Monday, May 20, 2013

Pope Leo’s "Prayer to St. Michael"

A heavenly warning, censored by as yet unnamed Vatican officials, and mysteriously stricken in 1934, from the Raccolta (the Vatican’s book of officially-sanctioned prayers), was a certain "Prayer 407" (also sometimes listed "446"), written by Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), who was a devotee of La Salette. Leo issued the prayer in his "moto proprio" of 25 September 1888. He was prompted to compose the prayer, so the story goes, by an incident that had left him terrified. One day, when the Pope had just finished offering his morning Mass, he became traumatized to the point that he suddenly collapsed, causing those in attendance to think he was dead. Upon his return to consciousness, the Pope described a frightful conversation he had heard coming from near the tabernacle upon the altar. The locution consisted of two "voices" which the Holy Father perceived to be that of Christ and Satan. The latter boasted that he could destroy the Church, within a period of 75 years (or 100 years, according to some accounts) if allowed "a greater influence" over those who would do his will. Perhaps as a test for Catholics who had grown indifferent to the Faith after the revolutionary movements of the 19th century, our Lord supposedly answered Satan: "Do what you will!"

Pope Leo is said to have retired to his apartment at once to write his famous Prayer to St. Michael. Some have rejected the rumor of this incident as pure fantasy, and dismiss as ludicrous the suggestion that Christ would permit the devil to take the Church to the brink of destruction. But the original Prayer to St. Michael written by Pope Leo at the time recalls to mind the following words of the Savior twice found in Sacred Scripture, when He quotes the Prophet Zacharias:

". . . it is written, I will strike the pastor, and the sheep . . . shall be scattered." 5
Pope Leo may well have been aware of the opinions of Catholic scripture scholars that, in the latter days, a pontiff would be driven out of Rome. But whether from the disputed locution or his own expertise in biblical prophecy, the Pope apparently had specific knowledge of the devil’s strategy to bring down the Church by setting up a false pope in the place of the true Vicar of Christ. In fact, by his publication of the Prayer to St. Michael, Leo XIII seems to have been sending a clear warning to the Church of the impending attack on the papacy. A key passage in the prayer (highlighted below in bold type) strongly suggested that a false authority was already being set up to displace the true Vicar of Christ:

"O GLORIOUS Archangel St. Michael, Prince of heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom GOD created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the LORD, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of GOD and of his CHRIST to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered. Arise then O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of GOD, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has GOD entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the GOD of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the LORD; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the LORD; be scattered ye hostile powers.

R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda has conquered, the root of David.

V. Let thy mercies be upon us, O LORD. As we have hoped in thee.

V. O LORD, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come unto thee. Let us pray.

O GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St Michael, thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen." 6

Long after the death of Pope Leo XIII in 1903, his Prayer to St. Michael, continued to be published in successive editions of The Raccolta. But in 1934, without explanation, the Sacred Penitentiary Apostolic in Rome authorized its removal and replacement with the following ambiguous forgery, titled only as prayer "410":

"O glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that apostate angel, transformed into an angel of darkness who still creeps about the earth to encompass our ruin, was cast headlong into the abyss together with his followers. But behold, that first enemy of mankind, and a murderer from the beginning, has regained his confidence. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity. These crafty enemies of mankind have filled to overflowing with gall and wormwood the Church, which is the Bride of the Lamb without spot; they have laid profane hands upon her most sacred treasures. Make haste, therefore, O invincible Prince, to help the people of God against the inroads of the lost spirits and grant us the victory. Amen." 7

The Nine Ways of 
Prayer of St. Dominic

About the Nine Ways of Prayer
The following was written by an anonymous Bolognese author, sometime between A.D. 1260 and A.D. 1288, whose source of information was, among other followers of St. Dominic, Sister Cecilia of Bologna’s Monastery of St. Agnes. Sister Cecilia had been given the habit by St. Dominic himself. “The Nine Ways of Prayer” has been sometimes printed as a supplement to “The Life of St. Dominic” by Theodoric of Apoldia, though they aren’t an actual part of that work.
The Nine Ways 
of Prayer 
of St. Dominic
Holy teachers like Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory, Hilary, Isidore, John Chrysostom, John Damascene, Bernard, and other saintly Greek and Latin doctors have discoursed on prayer at great length. They have encouraged and described it, pointed out its necessity and value, explained the method, the dispositions which are required, and the impediments which stand in its way. In learned books, the glorious and venerable doctor, Brother Thomas Aquinas, and Albert, of the Order of Preachers, as well as William in his treatise on the virtues, have considered admirably and in a holy, devout, and beautiful manner that form of prayer in which the soul makes use of the members of the body to raise itself more devoutly to God. In this way the soul, in moving the body, is moved by it. At times it becomes rapt in ecstasy as was Saint Paul, or is caught up in a rapture of the spirit like the prophet David. Saint Dominic often prayed in this way, and it is fitting that we say something of his method. 
Certainly many saints of both the Old and New Testament are known to have prayed like this at times. Such a method serves to enkindle devotion by the alternate action of soul upon body and body upon soul. Prayer of this kind would cause Saint Dominic to be bathed in tears, and would arouse the fervor of his holy will to such intensity that his bodily members could not be restrained from manifesting his devotion by certain signs. As a result, the spirit of the supplicant was sometimes raised up during its entreaties, petitions, and thanksgivings. 
The following, then, are the special modes of prayer, besides those very devout and customary forms, which Saint Dominic used during the celebration of Mass and the praying of the psalmody. In choir or along the road, he was often seen lifted suddenly out of himself and raised up with God and the angels.

The First Way of Prayer
Saint Dominic’s first way of prayer was to humble himself before the altar as if Christ, signified by the altar, were truly and personally present and not in symbol alone. He would say with Judith: “O Lord, God, the prayer of the humble and the meek hath always pleased Thee [Judith 9:16]. “It was through humility that the Canaanite woman and the prodigal son obtained what they desired; as for me, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof” [Matthew 8:8] for “I have been humbled before you exceedingly, O Lord [Psalm 118:107].” 
In this way our holy father, standing erect, bowed his head and humbly considering Christ, his Head, compared his lowliness with the excellence of Christ. He then gave himself completely in showing his veneration. The brethren were taught to do this whenever they passed before the humiliation of the Crucified One in order that Christ, so greatly humbled for us, might see us humbled before his majesty. And he commanded the friars to humble themselves in this way before the entire Trinity whenever they chanted solemnly: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” In this manner of profoundly inclining his head, as shown in the drawing, Saint Dominic began his prayer.

The Second Way of Prayer
Saint Dominic used to pray by throwing himself outstretched upon the ground, lying on his face. He would feel great remorse in his heart and call to mind those words of the Gospel, saying sometimes in a voice loud enough to be heard: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” [Luke 18:13] With devotion and reverence he repeated that verse of David: “I am he that has sinned, I have done wickedly.” [II Kings 24:17]. Then he would weep and groan vehemently and say: “I am not worthy to see the heights of heaven because of the greatness of my iniquity, for I have aroused thy anger and done what is evil in thy sight.” From the psalm: “Deus auribus nostris audivimus” he said fervently and devoutly: “For our soul is cast down to the dust, our belly is flat on the earth!” [Psalm 43:25]. To this he would add: “My soul is prostrate in the dust; quicken Thou me according to Thy word” [Psalm 118:25]. 
Wishing to teach the brethren to pray reverently, he would sometimes say to them: When those devout Magi entered the dwelling they found the child with Mary, his mother, and falling down they worshipped him. There is no doubt that we too have found the God-Man with Mary, his handmaid. “Come, let us adore and fall down in prostration before God, and let us weep before God, and let us weep before the Lord that made us” [Psalm 94:61]. He would also exhort the young men, and say to them: If you cannot weep for your own sins because you have none, remember that there are many sinners who can be disposed for mercy and charity. It was for these that the prophets lamented; and when Jesus saw them, he wept bitterly. The holy David also wept as he said: “I beheld the transgressors and began to grieve” [Psalm 118:158].

The Third Way of Prayer
At the end of the prayer which has just been described, Saint Dominic would rise from the ground and give himself the discipline with an iron chain, saying, “Thy discipline has corrected me unto the end” [Psalm 17:36]. This is why the Order decreed, in memory of his example, that all the brethren should receive the discipline with wooden switches upon their shoulders as they were bowing down in worship and reciting the psalm “Miserere”  [Psalm 50] or “De Profundis” [Psalm 129] after Compline on ferial days. This is performed for their own faults or for those of others whose alms they receive and rely upon. No matter how sinless he may be, no one is to desist from this holy example which is shown in the drawing.

