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´╗┐Title: Mary, Help of Christians - And the Fourteen Saints Invoked as Holy Helpers: - Instructions, Novenas and Prayers with Thoughts of the - Saints for Every Day in the Year
Author: Burke, John J. (John James), 1857-1945 [Contributor], Hammer, Bonaventure, 1842-1917 [Editor]
Language: English
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  MARY, THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS



  MARY, HELP OF CHRISTIANS
  AND THE
  Fourteen Saints Invoked as Holy Helpers

  Instructions, Legends, Novenas and Prayers
  WITH
  Thoughts of the Saints for Every Day in the Year



  COMPILED BY
  REV. BONAVENTURE HAMMER, O.F.M.



  TO WHICH IS ADDED AN APPENDIX ON THE
  Reasonableness of Catholic Ceremonies and Practices
  BY REV. JOHN J. BURKE


---


  NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO
  BENZIGER BROTHERS

  PRINTERS TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC SEE
  PUBLISHERS OF BENZINGER'S MAGAZINE



  Imprimi Permittitur.
               FR. CHRYSOSTOMUS THEOBALD, O.F.M.,
               _Minister Provincialis._
               Cincinnati, Ohio, die 30, Martii, 1908.

  Nihil Obstat.
                REMY LAPORT, S.T.L.,
                     _Censor Librorum._

  Imprimatur.
                JOHN M. FARLEY,
                Archbishop of New York.



  NEW YORK, March 4, 1909.

  COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY BENZIGER BROTHERS.



PREFACE

THE contents of the following pages are based on the Catholic doctrine
of the veneration and invocation of the saints, and of the efficacy of
the prayer of intercession. The legends of the individual "Holy Helpers"
were compiled from authors whose writings have the approval of the
Church.

In compliance with the decrees of Pope Urban VIII of 1625, 1631, and
1634, the compiler formally declares that he submits everything
contained in this little book to the infallible judgment of the Church,
and that he claims no other than human credibility for the facts,
legends, and miracles related, except where the Church has otherwise
decided.

                          THE COMPILER.


  Contents

  PREFACE

  PART I
  The Veneration and Invocation of Saints and the Efficacy of Prayer

  CHAPTER I
  THE VENERATION AND INVOCATION OF SAINTS

  CHAPTER II
  EFFICACY OF THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS

  CHAPTER III
  FOR WHAT THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS MAY AND SHOULD BE INVOKED

  CHAPTER IV
  THE QUALITIES OF PRAYER

  PART II
  Mary, the Help of Christians
  Novenas in Preparation for the Principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin

  RULES FOR THE PROPER OBSERVANCE OF NOVENAS
  ON THE MANNER OF READING THE MEDITATIONS AND OBSERVING THE PRACTICES

  INTRODUCTION

  MARY, THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS

  I. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED
VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE PREDESTINATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY'S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
  THIRD DAY.--MARY, THE VICTRIX OF SATAN
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY WITHOUT ACTUAL SIN
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY, FULL OF GRACE
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY, OUR REFUGE
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY, THE MOTHER OF CHASTITY
  EIGHTH DAY.--THE IMAGE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
  NINTH DAY.--THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

  II. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE BIRTH OF MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY, THE ELECT OF GOD
  THIRD DAY.--MARY, THE CHILD OF ROYALTY
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY, THE CHILD OF PIOUS PARENTS
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S SUPERNATURAL PREROGATIVES
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY, THE JOY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
  SEVENTH DAY.--THE ANGELS REJOICE AT MARY'S BIRTH
  EIGHTH DAY.--THE JOY OF THE JUST IN LIMBO AT MARY'S BIRTH
  NINTH DAY.--THE HOLY NAME OF MARY

  III. NOVENA FOR THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE ANNUNCIATION
  SECOND DAY.--THE IMPORT OF THE ANGEL'S SALUTATION
  THIRD DAY.--THE EFFECT OF THE ANGEL'S SALUTATION
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY'S QUESTION
  FIFTH DAY.--THE SOLUTION
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY'S CONSENT
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S FORTITUDE IN SUFFERING
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD
  NINTH DAY.--MARY OUR MOTHER

  IV. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY

  FIRST DAY.--DEVOTION TO THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY'S FIRST SORROW: SIMEON'S PROPHECY IN THE TEMPLE
  THIRD DAY.--MARY'S SECOND SORROW: THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY'S THIRD SORROW: JESUS LOST IN JERUSALEM
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S FOURTH SORROW: SHE MEETS JESUS CARRYING HIS CROSS
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY'S FIFTH SORROW: BENEATH THE CROSS
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S SIXTH SORROW: THE TAKING DOWN OF JESUS' BODY FROM
THE CROSS
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY'S SEVENTH SORROW: JESUS IS BURIED
  NINTH DAY.--WHY MARY HAD TO SUFFER

  V. NOVENA FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--MARY'S DEATH WAS WITHOUT PAIN
  SECOND DAY.--AT MARY'S TOMB
  THIRD DAY.--THE EMPTY TOMB
  FOURTH DAY.--REASONS FOR THE BODILY ASSUMPTION OF MARY INTO HEAVEN
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S GLORIOUS ENTRANCE INTO HEAVEN
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY CROWNED IN HEAVEN
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S BLISS IN HEAVEN
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY, THE QUEEN OF MERCY
  NINTH DAY.--MARY IN HEAVEN THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS ON EARTH

  PART III
  The Fourteen Holy Helpers

  CHAPTER I
  THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS

  CHAPTER II
  LEGENDS

  THE LEGENDS OF THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS
     I.--ST. GEORGE, MARTYR
    II.--ST. BLASE, BISHOP AND MARTYR
   III.--ST. ERASMUS, BISHOP AND MARTYR
    IV.--ST. PANTALEON, PHYSICIAN AND MARTYR
     V.--ST. VITUS, MARTYR
    VI.--ST. CHRISTOPHORUS, MARTYR
   VII.--ST. DIONYSIUS, BISHOP AND MARTYR
  VIII.--ST. CYRIACUS, DEACON AND MARTYR
    IX.--ST. ACHATIUS, MARTYR
     X.--ST. EUSTACHIUS, MARTYR
    XI.--ST. GILES, HERMIT AND ABBOT
   XII.--ST. MARGARET, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
  XIII.--ST. CATHERINE, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
   XIV.--ST. BARBARA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR

  PART IV
  I. Novenas to the Holy Helpers

  NOVENA TO EACH OF THE HOLY HELPERS
     I.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. GEORGE
    II.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. BLASE
   III.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. ERASMUS
    IV.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. PANTALEON
     V.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. VITUS
    VI.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. CHRISTOPHORUS
   VII.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. DIONYSIUS
  VIII.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. CYRIACUS
    IX.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. ACHATIUS
     X.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. EUSTACHIUS
    XI.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. GILES
   XII.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. MARGARET
  XIII.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. CATHERINE
   XIV.--NOVENA IN HONOR OF ST. BARBARA

  NOVENA TO ALL THE HOLY HELPERS

  FIRST DAY.--THE DEVOTION TO THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS
  SECOND DAY.--THE DESTINY OF MAN
  THIRD DAY.--THE VIRTUE OF FAITH
  FOURTH DAY.--THE VIRTUE OF HOPE
  FIFTH DAY.--THE LOVE OF GOD
  SIXTH DAY.--THE VIRTUE OF CHARITY
  SEVENTH DAY.--HUMAN RESPECT
  EIGHTH DAY.--PRAYER
  NINTH DAY.--PERSEVERANCE

  II. Prayers and Petitions

  PRAYERS OF PETITION AND INTERCESSION

    I.--THREE INVOCATIONS
   II.--PRAYER IN ILLNESS
  III.--PRAYER FOR THE SICK
   IV.--PRAYER OF PARENTS FOR THEIR CHILDREN
    V.--PRAYER OF CHILDREN FOR THEIR PARENTS
   VI.--PRAYER FOR MARRIED PEOPLE

  PART V
  General Devotions

  MORNING PRAYERS
  EVENING PRAYERS
  PRAYERS AT HOLY MASS
  PRAYERS AFTER MASS
  PRAYERS FOR CONFESSION
       Before Confession
       After Confession
  PRAYERS FOR HOLY COMMUNION
       Before Communion
       After Communion
  VISIT TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
  PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
  PRAYERS TO JESUS SUFFERING
  THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
  PRAYER TO OUR SUFFERING REDEEMER
  PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
  PRAYER FOR ALL THINGS NECESSARY TO SALVATION

  THE FOUR APPROVED LITANIES
  LITANY OF THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS
  LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
  LITANY OF LORETO, IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
  LITANY OF ALL SAINTS

  PART VI
  Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year

  JANUARY
  FEBRUARY
  MARCH
  APRIL
  MAY
  JUNE
  JULY
  AUGUST
  SEPTEMBER
  OCTOBER
  NOVEMBER
  DECEMBER

  PART VII
  Reasonableness of Catholic Ceremonies and Practices

  THE CEREMONIES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
    I.--Ceremonies Necessary to Divine Worship
   II.--Vestments Used by the Priest at Mass
  III.--Ceremonies of the Mass

  THE PRACTICES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
      I.--Vespers and Benediction
     II.--Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
    III.--Holy Communion
     IV.--Confirmation
      V.--Honoring the Blessed Virgin
     VI.--Confession of Sin
    VII.--Granting Indulgences
   VIII.--The Last Sacraments
     IX.--Praying for the Dead
      X.--Praying to the Saints
     XI.--Crucifixes, Relics, and Images
    XII.--Some Sacramentals--The Books Used by the Priest, the Sign of
the Cross, Holy Water, Blessed Candles, Palm and Ashes, Holy Oils,
Scapulars, Medals, Agnus Dei, Prayers, Litanies, Rosary, Angelus,
Stations, Funeral Service, and Various Blessings
   XIII.--The Celebration of Feasts
    XIV.--Infant Baptism
     XV.--The Marriage Tie--One and Indissoluble
    XVI.--Respect Shown to Ecclesiastical Superiors
   XVII.--Celibacy
  XVIII.--Conclusion



PART I

The Veneration and Invocation of Saints, and the Efficacy of Prayer


"Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to you; whose
faith follow, considering the end of their conversation" (_Heb._ xiii.
7).

"Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me, as I am also of Christ"
(_1 Cor._ iv. 16).


[Illustration: Presentation of Mary in the temple.]



CHAPTER I

The Veneration and Invocation of Saints

IN THE Creed of the Council of Trent, which the Catholic Church places
before the faithful as the Rule of Faith, we read: "I firmly believe
that the saints reigning with Christ are to be venerated and invoked."

The Church therefore teaches, first, that it is right and pleasing to
God to venerate the saints and to invoke their intercession; and second,
that it is useful and profitable to eternal salvation for us to do so.

The veneration of the saints is useful and profitable to us. Men
conspicuous in life for knowledge, bravery, or other noble qualities and
unusual merits are honored after death. Why, then, should Catholics not
be permitted to honor the heroes of their faith, who excelled in the
practice of supernatural virtue and are in special grace and favor with
God? That this veneration is profitable to us is evident from the fact
that the example of the saints incites us to imitate them to the best of
our ability.

The veneration of the saints is not only in full accord with the demands
of reason, but we are, moreover, enjoined explicitly by Holy Scripture
to venerate the memory of the holy patriarchs and prophets: "Let us now
praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation" (_Ecclus_.
xliv. 1). "And their names continue for ever, the glory of the holy men
remaining unto their children" (_Ecclus_. xlvi. 15).

Reason and Holy Scripture, then, are in favor of the veneration of the
saints. We find it practised, therefore, also in the early Church. She
was convinced from the very beginning of its propriety and utility. As
early as the first century the memorial day of the martyrs' death was
observed by the Christians. They assembled at the tombs of the sainted
victims of pagan cruelty and celebrated their memory by offering up the
Holy Sacrifice over their relics. We know this not only from the
testimony of the earliest ecclesiastical writers, as Origen, Tertullian,
and St. Cyprian, but also from the history of St. Ignatius the Martyr
(d. 107), and of St. Polycarp of Smyrna (d. 166). Over one hundred
panegyrics of various saints written by St. Augustine are still extant.

And why should it not be right and useful to invoke the _intercession_
of the saints? Everybody deems it proper to ask a pious friend for his
prayers. St. Paul the Apostle recommended himself to the prayers of the
faithful (_Rom._ xv. 30), and God Himself commanded the friends of Job
to ask Him for His intercession that their sin might not be imputed to
them (_Job_ xlii. 8). How, then, can it be wrong or superfluous to
invoke the intercession of the saints in heaven? The saints are
_willing_ to invoke God's bounty in our favor, for they love us. They
are _able_ to obtain it for us, because God always accepts their prayer
with complacency. That they really hear our prayer and intercede with
God for us is clearly shown by many examples in Holy Scripture. And if,
according to the testimony of St. James (v. 16), the prayer of the just
man here on earth availeth much with God, how much more powerful, then,
must be the prayer of the saints, who are united with God in heaven in
perfect love and are, so to say, partakers of His infinite goodness and
omnipotence?

A most striking proof of the efficacy of the prayers of the saints is
the numerous miracles wrought and the many favors obtained at all times
through their intercession. Among these miracles are a great number
whose authenticity was declared by the Church after the most scrupulous
and strict investigation, as the acts of canonization prove.

That the invocation of the saints was a practice of the early Church is
proved by the numerous inscriptions on the tombs of the Roman catacombs
preserved to this day. We read there, for instance, on the tomb of
Sabbatius, a martyr, "Sabbatius, O pious soul, pray and intercede for
your brethren and associates!" On another tomb is inscribed, "Allicius,
thy spirit is blessed; pray for thy parents!" And again, "Jovianus, live
in God, and pray for us!"

We have also the testimony of one of the greatest thinkers and
Protestant philosophers, Leibnitz, for the claim that the veneration and
invocation of the saints is founded in reason, on Holy Scripture, and on
the tradition of the Church. He writes: "Because we justly expect great
advantage by uniting our prayers with those of our brethren here on
earth, I can not understand how it can be called a crime if a person
invokes the intercession of a glorified soul, or an angel. If it be
really idolatry or a detestable cult to invoke the saints and the angels
to intercede for us with God, I do not comprehend how Basil, Gregory
Nazianzen, Ambrose, and others, who were hitherto considered saints, can
be absolved from idolatry or superstition. To continue in such a
practice would indeed not be a small defect in the Fathers, such as is
inherent in human nature--it would be an enormous public crime. For if
the Church, even in those early times, was infected with such abominable
errors, let any one judge for himself what the Christian faith would
eventually come to. Would not Gamaliel's proposition, to judge whether
Christ's religion be divine or human from its effects, result in its
disfavor?"

But whilst the Catholic Church practises and recommends the veneration
and invocation of the saints, she does not teach us to honor and invoke
them as we do God, nor to pray to them as we do to Him. She makes a
great distinction.

The veneration of the saints differs from the worship of God in the
following:

1. We _adore_ God as our supreme Lord. We _honor_ the saints as His
faithful servants and friends.

2. We _adore_ God for His own sake. We _honor_ the saints for the gifts
and prerogatives with which God endowed them.

Therefore there is a difference between the prayer to God and the
invocation of the saints. We pray to God asking Him to help us by His
omnipotence: we pray to the saints to help us by their intercession with
God.

Our veneration of the saints should consist, primarily, in the imitation
of their virtues. It is truly profitable only when we are intent upon
following their example; for only by imitating their virtues shall we
share their eternal bliss in heaven. A veneration which contents itself
with honoring the saints without imitating their virtues is similar to a
tree that produces leaves and blossoms but bears no fruit.

The saints themselves desire that we should follow their example. Each
of them, so to say, exhorts us with St. Paul, "Be ye followers of me, as
I also am of Christ" (_1 Cor._ iv. 16). There is no age, no sex, no
station in life for which the Catholic Church has not saints, whose
example teaches us to avoid sin and to observe faithfully the
commandments of God and the Church at this or that age, or in this or
that station. Therefore the principal object of our invocation of the
saints ought to be the obtaining of their help in following their
example. Thus we shall move them to come to our aid all the more
readily.



CHAPTER II

Efficacy of the Intercession of the Saints

NOTHING is more consoling and comforting than the assurance that in the
saints of heaven we have powerful protectors and advocates with God.
Through their intercession they obtain for us from Him the grace to lead
a virtuous life and to gain heaven.

However, is there any reasonable doubt that the saints are able to
render us such a service? In virtue of the communion of saints, which
comprises the Church militant on earth, the Church suffering in
purgatory, and the Church triumphant in heaven, all members of the
Church are members of one body, whose head is Christ. Hence the saints
are united with us in spirit, though separated from us in body. United
with Christ, they are imbued with a superior knowledge, and through Him,
the All-Knowing, they know everything that concerns us, and for which we
have recourse to them in prayer.

Our confidence in the intercessory power of the saints is founded on
their relation to God and to us. As friends of God they have influence
with Him now, even more than during their sojourn on earth, because
their intercessory power is one of their glorious prerogatives in
heaven. Their love of God and their charity for their fellow-men, and
the zeal for the salvation of souls resulting therefrom, together with
their conformity with Christ, induces them to use their influence
readily in our favor. Because God dispenses His gifts according to His
own adorable will, it may please Him to grant a certain favor at the
particular intercession of a certain saint; hence it is not superstition
to invoke His aid in such cases. Moreover, we justly place our
confidence in saints whom we have selected to be our special patrons, or
who were given us as such by ecclesiastical authority.

By the intercession of the saints the mediatorship of Christ is not set
aside or restricted. The power of intercession, the intercession itself,
and its invocation are an effect of the grace of Christ; therefore He
remains our only mediator. God remains Our Lord and Father, although men
share in His lordship and paternity; for all power and authority comes
from God, who is pleased to operate in His creatures through other
creatures. Hence, only a dependent mediatorship can be ascribed to the
saints. Whoever admits that the living can pray for each other can not
denounce the intercession of the saints as an usurpation of the
mediatorship of Christ. The saints are not the authors and dispensers of
grace and heavenly gifts, but they are able to obtain them for us from
God.

The saints, moreover, do not only pray for mankind in general, but for
their clients in particular. As co-reigners with Christ, the denizens of
heaven have knowledge of the conditions and events of His kingdom; hence
the saints may pray for us individually; therefore it is permissible and
profitable for us to invoke them. It is obvious that the knowledge of
individual occurrences does not mar the bliss of the saints. How they
gain this knowledge is not clear to the spiritual authors; but most of
them incline to the view that they attain it by direct divine mediation.
God reveals our condition and our invocation to the saints.

Can we doubt the willingness of the saints to aid us by their
intercession? According to St. Paul, charity is the greatest of all
virtues. If, then, the saints, whilst on earth loved their fellow-men,
cared for and prayed for them, how much more will they do so now, when
their charity is perfected? They, too, were pilgrims on earth, who had
to suffer the adversities and miseries of life and therefore know by
experience how sorely in need of divine assistance we poor mortals are.
Persons who have themselves experienced trials have more compassion for
the adversities of others. Therefore it is certain that the saints have
compassion on us, that they wish our prayers to be heard and bring them
before the throne of God. "The saints," says St. Augustine, "being
secure of their eternal welfare, are intent upon ours." Holy Scripture
establishes this beyond doubt, saying that the saints bring the prayers
of the faithful before the throne of God (_Apoc._ v. 8).

Or is there any one that doubts the _efficacy_ of the saints' prayer
with God? At any rate, we must concede that their prayer is more
effectual than ours; for they are confirmed in justice, and therefore
friends and favorites of God, whilst we are sinners, of whom Holy
Scripture says, "The Lord is far from the wicked, and He will hear the
prayers of the just" (_Prov._ xv. 29). On this subject, let us hear St.
Basil in his panegyric on the Forty Martyrs: "You often wanted to find
an intercessor: here you have forty who intercede unanimously for you.
Are you in distress? Have recourse to the holy martyrs. Rejoicing, do
the same. The former that you may find relief, the latter that you may
continue to prosper. These saints hear the mother praying for her
children, the wife invoking aid for her sick or absent husband. O brave
and victorious band, protectors of mankind, generous intercessors when
invoked, be our advocates with God!"

There is no doubt, then, that during our earthly pilgrimage the saints
are our intercessors with God. True, we know that there is One who
guides our destinies and whose providence watches over all; but who
would not choose, also, to have a friend already abiding with God,
sharing His bliss and confirmed for ever in His grace, and who therefore
is in a position to aid us, and certainly will do so if we invoke Him?

The following is an example illustrating the power of the saints'
intercession with God:

Basilides was one of the guards that led St. Potamiana to a martyr's
death. Whilst the rest of the soldiers and the crowd of spectators
insulted the holy virgin, he treated her with great respect and
protected her from the assaults of the rabble. The martyr thanked him
for his kindness, and promised to pray for him when she came into God's
presence. A few days after her death the grace of God touched Basilides'
heart, and he professed himself a Christian. His comrades at first
imagined that he was jesting. But when he persevered in the confession
of the Faith, he was brought before the judge, who sentenced him to be
beheaded next day. Taken to prison, he was baptized, and at the
appointed time, executed.

What else but the intercession of the saint whom he had befriended
obtained for this heathen the grace of the Faith and martyrdom?
Convinced of the power of the intercession of the saints, Origen writes:
"I will fall on my knees, and because I am unworthy to pray to God on
account of my sins, I will invoke all the saints to come to my aid. O ye
saints of God, I, filled with sadness, sighing and weeping, implore you;
intercede for me, a miserable sinner, with the Lord of mercies!"



CHAPTER III

For What the Intercession of the Saints May and Should be Invoked

IT IS obvious that there are objects to attain which we ought not to
pray. We shall try to specify them as follows:

1. _We may not pray for things that are evil or injurious in themselves,
or injurious on account of circumstances._ Amongst these are comprised
all those that are opposed to the salvation of the person praying, or of
some one else. It is contrary to the very idea of prayer that God should
grant to His creature anything evil, anything that is in itself, and not
only by abuse, harmful. Prayer, according to the rules of morality, must
have for its object only the attainment of whatever is good and
profitable, and only then is it heard by God.

2. _Things completely indifferent are not comprised in the efficacy of
prayer. Hence prayer imploring for temporal goods is heard only inasmuch
as they relate to the salvation of souls._ Reason, as well as faith,
teaches us that God orders all His actions first for the promotion of
His glory, and secondly for the salvation of souls. Matters, therefore,
that are either in general, or on account of circumstances, positively
indifferent, must be excluded from the general plan of God's providence
when there is question of His positive agency, and not simply of His
permission. It is obvious that temporal goods, such as health, wealth,
etc., are classed with things indifferent, in as far as they are not
connected with the moral order.

Thus considered, the various goods of the temporal order do, or at least
may, under certain conditions, co-operate unto man's salvation, and then
they belong to the supernatural order. As such, the efficacy of prayer
in their regard must be judged according to the principles applying to
the latter.

3. _All those things which any one can obtain himself without
extraordinary effort, are not comprised within the scope of prayer._
This restriction results from the very nature of prayer. Obviously,
prayer is not the only means by which man can obtain those things which,
on the one hand, he momentarily does not possess, and which, on the
other hand, are necessary or advantageous for his supernatural life. As
a rule, man can, by labor and application, procure his sustenance.
Persons unable to work can have recourse to the charity of their
fellow-men, and will, as a rule, find the necessary assistance. In
regard to salvation, it must first be ascertained whether in many or at
least in some cases, the faithful co-operation with the graces which
God gives to all men is not sufficient.

Considered from this view, we may, and even must, in a certain sense
say: When there is question of attaining specified goods and specified
graces, prayer is often not the primary, but only the secondary and
subordinate means. From this premise follows that God in His wise
providence does not have regard for our prayer when we easily can help
ourselves, either by our own exertion and industry, or by the faithful
cooperation with graces already received, or by the reception of the
holy sacraments. This self-evident idea is expressed in Holy Scripture
as follows, "Because of the cold the sluggard would not plow; he shall
beg therefore in the summer, and it shall not be given him" (_Prov._ xx.
4). For this reason formal miracles are, as a rule, not to be expected
from the efficacy of prayer. God ordained the world and its course in
such a manner, that mankind in general and each individual in particular
can be provided, without the intervention of a miracle, with all things
necessary for their temporal and eternal welfare.

Theologians, therefore, teach that to ask God for a miracle, generally,
is the same as to tempt Him. This rule, however, admits of exceptions.
And if we may, in exceptional cases, ask for miracles, we may,
logically, expect them; for miracles in general are not excluded from
the plan of divine Providence. They are rather an essential part of the
existing order of God's government of the world. At most we may say: As
miracles of their nature belong among the extraordinary manifestations
of Providence, they are not obtained by the prayer of each and every
one, but only in exceptional cases.

However, if we consider how feeble and helpless man's nature is, even
with the assistance of divine grace, we may not apply the above
principles too strictly. This, for the following reason: Cases in which
we can not help ourselves with the aid of the grace given us are rare.
Therefore God gives us, in reward of our confident prayer, not only that
which is strictly necessary, but also that which is profitable and
conducive to our welfare. This being so, the logical deduction is, that
God is willing to hear our prayer not only when we, of ourselves, are
totally incapable of helping ourselves, but also when great difficulties
beset us in this our self-help. Hence, in a certain sense, we may
maintain that in the work of our salvation prayer and its efficacy must
be considered, together with the sacraments, as one of the chief means,
and not as a mere accessory.

[Illustration: The Annunciation]

This limitation of the main principle is founded on the generality of
the divine promises concerning the hearing of prayer, and on the great
goodness and bounty of God in which these promises originated. When man,
making use of all the means placed at his disposal, can not help
himself, a cry for help is sent to Heaven is not presumptuous or
unreasonable, and therefore the hope of being heard is not unfounded or
in vain.



CHAPTER IV

The Qualities of Prayer

FOR greater convenience of explanation, we condense the various
qualities of prayer taught by theologians as conditions of its efficacy
into the following four: (1) Devotion; (2) Confidence; (3) Perseverance;
(4) Resignation to the will of God.

Treating of prayer, some theological authors demand, above all, the
intention of praying. This intention is indeed so necessary that it does
not belong to the qualities or attributes of prayer, but to its very
essence. For whosoever has not the intention or will to pray may recite
a formula of prayer with the greatest attention, yet does not really and
truly pray.

Again, the teachers of the spiritual life tell us that prayer must be
"in the name of Jesus." This being a condition insisted upon by our
divine Lord Himself, it also belongs to the essence of prayer. It means
that we offer up our prayer to God in the name of Jesus His Son, that
is, with reference to Him and in the firm confidence that we shall be
heard on His account and because of His promises. Again, to pray in the
name of Jesus means to pray according to His manner and in His spirit.

We now proceed to explain the qualities of true prayer:

1. _Devotion._--What is meant by devotion in prayer? Devotion in prayer
means: (_a_) that our prayer must be attentive; that is, the person
praying must direct his thoughts as uninterruptedly as possible to his
prayer, _viz.,_ to the formula he uses to state the object of his
desires, and above all to God, to whom his prayer is directed. (_b_) The
person praying must know and acknowledge his own needs, and that of
himself he has no claims whatsoever on God, and thus engender in himself
sentiments of true humility, (_c_) These sentiments must, moreover,
embrace reverence for God and the acknowledgment of dependence on Him,
thus giving to prayer the character of piety, (_d_) All this must
culminate in full abandonment to God, the Giver of all good things. This
abandonment is an essential part of our divine cult.

As to the question whether devotion, and what grade of it, is necessary
in prayer, and whether prayer without it loses its entire efficacy, and
especially its imploring efficiency, it is evident that prayer without
devotion is ineffective; it is simulation. An example of this, that is,
of a man pretending to pray and not praying in reality, is given us in
the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (_Luke_ xviii. 10-12). To
determine accurately what grade of devotion, that is, what degree of
attention, humility, and piety is necessary to render prayer from a
formality into a reality, is possible only when all the circumstances,
dispositions, and qualities of mind of the person praying can be taken
into account. Suffice it to remark that when all the other conditions,
together with the intention of praying, combine, strict but reliable
theologians declare that the true essence of prayer is compatible with a
less degree of attention and recollection.

2. _Confidence._--There is no doubt but that strong confidence, or the
firm hope of being heard, contributes much to the perfection of prayer
and renders it especially effective. Therefore confidence, like devotion
or attention, must be reckoned among the essential qualities or
attributes of prayer. For it is inconceivable that a rational being
should resolve on presenting a petition when he has not the least hope
of its being granted. In this case his petition would be entirely
useless, and therefore irrational. Again, it is inconceivable that God
should have regard for a prayer or the petition of a man who has
absolutely no confidence in His mercy. A prayer without confidence is
hypocrisy, rather than true and sincere supplication. If we address a
petition to God without the confidence that He can and will grant it, He
must rather feel offended than honored thereby. How, then, shall He feel
moved to grant us new benefits? If we nevertheless receive them, it is
the effect of His bountiful goodness, and not the result of our sham
prayer.

Therefore, to be effective, our prayer must be inspired by confidence.
The apostle St. James inculcates this, saying: "But let him ask in
faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea,
which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not that man
think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (_James_ i. 6-7). By
these words the apostle designates not a common and ordinary confidence,
but one firm and steadfast. At the same time he speaks in general; that
is, his words have reference not only to extraordinary petitions, but to
everything for which we are accustomed to pray.

Moreover, the explicit and positive promises made by Christ in regard to
prayer manifestly have the purpose of inspiring the person praying with
firm confidence and the sure hope of being heard. If, then, our prayer
be wanting in this quality, we do not pray in the spirit of Christ, nor
in the terms in which we ought to pray, and can not claim the fulfilment
of His promises.

3. _Perseverance._--To understand properly in how far perseverance is a
quality of prayer, we must, above all, know what may be the objects of
our prayer. Of these there are three classes. To the first class belong
those cases in which a person needs divine help at the present moment or
at least at a time definitely near, and seeks it through prayer. Such a
petition would be, for instance, to obtain the necessary and effective
aid of divine grace for overcoming an existing transient temptation, or
the conversion of a certain sinner approaching death. To the second
class belongs the avoidance of temporal evils, or of continuous
temptations, or the conversion of a certain sinner now in good health.
To the third class belong such benefits which can be granted only for a
later period, perhaps at the hour of death. The grace of final
perseverance is the foremost among these.

Having stated the preliminary conditions, the answer to the question of
perseverance in prayer is:

_a._ Inasmuch as our prayer is directed toward the attainment of
benefits of the first class, that is, of graces which we need
immediately, perseverance can obviously not be an essential condition of
our prayer. Either we can not attain our object by prayer, or a
transient prayer which has the other necessary qualities must suffice
for its attainment. The first supposition is contrary to the divine
promises; therefore the alternative must stand.

_b._ When there is question of benefits and graces of the second and
third class, we must concede that perseverance or continuance in prayer
is neither impossible, nor is it unreasonable. God is willing to grant
us His almighty help, but at the same time He desires that we, being
convinced of its necessity, implore it all the more eagerly, and thereby
become more worthy to receive it when He shall be pleased to grant our
petitions. Therefore

4. _Resignation_ to the will of God is a necessary condition for the
efficacy of our prayer. This quality of our prayer needs no lengthy
explanation; its application to prayer is self-evident.

Finally the petition for a certain benefit, in order to be reasonable
and permissible, must include the following two attributes: (_a_) The
object prayed for must not be harmful, but profitable; (_b_) it must not
be opposed to the will of God.

_Conclusions._--Careful observation will convince us that prayer is
often wanting in one or more of the above qualities. Often that which
one seeks to obtain by prayer is not promotive of God's glory and of the
salvation of souls, even considered from a human point of view, much
less in the designs of Providence.

In cases where the object of prayer in itself presents no difficulties,
it is often defective for want of devotion or perseverance. But oftenest
our prayer is wanting in confidence and trust, which want originates in
the feeble faith of the person praying, or in too little reliance on the
promises of Christ and in the merits of His redemption. Thus there is
nothing to surprise us if we are not heard.

Again, we must never forget that very many, and generally the most
precious gifts of divine grace are bestowed secretly. Remember the many
and great benefits conferred daily and hourly by God on mankind,
universally and individually. Considering them, it is presumption to
maintain that in a special case the prayer of the Church, or of a
community, or of an individual, was not granted. The opposite is fully
proved by the goodness, bounty, and mercy which God shows so profusely
to us.

We must, moreover, never lose sight of the principle that the promises
made to prayer concern directly only the supernatural order of
salvation. To the goods of the temporal order they are applicable only
relatively. If we, therefore, experience that our prayers relative to
temporal things remain unheard, we must, instead of doubting the divine
promises, be firmly convinced that the attainment of the object for
which we prayed was, under the circumstances, not conducive to our real
welfare. We must, moreover, be convinced that God, in order not to leave
our petition ungranted, conferred on us some other real benefit.

Finally, when the refusal of our prayer is clearly and unmistakably
established, the reasons for this may be the following: (_a_) Perhaps
the person praying was wanting in effort, or in cooperation with graces
formerly received, a deficiency which can not be repaired by prayer
alone. (_b_) Or the prayer itself is wanting in one or the other
necessary qualities, especially in confidence. (_c_) God does not intend
to refuse the desired grace, but, for reasons of His own, delays it
(_d_) God gives us in place of what we asked some other grace more
salutary to us.



PART II

Mary, the Help of Christians

Novenas in Preparation for the Principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin


"Holy Mary, aid the miserable, assist the desponding, strengthen the
weak, pray for the people, plead for the clergy, intercede for the
devout female sex. Let all who have recourse to thee experience the
efficacy of thy help!"--HOLY CHURCH.



Rules for the Proper Observance of Novenas

_By St. Alphonsus Liguori_

1. THE soul must be in the state of grace; for the devotion of a sinful
heart pleases neither God nor the saints.

2. We must persevere, that is, the prayers for each day of the novena
must never be omitted.

3. If possible, we should visit a church every day, and there implore
the favor we desire.

4. Every day we ought to perform certain specified acts of exterior
self-denial and interior mortification, in order to prepare us thereby
for the reception of grace.

5. It is most important that we receive holy communion when making a
novena. Therefore prepare yourself well for it.

6. After obtaining the desired grace for which the novena was made, do
not omit to return thanks to God and to the saint through whose
intercession your prayers were heard.



On the Manner of Reading the Meditations and Observing the Practices

HOLY SCRIPTURE says, "Before prayer prepare thy soul; and be not as a
man that tempteth God" (_Eccles._ xviii. 23). Therefore place yourself
in the presence of God, invoke the assistance of the Holy Ghost, and
make a most sincere act of contrition for your sins. Offer up to God
your will, your intellect, and your memory, so that your prayer may be
pleasing to God and serve to promote your spiritual welfare.

Then read the meditation slowly, reflecting on each point of the thought
or mystery treated, and consider what you can learn from it, and for
what grace you ought to implore God. This is the principal object to be
attained by mental prayer.

Never rise from your prayer without having formed some special
resolution for practical observance. The practices at the end of each
consideration in the following novenas will aid you to do so. Finally,
ask for grace to carry out effectively your good purposes, and thank God
for enlightening your mind during the meditation.


Introduction

Mary, the Help of Christians

NO CATHOLIC denies that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator
through whose merits we became reconciled to God. Nevertheless, it is a
doctrine of our faith that God willingly grants us grace if the saints,
and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, the queen of saints, intercede
for us. If the saints, during their life on earth, were so potent with
God that through their prayers the blind obtained sight, the deaf
hearing, and the dumb speech, that the sick of all conditions were
healed, the dead restored to life, and the most obstinate sinners
converted; if thousands of other miracles in the order of nature and of
grace were performed through their intercession; what, then, will not
she obtain for us from God, whose virtue and merits transcend those of
all the saints, and who did more for the greater honor and glory of God
than they all? Mary is the queen of saints not only because she is the
Mother of the Most High, but also because her sanctity is more perfect
than theirs, and she therefore thrones above them all in heaven. Hence
the favor with which God regards her, and consequently the power of her
intercession with Him is so much the greater.

If Mary's sanctity thus impressively illustrates the potency of her
intercession, the contemplation of her dignity as the Mother of God does
still more so. Mary brought forth Him who is the Almighty. She calls Him
her Son, who by the word of His omnipotence created from out of nothing
the whole world with all its beauties, and who can call into being
countless millions of other worlds. She calls Him her Son, whose throne
is heaven and whose footstool is the earth, who governs all nature with
almighty power and reveals His name to mankind through the most
astounding miracles. In a word, Mary calls Him her Son, whose
omnipotence fills heaven and earth; and this great, almighty God, who
honors her as His Mother and has wrought in her such great things, will
He not heed her word of intercession, and hear her pleading for those
who have recourse to her? On earth He was subject to her. Her
intercession moved Him to exercise His omnipotent power at the wedding
feast at Cana; and now, when He has glorified and raised her up so high
He would let her invoke Him in vain? No, it is inconceivable that God
should not hear the prayers of His Mother!

[Illustration: The Blessed Virgin visits St. Elizabeth]

The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church vie with each other in
proclaiming the power of Mary's intercession with the Heart of her
divine Son. Some say that having been subject to her on earth, He
desires to be so in heaven, inasmuch as to refuse her nothing she asks.
Hence St. Bernard calls her the "Intercessory Omnipotence." Indeed, when
all the angels and saints in heaven join in supplication to God, their
prayers are but those of servants; but when Mary prays her intercession
is that of His Mother.

Therefore we can not sufficiently thank God for having given us in Mary
so powerful an advocate. St. Bernard aptly says: "The angel announces,
'thou hast found grace before God.' O supreme happiness! Mary shall
always find grace. And what else could we wish? If we seek grace, let us
seek it through Mary; for what she seeks, she finds. Never can she plead
ineffectually."

God, then, who in His infinite mercy has been pleased to provide for all
our needs, desires through Mary to console us, to comfort us, to remove
all distrust, to strengthen our hope. How consoling to him who calls
upon God in sore distress, or implores His pardon for sins committed, is
the thought that at the throne of divine Mercy he has in Mary an
advocate as mighty as she is gracious, who supplements his great
unworthiness by her sublime dignity, and who makes good the defects of
his prayer by her intercession! Therefore St. Bonaventure exclaims:
"Verily, great is Our Lord's mercy! That we, through fear of our divine
Judge, depart not forever from Him, He gave us His own Mother for our
advocate and mediatrix of grace."



I.

Novena in Honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

INDULGENCES

TO ALL the faithful who by themselves or with others, in church or at
home, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall make this novena:
(1) 300 days indulgence for each of the nine days; (2) a plenary
indulgence on one day of the novena or of the eight days following it.
(Pius IX, January 5, 1849.) Conditions: Confession, communion, and
prayer, according to the intentions of the Holy Father.

_Remark._--Whenever, in the following pages, an indulgence is said to be
granted "under the usual conditions," these conditions are the same as
above.

_Note._--The above indulgences may also be gained for making the novena
at any other time of the year, and are not attached to any prescribed
formula of prayer. The same applies to all other novenas in honor of the
Blessed Virgin.


FIRST DAY

Predestination of the Blessed Virgin Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

IN THY conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to
the Father, whose Son Jesus, conceived in thy womb by the Holy Ghost,
thou didst bring forth.

Indulgence. 200 days, every time. (Pius VI, November 21, 1793.)

MEDITATION

HOLY Church, our Mother, purposely gathered into the season of Advent
everything which might contribute to assist us in preparing for the
coming of the Redeemer. Purity of heart is the most necessary and
helpful requirement for receiving God worthily, and for participating in
the fruits of our Redemption through Christ. To remind us of this, Holy
Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, this primary feast of purity, in Advent.

The Church, moreover, intends to remind us that the coming of Christ,
our promised Redeemer, depended on the consent of the Blessed Virgin.
The Redeemer could not appear before she was born of whom He was to be
born. The aurora must precede the rising sun. Thus also Mary, the
spiritual aurora, had to be conceived and born before the appearance of
the Sun of Justice in this world.

PRACTICE

IN MARY appeared the woman who was to crush the serpent's head, who was
to repair by her willing co-operation with God's designs the damage
wrought by the disobedience of our first parents, and who was to become
our mother and mighty advocate with God.

The designs of God concerning Mary were fully accomplished. God also has
designs concerning us. Our life was planned by Him from all eternity,
and we were destined to co-operate with Him harmoniously and
conscientiously in working out our salvation. Have we corresponded with
God's designs? Did we not oppose them by yielding to our evil
inclinations and passions? What a disparity between God's intentions
concerning us and our own co-operation, between His merciful designs and
our cowardly resistance to them!

