A Spiritual Calendar – A Selection of Thoughts by Blessed Antonio Rosmini

Editor’s Note

January

1. Circumcision. Let us begin a new life with the New Year. Returning to God with circumcised hearts, free from willful faults, let us cling to brighter hopes and to those thoughts which comfort the soul of the true penitent even amidst his tears of repentance and feelings of sorrow.

Galatians 6:15 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

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2. The recollection of God’s presence, assiduous prayer, purity of intention in our actions, and the practice of good works are sure means of preserving and enhancing the interior spirit.

Genesis 17:1 – Walk before Me and be perfect.

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3. A map who bears in mind that God is everywhere present beholding his every action, will hardly ever sin, conscious as he is of having at every moment a companion of infinite dignity, authority, justice and sanctity.

Psalm 127:1 – Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, that walk in His ways.

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4. Pray always, not merely at stated times, and have a stock of ejaculatory prayers to be said often during the clay. These should be adapted to the end you have in view, and to the various circumstances in which you are placed.

Luke 18:1 – We ought always to pray, and not to faint.

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5. Our Lord’s maxim that every one should aim at perfection, and become more and more like to God, should be deeply engraven on your mind. No lawful occupation can hinder this.

Matthew 5:48 – Be you therefore perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

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6. Epiphany. To keep holy the Epiphany a Christian should – 1st, recall how the Gentiles, of whom the Magi were first and of whom we are descendants, were called by God to the Faith; 2nd, pray to God that he would vouchsafe to bestow the light of Faith on those nations that have not yet received it; 3rd, offer himself to God with all that he has, in imitation of the Magi, acknowledging Him as King, God and Man.

Isaias 9:3 – The Gentiles shall walk in Thy light, and kings in the brightness of Thy rising.

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7. One of the causes which facilitated the preaching of the Gospel, was undoubtedly the consciousness men had of their own corruption, and the urgent need they felt of reform in order to save the very fabric of human society which was tottering to its fall under a crushing weight of wickedness.

Isaias 9:2 – The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.

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8. Only the Wisdom of God was able to discover in the most degraded of men a disposition suitable for the reception of His benefits, and to make use of human infirmity to erect, as it were, a new edifice of Divine workmanship upon frail and worthless human nature.

1 Corinthians 1:27,28,29 – But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that He may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen that He may confound the strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible hath God chosen, and things that are not, that He might bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in His sight.

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9. Jesus Christ has no need of us: His call is pure mercy. A man may lose his soul through one day’s delay in corresponding to divine grace.

Psalm 94:8 – Today if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

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10. The love God bears and always has borne towards mankind is not only the cause of love in the hearts of those who do love Him, but also renders it possible to those who do not yet love Him.

1 John 4:19 – Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.

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11. How great a gain is a soul saved for our Lord! But this is not the work of man whose words can only reach the ear: it is God who changes the heart.

1 Corinthians 3:7 – Therefore neither he that plants is anything, nor he that waters, but God that giveth the increase.

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12. God usually sends preachers of the Gospel to the nations when He sees they are ripe to receive the message: “Lift up your eyes, and see the countries for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35) Every nation enters the Church only when it has reached that point of maturity which is entirely hidden from men and known only to the infinite wisdom of God. One is called at the third hour, another at the sixth, one at the ninth hour, another at the eleventh.

Matthew 20:1 – The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder who went out to hire labourers into his vineyard.

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13. All individuals who compose the human race, but principally all Christians, can save their souls if only they have the hope and the will, since obduracy of heart is found in those only who no longer will to be saved or who despair, so that no one can sav with truth, “I wish to be saved, but it is impossible.”

1 Timothy 2:3,4 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

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14. To fear God with that just fear, which leads man to refrain from evil, is the beginning of all good.

Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to decline from the ruin of death.

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15. Our faith is the basis of the whole fabric of religion, and a Christian is bound to take every precaution for keeping his faith pure and unalloyed. We must not let errors against the Faith sink into our minds even materially, a thing which may happen without actual malice by merely reading a contaminated book. I hope that I am not scrupulous, but in matters of faith laxity is fatal. The day may come when what you read now might cause you great disquietude. We all have need of peace of mind.

Romans 12:3 – For I say to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behooves to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith.

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16. Even in this solitude into which God has led me, where everything helps to uplift the soul to Him, where neither the pomp nor the falsehood of the world can penetrate; even here we are in danger’s way, even here we have the battle with self and with the devil, and conquer we cannot unless by taking to ourselves the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. In every deed the life of man on earth is a warfare.

Ephesians 6:12 – For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

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17. The Holy Name of Jesus. Well did Saint Bernard say that no book had any charm for him which did not contain the most lovable of all names, the Name of of Jesus! So indeed it ought to be: all that is not signed and seasoned with this Name should be insipid to Christians.

Philippians 2:9,10 – For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and tinder the earth.

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18. We must be persuaded that to love truth is a duty, the first and foremost of duties, the source of all others.

2 Corinthians 13:8 – We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

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19. As a rule the vices which lurk within our souls and corrupt them, as a worm eats away the wood, are those which spring from self-love.

Proverbs 21:2 – Every way of a man seems right to himself, but the Lord weighs the hearts.

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20. Even the desire of good has its illusions, but you can never be deceived by the submission of your own judgment and the renunciation even of things which, though good in appearance, are not comformable to obedience.

1 Peter 1:14,15 – As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance, but according to Him that hath called you, who is holy.

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21. Our God is the God of truth, and our Master is the very Truth. The world indeed cares little for truth, and consequently but little for God.

Ephesians 4:15 – Doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in Him who is the Head even Christ.

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22. I am firmly persuaded that there never was a time in which men of sacrifice were more needed than the present day; and perhaps such men were never before so scarce.

Philippians 2:21 – For all seek the things that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.

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23. Our Lady’s Espousals. Did any man rule over Mary? Joseph was legally her spouse, but we cannot doubt that he revered her as his Lady and did not regard her as subject to himself To whom then was Mary subject but to Him of whom she declared herself the handmaid: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord?”

Luke 1:49 – He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.

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24. As long as we live on this earth we have unfortunately a two-fold being, the spirit and the flesh, and these two are ever striving for the mastery. Howbeit the combat makes for victory, and victory wins the crown.

Galatians 5:17 – The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary one to another.

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25. Conversion of Saint Paul. Great conversions seem to have for their end, not merely the salvation of the soul that is gained by each of them (although no one could adequately estimate the value of that one soul in the sight of God), but also the salvation of many others. Thus, for example, Saul, through his conversion, became the Apostle of the Gentiles; Saint Augustine became the Doctor of Grace; the Good Thief, Magdalene and other sinners whose conversions are recorded in the Gospel became luminous examples to all the world, and striking proofs of God’s mercy for all time.

Wisdom 8:1 – Wisdom reaches therefore from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly.

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26. In the spiritual life consolation is no sign of progress, and aridity is not a sign that we are losing ground.

Job 7:18 – Thou visit him early in the morning, and Thou prove him suddenly.

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27. If, by God’s grace we first preach to ourselves, we shall effect our own conversion, and then shall we verily begin to be powerful in word and to produce fruit in our neighbour. What we impart to them must be out of our own heart, and of our own love.

1 Corinthians 9:27 – But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a cast-away.

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28. Gentleness is a most delicate virtue. A slight raising of the voice, a hasty gesture, a sharp glance, a smile, a touch of irony, the tone of voice, the merest trifle may suffice to wound this virtue, for it is as sensitive as self-love, and that is of all things the most sensitive.

Matthew 9:29 – Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart.

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29. Saint Francis of Sales used to say that “self-love is a great mischief-maker”: I would say the same of the imagination, which is often in league with self-love.

Genesis 8:21 – The imagination and thought of mans heart are prone to evil from his youth.