The Fourth Way of Prayer
After this, Saint Dominic would remain before the altar or in the chapter room with his gaze fixed on the Crucified One, looking upon Him with perfect attention. He genuflected frequently, again and again. He would continue sometimes from after Compline until midnight, now rising, now kneeling again, like the apostle Saint James, or the leper of the gospel who said on bended knee: “Lord, if Thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” [Matthew. 8:2]. He was like Saint Stephen who knelt and called out with a loud cry: “Lord, do not lay this sin against them” [Acts 7:60]. Thus there was formed in our holy father, Saint Dominic, a great confidence in God’s mercy towards himself, all sinners, and for the perseverance of the younger brethren whom he sent forth to preach to souls. Sometimes he could not even restrain his voice, and the friars would hear him murmuring: “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not Thou silent to me: lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit” [Psalm 27:1] and comparable phrases from the Sacred Scripture. 
At other times, however, he spoke within himself and his voice could not be heard. He would remain in genuflection for a long while, rapt in spirit; on occasion, while in this position, it appeared from his face that his mind had penetrated heaven and soon he reflected an intense joy as he wiped away the flowing tears. He was in a stage of longing and anticipation like a thirsty man who has reached a spring, and like a traveler who is at last approaching his homeland. Then he would become more absorbed and ardent as he moved in an agile manner but with great grace, now arising, now genuflecting. He was so accustomed to bend his knees to God in this way that when he traveled, in the inns after a weary journey, or along the wayside while his companions rested or slept, he would return to these genuflections, his own intimate and personal form of worship. This way of prayer he taught his brethren more by example than by words.

The Fifth Way of Prayer
When he was in the convent, our holy father Dominic would sometimes remain before the altar, standing erect without supporting himself or leaning upon anything. Often his hands would be extended before his breast in the manner of an open book; he would stand with great reverence and devotion as if reading in the very presence of God. Deep in prayer, he appeared to be meditating upon the words of God, and he seemed to repeat them to himself in a sweet voice. He regularly prayed in this way for it was Our Lord’s manner as Saint Luke tells us: “. . . according to his custom he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to read” [Luke 4:16]. The psalmist also tells us that “Phinees stood up and prayed, and the slaughter ceased” [Psalm 105:30].
He would sometimes join his hands, clasping them firmly together before eyes filled with tears and restrain himself. At other times he would raise his hands to his shoulders as the priest does at Mass. He appeared then to be listening carefully as if to hear something spoken from the altar. If one had seen his great devotion as he stood erect and prayed, he would certainly have thought that he was observing a prophet, first speaking with an angel or with God himself, then listening, then silently thinking of those things which had been revealed to him. 
On a journey he would secretly steal away at the time for prayer and, standing, would immediately raise his mind to heaven. One would then have heard him speaking sweetly and with supreme delight some loving words from his heart and from the riches of Holy Scripture which he seemed to draw from the fountains of the Savior. The friars were very much moved by the sight of their father and master praying in this manner. Thus, having become more fervent, they were instructed in the way of reverent and constant prayer: “Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress . . .” [Psalm 122:2].

The Sixth Way of Prayer
Our holy father, Saint Dominic, was also seen to pray standing erect with his hands and arms outstretched forcefully in the form of a cross. He prayed in this way when God, through his supplications, raised to life the boy Napoleon in the sacristy of the Church of Saint Sixtus in Rome, and when he was raised from the ground at the celebration of Mass, as the good and holy Sister Cecilia, who was present with many other people and saw him, narrates. He was like Elias who stretched himself out and lay upon the widow’s son when he raised him to life. 
In a similar manner he prayed near Toulouse when he delivered the group of English pilgrims from danger of drowning in the river. Our Lord prayed thus while hanging on the cross, that is, with his hands and arms extended and “with a loud cry and tears … he was heard because of his reverent submission” [Hebrews 5:7]. 
Nor did the holy man Dominic resort to this manner of praying unless he was inspired by God to know that something great and marvelous was to come about through the power of his prayer. Although he did not forbid the brethren to pray in this way, neither did he encourage them to do so. We do not know what he said when he stood with his hands and arms extended in the form of a cross and raised the boy to life. Perhaps it was those words of Elias: “O Lord, my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech thee, return into his body” [III Kings 17:21]. He certainly followed the prophet’s exterior manner in his prayers on that occasion. The friars and sisters, however, as well as the nobles and cardinals, and all others present were so struck by this most unusual and astonishing way of prayer that they failed to remember the words he spoke. Afterwards, they did not feel free to ask Dominic about these matters because this holy and remarkable man inspired in them a great sense of awe and reverence by reason of the miracle. 
In a grave and mature manner, he would slowly pronounce the words in the Psalter which mention this way of prayer. He used to say attentively: “O Lord, the God of my salvation: I have cried in the day and in the night before Thee,” as far as that verse “All the day I have cried to Thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to Thee” [Psalm 87:2-10]. Then he would add: “Hear, O Lord, my prayer give ear to my supplication in Thy truth . . .” He would continue the prayer to these words: “I stretched forth my hands to Thee . . . Hear me speedily, O Lord” [Psalm 142:1-7]. 
This example of our father’s prayer would help devout souls to appreciate more easily his great zeal and wisdom in praying thus. This is true whether, in doing so, he wished to move God in some wonderful manner through his prayer or whether he felt through some interior inspiration that God was to move him to seek some singular grace for himself or his neighbor. He then shone with the spiritual insight of David, the ardor of Elias, the charity of Christ, and with a profound devotion, as the drawing serves to indicate.

The Seventh Way of Prayer
While praying, he was often seen to reach towards heaven like an arrow which has been shot from a taut bow straight upwards into the sky. He would stand with hands outstretched above his head and joined together, or at times slightly separated as if about to receive something from heaven. One would believe that he was receiving an increase of grace and in this rapture of spirit was asking God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the Order he had founded. 
He seemed to seek for himself and his brethren something of that transcendent joy which is found in living the beatitudes, praying that each would consider himself truly blessed in extreme poverty, in bitter mourning, in cruel persecutions, in a great hunger and thirst for justice, in anxious mercy towards all. His entreaty was that his children would find their delight in observing the commandments and in the perfect practice of the evangelical counsels. Enraptured, the holy father then appeared to have entered into the Holy of Holies and the Third Heaven. After prayer of this kind he truly seemed to be a prophet, whether in correcting the faulty, in directing others, or in his preaching. 
Our holy father did not remain at prayer of this type very long but gradually regained full possession of his faculties. He looked during that time like a person coming from a great distance or like a stranger in this world, as could easily be discerned from his countenance and manner. The brethren would then hear him praying aloud and saying as the prophet: “Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication which I pray to Thee, when I lift up my hands to Thy holy temple” [Psalm 27:2]. 
Through his words and holy example he constantly taught the friars to pray in this way, often repeating those phrases from the psalms: “Behold, now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord … in the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord” [Psalm 133:1-3], “I have cried to Thee, O Lord, hear me; hearken to my voice when I cry to Thee. Let my prayer be directed as incense in Thy sight; the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” [Psalm 140:1-2]. The drawing shows us this mode of prayer so that we may better understand it.

The Eighth Way of Prayer
Our Father, Saint Dominic, had yet another manner of praying at once beautiful, devout, and pleasing, which he practiced after the canonical hours and the thanksgiving following meals. He was then zealous and filled with the spirit of devotion which he drew from the divine words which had been sung in the choir or refectory. Our father quickly withdrew to some solitary place, to his cell or elsewhere, and recollected himself in the presence of God. He would sit quietly, and after the sign of the cross, begin to read from a book opened before him. His spirit would then be sweetly aroused as if he heard Our Lord speaking, as we are told in the psalms: “I will hear what the Lord God will speak to me. [Psalm 84:9]. As if disputing with a companion he would first appear somewhat impatient in his thought and words. At the next moment he would become a quiet listener, then again seem to discuss and contend. He seemed almost to laugh and weep at the same time, and then, attentively and submissively, would murmur to himself and strike his breast. 
Should some curious person have desired to watch our holy father Dominic, he would have appeared to him like Moses who went into the desert, to Horeb, the sacred mountain of God, and there beheld the burning bush and heard the Lord speaking to him as he was bowed down in the divine presence. This holy custom of our father seems, as it were, to resemble the prophetic mountain of the Lord inasmuch as he quickly passed upwards from reading to prayer, from prayer to meditation, and from meditation to contemplation. 
When he read alone in this solitary fashion, Dominic used to venerate the book, bow to it, and kiss it. This was especially true if he was reading the Gospels and when he had been reading the very words which had come from the mouth of Christ. At other times he would hide his face and cover it with his cappa, or bury his face in his hands and veil it slightly with the capuce. Then he would weep, all fervent and filled with holy desires. Following this, as if to render thanks to some person of great excellence for benefits received, he would reverently rise and incline his head for a short time. Wholly refreshed and, in great interior peace, he then returned to his book.