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O GOD, who through the immaculate conception of the Virgin didst prepare
a worthy dwelling-place for Thy divine Son; grant that, as in view of
Thy Son Thou didst preserve her from all taint, so Thou wouldst
vouchsafe unto us that cleansed from all sin by her intercession we too
may arrive at Thine eternal glory. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

BEHOLD, Virgin immaculate, at thy sacred feet I bow, while my heart
overflows with joy in union with thine own, because from eternity thou
wast the Mother-elect of the eternal Word, and was preserved stainless
from the taint of Adam's sin. Forever praised, forever blessed be the
Most Holy Trinity, who in thy conception poured out upon thy soul the
riches of that matchless privilege. I humbly pray thee, most gracious
Mother, obtain for me the grace to overcome the bitter results of
original sin. Make me victorious over them, that I may never cease to
love my God.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, March 25, 1884.)



SECOND DAY

Mary's Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to the definition of Pope Pius IX, the immaculate conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary is that privilege by which she was preserved,
in view of the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, from original sin in
the first moment of her conception.

By solemnly proclaiming the dogma of Mary's immaculate conception, the
Church confirmed anew the fundamental principles of Christianity which
in our times are so frequently attacked, derided, or forgotten. God
reserved the solemn proclamation of this dogma, which seemingly has no
practical bearing on the Christian life, for our age, to recall to our
mind the doctrines resulting from it.

PRACTICE

THE most important of these doctrines is that of original sin, which
to-day is rejected by many as a debasement of human nature, and is
forgotten by others as having no practical influence on our moral state.
By the promulgation of the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church solemnly declares and defines as an
article of faith, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is conceived without the
stain of original sin by a special privilege and grace of God. If, then,
Mary's sinlessness is an exception, the general rule remains in force,
and all other human beings enter this world in the state of original
sin.

Thus, by the proclamation of the dogma of the immaculate conception, the
Church combats human pride and sensuality, the foremost vices of the
age.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY, unsullied lily of heavenly purity, I rejoice with thee, because at
thy conception's earliest dawn thou wast full of grace and endowed with
the perfect use of reason. I thank and adore the ever-blessed Trinity,
who gave thee such high gifts. I am overwhelmed with shame in thy
presence, to see myself so poor in grace. O thou who wast filled with
heavenly grace, impart some portion of it to my soul, and make me share
the treasures of thy immaculate conception.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary, the Victrix of Satan

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

THE immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary inaugurated the
fulfilment of the divine promise made to our first parents in paradise
in the words addressed to the serpent: "I shall put enmities between
thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head"
(_Gen._ iii. 15). Mary is the woman in whom Satan never had a part. Her
intimate connection with God was announced by the angel: "Hail, full of
grace; the Lord is with thee." Now was fulfilled the saying of the
Psalmist, "The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle. God is in
the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the
morning early" (_Ps._ xlv. 5-6). Mary was chosen to be the glorious
tabernacle of the Son of God "in the morning early," that is, in the
first moment of her existence. God called her into being that she might
assume the exalted dignity of the Mother of His Son, and therefore
granted her the singular privilege of exemption from original sin. In
her were fulfilled Solomon's prophetic words of praise, "Thou art all
fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee" (_Cant._ iv. 7). It
was in view of her Son's merits applied to her beforehand that God thus
produced in her the image of the new man regenerated in the Holy Ghost.

PRACTICE

THE spirit of darkness holds mankind enslaved, but one human being
escapes him. A destructive fire lays waste the whole earth, but one tree
remains unscathed. A terrible tyrant conquers the whole world, but one
fortified city repels his assaults. This human being retaining liberty,
this tree escaping destruction, this city repelling the enemy's attack
is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Will the almighty and merciful God, who has accomplished such great
things in Mary, who has selected her for His Mother, not listen to her
prayers when she intercedes for us? St. William of Paris exclaims: "No
other created being can obtain for us so many and so great graces from
God as His Mother. By the all-powerful might of her intercession He
honors her not only as His handmaid, but also as His Mother." Therefore
we ought not be surprised when the holy Fathers maintain that a single
sigh of Mary is more effective with God than the combined intercession
of all the angels and saints. If, then, Mary's power is so great, she
will surely hear us when we invoke her help in our combat with Satan.
Having conquered him herself, she will also help us to conquer him.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY, thou mystical rose of purity, my heart rejoices with thine at the
glorious triumph which thou didst gain over the infernal serpent by thy
immaculate conception, and because thou wast conceived without stain of
original sin. I thank and praise with my whole heart the ever-blessed
Trinity, who granted thee this glorious privilege; and I pray thee to
obtain for me strength to overcome all the wiles of the infernal foe,
and never to stain my soul with sin. Be thou mine aid; make me, by thy
protection, victorious over the common foe of our eternal welfare.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary without Actual Sin

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

MARY conceived without sin is the most blessed daughter of the eternal
Father, the real and true Mother of the divine Son, the elect spouse of
the Holy Ghost. But in the world, in what condition do we behold her?
She dwells not in a splendid palace; she is not surrounded by a retinue
of servants ready at every moment to do her bidding; she is not exempt
from trials and suffering. On the contrary, she is poor; she lives in
obscurity, and suffered so much on earth that, without shedding her
blood, she merits to be styled the queen of martyrs. Her heart was
transfixed with the sword of sorrow. Mary is not exempt from
tribulations and adversity; but one thing God does not permit to touch
her, _i.e.,_ sin. Hence Holy Church applies to her the words, "Thou art
all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee" (_Cant._ iv. 7).

PRACTICE

THOUGH we were not preserved from sin like Mary, yet God in His
ineffable goodness and mercy granted us the grace to be cleansed from
sin and to be clothed with the garment of sanctifying grace in Baptism.
No treasure of the world can be compared with this prerogative. But as
we bear this grace in a fragile vase, we must be most careful to protect
and preserve it in ourselves and others from all danger. Let the Blessed
Virgin Mary be our example. Well knowing the inestimable value of the
grace conferred upon her, she guarded it with the greatest care.
Although exempt from concupiscence and "full of grace," she was so
distrustful of herself as if she were in continual danger. How much
more, then, must we use precaution to preserve in ourselves and in
others this treasure of grace, since we feel in ourselves constantly the
law of the flesh, which resists the law of the spirit, and urges us on
to evil, whilst the world and the devil never weary in placing snares
for us in order to accomplish our ruin. Therefore let us have recourse
to Mary, and invoking her aid bravely resist all temptations.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MIRROR of holy purity, Mary, Virgin immaculate, great is my joy while I
consider that, from thy immaculate conception, the most sublime and
perfect virtues were infused into thy soul, and with them all the gifts
of the Holy Ghost. I thank and praise the Most Holy Trinity, who
bestowed on thee these high privileges. I pray thee, gentle Mother,
obtain for me grace to practise virtue, and to make me worthy to become
partaker of the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary, Full of Grace

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

SATAN'S relation to God as His child was severed by sin. The beautiful
image of God imprinted on man's soul was disfigured by it. But with the
immaculate conception of Mary, a being full of grace, an object of God's
supreme complacency entered this world. After the lapse of four thousand
years God, in His wisdom, power, and love, for the first time again
created a human being in that state in which He had originally created
our first parents. Mary, from the first moment of her existence was, in
virtue of the sanctifying grace infused into her soul, most intimately
united with God, and endowed with the most precious gifts of heaven.
Because she was predestined to become the Mother of the Redeemer of
mankind, it was befitting that she should unite in herself all the gifts
becoming to such an ineffable dignity. Hence she surpassed in grace and
holiness all other created beings, and was consecrated a worthy temple
of the incarnate Word. Therefore she was saluted by the angel as "full
of grace," and the Church, in our behalf, addresses the Almighty: "O
God, who through the immaculate conception of the Virgin didst prepare a
worthy dwelling-place for Thy divine Son; grant, that, as in view of the
death of that Son Thou didst preserve her from all taint, so Thou
wouldst vouchsafe unto us that, cleansed from all sin by her
intercession, we too may arrive at Thine eternal glory."

PRACTICE

THE world considers men according to their rank and station, their
wealth and knowledge. God recognizes in them but one difference, that
caused by the presence or absence of sanctifying grace in their soul. A
soul in the state of sanctifying grace is God's friend; without it, His
enemy. A man dying in the state of sanctifying grace is sure of eternal
bliss. Therefore we ought to prize this grace above all else, and do
everything in our power to preserve it. St. Leo exhorts us, "Recognize,
O man, thy dignity! As thou hast received divine grace, beware of
returning to your former sinful condition by a wicked life."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY, bright moon of purity, I rejoice with thee, because the mystery of
thy immaculate conception was the beginning of salvation for the race of
man and the joy of the whole world. I thank and bless the ever-blessed
Trinity, who thus did magnify and glorify thee; and I beg of thee to
obtain for me the grace so to profit by thy dear Son's death and
passion, that His precious blood may not have been shed in vain for me
upon the cross, but that, after a holy life, I may reach heaven in
safety.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary, Our Refuge

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

WE CARRY the precious treasure of sanctifying grace in a frail vessel.
Our inclination to evil remains with us, and continues to impel us to
that which is forbidden. On whom shall we call for aid? Call on Mary!
She is conceived without sin. She, the lily among thorns, who never lost
God's friendship, is our advocate. Let her, who was found worthy to
become the Mother of our Redeemer, inspire you with trust and
confidence. The Church invokes her as the refuge of sinners, and under
no other title does she show her love for us more convincingly and her
power with God more efficiently.

[Illustration: The Adoration of the Shepherds]

PRACTICE

WE MAY trust confidently in Mary's intercession and aid in all
temptations and trials, if we but have recourse to her. Therefore St.
John Damascene writes: "Come to my aid, O Mother of my Redeemer! Thou
art my help, my consolation in life. Come to my aid, and I shall escape
unscorched from the fire of temptation; amongst a thousand I shall
remain unharmed; I shall brave the storms of assault unwrecked. Thy name
is my shield, thy help my armor, thy protection my defense. With thee I
boldly attack the enemy and drive him off in confusion; through thee I
shall achieve a triumphant victory." In all temptations, therefore, let
us have recourse to Mary and through her intercession we shall overcome
them.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY immaculate, most brilliant star of purity, I rejoice with thee
because thy immaculate conception has bestowed upon the angels in
paradise the greatest joy. I thank and bless the ever-blessed Trinity,
who enriched thee with this high privilege. O let me, too, one day enter
into this heavenly joy, in the company of angels, that I may praise and
bless thee, world without end.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary, the Mother of Chastity

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

HOLY Scripture and the Fathers agree in the statement that the Blessed
Virgin Mary made the vow of perpetual virginity. For when the Archangel
Gabriel brought God's message to the immaculate spouse of St. Joseph,
that she was to become the Mother of the Most High, she asked, "How
shall this be done, because I know not man?" (_Luke_ i. 34.) Indeed,
Mary would not have been, in the full and most excellent sense of the
word, the "Virgin of virgins," had she not from her own free choice
vowed her virginity to God.

During the whole Christian era there have been heroic souls who made the
vow of perpetual chastity, consecrating themselves to God. Trusting in
the powerful protection of the immaculate Virgin, they persevered in
their resolve to bear this priceless treasure before God's throne
despite the dangers of the world, the temptations of concupiscence, and
the assaults of hell, and with the help of the queen of virgins they
achieved a triumphant victory.

PRACTICE

SINCE the fall of Adam our senses are in rebellion against the law of
God. "I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my
mind, and captivating me in the law of sin" (_Rom._ vii. 23). Chastity
is the virtue which causes us the greatest struggles. St. Augustine
says: "The fiercest of all combats is the one for the preservation of
chastity, and we must engage in it every day." Fierce as this combat is,
the aid which Mary gives her children to achieve victory is
all-powerful. She sustains them by her maternal love and protection.
Those who lead a chaste life receive the Divine Spirit, are happy in
this life, and will receive a special crown in heaven.

Among the means for the preservation of chastity, the following are
specially recommended: The assiduous and constant practice of
self-denial; the frequentation of the sacraments; the daily invocation
of Mary for her aid and protection; scrupulous avoidance of the
occasions of sin. St. Chrysostom writes: "He errs who believes that he
can overcome his sensual propensities and preserve chastity by his own
efforts. God's mercy must extinguish nature's ardor." Have recourse to
the intercession of the immaculate Virgin and rest assured that you will
obtain this mercy.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY immaculate, rising morn of purity, I rejoice with thee, gazing in
wonder upon thy soul confirmed in grace from the very first moment of
thy conception, and rendered inaccessible to sin. I thank and magnify
the ever-blessed Trinity, who chose thee from all our race for this
special privilege. Holy Virgin, obtain for me utter and constant hatred
of all sin above every other evil, and let me rather die than ever again
fall into sin.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



EIGHTH DAY

The Image of the Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

CHRISTIAN art represents the Immaculate Conception as follows: The
Blessed Virgin appears standing on a globe, about which is coiled a
serpent holding an apple in its mouth. One of Mary's feet rests upon the
serpent, the other is placed on the moon. Her eyes are raised toward
heaven; her hands are either joined in prayer, or she holds a lily in
her right, and places the left on her breast. Her dress is white; her
ample mantle is of blue color. A crown of twelve stars encircles her
head. These emblems typify in a most striking manner Mary's power and
glory. "And a great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve
stars" (_Apoc._ xii. 1).

PRACTICE

THE representation of the Immaculate Conception is very instructive. (1)
Mary appears standing on the globe. This signifies that being human, she
belongs to the earth, and yet is exalted above the world and sin; also,
that she trampled under foot earthly possessions, vanities, and joys.
(2) A serpent is coiled about the globe, bearing an apple in its mouth.
This reminds us of the fall of our first parents, and of the
consequences of their sin. (3) Mary's foot rests on the serpent,
indicating that she never was under Satan's dominion, but was preserved
from sin in the first moment of her existence. (4) Mary stands on the
moon. The moon, on account of its changes, is an emblem of inconstancy.
We see it at Mary's feet, to be reminded that we ought to be constant in
faith and virtue. (5) Mary wears a crown, to indicate that she is a
queen. The crown is composed of twelve stars: she is the queen of
heaven. (6) Mary's dress is white, to denote her spotless purity and
innocence. (7) She folds her hands in prayer, reminding us to imitate
her example. (8) Or she holds a lily in her right hand, to indicate her
virginity and chastity, and the sweet odor of her virtues. (9) Mary's
mantle is blue, which color is emblematic of humility. Its folds are
ample, to remind us that all who have recourse to her find a secure
refuge in all dangers and necessities.

Therefore let us invoke her intercession in the words of Holy Church:
"We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God. Despise not our
petitions, and deliver us from all danger, O ever glorious and blessed
Virgin!"

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O SPOTLESS sun! O Virgin Mary! I congratulate thee. I rejoice with thee
because in thy conception God gave thee grace greater and more boundless
than He ever shed on all His angels and all the saints, together with
all their merits. I am thankful and I marvel at the surpassing
beneficence of the ever-blessed Trinity, who conferred on thee this
privilege. O make me correspond with the grace of God and never abuse
it. Change this heart of mine; make me now begin to amend my life.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



NINTH DAY

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

EARLY in the Christian era the feast of Mary's immaculate conception was
observed in several countries. St. Anselm, Bishop of Canterbury,
introduced it in England. A great number of Popes favored the doctrine
of Mary's absolute sinlessness, and the adversaries of the Immaculate
Conception were bidden to be silent and not publicly assert or defend
their view. In 1477, Pope Sixtus IV prescribed the feast of the
Immaculate Conception to be observed in the whole Church, and made it
obligatory on priests to recite the special canonical office and to use
the Mass formula published for the purpose. In 1846, the bishops of the
United States assembled in plenary council in Baltimore elected the
Blessed Virgin under the title of her immaculate conception Patroness of
the Church in their country.

Finally, Pope Pius IX, after consulting with the bishops throughout the
world, and having implored the Holy Ghost for His guidance in prayer and
fasting, promulgated, on December 8, 1854, the dogma which teaches that
the Blessed Virgin Mary was in her conception, by a special grace and
through the merits of her divine Son, preserved from the stain of
original sin. This doctrine was received throughout the world with
ineffable joy; and, indeed, no one who loves the Blessed Virgin can help
rejoicing at this her most glorious privilege.

The invocation, "Queen conceived without the stain of original sin," was
added to the Litany of Loreto. In 1866, at the Second Plenary Council in
Baltimore, the feast of the Immaculate Conception was raised to the rank
of a holyday of obligation for the Church of the United States.

PRACTICE

IN THE inscrutable designs of His providence God ordained that the
mystery of the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary should
be proclaimed an article of faith as late as the middle of the
nineteenth century. But, then, its proclamation was attended by
circumstances that undeniably proved that the Holy Father in pronouncing
the dogma had been inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost.

Let us praise God and thank Him for bestowing this glorious privilege on
our beloved Mother, and let us often invoke her under her favorite
title, the Immaculate Conception. St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that
the devotion to this mystery is especially efficacious in overcoming the
temptations of impurity. Therefore he was accustomed to recommend to his
penitents thus tempted to recite three times every day the Hail Mary in
honor of Mary immaculate. And the Venerable John of Avila assures us
that he never found any one who practised a true devotion to the
Immaculate Conception of Mary, who did not in a short time obtain the
gift of that virtue which renders us so dear to her immaculate heart.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O LIVING light of holiness, model of purity, Mary immaculate, virgin and
mother! As soon as thou wast conceived thou didst profoundly adore thy
God, giving Him thanks that in thee the ancient curse was revoked, and
blessing came again upon the sinful sons of Adam. O make this blessing
kindle in my heart love for God; and do thou fan this flame of love
within me, that I may love Him constantly and one day in heaven
eternally enjoy Him, there to thank Him more and more fervently for all
the wondrous privileges conferred on thee, and to rejoice with thee for
thy high crown of glory.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



II

Novena in Honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary



FIRST DAY

The Birth of Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

WE FLY to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions
in our necessities, and deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and
blessed Virgin!

MEDITATION

MARY is born! The dawn announcing the coming salvation of mankind is at
hand. The deep significance of Mary's birth is expressed in the words of
the Church: "Thy birth, O virgin Mother of God, has brought joy to the
world; for from thee is to come forth the Sun of Justice, Christ our
Lord, to dispel the curse and bring the blessing, to conquer death and
bring us everlasting life. On this day a light broke forth to brighten
the paths of men through all time. Let us, then, rejoice in Mary's
coming."

Equally expressive and touching are the reflections of that great Doctor
of the Church, St. Augustine: "The day has dawned, the long-wished-for
day of the blessed and venerable Virgin Mary. Well may this earth of
ours rejoice and be glad for having been honored and sanctified by the
birth of such a virgin."

PRACTICE

LET us, then, rejoice in Mary's coming. Let us hail the birth of her who
attained the dignity of mother without losing the high privilege of a
virgin. Let us imitate her holy life, that she may become our
intercessor before the throne of her Son, our judge and redeemer. By
becoming the Mother of God she became also our Mother. As Mother of the
Redeemer she is also the Mother of the redeemed. Richard of St. Lawrence
writes: "If we desire grace and help, let us have recourse to Mary and
we shall obtain what we desire." For, as St. Alphonsus remarks: "All
graces and gifts which God has resolved to bestow upon us He gives us
through the hands of Mary."

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

GRANT to us, Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of heavenly
grace; that to those for whom the delivery of the Blessed Virgin was the
commencement of salvation, the commemoration of her nativity may give
increasing peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MOST lovely child, who by thy birth hast comforted the world, made glad
the heavens, struck terror into hell, brought help to the fallen,
consolation to the sad, health to the sick, joy to all; we pray thee
with all fervent love, be thou born again in spirit in our souls through
thy most holy love. Renew our fervor in thy service, rekindle in our
hearts the fire of thy love, and bid all virtues blossom there, which
may cause us to find more and more fervor in thy gracious eyes. O Mary,
may we feel the saving power of thy sweetest name! Let it ever be our
comfort to call on that great name in all our troubles; let it be our
hope in dangers, our shield in temptation, and in death our last
aspiration.

_Ejaculation_

O Mary, who didst come into the world free from stain: obtain of God for
me that I may leave it without sin!

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Pius IX, March 27, 1863.)



SECOND DAY

Mary, the Elect of God

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

WE FIND the explanation of the great prerogatives and privileges which
God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary by reflecting on her singular
and glorious predestination. From all eternity she was predestined to
become the Mother of His divine Son; therefore, says Pope Pius IX, God
loved her above all created beings, and in His special predilection made
her the object of His divine complacency. With singular appropriateness
we may apply to her the words of Holy Scripture, "I have loved thee with
an everlasting love" (_Jer._ xxxi. 3). The eternal Father regarded Mary
as His beloved Daughter; the divine Son honored her as His dearest
Mother; the Holy Ghost loved her as His spotless Spouse. "And," says St.
Anselm, "they loved each other with an affection unsurpassed by any
other."

PRACTICE

INSPIRED by the contemplation of Mary's extraordinary privileges, St.
Anselm exclaims: "Thou, O Mary, art more exalted than the patriarchs,
greater than the martyrs, more glorious than the confessors, purer than
the virgins, and therefore thou, alone, canst achieve more than they can
without thee." Let us, then, rejoice that we possess such a powerful
advocate in heaven, and let us place implicit trust in her. But let us
also co-operate with the graces and favors which she obtains for us.
Moreover, let us remember that we grievously offend God and Mary if we
abuse what we obtain through her intercession to gratify our evil
inclinations, and that the graces she obtains for us for our salvation
will redound to our ruin if we do not use them for the glory of God and
the promotion of our soul's welfare.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, Mary, who, sprung from the royal line of David, didst come
forth to the light of heaven with high honor from the womb of holy Anna,
thy most happy mother.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary, the Child of Royalty

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to her lineage, as traced in two Gospels, Mary numbers among
her paternal and maternal ancestors the holiest and most renowned
personages of the Old Testament. We find amongst them Abraham, the
friend of God, the father of Israel and of all the faithful; then David,
the man after God's own heart, the inspired Royal Prophet; and Solomon,
the wise and mighty king, and the whole line of the kings of Juda. On
her mother's side she belonged to the tribe of Levi, and was descended
from its noblest and most prominent family, that of Aaron the High
Priest, and was therefore a relative of the High Priests of the Old
Testament. Thus royal and sacerdotal prestige distinguished Mary's
lineage.

PRACTICE

THE Blessed Virgin was not proud of her illustrious ancestry, and not
depressed because of the downfall of her family, but applied herself
diligently to adhere to the faith and follow the example of her
ancestors. Remembering the wicked members of her family, she learned
from them that temporal greatness, success, wealth, and glory are more
dangerous to virtue than poverty, retirement, and work. Let us imitate
Mary's example. Even possessed of the most excellent prestiges of the
natural order, of ourselves we are nothing. "What hast thou that thou
hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory as if
thou hadst not received?" (1 _Cor._ iv. 7.) Therefore do not
overestimate yourself; do not be conceited; do not strive for praise,
honors, and high station; be not boastful or arrogant; do not presume on
your merits; rather be distrustful of yourself and patiently bear
affronts, neglect, and humiliations. However poor you may be, be content
with your lot, remembering the words of the Apostle: "They that will
become rich fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and
into many unprofitable and hurtful desires which draw men into
destruction and perdition. For the desire of money is the root of all
evils: which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled
themselves in many sorrows" (1 _Tim._ vi. 9, 10).

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, O Mary, heavenly babe, white dove of purity, who, despite
the infernal serpent, was conceived free from the taint of Adam's sin.
With all our hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to come
down again and be born in spirit in our souls, that, led captive by thy
loveliness and sweetness, they may ever live united to thy most sweet
and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).

[Illustration: The Purification]



FOURTH DAY

Mary, the Child of Pious Parents

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

TRADITION tells us that Mary's parents were called Joachim and Anna. The
holy Fathers rival each other in praising the virtue of this holy
couple. St. Epiphanius writes: "Joachim and Anna were pleasing in the
sight of God because of the holiness of their lives." St. Andrew of
Crete remarks: "Joachim was eminent for the mildness and fortitude of
his character. The law of God was his rule of life. He was just, and
never relaxed in the fervor of his love of God. Anna was no less noted
for her meekness, continence, and chastity." St. Jerome relates: "The
life of this holy couple was simple and just before the Lord, edifying
and virtuous before men." St. John Damascene exclaims: "O happy, chaste,
and immaculate couple, Joachim and Ann! You are known, according to the
Lord's word, by your fruit. Your life was pleasing in the sight of God,
and worthy of her who was born of you."

PRACTICE

IT is a great blessing, and one to be esteemed more highly than wealth
and high station, to have God-fearing, pious parents. For their sake God
is gracious to the children and lavishes His gifts on them. It is
certainly a great privilege to be offered up to God immediately after
birth by the hands of a pious mother. To have, from childhood up, the
example and guidance of virtuous parents is certainly of the greatest
importance. St. Chrysostom writes: "The parents' example is the book
from which the child learns." A pious bishop was wont to say: "The good
example of the parents is the best catechism and the truest mirror that
a family can have." If Christian parents imitate the example of Joachim
and Ann the blessing of God will rest on them and on their children; for
because her parents were so dear to Mary, she will not refuse to join
them in their prayers for us.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, brightest morn, forerunner of the heavenly Sun of Justice,
who didst first bring light to earth. Humbly prostrate, with all our
hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in
spirit in our souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness,
they may ever live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Supernatural Prerogatives

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

MARY was the masterpiece of God's creation; her soul was the most
perfect ever dwelling in a human body. A pious tradition tells us that
she possessed the use of reason much earlier than other children. Her
intellect was illuminated by supernatural light; her will was exempt
from concupiscence. Being preserved from original sin, she surpassed in
holiness, from the first moment of her existence, all angels and men.
She possessed all virtues in the highest degree, because of her faithful
co-operation with sanctifying grace and with the countless actual graces
granted to her. She lived in constant communion with God, undisturbed by
evil inclinations from within or temptations from without.

PRACTICE

THROUGH the effects of original sin we have lost the supernatural
prerogative of original justice, and even after receiving sanctifying
grace in holy Baptism we are exposed to many temptations. Our life is a
constant warfare. We must, however, not despair in this struggle, for if
we are true children of Mary she will come to our aid. In all
temptations Mary is the "Help of Christians" if we have recourse to her.
But if we wish her to help us, we must not expose ourselves
unnecessarily to temptation. "He that loveth danger shall perish in it"
(_Ecclus._ iii. 27). This sad experience has come to many. Let us,
therefore, avoid the danger and occasion of sin; and whenever evil
approaches us in any shape, let us call upon Mary, and we may rest
assured that she will assist us. "I shall certainly triumph over my
enemies," exclaims St. Alphonsus, "if I place my trust in thee, O Mary,
and if thou art my shield and protection against them."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, O chosen one! who like the untarnished sun didst burst
forth into being in the dark night of sin. Humbly prostrate at thy feet,
O Mary, we give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we pray thee to
vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in our souls, that, led
captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever live united to
thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary, the Joy of the Most Holy Trinity

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

IN THE child Mary the eternal Father beheld His unsullied glorious
image, which image had been defaced in all other human beings by
original and actual sin. What a joy to Him to behold this stainless,
immaculate child! And how great must have been the joy of the Son of God
at the birth of her who was to be His Mother! From her He was to take
that sacred body in which He was to dwell on earth, the blood of which
He was to shed on the cross for our redemption, and in which He was to
return to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. He will call
her Mother, and regard her with all the filial tenderness of a child for
his mother. She will love Him in return with a true mother's affection
and devotion. As the Mother of Sorrows she will weep over His inanimate
body taken down from the cross. But like Himself, she will leave the
tomb, and reign at His side as the queen of heaven. How great, then,
must have been His joy at the birth of this child!

The Holy Ghost, too, rejoiced at Mary's birth. He infused into her the
plenitude of His holy love, for she was destined to become the Mother of
God. And how Mary will love God, from whom she received so many and so
great graces, and whom she is to bear in her arms as her real and true
Son! This, her divine Son's love for mankind, will be imparted also to
her. Therefore the Holy Ghost rejoices at this child, who received into
her heart the fulness of His grace, and shall be the helper of those who
have recourse to her.

PRACTICE

RAISE your spirit above time and space; try to contemplate well the
mystery of Mary's predestination. To make us realize the great
privileges conferred upon her, the Church applies to her the words of
Holy Scripture, "He that shall find me, shall find life, and have
salvation from the Lord" (_Prov._ viii. 35). Only when we consider Mary
as the Mother of God, do we arrive at a right conception of her great
dignity. Hence St. Bonaventure exclaims, "God might have created a more
beautiful world; He might have made heaven more glorious; but it was
impossible for Him to exalt a creature higher than Mary in making her
His Mother."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, beauteous moon, O Mary most holy, who didst shed light
upon a world wrapped in the densest darkness of sin. Humbly prostrate at
thy feet, we give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we pray thee
to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in our souls,
that led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness they may ever live
united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SEVENTH DAY

The Angels Rejoice at Mary's Birth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

DESCRIBING God's power and wisdom as shown in creation, Holy Scripture,
according to the explanation of the Fathers, introduces Him as saying,
"When the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God
made a joyful melody" (_Job_ xxxviii. 7), and by these words intends to
convey with what joy the angels praised God's omnipotence on beholding
the wonders of creation. What, then, must have been their joy on
beholding this new wonder of divine power and wisdom, the child Mary,
destined to be their queen. Filled with admiration they exclaimed, "Who
is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright
as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?" (_Cant._ vi. 9.) And
moreover, if, as Our Lord declares, the angels rejoice at the conversion
of a sinner, how great must have been their joy at the birth of her who
was to be the refuge of sinners and the mother of Him who was to be the
Redeemer of sinners? Again, the angels rejoiced at Mary's birth, because
she would fill, through the salvation of mankind by her divine Son, the
places made vacant in heaven by the apostate angels.

PRACTICE

GOOD children rejoice on the birthday of their parents and gratefully
remember all the benefits they have received from them. Thus should we,
also, celebrate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin by a grateful
remembrance of the innumerable graces, individual and general, we
received through her intercession. In acknowledging Mary's co-operation
with our salvation, Holy Church calls her our mediatrix, and greets her
as the "Cause of our joy," because, though we receive grace from Christ,
it comes to us through her mediation. What cause, then, have we not for
rejoicing at her birth! Again, greeting Mary as the cause of our joy,
let us remember the protection she extended to the Church in times of
adversity and persecution; let us, furthermore, remember all the graces
which, according to the holy Fathers, are dispensed to us by Mary's
hands. "Of her plenitude," says St. Bonaventure, "we have all received;
the captive liberty, the sick health, the sad consolation, the sinner
pardon, the just grace." Therefore the Church invokes Mary as the mother
of mercy, the health of the sick, the comforter of the afflicted, the
refuge of sinners, the help of Christians, in a word, as the cause of
our joy.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, fair soul of Mary, who from all eternity wast God's, and
God's alone; sanctuary and living temple of the Holy Ghost; sun without
blemish, because free from original sin. With all our hearts we pray to
thee, O Mary, to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in
our souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may
ever live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



EIGHTH DAY

The Joy of the Just in Limbo at Mary's Birth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

FOR four thousand years the just in limbo sighed for redemption, and
sent up to Heaven the plaintive cry, "O that Thou wouldst rend the
heavens, and wouldst come down!" (_Is._ xiv. 1.) "Drop down dew, ye
heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just; let the earth be
opened and bud forth a Saviour" (_Is._ xlv. 8). What joy must have
filled the souls of the just when they heard the welcome tidings of the
birth of Mary, the virgin Mother of the promised Messias; how great
their consolation at the rising of that dawn which preceded the Sun of
Justice, whose splendor was to illuminate the darkness of them that sat
in the shadow of death!

PRACTICE

A JOY similar to that which filled the captive souls in limbo at Mary's
birth now fills the souls in purgatory when we implore her to come to
their relief. Contemplating the immense love of the Most Holy Trinity
for Mary, we may not doubt but that, by her intercession, she might at
once deliver all the suffering souls from their prison, if such were in
accordance with God's will. But God's wisdom and providence have decreed
otherwise. Therefore Mary does not pray for the release of all souls in
purgatory, but recommends them, in conformity with God's will, to His
mercy. St. Bernardine of Sienna applies to Mary the words of Holy
Scripture, "I have penetrated into the bottom of the deep and have
walked in the waves of the sea" (_Ecclus._ xxiv. 8), and says: "She
descends into that sea of suffering and soothes the pains of the poor
souls." St. Denis the Carthusian remarks, that when the name of Mary is
mentioned in purgatory, the souls there imprisoned experience the same
relief as when a sick person hears words of consolation on his bed of
pain.

Therefore let us entrust our prayers for the souls in purgatory to Mary.
She will present our petitions to God, and thus presented, He will
speedily hear and graciously grant them.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, strong child, who didst put to flight all hell and the
powers of darkness. We give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we
pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in our
souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever
live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



NINTH DAY

The Holy Name of Mary

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ST. ALPHONSUS writes of the name of Mary: "This name was neither
invented on earth, nor imposed by human agency. It came from heaven and
was given to the Mother of God by divine command." Just as it is a
peculiar glory of our Saviour's name, that "God 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 under the earth"
(_Philipp._ ii. 9), thus it also behooves that Mary, the most perfect,
the most pure, and most exalted of all created beings, should receive a
most holy, lovely, and powerful name. St. Methodius declares that the
name of Mary is so rich in grace and blessing, that no one can pronounce
it devoutly without at the same time receiving a spiritual favor. Bl.
Jordan exclaims: "Let a heart be ever so obdurate, let a man even
despair of God's mercy, if he have recourse to thee, O Mary, virgin most
clement, he can not fail to be softened and filled with confidence if he
invokes thy name; for thou wilt inspire him with hope in God's mercy,
pardon, and grace."

PRACTICE

IT IS, then, meet and just that we should devoutly honor and praise the
name of Mary. Let us never mention it except in reverence and devotion.
Let us invoke Mary by it in all dangers of body and soul, mindful of the
words of St. Bernard: "O sinner, when the floods and tempests of this
earthly life overwhelm thee so that thou canst not firmly set thy foot,
turn not away thy gaze from the light of this guiding star. When the
storms of temptation assail thee, and the rocks and quicksands of
vexation and trial threaten to shatter thy bark of hope, look up to that
bright star in the heavens, and call on the name of Mary. When the
billows of pride and of ambition, when the floods of calumny are about
to submerge thee, look up to this star and call on the name of Mary.
When anger, avarice, and concupiscence convulse the peace of thy soul,
look up to this star and call on Mary. When thy sins rise up like
hideous monsters before thy troubled vision, when thy conscience stings
thee, when the terrors of future judgment fill thee with deadly anguish,
when gloom and sadness overpower thee, when thou findest thyself on the
brink of hellish despair, take courage; think of Mary, and thou wilt
find from thy own inward experience how true are the sayings of those
who tell thee that the name of the Blessed Virgin is 'Star of the Sea,'
the name of the Virgin is Mary."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, beloved child Mary, adorned with every virtue,
immeasurably above all the saints, and therefore worthy Mother of the
Saviour of the world, who by the operation of the Holy Ghost didst bring
forth the incarnate Word. We give thee our homage, and with all our
hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in our
souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever
live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



III

Novena for the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

FIRST DAY

The Annunciation

PREPARATORY PRAYER

MY QUEEN, my Mother, remember I am thine own. Keep me, guard me, as thy
property and possession!

Indulgence. 40 days, every time. (Pius IX, August 5, 1851.)

MEDITATION

AT NAZARETH, a mountain village in Judea, lived poor and in obscurity
Mary, the virgin selected by God to become the Mother of His Son. On
March 25th she was in prayer in her chamber, and perhaps sent up to
heaven the yearning petition, "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain the just; let the earth be opened and bud a
Saviour" (_Is._ xlv. 8). Behold, suddenly the chamber is suffused by a
heavenly light. The archangel Gabriel stands reverently before her and
says, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou
among women. And when Mary heard the angel's words, she was troubled at
his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this
should be" (_Luke_ i. 28, 29).

PRACTICE

THE angel's salutation comprises two titles of ineffable greatness. Mary
is called "full of grace," because of her innocence and purity; she is
called "blessed among women," because she is the elect Mother of God.
Never before was a human being thus greeted. It was God Himself who sent
the message to Mary. A good angel now repaired the harm once done by a
bad angel. For Lucifer, the fallen angel, seduced Eve to sin and thereby
caused the ruin of the whole human race; now another angel, Gabriel, was
sent to announce the glad tidings to Mary, that she was to conceive the
Redeemer from sin, who was to accomplish the salvation of mankind.

Mary was troubled at the angel's words, and reflected on the meaning of
the message. St. Ambrose writes: "Mary was troubled, not because the
angel was a heavenly spirit, but because he appeared to her in the form
of a youth. Still more was she troubled at the praises spoken to her.
She was innocent and humble, and therefore reflected on the meaning of
the message. She had always considered herself as a poor and unknown
virgin; she deemed herself unworthy of God's grace; therefore she was
troubled at the salutation. In that decisive moment she was and remained
our model."

[Illustration: The Flight into Egypt]

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

POUR forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we
unto whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the
message of an angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the
glory of the resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

WITH wonder I revere thee, holiest Virgin Mary; for of all God's
creatures thou wast the humblest on the very day of thy annunciation,
when God Himself exalted Thee to the sublime dignity of His own Mother.
O mightiest Virgin, make me, wretched sinner that I am, know the depths
of my own nothingness, and make me humble myself at last with all my
heart, beneath the feet of all men.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me!

Indulgence. 50 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, March 20, 1894.)



SECOND DAY

The Import of the Angel's Salutation

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

"HAIL, full of grace!" Mary was greeted as full of grace by the Giver of
grace Himself. The angel's salutation meant: "The grace of God has
preserved thee from all sin. Neither the stain of original sin, nor the
guilt of actual sin, ever obscured the mirror of thy soul. By the
special favor of God the most sublime virtues were infused into thy
soul."

"The Lord is with thee." From all eternity the Lord was with Mary. He
was with her not only as He is with His whole creation, but He was with
her in a special manner. The eternal Father was with her from all
eternity as with His beloved Daughter. The divine Son was with her from
all eternity as with His chosen Mother. The Holy Ghost was with her from
all eternity as with His beloved Spouse. This intimate union never was
disrupted. Therefore Mary is "Blessed among women," and ever was, and
ever shall be the beloved of the Lord.

PRACTICE

CONSIDER how Mary receives the angel's message. She is troubled, she is
disturbed at the praise, at the reverence of the angel. What an example
of humility! Let us imitate her in this virtue by the acknowledgment
before God of our weakness, our unworthiness, our nothingness, and by
ordering our whole being accordingly. Humility renders us pleasing in
the sight of God and makes us susceptible of His grace. Hence St.
Augustine writes: "God resists the proud and gives His grace to the
humble. What a terrible punishment for the proud, what a splendid reward
for the humble! The proud man resembles a rock, the humble man a
beautiful valley. The grace of God descends from heaven like a gentle
rain. It can not penetrate the rock of pride, and hence the proud man
loses God's grace and love. But in the valley of humility the waters of
divine grace can diffuse themselves and fructify the soul of the humble
man, so that it may bring forth fruit unto eternal life."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O MARY, holiest Virgin, who, when the archangel Gabriel hailed thee in
thy annunciation, and thou wast raised by God above all choirs of the
angels, didst confess thyself "the handmaid of the Lord"; do thou obtain
for me true humility and a truly angelic purity, and so to live on earth
as ever to be worthy of the blessings of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

The Effect of the Angel's Salutation

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE effect of the angel's salutation on Mary was striking. Imbued with
sentiments quite different from ours, she was troubled at the praise
addressed to her. Meanwhile she is silent and considers within herself
what might be the meaning of these words. And now the angel calls her by
name, saying, "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and
thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called
the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the
throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for
ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (_Luke_ i. 30-33).

