calls to mind that its own death has been put to death, and that in its Beloved, Whom it has received, it has found Life everlasting! O wonder of all wonders the most stupendous, O joy of all joys the greatest, to have God verily present with us, though hidden beneath the wondrous Sacrament; God, Whom the Holy Angels in Heaven adore, as infinitely above themselves, showing Himself to us under a form which all may look upon.
O my sweet Jesus, grant to me, I pray Thee, for the worthy reception of this most Holy Sacrament, a heart contrite for my sins; a conscience made pure in confession; a mind lifted up in prayer; firm faith, strong hope, and fervent
charity; devotion constraining to tears; reverence tempered by love; joy rejoicing in fear and inward thanksgiving; and that profound self-abasement, which can only come from the depths of a heart that knows its own vileness, and appeals for mercy, to the supreme height of Thy Divine Majesty.
m4 Of the Washing of the feet, and the sacred discourse of Jesus, at the Supper
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, most highly exalted King of Saints, for that supreme example of deep humility and abject self-abasement, which Thou didst show forth, and leave to us for our imitation, when Thou, the most holy God, didst think no scorn of carefully washing, on Thy bended knees, and with Thy own ever-blessed Hands, of wiping, and of kissing, the feet of those poor fishermen, Thy humble followers: and, more than all this, didst also wash, with the same tender loving-kindness, the feet of Thy perfidious betrayer, although, ungrateful for all Thy benefits, foul within and unwashed, he went on still in his wickedness.
O wondrous tenderness of a Master to a disciple so hardened, O endearing complaisance of a most loving Lord to a servant who was utterly depraved, who was so case-hardened in his sin, that not even by Thy courtesy at the feast, nor by the gentleness of Thy menial service, nor by the sweetness of Thy discourse, could he be held back from his wicked purpose!
I praise and glorify Thee for Thy long reclining at the table of this most sacred Last Supper, at which Thou didst perform so many wondrous acts of love, that time would fail for their worthy recital.
I praise and glorify Thee, O Jesus, of Comforters the best, of Teachers the sweetest, of Helpers the most powerful, for that long, notable, and heavenly discourse, full of the fire of love, and sweet as a honey-comb, which, after the washing of the feet, and the departure of the traitor Judas, Thou didst, in words which all might understand, deliver to Thy disciples. By it Thou didst take pains to comfort and strengthen their sad hearts against the tribulations which were to come upon them, giving them a sure hope of Thy Resurrection, of their being strengthened by the coming of the Holy Ghost, and of their being received after this their exile into the heavenly mansions of Thy Father; adding moreover many most beautiful words. And at last, at the close of this sacred utterance, with a faithfulness that knew no bounds, Thou didst, in true union of heart, gather them all up in Thy commendation of them to God the Father, saying: "O Father, I will that they may be all one, as we also are."
And hereupon Thou didst with Thy disciples enter a garden, apart from the busy hum of men, suited for private prayer, and there Thou didst prepare Thyself for Thy coming Agony, and Sacred Passion, speaking thus: "Sit you here and watch with Me, till I go yonder, and pray."
I pray Thee now, O most loving Jesus, my Master and my Lord, that Thou wouldst grant to me who am the chiefest of sinners, and Thy unworthy servant, to meditate with recollected mind upon Thy words so heavenly, and upon Thy doings so vividly set forth. Grant to me especially, I beseech Thee, to bow my most stubborn of necks to the doing of all work, no matter how humble, and to the fulfilment of all duties, no matter how servile; utterly to overcome my pride and false shame, that so I may learn to spend myself in the loving service, not only of my fellow-religious, and of my friends, but also of those who are repulsive to me from defects of mind or body. May I never think it a great matter to have to ask pardon for my shortcomings, when Thou, my God, wast not ashamed to bend Thy most sacred knees in the presence of Thy disciples, and to wash their feet. Taught, as I am, by Thy example, help me to carry into act what I hear and read of Thee.
But because I am at all points full of faults, and stained with all kinds of evil propensities, I need to be cleansed from my sins by a washing of exceeding thoroughness. To Thee, therefore, do I stretch forth my hands; and with the knees of' my heart humbly bent before Thee, I pray Thee that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to wash carefully and thoroughly, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head; for in many ways have I sinned against Thee, by thought and by speech, both in what I have done and in what I have left undone.
Wash me, therefore, O my Jesus, from all the filth of my sins, cleanse me from every defilement, whether of body or of soul; that so, being made clean from head to foot, I may be found meet to have part with Thee, in that everlasttng joy, which Thou hast promised to all Thy loved ones, who in times of temptation have held fast to Thee.
Give me also, I pray Thee, an understanding heart, that I may be able fully to comprehend that most sweet discourse, which Thou didst speak at the Supper: for its words are indeed words breathing love most fervent, comfort the sweetest, and wisdom the most exalted. So write Thy new commandment upon the tables of my heart, that my soul may be on fire with the twofold love which it enjoins: strengthen me in every trouble that may come upon me, and in place of this world's joys, fill me with the most sweet comfort of Thy Holy Spirit.
Give me that true peace of heart, which the world cannot give; give me the Spirit, the Paraclete, Whom the world seeth not, neither knoweth. Come, O Lord Jesus, and deign to make Thy abode with me, that Thou in me, and I in Thee, we may dwell together in one.