The Ninth Way of Prayer
Our Father, Saint Dominic, observed this mode of prayer while traveling from one country to another, especially when he passed through some deserted region. He then delighted in giving himself completely to meditation, disposing for contemplation, and he would say to his companion on the journey: It is written in Osee “I will lead her (my spouse) into the wilderness and I will speak to her ear” [Osee 2:14]. Parting from his companion, he would go on ahead or, more frequently, follow at some distance. Thus withdrawn, he would walk and pray; in his meditation he was inflamed and the fire of charity was enkindled. While he prayed it appeared as if he were brushing dust or bothersome flies from his face when he repeatedly fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross. 
The brethren thought that it was while praying in this way that the saint obtained his extensive penetration of Sacred Scripture and profound understanding of the divine words, the power to preach so fervently and courageously, and that intimate acquaintance with the Holy Spirit by which he came to know the hidden things of God.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Crown of Twelve Stars.
i. 100 Days. T.Q. ii. Plenary, once a month. I,II, IV. (See Instructions.) 195 Gregory XVI, January 8, 1838;
Pius IX, March 17, 1856; Leo XIII, July 23, 1898.
ALL praise and thanksgiving; be to the ever-blessed Trinity, who hath shown unto us Mary, ever-Virgin,
clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a mystic crown of twelve stars. R/.
For ever and ever. Amen.
Let us praise and give thanks to God the FATHER, who elected her for his daughter. R/. Amen. PATER
Praise be to GOD the FATHER, who predestined her to be the Mother of his SON. R/. Amen. Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the FATHER, who preserved her from all stain in her conception. R/. Amen. Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the FATHER, who on her birthday adorned her with his choicest gifts, R/. Amen. Ave
Praise be to GOD the FATHER, who gave her Joseph for her pure spouse and companion. R/. . Amen.
Ave Maria and Gloria PATRI.
Let us praise and give thanks to GOD the SON, who chose her for his Mother. R/. Amen. PATER noster.
Praise be to GOD the SON, who became Incarnate in her womb, and abode there nine months. R/. Amen.
Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the SON, who was born of her and was nourished at her breast. R/. Amen. Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the SON, who in his childhood willed that Mary should teach Him. R/. Amen. Ave
Praise is to GOD the SON, who revealed to her the mysteries of the redemption of the world. R/. Amen.
Ave Maria and Gloria PATRI.
Let us praise and give thanks to GOD the HOLY GHOST who made her his spouse. R/. Amen. PATER
Praise be to GOD the HOLY GHOST, who revealed to her first his name of HOLY GHOST. R/. Amen.
Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the HOLY GHOST, through whose operation she became at once Virgin and Mother.
R/. Amen. Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the HOLYGHOST, through whom she became the living temple of the Most Holy
Trinity. R/. Amen. Ave Maria.
Praise be to GOD the HOLY GHOST, by whom she was exalted in Heaven high above all creatures. R/.
Amen. Ave Maria and Gloria PATRI.
For the Holy Catholic Church, for the propagation of the faith, for peace among Christian princes, and for
the uprooting of heresies, let us say Salve Regina,
Curled from the Raccolta

Friday, April 5, 2013

Parvulus natus est nobis. 
A child is born to us. (Isaias ix. 6.) 

CHRISTMAS is a lovely feast. We always greet it with joy. Our love gives it a new life, and the Eucharist is Its continuation. Bethlehem and the Cenacle are inseparably linked together; they complete each other. Let us study the relations that exist between the two.

THE Eucharist was sown at Bethlehem. What is the Eucharist but "the wheat of the elect" and "the living bread"? Now, wheat must be sown. It must fall into the soil, and spring up, and ripen, and be harvested, and be ground before it can be made into good bread.

When He was born on the straw of the stable, the Word was preparing His Eucharist, which He considered the complement of all His other mysteries. He was coming to be united to man. During His life He would establish with man a union of grace, a union of example and of merit; but only in the Eucharist would He consummate the most perfect union of which man is capable here below. If we want to understand the Divine plan, we must not lose sight of the Divine idea, of that purpose our Lord had in mind: a union of grace through the mysteries of His life and death; a physical and personal union through the Eucharist. Both unions were to prepare the consummation of union in glory.

Just as a traveler never loses sight of the goal of his journey and directs every step towards it, so throughout His whole life our Lord secretly prepared the Eucharist and brought it ever nearer.

This heavenly wheat was as it were sown at Bethlehem, the "House of bread." See the wheat on the straw. Trodden down and crushed, this straw represents poor humanity. Of itself it is barren. But Jesus will lift it into position in Him- self, will restore it to life, and will make it fruitful. Nisi granum frumenti cadens in terram. "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground . . ."

This Divine grain has been sown. The tears of Jesus are the moisture that will make it grow into beautiful wheat. Bethlehem is built on a hill facing Jerusalem. When this ear of wheat has ripened, it shall lean towards Calvary where it shall be ground and shall be set on the fire of suffering to become a living bread.

Kings will come to eat of it and find it delicious: Praebebit delicias regibus. "It shall yield dainties to kings." It is fit for the royal-nuptials of the Lamb: Currunt Magi ad regales nuptias. "The Wise Men hasten . . . to the marriage supper of the King." The Wise Men at that supper represented the kingly and self-possessed souls who today feed on this Bread of the Sacrament.

The relations between our Savior's birth at Bethlehem and the Eucharist considered as Sacrament exist also between our Savior's birth and the Eucharist considered as Sacrifice.

It was truly a lambkin that was born at Bethlehem. Jesus was born like a lamb in a stable, and like a lamb knew no one but His mother. He was already offering Himself for the sacrifice; it was His first cry: Hostiam et oblationem noluisti: corpus autem aptasti mihi. "Father, Thou no longer desirest the sacrifices and oblations of the Law, but a body hast Thou given Me. Here I am." Jesus needed that body in order to be immolated; He offered it to His Father. This little Lamb was to grow up close to its Mother; in forty days she would learn the secret of its immolation. She would feed it with her pure and virginal milk, and would preserve it. for the day of sacrifice. This characteristic of victim was so evident in our Lord that when Saint John the Baptist saw Him in the early days of His public life, he had no other name for Him than that of "Lamb of God." Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mundi. "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world."

The sacrifice begun at Bethlehem is consummated on the altar at Holy Mass. Oh! How touching is the Midnight Mass in the Christian world!

We greet it long beforehand and are always glad to see it come around again. What is it that gives to our feast of Christmas its charm and that pours joy into our carols and rapture into our hearts, if not that on the altar Jesus is really born again, although in a different state? Do not our carols and our homages go straight to His very person? The object of our festive celebration as of our love is present. We really go to Bethlehem and we find there not a memory, not a picture, but the Divine Infant Himself.

And see how the Eucharist began at Bethlehem. He was even then the Emmanuel, "God with us," Who was come to dwell among His people. On the first Christmas Day He began to live in our midst; the Eucharist perpetuates His presence. At Bethlehem, the Word was made flesh; in the Sacrament He is made bread in order to give us His flesh without stirring any feeling of repugnance in us.

At Bethlehem He also began practicing the virtues of His sacramental state.

He concealed His Divinity in order to familiarize man with God. He veiled His Divine glory as a first step to the veiling of His humanity. He bound His power in the weakness of a child's body; later He would bind it beneath the Sacred Species. He was poor; He stripped Himself of every possession, He, the Creator and Sovereign Master of all things. The stable was not His own; charity let Him have the use of it. He lived with His Mother on the offerings of the shepherds and the gifts of the Magi; later in the Eucharist, He would ask man for a shelter for Himself, the matter for His Sacrament, vestments for His priest and His altar. This is how Bethlehem heralds the Eucharist.

We even find there the inauguration of Eucharistic worship in its chief form, adoration.

Mary and Joseph were the first adorers of the Word Incarnate. They believed firmly; their faith was their virtue: Beata, qua: credidisti. "Blessed art thou that hast believed." They adored Him by the virtue of their faith.

The shepherds and the Magi also adored Him in union with Mary and Joseph.

Mary was entirely devoted to the service of her Son. She was all intent on His service, anticipating His least wishes to satisfy them. The shepherds offered their plain and simple presents, and the Magi their magnificent gifts. They adored Him by the homage of their gifts.

The Eucharist also is the meeting-place for persons of all conditions; it is the center of the Catholic world. It is the object of that twofold worship of adoration: the interior adoration of faith and love; the exterior adoration through the magnificence of gifts, of churches, and of the thrones on which the Divine Host will be exposed.

THE birth of our Lord suggests another thought to me. The Angels announced the Savior to the shepherds in these words: Natus est vobis hodie Salvator. "This day is born to you a Savior." A new era was beginning. Adam's work was about to be overthrown and replaced by a work of Divine restoration. There are two Adams, each one the father of a great people: the first Adam, "of the earth, earthly," de terra terrenus, father of the degenerated world; and the second Adam, "from Heaven, heavenly," de c
ælo cælestis, father of the regenerated world. The second was come to rebuild what the first had destroyed. Note that this restoration is well carried out here below only through the Eucharist.
The capital point about Adam's fault, as also the main argument of the diabolical temptation, was contained in these words, "You shall be as gods," and in the feeling of pride they aroused in Adam.

"You shall become like to God!" Alas! They became like to the beasts! Well, our Lord came not only to take up Satan's promises and repeat them to us, but to fulfill them. Satan '''as caught in his own snares. Yes, we shall become like to God by eating of His Flesh and Blood.

"You shall not die." In Communion we receive an unfailing pledge of immortality. "He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting" eternal life. We lose our temporal life. But it is not a life worthy of the name; it is only a halt on the journey to true life.