PRACTICE

LET us admire the prudence shining forth in Mary. After hearing the
angel's words of praise she was silent and thought within herself what
kind of a salutation this was. She is very careful and prudent. On this
her conduct St. Thomas Aquinas remarks: "Mary did not refuse to believe,
nor did she receive the message with credulity. She avoided Eve's
gullibility and the distrust of Zachary the high priest." And St.
Bernard writes: "Mary preferred to remain silent in humility, rather
than to speak inconsiderately." Let us strive always to speak and act
with deliberation. Our conversation ought always to be judicious; for
often a word spoken inconsiderately causes bitter regret. St. Thomas
Aquinas observes: "Song was given to a number of creatures, but human
beings alone were endowed with the faculty of speech, to indicate that
in speaking we should use our reason." And St. Chrysostom says: "Let us
always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that
it should speak at the proper time."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I REJOICE with thee, O Virgin ever blessed, because by thy humble word
of consent thou didst draw down from the bosom of the eternal Father the
divine Word into thy own pure bosom. O draw, then, ever my heart to God;
and with God bring grace into my heart that I may ever sincerely bless
thy word of consent, so mighty and so efficacious.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary's Question

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WELL versed as Mary was in Holy Scripture, she fully understood the
words she had heard and knew their great import. She was destined to
become the Mother of the Most High, the Son of God. But there is an
obstacle which prevents her from giving immediate assent. She has
solemnly vowed her virginity to God. Not knowing how the mystery
announced to her was to be accomplished, and intent above all on keeping
inviolate her vow, she interrupts her silence by the short but
comprehensive question, "How shall this be done, because I know not
man?" (_Luke_ i. 34.) This is the first word of Mary recorded in the
Gospel.

PRACTICE

"HOW shall this be done, because I know not man?" Truly a momentous
question, proceeding from her knowledge of the great excellence and
value before God of virginity, which, before Mary, was unknown to the
world.

Let us follow Mary's example and esteem holy purity and chastity above
all things. Let us remember how highly Holy Scripture extols this
virtue. "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" (_Wis._ iv. 1). St. Athanasius writes: "O chastity, thou precious
pearl, found by few, even hated by some, and sought only by those who
are worthy of thee! Thou art the joy of the prophets, the ornament of
the apostles, the life of the angels, the crown of the saints." Let us
therefore carefully guard this inestimable treasure.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY, mighty Virgin, thou who on the day of thy annunciation wast found
by the archangel so prompt and ready to do God's will, and to correspond
with the desires of the august Trinity, who wished for thy consent in
order to redeem the world; obtain for me that, whatever happens, good or
ill, I may turn to my God, and with resignation say, "Be it done unto me
according to thy word."

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

The Solution

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE angel explains to Mary how, without detriment to her virginity, she
will become a mother. He says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and
the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the
Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (_Luke_
i. 35). St. Bernard remarks: "Let him who can, comprehend it. Who, but
that most happy Virgin who was worthy to experience the influence and
effect of the power of the Most High and to penetrate this sublime
mystery, can understand how the divine Light was poured into the
Virgin's womb? The Most Holy Trinity alone co-operated in the sacred
act, and it remains an impenetrable mystery to all, except to her who
was called to so sublime a destiny."

PRACTICE

MARY did not entertain a single doubt concerning the wonders which the
angel announced to her about the coming Messias and His kingdom. She
believed with simple faith the words of the heavenly messenger. Only
about that which concerned her personally she asked a question. When the
wonderful mystery was explained to her, she did not ask how this _can_
be done, but only how it _shall_ be done. And after the angel had
declared to her that she shall conceive by the Holy Ghost, she was fully
resigned and announced her implicit belief in these humble words:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy
word" (_Luke_ i. 38). Therefore the Holy Ghost Himself praised her by
the mouth of Elizabeth: "Blessed art thou that hast believed" (_Luke_ i.
45).

Let us remain steadfast in the profession of all articles of faith, and
let us oppose, like a strong shield, the words, "Nothing is impossible
with God," to all attacks of unbelievers, and to all doubts that may
arise in our own minds.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

MARY most holy, I see that thy obedience united thee so closely to God,
that all creation never shall know again union so fair and so perfect. I
am overwhelmed with confusion in seeing how my sins have separated me
from God. Help me, then, gentle Mother, to repent sincerely of my sins,
that I may be reunited to thy loving Jesus.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary's Consent

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WE ADMIRE the creative word of God, by which heaven and earth were
called into existence. But Mary's word, "Be it done to me according to
thy word," is even mightier and more efficacious; for it commands the
obedience even of the almighty Creator. Without this word of humility
and obedience the incarnation of our divine Saviour would not have been
accomplished. Mary does not say, "I accept the proposal, I agree to the
proposition," nor does she use other words of similar import. She simply
says, "Be it done to me according to thy word." It was not her own
choice, nor her own decision, but a voluntary, full, and complete
surrender to the will of God that the message found in Mary's soul,
which was expressed in these words. What a source of consolation to her
in the subsequent sorrowful and afflicted stages of her life was this
complete surrender to God's will! It comprised the tranquilizing
assurance that He to whose designs she submitted, would endow her with
the fortitude and strength necessary to co-operate with them.

PRACTICE

JUST as our divine Lord Himself became obedient unto death, thus also
His incarnation and the motherhood of Mary were the result of obedience.
Again, in contemplating the works that in the course of time were
undertaken in the Church for the glory of God and the salvation of man,
we find that only those were really great, effective, and enduring,
which had their beginning, continuation, and consummation in obedience.

Rejoice, then, if it is your happy lot to walk in the safe path of
obedience. Avail yourself of every opportunity to submit your will to
the will of your Superiors. They are the representatives of God. By
obeying them we fulfil His will, not the will of men. St. Bonaventure
calls obedience the key of heaven.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

HOLIEST Mary, if through thy modesty thou wert troubled at the
appearance of the archangel Gabriel in thy dwelling, I am terrified at
the sight of my monstrous pride. By thy incomparable humility, which
brought forth God for men, reopened paradise and let the captive souls
go free from their prison, draw me, I pray thee, out of the deep pit
into which my sins have cast me, and make me save my soul.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Fortitude in Suffering

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ALTHOUGH Mary's consent was free, and freely given, she was clearly
convinced and perfectly conscious of the responsibility, the
obligations, and the duties involved by that consent, and which she now
assumed. Great are the duties and tearful the days of a mother who has
to raise her Son, who is also God, to be sacrificed on the cross. Mary
assumes with the dignity this responsibility. She consents to conceive
the Son of God, to give birth to Him, to nourish Him, to educate Him for
the ignominious death of the cross. When she pronounced the words, "Be
it done," her eyes were fixed on the distant tragedy of Golgotha, on the
cross towering upon its height. Yet she accepts it, together with the
dignity of Mother of God.

PRACTICE

MARY, in consenting to become the Mother of Jesus, became not only His
Mother, but the Mother of all mankind. She became, for all time, the
refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, the intercessor with God for
man; she consented to exercise a mother's love for suffering and sinful
humanity. But alas, how many of those adopted by Mary as her children
under the cross of her dying Son are unworthy of her mother love! How
many are rebellious children, who fill her heart with sorrow and
anguish! Others, faithless and obdurate, become a reproach to her. Have
you, during your past life, always been a good child of this loving
Mother? Are you to her an honor or a disgrace, a joy or a sorrow?

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

THOUGH my tongue is unhallowed, yet, purest Virgin, I presume to hail
thee every day with the angel's salutation, "Hail Mary, full of grace!"
From my heart, I pray thee, pour into my soul a little of that mighty
grace wherewith the Holy Spirit, overshadowing thee, filled thee to the
full.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Mary, the Mother of God

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S true greatness consists in her having been chosen the Mother of
God. This sublime dignity, pre-eminently her own and shared by no other
creature, elevates her to a station inconceivably exalted. Mother of
God! St. Peter Damian thus gives expression to his conception of this
dignity: "In what words may mortal man be permitted to pronounce the
praises of her who brought forth that divine Word who lives for all
eternity? Where can a tongue be found holy and pure enough to eulogize
her who bore the author of all created things, whom the elements praise
and obey in fear and trembling? When we essay to extol a martyr's
constancy, to recount his heroic acts of virtue, to describe his
devotion to his Saviour's cause and honor, we are supplied with words by
facts and occurrences that belong to the province of human experience.
But when we undertake to describe the glories of the Blessed Virgin, we
are on unknown ground, on a subject transcending all human effort. We
fail to find words suitable to portray her sublime prerogatives,
privileges, and mysteries."

PRACTICE

ST. ANSELM, writing on the motherhood of Mary, says: "It was eminently
just and proper that the creature chosen to be the Mother of God should
shine with a luster of purity far beyond anything conceivable in any
other creature under heaven. For it was to her that the eternal Father
decreed to give His only-begotten Son, whom He loves as Himself; and to
give Him in such a mysterious manner that He should be at the same time
the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. She must indeed be purity
itself, whom the Son of God elected as His Mother, and who was the
chosen Spouse of the Holy Ghost, to be overshadowed by Him to bring
forth the Second Person of that Most Blessed Trinity from whom He
Himself proceeds."

Let us honor the virgin Mother with filial devotion, gratefully greeting
her often in the words of the angel, "Hail Mary, full of grace!" Let us
remember that God alone is above Mary, and beneath her is all that is
not God.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I BELIEVE, holiest Mary, that almighty God was ever with thee from thy
conception, and is, by His incarnation, still more closely united to
thee. Make it thy care, I pray thee, that I may be with that same Lord
Jesus ever one heart and soul by means of sanctifying grace.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Mary, Our Mother

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY could not consent to become the Mother of the Redeemer without
including in her consent those to be redeemed. "She bore one man," says
St. Antonine, "and thereby has borne all men again. Beneath the cross
of her divine Son she has reborne us to life with great pain, just as
Eve our first mother, has borne us under the tree of forbidden fruit
unto death. That there be no doubt concerning it, her divine Son made
this declaration in His last will." "When therefore Jesus had seen His
Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother,
Woman, behold thy son. After that He saith to the disciple, Behold thy
Mother" (_John_ xix. 26 27). She gave up her Son for the redemption of
mankind, and He gave us, in the person of His beloved disciple St. John,
to her as her children, declaring her our Mother. From that moment we
belong to Mary, and Mary belongs to us: "Behold thy Mother!"

[Illustration: The rest in Egypt]

PRACTICE

MARY loves us because she loves God, and because God loves us. She loves
us as her brethren who share human nature with her. She loves us as her
children, whom she has borne to eternal life. She loves us because we
are miserable and helpless. True, we offended her divine Son, but she
knows our frailty, our blindness, the assaults of the flesh and the
devil to which we are exposed; and by all this she is moved to come to
our aid.

Do not, however, imagine that this good and amiable Mother will hear
your call for assistance if you continue to offend her divine Son with
malice prepense. To obtain her aid you must make yourself in a manner
worthy of it. This you do by striving to imitate her virtues. Or is
there anything in her example that we are unable to imitate? True, we
can not attain to her perfection in virtue, but we can copy it to a
certain degree. To follow Mary's example there is no need of performing
miracles, of having ecstasies, or of doing any other extraordinary
deeds. All that is necessary is to persevere faithfully in the ordinary
duties of life, and to perform them to the best of our ability.

"Behold thy Mother!" These words of our dying Lord were addressed to the
beloved disciple St. John, but were intended for all mankind. Even as
Mary never ceases to be the Mother of God, she never will cease to be
our Mother.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O HOLIEST Mary, bless me, my heart and my soul, as thou thyself wast
ever blessed of God among all women; for I have this sure hope, dear
Mother, that if thou bless me while I live, then, when I die, I shall be
blessed of God in the everlasting glory of heaven.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



IV

Novena in Honor of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

NOTE.--Besides the indulgences granted for every novena in honor of the
Blessed Virgin Mary by Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, January 27, 1888, granted
that all the faithful may gain, on the _third Sunday in September_,
being the second feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (the other is
observed on the Friday before Palm Sunday), a plenary indulgence _as
often_ as they visit, after confession and communion, a church where the
Archconfraternity of the Seven Sorrows is canonically established, and
pray there for the intentions of the Holy Father. This indulgence is
applicable to the souls in purgatory.



FIRST DAY

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

  BID me bear, O Mother blessed,
  On my heart the wounds impressed
  Suffered by the Crucified!

Indulgence. 300 days, once a day. A plenary indulgence, on any one day,
in each month, to those who shall have practised this devotion for a
month, saying besides seven Hail Marys, followed each time by the above
invocation. Conditions: Confession, communion, and prayer for the
intentions of the Pope. (Pius IX, June 18, 1876.)

MEDITATION

FROM the dolorous way of Our Lord's passion Holy Church selected
fourteen incidents to place before us for consideration, which are
called the Stations of the Cross. In the same manner the pious devotion
of the faithful selected seven events in the life of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, and gives itself to their religious contemplation. They are: (1)
Simeon's prophecy in the Temple; (2) the flight into Egypt with the
divine Child; (3) the loss of the divine Child at Jerusalem; (4) Mary's
meeting with her Son bearing the cross; (5) Mary beneath the cross; (6)
Mary receives the body of her Son from the cross; (7) the placing of
Jesus' body in the tomb.

PRACTICE

"FORGET not the sorrows of thy mother" (_Ecclus._ vii. 29). According to
this exhortation of Holy Scripture it is our duty to remember and
meditate often on the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We ought never
to forget that our sins were the cause of the sufferings and death of
Jesus, and therefore also of the sorrows of Mary.

Holy Church celebrates two feasts in honor of the sorrows of Mary; she
approved of the Rosary and of many other devotions in honor of the Seven
Dolors, and enriched them with numerous indulgences. Let us practise
these devotions to enkindle in our hearts a true and ardent love for our
sorrowful Mother.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

GRANT, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed
Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy
mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul,
in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through
Thee, Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, who livest and reignest with
the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

EVER glorious Blessed Virgin Mary, queen of martyrs, mother of mercy,
hope, and comfort of dejected and desolate souls, through the sorrows
that pierced thy tender heart I beseech thee take pity on my poverty and
necessities, have compassion on my anxieties and miseries. I ask it
through the mercy of thy divine Son; I ask it through His immaculate
life, bitter passion, and ignominious death on the cross. As I am
persuaded that He honors thee as His beloved Mother, to whom He refuses
nothing, let me experience the efficacy of thy powerful intercession,
according to the tenderness of thy maternal affection, now and at the
hour of my death. Amen.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!



SECOND DAY

Mary's First Sorrow: Simeon's Prophecy in the Temple

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

FORTY days after the birth of our divine Saviour, Mary His Mother
fulfilled the law of Moses by offering Him to His divine Father in the
Temple. "And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this
man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the
Holy Ghost was in Him. And he received an answer from the Holy Ghost,
that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought
in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he
also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now dost Thou
dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace; because my
eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face
of all peoples. A light to the revelation of the gentiles and the glory
of Thy people Israel. And His father and mother were wondering at these
things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them, and
said to Mary His Mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for
the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be
contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many
hearts thoughts may be revealed" (_Luke_ ii. 25-35).

PRACTICE

MARY was familiar with the predictions of the prophets and knew that
ignominy, sorrow, and suffering would be her divine Son's portion
throughout His earthly career. But to have this secret of her anxious
soul thus publicly and solemnly declared by Simeon, was a sharp thrust
of that seven-edged sword which was to pierce her loving heart. In
spirit she viewed that boundless, surging sea of trials, pain, and death
on which her Son was to be tossed about, and was willing to be engulfed
in its bitter waters. Her affliction would have scarcely been greater
had the death sentence of her divine Son been pronounced then and there
and put into execution. What a sorrow, what an affliction, what a trial
for such a tender Mother! Well might she exclaim with the Royal Prophet:
"My life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs" (_Ps._ xxx. 11).
Let us often contemplate this sorrow, and excite our hearts to a tender
compassion with the Mother of Sorrows.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, in the grief thy tender heart
underwent when the holy old man Simeon prophesied to thee. Dear Mother,
by thy heart then so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and
the gift of the holy fear of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary's Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

FOR the second time the sword of sorrow pierced Mary's heart when she
was commanded to fly into Egypt with her divine Child. Without
manifesting undue perplexity or discontent, she hastily gathered a few
necessaries for the journey, while St. Joseph saddled the beast of
burden. Then taking the infant Jesus into her arms and pressing Him to
her throbbing heart, the holy pilgrims set forth into the cold, starry
night, away to a foreign land, through the trackless desert, and into a
heathen country. Arrived in Egypt, the experience of Bethlehem was
renewed; no one gave them shelter.

PRACTICE

DURING this second great sorrow, what was Mary's behavior? She was
content to fulfil the will of God; she did not ask for reasons, or
complain of the fatigues of the journey, but preserved her peace of
heart amid all the trials of this severe probation. She is poor, but her
poverty does not render her unhappy or querulous. If God sends us
trials, we ought not murmur or complain. Following the example of Mary,
let us bear them submissively. If we suffer patiently with Mary on
earth, we shall enjoy eternal bliss with her in heaven.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the anxiety which thy most
tender heart underwent during thy flight into Egypt and thy sojourn
there. Dear Mother, by thy heart then so sorrowful, obtain for me the
virtue of liberality, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary's Third Sorrow: Jesus Lost in Jerusalem

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WHO can describe Mary's sorrow when, returning from Jerusalem, she
missed her divine Son? With St. Joseph she retraced her steps in anxious
search of Him whom her soul loved. She went to all her relatives and
acquaintances in Jerusalem, but heard no tidings of her lost Child. She
passed three long days of anxiety in her search, and this constitutes
her third sorrow. Of it, Origen writes: "On account of the ineffable
love of Mary for her divine Son, she suffered more by His loss than the
martyrs suffered amid the most cruel tortures."

PRACTICE

IN MEDITATING on this sorrow of Mary, we ought to remember how
indifferent so many Christians are after having lost God by sin. They
feel no compunction, no sorrow at having offended Him, and yet they can
weep at the loss of a trifle; they shed copious tears when their will is
crossed, or when they receive a deserved reprimand; but for the loss of
their God they have not a tear. They have lost Him, perhaps years ago,
and never make the least effort to find Him. Pray to the sorrowful
Mother that she preserve you from such a deplorable fate!

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the terrors felt by thy
anxious heart when thou didst lose thy dear Son, Jesus. Dear Mother, by
thy heart, then so agitated, obtain for me the virtue of chastity, and
with it the gift of knowledge.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Fourth Sorrow: She Meets Jesus Carrying His Cross

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE time was at hand when mankind's redemption was to be accomplished.
Already the divine Victim of our sins is bearing the instrument of our
salvation. Torn by the cruel scourging, crowned with thorns, and covered
with blood He proceeds on His way to Calvary, and in this pitiful
condition meets His blessed Mother. What a spectacle, what a sight for a
Mother such as Mary! Anxious to look upon her, and with one fond glance
to thank her for her heroic, unselfish love, He made an effort to change
His bowed position beneath the cross, feebly raised His head, and
directed toward her one loving glance of ineffable anguish, mingled with
grateful recognition and humble resignation. Then the sad procession
moves on, Mary following her divine Son on His way to death.

PRACTICE

WE, BY our sins, placed into the hands of the Jews and executioners the
weapons by which Jesus suffered, and thus we thrust the sword of sorrow
into Mary's heart. We repeat this, in a certain sense, as often as we
commit a grievous sin, because we thereby number ourselves among those
whom the Apostle describes as "crucifying again to themselves the Son of
God, and making Him a mockery" (_Heb._ vi. 6). Cardinal Hugo writes:
"Sinners crucify, as far as is in them, Christ our Lord, because they
repeat the cause of His crucifixion." Doing this, we thrust anew the
sword of sorrow into Mary's heart. Let this consideration fill us with
hatred for and fear of sin.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the shock thy mother heart
experienced when Jesus met thee as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by
that heart of thine, then so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of
patience and the gift of fortitude.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary's Fifth Sorrow: Beneath the Cross

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

AT THE crucifixion of Jesus the soul of Mary was plunged into a sea of
sorrow when she stood three hours under the cross. Writhing in
excruciating pain, the Son of God hung upon the tree of disgrace and
infamy, yet Mary continued to stand at its foot, tearful, grieving, yet
persevering, filled with anguish because she could do nothing to help
Him. Another great sorrow befell the heart of Mary when she slowly
withdrew her tearful gaze from the face of Jesus, and cast her weeping
eyes upon the cold and indifferent world that lay in darkness around and
about Calvary. And yet, "When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and
the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother, Woman,
behold Thy son. After that He saith to the disciple, Behold thy Mother"
(_John_ xix. 26, 27).

PRACTICE

THESE words, "Behold thy son, behold thy Mother," contain and express
the mystery of unbounded love, which Jesus has for all mankind, but more
especially for the Church which is appointed and authorized to lead men
to salvation. O blessed, O happy bequest! It was not enough for the love
of Jesus to have restored heaven to us by His atoning death; He wished
also to give us His dearest Mother. And she has always shown herself as
such. To each of us individually she was and is a kind and loving
Mother. Give thanks to her, bless and praise her for having adopted you
as her child, and strive to become worthy of so great a privilege.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the martyrdom thy generous
heart bore so nobly whilst thou didst stand by Jesus agonizing. Dear
Mother, by thy heart then so cruelly martyred, obtain for me the virtue
of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Sixth Sorrow: The Taking Down of Jesus' Body from the Cross

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WHO can describe the sorrow and anguish of Mary's heart when the body of
Jesus was taken from the cross, when her tearful eyes fell upon His
disfigured features! The pure and holy and beauteous form of her Son was
a mass of clotted blood and unsightly wounds; and yet, disfigured as it
was, there shone in His countenance a clear, calm expression of divine
majesty. Now Mary views the wounds of that sacred body; she looks at the
gap made in His side by the cruel spear, and can almost see the Sacred
Heart of Jesus, all bruised and broken for love of man. Before her
vision passes in detail His life and her own. Memory presents to her
mind every day and hour of their quiet, happy life at Nazareth. Is it to
be wondered, then, that at this bitter moment her sorrow was so great
that, as St. Anselm observes, she should have died had she not been
sustained by a miracle of divine omnipotence?

PRACTICE

OUGHT not the contemplation of the sorrows of our blessed Mother confirm
us in patience, in resignation to the will of God in our trials and
sufferings? If the Son of God said of Himself: "Ought not Christ to have
suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?" (_Luke_ xxiv.
26); if the most pure and holy Mother of God, despite her great
prerogatives and merits, had to suffer a sorrow so ineffable, do not
murmur if the word of Christ is addressed also to you: "And he that
taketh not up his cross and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me" (_Matt._
x. 38).

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the pain thou didst suffer
when the body of thy divine Son, taken down all torn and bloody from the
cross, was placed in thy arms. Dear Mother, by thy heart pierced
through, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of
understanding.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).

[Illustration: On the Way to Jerusalem]



EIGHTH DAY

Mary's Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is Buried

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE sacrifice for the redemption of the world was accomplished. "And
Joseph, taking the body, wrapt it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it
in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled
a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way" (_Matt._
xxvii. 59). Mary also took part in the burial of her beloved Son, though
the evangelists do not mention her name amongst those who were present
on that mournful occasion. Never, most assuredly, was human soul visited
by such woe and desolation, as that which overwhelmed hers as she cast a
last glance on the precious remains of her dead Son.

PRACTICE

LET us learn of the sorrowful Mother at the tomb of her divine Son
submission to God's holy will in all things, but especially when He
takes from us one of our dear ones. Again, the contemplation of the
sufferings of Mary should fortify us in patience, whenever God is
pleased to visit us with a light and small cross of affliction, or even
with a sorrow that causes our heart to bleed. It should inspire us with
a filial confidence in Mary, who thus suffered for us and gave her
divine Son for our salvation. We can and ought to prove our love for
her, not by sentimental feelings of affection, but by a sincere hatred
of sin and great fervor in the service of her divine Son.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the anguish felt by thy loving
heart when Jesus' body was laid in the sepulcher. Dear Mother, by all
the bitterness of desolation thou didst know, obtain for me the virtue
of diligence and the gift of wisdom.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Reasons Why Mary Had to Suffer

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE reasons why God permitted Mary to suffer so much may be briefly
stated as follows: He did so from His love for Mary and from His love
for us. He did so from His love for Mary, because by suffering she
merited greater glory in heaven. As Mother of the Crucified she
persevered beneath the cross, and now she thrones in heaven as the
glorious Mother of the risen Redeemer. Because she shared in His
suffering, she now shares His glory. Again, God permitted Mary to suffer
because He loved us. If she had not experienced such bitter sorrow, we
would not have recourse to her, for whosoever has not suffered himself
can not have sympathy with the sufferings of others. Mary knows the
pangs of sorrow by experience, and therefore knows also how to console
and help us.

PRACTICE

BECAUSE she herself drained the most bitter cup of sorrow, Mary is
always willing to help those who invoke her aid. But above all she is
inclined to help repentant sinners, because she knows how great the
price of their redemption was, paid by the blood of her divine Son. She
is able to help us, because, after God, she is most powerful; she is
most willing to help us, because she loves us, whom God so has loved "as
to give His only-begotten Son" (_John_ iii. 16). Let us, therefore, have
recourse to her in all our needs, and we shall experience the power of
her help in life and death.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for all thy sorrows. I beseech
thee, dear Mother, by thy heart pierced through by them, obtain for me
full abandonment to the will of God in everything and perseverance to
the end.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



V

Novena for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary



FIRST DAY

Mary's Death was without Pain

PREPARATORY PRAYER

O MARY, Virgin most blessed and Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus
Christ, through thy mercy I beseech thee to come to my aid, and to
inspire me with such confidence in thy power, that I may have recourse
to thee, pray to thee, and implore thy aid in all needs of soul and
body.

MEDITATION

MARY, the virgin Mother of God, was conceived without original sin. She
never dimmed the luster of sanctifying grace which beautified her soul
by actual sin. Nevertheless she had to pass through the dark portal of
death before she was assumed, body and soul, into heaven. She had not
been endowed with the privilege of immortality with which God had
invested our first parents in paradise. It was meet that she should be
like unto her divine Son in everything, even in death. But as she had
drained the bitter cup of suffering during her whole life, and
especially when standing beneath the cross, her death was to be free
from pain and suffering. She quietly passed away yielding up her spirit
in a yearning desire to be united forever with her divine Son in heaven.

PRACTICE

IF YOU have dispossessed your heart of all unruly attachment to the
goods and enjoyments of this earth, you, too, may hope for a happy and
tranquil transition from this land of exile to your home in heaven.
Therefore, if you are still attached to the transitory things of this
life, disengage your heart from them now. The voluntary renouncement of
earthly goods alone is meritorious before God. The separation from them
enforced by the strong hand of death is of no supernatural value.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, pardon the shortcomings of Thy servants; that
we who, by our own works, are not able to please Thee, may be saved by
the intercession of the Mother of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O MOST benign Mother Mary! I rejoice that by thy happy and tranquil
death the yearning of thy heart was appeased, and thy life, so rich in
merit and sacrifice, received its crown. I rejoice that after passing
from this life, thou, O most loving Mother, wast made the glorious and
powerful queen of heaven and dost exercise thy influence as such for the
benefit of thy frail, exiled children on earth. Obtain for me, I beseech
thee, a happy death, that I may praise and glorify thy might and
kindness forever in heaven.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Sweet heart of Mary be my salvation!

Indulgence. (1) 100 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, on any day, to all who shall have said it every day for a month,
under the usual conditions.



SECOND DAY

At Mary's Tomb

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

AN ANCIENT legend relates that, led by Heaven, all the Apostles, except
St. Thomas, assembled at the Blessed Virgin's death-bed. After she had
breathed forth her pure spirit, her sacred remains were prepared for the
grave by wrapping the body in new white linen and decking it with
flowers. Meanwhile the apostles, assembled in another room, sang psalms
and hymns in praise of their departed Mother. The apostles, all the
disciples, and the faithful dwelling in Jerusalem followed the blessed
remains to the grave chanting psalms and hymns. Arrived in the valley of
Josaphat, the body was gently placed in a sepulcher of stone not far
from the Garden of Olives. After the entombment the apostles and crowds
of the faithful lingered near the sacred spot in prayer, meditation, and
chanting of psalms in which angels' voices were heard to mingle.

PRACTICE

JOIN in spirit with the apostles and faithful in their prayer and
meditation at the grave of our blessed Mother. Contemplate and review
her whole life. Could a course like hers have terminated more
appropriately than with so beautiful, painless, and tranquil a passing
away? Prepare yourself even now for your departure from this life. Do
not postpone the settlement of your affairs, spiritual and temporal,
until the last uncertain hours. Above all, remove now, or as soon as
possible, all doubts, anxieties, and irregularities of conscience,
because delay is dangerous and leads to impenitence, and because in the
last hours the powers of hell usually assail the departing soul with all
their might.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

GLORIOUS Virgin, who for thy consolation didst deserve to die comforted
by the sight of thy dear Son Jesus, and in the company of the apostles
and angels; pray for us, that at that awful moment we, too, may be
comforted by receiving Jesus in the most holy Eucharist, and may feel
thee nigh when we breathe forth our soul.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

The Empty Tomb

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ST. JOHN DAMASCENE writes: "St. Thomas was not with the other apostles
when the Blessed Virgin died, but arrived in Jerusalem on the third day
after that event. Ardently desiring to see once more and to venerate the
sacred body which had given flesh and blood to his beloved Master, the
grave was opened for this purpose. The body could nowhere be seen, and a
delicious perfume filled the empty tomb. The apostles then became
convinced that as God had preserved the body of Mary free from sin
before, in, and after the birth of His Son, He was pleased likewise,
after her death, to preserve that same body from corruption, and to
glorify it in heaven."

A council held in Jerusalem in the year 1672 declared: "It is beyond all
doubt that the Blessed Virgin is not only a great and miraculous sign on
earth, because she bore God in the flesh and yet remained a virgin, but
she is also a great and miraculous sign in heaven, because she was taken
up thither with soul and body. For although her sinless body was
enclosed in the tomb, yet, like the body of Our Lord, it arose on the
third day and was carried up to heaven."

Although the doctrine of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven was
not defined by the Church as an article of faith in the strict sense,
yet the learned Pope Benedict XIV remarks, "It would be presumptuous and
blameworthy in any one to call into doubt or to question this beautiful
and consoling belief of ages."

PRACTICE

LET us rejoice at the thought of the glorious resurrection of our dear
Mother. Let us unite ourselves in spirit with the apostles in heaven and
with Holy Church to congratulate her on this extraordinary privilege.
But let us also rejoice at the thought of our own resurrection. True, it
shall not take place immediately after death, but it is therefore not
the less certain, and it depends on us to make it glorious and blessed.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! As thy sacred body after
death was preserved from corruption, and united with thy sinless soul
was borne to heaven by the angels; obtain for me the grace that my life
and death be holy, so that on the Day of Judgment I may arise to glory
everlasting.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Reasons for the Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

1. THE wages of sin is death. Now, as the Blessed Virgin from the first
moment of her existence was preserved from all sin, and even from
original sin, it necessarily follows that death could have no permanent
dominion over her, and that her body would not be permitted to see
corruption.

2. This sinless body had been the medium by which the body of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, who was the conqueror of death, had been formed. How,
then, could such a highly privileged body, a pure and virginal body, be
permitted to pass through corruption and decay?

3. As Mary had yielded up her sacred person to be a dwelling-place for
the Lord of heaven, it seems fitting that this same Lord, in His turn,
should give the kingdom of heaven to her as her resting-place. St.
Bernard expresses this sentiment as follows: "When Our Lord came into
this world, Mary furnished Him with the noblest dwelling on earth, the
temple of her virginal womb. In return, the Lord on this day raises her
up to the highest throne in heaven."

PRACTICE

IF YOU desire to look forward to death without fear, and to expect your
dissolution with confidence, follow the Apostle's injunction,
"Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good" (_Gal._ vi. 10).
Avoid sin, perform good works, be patient in affliction, and strive to
expiate the punishment due to your sins by voluntary acts of penance,
thus reducing your inclination to sin. Therefore offer up to God every
morning, in a spirit of penitence, all your labors, trials, and
sufferings.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
ineffable glory thou didst make for thy departure from this world by a
life of retirement, full of merits and virtue, dedicated to God alone;
obtain for me the grace that, following thy example, I may detach my
heart from this world, and patiently bear affliction and adversity,
carefully avoid sin, and always strive to advance in the love of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Glorious Entrance into Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

A JOY greater than human heart can conceive fills the heavenly spirits
when a soul enters heaven to receive her reward. What jubilant
transports, then, must those have been with which they hailed the
entrance into heavenly bliss of the most pure and holy Virgin, the
Mother of the Son of God, body and soul, transfigured in glory! And she
is, and shall be, for all eternity, their mistress and queen! What an
ineffable joy, too, for the Blessed Virgin, to behold the countless
numbers of angels, to admire their beauty, their purity, their intense
love of God! But as the feeble light of a candle disappears before the
splendor of the sun's rays, thus are these choirs of angels obscured by
the ineffable glory of her divine Son coming to welcome His Mother. Who
can describe this affecting meeting? What a superabundant reward for
affliction and suffering! What an ocean of joy and bliss, when the Son
of God presented His Mother before the throne of His heavenly Father,
who greeted her as His beloved Daughter! What a joy to behold the Holy
Ghost, whose pure Spouse she had been even on earth! These transports of
bliss baffle all attempts at description.

PRACTICE

THOUGH we are unable to have an adequate perception of Mary's glory in
heaven, by which she is raised above all angels and saints, yet it is in
our power to do one thing; we can rejoice at the glory of our blessed
Mother, and join the heavenly spirits and the saints in paying homage to
her. Let us resolve to do this, and never to forget that Mary attained
to the largest share of her divine Son's glory because she was foremost
in sharing His sufferings. Let this encourage us to bear our cross, to
bear it with our Saviour even to the height of Calvary, there to die
with Him.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
preparation with which thou wast glorified by God--by the Father as His
most beloved Daughter, by the Son as His immaculate Mother, and by the
Holy Ghost as His most pure Spouse--in heaven; obtain for me the grace
to share to some extent this thy glory, and therefore to live so that I
may deserve it.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary Crowned in Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S glory received its culmination by her coronation as queen of
heaven and earth. It was meet that in her should be fulfilled the words
of Holy Scripture: "Come from Libanus, my Spouse, come, thou shalt be
crowned" (_Cant._ iv. 8), and that her own prophetic words, "He hath put
down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble" (_Luke_ i.
52), should be exemplified in her. For it was reasonable and becoming
that she, who once with Jesus wore the crown of shame and contempt,
should now share with Him the crown of immortal glory. It was but fair
and just that the immaculate being who was chosen, above all inhabitants
of heaven and earth, to be the true and worthy Mother of God, should now
be solemnly installed over all creatures in heaven and on earth as the
queen of angels and men, and that to her should be offered homage,
praise, and honor by the blessed spirits and by the souls of the saints.
But the crown which she received is not one made of gold and precious
stones; it is composed of the virtues with which Mary, in faithful
co-operation with divine grace, embellished herself; it consists, too,
of all the homage and glory which she receives as queen of heaven. The
most precious gem in this crown is the filial love and gratitude Jesus
shows toward His Mother in heaven.

PRACTICE

INDEED, "eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither has it entered
into the heart of man," what the heavenly Father has prepared in the
mansions of eternal bliss for His beloved Daughter, the Son for His
Blessed Mother, and the Holy Ghost for His chosen Spouse. She is now
queen of heaven and earth; of heaven, for she is the queen of all angels
and saints; of earth, for as Mother of God she is the Mother of all
mankind, the mediatrix between the Redeemer and the redeemed.

You, too, may contribute a gem toward the crown of your heavenly Mother
by paying her filial homage, imitating her virtues, and preserving, for
the love of her, your innocence and purity of heart.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

[Illustration: The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph Finding Jesus in the
Temple]

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
everlasting crown of glory with which God has crowned thee queen of
heaven and earth; obtain for me through thy mighty intercession the
grace to persevere in virtue to the end, so that finally I may attain
the crown of bliss prepared by God for those that love Him.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Bliss in Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to Holy Scripture and the doctrine of the Church, there are in
heaven various grades of glory and bliss, according to the rank and
merit of the saints. They probably attain this higher grade of glory and
bliss by the increase of their ability to enjoy the happiness of heaven.
Their intellect is enabled to contemplate more profoundly the
incomprehensible essence of God; their power of perception is augmented
so that they may more readily recognize and admire the splendor of the
angels, saints, and heavenly mansions; their will is enabled to be
united, in a higher degree, with God. From this we may conclude that
Mary's bliss in heaven transcends all human conception. Her heavenly
glory and reward consists in the perfect adaptation of her whole being
to the enjoyment of God and of eternal bliss.

PRACTICE

LOOK up, Christian soul, to this great and brilliant queen of heaven.
She is your gentle Mother and assures you of her help, and the diadem
she wears upon her brow is a proof that she has the power to help you.
Do not, therefore, refuse the hand of this mighty friend in heaven, for
she will lift you from the depths of your misery, from the rocky shoals
of temptation, and lead you strong and victorious into the presence of
her divine Son. Thus you will enter into a new and supernatural life in
Christ, to share in the grace-laden mysteries of His life, passion, and
triumph.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GREAT and glorious queen of heaven, Mary! I beseech thee by that
exalted throne upon which God has raised thee above all angels and
saints; let me one day appear amongst them to join them in their praise
of thee. Obtain for me the grace that I may never cease to honor thee as
thou dost deserve to be honored, and thereby to become worthy of thy
mighty protection in life and death.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Mary, the Queen of Mercy

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY is, then, a queen, but--what a consolation to know it!--a queen
always mild and gentle, always willing to confer benefits upon us. Hence
the Church teaches us to call her the Mother of mercy. The pious and
learned author Gerson says: "God's dominion comprises justice and mercy.
He divided it, retaining the administration of justice for Himself, and
relinquishing, in a certain sense, the dispensation of mercy to Mary, by
conferring through her hands all graces He grants to mankind." How
consoling, then, the assurance that our merciful Mother is so mighty and
so loving a queen!

PRACTICE

SO GREAT is the tenderness of Mary's maternal heart "that never was it
heard that any one who fled to her protection, implored her help, and
sought her intercession was left unaided." How many prayers, petitions,
and thanksgivings ascend daily to the throne of this our exalted and
merciful protectress! There is not a cry of an afflicted, struggling,
and suffering soul that she does not graciously hear. Join, therefore,
confidently in the prayer of Holy Church, "Hail, holy queen, Mother of
mercy!" Approach her with filial trust. Neglect not to honor her
yourself, and do all in your power to lead others to do her honor.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! Holy Church teaches me that
despite the glory to which thou wast exalted, thou didst not forget thy
miserable clients, and that in heaven thy mercy is still greater than it
was during thy life on earth. Therefore I come to thee and trustingly
lay at thy feet all my needs, miseries, and petitions. My queen, my
Mother, turn not thy gracious eyes from me. Remember me with thy divine
Son; cease not to pray for me and take me under thy protection, so that
I may finally have the happiness to see and praise thee in thy glory for
ever and ever.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Mary in Heaven, the Help of Christians on Earth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S help as Mother of mercy is not confined to individuals. She is
the protectress and helper of the whole Church. All over the earth,
wherever we cast our glance, in the records of the history of times long
past and those of recent occurrence, we find testimony of the graces and
benefits obtained through her intercession. The feasts celebrated by the
Church throughout the year, what are they but evidences of gratitude
offered to the queen of heaven for the oftentimes miraculous delivery
from war, pestilence, and other great afflictions? Hence she is rightly
invoked as the "Help of Christians."

PRACTICE

IN OUR days, too, storms and dangers threaten the Church. Let us,
therefore, by calling on Mary for help, do our part toward shortening
the days of visitation and trial. Let us not confine our petitions to
her within the narrow limits of our own personal needs, but let us join
in the cry for help ascending to the Mother of mercy throughout all
Christendom. Let us daily, for Holy Church, send up our petition to
Mary's heavenly throne: "Help of Christians, pray for us!"

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of approved litanies).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, queen of heaven! Forget us
not. Thou art the help of Christians; lighten our tribulations, and help
us with motherly intercession at the throne of thy divine Son. With Holy
Church I join in the petition to thee: "Holy Mary, aid the miserable,
assist the desponding, strengthen the weak, pray for the people, plead
for the clergy, intercede for the devout female sex. Let all who have
recourse to thee experience the efficacy of thy help!"

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



PART III

The Fourteen Holy Helpers


"The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death
shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and
their departure was taken for misery, and their going away from us for
utter destruction; but they are in peace. And though in the sight of men
they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. Afflicted in
a few things, in many they shall be well rewarded; because God has tried
them and found them worth of Himself" (_Wis._ iii 1-5.)