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30. Permit me to beg and entreat you to hold aloof, especially at the present time, from all parties, and to be content with the sound doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is the doctrine of God: all else is the doctrine of men. What is it that we have in view in our study of religion? Is it our salvation or the gratification of curiosity? Salvation is found in the true doctrine of the Church: curiosity and self-love find pleasure in party tenets. The tenets of a party are always tainted by the vices of the men who form that party. The doctrine of the Church is pure; it does not produce confusion and distress of mind because it does not rouse the passions.

2 Timothy 4:3,4 – For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

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31. Be very sure of this: the visible world is one continual delusion. Cherish unbounded love for things invisible, virtue, grace, and the tranquil enjoyment of heavenly gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:31 – Be zealous for the better gifts.

February

1. Saint Ignatius, Martyr. By all means let us offer ourselves to our Lord and to His love, without imagining, however, that we have already become His victims. Let us imitate Saint Ignatius the Martyr. It was only on hearing the roar of the lions about to devour him, that he exclaimed, full of joy: “Now do I begin to be a disciple of Christ.”

Psalm 107:2 – My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.

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2. Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary would comply with the law of Purification, because she did not wish to make known to men her Divine Maternity, nor would she scandalise them by appearing to be disobedient to the law.

Luke 2:22 – And after the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.

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3. Let your conduct be always characterized by the simplicity and prudence of the Spirit of God, to the exclusion of all human artifice, trickery or dissimulation.

Matthew 10:16 – Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

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4. Oh, how much more precious is the solitude of the heart than that of the walls of a monastery! We must erect within us walls of fire, so that nothing may enter therein but the Spirit of God who is fire. These walls are the love of God and of our neighbour.

Osee 2:14 – I will lead her into the wilderness, and I will speak to her heart.

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5. It is but too true that the breath of the world contaminates. It is pestilential, and we inhale it unconsciously.

1 John 2:16 – All that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.

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6. At any cost let us do our duty; at any cost be faithful to God; let all else perish provided we advance in perfection and the imitation of Jesus Christ, who entered into glory by means of suffering.

Apocalypse 2:10 – Be thou faithful unto death; and I will give thee the crown of life.

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7. Let us shun the spirit of the world, which is a spirit of dissipation and death, let us adopt the spirit of Holy Church, a spirit of penance, recollection, and life. We are all sworn to this, for we are all Christians.

1 John 2:15 – Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world the charity of the Father is not in him.

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8. The study of perfection consists in always keeping our thoughts and affections on what is eternal; if we fix them on transitory things our resolutions can have no stability.

2 Corinthians 4:18 – While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

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9. This is the great secret of the spiritual life, to keep the thought of God and of Eternity ever present to our mind, and to consider all else as nothing. Thus shall we fulfil the precept of Christ: “Abide in me, and I in you, for without me you can do nothing.”

John 15:9 – Abide in My love.

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10. I recommend you to cultivate cheerfulness and a holy mirth; beware of ill humour. Remember the honey of Saint Francis of Sales, one drop of which caught more flies than a barrel of vinegar.

Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful mind makes age flourishing; a sorrowful spirit dries up the bones.

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11. I have often wondered why our Blessed Lady did not tell Saint Joseph of the apparition of the Angel, and I think it was because she could give no proof of it and she was so humble that she did not feel her mere word to be a warrant for believing.

Luke 1:48 – He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.

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12. Then indeed we hope in God, when we feel that we have nothing to rely on in ourselves. We have need of experience. The knowledge acquired by the mind is too cold and ineffectual of itself, without that blessed experimental knowledge which was possessed by the Saints and by Christ Himself according to the Apostle: “He learned obedience by the things He suffered.”

Ecclesiasticus 34:9,10 – What doth he know that hath not been tried? He that hath no experience knows little, and he that hath been experienced in many things, multiplies prudence.

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13. God can do all things, and He is the more wonderful the more He works alone. When I think I see God working, so to say, more of Himself, then I have greater courage, as His Will seems to be thus more manifest.

Psalm 95:10,11 – For Thou art great and dost wonderful things: Thou art God alone. Conduct me, O Lord, in Thy way, and I will walk in Thy truth.

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14. Let us rest in God: a heart that looks to God and leans on Him finds there such comfort and such strength that not only the multitude, but also those who pass for philosophers, deem it incredible and almost miraculous.

Psalm 15:8,9 – I set the Lord always in my sight, for He is at my right hand, that I be not moved. Therefore my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope.

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15. It always seems to me a good thing to reflect on what is being suffered at every moment in all parts of the world; how many there are struggling in the agony of death; how many are battling with the fiercest temptations, how many are enduring a martyrdom of interior suffering. We do not know individually those who are tried in so many ways; but even to know how many there are continually suffering in this vale of tears is enough to make us acknowledge that our Lord treats us very gently in comparison, and to make us grateful to Him for it.

Psalm 33:20 – Many are the afflictions of the just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them.

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16. It is peculiar to charity, not only to compassionate our neighbour, but also to look at him in the most favourable light. Even should it happen that, on account of this benevolent disposition, some error of judgment should occur, it is still a fortunate error, since it brings merit to the mistaken person and helps to union amongst men.

Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.

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17. The hypocrite, as Jesus Christ observes (Matthew 6), is always melancholy and sad. He hides the gloomy remorse of his heart under the appearance of sternness and rigour by which he aspires to be accounted austere and virtuous. On the Other hand nothing manifests the truly sincere spirit of the saints so clearly as their cheerfulness; it carries with it the evidence of truth.

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver.

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18. As long as we live in this world, our mind is but too often filled with a multitude of notions which are false though they appear to be pious, and our heart is filled with vain and useless desires which are religious only in seeming. No, no, let us rid our minds of these trammels, and our hearts of these vain delusions, let us bring ourselves to that simplicity of thought and feeling which is taught by the Gospel.

Matthew 18:3 – Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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19. The light that comes from God and the reasoning that proceeds from this light are simple, and in no way involved, long and unending.

Matthew 6:22 – The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single thy whole body shall be lightsome.

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20. God alone knows the times and the moments, and you remember my motto: It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God. This is the ruling principle of all my actions, and I have had the words written over the door of my cell at Monte Calvario.

Acts 1:7 – It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in His own power.

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21. Do not think that Holy Church is opposed to joy and Innocent amusement; howbeit, she would have our mirth to be reasonable and not senseless. Man does not really rejoice, except when he derives his pleasure from true and solid motives. When he lacks these, his merriment is foolish and void of taste, and sorrow founded in truth is to be preferred to it.

Philippians 4:4,5 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice The Lord is nigh.

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22. Let us cultivate a holy cheerfulness, not a boisterous, worldly joy, which dissipates the spirit, but that gentle and tranquil gladness which springs chiefly from a pure conscience, from the grace of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in our hearts, and from resignation to the Divine Will.

Galatians 5:22 – The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace.

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23. Worldlings either believe or strive to make others believe that a Christian life is altogether sad, painful, gloomy and bereft of all comfort and happiness Nothing can be more fatal, nothing falser than this baneful error.

Ecclesiasticus 1:18 – Religiousness shall keep and justify the heart, it shall give joy and gladness.

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24. Sorrow for sin means a firm resolve to avoid it and to do all possible good, not a feeling of dejection, sadness, melancholy, or a tendency to discouragement.

Joel 2:13 – Rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God; for He is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.

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25. One single sin, one single offence against God is enough to make one weep a thousand years. A thousand years do I say? Nay even to burn for all eternity.

Psalm 18:13,14 – Who can understand sins? From my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord, and from those of others spare thy servant.

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26. God makes His servants experience an inexpressible sweetness and heavenly delight, even in the sacrifice of the vain and transitory things which they offer to Him, so that the follower of Christ, despite his privations and mortifications, is far happier than the worldling. Who can describe the sweetness with which God soothes the very tears of penitents?

Matthew 11:29,30 – Take up My yoke upon you. For My yoke is sweet and My burden light.