"You shall become like to God." Marrying into a family of higher social rank changes one's condition; by marrying a king, a commoner becomes queen. Our Lord shares His Divinity with us by communicating Himself to us. We become His Flesh and His Blood. We receive something of the Creator's Divine and heavenly kingship. Human nature was intimately united to the Godhead through the hypostatic union; so does Communion elevate us to union with God and make us partakers of His nature. A less perfect food is transformed into us, but we are transformed into our Lord, Who absorbs us. We become members of God. And in heaven our glory shall be in proportion to our transformation into Jesus Christ through a frequent partaking of His adorable Body.

"You shall know all things." All that is evil, yes; all that is good, by no means. Where can we learn this Divine science of good if not in Communion? Listen to what our Lord said to His Apostles after having given them Communion: "I will not now call you servants; . . . but My friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you." Knowledge is imparted to us in the Eucharist by God Himself, Who constitutes Himself our special and personal teacher. Et erunt omnes docibiles Dei. "And they shall all be taught of God." He no longer sends us prophets; He is Himself-----our teacher. "You shall know all things," for He is Divine Knowledge itself, uncreated and infinite.

That is how the Eucharist completes the restoration begun in the Crib. Make merry therefore on this beautiful day  on which the sun of the Eucharist is rising. Let your gratitude never separate the Crib from the altar, the Word made flesh from the God-Man made bread of life in the Most Blessed Sacrament. 

The Stations of the Cross

According to the Method of
St. Alphonsus Ligouri

Let each one, kneeling before the high altar, make an Act of Contrition, and form the intention of gaining the indulgences connected to this devotion, whether for himself or for the souls in Purgatory. Then say:


My Lord Jesus Christ. * Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable,  * and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee;  * but now I love Thee with my whole heart,  * and because I love Thee,  * I repent sincerely for having ever offended Thee. * Pardon me, my God,  * and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. * Thou goest to die for love of me;  * I wish also, my beloved Redeemer,  * to die for love of Thee. * My Jesus,  * I will live and die always united to Thee. *


Jesus is Condemned to Death

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider that Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the cross.

People:  My adorable Jesus. * it was not Pilate,  * no, it was my sins that condemned Thee to die. * I beseech Thee, by the merits of this sorrowful journey,  * to assist my soul in its journey towards eternity. * I love Thee, my beloved Jesus;  * I love Thee more than myself;  * I repent with my whole heart of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!*

Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Justa crucem lacrymosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.
At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

* This versicle and response are not found in the Ligouri Way of the Cross but are borrowed from the Franciscan method for the purpose of increased devotion. -- Editor


Jesus is made to carry His Cross

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider that Jesus, in making this journey with the cross on His shoulders, thought of us and offered for us to His Father the death that He was about to undergo.

People:  My adorable Jesus. * I embrace all the tribulations that Thou hast destined for me until death. * I beseech Thee,  * by the merits of the pain Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross,  * to give me the necessary help  * to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation. * I love Thee, Jesus my love;  * I repent of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!*

Cujus animam gementem,
Contristatam et dolentem,
Pertransivit gladius.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.


Jesus falls the First Time

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider this first fall of Jesus under His cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that He could scarcely walk, and yet He had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey.

People:  My beloved Jesus,  * it is not the weight of the cross,  * but of my sins,  * which have made Thee suffer so much pain. * Ah, by the merits of this first fall,  * deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. * I love Thee, O my Jesus, with my whole heart;  * I repent of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to offend Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!

O quam tristis et afflicta,
Fuit illa benedicta,
Mater Unigeniti!
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten One!


Jesus meets His Sorrowful Mother

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Jesus and Mary looked at each other and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.

People:  My most loving Jesus,  * by the sorrow Thou didst experience in this meeting,  * grant me the grace of a truly devoted love for Thy most holy Mother. * And thou, my Queen,  * who wast overwhelmed with sorrow,  * obtain for me by thy intercession  * a continual and tender remembrance of the Passion of thy Son. * I love Thee, Jesus, my love;  * I repent of ever having offended Thee. * Never permit me to offend Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!

Quae moerebat, et dolebat,
Pia Mater dum videbat,
Nati poenas inclyti.
Christ alone in torment hangs,
She beneath behold the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.


Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus
to carry His Cross

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider that the Jews, seeing that at each step Jesus, from weakness, was on the point of expiring, and fearing that He would die on the way, when they wished Him to die the ignominious death of the cross, constrained Simon the Cyrenian to carry the cross behind Our Lord.

People:  My most sweet Jesus,  * I will not refuse the cross as the Cyrenian did;  * I accept it, I embrace it. * I accept in particular the death that Thou hast destined for me,  * with all the pains which may accompany it. * I unite it to Thy death;  * I offer it to Thee. * Thou hast died for love of me!  * I will die for love of Thee, and to please Thee. * Help me by Thy grace. * I love Thee Jesus, my love;  * I repent of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to offend Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!

Quis est homo qui non fleret
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep
Whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?


Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider that the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted and His face bathed in sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel, with which He wiped His adorable face, leaving on it the impression of His holy countenance.

People:  My most beloved Jesus,  * Thy face was beautiful before,  * but in this journey, it has lost all its beauty,  * and wounds and blood have disfigured it. * Alas! my soul also was once beautiful,  * when it recived Thy grace in Baptism,  * but I have disfigured it since by my sins. * Thou alone, my Redeemer,  * canst restore it to its former beauty. * Do this by Thy Passion, O Jesus. * I repent of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to offend Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?


Jesus falls the Second Time

V.  We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R.  Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Priest:  Consider the second fall of Jesus under the cross--a fall which renews the pains of all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord.

People:  My most gentle Jesus,  * how many times has Thou pardoned me,  * and how many times have I fallen again,  * and begun again to offend Thee!  * Oh, by the merits of this new fall,  * give me the necessary helps to persevere in Thy grace until death. * Grant that in all temptations which assail me  * I may always commend myself to Thee. * I love Thee, Jesus, my love, with my whole heart. * I repent of having offended Thee. * Never permit me to offend Thee again. * Grant that I may love Thee always,  * and then do with me what Thou wilt. *
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V.  Lord Jesus, crucified,
R.  Have mercy on us!

Pro peccatis suae gentis,
Vidit Jesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum,
Bruised derided, cursed defiled,
She beheld her tender child,
All with bloody scourges rent,



A Prayer of most humble Devotion to the Holy Spirit, to be offered before hearing Holy Mass, 
in order to implore His aid 

Come, O Holy Spirit, and with Thy most holy grace gather together, I beseech of Thee, all the faculties and all the affections of my soul, so that, with devout attention and with my whole heart, I may be able to attend this holy Mass, and obtain thereby those benefits for which, albeit unworthy, I ardently hope, to the greater glory of God and the benefit of my own soul, through the goodness and compassion of the same my Lord and God. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest says the Confiteor 

O my most loving Saviour, Who, when weighed down with faintness and grief of heart, in the garden of Gethsemane, didst turn in fervent prayer to the Eternal Father, while the drops of Thy bloody sweat ran down profusely to the ground; grant me the grace that, in memory of Thy most holy Passion, I may, at least, shed abundant tears of grief and contrition, as Thou Thy bloody sweat of agony that night. Amen. 

Prayer when the Priest begins the Introit 

O my most benign and gentle Saviour, Who, when led like a malefactor before Annas, didst receive from the fierce Jews those cruel blows, grant that, in imitation of Thee, I also may receive with willingness the affronts of my enemies, and bear up under all the troubles and temptations of this treacherous world. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest repeats the Kyrie Eleison. 

O my Lord Jesus Christ, Who in the house of Caiphas wast three times basely denied by Peter, chief of Thy apostles; I humbly pray Thee, make me ever to shun wicked companions, so that I may never, by following them, and through my own grievous sinfulness and imperfection, be led away from Thee and Thine infinite goodness. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest reads the Epistle 

O my most compassionate Saviour, Who, being conducted to Pilate's house by the Jews, with every kind of outrage, wast unjustly accused by false witnesses in His presence; teach me, I pray thee, to fly all the snares of the wicked; and enable me, amid the constant practice of good works, ever sincerely and openly to profess Thy holy Catholic Faith, till the latest moment of my life. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest reads the Gospel 

O my most merciful Lord, Who, when sent back by Herod to Pilate, wast the occasion of their reconciliation, grant to me such strength that I may never fear the devices of the wicked, but rather obtain from persecutions and trials such benefit that, even in the midst of them, my heart may never be troubled, but ever grow more and more conformed, in and by all things, to Thy most holy will. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest offers the Sacrifice 

My Lord Jesus Christ, Who, to satisfy the justice of the Eternal Father for my sins, didst freely choose to be bound to the column, and under so many stripes to scatter Thy most Precious Blood; grant me the grace to cleanse my soul of the hideous stains of sin in those ruddy streams, so that I may offer it all fresh and pure, in union with Thy merits, to the Eternal Father. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest washes his Fingers 

O my most compassionate Saviour, O Son of the living God, Who, when declared innocent by Pilate Thy judge, didst patiently bear the tumult and the eager cries of the Jews, in their bitter malice against Thee; grant me the grace to lead a life truly innocent amid the stormy waves of this world, and present only the resistance of patient charity to the outrages and attacks of enemies. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest says the Preface 

O my most sweet and gentle Saviour, Who didst receive from Pilate the unjust sentence to die ignominiously on the cross, grant me the grace that when I shall arrive at the last hour of my life, I may, through love of Thee, feel no fear when my sentence of death, however painful, has at last to be put in force; but that I may sigh out my soul in the embrace of Thy most sacred arms. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest prays for the Living

 O my most compassionate Saviour, Who didst will, for the redemption of the world, to carry the heavy Cross upon Thy shoulders, even to Mount Calvary, grant me the grace that following Thy example, I may willingly embrace the cross of the mortifications and trials of this world, and bear it patiently, for love of Thee, even unto death. Amen.