CHAPTER I

The Fourteen Holy Helpers

AMONG the saints who in Catholic devotion are invoked with special
confidence, because they have proved themselves efficacious helpers in
adversity and difficulties, there is a group venerated under the
collective name of Holy Helpers. They are:

  1. St. George, Martyr.
  2. St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr.
  3. St. Pantaleon, Martyr.
  4. St. Vitus, Martyr.
  5. St. Erasmus, Bishop and Martyr.
  6. St. Christophorus, Martyr.
  7. St. Dionysius, Bishop and Martyr.
  8. St. Cyriacus, Martyr.
  9. St. Achatius, Martyr.
  10. St. Eustachius, Martyr.
  11. St. Giles, Abbot.
  12. St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr.
  13. St. Margaret, Virgin and Martyr.
  14. St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr.

The reason why these saints are invoked as a group is said to have been
an epidemic which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. It was called the
Plague, or "Black Death," and among its symptoms were the turning black
of the tongue, parching of the throat, violent headache, fever, and
boils on the abdomen. The malady attacked its victims suddenly, bereft
them of reason, and caused death in a few hours, so that many died
without the last sacraments. Fear caused many attacks and disrupted
social and family ties. To all appearances, the disease was incurable.

During this period of general affliction the people in pious confidence
turned toward Heaven, and had recourse to the intercession of the
saints, praying to be spared an attack, or to be cured when stricken.
Among the saints invoked since the earliest times of the Church as
special patrons in certain diseases were: St. Christopher and St. Giles
against the plague, St. Dionysius against headache, St. Blase against
ills of the throat, St. Catherine against those of the tongue, St.
Erasmus against those of the abdomen, St. Barbara against fever, St.
Vitus against epilepsy. St. Pantaleon was the patron of physicians, St.
Cyriacus was had recourse to in temptations, especially in those at the
hour of death; St. Achatius was invoked in death agony; Sts.
Christopher, Barbara, and Catherine were appealed to for protection
against a sudden and unprovided death; the aid of St. Giles was implored
for making a good confession; St. Eustachius was patron in all kinds of
difficulties, and, because peculiar circumstances separated him for a
time from his family, he was invoked also in family troubles. Domestic
animals, too, being attacked by the plague, Sts. George, Erasmus,
Pantaleon, and Vitus were invoked for their protection. It appears from
the invocation of these saints, so widespread in olden times during the
plague and other epidemics, that their being grouped as the Fourteen
Holy Helpers originated in a like visitation.

The fourteen saints venerated as the Holy Helpers are represented with
the symbols of their martyrdom, or with the insignia of their state of
life; also, as a group of children. The latter representation is
accounted for as follows:

The abbey of Langheim, in the diocese of Bamberg, Bavaria, owned a farm
on which the monks kept their flocks. The sheep were tended by
shepherds, who led them along the hillsides, where they grazed quietly
during the day, and were driven home in the evening.

On the evening of September 22, 1445, a young shepherd, Herman Leicht,
who was gathering his flock for the homeward drive, heard what seemed to
him to be the cry of a child, and looking about, saw a child sitting in
a field near by. Surprised, and wondering how the child came there, he
was about to approach, when it disappeared. Feeling rather disturbed,
the boy returned to his flock. After reaching it, he turned to look back
to the place where he had seen the apparition. There the child sat
again, this time in a circle of light, and between two burning candles.
Terrified at this second apparition, he made the sign of the cross. The
child smiled, as if to encourage him, and he was about to approach it
again, when it vanished a second time. Greatly perplexed, he drove his
flock home and informed his parents of the occurrence. But they called
the apparition a delusion and told him not to mention it to any one.
Nevertheless, feeling uneasy, and desiring an explanation, he went to
the monastery and related his experience to one of the Fathers, who
advised him to ask the child, if it ever should appear to him again,
what it wanted.

Nearly a year later, June 28, 1446, the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter
and Paul, the child again appeared to the boy in the same place as
before and about sunset; but this time it was surrounded by thirteen
other children, all in a halo of glory. He boldly approached the group
and asked the child he had formerly seen in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and the Holy Ghost, what it desired. The child replied: "We
are the Fourteen Helpers, and desire that a chapel be built for us. Be
thou our servant, and we shall serve thee." Then the group of children
disappeared, and the shepherd boy was filled with heavenly consolation.

The following Sunday, after he had driven his flock to the pasture, it
seemed to him that he saw two lighted candles descending from the sky to
the place where he had seen the apparition. A woman who was passing at
the time declared that she also saw them. The boy hastened to the
monastery and told about the two apparitions. The abbot, Frederic IV,
and the rest of the community, were not inclined to believe in the
apparition, and ascribed it to the boy's visionary fancy. But when, in
the course of time, several extraordinary favors were granted to people
who prayed at the place of the apparition, the monks built a chapel
there. It was begun in 1447, and finished and dedicated next year under
the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
The bishop granted an indulgence for the day of the anniversary of the
dedication, the Papal Nuncio, Cardinal Joannes, granted another, and
Pope Nicholas V a third. These indulgences, and a number of other
spiritual privileges granted to the chapel, attracted a great many
visitors, so that it became a place of pious pilgrimage. Elector
Frederic III, in fulfilment of a vow made when beset with difficulties,
visited the chapel in 1485. Emperor Ferdinand also visited it and left,
as a votive offering, his gold pectoral chain on the altar.

Devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers continued to spread. In 1743, a
magnificent church, to replace the old chapel, was begun, and completed
in 1772. Churches and altars in honor of these saints are found in
Italy, Austria, Tyrol, Hungary, Bohemia, Switzerland, and other
countries of Europe. In the United States of America two churches are
dedicated under the invocation of the Holy Helpers: one in Baltimore,
Md., the other in Gardenville, N. Y. Wherever and whenever invoked,
these saints have proved themselves willing helpers in all difficulties,
vicissitudes, and trials of their faithful clients.



CHAPTER II

Legends

BEFORE proceeding to relate the lives of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, we
deem it opportune to define the term usually applied to the narrative of
the lives of the saints.

The histories of the saints are called Legends. This word is derived
from the Latin, and signifies something that is to be read, a passage
the reading of which is prescribed. The legends of the saints are the
lives of the holy martyrs and confessors of the Faith. Some of them
occur in the Roman Breviary which the Catholic clergy is obliged to read
every day.

Joseph von Goerres, an illustrious champion of the Church during the
first half of the nineteenth century, writes as follows concerning
legends:

"The histories of the lives of the saints were gathered from the
earliest times. A collection of such histories is found in 'The Golden
Legend.' The Passionales, too, containing the life of a saint for every
day in the year, belong to this sort of literature. In Germany these
histories were at first translations from the Latin; later, they were
written in the native idiom, and, in style, were of a charming
simplicity. At that time, when the upper classes did not yet judge
themselves too highly cultivated to share in the Faith, and not too
privileged to join in the sentiments and affections of the people, and
were therefore more in harmony with the lower ranks of society, these
legends were in general circulation among all classes: among the wealthy
in manuscript, among the poor orally and in the form in which they had
become acquainted with them in church and elsewhere.

"In early times the science of criticism was unknown; therefore little
care was exercised in separating the poetic additions from the authentic
legends, especially as the Church had not yet spoken on the subject.
Faith was yet of that robust sort which is not affected by miraculous
occurrences. Nearly all Europe then still accepted the adage now current
only in Spain, 'It is better sometimes to believe what can not be
established as truth, than to lose a single truth by want of faith.' But
later the science of criticism came into its rights. The Church
established canonical rules, according to which a strict investigation
of all the facts submitted to her judgment was to be made, and rejected
everything that could not stand the most rigid examination.

[Illustration: Mary, the Mother of Sorrows]

"Then Art devoted itself to that legendary lore which the Church,
declaring it outside of her domain, permitted to be embellished at will.
Thus poetic legends were multiplied, their authors being more or less
convinced that the reader would be able to distinguish truth from
poetical embellishment. The common people continued to make little
distinction and did not permit criticism to influence their ancient
beliefs. They regarded these legends as they regard the pictures of the
saints; not as portraits of the persons depicted--for in the very next
church the same saint might be represented in a quite different manner--
but as illustrations, more or less apt, whose object was to attract the
attention by their artistic character and thus to draw the mind to the
contemplation of their original, and by it to God, and thereby serve the
purpose of edification."

If we are not devoid of all sentiments of piety, the history of the
combats and victories of the saints and martyrs, and the narrative of
the miracles wrought through their intercession before and after their
death, will always be a source of joy and consolation to us, and will
tend to animate us with similar fortitude and love of virtue.

The legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers are replete with the most
glorious examples of heroic firmness and invincible courage in the
profession of the Faith, which ought to incite us to imitate their
fidelity in the performance of the Christian and social duties. If they,
with the aid of God's grace, achieved such victories, why should not we,
by the same aid, be able to accomplish the little desired of us? God
rewarded His victorious champions with eternal bliss; the same crown is
prepared for us, if we but render ourselves worthy of it. God placed the
seal of miracles on the intrepid confession of His servants; and a mind
imbued with the spirit of faith sees nothing extraordinary therein,
because our divine Saviour Himself said, "Amen, amen I say to you, he
that believeth in Me, the works that I do, he also shall do, and greater
than these shall he do" (_John_ xiv. 12). In all the miraculous events
wrought in and by the saints appears only the victorious omnipotent
power of Jesus Christ, and the living faith in which His servants
operated in virtue of this power. To obliterate the miracles that appear
in the lives of the saints, or even to enfeeble their import by the
manner of relating them, would rob these legends of their intrinsic
value. If our age is no longer robust enough to acknowledge the effects
of divine omnipotence and grace, it does not follow that they must be
disavowed or denied.



The Legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

I.

St. George, Martyr

LEGEND

ST. GEORGE is honored throughout Christendom as one of the most
illustrious martyrs of Jesus Christ. In the reign of the first Christian
emperors numerous churches were erected in his honor, and his tomb in
Palestine became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. But his history is
involved in great obscurity, as no early records of his life and
martyrdom are at present in existence. The following are the traditions
concerning him which have been handed down to us by the Greek
historians, and which are celebrated in verse by that illustrious saint
and poet of the eighth century, St. John Damascene.

St. George is said to have been born in Cappadocia of noble Christian
parents. After the death of his father, he traveled with his mother into
Palestine, of which she was a native. There she possessed a considerable
estate, which fell to him upon her death. Being strong and robust in
body, he embraced the profession of a soldier, and was made a tribune,
or colonel, in the army. His courage and fidelity attracted the
attention of Emperor Diocletian, who bestowed upon him marks of special
favor. When that prince declared war against the Christian religion, St.
George laid aside the signs of his rank, threw up his commission, and
rebuked the emperor for the severity of his bloody edicts. He was
immediately cast into prison, and alternate threats and promises were
employed to induce him to apostatize. As he continued firm, he was put
to the torture and tormented with great cruelty. "I despise your
promises," he said to the judge, "and do not fear your threats. The
emperor's power is of short duration, and his reign will soon end. It
were better for you, to acknowledge the true God and to seek His
kingdom." Thereupon a great block of stone was placed on the breast of
the brave young officer, and thus he was left in prison.

Next day he was bound upon a wheel set with sharp knives, and it was put
in motion to cut him to pieces. Whilst suffering this cruel torture, he
saw a heavenly vision, which consoled and encouraged him, saying,
"George, fear not; I am with thee." His patience and fortitude under the
torments inflicted on him so affected the numerous pagan spectators that
many of them were converted to the Faith and suffered martyrdom for it.
On the next day, April 23, 303, St. George was led through the city and
beheaded. This took place at Lydda, the city in which, as we read in the
Acts of the Apostles (ix.), St. Peter healed a man sick with the palsy.

St. George is usually represented as a knight tilting against a dragon;
but this is only emblematical of the glorious combat in which he
encountered and overthrew the devil, winning for himself thereby a
martyr's crown.

LESSON

WE TOO, like St. George, often have opportunity to confess our faith in
Christ. We confess it by patiently bearing adversity, by suppressing our
evil inclinations, by suffering injustice without retaliating evil for
evil, by using every opportunity of performing deeds of charity, by
devoting ourselves unremittingly to our daily duties, by carefully
guarding our tongue, etc. Examine yourself whether you have not often
denied your Faith, if not in words, through your works.

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who dost rejoice us by the merits and intercession of Thy blessed
martyr George; graciously grant that we, who through him implore Thee
for Thy bounty, may receive thereby the gift of Thy grace. Through
Christ our Lord. Amen.



II

St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr

LEGEND

ST. BLASE was born at Sebaste, Armenia. He became a physician, but at
the same time devoted himself zealously to the practice of his Christian
duties. His virtuous conduct gained for him the esteem of the Christian
clergy and people to such a degree, that he was elected bishop of his
native city. Henceforth he devoted himself to ward off the dangers of
soul from the faithful, as he had hitherto been intent on healing their
bodily ills. To all, he was a shining example of virtue.

During the reign of Emperor Licinius a cruel persecution of Christians
broke out. The persecutors directed their fury principally against the
bishops, well knowing that when the shepherd is stricken the flock is
dispersed. Listening to the entreaties of the faithful, and mindful of
the words of Our Lord, "When they shall persecute you in this city, flee
into another" (_Matt._ x. 23), St. Blase hid himself in a cave. But one
day the prefect Agricola instituted a chase, and his party discovered
the holy bishop and brought him before their master.

St. Blase remained steadfast in the Faith, and by its able confession
and defense attracted the attention of the attendants at his trial. The
cruel tyrant had him bound and tortured with iron combs. After suffering
these torments with great patience and meekness, the saint was cast into
prison. He was kept there a long time, because the prefect hoped to
exhaust his powers of endurance, and to bring him to sacrifice to the
idols. His jailer permitted the holy bishop to receive visitors in his
prison, and many sick and suffering availed themselves of this
privilege. He cured some of them and gave good advice to others.

One day a mother brought to him her boy, who, while eating, had
swallowed a fishbone, which remained in his throat, and, causing great
pain, threatened suffocation. St. Blase prayed and made the sign of the
cross over the boy, and behold, he was cured. For this reason the saint
is invoked in throat troubles.

At length the holy bishop was again brought before the judge and
commanded to sacrifice to the idols. But he said: "Thou art blind,
because thou art not illuminated by the true light. How can a man
sacrifice to idols, when he adores the true God alone? I do not fear thy
threats. Do with me according to thy pleasure. My body is in thy power,
but God alone has power over my soul. Thou seekest salvation with the
idols; I hope and trust to receive it from the only true and living God
whom I adore."

Then the prefect sentenced him to death. St. Blase was beheaded,
suffering death for the Faith February 3, 316.

LESSON

ST. BLASE gave us a glorious example of fortitude in the confession of
the Faith. According to the teaching of St. Paul, confession of the
Faith is necessary for our salvation. He says, "For if thou confess with
thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised
Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart we believe
unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation"
(_Rom._ x. 9, 10). We are, therefore, not permitted to be silent, much
less to agree, when our Faith, and whatever is connected therewith, as
the sacraments, ceremonies, priests, etc., are ridiculed and reviled.
Parents especially must be most careful in speaking of these subjects
before their children and servants, and do so only with due reverence.

On the contrary, we must confess our Faith, and if necessary, defend it
against all attacks. Often one serious word will suffice to silence a
calumniator of the Faith and cause him to blush. We must confess our
Faith not only in the bosom of our family, but also in public. We must
let our fellow-men know that we are true Catholics, who adhere to our
Faith from conviction, without regard to what others say of us, or how
they judge us, remembering the words of Our Lord, "Every one, therefore,
that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my
Father who is in heaven" (_Matt._ x. 32).

It was remarked above that St. Blase is the patron invoked in throat
troubles. Therefore the Church, on his feast, February 3, gives a
special blessing, at which she prays over those receiving it: "By the
intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver thee from
all ills of the throat and from all other ills; in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." Do not neglect to
receive this blessing, if you have the opportunity. The blessings of the
Church are powerful and effective, for she is God's representative on
earth. Therefore her blessing is God's blessing, and is always
effective, except we ourselves place an obstacle in its way.

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who dost rejoice us through the memory of Thy blessed bishop and
martyr Blase: graciously grant us, that we, who honor his memory, may
experience his protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



III

St. Erasmus, Bishop and Martyr

LEGEND

THE pious historians of the early Christian times state, as a rule, only
what the saints did and suffered for the Faith, and how they died. They
deemed the martyrs' glorious combat and their victorious entrance into
heaven more instructive, and therefore more important, than a lengthy
description of their lives.

Hence we know little of the native place and the youth of St. Erasmus,
except that at the beginning of the fourth century of the Christian era
he was bishop of Antioch in Asia Minor, the city where the name of
"Christian" first came into use. When a long and cruel persecution broke
out under the Emperor Diocletian, St. Erasmus hid himself in the
mountains of the Libanon, and led there, for some years, an austere life
of penance and fasting. Finally he was discovered and dragged before the
judge.

At first, persuasions and kindness were employed to induce him to deny
the Faith, but when these efforts failed recourse was had to the most
cruel torments. He was scourged, and finally cast into a caldron filled
with boiling oil, sulphur, and pitch. In this seething mass God
preserved him from harm, and by this miracle many spectators were
converted to the Faith. Still more enraged thereat, the judge ordered
the holy bishop to be thrown into prison and kept there in chains till
he died of starvation. But God delivered him, as He had once delivered
St. Peter. One night an angel appeared to him and said: "Erasmus, follow
me! Thou shalt convert a great many." Thus far he had led numbers to the
Faith by suffering, now he was to convert multitudes as a missionary.

Delivered from prison by the power of God, he went forth into many lands
and preached the Faith. Mighty in word and deed, he wrought many
miracles and converted great numbers of heathens. At length he came to
Italy, where Emperor Maximin persecuted the Christians as fiercely as
did Diocletian in the East. As soon as Maximin heard of Erasmus and the
conversions effected by his preaching and miracles, he ordered the
slaughter of three hundred of the converts. Erasmus himself was most
cruelly tortured, but to no purpose. He remained firm. Then cast into
prison, he was again liberated by an angel.

At last the hour of deliverance came to this valiant and apostolic
confessor and martyr of Christ. He heard a heavenly voice, saying:
"Erasmus, come now to the heavenly city and rest in the place which God
has prepared for thee with the holy martyrs and prophets. Enjoy now the
fruit of thy labor. By thee I was honored in heaven and on earth."
Erasmus, looking toward heaven, saw a splendid crown, and the apostles
and prophets welcoming him. He bowed his head, saying: "Receive, O Lord,
the soul of thy servant!" and peacefully breathed forth his spirit on
June 2, 308.

LESSON

THE tortures which St. Erasmus suffered for the Faith seem almost
incredible, and the events related of him are truly wonderful. Martyrdom
and miracles illustrated the doctrine he preached; he converted
multitudes and gained the crown of heaven.

Perhaps you say that in our times there are no longer any martyrs, at
least not in civilized countries. Are you quite sure of it? St.
Augustine writes: "Peace also has its martyrs." It is certainly not easy
to suffer torments like the martyrs and to receive finally the
death-dealing blow of the sword. But is it not also a martyrdom to suffer
for years the pains of a lingering illness? Again, how difficult the
combat with the world, the flesh, and the powers of hell! How carefully
must we watch and pray to gain the victory! This is our martyrdom. Let us
imitate the example of the holy martyrs in bearing the trials and
sufferings of life, and we shall receive, as they did, the crown of
heaven.

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who dost give us joy through the memory of Thy holy martyrs,
graciously grant that we may be inflamed by their example, in whose
merits we rejoice. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



IV

St. Pantaleon, Physician and Martyr

LEGEND

ST. PANTALEON was physician to Emperor Maximin and a Christian, but he
fell through a temptation which is sometimes more dangerous than the
most severe trials by the fiercest torments. This temptation was the bad
example of the impious, idolatrous courtiers with whom the young
physician associated. He was seduced by them and abandoned the Faith.
But the grace of God called him, and he obeyed.

Hermolaus, a zealous priest, by prudent exhortation awakened Pantaleon's
conscience to a sense of his guilt, and brought him back into the fold
of the Church. Henceforth he devoted himself ardently to the advancement
of the spiritual and temporal welfare of his fellow-citizens. First of
all he sought to convert his father, who was still a heathen, and had
the consolation to see him die a Christian. He divided the ample fortune
which he inherited amongst the poor and the sick. As a physician, he was
intent on healing his patients both by physical and by spiritual means.
Christians he confirmed in the practice and confession of the Faith, and
the heathens he sought to convert. Many suffering from incurable
diseases were restored to health by his prayer and the invocation of the
holy name of Jesus. His presence was everywhere fraught with blessings
and consolation.

St. Pantaleon yearned to prove his fidelity to the Faith by shedding his
blood for it, and the opportunity came to him when his heathen
associates in the healing art denounced him to the emperor as a zealous
propagator of Christianity. He was brought up before the emperor's
tribunal and ordered to sacrifice to the idols. He replied: "The God
whom I adore is Jesus Christ. He created heaven and earth, He raised the
dead to life, made the blind see and healed the sick, all through the
power of His word. Your idols are dead, they can not do anything. Order
a sick person to be brought here, one declared incurable. Your priests
shall invoke their idols for him and I shall call on the only true God,
and we shall see who is able to help him." The proposal was accepted. A
man sick with the palsy was brought, who could neither walk nor stand
without help. The heathen priests prayed for him, but in vain. Then
Pantaleon prayed, took the sick man by the hand, and said: "In the name
of Jesus, the Son of God, I command thee to rise and be well." And the
palsied man rose, restored to perfect health.

By this miracle a great number of those present were converted. But the
emperor and the idolatrous priests were all the more enraged. Maximin
now attempted to gain Pantaleon by blandishments and promises to deny
the Faith, but without success. Then he had recourse to threats, and as
they too availed nothing, he proceeded to have them put into execution.
The brave confessor of the Faith was tortured in every conceivable
manner. Finally he was nailed to a tree, and then beheaded. The priest
Hermolaus and the brothers Hermippos and Hermocrates suffered death with
him, in the year 308.

LESSON

HAPPY are they who, whatever may be their station or calling in life,
are intent on bringing those with whom they come into contact under the
influence of religion. But, alas, too many do just the reverse. They
permit themselves to be led astray by bad example, and set aside the
claims of the Church as too severe and exacting. How do you act in this
regard? Do you shun the company of the wicked? A proverb says: "Tell me
in whose company you are found, and I will tell you who you are." Bad
company insensibly undermines faith and morals, overcomes the fear of
evil and the aversion to it and weakens the will. "He that loveth danger
shall perish in it" (_Ecclus_. iii. 27).

As soon as St. Pantaleon came to a sense of his apostasy, he repented
and returned to the practice of the Faith. He did this despite the
knowledge that he thereby incurred hatred and persecution. The true
Christian will ever follow the dictates of conscience and please God,
whether he thereby incur the displeasure of men or not. If, to please
men, we become remiss in the service of God, we show that we fear and
love Him less than men. What a lamentable folly! Of whom have we to
expect greater benefits or to fear greater evils--from God or man? Do
not act thus unwisely; rather imitate St. Pantaleon, and live for God
and His service.

_Prayer of the church_

ALMIGHTY God, grant us through the intercession of Thy blessed martyr
Pantaleon to be delivered and preserved from all ills of the body, and
from evil thoughts and influences in spirit. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

[Illustration: Our Lord in the Lap of His Blessed Mother]



V

St Vitus, Martyr

LEGEND

ST. VITUS belonged to a noble pagan family of Sicily, and was born about
the year 291, at Mazurra. His father, Hylas, placed him in early
childhood in charge of a Christian couple named Modestus and Crescentia,
who raised him in the Christian faith, and had him baptized. He grew in
years and in virtue, till, at the age of twelve, he was claimed by his
father, who, to his great anger, found him a fervent Christian.
Convinced, after many unsuccessful attempts, that stripes and other
chastisements would not induce him to renounce the Faith, his father
delivered the brave boy up to Valerian, the governor, who in vain
employed every artifice to shake his constancy. Finally he commanded
Vitus to be scourged, but when two soldiers were about to execute this
order their hands and those of Valerian were suddenly lamed. The
governor ascribed this to sorcery, yet he invoked Vitus' help, and
behold, when the Christian boy made the sign of the cross over the lamed
members, they were healed. Then Valerian sent him back to his father,
telling him to leave no means untried to induce his son to sacrifice to
the idols.

Hylas now tried blandishments, pleasures, and amusements to influence
the brave boy. He even sent a corrupt woman to tempt him, and for that
purpose locked them both together in one room. But Vitus, who had
remained firm amid tortures, resisted also the allurements of
sensuality. Closing his eyes, he knelt in prayer, and behold, an angel
appeared, filling the room with heavenly splendor, and stood at the
youth's side. Terrified, the woman fled. But even this miracle did not
change the obstinate father.

Finally Vitus escaped, and with Modestus and Crescentia fled to Italy.
They landed safe in Naples, and there proclaimed Christ wherever they
had an opportunity. Their fervor and many miracles which they wrought
attracted the attention of Emperor Diocletian to them. He ordered them
to be brought before his tribunal, which being done, he at first treated
them kindly, employing blandishments and making promises to induce them
to renounce Christ. When this had no effect, they were cruelly
tormented, but with no other result than confirming them in their
constancy. Enraged, the emperor condemned them to be thrown to the wild
beasts. But the lions and tigers forgot their ferocity and cowered at
their feet. Now Diocletian, whose fury knew no bounds, ordered them to
be cast into a caldron of molten lead and boiling pitch. They prayed, "O
God, deliver us through the power of Thy name!" and behold, they
remained unharmed. Then the emperor condemned them to the rack, on which
they expired, in the year 303.

LESSON

THE heroic spirit of martyrdom exhibited by St. Vitus was owing to the
early impressions of piety which he received through the teaching and
example of his virtuous foster-parents. The choice of teachers, nurses,
and servants who have the care of children is of the greatest importance
on account of the influence they exert on them. The pagan Romans were
most solicitous that no slave whose speech was not perfectly elegant and
graceful should have access to children. Shall a Christian be less
careful as to their virtue? It is a fatal mistake to imagine that
children are too young to be infected with the contagion of vice. No age
is more impressionable than childhood; no one observes more closely than
the young, and nothing is so easily acquired by them as a spirit of
vanity, pride, revenge, obstinacy, sloth, etc., and nothing is harder to
overcome. What a happiness for a child to be formed to virtue from
infancy, and to be instilled from a tender age with the spirit of piety,
simplicity, meekness, and mercy! Such a foundation being well laid, the
soul will easily, and sometimes without experiencing severe conflicts,
rise to the height of Christian perfection.

_Prayer of the Church_

WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, to graciously grant us through the intercession
of Thy blessed martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, that we may not
proudly exalt ourselves, but serve Thee in humility and simplicity, so
as to avoid evil and to do right for Thy sake. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.



VI

St. Christophorus, Martyr

LEGEND

AN ANCIENT tradition concerning St. Christophorus relates: He was born
in the land of Canaan, and was named Reprobus, that is Reprobate, for he
was a barbarous heathen. In stature and strength he was a giant.
Thinking no one his like in bodily vigor, he resolved to go forth in
search of the mightiest master and serve him. In his wanderings, he met
with a king who was praised as the most valorous man on earth. To him he
offered his services and was accepted. The king was proud of his giant
and kept him near his person. One day a minstrel visited the king's
castle, and among the ballads he sung before the court was one on the
power of Satan. At the mention of this name the king blessed himself,
making the sign of the cross. Reprobus, wondering, asked him why he did
that. The king replied: "When I make this sign, Satan has no power over
me." Reprobus rejoined: "So thou fearest the power of Satan? Then he is
mightier than thou, and I shall seek and serve him."

Setting forth to seek Satan, he came into a wilderness. One dark night
he met a band of wild fellows riding through the forest. It was Satan
and his escort. Reprobus bravely accosted him, saying he wished to serve
him. He was accepted. But soon he was convinced that his new master was
not the mightiest on earth. For one day, whilst approaching a crucifix
by the wayside, Satan quickly took to flight, and Reprobus asked him for
the reason. Satan replied: "That is the image of my greatest enemy, who
conquered me on the cross. From him I always flee." When Reprobus heard
this, he left the devil, and went in search of Christ.

In his wanderings, he one day came to a hut hidden in the forest. At its
door sat a venerable old man. Reprobus addressed him, and in the course
of the conversation that ensued the old man told him that he was a
hermit, and had left the world to serve Christ, the Lord of heaven and
earth. "Thou art my man," cried Reprobus; "Christ is He whom I seek, for
He is the strongest and the mightiest. Tell me where I can find Him."

The hermit then began instructing the giant about God and the Redeemer,
and concluded by saying: "He who would serve Christ must offer himself
entirely to Him, and do and suffer everything for His sake. His reward
for this will be immense and will last forever." Reprobus now asked the
hermit to allow him to remain, and to continue to instruct him. The
hermit consented. When Reprobus was fully instructed, he baptized him.
After his baptism, a great change came over the giant. No longer proud
of his great size and strength, he became meek and humble, and asked the
hermit to assign to him some task by which he might serve God, his
master. "For," said he, "I can not pray and fast; therefore I must serve
God in some other way." The hermit led him to a broad and swift river
nearby, and said: "Here build thyself a hut, and when wanderers wish to
cross the river, carry them over for the love of Christ." For there was
no bridge across the river.

Henceforth, day and night, whenever he was called, Reprobus faithfully
performed the task assigned to him. One night he heard a child calling
to be carried across the river. Quickly he rose, placed the child on his
stout shoulder, took his staff and walked into the mighty current.
Arrived in midstream, the water rose higher and higher, and the child
became heavier and heavier. "O child," he cried, "how heavy thou art! It
seems I bear the weight of the world on my shoulder." And the child
replied, "Right thou art. Thou bearest not only the world, but the
Creator of heaven and earth. I am Jesus Christ, thy King and Lord, and
henceforth thou shalt be called Christophorus, that is, Christ-bearer.
Arrived on yonder shore, plant thy staff in the ground, and in token of
my power and might tomorrow it shall bear leaves and blossoms."

And the child disappeared. On reaching the other shore, Christophorus
stuck his staff into the ground, and behold, it budded forth leaves and
blossoms. Then, kneeling, he promised the Lord to serve Him ever
faithfully. He kept his promise, and thenceforth became a zealous
preacher of the Gospel, converting many to the Faith. On his missionary
peregrinations he came also to Lycia, where, after his first sermon,
eighteen thousand heathens requested baptism. When Emperor Decius heard
of this, he sent a company of four hundred soldiers to capture
Christophorus. To these he preached so convincingly, that they all asked
for baptism. Decius became enraged thereat and had him cast into prison.
There he first treated him with great kindness, and surrounded him with
every luxury to tempt him to sin, but in vain. Then he ordered him to be
tortured in the most cruel manner, until he should deny the Faith. He
was scourged, placed on plates of hot iron, boiling oil was poured over
and fire was lighted under him. When all these torments did not
accomplish their purpose, the soldiers were ordered to shoot him with
arrows. This, too, having no effect, he was beheaded, on July 25, 254.

Two great saints refer to the wonderful achievements of St.
Christophorus. St. Ambrose mentions that this saint converted
forty-eight thousand souls to Christ. St. Vincent Ferrer declares,
that when the plague devastated Valencia, its destructive course
was stayed through the intercession of St. Christophorus.

LESSON

THE legend of St. Christophorus conveys a wholesome truth. We ought all
to be Christ-bearers, by preserving in our hearts faith, hope, and
charity, and by receiving Our Lord worthily in holy communion. He alone
is worthy of our service. In the service that we owe to men, we ought to
serve God by doing His will. We can not divide our heart, for Our Lord
Himself says, "No man can serve two masters" (_Matt_. vi. 24). If you
serve the world, it deceives you, for it can not give you what it
promises. If you serve sin, Satan is your master. He, too, deceives his
servants, and leads them to perdition. Christ on the cross conquered
these two tyrants, and with His help you can also vanquish them.
Therefore, give yourself to Him with all your heart, and you shall find
peace in this world, and eternal bliss in the next. St. Augustine
learned this truth by sad experience, and therefore exclaims: "Thou hast
created us for Thee, O Lord, and our heart is restless till it rests in
Thee."

_Prayer of the church_

GRANT us, almighty God, that whilst we celebrate the memory of Thy
blessed martyr St. Christophorus, through his intercession the love of
Thy name may be increased in us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



VII

St. Dionysius, Bishop and Martyr

LEGEND

WHEN St. Paul the Apostle, in the year of Our Lord 51, came to Athens to
preach the Gospel, he was summoned to the Areopagus, the great council
which determined all religious matters. Among the members of this
illustrious assembly was Dionysius. His mind had already been prepared
to receive the good tidings of the Gospel by the miraculous darkness
which overspread the earth at the moment of Our Lord's death on the
cross. He was at that time at Heliopolis, in Egypt. On beholding the sun
obscured in the midst of its course, and this without apparent cause, he
is said to have exclaimed: "Either the God of nature is suffering, or
the world is about to be dissolved." When St. Paul preached before the
Areopagus in Athens, Dionysius easily recognized the truth and readily
embraced it.

The Apostle received him among his disciples, and appointed him bishop
of the infant Church of Athens. As such he devoted himself with great
zeal to the propagation of the Gospel. He made a journey to Jerusalem to
visit the places hallowed by the footsteps and sufferings of our
Redeemer, and there met the Apostles St. Peter and St. James, the
evangelist St. Luke, and other holy apostolic men. He also had the
happiness to see and converse with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was so
overwhelmed by her presence that he declared, that if he knew not Jesus
to be God, he would consider her divine.

The idolatrous priests of Athens were greatly alarmed at the many
conversions resulting from the eloquent preaching of Dionysius, and
instigated a revolt against him. The holy bishop left Athens, and, going
to Rome, visited the Pope, St. Clement. He sent him with some other holy
men to Gaul. Some of his companions remained to evangelize the cities in
the south, while Dionysius, with the priest Rusticus and the deacon
Eleutherius continued their journey northward as far as Lutetia, the
modern Paris, where the Gospel had not yet been announced. Here for many
years he and his companions labored with signal success, and finally
obtained the crown of martyrdom on Oct. 9, 119. Dionysius was beheaded
at the advanced age of 110 years.

The spot where the three martyrs Dionysius, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
suffered martyrdom, is the well-known hill of Montmartre. An ancient
tradition relates that St. Dionysius, after his head was severed from
his body, took it up with his own hands and carried it two thousand
paces to the place where, later, a church was built in his honor. The
bodies of the martyrs were thrown into the river Seine, but taken up and
honorably interred by a Christian lady named Catulla not far from the
place where they had been beheaded. The Christians soon built a chapel
on their tomb.

St. Dionysius was not only a great missionary and bishop, but also one
of the most illustrious writers of the early Church. Some of his works,
which are full of Catholic doctrine and Christian wisdom, are still
extant, and well worthy of a convert and disciple of St. Paul, whose
spirit they breathe.

LESSON

THE apostolic men like St. Dionysius, who converted so many to Christ,
were filled with His spirit, and acted and lived for Him alone. They
gave their lives to spread His religion, convinced that the welfare of
individuals and nations depends upon it.

On religion depends the security and stability of all government and of
society. Human laws are too weak to restrain those who disregard and
despise the law of God. Unless a man's conscience is enlightened by
religion and bound by its precepts, his passions will so far enslave
him, that the impulse of evil inclinations will prompt him to every
villainy of which he hopes to derive an advantage, if he can but
accomplish his purpose secretly and with impunity.

True religion, on the contrary, insures comfort, peace, and happiness
amid the sharpest trials, safety in death itself, and after death the
most glorious and eternal reward in God. How grateful, therefore, must
we be to the men who preached the true religion amid so many
difficulties, trials, and persecutions; and also to those who preach it
now, animated by the same spirit. And how carefully should we avoid all
persons, books, and periodicals that revile and calumniate our holy
Faith, and attempt its subversion!

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who didst confer on Thy blessed servant Dionysius the virtue of
fortitude in suffering, and didst join with him Rusticus and
Eleutherius, to announce Thy glory to the heathens, grant, we beseech
Thee, that following them, we may despise, for the love of Thee, the
pleasures of this world, and that we do not recoil from its adversities.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



VIII

St. Cyriacus, Deacon and Martyr

LEGEND

EMPEROR MAXIMIN in token of his gratitude to Diocletian, who had ceded
the western half of his empire to him, ordered the building of that
magnificent structure in Rome, whose ruins are still known as the "Baths
of Diocletian." The Christians imprisoned for the Faith were compelled
to labor under cruel overseers at this building. A zealous Christian
Roman, touched with pity at this moving spectacle, resolved to employ
his means in improving the condition of these poor victims of
persecution.

Among the deacons of the Roman Church at that time was one by the name
of Cyriacus, who was distinguished by his zeal in the performance of all
good works. Him, with two companions, Largus and Smaragdus, the pious
Roman selected for the execution of his plan. Cyriacus devoted himself
to the work with great ardor. One day, whilst visiting the laborers to
distribute food amongst them, he observed a decrepit old man, who was so
feeble that he was unable to perform his severe task. Filled with pity,
Cyriacus offered to take his place. The aged prisoner consenting, the
merciful deacon thenceforth worked hard at the building. But after some
time he was discovered, and cast into prison. There he again found
opportunity to exercise his zeal. Some blind men who had great
confidence in the power of his prayer, came to ask him for help in their
affliction, and he restored their sight. He and his companions spent
three years in prison, and during that time he healed many sick and
converted a great number of heathens from the darkness of paganism.

Then Emperor Diocletian's little daughter became possessed by an evil
spirit, and no one was able to deliver her from it. To the idolatrous
priests who were called, the evil spirit declared that he would leave
the girl only when commanded to do so by Cyriacus, the deacon. He was
hastily summoned, and prayed and made the sign of the cross over the
girl, and the evil spirit departed. The emperor loved his daughter,
therefore he was grateful to the holy deacon, and presented him with a
house, where he and his companions might serve their God unmolested by
their enemies.

About this time the daughter of the Persian King Sapor was attacked by a
similar malady, and when he heard what Cyriacus had done for
Diocletian's daughter, he wrote to the emperor, asking him to send the
Christian deacon. It was done, and Cyriacus, on foot, set out for
Persia. Arrived at his destination, he prayed over the girl and the evil
spirit left her. On hearing of this miracle, four hundred and twenty
heathens were converted to the Faith. These the saint instructed and
baptized, and then set out on his homeward journey.

Returned to Rome, he continued his life of prayer and good works. But
when Diocletian soon afterward left for the East, his co-emperor Maximin
seized the opportunity to give vent to his hatred for the Christians,
and renewed their persecution. One of the first victims was Cyriacus. He
was loaded with chains and brought before the judge, who first tried
blandishments and promises to induce him to renounce Christ and to
sacrifice to the idols, but in vain. Then the confessor of Christ was
stretched on the rack, his limbs torn from their sockets, and he was
beaten with clubs. His companions shared the same tortures. Finally,
when the emperor and the judge were convinced that nothing would shake
the constancy of the holy martyrs, they were beheaded. They gained the
crown of glory on March 16, 303.

LESSON

IN THE life of St. Cyriacus two virtues shine forth in a special manner;
his love of God and his charity toward his fellow-men. His love of God
impelled him to sacrifice all, even his life, for His sake, thereby
fulfilling the commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy
whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind" (_Matt_.
xxii. 37). A greater love of God no man can have than giving his life
for Him.

St. Cyriacus also fulfilled the other commandment, of which Our Lord
declared, "And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself" (_Matt_. xxii. 39). He helped his fellow-Christians to bear
their burdens, relieved them in their sufferings, assisted and
encouraged them by word and deed, and edified them by his example. His
sole aim was to do good to all men, mindful of the words of the Royal
Prophet: "Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the
poor" (_Ps_. xl. 2). He was so imbued with the virtue of charity, that
he was disposed even to sacrifice his life for the relief and assistance
of others.

[Illustration: The Holy Women at the Tomb.]

How shall we justify our unfeeling hardness of heart, by which we seek
every trifling pretense to exempt us from the duty of aiding the
unfortunate? Remember the threat of the apostle, "Judgment without mercy
to him that hath not done mercy" (_James_ ii. 13).

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who rejoicest us by the remembrance of Thy blessed martyrs
Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus; grant, we beseech Thee, that we, by
celebrating their memory, may imitate their fortitude in suffering.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



IX

St. Achatius, Martyr

LEGEND

OF THE saints named Achatius, that one is reckoned among the Holy
Helpers who, as a Roman soldier, died for Christ.