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27. If we ask sinners themselves who have returned to God with their whole heart, what language could describe the sweetness of their tears? How delicious a balm soothes all their austerities and penances! And if they sometimes seem pitiless and cruel to themselves, this is because the sufferings and mortifications they offer to God have lost all asperity for them, nay, have became their most cherished treasure, their daily food. A heavenly light gleams in their souls, and by that new light they know God all the more intimately the more they have offended Him; they would almost annihilate themselves in order to restore to Him the honour and love of which they have robbed Him; their only grief is that they cannot do this enough, and that all their affections, all their efforts to love Him are no worthy compensation for that love which they have denied Him because they are always less than He deserves.

Psalm 93:19 – According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart. Thy comforts have given joy to my soul.

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28. For my own part I consider it a sale maxim and one full of solid hope, to desire Justice, and to renew this desire, this good will unceasingly. This should be done even when we seem to ourselves to fall, and to fall without feeling strength to rise; when we seem to be devoid of charity and weighed down by the burden of our original clay.

Psalm 37:10 – Lord, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hidden from Thee.

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March

1. Many excuse themselves from the practice of mortification, through fear of injuring their bodily health. This consideration may indeed hold good with regard to excessive mortifications, but not with respect to the many mortifications, both interior and exterior, which are not seriously prejudicial to health, and are often beneficial to it, as experience proves in the case of religious whose lives, albeit penitential and mortified, are well known to be longer than those of other men.

John 12:25 – He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world, keeps it into life eternal.

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2. I quite understand that men shrink from suffering; but how is it possible to escape from that which is to be found everywhere, and which pursues us the more we fly from it?

2 Timothy 3:12 – And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

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3. I should like you to desire to merit rather than to enjoy, because Christ in praying to the Father for His disciples said that He asked not that they should be taken out of the world, but only that they should be preserved from evil.

Acts 20:35 – It is a more blessed thing to give than to receive.

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4. Let us remember that we are placed in this short life to build for ourselves an eternal abode, wherein we shall rest from labour and toil, and where there will be nothing to cause us any more weariness or annoyance.

Hebrews 13:14 – We have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come.

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5. With regard to the necessities of the Church we should remain in perfect tranquility, knowing that Jesus Christ still lives, that to Him all power is given in heaven and on earth, and that nothing happens that is not ordained for His greater glory and more complete triumph.

Matthew 28:20 – Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

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6. The religious loves his Institute inordinately when he loves it more than the Church, or not in due subordination to the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ alone cannot be loved too much, either absolutely or relatively.

Ephesians 5:25 – As Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it.

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7. Saint Thomas Aquinas. It is charity I want, not learning. I have a great dread of learning, and a boundless love for charity. God grant that learning be not a source of division amongst us! God grant that charity may edify and unite us all in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom alone be all honour and glory for ever.

Corinthians 8:1 – Knowledge puffeth up, but Charity edifieth.

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8. To love the will of God when all is bright and pleasant is no great love, and one knows not even whether it be love at all; but to love it in adversity is a love pure as refined gold, a love that satisfies the cravings of the soul that suffers lovingly.

Psalm 39:8,9 – In the head of the book it is written of me that I should do Thy will. O my God, I have desired it, and Thy law in the midst of my heart.

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9. Temporal misfortunes sanctify our hearts, make us more humble, more charitable, and more detached from worldly vanities; nay, even disgusted with them.

Ecclesiasticus 2:4 – Take all that shall be brought upon thee and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience.

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10. The whole study of the Christian life is comprised in these two points: the knowledge of self and the knowledge of God. These produce two opposite effects. Self-knowledge brings with it fear and discouragement, whilst the knowledge of God, on the contrary, infuses unbounded hope and courage.

Colossians 1:10 – That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

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11. It seems to me that we cannot gauge or measure our hope. As it is grounded on the goodness of God, which is infinite, so must it be likewise without limit, whether we be good or bad. If there be any difference it is the wicked who should hope most, for the poor man has more to hope for from a generous patron than a rich man has, and our Lord is most glorified in His liberality towards the wicked.

Ecclesiasticus 2:13 – For God is compassionate and merciful, and will forgive sins in the day of tribulation: and He is a protector to all that seek Him in truth.

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12. We must remember that the state of contemplation should not be a state of apathy, but of preparation, a state in which fervour, generosity and grace accumulate, so that we may be ready for the work to which God calls us. We should remain in our seclusion like lions in their lair; whilst leading a contemplative life we should be like a bow bent, like a well-corked vessel of generous wine or any compressed force ready to break forth at the proper time with the greater power.

Ephesians 6:13,15 – Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

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13. The phrase to do much for God certainly requires explanation, in order to take a correct view of the matter and avoid illusion. If by the word which many external actions are indicated, or one work rather than another, it may happen that what seems much in the eyes of men is little, and even less than nothing, in the eyes of God. Much is never done in the spiritual life, except when what is done is in keeping with the will of God.

Romans 12:2 – And be not comformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.

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14. Our own weakness and ignorance are two things that can never be sufficiently understood; they produce self-distrust without discouragement.

Psalm 24:20 – Keep Thou my soul, and deliver me; I shall not be ashamed, for I have hoped in Thee.

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15. Sensuality is the passion that most of all lowers and degrades human nature, therefore it should also humble it; yet, as a rule, it has the contrary effect. The dissolute person owns his own weakness, yet at the same time fosters it with pride.

Proverbs 18:3 – The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sins, condemns; but ignominy and reproach follow him.

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16. Truly excess in eating and drinking is an irrational and animal passion; nay, worse, for the animal follows its natural instinct in eating, whilst man breaks the very laws of nature and instinct, to indulge some artificially-acquired taste: therefore he has all the grossness of a beast together with all the malice of a man.

Proverbs 21:17 – He that loveth good cheer shall be in want.

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17. When hunger reminds us of the need of food, it should also remind us that we are sinners: for although man would have taken food, even if he had not sinned, yet he would not have had to endure the pain and death caused by hunger. Hence we are become slaves to food because by food man tried to shake off his subjection to God.

Genesis 3:17,19 – With labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face thou shall eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken.

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18. Saint Gabriel. Angels being active and purely spiritual beings, have, by their very constitution, a real feeling of excellence and superiority over men; and they received from God the opportunity of renouncing this feeling by worshipping the deified manhood of Christ.

Hebrews 1:6 – When He brings in the first begotten into the world, He says: And let all the Angels of God adore Him.

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19. Saint Joseph. If Saint Joseph held on earth the dignity, so to speak, of the head of the house, he did so only as representing the Divine Bridegroom, to whom he had fully yielded and consecrated his bride.

And Joseph found favour in the sight of his master, and ministered to him. (Genesis 39:4)

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20. Now-a-days Jesus Christ is, as it were, a stranger to most Christians. Even by good people He is looked upon more as God than as Man; hence they almost seem to be afraid of approaching Him. He is not spoken of as lovingly and as frequently as He should be. Some even have a repugnance to speak freely to one another, and to express openly those feelings of love which they bear Him in their hearts.

Luke 12:8 – Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the Angels of God.

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21. When in spring-time nature puts forth anew all its beauty, when it clothes the earth with verdure and the trees with foliage, when sparkling waters flow and birds sing merrily; we who are endowed with reason should consider that man also is invited by his Creator to renew himself, and to raise his voice in concert with the inanimate and irrational creation, to sing the praises of his Lord.

Canticle 2:11,12,13 – Winter is now past, and the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come.

• • •

22. Venial sins do not deprive the soul of the grace of God, nor do they take away or even diminish the habit of charity. It may even happen that of two souls one has more defects than the other and yet has a far greater habit of charity.

Proverbs 24:16 – For a just man shall fall seven times, and shall rise again.

• • •

23. Oftentimes faith and grace are in our souls, without our knowing it; we must not confound them with the feeling of faith and grace. Nor can it be supposed that our spiritual condition will change from one state to another in a short time, and without some grave cause.