Prayer while the Priest elevates the Host 

O my most merciful Saviour, Who, after being shamefully nailed to the Cross by the hands of wicked men, wast lifted up from the ground upon it; uplift, I beseech Thee, by the excess of Thine infinite compassion, my poor heart above all earthly passions and cares, so as to give my mind to nothing but thoughts of Thy most holy Passion, of my own death, and of the eternal things of Heaven. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest elevates the Chalice 

My Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst will that the true fountain of all graces should be Thy Blood gushing over us from Thy most Sacred Wounds, cause me always, when suddenly assailed by evil thoughts, to have recourse to the power and efficacy of these most sacred wounds, and to draw from them my certain remedy, so as ever to rise victorious over temptation during my whole life. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest intercedes for the Departed 

My most gracious Saviour, Who, while fixed in anguish on the Cross, didst pray to the Eternal Father for the salvation of all the human race, for those even who crucified Thee; inflame my heart with the heavenly fire of a most ardent love, so that in all time coming, taught by Thy example, I may learn tenderly to love my neighbor and to do good even to mine enemies. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest recites the Our Father 

My Lord Jesus Christ, Who, just before Thy death of most bitter anguish, didst recommend Thy Mother, the most Blessed Virgin, to St. John, and then the same John I to her; be pleased ever to accept my body and soul, so that, by means of Thy most holy help, I may quickly advance in the way of the Spirit and of perfection. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest puts into the Chalice a portion of the Host 

O my most merciful Saviour, Who, descending after death, didst rejoice with Thy Divine presence the poor expectant Souls of the patriarchs, cause, I beseech Thee, by the virtue of Thy most Precious Blood, and of Thy most holy Passion, to descend upon all the Souls suffering in Purgatory, so that, freed from these their dreadful pains, they may be admitted to enjoy the eternal glory of Heaven. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest says the Agnus Dei 

My Lord Jesus Christ, since many of the Jews recognized their transgressions, and wept for their sins, at the cruel sight of Thy most bitter death, grant me the grace, through the merits of that death, that I, too, may bitterly weep and lament for my sins. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest receives the most holy Communion 

My most gracious Lord, Who, for the redemption of the whole human race, didst permit Thy most Precious Body to be placed at burial in a new sepulchre, grant me the grace that my heart may be so made new as to be ready for Thee to enter therein. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest gives his Blessing to the People 

O my Lord, most loving and most worthy to be loved, Who, while Thy disciples were all intently given to prayer, didst send down from Heaven the Holy Spirit to console them; purify, I beseech Thee, my heart with Thy most holy grace, so that the Holy Spirit, finding in it a pleasing abode, may dwell therein, and so enrich the poverty of my soul. Amen. 


Soul, that dost belong to God, read and consider these devout exercises. The more you read and make your own these good and fervent thoughts, the more will you please Jesus, and the greater your reward in the life eternal. If at the first sentence you find yourself struck with devotion and compunction, pass no farther on, but rest where God hath begun to draw and work upon you. 

When circumstances prevent your communicating sacramentally, fail not to do so spiritually, breathing out your love to Jesus, and desiring to receive Jesus in the Sacrament. Prepare yourself for this spiritual Communion by the following devout acts, affections, and exercises. 

Exercises for Confession

Weep, O my soul, for all your sins; detest your guilt beyond every form of calamity; and do so with the purpose of Confession: for by your sins you have offended God your Father; you have offended God your Creator; you have offended your God Who hath never injured you; you have offended God Who hath elected you for His adopted son; you have offended God Who hath made you an inheritor of paradise; you have offended God, the highest Good
-----goodness infinite-----the fountain of grace; you have offended God while in the very act of blessing you. 
Weep for your sins, because you have offended a God Who for love of you made Himself man; you have offended a God Who for love of you was born in a stable; you have offended a God Who, while yet in His infancy, began to shed tears and Blood for you; you have offended a God Who for love of you lived poor and unknown in a workman's shed; you have offended a God Who for love of you went about preaching His heavenly doctrine amid toil and misery; you have offended a God Who for love of you instituted the most holy Sacraments; you have offended a God Who for love of you has left Himself to be entirely yours in the Most Holy Sacrament; you have offended a God Who sweated Blood for love of you; you have offended a God Who let Himself be bound and dragged and outraged for love of you; you have offended a God Who caused Himself to be buffeted, to be spit upon, to be kicked again and again, for love of you; you have offended a God Who chose to be tied to a pillar, and scourged, for love of you; you have offended a God Who chose to be crowned with thorns for love of you; you have offended a God Who let Himself be robed as a mock king, and made an object of jest and ridicule, for love of you; you have offended a God Who let Himself be loaded with a heavy Cross for love of you; you have offended a God Who caused His Hands and His Feet to be pierced with great nails for love of you; you have offended a God Who gave His last gasp hanging nailed on a Cross for love of you; you have offended a God Who let gall and vinegar be given to Him to drink for love of you; you have offended a God Who for a last pledge of His unbounded love, left you as a son to Mary, and Mary as mother to you; you have offended a God Who died transfixed upon a Cross for your salvation; you have offended a God Who let His Side be broken through by a spear for love of you; you have offended a God Who chose to be buried in a tomb; you have offended a God Who rose again to life, and sits at the right hand of the Father, to give Paradise to you; you have offended Jesus Christ your Redeemer, your Master, your Life, the Physician of your soul; you have offended a God Who hath tried hard by infinite kindness to get loved by you; you have offended a God Who seeks no recompense for so many benefits, Out only to be loved in return by you, and obeyed by you; you have offended a God Who seeks after your love in order to make you happy in this life, and, oh, how happy in the next! You have offended a God Who loves you as the pupil of His eye. My soul, my soul, you have done ill
-----and you could bear to do so! What harm had your God done to you? Tell me why you have offended Him. Begin now at least to lament your sins, and to love God. 

Oh, if I had always loved and served that God Who has loved me more than His own life! My love, my life, my salvation, my hope! I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart; I detest my sins more than any sort of affliction. I will confess my sins, and I wish never again to offend Thee, O my dear Redeemer! 

Prayer before Confession 

O most loving Trinity, and most worthy of all love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my God, I adore Thee. Behold this wretched creature at Thy feet, who desires to make his peace with Thee by means of a good Confession. But since, O my God, without Thy help I can do nothing but evil, I beseech of Thee, by the bowels of Thy compassion, to grant me light, that I may recollect all my sins; make me to perceive the hideousness and the enormity of sin, so that I may abhor and detest it with all my heart. O my Jesus, Fountain of pity, I draw near to Thee that Thou mayest wash and cleanse me of my filth. O Sun of justice, illuminate this poor blind creature. O Divine Physician, heal this poor sick man. O infinite Love, inflame this soul with Thy love, so that it may break down and dissolve in tears of grief. And may this my confession be such that I may now in earnest change my life, and never again find myself separated from Thee, my God my hope, my love, the salvation, life, and peace of my poor soul! 

Prayer after Confession 

Dear Jesus, be Thou forever blessed, for having by Thy pardon freed me from Hell, and replaced me in my inheritance of Paradise. Infinite Goodness, I thank Thee. But, O my God, I am capable of betraying Thee more than ever, and worse than Judas: I cannot trust to myself. Help, help me with Thy grace; hold Thy hands above me; help me in my temptations, and, oh, far rather take away my life than let me again offend Thee! 


Arise, my soul; revive thy faith, which tells thee that thy God become man, that same Jesus Who was born in the stable of Bethlehem, that Jesus Who rose triumphant from the grave, that Jesus Who now sits glorious at the right hand of the Father, is now present with thee in the Most Holy Sacrament. O Faith! O Faith! what greater thing can be said and believed? God is here, in order to enter my heart and become entirely mine-----the Almighty: God! 

Act of Faith 

My Jesus, Thou Truth infallible, since it is part of Thy revelation, I believe that Thou art present, Soul, Body, and Divinity, in the consecrated host. I believe that in Communion I receive the same Jesus Who died, and Who rose again; and that in Him I receive the Father and the Holy Spirit. 

Act of Adoration 

O my soul, what art thou about? What thoughts engage thee? In a few minutes, thy God will enter within thee! O God, I profoundly humble myself, and I adore Thee. I adore Thee, beloved Jesus, in the Sacrament. Most holy Virgin, ye Angels, Saints, and Souls who love God, adore with me my Jesus; make up for my defect of worship, beseech for me living faith and profound veneration, now that I approach and receive Jesus Christ. 