Achatius was a native of Cappadocia and as a youth joined the Roman army
during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, attaining the rank of captain. One
day, when leading his company against the enemy, he heard a voice saying
to him, "Call on the God of Christians!" He obeyed, was instructed, and
received Baptism. Filled with zeal, he henceforth sought to convert also
the pagan soldiers of the army. When the emperor heard of this, Achatius
was thrown into prison, then placed on the rack, bound to a post and
scourged, because he refused to offer sacrifice to the idols. When all
these tortures availed nothing, he was brought before the tribune
Bibianus.

Asked by him what was his name and country, Achatius replied, "My name
is Christian, because I am a follower of Christ; men call me Achatius.
My country is Cappadocia. There my parents lived; there I was converted
to the Christian faith, and was so inspired by the combats and
sufferings of the Christian martyrs that I am resolved to shed my blood
for Christ to attain heaven." Then Bibianus ordered him to be beaten
with leaden clubs, after which he was loaded with chains and returned to
the prison.

After Achatius had been in prison seven days, Bibianus was called to
Byzantium, and ordered all prisoners to be transported there. On the
journey Achatius suffered greatly, for his entire body was covered with
wounds, his chains were galling, the guards were cruel and the roads
were bad. He thought himself dying. Praying to God, a voice from the
clouds answered him, "Achatius, be firm!" The soldiers of the guard were
terrified and asked each other, "What is this? How can the clouds have a
voice?" Many prisoners were converted. Next day some of the converts saw
a number of men in shining armor speaking to Achatius, washing his
wounds and healing them, so that not even a scar remained.

Arrived in Byzantium the saint was again cast into prison, and after
seven days dragged before the judge. When neither promises nor the most
cruel torments shook the constancy of the brave confessor of the Faith,
the judge sent him to Flaccius, the proconsul of Thracia, who imprisoned
him for five days, and meanwhile read the records of his former trials.
Then he ordered him to be beheaded. Achatius suffered death for Christ
on May 8, 311.

LESSON

ACHATIUS manfully and without fear confessed the Faith amid persecutions
and sufferings. We, too, are often placed in circumstances where the
profession of our Faith and the practice of the virtues inculcated by it
cause us trials. But so deplorable are the effects of sensuality,
avarice, and ambition, and such is the laxity and spiritual callousness
of many Christians, that there is real cause for every one to be filled
with alarm for the safety of his soul. It is not the crowd we are to
follow, but the precepts of the Gospel. Therefore we ought to strive to
give a good example by our faithful compliance with the demands of
religion. For Our Lord Himself exhorts us: "So let your light shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father,
who is in heaven" (_Matt._ v. 16).

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who dost give us joy through the remembrance of Thy blessed
martyrs, Achatius and his companions; grant, we beseech Thee, that we
may be inflamed by the example of those for whose merits we rejoice.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



X

St. Eustachius, Martyr

LEGEND

AT THE beginning of the second century, during the reign of Emperor
Trajan, there lived in Rome a famous general by the name of Placidus,
who was distinguished among his fellow-citizens for his wealth and
military prowess. It happened one day, that while following the chase he
became separated from his companions, and was pursuing with eagerness a
stag of extraordinary size, when suddenly it turned toward him, and he
beheld raised aloft between its antlers the image of Jesus Christ
suspended on the cross. At the same time our blessed Saviour addressed
him in loving words, inviting him henceforth to follow Him by embracing
the Christian faith, and to make eternal life in future the object of
his pursuit.

Faithful to the grace which he had received, Placidus on his return home
communicated the heavenly vision to his wife Tatiana, who informed him
that she too had been favored with a heavenly apparition. Together they
went immediately to the Pope, related their experience, and after due
instruction received Baptism.

At the sacred font Placidus received the name of Eustachius, and his
wife was called Theopista, while his sons were baptized by the names of
Agapitus and Theopistus.

Upon returning to the spot where he first received the call, Eustachius
was favored with another communication from Our Lord, announcing to him
that he was destined to endure many and great afflictions for the sake
of Christ. It was not long before his faith and patience were put to a
severe trial. Stripped of all his possessions and forced to flee from
the fury of the persecution, he was reduced to extreme distress, and in
the course of his wanderings was by a series of calamitous events
separated from his wife and children, of whom he lost all trace. For
many years he dwelt in a remote spot, following the occupation of a farm
laborer, until he was found by the messengers of the emperor, who was
sadly in need of the skill of his former general, because a fierce war
had broken out, in which the Romans sustained severe losses.

Being again invested with the command of the imperial troops, Eustachius
set out for the seat of war, and achieved a decisive victory. In the
course of his march he had the happiness, by a singular providence of
God, to recover his wife and children, with whom he returned to Rome.
His entrance into the city was attended with great rejoicings, and many
were the congratulations which he received on his extraordinary good
fortune. But soon afterward a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving to the
pagan deities was proclaimed, in which he was ordered by the emperor to
take a part. Upon his refusal, after every effort had been made to shake
his constancy, he was condemned to be exposed to the lions in the public
amphitheater along with his wife and children. Finally, as the savage
animals, laying aside their natural ferocity, refused to injure the
confessors of Christ, Eustachius and his family were by order of the
emperor enclosed in the body of an immense brazen bull, which was heated
by means of a great fire enkindled beneath. The last moments of these
heroic martyrs was spent in chanting the divine praises, in the midst of
which their happy souls passed to the enjoyment of everlasting bliss.
Their bodies, miraculously preserved uninjured, were buried with great
devotion by the faithful Christians, and were afterward transferred to a
magnificent church erected in their honor.

LESSON

HOW inspiring, to see a great man preferring justice, truth, and
religion to the favor of the mighty, readily quitting estate, friends,
country, and even sacrificing life, rather than consent to do violence
to his conscience; and to see him, at the same time, meek, humble,
patient in suffering, forgiving sincerely and loving his unjust and
treacherous persecutors! Passion and revenge often beget anger and
triumph over virtue and integrity. Ambition and the desire of wealth
may, for a time, urge men on to brave danger, but finally they reduce
them to the most abject slavery, and result in grievous crimes and
misery. Religion alone is the source of charity, magnanimity, and true
courage. It so enlightens the mind, as to place a man above the
vicissitudes of the world; it renders him steadfast and calm in
adversity, preserves him from error, teaches him to bear injustice and
calumny in a tranquil spirit, and gives him that ineffable peace and joy
which springs from the conviction that God's will is always most just
and holy and that He protects, aids, and rewards His servants.

Does religion exert this powerful influence on us? Do we show it in our
actions and conduct? Our courage and constancy must be apparent not only
when we encounter danger and opposition, but also when our evil
propensity urges us to yield to temptations that present sin to us in
the guise of pleasure.

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who dost permit us to celebrate the remembrance of Thy blessed
martyrs, Eustachius and companions, grant us, that we may enjoy their
company in eternal bliss. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



XI

St. Giles, Hermit and Abbot

LEGEND

ATHENS, in Greece, was the native city of St. Giles. He was of noble
parentage, and devoted himself from early youth to piety and learning.
After the death of his parents he distributed his rich inheritance to
the poor, and to escape the applause of men for his charity left his
country to bury himself in obscurity.

He sailed for France, and on his arrival there retired to a deserted
country near the mouth of the river Rhone. Later he made his abode near
the river Gard, and finally buried himself in a forest in the diocese of
Nimes. In this solitude he passed many years, living on wild herbs and
roots, with water for his drink. It is related that for some time a hind
came daily to be milked by him, thus furnishing him additional
sustenance. Here he lived, disengaged from earthly cares, conversing
only with God, and engaged in the contemplation of heavenly things.

One day the king instituted a great hunt in the forest where Giles
lived, and encountered the hind. Giving chase, the royal hunter was led
to the saint's hut, where the panting animal had sought refuge. The king
inquired who he was, and was greatly edified at the holiness of his
life. The fame of the saintly hermit now spread far and wide, and was
much increased by the many miracles wrought through his intercession.
The king tried to persuade him to leave his solitude, but prevailed upon
him only in so far, that Giles accepted several disciples and founded a
monastery in which the rule of St. Benedict was observed, and of which
he was chosen the abbot. He governed his community wisely and well, and
at the earnest solicitation of his monks was ordained priest.

The fame of St. Giles' sanctity induced the Frankish King, Charles
Martel to call him to his court to relieve him of a great trouble of
conscience. The saint made the journey, and told the king that he would
find relief and comfort only by the sincere confession of a sin which he
had hitherto concealed. The king followed his advice, found interior
peace and dismissed Giles with many tokens of gratitude. On his homeward
journey the saint raised the recently deceased son of a nobleman to
life.

After a short stay in his monastery St. Giles went to Rome, to obtain
from the Pope the confirmation of some privileges and the apostolic
blessing for his community. The Pope granted his wishes, and presented
him, besides, with two grand and beautifully carved doors of cedar wood
for his church.

St. Giles died at a ripe old age on September 1, 725. Many miracles were
wrought at his tomb.

LESSON

ST. GILES left his native country and retired into solitude to escape
the notice and applause of the world, and served God as a recluse. To
lead such a life, there must be a special call from God. It is not
suited to all, and even inconsistent with the duties of most men. But
all are capable of disengaging their affections from the inordinate
attachment to creatures, and of attaining to a pure and holy love of
God. By making the service of God the motive of their thoughts and
actions, they will sanctify their whole life.

In whatever conditions of life we may be placed, we have opportunities
of subduing our evil inclinations and mortifying ourselves by frequent
self-denials, of watching over our hearts and purifying our senses by
recollection and prayer. Thus each one, in his station of life, may
become a saint, by making his calling an exercise of virtue and his
every act a step higher to perfection and eternal glory.

_Prayer of the Church_

O LORD, we beseech Thee to let us find grace through the intercession of
thy blessed confessor Giles; that what we can not obtain through our
merits be given us through his intercession. Through Christ our Lord
Amen.



XII

St. Margaret, Virgin and Martyr

LEGEND

ST. MARGARET was the daughter of a pagan priest at Antioch. She lost her
mother in infancy and was placed in the care of a nurse in the country,
who was a Christian, and whose first care was to have her little charge
baptized and to give the child a Christian education. Margaret grew up a
modest, pious virgin, and when she returned to her father he was charmed
with the grace and virtue of his daughter. He regretted only one thing;
she took no part in the worship of the idols. When she told him the
reason he was greatly displeased, for she stated that she was a
Christian, and that nothing should separate her from the love of Christ.

Her father tried every means to change her mind, and when all his
endeavors failed became enraged and drove her forth from his house.
Margaret returned to her nurse and became her servant, doing all kinds
of menial work, and at the same time perfecting herself in virtue.

About this time Emperor Diocletian began to persecute the Christians.
One day Alybrius, the prefect of the city, saw Margaret, and fell in
love with her. He sent a messenger to ask her in marriage. The pious
virgin was filled with consternation at the proposal and replied to the
messenger: "I can not be espoused to your master, because I am the
spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I am promised to Him, and to Him I wish
to belong." When the prefect heard this, he became furious with rage,
and gave orders to have the virgin brought to him by force. When she
appeared before him he thus addressed her: "What is your name and
condition?" She replied: "I am called Margaret, and belong to a noble
family. I adore Christ and serve Him." The prefect now advised her to
abandon the worship of a crucified God. Margaret asked him, "How do you
know that we worship a crucified God?" The prefect replied: "From the
books of the Christians." Margaret continued: "Why did you not read
further on? The books of the Christians would have told you that the
Crucified rose on the third day, and that He ascended into heaven. Is it
love of truth to believe in the abasement of Christ and to reject His
glorification, when both are related in the selfsame book?"

At this reproof the prefect became angry and ordered the tender virgin
to be cruelly scourged, placed on the rack, and torn with iron combs.
Then she was cast into prison. There Margaret fervently thanked God for
the victory she had achieved and implored His help for the combat yet in
store for her. Suddenly there appeared to her the arch-enemy of mankind
in the shape of a furious dragon, threatening to swallow her. The brave
virgin feared him not, but made the sign of the cross, and the monster
vanished. Then her desolate prison cell became suffused with heavenly
light, and her heart was filled with divine consolation. At the same
time her terrible wounds were suddenly healed, and not the least scar
was left.

Next day Margaret was again brought before the prefect. Surprised at her
complete recovery from the effects of his cruelty, he remarked that no
doubt it was due to the power of the pagan gods, and exhorted her to
show her gratitude to them by sacrificing to the idols. Margaret
maintained that she had been healed by the power of Christ alone and
declared that she despised the heathen gods. At this, the rage of
Alybrius knew no bounds. He ordered lighted torches to be applied to
Margaret's body, and then had her cast into icy water to intensify her
torture. But scarcely had this been done when a violent earthquake
occurred. Her bonds were severed and she rose unscathed from the water,
without a mark of the burns caused by the flaming torches. On witnessing
this miracle, a great number of spectators were converted to the Faith.

Finally the prefect ordered Margaret to be beheaded. Her glorious
martyrdom and death occurred about the year 275.

LESSON

THE history of the virgin martyr St. Margaret teaches us that we can and
ought to serve God even in youth. In the Old Law God commanded all the
first-born and the first-fruits to be offered to Him. "Thou shalt not
delay to pay thy tithes and first-fruits. Thou shalt give the first-born
of thy sons to Me" (_Ex._ xxii. 29).

Certainly our whole life ought to be dedicated to the service of God;
but from the above command we are to understand that God especially
desires our service during the early years of our life. They are our
first-fruits. St. Augustine calls the years of youth the blossoms, the
most beautiful flowers of life, and St. Thomas Aquinas writes: "What the
young give to God in their early years, they give of the bloom, of the
full vigor and beauty of life."

Youth is the age beset with countless temptations. Safety is found only
in the service of God, by obedience, humility, and docility. This is not
so difficult as it appears, and Our Lord Himself invites you to His
service, saying: "My son, give Me thy heart" (_Prov._ xxiii. 26), and,
"Taste and see that the Lord is sweet" (_Ps._ xxxiii. 9).

_Prayer of the Church_

WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, grant us Thy favor through the intercession of
Thy blessed virgin and martyr Margaret, who pleased Thee by the merit of
her purity and by the confession of Thy might. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.



XIII

St Catherine, Virgin and Martyr

LEGEND

ST. CATHERINE was a native of Alexandria, Egypt, a city then famous for
its schools of philosophy. She was a daughter of Costis, half-brother of
Constantine, and of Sabinella, queen of Egypt. Her wisdom and
acquirements were remarkable, the philosophy of Plato being her favorite
study. While Catherine was yet young her father died, leaving her
heiress to the kingdom. Her love of study and retirement displeased her
subjects, who desired her to marry, asserting that her gifts of noble
birth, wealth, beauty, and knowledge should be transmitted to her
children.

The princess replied that the husband whom she would wed must be even
more richly endowed than herself. His blood must be the noblest, his
rank must surpass her own, his beauty without comparison, his benignity
great enough to forgive all offences. The people of Alexandria were
disheartened, for they knew of no such prince; but Catherine remained
persistent in her determination to wed none other.

Now, it happened that a certain hermit who lived near Alexandria had a
vision in which he saw the Blessed Virgin, who sent him to tell
Catherine that her divine Son was the Spouse whom she desired. He alone
possessed all, and more, than the requirements she demanded. The holy
man gave Catherine a picture of Jesus and Mary; and when the princess
had gazed upon the face of Christ she loved Him so that she could think
of naught else, and the studies in which she had been wont to take
delight became distasteful to her.

[Illustration: The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Blessed Virgin and
the Apostles.]

One night Catherine dreamed that she accompanied the hermit to a
sanctuary, whence angels came to meet her. She fell on her face before
them, but one of the angelic band bade her, "Rise dear sister Catherine,
for the King of glory delighteth to honor thee." She rose and followed
the angels to the presence of the queen of heaven, who was surrounded by
angels and saints and was beautiful beyond description. The queen
welcomed her and led her to her divine Son, Our Lord. But He turned from
her, saying: "She is not fair and beautiful enough for me."

Catherine awoke at these words and wept bitterly until morning. She then
sent for the hermit and inquired what would make her worthy of the
heavenly Bridegroom. The saintly recluse instructed her in the true
Faith and, with her mother, she was baptized. That night, in a dream,
the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son again appeared to her. Mary
presented her to Jesus, saying: "Behold, she has been regenerated in the
water of Baptism." Then Christ smiled on her and plighted His troth to
her by putting a ring on her finger. When she awoke the ring was still
there, and thenceforth Catherine despised all earthly things and longed
only for the hour when she should go to her heavenly Bridegroom.

After the death of Sabinella, Emperor Maximin came to Alexandria and
declared a persecution against the Christians. Catherine appeared in the
temple and held an argument with the tyrant, utterly confounding him.
The emperor ordained that fifty of the most learned men of the empire be
brought to dispute with her; but, sustained by the power of God,
Catherine not only vanquished them in argument, but converted them to
the true Faith. In his fury Maximin commanded that the new Christians be
burned; and Catherine comforted them, since they could not be baptized,
by telling them that their blood should be their baptism and the flames
their crown of glory.

The emperor then tried other means to overcome the virtue of the noble
princess; but, failing to do this, he ordered her to be cast into a
dungeon and starved to death. Twelve days later, when the dungeon was
opened, a bright light and fragrant perfume filled it, and Catherine,
who had been nourished by angels, came forth radiant and beautiful. On
seeing this miracle, the empress and many noble Alexandrians declared
themselves Christians, and suffered death at the command of the emperor.

Catherine was not spared, for Maximin made a further attempt to win her.
He offered to make her mistress of the world if she would but listen to
him, and when she still spurned his proposals, he ordered her to the
torture. She was bound to four spiked wheels which revolved in different
directions, that she might be torn into many pieces. But an angel
consumed the wheels by fire, and the fragments flying around killed the
executioners and many of the spectators. The tyrant then ordered her to
be scourged and beheaded. The sentence was carried into effect on
November 25, 307.

A pious legend, recognized by the Church, says that angels bore
Catherine's body to Mount Sinai, and buried it there.

LESSON

ST. CATHERINE, for her erudition and the spirit of piety by which she
sanctified it, was chosen the model and patroness of Christian
philosophers.

Learning, next to virtue, is the noblest quality and ornament of the
human mind. Profane science teaches many useful truths, but when
compared with the importance of the study of the science of the saints,
they are of value only inasmuch as when made subservient to the latter.
The study of the saints was to live in the spirit of Christ. This
science is taught by the Church, and acquired by listening to her
instructions, by pious reading and meditation.

Be intent on learning this science, and order your life according to its
rules. It is the "one thing necessary," for it is the foundation of all
wisdom and true happiness. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdom" (_Ps._ cx. 10).

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who didst give the law to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai, and
by the holy angels didst miraculously transfer there the body of blessed
Catherine, virgin and martyr; grant us, we beseech Thee, to come,
through her intercession, to the mountain which is Christ. Through the
same Christ our Lord. Amen.



XIV

St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr

LEGEND

NICOMEDIA, a city in Asia Minor, was St. Barbara's birthplace. Her
father Dioscurus was a pagan. Fearing that his only child might learn to
know and love the doctrines of Christianity, he shut her up in a tower,
apart from all intercourse with others. Nevertheless Barbara became a
Christian. She passed her time in study, and from her lonely tower she
used to watch the heavens in their wondrous beauty. She soon became
convinced that the "heavens were telling the glory of God," a God
greater than the idols she had been taught to worship. Her desire to
know that God was in itself a prayer which He answered in His own wise
way.

The fame of Origen, that famous Christian teacher in Alexandria, reached
even the remote tower, and Barbara sent a trusty servant with the
request that he would make known to her the truth. Origen sent her one
of his disciples, disguised as a physician, who instructed and baptized
her. She practised her new religion discreetly while waiting for a
favorable opportunity of acquainting her father with her conversion.

This opportunity came in a short time. Some workmen were sent by
Dioscurus to make another room in the tower, and when they had made two
windows she directed them to make a third. When her father saw this
additional window, he asked the reason for it. She replied, "Know, my
father, that the soul receives light through three windows, the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and the three are one." The father became
so angry at this discovery of her having become a Christian, that he
would have killed his daughter with his sword, had she not fled to the
top of the tower. He followed her, and finally had her in his power.
First he wreaked his vengeance on her in blows, then clutching her by
the hair he dragged her away and thrust her into a hut to prevent her
escape. Next he tried every means to induce her to renounce her faith;
threats, severe punishments, and starvation had no effect on the
constancy of the Christian maiden.

Finding himself powerless to shake his daughter's constancy, Dioscurus
delivered her to the proconsul Marcian, who had her scourged and
tortured, but without causing her to deny the Faith. During her
sufferings, her father stood by, exulting in the torments of his child.
Next night, after she had been taken back to prison, Our Lord appeared
to her and healed her wounds. When Barbara appeared again before him,
Marcian was greatly astonished to find no trace of the cruelties that
had been perpetrated on her body. Again she resisted his importunities
to deny the Faith, and when he saw that all his efforts were in vain, he
pronounced the sentence of death. Barbara was to be beheaded. Her
unnatural father claimed the privilege to execute it with his own hands,
and with one blow severed his daughter's head from her body, on December
4, 237.

At the moment of the saint's death a great tempest arose and Dioscurus
was killed by lightning. Marcian, too, was overtaken by the same fate.

LESSON

SINCE early times St. Barbara is invoked as the patroness against
lightning and explosions, and is called upon by those who desire the
sacraments of the dying in their last illness, and many are the
instances of the efficacy of her intercession.

We all wish for a happy and blessed death. To attain it, we must make
the preparation for it the great object of our life; we must learn to
die to the world and to ourselves, and strive after perfection in
virtue. There is no greater comfort in adversity, no more powerful
incentive to withdrawing our affections from this world, than to
remember the blessing of a happy death. Well prepared, death may strike
us in any form whatsoever, and however suddenly, it will find us ready.

We can be guilty of no greater folly than to delay our preparation for
death, repentance, the reception of the sacraments, and the amendment of
our life, from day to day, from the time of health to the time of
illness, and in illness to the very last moments, thinking that even
then we can obtain pardon. St. Augustine observes: "It is very dangerous
to postpone the performance of a duty on which our whole eternity
depends to the most inconvenient time, the last hour." And St. Bernard
remarks: "In Holy Scripture we find one single instance of one who
received pardon at the last moment. He was the thief crucified with
Jesus. He is alone, that you despair not; he is alone, also, that you
sin not by presumption on God's mercy." If you, therefore, wish for a
happy death, prepare for it in time.

_Prayer of the Church_

O GOD, who among the wonders of Thy might didst grant the victory of
martyrdom also to the weaker sex, graciously grant us that we, by
recalling the memory of Thy blessed virgin and martyr Barbara, through
her example may be led to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



PART IV

I

Novenas to the Holy Helpers

II

Prayers and Petitions


"In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
petitions be made known to God" (_Philipp._ iv. 6).

"God is wonderful in His saints. The God of Israel is He who will give
power and strength to His people; blessed be God" (_Ps._ lxvii. 36).



Novena to Each of the Holy Helpers

PREPARATORY PRAYER

_For Each of the Following Novenas_

ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping
Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with
filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my
intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the
fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and
merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his
example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and
intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I
humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as
it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy
greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

I

Novena in Honor of St. George

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. GEORGE

O GOD, who didst grant to St. George strength and constancy in the
various torments which he sustained for our holy faith; we beseech Thee
to preserve, through his intercession, our faith from wavering and
doubt, so that we may serve Thee with a sincere heart faithfully unto
death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. GEORGE

FAITHFUL servant of God and invincible martyr, St. George; favored by
God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ,
thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and
deceit. Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from
the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love
to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround
me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may
patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither
distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus
Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against
evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the
end.

_Prayer_

MY LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the
bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the
merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of
all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose
honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and
graciously hear my prayer. Amen.



II

Novena in Honor of St. Blase

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. BLASE

O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr
Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the
throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the
confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy
lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. BLASE

ST. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God,
who for the love of our Saviour didst suffer so many tortures with
patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve
me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God
endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills
of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always
be able to fulfil my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform
good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may
confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain
their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those
who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the
grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they
concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and
of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive
pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment.
Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



III

Novena in Honor of St Erasmus

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. ERASMUS

O GOD, grant us through the intercession of Thy dauntless bishop and
martyr Erasmus, who so valiantly confessed the Faith, that we may learn
the doctrine of this faith, practise its precepts, and thereby be made
worthy to attain its promises. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. ERASMUS

HOLY martyr Erasmus, who didst willingly and bravely bear the trials and
sufferings of life, and by thy charity didst console many
fellow-sufferers; I implore thee to remember me in my needs and to
intercede for me with God. Staunch confessor of the Faith, victorious
vanquisher of all tortures, pray to Jesus for me and ask Him to grant me
the grace to live and die in the Faith through which thou didst obtain
the crown of glory. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



IV

Novena to St. Pantaleon

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. PANTALEON

O GOD, who didst give to St. Pantaleon the grace of exercising charity
toward his fellow-men by distributing his goods to the poor, and hast
made him a special patron of the sick, grant, that we, too, show our
charity by works of mercy; and through the intercession of this Thy
servant preserve us from sickness. But if it be Thy will that illness
should afflict us, give us the grace to bear it patiently, and let it
promote our soul's salvation. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. PANTALEON

ST. PANTALEON, who during life didst have great pity for the sick and
with the help of God didst often relieve and cure them; I invoke thy
intercession with God, that I may obtain the grace to serve Him in good
health by cheerfully fulfilling the duties of my state of life. But if
it be His holy will to visit me with illness, pain, and suffering, do
thou aid me with thy powerful prayer to submit humbly to His
chastisements, to accept sickness in the spirit of penance and to bear
it patiently according to His holy will. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).

[Image: The Blessed Virgin Receives Holy Communion from St. John.]



V

Novena in Honor of St. Vitus

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. VITUS

GRANT us, O God, through the intercession of St. Vitus, a due estimation
of the value of our soul and of its redemption by the precious blood of
Thy Son Jesus Christ; so that, for its salvation, we bear all trials
with fortitude. Give this Thy youthful servant and heroic martyr as a
guide and protector to Christian youths, that following his example they
may after a victorious combat receive the crown of justice in heaven.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. VITUS

ST. VITUS, glorious martyr of Christ; in thy youth thou wast exposed to
violent and dangerous temptations, but in the fear of God and for the
love of Jesus thou didst victoriously overcome them. O amiable, holy
youth, I implore thee by the love of Jesus, assist me with thy powerful
intercession to overcome the temptations to evil, to avoid every
occasion of sin, and thus to preserve spotless the robe of innocence and
sanctifying grace, and to bring it unstained to the judgment-seat of
Jesus Christ, that I may forever enjoy the beatific vision of God which
is promised to the pure of heart. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



VI

Novena in Honor of St. Christophorus

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. CHRISTOPHORUS

O GOD, who didst make St. Christophorus a true Christ-bearer, who
converted multitudes to the Christian faith, and who didst give him the
grace to suffer for Thy sake the most cruel torments; through the
intercession of this saint we implore Thee to protect us from sin, the
only real evil. Preserve us, also, against harmful elementary forces,
such as earthquake, lightning, fire, and flood. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. CHRISTOPHORUS

GREAT St. Christophorus, seeking the strongest and mightiest master thou
didst find him in Jesus Christ, the almighty God of heaven and earth,
and didst faithfully serve Him with all thy power to the end of thy
life, gaining for Him countless souls and finally shedding thy blood for
Him; obtain for me the grace to bear Christ always in my heart, as thou
didst once bear Him on thy shoulder, so that I thereby may be
strengthened to overcome victoriously all temptations and resist all
enticements of the world, the devil, and the flesh, and that the powers
of darkness may not prevail against me. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



VII

Novena in Honor of St. Dionysius

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. DIONYSIUS

O GOD, who didst confer Thy saving faith on the people of France through
Thy holy bishop and martyr Dionysius, and didst glorify him before and
after his martyrdom by many miracles; grant us through his intercession
that the Faith practised and preached by him be our light on the way of
life, so that we may be preserved from all anxieties of conscience, and
if by human frailty we have sinned, we may return to Thee speedily by
true penance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. DIONYSIUS

GLORIOUS servant of God, St. Dionysius, with intense love thou didst
devote thyself to Christ after learning to know Him through the apostle
St. Paul, and didst preach His saving name to the nations, to bring whom
to His knowledge and love thou didst not shrink from martyrdom; implore
for me a continual growth in the knowledge and love of Jesus, so that my
restless heart may experience that peace which He alone can give. Help
me by thy powerful intercession with God to serve Him with a willing
heart, to devote myself with abiding love to His service, and thereby to
attain the eternal bliss of heaven. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



VIII

Novena in Honor of St. Cyriacus

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. CYRIACUS

O GOD, who didst grant to St. Cyriacus the grace of heroic charity and
trustful resignation to Thy holy will; bestow upon us, through his
intercession, the grace to walk before Thee in self-denying charity and
to know and fulfil Thy will in all things. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. CYRIACUS

ST. CYRIACUS, great servant of God, loving Christ with all thy heart,
thou didst for His sake also love thy fellow-men, and didst serve them
even at the peril of thy life, for which charity God rewarded thee with
the power to overcome Satan, the arch-enemy, and to deliver the poor
obsessed from his dreadful tyranny; implore for me of God an effective,
real, and true charity. Show thy power over Satan also in me; deliver me
from his influence when he tries to tempt me. Help me to repel his
assaults and to gain the victory over him in life and in death. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



IX

Novena in Honor of St. Achatius

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. ACHATIUS

O GOD, who didst fortify Thy holy martyr Achatius with constancy and
trustful reliance on Thee in death; grant us through his intercession at
the hour of our death to be free from all anxiety and victorious in our
last combat with the enemy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. ACHATIUS

VALIANT martyr of Christ, St. Achatius, who preached Christ faithfully
before kings and judges, and didst gain the victory over the enemies of
God; help me through thy powerful intercession to resist and gain the
victory over all the enemies of my salvation, over the world and its
allurements, over the concupiscence of the flesh, and over the
temptations of Satan. I implore thee particularly to assist me in my
agony, when the powers of hell rise against me to rob my soul. Then do
thou come to my aid and repel the assaults of the enemy, so that I
surrender my soul into the hands of my Redeemer in faith, hope, and
charity, and confiding in His infinite merits. Through the same Christ
our Lord. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



X

Novena in Honor of St. Eustachius

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. EUSTACHIUS

O GOD, who didst lead Thy holy martyr Eustachius safely through many
trials and dangers to the glorious crown of martyrdom; enlighten and
strengthen us through his intercession, that we persevere in Thy love
amid the trials of this life, and by resignation to Thy holy will come
forth from the darkness of this earth into the light of Thy eternal
glory. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. EUSTACHIUS

HEROIC servant of God, St. Eustachius, cast from the height of earthly
glory and power into the deepest misery, thou wast engaged for a long
time in the labor of a menial servant, eating the bitter bread of
destitution; but never didst thou murmur against the severe probation to
which God subjected thee. I implore thee to aid me with thy powerful
intercession, that in all conditions I may resign myself to the holy
will of God, and particularly that I may bear poverty and its
consequences with patience, trusting in God's providence, completely
resigned to the decrees of Him who humbles and exalts, chastises and
heals, sends trials and consolations, and who has promised to those who
follow Him in the spirit of poverty His beatific vision throughout all
eternity. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



XI

Novena in Honor of St. Giles

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. GILES

O GOD, we beseech Thee to grant us through the merits and intercession
of St. Giles to flee from the vanity and praise of this world, to avoid
carefully all occasions of sin, to cleanse our hearts from all
wickedness by a sincere confession, to leave this world in Thy love and
rich in good works, and to find Thee gracious on the day of judgment.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. GILES

ZEALOUS follower of Christ, St. Giles; from early youth thou didst take
to heart the words of our Saviour: "Learn of Me, because I am meek and
humble of heart." Therefore thou didst flee from the praise and honors
of the world, and wast rewarded with the grace to preserve thy heart
from all sin and to persevere in a holy life to a ripe old age. I, on my
part, through pride, self-confidence, and negligence, yielded to my evil
inclinations, and thereby sinned grievously and often, offending my God
and Lord, my Creator and Redeemer, my most loving Father. Therefore I
implore thee to help me through thy mighty intercession to be
enlightened by the Holy Ghost, that I may know the malice, grievousness,
and multitude of my sins, confess them humbly, fully, and contritely,
and receive pardon, tranquillity of heart, and peace of conscience from
God. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



XII

Novena in Honor of St. Margaret

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. MARGARET

O GOD, grant us through the intercession of thy holy virgin and martyr
Margaret, undauntedly to confess the Faith, carefully to observe the
chastity of our state of life, and to overcome the temptations of the
world, the devil, and the flesh, and thereby escape the punishments of
eternal damnation. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. MARGARET

ST. MARGARET, holy virgin and martyr, thou didst faithfully preserve the
robe of holy innocence and purity, valiantly resisting all the
blandishments and allurements of the world for the love of thy divine
Spouse, Jesus Christ; help me to overcome all temptations against the
choicest of all virtues, holy purity, and to remain steadfast in the
love of Christ, in order to preserve this great gift of God. Implore for
me the grace of perseverance in prayer, distrust of myself, and flight
from the occasions of sin, and finally the grace of a good death, so
that in heaven I may "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



XIII

Novena in Honor of St. Catherine

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. CATHERINE

O GOD, who didst distinguish Thy holy virgin and martyr Catherine by the
gift of great wisdom and virtue, and a victorious combat with the
enemies of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, through her
intercession, constancy in the Faith and the wisdom of the saints, that
we may devote all the powers of our mind and heart to Thy service.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. CATHERINE

ST. CATHERINE, glorious virgin and martyr, resplendent in the luster of
wisdom and purity; thy wisdom refuted the adversaries of divine truth
and covered them with confusion; thy immaculate purity made thee a
spouse of Christ, so that after thy glorious martyrdom angels carried
thy body to Mount Sinai. Implore for me progress in the science of the
saints and the virtue of holy purity, that vanquishing the enemies of my
soul, I may be victorious in my last combat and after death be conducted
by the angels into the eternal beatitude of heaven. Amen.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



XIV

Novena in Honor of St. Barbara

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of Part IV).

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. BARBARA

O GOD, who didst adorn Thy holy virgin and martyr Barbara with
extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst
console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her
intercession perseverance in the fulfilment of Thy law and the grace of
being fortified before our end with the holy sacraments, and of a happy
death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. BARBARA

INTREPID virgin and martyr, St. Barbara, through thy intercession come
to my aid in all needs of my soul. Obtain for me the grace to be
preserved from a sudden and unprovided death; assist me in my agony,
when my senses are benumbed and I am in the throes of death. Then, O
powerful patroness of the dying, come to my aid! Repel from me all the
assaults and temptations of the evil one, and obtain for me the grace to
receive before death the holy sacraments, that I breathe forth my soul
confirmed in faith, hope, and charity, and be worthy to enter eternal
glory. Amen.

  St. Barbara, at my last end
    Obtain for me the Sacrament;
  Assist one in that direst need
    When I my God and Judge must meet:
  That robed in sanctifying grace
    My soul may stand before His face.

Prayer (located in St. George's novena).



Novena to All the Fourteen Holy Helpers

PREPARATORY PRAYER

_(By St Alphonsus Liguori.)_

GREAT princes of heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your
earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are
crowned in heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory;
have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain
for me from God, for whom you gave up all things and who loves you as
His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this
life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to
the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise
and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, whose beatific vision you enjoy, and
whom you praise and glorify for ever. Amen.

FIRST DAY

The Devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE practice of honoring and invoking the saints to obtain, through
their intercession, help in the various needs of body and soul, is as
old as the Church. At what period, however, the custom of having
recourse to the fourteen saints called Holy Helpers originated, is
unknown. Nevertheless it is certain that each one of them was invoked
for his intercession with God since his entrance into heaven. Prayer is
the Christian's resource in every difficulty: and difficulties and
trials are never wanting on earth.

Because the needs of mankind on earth are various, the faithful selected
certain saints as intercessors in certain cases of distress, and
obtained relief; hence these saints came to be regarded as special
patrons in such trials, and were called Holy Helpers.

PRACTICE

MAKE this novena with full confidence in the power of the intercession
of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. During their earthly life they devoted
their whole energy to the spreading of God's kingdom and the relief and
succor of their fellow-men. Much more efficiently can they do so now
when they are in the enjoyment of eternal happiness, and can supplicate
for us at the very throne of God.

The saints _can_ help us through their intercession. God hears their
prayers and He wrought miracles to confirm us in this belief, even
whilst His servants sojourned here on earth. They _desire_ and are
willing to help us. St. Bernard says: "In heaven hearts do not grow
cold; they are rather rendered more affectionate and tender. By
receiving the crown of justice the saints were not hardened against the
sufferings of their brethren on earth."

Therefore, in calling on them, have full confidence in their power and
ability to come to your aid.

_Prayer_

WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, to hear the prayer which we send up to Thee in
honor of Thy glorified servants, the Fourteen Holy Helpers: and as we
can not rely upon our own justice, grant our petition through the
intercession of those whose merits have made them especially dear to
Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Image: Death of the Blessed Virgin]

LITANY OF THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS

  LORD, have mercy on us.
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Holy Mary, queen of martyrs, pray for us.
  St. Joseph, helper in all needs, pray for us.
  Fourteen Holy Helpers, pray for us.
  St. George, valiant martyr of Christ, pray for us.
  St. Blase, zealous bishop and benefactor of the poor, pray for us.
  St. Erasmus, mighty protector of the oppressed, pray for us.
  St. Pantaleon, miraculous exemplar of charity, pray for us.
  St. Vitus, special protector of chastity, pray for us.
  St. Christophorus, mighty intercessor in dangers, pray for us.
  St. Dionysius, shining mirror of faith and confidence, pray for us.
  St. Cyriacus, terror of hell, pray for us.
  St. Achatius, helpful advocate in death, pray for us.
  St. Eustachius, exemplar of patience in adversity, pray for us.
  St. Giles, despiser of the world, pray for us.
  St. Margaret, valiant champion of the Faith, pray for us.
  St. Catherine, victorious defender of the Faith and of purity, pray
for us.
  St. Barbara, mighty patroness of the dying, pray for us.
  All ye Holy Helpers, pray for us.
  All ye saints of God, pray for us.
  In temptations against faith, pray for us.
  In adversity and trials, pray for us.
  In anxiety and want, pray for us.
  In every combat, pray for us.
  In every temptation, pray for us.
  In sickness, pray for us.
  In all needs, pray for us.
  In fear and terror, pray for us.
  In dangers of salvation, pray for us.
  In dangers of honor, pray for us.
  In dangers of reputation, pray for us.
  In dangers of property, pray for us.
  In dangers by fire and water, pray for us.
  Be merciful, spare us, O Lord!
  Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord!
  From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
  From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Lord.
  From the scourge of earthquake, deliver us, O Lord.
  From plague, famine, and war, deliver us, O Lord.
  From lightning and storms, deliver us, O Lord.
  From a sudden and unprovided death, deliver us, O Lord.
  From eternal damnation, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through Thy birth and Thy life, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through Thy cross and passion, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through the merits of Thy blessed Mother Mary, deliver us, O Lord.
  Through the merits of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, deliver us, O Lord.
  On the Day of Judgment, deliver us, O Lord!
  We sinners, beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou convert us to true penance, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we beseech Thee,
hear us.
  That Thou protect and propagate Thy holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear
us.
  That Thou preserve peace and concord among the nations, we beseech
Thee, hear us.
  That Thou give eternal rest to the souls of the departed, we beseech
Thee, hear us.
  That Thou come to our aid through the intercession of the Holy
Helpers, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. George Thou preserve us in the
Faith, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Blase Thou confirm us in hope, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Erasmus Thou enkindle in us Thy
holy love, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Pantaleon Thou give us charity
for our neighbor, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Vitus Thou teach us the value of
our soul, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Christophorus Thou preserve us
from sin, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Dionysius Thou give us
tranquillity of conscience, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Cyriacus Thou grant us
resignation to Thy holy will, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Eustachius Thou give us patience
in adversity, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Achatius Thou grant us a happy
death, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Giles Thou grant us a merciful
judgment, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Margaret Thou preserve us from
hell, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Catherine Thou shorten our
purgatory, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of St. Barbara Thou receive us in
heaven, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That through the intercession of all the Holy Helpers Thou wilt grant
our prayers, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear
us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us,
O Lord.