Ecclesiasticus 2:6 – Believe God, and He will recover thee; and direct thy way, and trust in Him.

• • •

24. Above all, keep your mind tranquil, and do not imagine it is an act of virtue to depreciate yourself unreasonably, much less to want to gain virtue by violence and with agitation. When a person becomes upset and gives himself up to sadness and tears, he often arouses temptations and makes them stronger.

Luke 21:19 – In your patience you shall possess your souls.

• • •

25. The Annunciation. To pass the holy-day of our Lady’s Annunciation worthily, we must first adore the Divine Word, made Man for our salvation, and thank Him for so great a benefit; secondly, we must congratulate our Lady on her high dignity of Mother of God; and thirdly, we should resolve to recite the Angelus daily with great devotion.

John 1:14 – The Word was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us.

• • •

26. Jesus Christ is the director of all men. The more we hearken to His words the wiser do we become. “My sheep,” says He, “hear My voice.”

John 45:6 – I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.

• • •

27. I am wont in my letters to imitate Cato who always ended his orations in the senate with Delenda est Carthago (Carthage must be destroyed). Now, we ourselves are this Carthage. Let us try, my dear brother, to make ourselves little, day and night; then shall we be happy in spite of all that may happen to us independently of ourselves.

Matthew 18:4 – Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.

• • •

28. When we are humbled, let us humble ourselves still more, then we shall be exalted: this is the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Ecclesiasticus 3:20 – The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God.

• • •

29. In order to discover whether we are truly detached from ourselves, it is well to examine whether we are glad to hear others praised. In particular I would advise you, my dear daughters, to see by a diligent self-examination if you are pleased when you find that praises are bestowed on your sisters. To yield even to the least feeling of displeasure or envy on such occasions would be a very grave defect indeed.

1 Corinthians 13:4,5,6 – Charity envies not, seeks not her own, rejoices with the truth.

• • •

30. A propensity to judge others rashly is a most dangerous fault in souls. This judgement is passed in haste, without any outward expression perhaps, and oft-times almost unconsciously; hence we are prone to act with pride and presumption in consequence thereof. I deem that man perfect who is wholly free from rash judgement, and in this matter it is our bounden duty to watch with the utmost care.

Matthew 7:1,2 – Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged.

• • •

31. We are not obliged to disclose to others all that we know; on the contrary, we should oftentimes remain silent, when speaking would prove prejudicial either to ourselves or to others. A man seldom repents of having kept silence; he rather regrets having spoken. Perfect virtue requires us to be sparing in the use of words which are innocent in themselves, but withal superfluous and profitless. This cannot be attained without very great watchfulness and self-mastery. Nevertheless we should shun that habitual silence which goes hand in hand with sadness and which renders a man a burden to his fellows.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 – In many words shall be found folly.

• • •

April

1. The Eternal Father allowed His Incarnate Son to undergo death, among other reasons, to manifest the excess of evil to which man, corrupted by the sin of Adam, and under the power of the devil, was led; to show what was the development of such a fatal germ, and what was the fruit of such a tree. The profound wickedness of that germ and its diabolical malice would not otherwise have appeared so fully to the eyes of man. Being hidden, it would have been judged much more leniently than it deserved, had it not reached the point of committing deicide in the sight of all nations.

Luke 2:34,35 – Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.

• • •

2. How consoling is the right we have of addressing as our Mother the Mother of God, who gave us our Redeemer, who tended Him, and followed Him to the cross! There, at the foot of the dying Saviour’s Cross, we obtained the right to call Mary our Mother, a right sanctioned by the word of Jesus: “Behold thy Mother.” Our adoption, therefore, is the fruit of the sorrows of our Divine Redeemer and model, and of those of Mary.

Ecclesiasticus 7:29 – Forget not the groanings of thy mother.

• • •

3. Why was the life of our Lord upon earth so short? In accordance with the law of celerity it behooved the Man-God to fulfil His celestial mission in the shortest time possible. Not one day of so precious a life was to be spent more than was necessary, not a single instant; every moment of it was numbered.

Ecclesiasticus 17:3 – He gave Him the number of His days and time, and gave him power over all things that are upon the earth.

• • •

4. Christ may be said to have died twice; first, by suffering the torment of the imagination or internal sense, in the garden of Gethsemane; secondly, by enduring the agony of the bodily sense on Calvary. So that in Christ, humanity suffered all that it was capable of suffering, even to the death of the two component parts of man’s sensitive nature, namely of the imagination and of the bodily sense: and all this undeservedly, for He was perfectly innocent; nay, on account of His eminent sanctity. He was deserving of the very contrary.

John 10:18 – No man taketh My life from Me: but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down.

• • •

5. It would be a crying injustice for an innocent man to be put to a most atrocious death, had he not himself renounced his right, and voluntarily accepted it. But such great sufferings endured by Christ without a cause became in His hands a credit of infinite value, which the Father’s justice was bound to acknowledge, since it is a canon of eternal justice that all undeserved suffering should be compensated by an equal amount of joy. Now, what recompense, what joy did Christ demand from His Father? The salvation of His brethren, the rest of mankind.

Isaias 53:5,7 – But He was wounded for our iniquities. He was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed. He was offered because it was His own will.

• • •

6. A few days ago, I was reading a beautiful passage in the life of Father Caraffa, the seventh General of the Society of Jesus. He used to say that he had to meditate on three letters, one black, another red, and the third white; by which he meant to say his own sins, the passion of our Saviour, and the glory of the blessed. It seems to me that all subjects of Christian meditation may be reduced to these three points. By the black letter we come to know ourselves, and are enabled to direct our attention to the purification of our souls; by the red we are moved to imitate Christ in the mortification of human nature in all its parts; but with the white we are enabled to overcome discouragement and to bear the desolation of spirit which sorrow for sins and other sufferings are apt to cause us; imitating in this also Christ our Lord. “who having joy set before Him endured the cross.”

Psalm 118:97 – Oh, how have I loved Thy law, O Lord! It is my meditation all the day.

• • •

7. All that Christ is about to undergo, and is already undergoing, whether internally or externally. He endures for my sins. I am the cause of His sufferings. He endures them for my salvation, “Who loved me and delivered Himself for me.”

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son.

• • •

8. Yes, my brethren, we sinners have put Christ to death. This is the injury we have done to the Man-God; this the debt we have contracted. Who can pay such a debt? No one: we are all too poor. Yet if we cry to Him for pity, if we cast ourselves at His Feet, His Heart will be touched and He will forgive us so great an injury. So immense a debt. Lo! He prays for us who have crucified Him; He pleads our cause with His Eternal Father, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Isaias 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

• • •

9. Jesus Christ crucified did not suffer on Calvary as performing a private devotion, but as fulfilling the highest pastoral duty, that of giving His life for His sheep. He was there exercising the highest prerogative in the Church, that prerogative which unites in one and the same person the Priest and the Victim acceptable to the Father, the source of all the prerogatives and of the entire ministry of Holy Church.

Hebrews 7:26 – For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.

• • •

10. When Christ died upon the Cross, His Body remained separated from His Soul, though still united to the Divinity His blessed Soul, likewise united to the Divinity, descended into Limbo to release therefrom the souls of the just. It then returned and reanimated His Body, and Christ, leaving the sepulchre, appeared to many, and we may piously believe that the first to see Him would be His holy Mother.

1 Corinthians 15:20 – But now Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.

• • •

11. To celebrate Easter worthily, the Christian ought in the first place to exult with a holy joy, as well for the glory acquired by Christ on this day, as for the good that he himself derives from it; secondly, he ought to adore and love the Sacred Humanity of our risen Lord; thirdly, he ought, if possible, to receive the Body of Christ, with a desire of rising spiritually to a new life; and fourthly, he should reject on his own future resurrection.