What can be wanting to thee, O my soul, now that the Almighty comes to visit thee? He comes to illuminate thee, to unite Himself heart to heart with thee, in order to give thee a lively pledge of that glory which He keeps prepared for thee in Heaven. Up! arise! enlarge thy heart, increase thy confidence; know that so much as thou hath promised to hear thee, and, bound by His word, He can give thee every good thing; it costs Him no more than the opening of His Hand. Thy Jesus is to thee as a Father; much He loveth thee, and wishes to bestow on thee every sort of benefit. Thy Jesus, who is faithful, hath promised to hear thee, and, bound by His word, He will do thee great favors. Well, then, to grow rich in soul you need only to seek His graces, and ardently to hope. 

Act of Hope 

My Jesus, my hope, confiding in Thy promises through the Blood which Thou hast shed for me, I hope, O Infinite Pity, I hope that in receiving Thee, Thou wilt sanctify my soul, and enkindle within it heavenly desires; so that I may live and die loving only Thee, O Infinite Good. Yes, O my dearest God, God of all my hopes, Sanctifier of souls, sanctify me. 

What more could God do, in order to get loved by thee? God has made Himself man, was born in a stable, died upon a Cross and dwells in the Sacrament for love of thee. Nay, that infinite love invites thee to receive Him, calls thee to Himself with a desire so strong that He cannot endure thy delays. O ingenious devices of love! The great God of infinite beauty and majesty wishes this morning to confer upon me such a favor as He hath never bestowed on the seraphim. He purposes to come to dwell in my heart; He wishes to unite Himself to me. And thou, my soul, dost thou not burn and flame with love toward a God Who is all love toward thee? 

Act of Love 

O my Jesus, my love, God of my soul, how good Thou art, how loving, how every way dear and worthy to be loved! My God, I love Thee with all my soul, my life, my heart, my mind, and all my faculties and strength. I love Thee more than myself, Thou one object of all my desires, my beginning and my last end. O that I had infinite tongues with which to praise and bless Thee! O that I could at any sacrifice carry Thy most holy name through the world, to make Thee known and loved! O God! I would willingly waste myself away in labors for the love of Thee. I desire to burn with love, I desire to bless Thee, to thank Thee, to love Thee, with the love that the most holy Mary bore to Thee; I desire to love Thee more than all created beings united. I love Thee, my Jesus, my treasure, my Father, my life, my hope, my Heaven. Spouse of my soul, I love Thee, because Thou deservest to be loved
-----because Thou art God! Ah, Lord! would that I were all love, would that I did nothing but love Thee! My soul, created by God to love God, love Him then, love thy God; my heart, which can find no peace or satisfaction out of God, drive from thee every mere earthly attachment, and give welcome to thy God. Ah, Mary, mother of holy love, obtain for me to love my God! 

How shouldest thou burn, my soul, to receive a God of infinite purity, holiness, and majesty, thou who art an abyss of vice, ingratitude, and sins! Hast thou forgotten all thou hast done against thy God? Ah, how often hast thou been more cruel, more afflicting to Jesus than Calvary itself! Jesus has been crucified in thee, so often as thou hast mortally sinned. 
Act of Contrition

 Dear Lord Jesus, by my sins I have crowned Thee with thorns, I have nailed Thee on the Cross, I have given Thee gall to drink, I have pierced Thy side, I have put Thee to death! I am not worthy to live, far less to receive Thee. I deserve that the earth should swallow me, that Heaven should hurl thunderbolts on my head, that all created things should turn in anger upon me. But, O my God, how good Thou art! How often have I trodden under foot Thy Blood, insulted Thy name, dishonored Thy authority; yet not only dost Thou pardon me, but Thou art the first to propose to be at peace with me; and for an act of penitence, for one tear of grief and affection, Thou forgivest me all my sins, Thou replacest me in Thy favor, and Thou makest me anew Thy friend and Thy son. And this is God
-----that it is that is meant by God! Oh, how I rejoice when I think that Thou art God; that is, infinite liberality, infinite magnanimity, infinite fidelity, infinite love; an abyss of infinite glories, attributes, and perfections! It suffices to say that Thou art good and in giving Thyself to me Thou knowest how to ordain for Thy greater glory, and for the greater good of my soul, even my very bygone sins. Glory to Thee! Ah, I could wish to die of grief for having offended so good a God. I am sorry that I have offended Thee! Forgive me, O my Lord. I do not heed my own interest; I only desire that Thou, great God, shouldst be honored and glorified by me, without ever being again offended by me. Wash, O beloved Jesus, my soul with Thy blood, and make it become a fit abode for Thy Divine Majesty. O most holy Mary, obtain for me tears of true contrition. 

My soul, thou art about to feed upon the blessed Body of Jesus. And hast thou well considered what thou art, and who God is? If thou wert a seraph of love, if thou hadst the love felt by all the Angels, the virtues of all the Saints, wouldst thou even then be worthy of even once receiving God? 

An Act of Humility 

Behold, O my Jesus, the hour is come when Thou shalt be put into the power of this great sinner. O have patience with me; endure me by the bowels of Thy compassion! Ah, Lord, Thou art that God before the splendor of Whose holiness heaven and earth vanish into nothing. I confess the truth, in looking at Thy Majesty and at my unworthiness; I am so confounded and ashamed, that I should wish to hide myself in the abyss of my own nothingness. Yes, I must needs approach to receive Thee, for Thou incitest and commandest me, and like a son, I must obey Thee, O my King. Let the seraphim make up, let the Saints make up, let Mary make up
-----above all, let Thine Own infinite goodness make up for all my shortcomings in right devotion and love. O Lord, if I do not deserve to receive Thee and to love Thee, Thou deservest to be received and loved by me! 

Dispose of me for Thine Own honor, make me worthy of so great a favor, give me all that I am wanting in, make me altogether Thine. 

The hour is come, my soul, the blessed moment is come, when thou hast to receive thy dearest Jesus. Behold the King of kings, behold the Lord of lords, behold the Friend, behold the Father, behold the Spouse, behold the Joy of Paradise, behold the delight of Heaven, behold thy God Himself, behold all the Most Holy Trinity in the Divine Sacrament! Ecce Sponsus venit, exite obviam ei. "Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go forth to meet Him." (St. Matt. xxv. 6). But how, my soul, how standest thou thus so frozen, without one burning desire to feed upon that Sacred Body? Ah! should not the overflowing of the Divine compassion all enkindle thee with love? And here Shepherd, guide me. Come, O my Father, my Spouse, my Treasure, my Life, my Bliss, and my Rest. Come, Thou one end of all my longings. Come, light of souls, refreshment of hearts, consoler of the sorrowing. Come, Thou expected One of all nations, sighed for by the holy patriarchs, desire of the eternal hills, joy of Angels, delight of Heaven, beatitude of the Saints. Come, O my Paradise: come, for I desire Thee, for I sigh after Thee. Come, art thou all frozen! If it wert to do only once in all thy life, with what fervor wouldst thou not do it! But now, while the Infinite Goodness waits ever ready at thy pleasure, thou goest up so tepid, so dull of heart, to receive a God so great! Enamoured souls have burned with desire of this Communion, and have run like thirsty stags to that fount Divine. Up, up, my soul; awake, kindle in thyself a 
most ardent longing to receive Jesus; sigh after that Supremest Good, desire Him, call on Him with tears and with sighs, and with a heart in flames of holy love. 

An Act of Desire 

Come, O thou Divine food, and nourish my hungry soul. Come, furnace of charity, and kindle me; come, flaming fire of love, inflame me by thy flames. Come, heavenly for Thou hast wounded me with love; come, delay not, for my heart is failing, and I feel that life would not be life without Thee. Arise for pity, O my Jesus, and come. 

Most holy Virgin, already I am at hand, and about to receive thine and my Jesus. From thy hands I purpose to receive Him. Hold Him forth to me, as thou didst to the shepherds, and the holy kings and to holy Simeon. Prepare me to receive Him with love. Give Him to me quickly, and pray to Him to fill me with His dearest benediction; and do thou accompany it with thine. 

An Act of Offering 

I protest, O my God, that I purpose to unite this my Communion with the Communion of most holy Mary, of Thy Apostles, of Thy Saints, and of all the just who receive Thee this morning, or who shall ever receive Thee in time to come. My desire and purpose is, to make all their devout acts, all their preparations, all their thanksgivings; and I mean to offer the whole in union with those virtues, that merit, that holiness, with which Thou, O my Jesus, didst receive Thyself in the Sacrament, at the Last Supper. May the Church triumphant and militant now supply my defects of love, and worship, and thanks. 


Behold, my longings are fulfilled! Behold, my desires are satisfied! Now hath my God come to visit me! Now Jesus dwelleth within me! Now I am no longer my own but Christ's: I no longer live in myself, but in Jesus, and Jesus lives in me. I am altogether the possession of Jesus, and Jesus is altogether mine. 