V. Pray for us, ye Fourteen Holy Helpers.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.

_Let us Pray_

ALMIGHTY and eternal God, who hast bestowed extraordinary graces and
gifts on Thy saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus,
Christophorus, Dionysius, Cyriacus, Eustachius, Achatius, Giles,
Margaret, Catherine, and Barbara, and hast illustrated them by miracles;
we beseech Thee to graciously hear the petitions of all who invoke their
intercession. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, who didst miraculously fortify the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the
confession of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, to imitate their
fortitude in overcoming all temptations against it, and protect us
through their intercession in all dangers of soul and body, so that we
may serve Thee in purity of heart and chastity of body. Through Christ
our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF THE HOLY HELPERS

FOURTEEN Holy Helpers, who served God in humility and confidence on
earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific vision in heaven;
because you persevered till death you gained the crown of eternal life.
Remember the dangers that surround us in this vale of tears, and
intercede for us in all our needs and adversities. Amen.

Fourteen Holy Helpers, select friends of God, I honor you as mighty
intercessors, and come with filial confidence to you in my needs, for
the relief of which I have undertaken to make this novena. Help me by
your intercession to placate God's wrath, which I have provoked by my
sins, and aid me in amending my life and doing penance. Obtain for me
the grace to serve God with a willing heart, to be resigned to His holy
will, to be patient in adversity and to persevere unto the end, so that,
having finished my earthly course, I may join you in heaven, there to
praise for ever God, who is wonderful in His saints. Amen.



SECOND DAY

The Destiny of Man

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE Holy Helpers faithfully co-operated with God's designs concerning
their eternal destiny. No obstacle could prevail on them to stray from
the path of duty. Always and everywhere they fulfilled the will of God.

You, too, have an eternal destiny. You are not your own master, but
belong to God, whose servant and property you are. Therefore you must
obey Him, and not your own inclinations; you must do His will, and not
your own. God had the right of requiring our submission to Him without
giving us a reward, because He is Our Lord; nevertheless He promised to
give us Himself in reward for our faithful service. Ought this not be
sufficient inducement for us to serve Him zealously and gratefully?

Remember, moreover, that you shall be unhappy both in this and in the
next world if you do not give yourself entirely to God, for whom you
were created. St. Augustine says: "Thou hast created us for Thee, O
Lord, and our heart remains restless till it rests in Thee."

PRACTICE

THANK God for the undeserved grace of creation and redemption. Make an
act of contrition for having served Him so negligently. Promise
amendment, and invoke the aid of God's grace through the intercession of
the Holy Helpers.

_Prayer_

O GOD, who according to the decrees of Thy providence hast created man
for eternal bliss; grant, through the intercession of the Holy Helpers,
that I may attain to my destiny by being united with Thee in this life
and loving and praising Thee for ever in heaven. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

The Virtue of Faith

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE Holy Helpers were so thoroughly imbued with the virtue of divine
faith, that they believed its sacred truths with perfect abandonment of
their intellect, will, liberty, and whole being. They wavered not amid
the severest torments, but remained firm until death in the confession
of Christ.

Our time is noted for assaults on the Faith and on the Church that
teaches it. The Church, the depository of divine revelation, is
blasphemed in her doctrine, in her precepts, in her sacraments, in her
ministers, in her cult, in her entire essence. Were you never ashamed of
your Catholic name? What cowardliness, what timidity, what downright
malice!

PRACTICE

REVIVE your faith by the consideration of the example of the Holy
Helpers. Do not, from human respect, neglect the sanctification of the
Lord's Day, the observance of days of fast and abstinence, the reception
of the holy sacraments, the profession of your belief in the real
presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, etc. Meditate frequently
on the words of Christ: "He that shall deny Me before men, I will also
deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (_Matt._ x. 33).

_Prayer_

O GOD, I beseech Thee, through the faith of the Holy Helpers, grant me
the grace to treasure in my heart the doctrines of our holy faith, to
believe them firmly, to confess them bravely, and to live according to
their precepts, that through that same faith I may become worthy to be
admitted to Thy beatific vision in heaven. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

The Virtue of Hope

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

"HOPE confoundeth not" (_Rom._ v. 6). According to the commentators
these words of Holy Scripture are to be understood in the sense that our
works must be in conformity with that which is the object of our hope;
that is, we must live in such a manner that we really merit the reward
of heaven.

We sin against hope also by presumption in God's mercy, by despair, and
by over-confidence in our own righteousness. According to Holy Scripture
we can not, of our own efficacy, perform a good act, but can do all in
Him that strengthens us.

All these truths are exemplified in the lives of the Holy Helpers. Their
hope was based on the firm foundation of faith, and consequently, like
it, firm, constant, and unwavering.

PRACTICE

LIKE the Holy Helpers, hope to obtain from God all things necessary to
salvation, for "the Lord is good to them that hope in Him, to the soul
that seeketh Him" (_Lam._ iii. 25). Live so that He can fulfil His
promises. Place no obstacle to His bounty and might by a sinful life.

_Prayer_

ETERNAL God of love and mercy, I thank Thee for all the benefits Thou
hast conferred upon me, and hope to obtain, through the intercession of
the Holy Helpers, all the graces necessary for my salvation. Through
Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

The Love of God

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE love of God which inflamed the Holy Helpers showed forth in their
whole life, and particularly at their death. We, too, ought to be
inflamed with such love, for without it faith, wisdom, the gift of
tongues, and good works in general, avail nothing; for the love of God
must inspire them all. "And we know that to them that love God, all
things work together unto good" (_Rom._ viii. 28). Such, and such alone,
will receive the crown of life. Did not God love us first? To redeem us
from sin and eternal death He spared not His only begotten, divine Son.
All goods of life and fortune are gifts of His love, evidences of His
infinite love. And we find it difficult to return this love? How
ungrateful not to love God with your whole heart!

PRACTICE

IMITATE the Holy Helpers in their ardent love of God. Implore their
intercession to obtain it. Meditate often on God's love for you, and
your heart will be enflamed with love for Him.

_Prayer_

O GOD of mercy and love, I thank Thee from all my heart for the
countless graces which Thy infinite love has bestowed on me. By the
ardent love which the Holy Helpers had for Thee, I implore Thee to
enkindle in my heart the flame of Thy love, so that I may remain in Thee
and Thou in me. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

The Virtue of Charity

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

CHARITY is one of the fundamental virtues of the Christian religion. The
moral doctrine preached by Christ is comprised in the words: "Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and
with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And
the second is like to this. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On
these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets"
(_Matt._ xxii. 37-40).

As in everything else, the Holy Helpers are our exemplars also in
charity. Charity consists in wishing well to our fellow-men, rejoicing
with the glad and sympathizing with the sad, doing good to all, excusing
their faults whenever possible, disclosing them only when necessary,
being friendly, indulgent, meek, and helpful toward them. We love our
neighbor if we succor the poor and distressed, if we harbor no envy for
the rich, if we esteem the just for their virtue, and hate--not the
sinner--but sin. We love our neighbor if we are not content with
harboring these sentiments in our heart, but show them by our actions.

PRACTICE

ENDEAVOR to exercise this charity according to the spirit of Christ. The
love of your neighbor must not be a sentimental affection; it must not
originate in casual qualities of character or rank, in inclination,
etc., but must have the love of God for its motive. We must exercise
charity toward all because God wills it, and in the manner in which He
wills it. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

_Prayer_

O GOD of charity, who dost will that I love my neighbor for Thy sake,
grant me the grace, through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, to be
animated with that spirit of charity which embraces all and excludes
none, which "is patient, kind, envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is
not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to
anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with
the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all
things, and never falleth away" (1 _Cor._ xiii. 4-8). Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Human Respect

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

BY THE conscientious fulfilment of the duties of their state of life the
Holy Helpers show us that the will of God alone was the motive of all
their actions. Human respect, regard for the opinion of others, did not
influence them.

The cowardly fear, "What will people say?" was the ruin of many a soul.
The enemy of mankind is ever intent upon preventing us from doing good
through human respect. He insinuates that virtue and piety are out of
date and ridiculed. From human respect many a person boasts of that
which ought to make him blush; he thinks it discreditable to be less
remiss in his religious obligations than others. Ought the opinion and
ridicule of the world influence us to prevent our pleasing God? St. Paul
says: "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ"
(_Gal._ i. 10). Our Lord Himself tells us, "He that shall deny Me before
men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (_Matt._ x.
33).

PRACTICE

OUR Lord says: "So let your light shine before men, that they may see
your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (_Matt._ v.
16). Do not stray from the path of duty on account of human respect; do
not let yourself be influenced by the judgments of the world.

_Prayer_

MERCIFUL God, who gavest the Holy Helpers the grace to fulfil Thy will
regardless of human respect; grant that we may obtain through their
intercession and merits the courage to despise the opinion of men, and
ever serve Thee with a fearless heart. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Prayer

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE Holy Helpers, well knowing the efficacy of prayer, assiduously
devoted themselves to it. From it they drew that wonderful strength
which sustained them in their combat for the Faith.

Prayer is the elevation of the mind to God, intercourse with Him by acts
of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and petition. St. Chrysostom says of
prayer: "Without prayer it is impossible to lead a good life; for no one
can practise virtue except he humbly implores God for it, who alone can
give him the necessary strength. Who ceases to love and practise prayer,
no longer possesses the gifts of the Spirit. But he that perseveres in
the service of God, and deems it an irreparable loss to miss constant
prayer, possesses every virtue and is a friend of God."

PRACTICE

OFFER yourself at the beginning of each day to God, and thereby you will
belong to Him throughout its whole course. Renew your consecration to
Him frequently during the day by short acts of virtue and especially by
a good intention, thus rendering all your work a prayer, and you will
attain perfection.

_Prayer_

O GOD, I implore Thee through the merits and intercession of the Holy
Helpers, to grant me the spirit of prayer, that following their example
I may walk in Thy presence and ever enjoy the consolation of intercourse
with Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Perseverance

Preparatory Prayer (located at the start of the novena).

MEDITATION

A VICTORIOUS death was the reward of the Holy Helpers' perseverance in
the service of God. During this novena you have, no doubt, formed many
good resolutions, exclaiming with the Royal Prophet, "And I said, now I
have begun" (_Ps._ lxxvi. 11). But it happens that many, despite their
good will, become remiss in the pursuit of virtue. Satan is assiduously
trying to accomplish their ruin, representing to them and exaggerating
the difficulties to be encountered on the path of virtue. They hesitate,
falter, and finally turn back. This is the most unfortunate happening
that can occur. Of the condition of such a one Our Lord Himself says:
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places
without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: 'I will return
into my house whence I came out.' And when he is come, he findeth it
swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven spirits
more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last
state of that man becometh worse than the first" (_Luke_ xi. 24-26). Are
these words not a sufficient warning to encourage us to persevere in our
good resolves?

[Image: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven.]

PRACTICE

IN concluding this novena, survey again the depth of that
incomprehensible eternity which is awaiting you. Contemplate in spirit
the endless chain of centuries following each other there in reward or
in punishment. Does this thought not banish all the difficulties of
perseverance?

_Prayer_

O GOD, whose mercies are infinite and whose goodness is without limit, I
beseech Thee through the merits and intercession of the Holy Helpers,
grant me the grace of perseverance in Thy love and service to the end.
Thou, who dost dispense so many favors through the Holy Helpers, despise
not my prayer, but graciously hear and grant it. Amen.

Litany and Prayers (located on the first day of the novena).

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O FAITHFUL servants of God and powerful protectors of man, Holy Helpers!
Since Our Lord appointed you the heavenly advocates for our needs on
earth, I confidently turn to you for help in my distress. Countless
numbers praise you for aiding them with counsel in doubt, with
consolation in anxiety, with health in illness, with safety in danger,
with delivery from prison, and with help and assistance in all
tribulations. Therefore I, too, have recourse to you, and implore you
not to refuse me your aid.

Give thanks to God for me for all the graces He granted me during this
novena. I ascribe them to your great merits and powerful intercession. I
thank you all together, and each one in particular, for your interest in
my favor before the throne of God. I commend myself to your continued
protection, that I may one day be united with you in heaven, there to
thank the Giver of all good things and to praise Him for all eternity.
Amen.



Prayers of Petition and Intercession

I. Three Invocations

1. GREAT friends of God, Holy Helpers, humbly saluting and venerating
you, I implore your help and intercession. Bring my prayers before the
throne of the Most Holy Trinity, so that I may experience in all the
difficulties and trials of life the mercy of the eternal Father, the
love of the incarnate divine Son, and the assistance of the Holy Ghost;
that despondency may not depress me when God's wise decree imposes on my
shoulders a heavy burden. Above all, I implore your assistance at the
hour of death. Help me then to gain the victory over the temptations and
assaults of Satan, and to leave this world hopefully trusting in God's
mercy, to join you in heaven, there to praise Him for ever and ever.
Amen.

2. With confiding trust I turn to you, Holy Helpers, who were selected
by God before many other saints to be the special intercessors and
advocates of the distressed. Obtain for me strength and courage to
struggle and suffer on earth for the glory of God, for the propagation
of our holy faith, and for my own perfection. You are fruitful branches
of the true and living vine, Jesus Christ, for whom you heroically
suffered hunger and thirst, persecution and ignominy, afflictions and
adversity, tortures and death. Here on earth you were true disciples and
dauntless martyrs of Christ. Assist me to follow your example and to
suffer for His sake, so that I may not be parted from Him as a useless
member, but persevere in His service despite all trials and tribulations
of life. Knowing my inconstancy and weakness, I have recourse to you, O
glorious members of the Church triumphant, and implore you to support my
feeble prayers, and to bear them before the throne of the Almighty, who,
for your sake, will hear them. Amen.

3. Great friends and servants of God, Holy Helpers! Humbly saluting and
venerating you, I implore your help and intercession. God has promised
and granted that whosoever invokes your aid shall be relieved in his
needs and succored at the hour of death. Therefore I have recourse to
you and confidently implore your aid. I am surrounded by difficulties
and my soul is oppressed with grief. Burdened with sins, the fear of
God's rigorous judgment appalls me, whilst Satan ceases not to exert all
his power to accomplish my eternal ruin.

Therefore I implore your assistance, powerful Holy Helpers, in my dire
distress. By the penitential life you led, by the cruel tortures you
suffered, and by your holy death I entreat you to pray for me. Obtain
for me the remission of my sins and perseverance to the end in God's
grace. Assist me in my agony and protect me against the wily assaults of
Satan, that through your help I may die a happy death and enter a
blissful eternity. Amen.


II. Prayer in Illness

COMPASSIONATE Holy Helpers, who restored health to so many through the
power of the name of Jesus; behold me suffering from bodily illness and
from wounds of the soul. Implore the kind, merciful Good Samaritan, your
and my Lord Jesus Christ, to heal the wounds of my soul by washing them
in His most precious blood, and to quicken my spirit by His sanctifying
grace. If it, then, be God's holy will and for the welfare of my soul,
let me experience the powerful effect of your intercession, that,
restored to health, I may serve God with greater fervor, and promote
your veneration together with so many who experienced your help in
illness and suffering. Amen.

III. Prayer for the Sick

MERCIFUL Holy Helpers, look benignly upon me, who implore your
intercession for a sick person. Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ, who
Himself went about healing and doing good, appointed you the special
protectors and intercessors of the sick, and restored to bodily and
spiritual health many for whom you prayed. Encouraged thereby to invoke
you, I implore you to offer up to His sacred Heart all the pains and
torments He suffered during His bitter passion. Offer up to Him also
your own sufferings for God's glory, which you underwent during life,
and in death; offer up to Him all the anguish and distress suffered by
the sick person for whom I invoke your intercession. Ask Him to restore
him to health of body, and to infuse into his soul the grace of
salvation, so that he may devote his life with renewed vigor to the
service of God and to the fulfilment of his duties, and thereby gather
rich merits for eternity.

But if God, in the designs of His providence, should otherwise dispose,
implore for the sick person patience in his illness, resignation to the
divine will, and the grace of a happy death. Assist him in his agony,
and conduct his soul to the throne of the Almighty. Amen.

IV. Prayer of Parents for Their Children

HOLY Helpers, assist me to give thanks to God for blessing me with
children. Having received them from Him, it is my duty to train them for
His service. Therefore I commend them to your special protection. Guard
them from sin, help them to know and fulfil their duties, preserve them
from all harm of body and soul; pray for them that they may be and
remain children of God. For me, obtain the grace always to take good
care of them, to edify them by good example, to punish their faults
wisely, to preserve their innocence, and to instruct them unto piety, so
that they and I may together enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven.
Amen.

V. Prayer of Children for Their Parents

HOLY Helpers, mighty intercessors with God in all necessities; God
strictly commanded that children should love, honor, and obey their
parents. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself gave them the example
of submission and obedience by being subject to His mother and
foster-father. I commend myself to your powerful intercession and
implore you to obtain for me the grace to follow His example. For my
parents I implore protection from all evil of body and soul, a long
and prosperous life, and a happy death. Reward them for all the care,
anxiety, labor, and trouble which they underwent patiently for my sake
with the eternal crown of heavenly glory. Amen.

VI. Prayer of Married People

HOLY Helpers, powerful intercessors at the throne of God, by whose
providence we were indissolubly joined in holy wedlock through the
sacramental bonds of matrimony; obtain for us, through your
intercession, the grace to dwell together in mutual love and peace, and
to fulfil faithfully the duties of our state of life; that following the
example of the saints and elect who lived in wedlock, we may merit God's
grace and blessing by a virtuous life here on earth, and united in
heaven praise and bless Him for ever. Amen.



PART V

General Devotions


"The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call
upon Him in truth. He will do the will of them that fear Him, and He
will bear their prayer and save them" (_Ps._  cxliv. 18, 19).

"Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, instant in prayer" (_Rom._
xii. 12).



Morning Prayers

On awaking, sign yourself with the sign of the cross, saying:

IN THE name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I rise in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemed me by His
precious blood. Bless, guide, and protect me from all evil, O Lord!
Strengthen me to all good and lead me to eternal life. Amen.

After dressing, kneel and say:

My Lord and my God! I prostrate myself before the throne of Thy divine
Majesty, and give Thee infinite thanks, O Lord, that I have passed this
night safely and have not died in my sins, but was preserved by Thy
bounty for Thy further service.

I offer up to Thee all that I shall do and suffer to-day, and unite it
with the prayers, labors, and sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of
His blessed Mother Mary.

OFFERING

TAKE, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
and my whole will. Thou hast given me all that I am and all that I
possess; I surrender it all to Thee that Thou mayest dispose of it
according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; with these I
will be rich enough, and will have no more to desire.

Indulgence. 300 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, May 26, 1883.)



Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity

MY LORD and God! I most firmly believe all that Thou hast revealed and
all that Thy holy Church believes and teaches, because Thou, who art
infallible Truth, hast so revealed and commanded.

My Lord and God! Because Thou art almighty, infinitely good and
merciful, I hope that by the merits of the passion and death of Jesus
Christ, our Saviour, Thou wilt grant me eternal life, which Thou hast
promised to all who shall do the works of a good Christian, as I purpose
to do by Thy help.

My Lord and God! Because Thou art the highest and most perfect good, I
love Thee with my whole heart, and above all things; and rather than
offend Thee, I am ready to lose all things else; and for Thy love, I
love and desire to love my neighbor as myself.

Indulgence. (1) A plenary indulgence, once a month, for devoutly making
these acts daily; under the usual conditions. (2) A plenary indulgence
at the hour of death, under the same conditions. (3) Seven years and
seven quarantines, every time. (Benedict XIV, January 28, 1728.) The
same Pope declared that it is not necessary to use any set formula, but
that any form of words may be used, provided it expresses the particular
motive of each of the three theological virtues.


To the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail Mary, etc.

MY QUEEN, my Mother! I give myself entirely to thee; and to show my
devotion to thee I consecrate to thee this day my eyes, my ears, my
mouth, my heart, my whole being, without reserve. Wherefore, good
Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me, as thy property and
possession.

Indulgence. (1) 100 days, once a day. (2) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, for saying it every day; under the usual conditions. (Pius IX,
Aug. 5, 1851.)


To the Angel Guardian

  ANGEL of God, my guardian dear,
  To whom His love committed me here,
  Ever this day be at my side,
  To light and guard, to rule and guide! Amen.

Indulgence. (1) 100 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence on the
feast of the holy Guardian Angels, for saying it morning and evening
throughout the year; under the usual conditions. (3) A plenary
indulgence at the hour of death, for saying it often during life. (Pius
VI, Oct 2, 1795, and June 11, 1796.) (4) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, for saying it daily; under the usual conditions. (Pius VII, May
15, 1821.)



Evening Prayers

ETERNAL and merciful God! I adore Thee and give Thee thanks for all the
graces and benefits which Thou hast conferred upon me during my whole
life, and particularly during this day. May the saints and elect,
especially the Holy Helpers, praise and thank Thee for me.

Enlighten me now through Thy holy Spirit, and let me know whether and
how I have offended Thee to-day in thought, word, deed, and omission of
duty.

Examine your conscience.


An Act of Contrition

O MY God! I am deeply sorry for all my sins, for those I committed
to-day, and for those of my whole life, because thereby I offended Thy
supreme and most loving goodness. Pardon me for the sake of Jesus, Thy
Son, who shed His most precious blood on the cross for our sins. With
the help of Thy grace, I firmly resolve to amend my life, and rather to
die than again offend Thee by a mortal sin.

PETITION

PROTECT me and mine and all men during this night, and through the
intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary and of the Holy Helpers preserve
us from all dangers of body and soul. Keep away from us sickness, fire,
and calamities of every kind. Protect us against the assaults of the
wicked and of Satan. Into Thy hands I commend my body and soul; let me
rest in Thy most holy wounds.

Visit, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this habitation, and repel from it all
the snares of the enemy; let Thy holy angels dwell herein to preserve us
in peace, and may Thy blessings be upon us for ever. Through Christ our
Lord. Amen.


To the Sacred Heart of Jesus

(_Prayer of St Alphonsus._)

ADORABLE Heart of my Jesus, Heart created expressly for the love of men!
Until now I have shown toward Thee only ingratitude. Pardon me, O my
Jesus! Heart of my Jesus, abyss of love and of mercy, how is it possible
that I do not die of sorrow when I reflect on Thy goodness to me and my
ingratitude to Thee? Thou, my Creator, after having created me, hast
given Thy blood and Thy life for me; and, not content with this, Thou
hast invented a means of offering Thyself up every day for me in the
Holy Eucharist, exposing Thyself to a thousand insults and outrages. O
Jesus, do Thou wound my heart with a great contrition for my sins, and a
lively love for Thee. Through Thy tears and Thy blood give me the grace
of perseverance in Thy fervent love until I breathe my last sigh. Amen.


To the Blessed Virgin Mary

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any
one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy
intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly
unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother! To thee I come; before thee I
stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not
my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Indulgence. (1) 300 days, every time, (2) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, for having said it daily; under the usual conditions. (Pius IX,
December 11, 1846.)

Litany of Loreto (located in the list of litanies).


To St. Joseph

GUARDIAN of virgins and father, holy Joseph, to whose faithful care
Christ Jesus, very innocence, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were
committed; I pray and beg of thee by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary,
free me from all uncleanness, and make me with spotless mind, pure
heart, and chaste body, ever most chastely to serve Jesus and Mary all
the days of my life. Amen.

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Pius IX, Feb. 4, 1877.)

[Illustration: The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin in Heaven.]


Before Retiring

(_Prayer of St. Alphonsus._)

MY LORD and God Jesus Christ! I adore Thee and give Thee thanks for all
the graces which Thou hast granted me to-day. I offer up to Thee my rest
and every moment of this night, and implore Thee to preserve me from all
sin. Therefore I place myself into the wound of Thy sacred side, and
beneath the protecting mantle of my Mother Mary. May Thy holy angels
assist me and watch over my peace, and may Thy holy blessing remain with
me.

Indulgence. 60 days, once a day, also for the souls in purgatory. (Leo
XIII, June 30, 1898.)

INVOCATION

JESUS, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

Indulgence. 100 days for the recital of any one of these invocations,
300 days for all three. (Pius VII, Aug. 26, 1814.)



Prayers at Holy Mass


Preparatory Prayer

ALMIGHTY and eternal God! I appear in Thy presence to assist at the most
holy sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, my
Redeemer, and to offer it up jointly with the priest and the faithful
here present, in grateful remembrance of His passion and death, for the
promotion of Thy glory, and for my salvation. Together with all the holy
Masses that are celebrated throughout the world, I offer up this august
sacrifice for the following intentions: To adore Thee, O my God, as Thou
dost deserve to be adored; to give Thee due thanks for the innumerable
benefits which I owe to Thy bounty; to make reparation for the many
offenses I have committed; to appease Thy just anger, and to invoke Thy
infinite mercy for me, for Thy holy Church, for the whole world, and for
the souls in purgatory. Amen.


At the Beginning of Mass

O HEAVENLY Father! Hear the prayer of Thy holy Church invoking Thy
divine Majesty in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to come to the aid
of Thy children in all their needs. Turn not from us Thy gracious eyes,
but deliver us from all evil, so that we may live to please Thee, die in
Thy love, and enter the kingdom of glory. Amen.


At the Gospel

ALMIGHTY God, Thou source of all truth, holiness, and justice; having
spoken in the Old Law by the mouth of Thy prophets, Thou spokest in the
fulness of time through Thy divine Son Jesus Christ, and speakest now
through Thy holy Church, appointed by Thee the Teacher of truth. We
thank Thee for the saving doctrines entrusted to her for our good, and
implore Thy grace to practise them and to please Thee by all our
actions.


At the Credo

Say the Apostles' Creed.

At the Offering

ALMIGHTY and eternal God! Look graciously on the forms of bread and wine
offered up to Thee on the altar by the priest, imploring Thee to bless
and sanctify them for the eucharistic sacrifice of the New Law. With
this sacrifice, O my God, I offer up to Thee my heart with all its
affections, desires, and inclinations. Sanctify my thoughts, words, and
deeds, that they may become a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to Thee.


At the Preface

TO THEE, O Lord, I raise my heart in gratitude for all Thy mercies. For
truly meet and just, right and salutary is it for us to give Thee always
and everywhere praise and thanks, O holy Lord, almighty Father and
eternal God, through Christ our Lord; through whom the angels and
archangels, the cherubs and the seraphs praise Thy majesty and adore Thy
might. With them I unite my voice, joining in their hymns of praise, and
saying:


At the Sanctus

HOLY, holy, holy, Lord, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with
Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the
highest.


At the Canon

O GOD! Let my prayer be acceptable to Thee, and graciously hear the
intercession which I make confiding in the virtue of this holy
sacrifice. I commend to Thy mercy our holy Father, N., our bishop, N.,
and all bishops and priests of Thy holy Church. Let Thy kingdom be
spread more and more all over the earth; grant peace and concord to the
nations; protect our country; preserve peace and love in all families.
Remember graciously my parents, brothers, sisters, and relatives, my
benefactors, my enemies, and all for whom I am in justice or charity
bound to pray.


At the Elevation

HAIL, thou body of my Saviour, conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of Mary
the immaculate Virgin! With profound humility I adore Thee. Lord, have
mercy on me!

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the precious blood of Jesus, in
satisfaction for my sins, and for the wants of holy Church.

Indulgence. 100 days, every time. (Pius VII, Sept. 22, 1817.)


After the Elevation

MOST amiable Jesus! Thou art now present on the altar, God and man,
really, truly, and essentially. Divine victim for our sins, have mercy
on us! Be our mediator with Thy Father; avert from us the punishment we
have deserved for our sins, deliver us from all dangers that threaten
us, and from all evil. Promote the welfare of Thy Church, and remember
in Thy mercy those who have gone before us with the sign of faith and
rest in peace. (_Remember the departed for whom you intend to pray._)

To these, O Lord, and to all that sleep in Christ, grant, we beseech
Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and peace.

Also to us sinners, Thy servants, confiding in the multitude of Thy
mercies, grant some part and fellowship with Thy saints, through whose
intercession we invoke Thy favor, and into whose company we beseech Thee
to admit us, not in consideration of our merit, but of Thy own pardon.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


At the Pater Noster

INSTRUCTED by Thy saving precepts and following Thy divine directions,
we presume to say:

Our Father, etc.


At the Agnus Dei

LAMB of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace.


At Communion

LORD, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; say but
the word, and my soul shall be healed. (_Three times._)


Spiritual Communion

O JESUS, I firmly believe that Thou art truly present in the Blessed
Sacrament. I see Thee therein full of love, willing to pardon us,
anxious to be united with us. I wish most earnestly to respond to this
Thy desire and love. I detest all the sins by which I have ever
displeased Thee. Pardon me, O Lord! I desire to receive Thee into my
heart, and since I now can not receive Thee sacramentally, come at least
spiritually to me.

I embrace Thee, I unite myself with Thee as if Thou wert really present
in my heart. With all my love I cling to Thee. Preserve me from sin,
that I may never be separated from Thee, but remain united with Thee for
ever.

Indulgence. 60 days, once a day. Also for the suffering souls. (Leo
XIII, June 30, 1893.)


At the Blessing

BLESS me, O Lord, by the hand of Thy priest, and let the power of this
blessing remain upon me for ever. In the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


At the Last Gospel

O JESUS, incarnate Word of the eternal Father, Thou true light which
enlightens the world! I give thanks to Thee at all times for having
dwelt among us, the only-begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and
truth. Amen.



Prayers after Mass

Hail Mary, etc. (_Three times._)


Salve Regina

HAIL, holy queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our
hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we
send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn
then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after
this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O
clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

_Let Us Pray._

O GOD, our refuge and our strength! Look down with favor upon Thy people
crying to Thee; and through the intercession of the glorious and
immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of her spouse, blessed Joseph, of
thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all Thy saints, mercifully and
graciously hear the prayers which we pour forth to Thee for the
conversion of sinners and for the liberty and exaltation of holy mother
Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection
against the malice and snares of the devil. Command him, O God, we
humbly beseech Thee, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly hosts, by the
divine power, cast into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who roam
through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Indulgence. 300 days. (Leo XIII, September 25, 1888.)



Prayers for Confession


Before Confession

MERCIFUL God! I give infinite thanks to Thee for the many and great
graces Thou hast bestowed upon me during my whole life. Would that I had
never been ungrateful to Thee, that I never had offended Thee. But I
have sinned exceedingly and often, and have done so again since my last
confession. Therefore I come to Thee, imploring Thee in profoundest
humility to give me Thy light and Thy grace, that I may know and
acknowledge all my sins, faults, and transgressions, be truly sorry for
them, sincerely confess them, do penance, and amend my life; for Thy
greater glory and for the salvation of my soul.

Examine your conscience.

SUPREME God and Lord! A poor sinner, I cast myself at the throne of Thy
divine Majesty, and contritely confess that I have sinned in thought,
word, and deed, and through the omission of my duties. I am heartily
sorry that I was ungrateful to Thee and have deserved to be punished in
this life and in the life to come. Above all I am sorry because by my
sins I have offended Thee, my supreme and infinite God, who art worthy
to be loved and honored above all else for Thy supreme goodness and
mercy. I detest and abhor my sins above all other evils, and wish I had
never committed them. Humbly I implore Thy pardon, and confidently hope
to obtain it through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us
poor sinners, and through those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Holy
Helpers, and of all the saints.

I firmly purpose to amend my life, to avoid all occasions of sin, to use
the means for conquering my passions, and to practise virtue by ordering
my life according to Thy divine will and pleasure, and rather to die
than to offend Thee again, my God and Lord. I am now ready to make
reparation to Thy divine Justice for all the offenses of which I have
been guilty against Thee, as far as is in my power. Therefore I will
confess my sins sincerely, contritely, fully, and perform the penance
imposed upon me.

Before entering the confessional.

The Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily and
competently confess my sins.



After Confession

O GOD of infinite mercy! I give Thee due thanks, and praise Thee for
having admitted me to the confession of my sins and for having, through
Thy minister, granted me absolution for them. I implore Thee by the
merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, of Mary, His most blessed Mother, of
the Holy Helpers, and of all the saints, to accept my confession, and in
Thy infinite mercy to condone and amend all the defects and faults I
committed in making it, and to ratify in heaven the absolution I
received on earth.

O my Jesus! How blind I was in not knowing Thee and preferring
transitory beauty and earthly attractions to Thy grace and love, and
thereby offending Thee! Now I acknowledge my fault, and am convinced
that it is my duty and privilege to love Thee above all things. Too late
I have learned it, but I shall zealously strive to make reparation for
my past neglect. Therefore I renounce the pleasures, vanities, and joys
of this deceitful world, and abhor sin and all that leads to it. In the
future nothing shall ever part me from Thy love. From this moment on I
am resolved nevermore to offend Thee. Confirm, O Jesus, this my
resolution, and with Thy almighty power strengthen my frailty. Seal my
purpose of amendment with the bestowal of Thy grace, and preserve me in
Thy grace and love unto the end. Amen.



Prayers for Holy Communion



BEFORE COMMUNION


An Act of Faith

MY LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ! I firmly believe that Thou art really
present in the Blessed Sacrament. I believe it contains Thy body and
blood, Thy soul and divinity. I acknowledge these truths, I believe
these wonders. I adore Thy power which has wrought them; I praise Thy
infinite goodness which has prepared them for me. "I will praise Thee,
my God, with my whole heart, and will recount all Thy admirable works; I
will rejoice in Thee, and bless Thy holy name" (_Ps._ ix. 2, 3). In this
faith, and with this acknowledgment, I presume to approach this adorable
banquet, wherein Thou bestowest on me the divine food of Thy body and
blood to nourish my soul. Grant, O Jesus, that I may approach Thee with
such a sense of reverence and humility as is due to Thy divine Majesty.
Who am I, O God, that Thou shouldst work such wonders for my sake?
Grant, O Lord, that I be not altogether unworthy of them, and that I may
now receive Thee with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere
and lively faith. Pardon my sins, which have rendered me most unworthy
to approach Thee. I detest them from the bottom of my heart, because
they are displeasing to Thee, my God. I renounce them for ever, and
promise to be faithful to Thee.


An Act of Hope

IN THEE, sweet Jesus, I place all my hope, because Thou alone art my
salvation, my strength, my refuge, and the foundation of all my
happiness. Were it not for the confidence I place in Thy merits, and in
the precious blood Thou didst shed for my redemption, I would not
presume to partake of this banquet. Encouraged, therefore, by Thy
goodness, I come to Thee as one sick to his physician, as a condemned
criminal to his powerful intercessor. Heal me as my physician, and as my
powerful advocate deliver me from the sentence of sin and death. It is
in Thy mercy that I put all my trust. Have pity, therefore, O Jesus, on
me, and save me, for Thou forsakest none that place their hope in Thee.


An Act of Love

O DIVINE Redeemer, how strong was the force of Thy love, that, being
about to depart from this world to Thy eternal Father, Thou didst
provide for us this divine banquet, enriched with all heavenly
sweetness! It was through an excess of Thy love that Thou hast left us
Thy body and blood for the food and nourishment of our souls; that, as
Thou didst unite Thyself to our humanity, so we might be partakers of
Thy divinity. I desire to love Thee, my Jesus, who art my only comfort
in this place of banishment, the only hope of my infirm soul, my
happiness above all I can enjoy in this life. I love Thee, my God, with
my whole heart, with my whole soul, and with all my mind and strength. I
wish that, as every moment is an increase of my life, so it may also be
of my love toward Thee. I desire, with all the affections and powers of
my soul, that, as the inmost thanks are due to Thee, so they may be
returned to Thee by all the faithful, for this divine food, which is our
refreshment, support, strength, armor, and defense in all our miseries;
and that my love may never cease, inflame my heart with the fire of
heaven, that it may continue burning till, nature and corruption being
consumed, I may at length be transformed into Thee. Come, O Lord, hasten
to release me from the bonds of sin, and prepare me for the blessing
Thou art now about to bestow on me.


An Act of Desire

MY LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ! "As the heart panteth after the
fountains of waters so my soul panteth after Thee, O God!" (_Ps._ xlii.
1). Tired with my own evil ways, I now return to Thee, to taste Thy
banquet, that my soul may be refreshed. I henceforth despise all human
consolations, that I may be comforted by Thee, my only good, my God and
Saviour, whom I love above all things and desire to entertain within my
heart with as much devotion and affection as is conceived by Thy chosen
servants, who now sit at Thy table in celestial bliss. And however I may
have been wanting hitherto in my duty, I now for ever renounce my folly
and weakness, and from my heart request that for the future my joy, my
relief, my treasure, and rest may be entirely centered in Thee. May I
never desire anything besides Thee, and may all things seem contemptible
and as nothing without Thee, O my God!


An Act of Fear

O MY God and Saviour, it is with fear and trembling that I approach Thy
banquet, having nothing to confide in but Thy goodness and mercy, being
of myself a sinner, destitute of all virtue. My soul and body are
defiled with many crimes, my thoughts and tongue have been under no
restraint. I have frequently resolved to amend, and yet where do I
remain but in the midst of sin and vice? How little pains do I take to
recover from this misery and return to Thee, to whom I have repeatedly
promised to be faithful! These thoughts cause me to fear that what Thou
hast mercifully ordained for my salvation, I should now receive to my
judgment and condemnation. In this wretched condition I hasten to Thee;
to Thee I expose all my wounds, to Thee I disclose my depravity. Look,
therefore, on me with the eyes of compassion, and have mercy on me, O
Lord and Saviour!

[Illustration: The Mother of Our Saviour.]


An Act of Humility

O IMMENSE, almighty, and incomprehensible God, who am I, that Thou
shouldst vouchsafe to come to be my food, and to take Thy habitation
within my soul? The consideration of Thy greatness and my unworthiness
penetrates me with awe and confusion. With the utmost sincerity I can
only declare the extent of my misery, and admire that infinite goodness
which induces Thee to visit personally the lowest and basest of Thy
creatures. Receive, then, Thy unworthy servant into the compassionate
arms of Thy mercy. Cast all my sins out of Thy sight, and with the
tenderness of a loving father extend Thy arms to receive me; and let me
effectually experience the truth of Thy prophet's words: "A sacrifice to
God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou
wilt not despise" (_Ps._ l. 19).

IMMEDIATELY BEFORE COMMUNION

LORD, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof: say but
the word, and my soul shall be healed.

The body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul to life everlasting.



AFTER COMMUNION


An Act of Thanksgiving

O JESUS, my God and Saviour! I return Thee thanks for having, out of Thy
pure mercy, without any desert of mine, been pleased to feed my soul
with Thine own most sacred body and blood. Suffer me sooner to be
forgetful of myself than to be ever unmindful of this great favor.
Although I have hitherto been ungrateful, with the help of Thy grace I
shall be so no more. But what return can I make Thee, being of myself
insolvent, indigent, and miserable? The sacrifice of all that I am or
have is not worthy to be presented to Thee; but, behold I offer Thee
Thyself, and consider all my debts as abundantly discharged. May Thy
infinite mercy be for ever exalted for having given me such an excellent
means of repaying Thee to the full. O that I could ever remember Thee,
think of Thee, ever love Thee alone! Imprint the memory of what Thou
didst for me so deeply in my heart, that I spend my whole life in
thanking Thee for all Thy benefits, but especially for this banquet of
Thy love. Amen.


An Act of Adoration

UNDER the sacred veil of Thy eucharistic presence, where Thy love of man
conceals the splendor of Thy majesty, I most humbly adore Thee, O
almighty God! The grandeur of the heavens is as nothing in Thy sight;
they shall perish, but Thou shalt remain for ever. The earth Thou hast
poised in Thy hand. The ocean is before Thee but as a drop of water. All
nature bows and trembles in Thy presence. How, then, shall I extol Thee,
immortal King of glory? What homage can I give in proportion to Thy
greatness? Thou art the perfect image of Thy Father's substance. Thou
art the splendor of His glory. Thou art His almighty Word, supporting
all things. Thee He has seated at His right hand. Thy throne, O God, is
for ever and ever; a scepter of justice is the scepter of Thy reign. I
bow before Thy sacred Majesty. I acknowledge with the sincerest
gratitude that Thou art my redeemer, my creator, the supreme arbiter of
my eternal destiny. I desire to humble myself as profoundly for Thy sake
as Thou art humbled for my love in the center of my soul, and to
consecrate to the glory of Thy name the whole extent of my being. Amen.