Psalm 117:24 – This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

• • •

12. Our Saviour’s resurrection is the firmest foundation of our religion, because by it our Lord proves beyond all doubt that He is truly God, and consequently that His doctrine, whereon our whole religion is based, is Divine.

1 Corinthians 15:14 – And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

• • •

13. “We shall be like to Him” in Heaven. Oh, truly inebriating hope! But if we have not hearts of stone, the hope, nay the certainty of being like unto Him even on earth, will not be less dear to us. This certainly will strew our path with flowers; it will give a charm to the most distasteful occupations, especially those performed for the love of God and our neighbour.

1 John 3:2 – We are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is.

• • •

14. Saint Paul attributes our justification to Christ’s resurrection, for, though it was merited by the passion, yet it was effected and completed by the resurrection, whereby Christ acquired His dominion over us, and was enabled to carry out His loving Heart’s designs in our regard. Had not Christ risen, He could not have communicated to us His own glorious life; therefore we should not have risen again, but should have remained under the condemnation of sin.

Romans 4:25 – Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.

• • •

15. When we awake in the morning, we should call to mind our future resurrection, the fruit of our Lord’s merits. Before Christ, sleep bore the resemblance of death; now, death ought to seem but sleep to us: hence our Lord speaking of the daughter of Jairus said: “The girl is not dead but sleeps.”

Romans 13:11 – It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep.

• • •

16. Had it not been for the resurrection, we should have had no hope of a future life. Christians therefore would have been the most miserable of men, for their only hope would be in this present life, while yet they have renounced its pleasures and regard it rather as death than life.

1 Corinthians 15:19 – If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

• • •

17. One virtue can no more be opposed to another than one truth can contradict another truth. But the judicious blending of the virtues that regulate contrary faculties and affections is an art which those who aspire to perfection ought especially to study. For in those who are truly perfect these virtues always go hand in hand. We see the same thing in music. The contralto voice, for instance, seems opposed to the baritone or bass; yet a skillful composer can so combine them as to produce a most pleasing harmony.

Colossians 3:14 – But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection.

• • •

18. The baptismal promises are called by Saint Augustine our most solemn vows. To the primitive Christians they were sacred barriers against sin. The breaking of them was regarded as the direst of misfortunes, for they considered that after baptism the fall was deeper, the rising again more difficult, and the debt of punishment heavier. For this reason the trials of catechumens were prolonged in order that the new Christians might be strengthened in virtue before they made their solemn profession of leading strictly Christian lives.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 – It is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the thing promised.

• • •

19. If in former times men could apply themselves to one virtue in particular, now-a-days they must exhibit proofs of every virtue and leave no weak points. Grace is engrafted on nature, making use of its progress to shine with new light, and it would seem that the present development of the human race tends to make virtue more complete and solid.

James 1:4 – Patience hath a perfect work: that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.

• • •

20. Souls that have a due appreciation of virtue are never satisfied with their progress in the way of perfection. Their advancement seems to them too slow, too faltering. And truly it is so, for who amongst frail mortals can avow that he has done his duty, that he has toiled as much as the beauty of virtue and the goodness of God deserve.

Philippians 3:12,13,14 – Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect. But one thing I do: forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

• • •

21. Let us not deceive ourselves. Without prayer a man cannot withstand evil nor keep united to God. He who prays little does little good: he who prays much does a great deal. We are bound to do great things in virtue of our profession of a life devoted to charity. Hence we ought to pray much; and if we do not we fail in our duty.

Ecclesiasticus 18:22 – Let nothing hinder you from praying always.

• • •

22. In one who professes the Christian religion all should be reduced to this one point; to desire to be more just than he is, and to pray for it without ceasing, without measure or limit, so that he may be made one with Jesus, even as Jesus is one with the Father.

John 17:21 – That they all may be one as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.

• • •

23. God and the good angels infuse into the soul a spirit of true joy, banishing from it all the sadness and perturbation, that the devil may have caused. He on the other hand with fair-seeming but fallacious arguments seeks to destroy whatever joy he finds in the soul.

Psalm 15:11 – You have made known to me the ways of life, You shall fill me with joy with Your countenance; at Your right hand are delights even to the end.

• • •

24. There is this difference between the natural and the supernatural life: the former, having reached its maturity, then decreases; whereas the spiritual life may develop even more and more till death.

Proverbs 4:18 – The path of the first, as a shining light, goes forwards and increases even to perfect day.

• • •

25. According to Christian teaching many temporal blessings may be obtained by prayer without any need of a miracle. But this truth implies another, namely, that God, when determining in the beginning the order of the events which were to follow in succession, foresaw all the prayers and desires of the just, and, with this prevision. He so disposed things, that those prayers should be answered in the natural course of events – answered, that is to say, by His granting either the very blessing which was asked, or else a greater one; and always in such a manner that, whichever of the two was granted, it should be made to accord with the universal good.

Ecclesiasticus 1:1 – All wisdom is from the Lord God, and has been always with Him, and is before all time.

• • •

26. Have we an unbounded love of truth? This is one of the questions which very few put to themselves; or if they do so accidentally, they reflect but little upon it; it seems to them too general, too common, and they do not trouble to gauge its vital importance.

Ecclesiasticus 4:30 – In no wise speak against the truth, but be ashamed of the lie of thy ignorance.

• • •

27. A truly spiritual man, he who appraises things by the standard of faith and loves what is really good, can never incline more to the active than to the contemplative life. He rather prefers the latter as the more secure, and fears the former by reason of the many temptations and perilous conflicts with which it is fraught. Such a life of disquietude and distraction withdraws the soul from that union with its Creator which forms its only true good.

Luke 10:42 – But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part.

• • •

28. By her public holy-days the Church recalls the most conspicuous tokens of Divine Goodness in her behalf, namely, those which gave her birth, or those which have since added to her lustre. Likewise in the lives of Christians, there are tokens of God’s goodness peculiar to each soul, bringing with them either salvation or an increase of grace. Let us then imitate the Church by commemorating these personal benefits. The anniversary of our baptism should hold the first place.

Leviticus 23:4 – These are the holy-days of the Lord, which you must celebrate in their seasons.

• • •

29. There are two kinds of prudence, called in Scripture the prudence of the spirit and the prudence of the flesh. It is not enough then to be prudent, we must be prudent according to the spirit; prudent with that prudence which goes hand in hand with the simplicity of the dove, according to the teaching; of our Lord: “Be ye prudent as serpents and simple as doves.” This is true virtue. By the dove, which we may take as an emblem of the Holy Ghost, we mean Divine Love. Our prudence then must not only creep on the earth as the serpent, but soar heavenward on the wings of the dove.

Romans 8:6 – For the wisdom of the flesh is death, but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.

• • •

30. By poverty and chastity we give up all those things which we call our own. By humility and obedience we give up ourselves.

Matthew 16:24 – If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

• • •

May

1. On the first day of every month the Hebrews held a certain high holy-day, known as the Neomenia or New Moon. Up and down the year we, instead, keep the several holy-days of our Blessed Lady, whom, for her beauty of soul, the Church likens to the moon.

Canticle 6:9 – Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun?

• • •

2. Devotion to our Blessed Lady has a wondrous power in calming a troubled mind: the mild light of this our star is a comfort in every danger.

Wisdom 10:17 – She was to them for a covert by day, and or the light of stars by night.

• • •

3. Finding of the Holy Cross. How precious is this wood of the Cross! May our Lord enable us to understand its inexhaustible wealth! Therein we shall find all wisdom, all perfection, all good, the fulness of joy and a joy which does not pass away.

Galatians 6:14 – God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

• • •

4. I place my trust, after God, in our amiable Mother and leader, Mary; and as you advise, I commend this business also to her and remain at peace. The whole Institute is her child: let us leave her to act a mother’s part. In the mean time I can assure you that she daily bestows fresh graces and new consolations upon me.

Ecclesiasticus 24:24 – I am the mother of fair love and of fear and of knowledge and of holy hope.