O Infinite Goodness! A God
-----the God of Heaven-----hath touched the tongue, and come within the breast, and sought the heart of a human creature, and one so vile, so unworthy as I am! My soul, of what art thou thinking? Behold thyself now in possession of that for which thou hast been sighing; behold thyself all hallowed by the presence of Jesus, transformed into Jesus. Thou and Jesus art one. O union true and wonderful! My soul, my soul, art thou thus closely united to Jesus, and yet sayest nothing to Him, and speakest not with thy God Who is in thine arms, within thy breast, at thy heart? Up, up, arise, collect thyself, gather up all the affections of thy spirit; adore Him, and say to Him: 
O welcome, dearest Jesus, to the mansion of my soul. Oh, how long have I desired this hour! But, oh, how I pity Thee, now that I see Thee placed in this heart, more hard and cold than the stall where thou wast born; a heart more full of what is grief and anguish to Thee than Calvary was to Thy sacred flesh; for not once, but a hundred, and a thousand times, have I renewed Thy death and Passion by my sins! Lord, what dost Thou find in me but hardness and obduracy against Thee, and affections all given to earthly things! Ah, my God, how is it Thou hast come to dwell in me? I must cry out with St. Peter, Depart from me, depart from me, O Majesty of God; depart from this soul of sin, which is not worthy to harbor God; Exi a me, quia homo peccator sum, Domine. (St. Luke v. 8). Go, and rest within those pure and fervent souls who welcome Thee so tenderly. But, no, O my most precious blessing; no, let it never be so; do not leave me, for if Thou art far from me, I am lost. O God, my hope, I will not let Thee go! O blessing, for which I have sighed, I press Thee to my heart, and I wish to live and die thus embracing Thee. O most holy Mary, O Angels, Saints, and Souls that love your God! lend me your affections, that I may fitly welcome and cherish this presence of my Jesus.

Act of Thanksgiving 

O Divine Trinity, one God, most worthy to be loved, I thank Thee from the very depth of my heart, because Thou hast given me Jesus; I thank Thee because Thou hast left me Jesus in the Sacrament; I thank Thee for having caused me to receive Him; I thank Thee, my Jesus, that Thou hast deigned to visit me. O God, what return can I make for so much love! How can I thank Thee enough, O most holy Virgin, O Angels, O Saints of Heaven, O all enamoured Souls, help me to thank our God, to thank and thank Him again and again, for this infinite kindness. But, O God, how little even is all this! The thanksgiving of all Paradise cannot attain to be thanks sufficient to an infinite God, or recommend Him for His benefits. What, then, shall I do? I know not, except, O my most holy Jesus, to offer up Thine Own love itself in thanks for Thine infinite love. May Thine infinite compassion, Thy kindness, and all the abyss of Thine infinite attributes, render to Thee that honor and that thank-offering which Thou deservest. O Most Holy Trinity, one God, I thank Thee by the hands of Jesus; and do Thou, O Triune God, thank Jesus for me! And now let my heart remain full, and let Thy Majesty accept and be satisfied with these infinite thanks. O my Blessing, to Thee alone be praise, glory, and honor from all creatures, forever and forever. Amen. 

What art thou doing, my soul? Dost thou know that now thou art a living temple in which really dwells thy Redeemer? It is no time now for lying slothful, and full of wandering thoughts. It is the time for asking all the graces of which thou standest in need, and for receiving them from the true and living God Who is dwelling within thee. 

Now the heavens stand open, now the Most Holy Trinity, with eyes all full of love, is above thee, looking down on the object of Its own complacency
-----Jesus Christ, Who is within thy breast. Now more than ever Mary, and Angels, and Saints, thy advocates, are beseeching graces for thee from God. My soul, my soul, lose not of these precious moments; bend thy faculties to deal with the great affair of thy eternal salvation. But how? Art thou saying nothing to thy God? Ah, poor and miserable as thou art, thou delightest to live on amid thy miseries, while thou hast with Thee the God of all riches; and thou art silent, and thy mind begins already to wander, and thou art so without desire of interest, so dull and so idle of heart! Dost thou not know that if thou seekest not thou obtainest not? Were a king to enter thy house and invite thee to ask favors of him, wouldst thou be long silent? Ah, miserable race, through our little faith! The King of kings, with His royal presence, is within thee, the Lord of the heavenly treasures. A God-----thy God-----hath come to thee, Who wishes to bestow great graces on thee and thou speakest not a word! This Infinite Benignity grieves and laments that His favors are not sought; and, unable longer to endure the languid and indifference of men, forever longing to be kind to them and do them good, He Himself takes to inviting them, and beseeches them to ask. Usque modo non petistis quidquam in nomine meo. Petite, et accipietis, ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum (St. John XVI. 24). My soul, thou hast within thee a Lord omnipotent, a most loving and munificent Father, a most faithful God: and of what art thou afraid? Seek and confide, enlarge thy heart, revive thy faith; begin, ask great graces-----heavenly graces, graces worthy of God. 

Act of Petition 

O my dear Redeemer, since Thou hast come to me, in order to confer graces upon me, and invitest me to ask them of Thee, hear me now by the bowels of Thy compassion. Give me, O my Jesus, an increase of living faith, hope, charity, and contrition. Give me humility, purity, patience, and all virtues; take from me all my corruptions. Change this heart, so full of the world and of myself, and give me a new heart conformed to Thy will, so that I may always seek Thy greater glory, and that all its affections may aspire to Thee and aim only at Thy love, without ever deviating even in the very least. Cor mundum crea in me Deus, et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis (Ps. 1. 12). Grace is indeed a mighty gift, and though I merit it not, Thou meritest it for me. From a great and glorious God great favors may be sought; grant me this, then, which I have asked, by Thy Passion, by Thy death; grant it by the love Thou bearest to the Eternal Father; grant it me by the virtue of most holy Mary, by all the merits of the Church triumphant and militant; grant it me because Thou art Thyself infinite goodness and mercy. 

Here apply yourself to ask with lively faith from God the graces and favors which are needful for yourself and your neighbor. 

O Most Holy Trinity, O my omnipotent God, hear these my prayers. Now is not the time to refuse graces even to the most unworthy, because it is not I myself alone that am seeking them, but, together with me, Jesus Christ is supplicating. Though I do not deserve to be heard, Jesus Christ deserves it, Who prays with me, and in me, and for me. Eternal Father, I call up before Thee the promises of Jesus Christ, Who hath said that whatever graces we seek from Thee in His name, without any other means, they shall be obtained from Thee: Amen amen, dico vobis, si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis (St. John XVI. 23). 

Act of Oblation 

My Jesus, it is but justice and common gratitude that I should give myself entirely to Thee, after Thou hast given Thyself entirely to me. Thou hast, in coming to me, penetrated and made godlike all my being with Thy Divinity, and so I ought henceforward to continue Thine. May these eyes, renewed by Thee, continue Thine; may these ears, sanctified by Thee, continue Thine; this taste, sanctified by Thee, may it be Thine. Thou hast sanctified all my senses; may they be Thine, and so may they never again take pleasure in opposition to Thy Divine Law. Thou hast sanctified my memory; may it continually remember Thee. Thou hast sanctified my will; may it never turn to love anything in preference to Thee. Unto Thee, then, from the very depth of my heart, I offer, as a perpetual holocaust, my body and my soul, my senses and my faculties, all that I have and am, as fully as I can. Burn, O fire Divine, bum and consume, O love omnipotent, all in me which is not Thine! Amen. 


To know the Catholic religion, to respect it, to love it, to avoid diligently that which it prohibits, to fulfill exactly that which it commands. 
To believe in God, to hope in Him, to love Him, to pray often to Him, to thank Him, to praise Him, to adore Him, to fear Him, to submit perfectly to Him. 
To observe subordination, piety, justice, goodness, charity toward our superiors, or equals, and our inferiors. 
To be humble, teachable, patient, modest, chaste, temperate, detached from the world and from self, and to be occupied about our own salvation, and the means of attaining it. 
All this to be fulfilled with the intention of rendering glory to God, in faithful imitation of Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord, our Head, and our Model. 
This is the portrait of a true Christian. Seek to make it your own. 


Eternal God, and my God, behold me prostrate before Thine immense Majesty, and humbly adoring Thee. I offer Thee all my thoughts, words, and actions of this day. I purpose them all to be thought, spoken, and done entirely for love of Thee, for Thy glory, to fulfill Thy Divine will, to serve Thee, praise Thee, and bless Thee; in order also to my own enlightenment in the mysteries of the holy Faith, for the securing of my salvation, and out of hope in Thy loving mercy; for satisfaction, too, of Thy Divine justice, for my so many and most grievous sins; as supplication for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and for the grace of a true conversion to all sinners; in fine, I wish and intend to do everything in union with the most pure intentions of Jesus and Mary during their lives on earth, of all the Saints who are in Heaven, and of all the just who are on earth: and I would willingly subscribe to this my intention with my own blood, and to repeat it from a loving heart, as often as there are moments in eternity. Receive, O my dearest God, this my good intention; give me Thy holy benediction with efficacious grace to keep me from mortal sin through all my life, but particularly this day, in which I desire and purpose to receive all the Indulgences which I am capable of receiving, and to assist, were it possible, at all the Masses which are celebrated this day throughout the whole world, applying all in supplication for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, that they may be freed from detention in its pains and come quickly before the face of God. So be it. 