An Act of Oblation

O MY Saviour! What pledge can I give as an earnest of the gratitude I
owe to Thee? I have nothing worthy of Thee, and if I had, I have nothing
but what is Thine on several accounts. But such is Thy goodness as to be
content to accept from us what is already Thine. Wherefore, behold, I
offer to Thee my body and soul, which are both now sanctified by the
honor of Thy divine presence. I consecrate them to Thee for ever, since
Thou hast chosen them for Thy temple; my body to be continually employed
in Thy service, and nevermore to become an instrument of sin; my soul to
know Thee, to love Thee and be evermore faithful to Thee. And as I am
now resolved to serve Thee with body and soul, I will take pains to
correct their evil inclinations. I will declare war against myself,
renounce my wonted pleasures, my delights, my passions, my anger, my
self-love, my pride, my own will, and, in fine, whatever may offend
Thee.


Offering and Petition

ALMIGHTY God, I offer Thee this holy communion in union with the
superabundant merits of Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, and the infinite
love of His adorable Heart; in union with the Blessed Virgin and the
ardent love of her immaculate heart; in union with the Holy Helpers and
all the happy souls who enjoy Thy glorious vision in heaven, and with
all the just on earth. O my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, present in me
in the eucharistic species; fill me with that lively faith, profound
humility, tender confidence, pure conscience, and ardent love, with
which so many happy souls are inflamed in partaking of this sacred
banquet, and supply by Thy mercy all my deficiencies. I offer my
communion to render Thee the honor and glory which are due to Thy
infinite majesty; to satisfy Thy justice, which I have provoked by my
sins; to thank Thee for the innumerable benefits which I have received
from Thy bounty; and to obtain from Thy infinite mercy the graces
necessary for me; particularly the grace to subdue my predominant
passion and to acquire the virtue in which I am most deficient; but
especially the grace of a happy death.

I likewise offer my communion, O merciful Father, in memory of the
passion and death of Thy dear Son, my divine Redeemer, to love Him with
more ardor and perfection; to participate in the merits of His labors
and sufferings; to acquire His spirit; to imitate His virtues; to model
my life on His, and to make His adorable Heart a public reparation for
all the sacrilegious communions, irreverences, and profanations which
are committed against Him in this sacrament of His love. I offer it to
thank Thee, O God, for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on mankind,
particularly for all those Thou hast conferred on Thy blessed Mother, on
all the angels and saints, especially on my guardian angel, on my holy
patron, and on the Holy Helpers. I offer it, likewise, for the triumph
of our holy religion, for the exaltation of the Catholic Church, for the
conversion of infidels, heretics, schismatics, and all those who are in
the unhappy state of sin. Also for the needs of my relatives, friends,
benefactors, and enemies; for the perseverance of the just, the comfort
of the afflicted, and the deliverance of the souls in purgatory; in a
word, for all those for whom I am bound to pray; and I desire to enter
into the intentions requisite for gaining the indulgences granted by the
Church to-day for worthy communicants.

INVOCATIONS

  SOUL of Christ, sanctify me!
  Body of Christ, save me!
  Blood of Christ, inebriate me!
  Water from the side of Christ, wash me!
  Passion of Christ, strengthen me!
  O good Jesus, hear me!
  Within Thy wounds, hide me!
  Permit me not to be separated from Thee!
  From the malignant enemy defend me!
  In the hour of my death call me!
  And bid me come to Thee,
  That, with Thy saints, I may praise Thee
  For ever and ever. Amen.


Indulgence, (1) 300 days, every time. (2) 7 years, once a day, after
receiving communion. (3) A plenary indulgence, once a month, to all who
have the pious custom of saying it at least once a day for a month;
under the usual conditions. (Pius IX, January 9, 1854.)


Prayer to Jesus Crucified

[Illustration: A crucifix]

LOOK down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly
kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my
heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, true contrition for
my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; while I contemplate with great
love and tender pity Thy five wounds, pondering over them within me, and
calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee, my
Jesus: "They pierced my hands and my feet; they numbered all my bones"
(_Ps._ xxi. 17, 18).

Indulgence. A plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, if said
before an image or picture of the crucified Redeemer, after holy
communion. (Pius IX, July 31, 1858.)



Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

(_Prayer of St. Alphonsus._)

LORD Jesus Christ, who through the love which Thou bearest to man, dost
remain with them day and night in this sacrament, full of mercy and
love, expecting, inviting, and receiving all who come to visit Thee; I
believe that Thou art present in the Sacrament of the Altar. From the
abyss of my nothingness I adore Thee, and I thank Thee for all the
favors which Thou hast bestowed upon me, particularly for having given
me Thyself in this sacrament, for having given me for my advocate Thy
most holy Mother Mary, and for having called me to visit Thee in this
church.

I this day salute Thy most loving Heart, and I wish to salute it for
three ends: first, in thanksgiving for this great gift; second, in
compensation for all the injuries Thou hast received from Thy enemies in
this sacrament; third, I wish by this visit to adore Thee in all places
in which Thou art least honored and most abandoned in this holy
sacrament. My Jesus, I love Thee with my whole heart. I am sorry for
having hitherto offended Thy infinite goodness. I purpose, with the
assistance of Thy grace, nevermore to offend Thee; and at this moment,
miserable as I am, I consecrate my whole being to Thee. I give Thee my
entire will, all my affections and desires, and all that I have. From
this day forward, do what Thou wilt with me and with whatsoever belongs
to me. I ask and desire only Thy holy love, the gift of final
perseverance, and the perfect accomplishment of Thy will. I recommend to
Thee the souls in purgatory, particularly those who were most devoted to
the Blessed Sacrament and to most holy Mary; and I also recommend to
Thee all poor sinners. Finally, my dear Saviour, I unite all my
affections with the affections of Thy most loving Heart; and thus united
I offer them to Thy eternal Father, and I entreat Him, in Thy name and
for Thy sake, to accept them.

Indulgence. (1) 300 days, every time this prayer is said before the
Blessed Sacrament. (2) A plenary indulgence, once a month, for saying it
every day for a month; under the usual conditions. (Pius IX, Sept. 7,
1854.)



An Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart

DIVINE Heart of my Jesus! I adore Thee with all the powers of my soul,
which I consecrate to Thee for ever, with my thoughts, my words, my
works, and my whole self. I purpose to offer to Thee, as far as I can,
acts of adoration, love, and glory, like unto those which Thou offerest
to Thy eternal Father. Be Thou, I beseech Thee, the repairer of my
transgressions, the protector of my life, my refuge and asylum in the
hour of death. By Thy sighs, and by that sea of bitterness in which Thou
wast plunged for me throughout Thy whole mortal life, grant me true
contrition for my sins, contempt of earthly things, a burning desire of
eternal glory, trust in Thy infinite merits, and final perseverance in
Thy grace.

Heart of Jesus, all love! I offer Thee these humble prayers for myself
and for all who unite with me in spirit to adore Thee. Vouchsafe out of
Thy great goodness to hear and answer them, chiefly for that one among
us who will first end this mortal life. Sweet Heart of Jesus! pour into
his heart, in his death agony, Thine inward consolations; receive him
within Thy sacred wound; cleanse him from all stains in that furnace of
love, so that Thou mayest soon open to him the gates of Thy eternal
glory, there to intercede with Thee for all those who tarry yet in this
land of exile.

Most holy Heart of my most loving Jesus! For myself, a wretched sinner,
and for all who unite with me in adoring Thee, I purpose to renew and
offer to Thee these acts of adoration and these prayers at every moment
and to the last instant of my life. I recommend to Thee, my Jesus, our
holy Church, Thy well-beloved spouse and our true mother; the souls who
are following the path of justice, poor sinners, the afflicted, the
dying, all men on the face of the entire earth. Let not Thy blood be
shed in vain for them; and vouchsafe, lastly, to apply it for the relief
of the souls in purgatory, and above all, for those who in life were
foremost in their devotion to Thee.

Most loving heart of Mary, which, amongst the hearts of all God's
creatures, is at once the purest and the most inflamed with love for
Jesus, and the most compassionate toward us poor sinners, obtain for us
from the Heart of Jesus, our Redeemer, all graces which we ask of thee.
Mother of mercies, one throb, a single beat of thy burning heart,
offered by thee to the Heart of Jesus, has power to console us to the
full. Grant us, then, this favor. And then the Heart of Jesus, through
the filial love He had for thee, and will ever have, will not fail to
hear and answer our request. Amen.

DAILY OFFERING

O LORD Jesus Christ! In union with that divine intention, with which
Thou, whilst on earth, didst give praise to God through Thy most sacred
Heart, and which Thou dost still everywhere offer to Him in the Holy
Eucharist, even to the consummation of the world; I, in imitation of the
most sacred heart of the ever-immaculate Virgin Mary, do most cheerfully
offer to Thee, during this entire day, all my thoughts and intentions,
all my affections and desires, my words and all my works.

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, Dec. 19, 1885.)

_Ejaculation_

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine!

Indulgence. 300 days, once a day. (Pius IX, January 25, 1858.)



PRAYERS TO JESUS SUFFERING

The Stations of the Cross

PREPARATORY PRAYER

MOST merciful Jesus! With a contrite heart and penitent spirit I bow
down in profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my
supreme Lord and master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee
above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my
supreme and only good. I resolve to amend my life; and though I am
unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou
didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will therefore
meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy passion in
company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the
intention of promoting Thy glory and saving my soul.

I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this exercise, for
myself and for the suffering souls in purgatory. O merciful Redeemer,
who hast said; "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
things to myself," draw my heart and my love to Thee, that I may perform
this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in
union with Thee. Amen.

_Before Every Station_

We adore Thee, O Christ, and praise Thee: Because by Thy holy cross Thou
hast redeemed the world.

_After Every Station_

Lord Jesus, crucified: Have mercy on us.


First Station

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

JESUS, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit sin, was
condemned to death, and, moreover, to the ignominious death of the
cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him to His
enemies. A fearful crime--to condemn innocence to death, and to offend
God, in order not to displease men.

_Prayer_

O INNOCENT Jesus, having sinned I am guilty of eternal death, but Thou
dost willingly accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live.
For whom, then, shall I henceforth live, if not for Thee, my Lord?
Should I desire to please men, I could not be Thy servant. Let me,
therefore, rather displease men and all the world than not please Thee,
O Jesus.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Second Station

JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS

ON BEHOLDING the cross, our divine Saviour most willingly stretched out
His bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, tenderly kissed it, and placing
it on His bruised shoulder, despite His exhaustion joyfully carried it.

_Prayer_

O MY Jesus, I can not be Thy friend and follower if I refuse to carry
the cross. O dearly beloved cross, I embrace thee, I kiss thee, I
rejoice to receive thee from the hands of God. Far be it from me to
glory in anything save in the cross of my Lord and Redeemer. By it the
world shall be crucified to me, and I to the world, that I may be Thine
for ever.

Our Father, etc. Hail, Mary, etc


Third Station

JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME

OUR dear Saviour carrying the cross was so weakened by its heavy weight
as to fall exhausted to the ground. Our sins and misdeeds were the heavy
burden which oppressed Him; the cross was to Him light and sweet, but
our sins were galling and insupportable.

_Prayer_

O MY Jesus! Thou didst bear my burden and the heavy weight of my sins.
Should I, then, not bear in union with Thee my easy burden of suffering
and accept the sweet yoke of Thy commandments? Thy yoke is sweet and Thy
burden light; I therefore willingly accept it. I will take up Thy cross
and follow Thee.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc,


Fourth Station

JESUS MEETS HIS AFFLICTED MOTHER

HOW painful and how sad it must have been for Mary, the sorrowful
Mother, to behold her beloved Son laden with the burden of the cross!
What unspeakable pangs her most tender heart experienced! How earnestly
she yearned to die instead of, or at least with, Jesus! Implore this
sorrowful Mother that she assist you in the hour of your death.

_Prayer_

O JESUS, O Mary! I am the cause of the great and manifold pains which
pierce your loving hearts. O that my heart also would feel and
experience at least some of your sufferings! O Mother of sorrows, let me
participate in the sufferings which thou and thy Son endured for me, and
let me experience thy sorrow, that, afflicted with thee, I may enjoy thy
assistance in the hour of my death.

[Illustration: The Immaculate Conception.]

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Fifth Station

SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY THE CROSS

SIMON of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His cross, and Jesus
accepted His assistance. How willingly He would permit you also to carry
the cross! He calls you, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you
decline. What a reproach, to bear the cross reluctantly!

_Prayer_

O JESUS! Whosoever does not take up His cross and follow Thee is not
worthy of Thee. Behold, I join Thee in the way of Thy cross; I will be
Thy assistant, following Thy footsteps, that I may come to Thee in
eternal life.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Sixth Station

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

IMPELLED by devotion and compassion, Veronica presents her veil to Jesus
to wipe His disfigured face. And Jesus imprints on it His holy
countenance; a great recompense for so slight a service. What return do
you make to your Saviour for His great and manifold benefits?

_Prayer_

MOST merciful Jesus! What return shall I make for all the benefits Thou
didst bestow on me? Behold, I consecrate myself entirely to Thy service.
I offer and consecrate to Thee my heart. Imprint upon it Thy sacred
image, never to be effaced again by sin.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Seventh Station

JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME

JESUS, suffering under the weight of His cross, again falls to the
ground; but His cruel executioners do not permit Him to rest a moment.
Pushing and striking Him, they urge Him onward. It is the frequent
repetition of our sins which oppresses Jesus. Witnessing this, how can I
continue to sin?

_Prayer_

O JESUS, son of David, have mercy on me! Offer me Thy helping hand, and
aid me that I may not fall again into my former sins. From this very
moment I will earnestly strive to reform; nevermore will I sin. Do Thou,
O sole support of the weak, by Thy grace, without which I can do
nothing, strengthen me to carry out faithfully this my resolution.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Eighth Station

THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM WEEP OVER JESUS

THESE devoted women, moved by compassion, weep over the suffering
Saviour. But He turns to them, saying, "Weep not for Me, who am
innocent, but weep for yourselves and for your children." Weep thou
also; for there is nothing more pleasing to Our Lord, and nothing more
profitable for thyself, than tears shed from contrition for thy sins.

_Prayer_

O JESUS, who shall give to my eyes a torrent of tears, that day and
night I may weep for my sins? I beseech Thee through Thy bloody tears to
move my heart by Thy divine grace, so that from my eyes tears may flow
abundantly, and I may weep all days over Thy sufferings, and still more
over their cause, my sins.

Our Father, etc. Hail, Mary, etc.


Ninth Station

JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME

JESUS, arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, falls for the third
time to the ground. His love for us is not exhausted, not diminished.
What a fearfully oppressive burden our sins must be to cause Jesus to
fall so often! Had He, however, not taken them upon Himself, they would
have plunged us into the abyss of hell.

_Prayer_

MOST merciful Jesus! I return Thee infinite thanks for not permitting me
to continue in sin, and to fall, as I have so often deserved, into the
depths of hell. Enkindle in me an earnest desire of amendment. Let me
never again relapse, but vouchsafe me Thy grace to persevere to the end
of my life.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Tenth Station

JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS

AFTER arriving on Calvary, our Saviour was cruelly despoiled of His
garments. How painful must this have been, because they adhered to His
wounded and torn body, and with them parts of His bloody skin were
removed! All the wounds of Jesus are renewed. He is despoiled of His
garments that He might die possessed of nothing. How happy shall I die
after laying aside my former self with all evil inclinations and
desires!

_Prayer_

INDUCE me, O Jesus! to lay aside my former self, and to be renewed
according to Thy will and desire. I will not spare myself, however
painful this should be for me; despoiled of things temporal, of my own
will, I desire to die, in order to live for Thee for ever.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Eleventh Station

JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

JESUS, being stripped of His garments, was violently thrown upon the
cross, and His hands and feet were most cruelly nailed thereto. In such
excruciating torments He remained silent, because it thus pleased His
heavenly Father. He suffered patiently because He suffered for us. How
do I act in suffering and affliction? How fretful and impatient, how
full of complaints I am!

_Prayer_

O JESUS, gracious Lamb of God! I renounce for ever my impatience.
Crucify, O Lord, my flesh and its concupiscences. Scorch, scathe, and
punish me in this world; do but spare me in the next! I commit my
destiny to Thee, resigning myself to Thy holy will; may it be done in
all things.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


Twelfth Station

JESUS IS RAISED UPON THE CROSS, AND DIES

BEHOLD Jesus crucified! Behold the wounds He received for the love of
you! His whole appearance betokens love. His head is bent to kiss you;
His arms are extended to embrace you; His Heart is open to receive you.
O superabundance of love! Jesus, the Son of God dies that man may live
and be delivered from everlasting death.

_Prayer_

O MOST amiable Jesus! Who will grant me that I may die for love of Thee?
I will at least endeavor to die to the world. How must I regard the
world and its vanities, when I behold Thee hanging on the cross, covered
with wounds? O Jesus, receive me into Thy wounded Heart; I belong
entirely to Thee; for Thee alone do I desire to live and to die.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc


Thirteenth Station

JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS, AND PLACED IN THE ARMS OF HIS MOTHER

JESUS did not descend from the cross, but remained on it till after His
death. And when taken down from it, He, in death as in life, rested on
the bosom of His Mother. Persevere in your resolutions of reform, and do
not part from the cross; he that persevereth to the end shall be saved.
Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body
and blood of Christ in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar.

_Prayer_

O LORD Jesus! Thy lifeless body, mangled and torn, found a worthy
resting-place on the bosom of Thy virgin Mother. Have I not compelled
Thee often to dwell in my heart, full of sin and impurity as it was?
Create in me a new heart, that I may worthily receive Thy most sacred
body in holy communion, and that Thou mayest remain in me, and I in
Thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc


Fourteenth Station

JESUS IS LAID IN THE SEPULCHER

THE body of Jesus is laid in a stranger's tomb. He who in this world had
not whereupon to rest His head, would not even have a grave of His own,
because He was not of this world. You, who are so attached to the world,
henceforth despise it, that you may not perish with it.

_Prayer_

O JESUS, Thou hast set me apart from the world; what, then, shall I seek
therein? Thou hast created me for heaven; what, then, have I to do with
the world? Depart from me, deceitful world, with Thy vanities!
Henceforth I will follow the way of the cross traced out for me by my
Redeemer, and journey onward to my heavenly home, there to dwell for
ever and ever.

Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.


CONCLUSION

ALMIGHTY and eternal God, merciful Father, who hast given to the human
race Thy beloved Son as an example of humility, obedience, and patience,
to precede us on the way of life, bearing the cross; graciously grant,
that we, inflamed by His infinite love, may take up the sweet yoke of
His Gospel, together with the mortification of the cross, following Him
as His true disciples, so that we shall one day rise gloriously with
Him, and joyfully hear the final sentence: "Come, ye blessed of my
Father, and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the
beginning," where Thou reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and
where we hope to reign with Thee throughout all eternity. Amen.



Prayer to Our Suffering Redeemer

O MY Lord Jesus Christ! Who, to redeem the world, didst vouchsafe to be
born amongst men, to be circumcised, to be rejected and persecuted by
the Jews, to be betrayed by the traitor Judas with a kiss, and as a
lamb, gentle and innocent, to be bound with cords and dragged, in scorn,
before the tribunals of Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod; who didst
suffer Thyself to be accused by false witnesses, to be torn by the
scourge and overwhelmed with ignominy; to be spit upon, to be crowned
with thorns, buffeted, struck with a reed, blindfolded, stripped of Thy
garments; to be nailed to the cross and raised on it between two
thieves; to be given gall and vinegar to drink, and to be pierced with a
lance; do Thou, O Lord, by these Thy most sacred pains, which I, all
unworthy, call to mind, and by Thy holy cross and death, save me from
the pains of hell, and vouchsafe to bring me whither Thou didst bring
the good thief who was crucified with Thee, who with the Father and the
Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., five times.

Indulgence. (1) 300 days, once a day. (2) A plenary indulgence, under
the usual conditions, on any one of the last three days of the month,
after saying this prayer daily for a month. (Pius VII, August 25, 1820.)



Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

(_By St. Alphonsus._)

MOST holy and immaculate virgin, O my Mother, thou who art the Mother of
my Lord, the queen of the world, the advocate, hope, and refuge of
sinners! I, the most wretched among them, come now to thee. I venerate
thee, great queen, and give thee thanks for the many favors thou hast
bestowed on me in the past. Most of all do I thank thee for having saved
me from hell, which I so often deserved. I love thee, Lady most worthy
of love, and by the love which I bear thee I promise ever in the future
to serve thee, and to do what in me lies to win others to thy love. In
thee I put all my trust, all my hope of salvation. Receive me as thy
servant, and cover me with the mantle of thy protection, thou who art
the Mother of mercy! And since thou hast so much power with God, deliver
me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the grace ever to
overcome them. From thee I ask a true love of Jesus Christ, and the
grace of a happy death. O my Mother, by thy love for God I beseech thee
to be at all times my helper, but above all at the last moment of my
life. Leave me not until thou seest me safely in heaven, there for
endless ages to bless thee and sing thy praises. Amen.

Indulgence, (1) 300 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, for having said it daily during the month; under the usual
conditions. (Pius IX, Sept. 7, 1854.)



Prayer for All Things Necessary for Salvation

O MY God! I believe in Thee; do Thou strengthen my faith. All my hopes
are in Thee; do Thou secure them. I love Thee with my whole heart; teach
me to love Thee more and more. I am sorry that I have offended Thee; do
Thou increase my sorrow. I adore Thee as my first beginning; I aspire
after Thee as my last end. I give Thee thanks as my constant benefactor;
I call upon Thee as my sovereign protector. Vouchsafe, O my God, to
conduct me by Thy wisdom, to restrain me by Thy justice, to comfort me
by Thy mercy, to defend me by Thy power. To Thee I desire to consecrate
all my thoughts, my actions, and my sufferings, that I henceforward may
think only of Thee, speak only of Thee, and ever refer all my actions to
Thy greater glory, and suffer willingly whatever Thou shalt appoint. O
Lord, I desire that in all things Thy will be done, because it is Thy
will, and in the manner that Thou willest. I beg of Thee to enlighten my
understanding, to inflame my will, to purify my body, and to sanctify my
soul. Give me strength, O my God, to expiate my offenses, to overcome my
temptations, to subdue my passions, to acquire the virtues proper for my
state. Fill my heart with tender affection for Thy goodness, a hatred of
my faults, a love for my neighbor, and a contempt for the world. Let me
always be submissive to my superiors, condescending to my inferiors,
faithful to my friends, and charitable to my enemies. Assist me to
overcome sensuality by mortification, avarice by almsdeeds, anger by
meekness, and tepidity by zeal. O my God, make me prudent in my
undertakings, courageous in dangers, patient in affliction, and humble
in prosperity. Grant that I may be ever attentive at my prayers,
temperate at my meals, diligent in my employments, and constant in my
resolutions. Let my conscience be ever upright and pure, my exterior
modest, my conversation edifying, my comportment regular. Assist me,
that I may continually labor to overcome nature, correspond with Thy
grace, keep Thy commandments, and work out my salvation. Discover to me,
O my God, the nothingness of this world, the greatness of heaven, the
shortness of time, the length of eternity. Grant that I may be prepared
for death, fear Thy judgments, escape hell, and, in the end, obtain
heaven.

All that I have asked for myself I confidently ask for others; for my
family, my relations, my benefactors, my friends, and also for my
enemies. I ask it for the whole Church, for all the orders of which it
is composed; more especially for our Holy Father, the Pope; for our
bishop, for our pastors, and for all who are in authority; also for all
those for whom Thou desirest that I should pray. Give them, O Lord, all
that Thou knowest to be conducive to Thy glory and necessary for their
salvation. Strengthen the just in virtue, convert sinners, enlighten
infidels, heretics, and schismatics; console the afflicted, give to the
faithful departed rest and eternal life; that together we may praise,
love, and bless Thee for all eternity. Amen.



The Four Approved Litanies



Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

  LORD, have mercy on us.
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, hear us.
  Jesus, graciously hear us.
  God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, king of glory, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
  Jesus amiable, have mercy on us.
  Jesus admirable, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, powerful God, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, Father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, angel of the great council, have mercy on us.
  Jesus most powerful, have mercy on us.
  Jesus most patient, have mercy on us.
  Jesus most obedient, have mercy on us.
  Jesus meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, lover of chastity, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, model of all virtues, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, zealous for souls, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, good shepherd, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, joy of angels, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, king of patriarchs, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, master of the apostles, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, teacher of the evangelists, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, strength of martyrs, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, light of confessors, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, purity of virgins, have mercy on us.
  Jesus, crown of all saints, have mercy on us.
  Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
  Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus.
  From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From eternal death, deliver us, O Jesus.
  From the neglect of Thy inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy agony and passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy languors, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
  By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Jesus.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
us, O Jesus.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us,
O Jesus.
  Jesus, hear us.
  Jesus, graciously hear us.

_Let us pray_

O LORD Jesus Christ, who hast said: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: mercifully attend
to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that
we may ever love Thee with our whole hearts, and never desist from Thy
praise.

Give us, O Lord, a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name, for Thou
never ceasest to direct and govern by Thy grace those whom Thou
instructest in the solidity of Thy love; who livest and reignest world
without end. Amen.

Indulgence. 300 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, January 16, 1886.)

[Illustration: The Children's Offering.]



Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

(_Approved by Pope Leo XIII, April 2, 1899._)

  LORD, have mercy on us.
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin
Mother, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on
us.
  Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, sacred temple of God, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fulness of divinity, have mercy on
us.
  Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, of whose fulness we have all received, have mercy on
us.
  Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offences, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, victim for sin, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in thee, have mercy on
us.
  Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
  Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us,
O Lord.
  V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart:
  R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

_Let us pray_

O ALMIGHTY and eternal God! Look upon the Heart of Thy dearly beloved
Son, and upon the praise and satisfaction He offers Thee in the name of
sinners and of those who seek Thy mercy; be Thou appeased, and grant us
pardon in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son; who liveth and
reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Amen.

Indulgence. 300 days. (Leo XIII, April 2, 1899.)



The Litany of Loreto

_In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary_

  LORD, have mercy on us,
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us,
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Holy Mary, pray for us.
  Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
  Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
  Mother of Christ, pray for us.
  Mother of divine grace, pray for us.
  Mother most pure, pray for us.
  Mother most chaste, pray for us.
  Mother inviolate, pray for us.
  Mother undefiled, pray for us.
  Mother most amiable, pray for us.
  Mother most admirable, pray for us.
  Mother of good counsel, pray for us.
  Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
  Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us.
  Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
  Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
  Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
  Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
  Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
  Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
  Mirror of justice, pray for us.
  Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
  Cause of our joy, pray for us.
  Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
  Vessel of honor, pray for us.
  Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
  Mystical rose, pray for us.
  Tower of David, pray for us.
  Tower of ivory, pray for us.
  House of gold, pray for us.
  Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
  Gate of heaven, pray for us.
  Morning star, pray for us.
  Health of the sick, pray for us.
  Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
  Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
  Help of Christians, pray for us.
  Queen of angels, pray for us.
  Queen of patriarchs, pray for us.
  Queen of prophets, pray for us.
  Queen of apostles, pray for us.
  Queen of martyrs, pray for us.
  Queen of confessors, pray for us.
  Queen of virgins, pray for us.
  Queen of all saints, pray for us.
  Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
  Queen of the most holy rosary, pray for us.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us,
O Lord.
  V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God:
  R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

_Let us pray_

POUR forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we,
to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message
of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His
resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

  V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
  R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

_Let us pray_

VOUCHSAFE, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy
Mother's spouse; that what of ourselves we can not obtain may be given
us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end.
Amen.

Indulgence. (1) 300 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence on the
following five feasts of the Blessed Virgin: Immaculate Conception,
Nativity, Purification, Annunciation, and Assumption; under the usual
conditions, to all who shall have said it daily during the year. (Pius
VII, September 30, 1817.) These indulgences are granted for the litany
alone; hence the prayers following it may be omitted.



Litany of the Saints

  LORD, have mercy on us.
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Holy Mary, pray for us.
  Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
  Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
  St. Michael, pray for us.
  St. Gabriel, pray for us.
  St. Raphael, pray for us.
  All ye holy angels and archangels, pray for us.
  All ye holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us.
  St. John Baptist, pray for us.
  St. Joseph, pray for us.
  All ye holy patriarchs and prophets, pray for us.
  St. Peter, pray for us.
  St. Paul, pray for us.
  St. Andrew, pray for us.
  St. James, pray for us.
  St. John, pray for us.
  St. Thomas, pray for us.
  St. James, pray for us.
  St. Philip, pray for us.
  St. Bartholomew, pray for us.
  St. Matthew, pray for us.
  St. Simon, pray for us.
  St. Thaddaeus, pray for us.
  St. Mathias, pray for us.
  St. Barnabas, pray for us.
  St. Luke, pray for us.
  St. Mark, pray for us.
  All ye holy apostles and evangelists, pray for us.
  All ye holy disciples of Our Lord, pray for us.
  All ye holy innocents, pray for us.
  St. Stephen, pray for us.
  St. Lawrence, pray for us.
  St. Vincent, pray for us.
  SS. Fabian and Sebastian, pray for us.
  SS. John and Paul, pray for us.
  SS. Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
  SS. Gervaise and Protaise, pray for us.
  All ye holy martyrs, pray for us.
  St. Sylvester, pray for us.
  St. Gregory, pray for us.
  St. Ambrose, pray for us.
  St. Augustine, pray for us.
  St. Jerome, pray for us.
  St. Martin, pray for us.
  St. Nicholas, pray for us.
  All ye holy bishops and confessors, pray for us.
  All ye holy doctors, pray for us.
  St. Anthony, pray for us.
  St. Benedict, pray for us.
  St. Bernard, pray for us.
  St. Dominic, pray for us.
  St. Francis, pray for us.
  All ye holy priests and levites, pray for us.
  All ye holy monks and hermits, pray for us.
  St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us.
  St. Agatha, pray for us.
  St. Lucy, pray for us.
  St. Agnes, pray for us.
  St. Cecilia, pray for us.
  St. Catherine, pray for us.
  St. Anastasia, pray for us.
  All ye holy virgins and widows, pray for us.
  All ye men and women, saints of God: Make intercession for us.
  Be merciful: Spare us, O Lord.
  Be merciful: Graciously hear us, O Lord.
  From all evil, O Lord, deliver us.
  From all sin, O Lord, deliver us.
  From a sudden and unprovided death, O Lord, deliver us.
  From the snares of the devil, O Lord, deliver us.
  From anger, hatred, and ill will, O Lord, deliver us.
  From the spirit of fornication, O Lord, deliver us.
  From lightning and tempest, O Lord, deliver us.
  From the scourge of earthquake, O Lord, deliver us.
  From pestilence, famine, and war, O Lord, deliver us.
  From everlasting death, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy coming, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy nativity, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy baptism and holy fasting, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy cross and passion, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy death and burial, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy holy resurrection, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through Thy admirable ascension, O Lord, deliver us.
  Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, O Lord, deliver
us.
  In the Day of Judgment, O Lord, deliver us.
  We sinners, Beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to bring us to true penance, we beseech Thee, hear
us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church, we beseech
Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to preserve our apostolic prelate and all
ecclesiastical orders in holy religion, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to humble the enemies of Thy holy Church, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings
and princes, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian people,
we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou lift up our minds to heavenly desires, we beseech Thee, hear
us.
  That Thou render eternal good things to all our benefactors, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou deliver our souls and those of our brethren, kinsfolk, and
benefactors from eternal damnation, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe eternal rest to all the faithful departed, we
beseech Thee, hear us.
  That Thou vouchsafe graciously to hear us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us,
O Lord.
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us.
  Our Father, etc.
  V. And lead us not into temptation.
  R. But deliver us from evil.

PSALM LXIX

  INCLINE unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me.
  Let them be confounded and ashamed: that seek after my soul.
  Let them be turned backward and blush for shame: that desire evils
unto me.
  Let them be presently turned away blushing for shame, that say to me:
Tis well, 'tis well.
  Let all that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: and let such as
love Thy salvation say always, The Lord be magnified.
  But I am needy and poor: O God, help Thou me.
  Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord, make no delay.
  Glory be to the Father, etc.
  V. Save Thy servants:
  R. Trusting in Thee, O my God.
  V. Be unto us, O God, a tower of strength:
  R. From the face of the enemy.
  V. Let not the enemy prevail against us:
  R. Nor the son of iniquity have power to hurt us.
  V. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins:
  R. Neither reward us according to our iniquities.
  V. Let us pray for our chief bishop, N.
  R. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon
earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
  V. Let us pray for our benefactors:
  R. Vouchsafe, O Lord, for Thy name's sake, to reward with eternal life
all those who have done us good.
  V. Let us pray for the faithful departed:
  R. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine
upon them.
  V. May they rest in peace.
  R. Amen.
  V. For our absent brethren:
  R. O my God, save Thy servants trusting in Thee.
  V. Send them help, O Lord, from Thy holy place:
  R. And from Sion protect them.
  V. O Lord, hear my prayer:
  R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

_Let us pray_

O GOD, whose property it is always to have mercy and to spare, receive
our petitions, that we, and all Thy servants who are bound by the chain
of sin, may, in the compassion of Thy goodness, mercifully be absolved.

Hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayer of Thy suppliants, and pardon
the sins of them that confess to Thee, that of Thy bounty Thou mayest
grant us pardon and peace.

Out of Thy clemency, O Lord, show Thy unspeakable mercy to us, that so
Thou mayest both acquit us of our sins and deliver us from the
punishment we deserve for them.

O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully
regard the prayers of Thy people who make supplication to Thee, and turn
away the scourges of Thy anger, which we deserve for our sins.

O almighty and eternal God, have mercy on Thy servant N., our chief
bishop, and direct him, according to Thy clemency, in the way of
everlasting salvation, that, by Thy grace, he may desire the things that
are agreeable to Thy will, and perform them with all his strength.

O God, from whom all holy desires, righteous counsels, and just works do
come, give to Thy servants that peace which the world can not give;
that, our hearts being disposed to keep Thy commandments, and the fear
of enemies being taken away, the times, by Thy protection, may be
peaceable.

Inflame, O Lord, our reins and hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit;
to the end that we may serve Thee with a chaste body, and please Thee
with a clean heart.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls
of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that by pious
supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired.

Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations,
and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every prayer and work
of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended.

Almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over the living and the
dead, and art merciful to all whom Thou foreknowest shall be Thine by
faith and good works; we humbly beseech Thee that they for whom we have
purposed to offer our prayers, whether this present world still detains
them in the flesh, or the next world has already received them divested
of their bodies, may, by the clemency of Thine own goodness and the
intercession of Thy saints, obtain pardon and full remission of all
their sins. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with
Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

  V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
  R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
  V. May the almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear us.
  R. Amen.
  V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God
rest in peace.
  R. Amen.

[Illustration: Mary, Help of Christians.]



PART VI

Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year


"Every day will I bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name forever" (_Ps._
cxliv. 2).



Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for every Day in the Year



January

1

THERE are two guarantees of a wise rule of conduct: the thought before
action, and self-command afterward.--ST. IGNATIUS.

2

When we receive with an entire and perfect resignation the afflictions
which God sends us they become for us favors and benefits; because
conformity to the will of God is a gain far superior to all temporal
advantages.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

3

All perfection consists in the love of God; and the perfection of divine
love consists in the union of our will with that of God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

4

Leave to every one the care of what belongs to him, and disturb not
thyself with what is said or done in the world.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

5

Place before your eyes as models for imitation, not the weak and
cowardly, but the fervent and courageous.--ST. IGNATIUS.

6

Prayer is a pasturage, a field, wherein all the virtues find their
nourishment, growth, and strength.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

7

A single act of resignation to the divine will in what it ordains
contrary to our desires, is of more value than a hundred thousand
successes conformable to our will and taste.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

8

The shortest, yea, the only way to reach sanctity, is to conceive a
horror for all that the world loves and values.--ST. IGNATIUS.

9

As long as we are in this mortal life, nothing is more necessary for us
than humility.--ST. TERESA.

10

Learning without humility has always been pernicious to the Church; and
as pride precipitated the rebellious angels from heaven, it frequently
causes the loss of learned men.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

11

Why remain sad and idle? Why exhaust thyself in the anguish of
melancholy? Have courage, do violence to thyself; meditate on the
passion of Jesus Christ, and thou shalt overcome thy sorrow.--BL. HENRY
SUSO.

12

Here is the difference between the joys of the world and the cross of
Jesus Christ: after having tasted the first, one is disgusted with them;
and on the contrary, the more one partakes of the cross, the greater the
thirst for it.--ST. IGNATIUS.

13

When the sky is free from clouds we can see more clearly the brightness
of the sun. In like manner, when the soul is free from sin and the gloom
of passion, it participates in the divine light.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

14

Our works are of no value if they be not united to the merits of Jesus
Christ.--ST. TERESA.

15

If we are very determined to mortify ourselves and not to be too much
occupied with our corporal health, we will soon, by the grace of God,
become masters of our bodies.--ST. TERESA.

16

In every creature, however small it be, we may see a striking image of
divine wisdom, power, and goodness.--VEN. BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.

17

Time is but a period. It passes like the lightning flash. Suffering
passes with time; suffering, then, is very short.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

18

In order to bear our afflictions with patience, it is very useful to
read the lives and legends of the saints who endured great torments for
Jesus Christ.--ST. TERESA.

19

Open thine ears to the voices of nature, and thou shalt hear them in
concert inviting thee to the love of God.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

20

On the feasts of the saints consider their virtues, and beseech God to
deign to adorn you with them.--ST. TERESA.

21

When faith grows weak, all virtues are weakened. When faith is lost, all
virtues are lost--ST. ALPHONSUS.

22

A precious crown is reserved in heaven for those who perform all their
actions with all the diligence of which they are capable; for it is not
sufficient to do our part well; it must be done more than well.--ST.
IGNATIUS.

23

Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone
can fill it infinitely.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

24

We should only make use of life to grow in the love of God.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

25

In vain men try. They can never find in creatures sincere affection,
perfect joy, or true peace.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

26

God is supreme strength, fortifying those who place their trust and
confidence in Him.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

27

God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know His holy will,
and to do it fully.--ST. IGNATIUS.

28

Shun useless conversation. We lose by it both time and the spirit of
devotion.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

29

The upright intention is the soul of our actions. It gives them life and
makes them good.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

30

The truth of faith alone, deeply graven in the soul, is sufficient to
encourage us to very perfect works; for it strengthens man and increases
his charity.--ST. TERESA.

31

It is folly not to think of death. It is greater folly to think of it,
and not prepare for it.--ST. ALPHONSUS.



February

1

THE most perfect and meritorious intention is that by which, in all our
actions, we have in view only the good pleasure of God and the
accomplishment of His holy will.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

2

Mary's sorrow was less when she saw her only Son crucified, than it is
now at the sight of men offending Him by sin.--ST. IGNATIUS.

3

There is nothing more unreasonable than to estimate our worth by the
opinion of others. Today they laud us to the skies, to-morrow they will
cover us with ignominy.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

4

Act as if every day were the last of your life, and each action the last
you perform.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

5

Perfection consists in renouncing ourselves, in carrying our cross, and
in following Jesus Christ. Now, he who renounces himself most perfectly
carries his cross the best and follows nearest to Jesus Christ is he who
never does his own will, but always that of God.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

6

That which would have easily been remedied at first, becomes incurable
by time and habit--ST. IGNATIUS.

7

Among the gifts of grace which the soul receives in holy communion there
is one that must be numbered among the highest. It is, that holy
communion does not permit the soul to remain long in sin, nor to
obstinately persevere in it.--ST. IGNATIUS.

8

Be assured that one great means to find favor when we appear before God
is to have pardoned the injuries we have received here below.--VEN.
LOUIS OF GRANADA.

9

Woe to him who neglects to recommend himself to Mary, and thus closes
the channel of grace!--ST. ALPHONSUS.

10

It is folly to leave your goods where you can never return, and to send
nothing to that place where you must remain for ever.--VEN. LOUIS OF
GRANADA.

11

Discretion is necessary in spiritual life. It is its part to restrain
the exercises in the way of perfection, so as to keep us between the two
extremes.--ST. IGNATIUS.

12

By denying our self-love and our inclinations in little things, we
gradually acquire mortification and victory over ourselves.--ST. TERESA.