• • •

5. If Jesus cannot refuse Mary anything because she is His Mother, and if Mary cannot refuse us anything because we are her children, is it not evident that nothing we need will be wanting to us, and that through her we can obtain all things?

3 Kings 2:20 – And the king said to her: My mother, ask; for I must not turn away thy face.

• • •

6. Truly the union of Christ and Saint John was an indescribably beautiful pattern of perfect friendship. They must have been as like in mind and heart as they possibly could be since Christ deemed John the most fitting among His disciples to take His place near His Mother. On the Cross Jesus commended the two, as mother and son, to each other. I cannot imagine a greater or more touching proof of filial piety towards a mother than to provide her in her bereavement with a son most like the one she has lost, nor can I conceive a more striking token of friendship than to leave as a mother to one’s friend the person nearest to oneself. Thus, having to withdraw from His Mother, Christ left her in His friend, an image of Himself, and having to quit His friend. He bequeathed to him a picture of Himself in Mary.

John 19:26,27 When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing, whom He loved, He says to His mother: Woman behold thy son. After that, He says to the disciple: Behold thy mother.

• • •

7. What better safeguard can we have than the protection of our Blessed Lady? Is not the dear name of Mary balm for all our wounds? I wonder how often you have experienced the comfort of this name, the aid of her who is the Mother of all who have recourse to her; for at the mere thought of God’s Mother and ours, calm returns to the soul and serenity to the mind. Gladness accompanies the mere mention of her name; by invoking it we renew our courage even in moments of greatest discouragement and fiercest conflict, and we put the enemies of our soul to flight He who trusts in Mary cannot perish.

Ecclesiasticus 51:2 – I will give glory to Thy name, for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me.

• • •

8. If this holy Virgin, this most highly-favoured Mother of our Lord, is on the one hand the noblest member of the Church she may also be called with perfect propriety its Mother, since the Church was born when our Lord Jesus Christ was born. Hence it is that the Church has that close resemblance to Mary which a daughter bears its mother. And truly the Church resembles Mary, being like her endowed with both virginity and motherhood.

Tobias 4:3 – Thou shall honour thy mother all the days of her life.

• • •

9. As the Church gives birth to Christ in us, so Mary gives birth to us in Christ. These two dear Mothers vie with each other in training us up and guiding us in the way of salvation. Both one and the other provide us with the means to obtain it. Mary in heaven graciously inclines her ears to our prayers; the Church on earth teaches us how to pray worthily to this heavenly Queen and Mother.

Ecclesiasticus 3:5 – He that honours his mother is as one that lays up a treasure.

• • •

10. Mary is rightly called priestess because she offered the Immaculate Victim in sacrifice. She may also be called the mother of the priesthood of the New Law, for she is the Mother of Jesus in whom the priesthood originated; for our priest hood is a participation of the priesthood of Christ.

Judith 13:23,25 – Blessed art thou. O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth! . . . . for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.

• • •

11. After Jesus Christ, our model and beloved teacher is Mary most holy Rightly is she considered by the Church as the type of wisdom, for there is no higher wisdom than to live tranquilly in God and to rejoice in Him with full confidence in His mercy, rendering heartfelt praise and thanks for all the works of His providence.

Ecclesiasticus 24:25 – In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue.

• • •

12. Truly Mary is full of grace! She belongs to both Testaments. As member of the Old she has the grace of maternity; as member of the New she has that of virginity. The dignity and majesty of her exterior gifts render her honourable before men; the abundance and perfection of her interior gifts make her pleasing before God. Therefore is she truly blessed among women on account of the fruit of her womb, blessed above all women as possessing for herself and bringing forth for others the perennial source of all blessings.

Luke 1:28 – Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.

• • •

13. The Christian ought to meditate on and imitate at all times the profound humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the Holy Scriptures describe as in a constant state of calm, peace and quietness. The life of her own choice was one of humility, retirement and silence, from which she was drawn forth only by the voice of God, or by feelings of charity towards her cousin Saint Elizabeth.

Luke 1:48 – He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.

• • •

14. According to human judgement, who would have thought that so little would be said in the Holy Scriptures of the most perfect of all human creatures? There is no mention of any work undertaken by her; yet her life, which the blind world would regard as one of continual inaction, was declared by God to be the most sublime, the most virtuous and the most magnanimous of all lives.

Ecclesiasticus 11:4 – The works of the Highest only are wonderful, and His works are glorious and secret and hidden.

• • •

15. Notwithstanding sin and the infection spread from it throughout the whole human race, God reserved for Himself a Virgin, free from all defilement of original sin, from whose blood, without the intervention of man, was begotten a Man who should be at the same time God, the Man-God who was to bring plentiful redemption unto mankind, and in this way to overthrow and shame the devil. Such a creation of the Divine Power and Wisdom was in a manner demanded by the law of variety, which required that this form also of human excellence should be realized.

Isaias 7:14 – Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.

• • •

16. Our Blessed Lady is uplifted in glory above all other creatures, because she is the Mother of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and because she is the most humble, most holy, and most perfect of all creatures.

Matthew 23:12 – He that humbles himself shall be exalted.

• • •

17. When Mary heard Elizabeth extol so highly her faith and her happiness in being chosen Mother of God, she was filled with a deep feeling of humility and gratitude, and began straightway to refer to God all her glory and to attribute to Him alone her exaltation. She did not pretend not to know, as false humility is sometimes wont to do, nor did she try to conceal the dignity which had been bestowed on her. On the contrary she showed herself to be fully conscious of possessing it, and openly acknowledged it, but only as the work of the Lord, “My soul,” she said, “doth magnify the Lord.”

Proverbs 29:23 – Glory shall uphold the humble of spirit.

• • •

18. While Mary declared herself to exult in God her Saviour, she made no allusion to being His mother. This was the secret of her heart, that unutterable secret from which she derived so great a joy, a joy all her own, which no one else could understand, and which could be imparted to no one else. “My secret to myself, my secret to myself.” (Isaias 24:16.) Others could only remotely imagine her joy, and she left them to do so without a word.

Proverbs 25:9 – Discover not the secret to a stranger.

• • •

19. Mary professed her faith in the Divinity of Jesus Christ before any one else in the New Law. She did so long before Saint Peter, who, for having said, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God,” was made the foundation of the Church. Even before Christ was born she acknowledged Him to be God, before He could announce Himself to the world by His preaching or confirm it by His miracles. Full well, then, did she merit the eulogy pronounced by her cousin, “Blessed art thou, because thou hast believed.”

Luke 1:47 – And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

• • •

20. That unknown Virgin, hidden away from the world in a mountain village, and hardly known to her own kindred heard the voice of countless numbers in all ages proclaiming her glories and calling her blessed. The word blessed signifies all that is most auspicious, most happy, all that imports the greatest good to a creature. Blessedness is at once the effect and the reward of perfect holiness. It conveys a eulogy that befits evangelical virtue only, for it is only the charity of Christ that merits blessedness.

Proverbs 31:28 – Her children rose up and called her blessed.

• • •

21. Does not the word blessed in the Magnificat contain a prophecy that has been already literally fulfilled? Throughout the whole world, the faithful delight in calling Mary The Blessed Virgin, rather than by any other endearing title. We who live eighteen centuries after Mary uttered this prophecy can bear witness to its fulfilment. We ourselves concur in fulfilling it every day.

Luke 1:48 – Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

• • •

22. He who wrought such great things in Mary is almighty. By styling Him the Mighty One, she sets forth the feebleness of men, and acknowledges that God alone is powerful. As she recognized no other power but that which she knew belonged to God, so she could recognize no Other greatness than the Divine. In saying that “He who is mighty” had done great things in her, she implied that the things done were great in relation to God Himself. And truly the Incarnation which was accomplished in Mary was the greatest of all the divine works, because it was greater than creation itself.

Luke 1:49 – He that is mighty hath done great things in me.