O my omnipotent God, Who art infinite in all Thy admirable attributes, but art especially rich in compassion, and art ever urged by that love of Thine, by which Thou so liberally grantest what we humbly and with lively faith petition for; Who art also faithful-----oh, yes, most faithful-----in fulfilling Thy promises, I, Thy miserable creature, in order to obtain the grace of a general pardon of my sins, and the supply of all my other necessities, declare my firm belief that Thou art able, and art willing, and knowest how to grant me so great a grace. And, together with this faith, I hope with a most firm reliance, efficacious desire, certain confidence, and unhesitating trust, that Thou wilt grant it to me. With this true and firm confidence, which I repose in Thee and in Thy promises, I hope and wish for this perfect pardon, this very moment in which I am humbly beseeching it, in which I am here sighing that my soul may be purified from all the stains of my grievous sins. These sins I abominate and detest from pure love of Thee, and because they are opposed to Thy supreme perfection and goodness. 

My God, my God, be moved to compassion. I ask of Thee with a holy courage, founded on the infinite merits of my Lord Jesus Christ, which merits through Thy great loving kindness have become mine, that Thou wouldst permit me to apply to my soul the grace of a thorough and intimate pardon of my sins; I ask it, and I trust indeed to get the grace which I ask. And since a grace so glorious as that of the pardon of sin tends and is ordained to Thy greater glory, as well as the spiritual good of my soul, I believe, I trust through Thy most loving fidelity, justice, omnipotence, and benignity, that Thou dost will, even at this very time, to grant it me; while I, as Thy poor creature, do hereby accept of it, and with my whole will take it to myself for pure love of Thee. O my God, before Whose face I stand, I protest that I am determined never more to sin, and I most humbly beseech Thee that now, having granted the general pardon of my sins, Thou wouldst chain all evil spirits in the depth of the abyss, so as never more to have the courage nor the power to draw away either me or others from Thy Divine service. 

See me now, my dearest God, free, as I hope, from the bonds of my hateful sins. Animated by this sweet hope, I trust to live and die in the arms of Thy Divine compassion. That compassion I will invoke every moment. Every moment I mean that this blessed petition for pardon of past sin, and for help never more to sin, shall be renewed; my will and wish is that it should go on forever, my mouth uttering from my heart those most sweet words: 

O my Jesus, compassion! Compassion, O my Jesus! 

I wish to live with these blessed words upon my tongue, and to die with these holy words stamped upon my heart. I wish to say them a hundred, and a thousand times a day. 

Compassion, O my Jesus! O my Jesus, compassion! 


He who desires to be saved, lives according to rule, and establishes an arrangement of his time with a view to devotional exercises. Dearest reader, if you wish to maintain yourself in the grace of God, never abandon these brief exercises which I now propose to you. 

Choose for yourself a good confessor, to whom you may confide the treasure of your soul. Go often to him, to give an account of your conscience, and do not change him by mere caprice or fickleness. 

Every morning offer to the Lord all the good works of that day, all its labors and sufferings, and all your actions, in union with the merits of Jesus Christ. 

Offer all your actions to the Most Holy Trinity, to Mary, ever Virgin, and to all the blessed of Heaven, in suffrage for the Souls in Purgatory. 

Form the intention to gain the Indulgences obtainable by prayer or act during the whole day. 

Avoid sloth, bad company, dangerous conversations, and games; remembering that time passes and never returns, that you have a soul, and that if you lose your soul, you lose all. 

Every Morning 

When as yet scarcely awake, give your very first thought to God; while dressing keep reciting vocal prayers, and recommend yourself to God
-----then say upon your knees: "Most Holy Trinity, I believe that Thou art present with me; and I adore Thee. I thank Thee for having preserved me during the past night; I offer to Thee all my actions. My God, my love, Goodness Infinite, and worthy of all love, assist me this day; keep me free from sins and dangers; hold Thy hands above me, and preserve me from betraying Thee. 

Then say three 
Glorias to the Most Holy Trinity, one Pater to Jesus, three Aves to Mary, and beseech her to guard you under her mantle; offer all your senses and faculties to Jesus and Mary. 

Act of Faith 

O my God, Infallible Truth, I believe all that Holy Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed it. I believe in the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons, and one God, Who punishes the wicked, and rewards the good. I believe that the eternal Son of God made Himself man, and died to save my soul; that He rose again from the dead, exists in Heaven, and in the Most Blessed Sacrament; bears the name Jesus Christ; is the Judge of the living and the dead; and that it is He Who instituted the holy Sacraments as means of pardon and sanctification. I thank Thee that Thou hast made me a Catholic. Grant me the grace that I may live and die entirely Thine, and ever exclaiming, O blessed faith of Jesus Christ! 

Act of Hope 

My God, my hope, my ever faithful God, mighty and compassionate, trusting in Thy promises, I hope to obtain from Thee, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, the pardon of my sins, the virtues of sanctity, and the glories of Paradise. 

Act of Charity 

My God, my love, Father, and Spouse of my soul, Supreme and Infinite Good, I love Thee with my whole heart, because Thou art worthy of all love. I love Thee more than my life, and for love of Thee I love my neighbor as myself. O God, would that I could love Thee as the seraphs love Thee. Would that I were able at the cost of my blood, to make all the world to know and to love Thee. 

Act of Contrition 

O God, my beloved, Thou hast created me to love and to serve Thee, and I, ungrateful, have done nothing but offended Thee. I am confounded; I repent. Infinite Goodness, would that I had never offended Thee! Would that I might die of sorrow! Pardon me, my Jesus, by the Blood which Thou hast shed for me! I promise to love Thee forever, and never to repulse Thee by sin again.

Then make a half-hour's mental prayer, or at least during quarter of an hour, upon the Passion of Jesus, and upon the last things, death and judgment. 

Never omit to hear holy Mass every morning [It is not always possible, given the modern situation, unknown when the Saint wrote this treatise
------the Web Master.]. It is an infinite treasure, and will be infinitely profitable to you. 
Afterward you will go to your affairs, often recalling your thoughts to God, Who is ever present beside you. 
At table give a thought to God, and act upon the resolution of eating in order to live and serve your God. Practise some little mortification at each meal. Then thank the Lord. 

In the Course of each Day 

Give a short time to prayer; visit the Most Holy Sacrament and our Blessed Lady. Read some devout book, and do some good to your neighbor. Recite five Paters, Aves, and Glorias to the wounds of Jesus, and beseech Him to pardon your sins, remove your corruptions, and bestow upon you virtues; that He may grant you perseverance, and fit you for Paradise. Repeat also three Paters, Aves, and Glorias to the Most Holy Trinity, with three acts of love, in gratitude for the graces granted to Mary, to the Saints, and to yourself. Recite devoutly the third part of the most holy Rosary, with Litanies. When you meet acquaintances, use for salutation, All praise to Jesus Christ and Mary! and in reply, Forever! You will thus gain many Indulgences. 

In the midst of your work or business, lift up your mind from time to time to that God Who is ever present with you. Collect your thoughts, and with some short prayers recommend yourself often to Him.

Every Evening 

If you are head of a family, collect your household. Join with them in prayers for a short time, and then say the most holy Rosary with them. Before going to bed, examine your conscience thus: 
1. Place yourself in the presence of God, and thank Him for all the benefits received from Him, more especially those of the bygone day. 
2. Entreat for light to know your sins, and for graces whereby to amend. 
3. Examine yourself as to the sins of the day. 
4. Ask pardon of God with all your heart, and promise never more to offend Him, and to fly from all the occasions which have proved themselves most dangerous to you. 
5. Pray to the Lord to protect you during the coming night, and offer every breath you draw as an aspiration to Jesus. 
6. Repeat three Aves to Mary, and a Pater in honor of your Angel Guardian. Repeat the acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Contrition, already given. 

Sleep with some holy picture or image near you. 

Let no worldly thought enter or remain in your mind. If you wake, pray to Jesus, and invoke Mary. 

Every Week 

Receive with all devotion the Most Holy Sacrament. Give a sincere account of your conscience to your spiritual Father. Frequent some devout congregation or confraternity of Mary. Fast or practise some abstinence beyond the law of the Church on Friday or Saturday. 

Every Month 

Choose some of the Saints, or some choir of Angels, for special advocates during it. Select some special virtue in which particularly to exercise yourself. Go into retirement during one day, in order particularly to revise and probe your conscience. Undertake to discover your dominant passion, and lay down for yourself particular methods for overcoming it. Prepare during that day for dying well; arrange for the departure of your soul; make a most exact confession, and all those solemn protests of entire submission, devoted resignation, of generous confidence, of ardent desire, of prostrate penitence, of faith, of hope, of charity, and all the supernatural acts of the soul, which befit the dying Catholic. 

Every Year 

Go through the spiritual exercises during eight days, attending only to God and your soul. Make a general confession, and determine on the details of a more effective pursuit of a holy course of life during the remainder of your days on earth.