• • •

23. When Mary said. “The mercy of God is from generation unto generation to them that fear Him,” she meant that they who have that which is less – namely, the just fear which holds them back from sin – shall also, in due course, have that which is greater – namely, love. They who do what they can will afterwards have the grace to do what now they cannot. All men can in some way fear God, with a just though natural fear. God does not owe them anything, and yet, as Mary said. He will show them mercy.

Luke 1:50 – His mercy is from generation unto generation to them that fear Him.

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24. Mary, who stands between the Old and New Dispensations, the last representative of the Patriarchs and the first of our Saviour’s disciples, intends to teach us that, as the mercy which the Lord showed to those who feared Him had continued till it reached her, so too, as if beginning from her anew, it should continue to the end of the world, aye, and be even greater in all future generations than it had been in the past.

Luke 1:68,74,75 – Blessed be the Lord God of Israel because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people. That we may serve Him without fear, in holiness and justice before Him, all our days.

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25. The Arm of God in the style of Holy Writ means the Son of God, because the Son springs from the Father as the arm from the body. Mary therefore magnified the Father to whom the power belongs, and glorified Him in the Son of whom she is the mother, that is, the instrument used by the Father for the accomplishment of the great things which He designed to do on earth for men.

Luke 1:51 – He has showed might in His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.

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26. In that memorable Sermon on the Mount with which our Lord seems to have opened His solemn and public preaching, He taught a doctrine wholly new and unheard of. He said that they whom human wisdom declares to be most wretched are blessed; “Blessed are the poor,” “Blessed are the meek,” etc. Now our Lady’s declaration that God exalts the humble makes it clear that, long before her Divine Son had preached this doctrine to others. He had revealed it to His beloved Mother, had infused it into her heart, and, as it were, had yielded to her the honour of being the first to proclaim it on earth. How just and natural it was that the Son should thus honour His Mother in this, as He had honoured her in all besides, so that she might seem even in this to be like other mothers, who are wont to be instructed before their children reach the age of knowledge.

Luke 1:52 – He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.

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27. In the Magnificat we have set before us a picture of the merciful dealings of Divine Providence with the sinful human race, and marvellous praise and thanks are also given to that God who, having chosen His humble and faithful handmaid before all women, and by His Spirit formed the Redeemer in her immaculate womb, had thus done great things, not only to Mary, but also through Mary, to all the offspring of Adam. If you ponder well these things, at least while reciting the Canticle, you cannot help being fired with love, gratitude and unbounded reverence for her who is Mother of our God, and likewise the most tender mother of us all.

Wisdom 7:14 – For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that wise become the friends of God.

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28. Jesus is God and God is in Mary, as Mary is in God. Let us be then with Mary in Jesus, and with Jesus in God, now and for all eternity.

John 4:15 – Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

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29. Oh, how much reason have we to exclaim with Holy Church, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death!” This is a most efficacious prayer, one that cannot go unheard, for by addressing Mary as Mother of God, we remind her why she is mother of man, thereby proclaiming her glory not by empty words of praise, but by extolling these gifts wherewith God Himself has adorned her, gifts surpassing the rose in fragrance and beauty, and the most brilliant gems in lustre and value.

Isaias 11:10 – He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels.

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30. The Christian ought to ask of the Holy Ghost the gift of under standing, by which he may thoroughly understand and comprehend the sublime truths of faith; the gift of wisdom, by which he may judge rightly of divine things; the gift of knowledge, by which he may judge rightly of human things, and the gift of counsel, by which he may direct himself, applying the truths he has learnt to all the actions of his life.

Psalm 103:30 – Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

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31. Night and day let us turn our thoughts to Mary, let us have recourse to her in our needs, let us often speak of her, recount her glories and spread devotion to her. Let Mary be in our hearts, before our minds, on our lips and before our eyes, so that we may imitate her by walking blamelessly in her august and spotless presence. Thus shall we win for ourselves an abundance of Mary’s choicest graces, graces during life and at the hour of death, since, after she has watched over us during life’s weary pilgrimage, she will graciously receive our souls at death, and lead us to find unending bliss in the Divine Word, her Son, who is in the bosom of the Eternal Father.

Proverbs 8:35 – He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

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June

1. The Heart of Jesus alone is tranquil and peaceful, and he who dwells in that Heart shares its peace; neither can persecution nor trouble destroy it, because these do not reach the Heart of Jesus where the faithful disciple makes his home.

Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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2. Meditate on the humility, meekness and loving tenderness of which the Heart of Jesus is so full, and conform your heart to His, If you find in yours anything contrary to the Heart of Jesus (whether it has entered freely or not), make war on it to the death.

Psalm 36:11 – But the meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace.

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3. How beautiful is the thought I have so often heard you [Saint Maddalena of Canossa] express, that we should have a great heart: that our Lord is great: and that the Christian does an injury to his Lord by not appreciating His greatness! Truly, nothing is so vast as not to seem narrow to the heart of the true disciple.

2 Machabees 1:2,3,4 – May God be gracious to you. And give you all a heart to worship Him, and to do His will with a great heart and a willing mind. May He open your heart in His law.

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4. If the devil sees that we are brave, he loses courage and leaves us after a few assaults. But if he finds us weak and cowardly, he has just what he wants, he will give us no rest, and if we do not hasten to drive away our fears, the victory is his. We must pray unceasingly with the Royal Psalmist to be saved “from pusillanimity of spirit and a storm.”

James 4:7 – Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you.

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5. O unspeakable goodness of God! Retakes offence at our being disheartened; He exacts from us a courage as great (if that were possible) as His goodness, an infinite courage.

Isaias 35:4 – Say to the faint-hearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold, God Himself will come and save you.

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6. You must fight hard against these thoughts of diffidence which are evidently a snare of the devil. It behooves you continually to increase your confidence in Jesus Christ. By persevering confidence you will be victorious over all your foes, or rather the grace of Jesus Christ will triumph in you.

Proverbs 3:5 – Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart.

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7. Man of himself, when separated from Christ, is dead in respect to the life of grace his ultimate end: but he may truly be said to live when united to Christ, from whom he will receive a communication of His own supernatural life.

John 15:4 – Abide in Me. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

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8. I advise you to cultivate in the first place the spirit of recollection and interior fervour. You must learn to pray in your heart, to converse unceasingly with God, and speak to our Lord heart to heart, to walk in His Divine Presence, to call upon Him, to thank Him, to deplore your sins and humble yourself.

Ecclesiasticus 9:23 – And let the thought of God be in thy mind, and all thy discourse on the commandments of the Highest.

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9. The Christian who wishes to be perfect will lead a life of retirement, of silence, and of continual occupation.

Ecclesiasticus 51:38 – Work your work before the time, and He will give you your reward in His time.

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10. The Church carries the Blessed Sacrament in procession with such pomp on Corpus Christi, firstly, to celebrate the victory gained by faith over so many heretics who impugn this mystery; secondly, to atone in some manner for the great irreverences and injuries which our Lord suffers from wicked men in this Sacrament of Love; thirdly, to revive the faith of Christians in this Sacrament, and to increase their devotion towards it.

Leviticus 23:37 – These are the feasts of the Lord, which you shall call most solemn and most holy, and shall offer on them oblations to the Lord.

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11. To conquer the devil and to confound him in all his stratagems, the Eternal Father decreed to give another tree of life to the regenerated world far surpassing the first. This second tree is Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Food and the hidden life of Christ which is contained therein, are the fruits of this tree.

Apocalypse 2:7 – To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God.

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12. The Church calls the Holy Eucharist when given to the dying the Viaticum, and she obliges them to receive it, when they can do so, in order that at the moment of death they may have within them that life eternal which is the germ of their souls’ resurrection after death. This shows that it is not good to scruple too much about giving the Viaticum again to the sick person who survives for some time after its reception. This, too, is one reason among others which urges upon Christians the importance of frequent Communion, since this it is which keeps them, like the wise virgins, ever ready for the coming of the spouse, by continually giving to them that life which manifests itself at the hour of their death.

John 6:55 – He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day.

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13. When we approach Holy Communion can we regard ourselves in any other light than that of poor sinners unconditionally surrendering to God as prisoners in His hands? Saint Francis of Sales used to say that precisely because we are imperfect we ought to communicate often, in order that, by approaching this source of all perfection, we may rid ourselves of our imperfections little by little, and become partakers of the Divine Perfection.

John 6:54 – Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you.

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14. He who has received Baptism, together with the grace which it confers, is already a living member of the Body of Christ, and consequently he is in Christ and Christ in him. The Holy Eucharist preserves this union and mutual indwelling, just as food preserves the life of him who already has life. This is what is meant by Christ’s word “abideth” (“abideth in Me and I in him”) which implies permanence and duration. Again, food makes good what the living body loses day by day, and the same effect is produced in the soul by the Holy Eucharist, which cancels the lesser sins into which man daily falls, and again renews life within him. Thirdly, as food helps man to grow up, so does the Holy Eucharist cause Christ to increase in the new and spiritual man.

John 6:57 – He that eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me, and I in him.

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15. Each time a man presumes to receive the Eucharistic Bread, he receives Christ sacrificed, and calls to his aid the death of Christ. He, therefore, who brings to the Holy Table a guilty and unworthy conscience betrays his Master like Judas, but more basely than by a kiss. He sells Him to his passions and calls for His death; he does not desire the saving-sacrifice, but the blood of the just that cries to heaven for vengeance. He is guilty of the Body and Blood of our Saviour, and in this sacrilege we may say of our Lord what the children of Jacob said of their brother: “A wild beast hath devoured him.”

1 Corinthians 11:29 – He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgement to himself. not discerning the Body of the Lord.

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16. It is true that with our heart at least we may seek and find Jesus everywhere; but our Lord condescended to make His presence not only real but corporeal also. He was pleased to take unto Himself a Body that should be like our own, so that our dead bodies might be restored to life by contact with His living Body which can never again be subject to death. And there is a sense peculiar to Christians by which we await this new happiness eagerly and perceive, it when it comes. This spiritual sense it is which makes it impossible for you not to desire to be in the Church before the Tabernacle.

Psalm 83:2 – How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord.

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17. Had Christ’s Sacred Humanity remained always visibly present to men, there would have been no need of the sacramental system. The very sight of His most Holy Manhood, His words, the contact with His Divine Body were all so many sensible channels through which a superabundance of grace could pass from Him to men. The touch of His sacred hands proved efficacious not only in curing bodily infirmities, but also in purifying and healing the soul, thus giving health “to the whole man” (John 7:23). His words were “spirit and life” (John 6:64), and His discourse “cleansed” man from all stain of sin (John 15:3). The sight of the Sacred Humanity of Christ had power to uplift the soul of the beholder to the knowledge and contemplation of the Divine Word (John 14:9), and through Him of the Eternal Father. Therefore was the Sacred Humanity of Christ that sensible medium which, acting upon man’s senses, sufficed to redeem and sanctify him.

Luke 8:45 – And Jesus said: Somebody hath touched Me; or I know that virtue is gone out from Me.

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18. How beautiful, how useful it is, to think of Jesus always! – to see Him in all things as the Apostles did, not only realizing that He is God (which thought is rather calculated to terrify us), but considering Him as Man, as one of ourselves, having a body like ours, a man truly subject to all human infirmities, sin excepted; one who suffers and rejoices with us, sympathises with us, comforts us, cheers us on and helps us. corrects and warns us; one who, like a true friend, is ever in our company. Ah yes indeed! Devotion to Jesus has grown cold with too many. How I wish that all Christians should do their utmost to restore and rekindle it!

Hebrews 4:15,16 – For we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things as we are, without sin. Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.

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19. Speak often to your pupils of this dear Master of ours, let the Name of Jesus ring in their ears, let them behold Him present in all their occupations and taking part in all their games. If you can get them to form this habit of imagining Jesus as their inseparable companion in every place, at every moment and in every action of their lives, they will have acquired the practice of God’s presence, of Christian watchfulness, of unceasing prayer, and of constant recollection.

Ecclesiasticus 2:20 – They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.

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20. All meditations on the Sacred Humanity of Christ, and all reflections which help us to understand more clearly its grandeur and attractiveness are good and should be highly prized; for in this consists eternal life, that we know the Father, the only living God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

John 17:3 – Now this is eternal life: That they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

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21. When summer ripens the corn, and the heat of the sun brings all fruit to maturity and gives even to animals an increased vitality, let us think of ripening ourselves for that season when the Heavenly Husbandman will reap us for His granary.

Hebrews 4:9,11 – There remains therefore a day of rest for the people of God. Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest.

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22. Our Lord, who as God is Truth itself, as Man is the great and only teacher thereof, and is consequently the model and example of all teachers. Let us look at this Divine Model. There we find no affectation, nothing forced or artificial. His method of explanation is clear, brief, profound and earnest; it is clothed with those similes and figures of visible things which are familiar to all and truly necessary to the undeveloped.

Baruch 3:38 He was seen upon earth and conversed with men.

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23. Although every virtue is beautiful, nevertheless chastity and humility are singularly so Chastity prevents man from lowering his own dignity; humility keeps him from exalting it unduly. In these two virtues, therefore, the beauty of morality chiefly consists.

Wisdom 4:1 – O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory, for the memory thereof is immortal, because it is known both with God and with men.

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24. The tenor of this solitary life is certainly at first hard, because it is full of privations. However, we are not in this world to enjoy ourselves. He who seeks for rest and enjoyment in this life deceives himself and courts many a bitter disappointment, for it is not God’s will that they be found here below.

Hebrews 12:2 – Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, Who having joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sits on the right hand of the throne of God.

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25. It is true that there is a great difference between the state of a soul radiant with sensible affection, light and joy, and that of a soul weak and disconsolate, immersed in gloom and sadness. But what of that? It is the will of God that the soul should be in darkness: therefore it is a blessing beyond compare, as great as God Himself, since the will of God is God.

Ecclesiasticus 2:2,6 – Make not haste in the time of clouds Believe God and He will recover thee: and direct thy way, and trust in Him.

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26. In the Old Testament it was a common belief, that no man could see God and live; for God is a fire. “The Lord thy God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). He is truly a fire that consumes sins and sinners, but He is also a purifying fire, enkindling and vivifying the just. Hence it is written: “I will be sanctified in them that approach to Me, . . . . Be holy because I am holy” (Leviticus 10:3 and 11:44). He therefore who approaches this fire is either consumed or divinized.

Luke 24:32 – Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way?

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27. Apostolic men are certainly few in number, very few, for only those can be called such who are in an eminent degree men of prayer, and full of zeal In preaching the word of God. “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

Romans 1:5,9 – By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith in all nations for His Name. . . . For God is my witness, . . . . that without ceasing I make a commemoration of you.

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28. Could not Jesus Christ send as many labourers as He chose into the harvest field? He could and yet He would not. He wished His disciples to obtain the call by prayer, so intent was He on impressing upon them the necessity of receiving a divine mission before preaching the Gospel.

Matthew 9:38 – Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth labourers into His harvest.

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29. Saints Peter and Paul. On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul the faithful ought in the first place to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for having left to His Church upon earth a visible head in the person of Saint Peter and of his successors the Roman Pontiffs; secondly, they should pray God to humble the enemies of Holy Church; thirdly, they should excite within themselves a veneration and affection for the person of the reigning Pontiff, and pray for him with great fervour.

Matthew 16:18 – Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

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30. Who does not know how virtue fares on this earth? It is ever persecuted, and the more rare and choice it is, so much the more is it persecuted But, wonderful consolation of our holy religion! The bitter draught which the saints drink is presented to their lips by Christ in that same chalice whereof He Himself first drank so willingly even to the very dregs.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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