13

Should we fall a thousand times in a day, a thousand times we must rise
again, always animated with unbounded confidence in the infinite
goodness of God.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

14

God's way in dealing with those whom He intends to admit soonest after
this life into the possession of His everlasting glory, is to purify
them in this world by the greatest afflictions and trials.--ST.
IGNATIUS.

15

After the flower comes the fruit: we receive, as the reward of our
fatigues, an increase of grace in this world, and in the next the
eternal vision of God.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

16

God refuses no one the gift of prayer. By it we obtain the help that we
need to overcome disorderly desires and temptations of all kinds.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

17

To establish ourselves in a virtue it is necessary to form good and
practical resolutions to perform certain and determined acts of that
virtue, and we must, moreover, be faithful in executing them.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

18

Love ought to consist of deeds more than of words.--ST. IGNATIUS.

19

There are many things which seem to us misfortunes and which we call
such; but if we understood the designs of God we would call them
graces.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

20

Let us abandon everything to the merciful providence of God.--BL. ALBERT
THE GREAT.

21

Jesus Christ, our great Model, suffered much for us; let us bear our
afflictions cheerfully, seeing that through them we have the happiness
of resembling Him.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

22

Remember that virtue is a very high and rugged mountain, difficult to
ascend, and requiring much fatigue and exertion before we arrive at the
summit to rest.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

23

Labor to conquer yourself. This victory will assure you a brighter crown
in heaven than they gain whose disposition is more amiable.--ST.
IGNATIUS.

24

We should not examine articles of faith with a curious and subtle
spirit. It is sufficient for us to know that the Church proposes them.
We can never be deceived in believing them.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

25

We should guard against jealousy, and even the slightest sentiment
thereof. This vice is absolutely opposed to a pure and sincere zeal for
the glory of God, and is a certain proof of secret and subtle pride.--
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

26

Charity requires us always to have compassion on human infirmity.--ST.
CATHERINE OF SIENA.

27

When one does not love prayer, it is morally impossible for him to
resist his passions.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

28

Docility and easy acquiescence with good advice are the signs of a
humble heart.--VEN. JULIENNE MOREL.

29

There is nothing richer, nothing surer, nothing more agreeable than a
good conscience.--BL. BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.



March

1

IT SEEMS as if God granted to other saints to free us from some
particular needfulness; but I know by experience that the glorious St.
Joseph assists us generally in all our necessities.--ST. TERESA.

2

A most powerful and efficacious remedy for all evils, a means of
correcting all imperfections, of triumphing over temptation, and
preserving our hearts in an undisturbed peace, is conformity with the
will of God.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

3

It often happens that when we take less care of our body, we have better
health than when we bestow upon it too much care.--ST. TERESA.

4

Do nothing, say nothing before considering if that which you are about
to say or do is pleasing to God, profitable to yourself, and edifying to
your neighbor.--ST. IGNATIUS.

5

Sometimes God leaves us for a long time unable to effect any good, that
we may learn to humble ourselves, and never to glory in our efforts.--
ST. VINCENT FERRER.

6

We easily lose peace of mind, because we make it depend, not on the
testimony of a good conscience, but on the judgment of men.--BL.
BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.

7

You may fast regularly, give alms, and pray without ceasing, but as long
as you hate your brother, you will not be numbered among the children of
God.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

8

He who at the hour of death finds himself protected by St. Joseph, will
certainly experience great consolation.--ST. TERESA.

9

Take care that the worldling does not pursue with greater zeal and
anxiety the perishable goods of this world than you do the eternal.--ST.
IGNATIUS.

10

We should consider our departed brethren as living members of Jesus
Christ, animated by His grace, and certain of participating one day of
His glory. We should therefore love, serve, and assist them as far as is
in our power.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

11

Control thy senses, guard thy mouth, bridle thy tongue, subjugate thy
heart, bear all provocation with charity, and thou shalt perfectly
fulfil the will of God.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

12

Our perfection consists in uniting our will so intimately with God's
will, that we will only desire what He wills. He who conforms most
perfectly to the will of God will be the most perfect Christian.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

13

Humility, modesty, sobriety, purity, piety, and prudence, with meekness,
ornament the soul, and make us live on earth a truly angelic life.--BL.
JORDAN OF SAXONY.

14

In recalling to mind the life and actions of the saints, walk in their
footsteps as much as possible, and humble thyself if thou canst not
attain to their perfection.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

15

When the devil again tempts you to sin, telling you that God is
merciful, remember that the Lord showeth mercy to them that fear Him,
but not to them who despise Him.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

16

In prayer we should particularly combat our predominant passion or evil
inclination. We should devote continual attention to it, because when it
is once conquered we will easily obtain the victory over all our other
faults.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

17

I will carefully consider how, on the day of judgment, I would wish to
have discharged my office or my duty; and the way I would wish to have
done it then I shall do now.--ST. IGNATIUS.

18

It is well to deny ourselves that which is permitted, in order to avoid
more easily that which is not.--ST. BENEDICT.

19

I have noticed that all persons who have true devotion to St. Joseph and
tender him special honor, are very much advanced in virtue, for he takes
great care of souls who recommend themselves to him; and I have never
asked of him anything which he did not obtain for me.--ST. TERESA.

20

He who forgets himself in the service of God may be assured that God
will not forget Him.--ST. IGNATIUS.

21

Let all our actions be directed to the end that God may be glorified in
all things.--ST. BENEDICT.

22

He who suffers in patience, suffers less and saves his soul. He who
suffers impatiently, suffers more and loses his soul.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

23

When we remember or hear that the enemies of the Church burn and destroy
God's temples, we should grieve therefor; but we should also rejoice
much when we see new ones built, and we should co-operate in their
erection as much as we possibly can.--ST. TERESA.

24

We should carefully beware of giving ourselves so completely to any
employment as to forget to have recourse to God from time to time.--ST.
TERESA.

25

Our Lady, deign to intercede for us sinners with thy divine Son, our
Lord, and obtain of Him a blessing for us in our trials and
tribulations!--ST. IGNATIUS.

26

Whoever would follow Jesus Christ, must walk in His footsteps, if he
would not go astray.--ST. TERESA.

27

Let us thank God for having called us to His holy faith. It is a great
gift, and the number of those who thank God for it is small.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

28

The trials of life cease to oppress us if we accept them for the love of
God.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

29

If you wish to take up your abode in the tabernacle of the heavenly
kingdom, you must reach there through your good works, without which you
can not hope to enter.--ST. BENEDICT.

30

It is a great folly to be willing to violate the friendship of God,
rather than the law of human friendship.--ST. TERESA.

31

When the afflictions of this life overcome us, let us encourage
ourselves to bear them patiently by the hope of heaven.--ST. ALPHONSUS.



April

1

TO PUT into practice the teachings of our holy faith, it is not enough
to convince ourselves that they are true; we must love them. Love united
to faith makes us practise our religion.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

2

Unite all your works to the merits of Jesus Christ, and then offer them
up to the eternal Father if you desire to make them pleasing to Him.--
ST. TERESA.

3

God pardons sin; but He will not pardon the will to sin.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

4

It is a fault, not a virtue, to wish your humility recognized and
applauded.--ST. BERNARD.

5

Before engaging in your private devotions, perform those which obedience
and your duty toward your neighbor impose upon you in such a manner as
to make an abnegation of self.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

6

The world is full of inconstancy; its friendship ceases the moment there
is no advantage to be expected from us.--BL. JOHN TAULER.

7

There is nothing better to display the truth in an excellent light, than
a clear and simple statement of facts.--ST. BENEDICT.

8

Be careful and do not lightly condemn the actions of others. We must
consider the intention of our neighbor, which is often good and pure,
although the act itself seems blameworthy.--ST. IGNATIUS.

9

He who does not overcome his predominant passion is in great danger of
being lost. He who does overcome it will easily conquer all the rest.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

10

To conquer himself is the greatest victory that man can gain.--ST.
IGNATIUS.

11

A soul which does not practise the exercise of prayer is very like a
paralyzed body which, though possessing feet and hands, makes no use of
them.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

12

When you do a good action, have the intention of first pleasing God, and
then of giving good example to your neighbor.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

13

The grace of perseverance is the most important of all; it crowns all
other graces.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

14

Prayer is the only channel through which God's great graces and favors
may flow into the soul; and if this be once closed, I know no other way
He can communicate them.--ST. TERESA.

15

To acquire courage it is very useful to read the lives of the saints,
especially of those who, after living in sin, attained great sanctity.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

16

The truly humble reject all praise for themselves, and refer it all to
God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

17

Prayer should be effective and practical, since it has for its end the
acquisition of solid virtue and the mortification of the passions.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

18

We do not keep an account of the graces which God has given us, but God
our Lord keeps an account of them. He has fixed the measure thereof.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

19

The more guilty we are, the greater must be our confidence in Mary.
Therefore, courage, timid soul; let Mary know all thy misery, and hasten
with joy to the throne of mercy.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

20

Evil is often more hurtful to the doer than to the one against whom it
is done.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

21

During life despise that which will avail you nothing at the hour of
death.--ST. ANSELM.

22

He who fails to reflect before acting, walks with his eyes shut and
advances with danger. He also falls very often, because the eye of
reflection does not enable him to see whither his footsteps lead.--ST.
GREGORY THE GREAT.

23

Sanctity and perfection consist not in fine words, but in good
actions.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

24

As patience leads to peace, and study to science, so are humiliations
the path that leads to humility.--ST. BERNARD.

25

Do not disturb yourself with vain curiosity concerning the affairs of
others, nor how they conduct themselves, unless your position makes it
your duty to do so.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

26

The deceitful charms of prosperity destroy more souls than all the
scourges of adversity.--ST. BERNARD.

27

The first degree of humility is the fear of God, which we should
constantly have before our eyes.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

28

He who cheerfully endures contempt and is happy under crosses and
affliction, partakes of the humility and sufferings of Our Lord.--ST.
MECHTILDIS.

29

He who is resigned to the divine will shall always surmount the
difficulties he meets with in the service of God. The Lord will
accomplish His designs concerning him.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

30

Consent to suffer a slight temporary pain, that so thou mayst avoid the
eternal pains which sin deserves.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.



May

1

MARY was the most perfect among the saints only because she was always
perfectly united to the will of God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

2

After the love which we owe Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place
in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

3

When we feel our cross weighing upon us, let us have recourse to Mary,
whom the Church calls the "Consoler of the Afflicted."--ST. ALPHONSUS.

4

The devotions we practise in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary, however
trifling they be, are very pleasing to her divine Son, and He rewards
them with eternal glory.--ST. TERESA.

5

There is nothing which is more profitable and more consoling to the mind
than to frequently remember the Blessed Virgin.--ST. TERESA.

6

Blessed are the actions enclosed between two Hail Marys.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

7

Let us consider what the glorious Virgin endured, and what the holy
apostles suffered, and we shall find that they who were nearest to Jesus
Christ were the most afflicted.--ST. TERESA.

8

The servants of Mary who are in purgatory receive visits and
consolations from her.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

9

If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your salvation is
certain.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

10

He who remembers having invoked the name of Mary in an impure
temptation, may be sure that he did not yield to it.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

11

Mary being destined to negotiate peace between God and man, it was not
proper that she should be an accomplice in the disobedience of
Adam.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

12

Mary having co-operated in our redemption with so much glory to God and
so much love for us, Our Lord ordained that no one shall obtain
salvation except through her intercession.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

13

He who wishes to find Jesus will do so only by having recourse to
Mary.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

14

Mary having always lived wholly detached from earthly things and united
with God, death, which united her more closely to Him, was extremely
sweet and agreeable to her.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

15

Mary being in heaven nearer to God and more united to Him, knows our
miseries better, compassionates them more, and can more efficaciously
assist us.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

16

The Virgin Mother, all pure and all white, will make her servants pure
and white.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

17

To assure our salvation it does not suffice to call ourselves children
of Mary, therefore let us always have the fear of God.--ST. TERESA.

18

Let us offer ourselves without delay and without reserve to Mary, and
beg her to offer us herself to God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

19

Such is the compassion, such the love which Mary bears us, that she is
never tired of praying for us.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

20

O Queen of heaven and earth! The universe would perish before thou
couldst refuse aid to one who invokes thee from the depth of his
heart.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

21

O most blessed Virgin, who declarest in thy Canticle that it is owing to
thy humility that God hath done great things in thee, obtain for me the
grace to imitate thee, that is, to be obedient; because to obey is to
practise humility.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

22

May the two names so sweet and so powerful, of Jesus and Mary, be always
in our hearts and on our lips!--ST. ALPHONSUS.

23

Whatsoever we do, we can never be true children of Mary, unless we are
humble.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

24

Let us highly esteem devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and let us lose no
opportunity of inspiring others with it.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

25

As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child, so
Mary, the heavenly infirmarian, never refuses to care for sinners who
have recourse to her.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

26

Each of our days is marked with the protection of Mary, who is
exceedingly anxious to be our Mother, when we desire to be her
children.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

27

When the devil wishes to make himself master of a soul, he seeks to make
it give up devotion to Mary.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

28

Let us have recourse to Mary; for of all creatures she is the highest,
the purest, the most beautiful, and the most loving.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

29

Let the name of Mary be ever on your lips, let it be indelibly engraven
on your heart. If you are under her protection, you have nothing to
fear; if she is propitious, you will arrive at the port of salvation.--
ST. BERNARD.

30

Know that of all devotions the most pleasing to Mary is to have frequent
recourse to her, asking for favors.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

31

Let the servants of Mary perform every day, and especially on Saturday,
some work of charity for her sake.--ST. ALPHONSUS.



June

1

CAN WE, amongst all hearts, find one more amiable than that of Jesus? It
is on His Heart that God looks with special complacency--ST. ALPHONSUS.

2

One must wage war against his predominant passion, and not retreat,
until, with God's help, he has been victorious.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

3

An act of perfect conformity to the will of God unites us more to Him
than a hundred other acts of virtue.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

4

The love of God inspires the love of our neighbor, and the love of our
neighbor serves to keep alive the love of God.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

5

Live always in the certainty that whatever happens to you is the result
of divine Providence; because nothing hard or laborious falls to your
lot without the Lord permitting it.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

6

Whatsoever good work you undertake, pray earnestly to God that He will
enable you to bring it to a successful termination.--ST. BENEDICT.

7

What is a fruitless repentance, defiled almost immediately by new
faults?--ST. BERNARD.

8

You propose to give up everything to God; be sure, then, to include
yourself among the things to be given up.--ST. BENEDICT.

9

If you can find a place where God is not, go there and sin with
impunity.--ST. ANSELM.

10

He can not err who is constantly with the visible Head which Jesus
Christ has left to His Church, as its foundation, rule, teacher, and
defender of the Faith.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

11

The more numerous the gifts we have received from God, the greater the
account we must render to Him.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

12

True penance consists in regretting without ceasing the faults of the
past, and in firmly resolving to never again commit that which is so
deplorable.--ST. BERNARD.

[Illustration: The Sacred Heart of Mary.]

13

We are not raised the first day to the summit of perfection. It is by
climbing, not by flying, that we arrive there.--ST. BERNARD.

14

What we do for ourselves during life is more certain than all the good
we expect others to do for us after death.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

15

Idleness begets a discontented life. It develops self-love, which is the
cause of all our misery, and renders us unworthy to receive the favors
of divine love.--ST. IGNATIUS.

16

Have death always before your eyes as a salutary means of returning to
God.--ST. BERNARD.

17

If the devil tempts me by the thought of divine justice, I think of
God's mercy; if he tries to fill me with presumption by the thought of
His mercy, I think of His justice.--ST. IGNATIUS.

18

In time of temptation continue the good thou hast begun before
temptation.--ST. VINCENT FERRER.

19

In the eyes of the sovereign Judge the merit of our actions depends on
the motives which prompted them.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

20

The benefits to be derived from spiritual reading do not merely consist
in impressing on the memory the precepts set forth, but in opening the
heart to them, that they may bear fruit.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

21

As clouds obscure the sun, so bad thoughts darken and destroy the
brightness of the soul.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

22

To judge rightly of the goodness and perfection of any one's prayer, it
is sufficient to know the disposition he takes to it, and the fruits he
reaps from it.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

23

To commence many things and not to finish them is no small fault; we
must persevere in whatever we undertake with upright intention and
according to God's will.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

24

The perfect champion is he who establishes complete control over his
mind by overcoming temptations and the inclination of his nature to
sin.--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

25

If the love of God is in your heart, you will understand that to suffer
for God is a joy to which all earthly pleasures are not to be
compared.--ST. IGNATIUS.

26

The world around us is, as it were, a book written by the finger of God;
every creature is a word on the page. We should apply ourselves well to
understand the signification of the volume.--VEN. BARTHOLOMEW OF
MARTYRS.

27

A man of prayer is capable of everything. He can say with St. Paul, "I
can do all things in Him who strengthened me."--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

28

Whilst here below our actions can never be entirely free from
negligence, frailty, or defect; but we must not throw away the wheat
because of the chaff.--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

29

Strive always to preserve freedom of spirit, so that you need do nothing
with the view of pleasing the world, and that no fear of displeasing it
will have power to shake your good resolutions.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

30

Wo to us poor sinners if we had not the Divine Sacrifice to appease the
Lord!--ST. ALPHONSUS.



July

1

HOW few there are who avail themselves of the precious blood of Jesus to
purchase their salvation!--ST. IGNATIUS.

2

O Queen of heaven and earth! Thou art the gate of mercy ever open, never
closed. The universe must perish before he who invokes thee from his
heart is refused assistance.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

3

Our Faith will never be true unless it is united to that of St. Peter
and the Pontiff, his successors.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

4

Short pleasures and long sufferings are all the world can give.--VEN.
JOHN TAULER.

5

Learn to be silent sometimes for the edification of others, that you may
learn how to speak sometimes.--ST. VINCENT FERRER.

6

Gratitude for graces received is a most efficacious means of obtaining
new ones.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

7

To a useless question we should answer only by silence.--ST. VINCENT
FERRER.

8

We should not judge things by their exterior or appearance, but consider
what they are in the sight of God, and whether they be according to His
good pleasure.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

9

Preserve purity of conscience with care, and never do anything to sully
it or render it less agreeable to God.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

10

Give not thyself too much to any one. He who gives himself too freely is
generally the least acceptable.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

11

Affliction strengthens the vigor of our soul, whereas happiness weakens
it.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

12

To acquire purity of the soul, it is necessary to guard against passing
judgment on our neighbor, or useless remarks on his conduct.--ST.
CATHERINE OF SIENA.

13

Turn away the eyes of thy body and those of thy mind from seeing others,
that thou mayest be able to contemplate thyself.--ST. VINCENT FERRER.

14

The brightest ornaments in the crown of the blessed in heaven are the
sufferings which they have borne patiently on earth.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

15

We are not innocent before God if we punish that which we should pardon,
or pardon that which we should punish.--ST. BERNARD.

16

Is there any one in the world who has invoked thee, O Mary, without
having felt the benefit of thy protection, which is promised to those
who invoke thy mercy?--ST. BERNARD.

17

It is the key of obedience that opens the door of paradise. Jesus Christ
has confided that key to His vicar, the Pope, Christ on earth, whom all
are obliged to obey even unto death.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

18

It is true that God promises forgiveness if we repent, but what
assurance have we of obtaining it to-morrow?--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

19

We should offer ourselves and all we have to God, that He may dispose of
us according to His holy will, so that we may be ever ready to leave all
and embrace the afflictions that come upon us.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

20

No one has a right to mercy who can not himself show mercy.--VEN. LOUIS
DE GRANADA.

21

We should reflect on all our actions, exterior and interior, and before
we commence, examine well if we are able to finish them.--VEN. JOHN
TAULER.

22

The reason why the lukewarm run so great a risk of being lost is because
tepidity conceals from the soul the immense evil which it causes.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

23

We should learn of Jesus Christ to be meek and humble of heart, and ask
Him unceasingly for these two virtues. We ought, particularly, to avoid
the two contrary vices which would cause us to destroy with one hand
what we seek to raise with the other.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

24

The sufferings endured for God are the greatest proof of our love for
Him.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

25

It is in vain that we cut off the branches of evil, if we leave intact
the root, which continually produces new ones.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

26

How little is required to be a saint! It suffices to do in all things
the will of God.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

27

Wouldst thou know what thou art? Thou art that to which thy heart turns
the most frequently.--VEN. BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.

28

When you covet that which delights you, think not only of the sweet
moments of enjoyment, but of the long season of regret which must
follow.--ST. BERNARD.

29

They who voluntarily commit sin show a contempt for life eternal, since
they willingly risk the loss of their soul.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

30

It suffices not to perform good works; we must do them well, in
imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it is written, "He doeth all
things well."--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

31

Put not off till to-morrow what you can do today.--ST. IGNATIUS.



August

1

CHRIST Himself guides the bark of Peter. For this reason it can not
perish, although He sometimes seems to sleep.--ST. ANTONINUS.

2

Prayer teaches us the need of laying before God all our necessities, of
corresponding with His grace, of banishing vice from our heart and of
establishing virtue in it.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

3

Take this to heart: Owe no man anything. So shalt thou secure a peaceful
sleep, an easy conscience, a life without inquietude, and a death
without alarm.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

4

If you would know whether you have made a good confession, ask yourself
if you have resolved to abandon your sins.--ST. BERNARD.

5

He who does that which is displeasing to himself has discovered the
secret of pleasing God.--ST. ANSELM.

6

An ordinary action, performed through obedience and love of God, is more
meritorious than extraordinary works done on your own authority--VEN.
LOUIS DE BLOIS.

7

Vigilance is rendered necessary and indispensable, not only by the
dangers that surround us, but by the delicacy, the extreme difficulty of
the work we all have to engage in the work of our salvation.--VEN. LOUIS
DE GRANADA.

8

Among the different means that we have of pleasing God in all that we
do, one of the most efficacious is to perform each of our actions as
though it were to be the last of our life.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

9

I have to seek only the glory of God, my own sanctification, and the
salvation of my neighbor. I should therefore devote myself to these
things, if necessary, at the peril of my life.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

10

Idleness is hell's fishhook for catching souls.--ST. IGNATIUS.

11

Whoever imagines himself without defect has an excess of pride. God
alone is perfect.--ST. ANTONINUS.

12

As we take the bitterest medicine to recover or preserve the health of
the body, we should cheerfully endure sufferings, however repugnant to
nature, and consider them efficacious remedies which God employs to
purify the soul and conduct it to the perfection to which He called
it.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

13

To give up prayer because we are often distracted at it is to allow the
devil to gain his cause.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

14

Curb the desire of display, and do nothing from human respect.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

15

O Mary, vessel of purest gold, ornamented with pearls and sapphires,
filled with grace and virtue, thou art the dearest of all creatures to
the eyes of eternal Wisdom.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

16

We must be careful not to omit our prayers, confession, communion, and
other exercises of piety, even when we find no consolation in them.--ST.
VINCENT FERRER.

17

Let us leave to God and to truth the care of our justification, without
trying to excuse ourselves, and peace will truly spring up within us.--
VEN. JOHN TAULER.

18

Read good and useful books, and abstain from reading those that only
gratify curiosity.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

19

So great is the goodness of God in your regard, that when you ask
through ignorance for that which is not beneficial, He does not grant
your prayer in this matter, but gives you something better instead.--ST.
BERNARD.

20

Men can use no better arms to drive away the devil, than prayer and the
sign of the cross.--ST. TERESA.

21

He who knows well how to practise the exercise of the presence of God,
and who is faithful in following the attraction of this divine virtue,
will soon attain a very high degree of perfection.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

22

One of the most admirable effects of holy communion is to preserve the
soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise
again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine
Sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away
through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.--ST. IGNATIUS.

23

Let us remember that every act of mortification is a work for heaven.
This thought will make all suffering and weariness sweet.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

24

Correction should be given calmly and with discernment, at seasonable
times, according to the dictates of reason, and not at the impulse of
anger.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

25

There is nothing more certain, nothing more agreeable, nothing richer
than a good conscience.--VEN. BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.

26

God, to procure His glory, sometimes permits that we should be
dishonored and persecuted without reason. He wishes thereby to render us
conformable to His Son, who was calumniated and treated as a seducer, as
an ambitious man, and as one possessed.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

27

All that God gives us and all that He permits in this world have no
other end than to sanctify us in Him.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

28

If you can not mortify your body by actual penance, abstain at least
from some lawful pleasure.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

29

One whose heart is embittered can do nothing but contend and contradict,
finding something to oppose in every remark.--VEN. JULIENNE MOREL.

30

Without prayer we have neither light nor strength to advance in the way
which leads to God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

31

I have never gone out to mingle with the world without losing something
of myself.--BL. ALBERT THE GREAT.



September

1

HE who perseveres with constancy and fervor will, without fail, raise
himself to a high degree of perfection.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

2

An upright intention is the soul of our actions. It gives them life, and
makes them good.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

3

You wish to reform the world: reform yourself, otherwise your efforts
will be in vain.--ST. IGNATIUS.

4

Let all thy care be to possess thy soul in peace and tranquillity. Let
no accident be to thee a cause of ill-humor.--ST. VINCENT FERRER.

5

Humility is a fortified town; it repels all attacks. The sight of it
obliges the enemy to turn and flee.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

6

The world is deceitful and inconstant. When fortune forsakes us,
friendship takes flight.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

7

Perform all your actions in union with the pure intention and perfect
love with which Our Lord did all things for the glory of God and the
salvation of the world.--ST. MECHTILDIS.

8

An air of meekness and a modest speech are pleasing alike to God and
men.--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

9

The saints owed to their confidence in God that unalterable tranquillity
of soul, which procured their perpetual joy and peace, even in the midst
of adversities.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

10

Look not to the qualities thou mayest possess, which are wanting to
others; but look to those which others possess and which are wanting to
thee, that thou mayest acquire them.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

11

Your heart is not so narrow that the world can satisfy it entirely;
nothing but God can fill it.--ST. IGNATIUS.

12

If you wish to raise a lofty edifice of perfection, take humility for a
foundation.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

13

It ordinarily happens that God permits those who judge others, to fall
into the same or even greater faults.--ST. VINCENT FERRER.

14

Raise thy heart and thy love toward the sweet and most holy cross, which
soothes every pain!--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

15

Often read spiritual books; then, like a sheep, ruminate the food thou
hast taken, by meditation and a desire to practise the holy doctrine
found therein.--ST. ANTONINUS.

16

Love others much, but visit them seldom.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

17

God sends us trials and afflictions to exercise us in patience and teach
us sympathy with the sorrows of others.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

18

Armed with prayer, the saints sustained a glorious warfare and
vanquished all their enemies. By prayer, also, they appeased the wrath
of God, and obtained from Him all they desired.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

19

All souls in hell are there because they did not pray. All the saints
sanctified themselves by prayer.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

20

The thought of the presence of God renders us familiar with the practice
of doing in all things His holy will.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

21

If we consider the number and excellence of the virtues practised by the
saints, we must feel the inefficiency and imperfection of our actions.--
ST. VINCENT FERRER.

22

Prayer without fervor has not sufficient strength to rise to heaven.--
ST. BERNARD.

23

The path of virtue is painful to nature when left to itself; but nature,
assisted by grace, finds it easy and agreeable.--VEN. LOUIS OF GRANADA.

24

Always give the preference to actions which appear to you the most
agreeable to God, and most contrary to self-love.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

25

As the branch separated from the roots soon loses all life and verdure,
so it is with good works which are not united with charity.--ST. GREGORY
THE GREAT.

26

We should constantly thank the Lord for having granted us the gift of
the true faith, by associating us with the children of the holy Catholic
Church.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

27

We should not spare expense, fatigue, nor even our life, when there is a
question of accomplishing the holy will of God.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

28

Some are unable to fast or give alms; there are none who can not pray.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

29

We meet with contradictions everywhere. If only two persons are together
they mutually afford each other opportunities of exercising patience,
and even when one is alone there will still be a necessity for this
virtue, so true it is that our miserable life is full of crosses.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

30

We should bear our sufferings in expiation for our sins, to merit
heaven, and to please God.--ST. ALPHONSUS.



October

1

ALWAYS give good example: teach virtue by word and deed. Example is more
powerful than discourse.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

2

If thou wouldst glory, let it be in the Lord, by referring everything to
Him, and giving to Him all the honor and glory.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

3

There is nothing more holy, more eminently perfect, than resignation to
the will of God, which confirms us in an entire detachment from
ourselves, and a perfect indifference for every condition in which we
may be placed.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

4

Prayer consists not in many words, but in the fervor of desire, which
raises the soul to God by the knowledge of its own nothingness and the
divine goodness.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

5

Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains
to us.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

6

When thou feelest thyself excited, shut thy mouth and chain thy
tongue.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

7

If it was necessary that Christ should suffer and so enter by the cross
into the kingdom of His Father, no friend of God should shrink from
suffering.--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

8

We should grieve to see no account made of time, which is so precious;
to see it employed so badly, so uselessly, for it can never be
recalled.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

9

Every time that some unexpected event befalls us, be it affliction, or
be it spiritual or corporal consolation, we should endeavor to receive
it with equanimity of spirit, since all comes from the hand of God.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

10

There are some who sin through frailty, or through the force of some
violent passion. They desire to break these chains of death; if their
prayer is constant they will be heard.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

11

"Thy will be done!" This is what the saints had continually on their
lips and in their hearts.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

12

He who would be a disciple of Jesus Christ must live in sufferings; for
"The servant is not greater than the Master."--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

13

He who submits himself to God in all things is certain that whatever men
say or do against him will always turn to his advantage.--ST. VINCENT DE
PAUL.

14

If he be blind who refuses to believe in the truths of the Catholic
faith, how much blinder is he who believes, and yet lives as if he did
not believe!--ST. ALPHONSUS.

15

There is no affliction, trial, or labor difficult to endure, when we
consider the torments and sufferings which Our Lord Jesus Christ endured
for us.--ST. TERESA.

16

Outside of God nothing is durable. We exchange life for death, health
for sickness, honor for shame, riches for poverty. All things change and
pass away.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

17

If you would keep yourself pure, shun dangerous occasions. Do not trust
your own strength. In this matter we can not take too much precaution.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

18

After knowing the will of God in regard to a work which we undertake, we
should continue courageously, however difficult it may be. We should
follow it to the end with as much constancy as the obstacles we
encounter are great.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

19

In your prayers, if you would quickly and surely draw upon you the grace
of God, pray in a special manner for our Holy Church and all those
connected with it.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.

20

Prayer is our principal weapon. By it we obtain of God the victory over
our evil inclinations, and over all temptations of hell.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

21

We should never abandon, on account of the difficulties we encounter, an
enterprise undertaken with due reflection.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

22

Being all members of the same body, with the same head, who is Christ,
it is proper that we should have in common the same joys and sorrows.--
VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

23

We should be cordial and affable with the poor, and with persons in
humble circumstances. We should not treat them in a supercilious manner.
Haughtiness makes them revolt. On the contrary, when we are affable with
them, they become more docile and derive more benefit from the advice
they receive.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

24

Let not confusion for thy fault overwhelm thee with despair, as if there
were no longer a remedy.--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

25

As all our wickedness consists in turning away from our Creator, so all
our goodness consists in uniting ourselves with Him.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

26

That which we suffer in the accomplishment of a good work, merits for us
the necessary graces to insure its success.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

27

We ought to have a special devotion to those saints who excelled in
humility, particularly to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who declares that the
Lord regarded her on account of her humility.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

28

He who wishes to find Jesus should seek Him, not in the delights and
pleasures of the world, but in mortification of the senses.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

29

Let us not despise, judge, or condemn any one but ourselves; then our
cross will bloom and bear fruit.--VEN. JOHN TAULER.

30

It is rarely that we fall into error if we are humble and trust to the
wisdom of others, in preference to our own judgment.--VEN. LOUIS DE
BLOIS.

31

The best of all prayers is that in which we ask that God's holy will be
accomplished, both in ourselves and in others.--VEN. LOUIS DE BLOIS.



November

1

WE SHOULD honor God in His saints, and beseech Him to make us partakers
of the graces He poured so abundantly upon them.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

2

We may have a confident hope of our salvation when we apply ourselves to
relieve the souls in purgatory, so afflicted and so dear to God.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

3

The example of the saints is proposed to every one, so that the great
actions shown us may encourage us to undertake smaller things.--VEN.
LOUIS DE GRANADA.

4

Let us read the lives of the saints; let us consider the penances which
they performed, and blush to be so effeminate and so fearful of
mortifying our flesh.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

5

The greatest pain which the holy souls suffer in purgatory proceeds from
their desire to possess God. This suffering especially afflicts those
who in life had but a feeble desire of heaven.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

6

Death is welcome to one who has always feared God and faithfully served
Him.--ST. TERESA.

7

True humility consists in being content with all that God is pleased to
ordain for us, believing ourselves unworthy to be called His servants.--
ST. TERESA.

8

The best preparation for death is a perfect resignation to the will of
God, after the example of Jesus Christ, who, in His prayer in Gethsemani
prepared Himself with these words, "Father, not as I will, but as Thou
wilt."--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

9

The errors of others should serve to keep us from adding any of our own
to them.--ST. IGNATIUS.

10

There is more security in self-denial, mortification, and other like
virtues, than in an abundance of tears.--ST. TERESA.

11

A resolute will triumphs over everything with the help of God, which is
never wanting.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

12

If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are
calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed,
neglected, or forgotten, they consider that their due; if they are
weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

13

When we have to reply to some one who speaks harshly to us, we must
always do it with gentleness. If we are angry, it is better to keep
silence.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

14

The two principal dispositions which we should bring to holy communion
are detachment from creatures, and the desire to receive Our Lord with a
view to loving Him more in the future.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

15

In doing penance it is necessary to deprive oneself of as many lawful
pleasures as we had the misfortune to indulge in unlawful ones.--ST.
GREGORY THE GREAT.

16

In raising human nature to heaven by His ascension, Christ has given us
the hope of arriving thither ourselves.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

17

It is useless to subdue the flesh by abstinence, unless one gives up his
irregular life, and abandons vices which defile his soul.--ST. BENEDICT.

18

No prayers are so acceptable to God as those which we offer Him after
communion.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

19

It avails nothing to subdue the body, if the mind allows itself to be
controlled by anger.--ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

20

What is it that renders death terrible? Sin. We must therefore fear sin,
not death.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

21

The Blessed Virgin is of all the works of the Creator the most
excellent, and to find anything in nature more grand one must go to the
Author of nature Himself.--ST. PETER DAMIAN.

22

If we would advance in virtue, we must not neglect little things, for
they pave the way to greater.--ST. TERESA.

23

When one has fallen into some fault, what better remedy can there be
than to have immediate recourse to the Most Blessed Sacrament?--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

24

Afflictions are the most certain proofs that God can give us of His love
for us.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

25

Is it not a great cruelty for us Christians, members of the body of the
Holy Church, to attack one another?--ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

26

The Church is the pillar and ground of truth, and her infallibility
admits of no doubt.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

27

He who truly loves his neighbor and can not efficaciously assist him,
should strive at least to relieve and help him by his prayers.--ST.
TERESA.

28

We should blush for shame to show so much resentment at what is done or
said against us, knowing that so many injuries and affronts have been
offered to our Redeemer and the saints.--ST. TERESA.

29

The reason why so many souls who apply themselves to prayer are not
inflamed with God's love is, that they neglect to carefully prepare
themselves for it.--ST. TERESA.

30

It is absolutely necessary, both for our advancement and the salvation
of others, to follow always and in all things the beautiful light of
faith.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.



December

1

IF WE consider all that is imperfect and worldly in us, we shall find
ample reason for abasing ourselves before God and man, before ourselves
and our inferiors.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

2

No one should think or say anything of another which he would not wish
thought or said of himself.--ST. TERESA.

3

We should study the interests of others as our own, and be careful to
act on all occasions with uprightness and loyalty.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

4

It is God Himself who receives what we give in charity, and is it not an
incomparable happiness to give Him what belongs to Him, and what we have
received from His goodness alone?--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

5

Let your constant practice be to offer yourself to God, that He may do
with you what He pleases.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

6

It is not enough to forbid our own tongue to murmur; we must also refuse
to listen to murmurers.--VEN. LOUIS DE GRANADA.

7

We can obtain no reward without merit, and no merit without patience.--
ST. ALPHONSUS.

8

No harp sends forth such sweet harmonies as are produced in the
afflicted heart by the holy name of Mary. Let us kneel to reverence this
holy, this sublime name of Mary!--BL. HENRY SUSO.

9

The life of a true Christian should be such that he fears neither death
nor any event of his life, but endures and submits to all things with a
good heart.--ST. TERESA.

10

We should abandon ourselves entirely into the hands of God, and believe
that His providence disposes everything that He wishes or permits to
happen to us for our greater good.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

11

Regulate and direct all your actions to God, offering them to Him and
beseeching Him to grant that they be for His honor and glory.--ST.
TERESA.

[Illustration: Hail, Virgin Most Pure!]

12

Conformity to the will of God is an easy and certain means of acquiring
a great treasure of graces in this life.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

13

Do not consider what others do, or how they do it; for there are but few
who really work for their own sanctification.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

14

To-day God invites you to do good; do it therefore to-day. To-morrow you
may not have time, or God may no longer call you to do it.--ST.
ALPHONSUS.

15

To advance in the way of perfection it does not suffice to say a number
of weak prayers; our principal care should be to acquire solid
virtues.--ST. TERESA.

16

Humility is the virtue of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of His blessed Mother,
and of the greatest saints. It embraces all virtues and, where it is
sincere, introduces them into the soul.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

17

It will be a great consolation for us at the hour of death to know that
we are to be judged by Him whom we have loved above all things during
life.--ST. TERESA.

18

Humble submission and obedience to the decrees of the Sovereign Pontiffs
are good means for distinguishing the loyal from the rebellious children
of the Church.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

19

The devil attacks us at the time of prayer more frequently than at other
times. His object is to make us weary of prayer.--BL. HENRY SUSO.

20

It is an act as rare as it is precious, to transact business with many
people, without ever forgetting God or oneself.--ST. IGNATIUS.

21

God is our light. The farther the soul strays away from God, the deeper
it goes into darkness.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

22

True Christian prudence makes us submit our intellect to the maxims of
the Gospel without fear of being deceived. It teaches us to judge things
as Jesus Christ judged them, and to speak and act as He did.--ST.
VINCENT DE PAUL.

23

Remember that men change easily, and that you can not place your trust
in them; therefore attach yourself to God alone.--ST. TERESA.

24

If we secretly feel a desire to appear greater or better than others, we
must repress it at once.--ST. TERESA.

25

The King of heaven deigned to be born in a stable, because He came to
destroy pride, the cause of man's ruin.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

26

To save our souls we must live according to the maxims of the Gospel,
and not according to those of the world.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

27

Be gentle and kind with every one, and severe with yourself.--ST.
TERESA.

28

If you wish to be pleasing to God and happy here below, be in all things
united to His will.--ST. ALPHONSUS.

29

In proportion as the love of God increases in our soul, so does also the
love of suffering.--ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

30

He who keeps steadily on without pausing, will reach the end of his path
and the summit of perfection.--ST. TERESA.

31

The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power. You
have only the present wherein to do good.--ST. ALPHONSUS.



PART VII

Reasonableness of Catholic Ceremonies and Practices


"Let the children of Israel make the Phase in due time . . . according
to all the ceremonies thereof" (_Num._ ix 2, 3).


Reasonableness of Catholic Ceremonies and Practices


"The priest shall be vested with the tunic" (_Lev._ vi. 10).

"And he made, of violet and purple, scarlet and fine linen, the
vestments for Aaron to wear when he ministered in the holy places, as
the Lord commanded Moses" (_Ex._ xxxix. 1).

"In every place there is sacrifice and there is offered to My name a
clean offering" (_Malach._ i. 11).

"And another Angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden
censer: and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of
the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the
throne of God" (_Apoc._ viii. 3).



The Ceremonies of the Catholic Church

THE Catholic Church in the celebration of Mass and in the administration
of the sacraments employs certain forms and rites. These are called
ceremonies. By these ceremonies the Church wishes to appeal to the heart
as well as to the intellect, and to impress the faithful with sentiments
of faith and piety.

What is more capable of raising the heart and mind of man to God than a
priest celebrating Mass? What more inspiring than some of our sacred
music?

How beneficial and how lasting the impression formed by the ceremonies
of the Church, the following incident will show:

One of our missionaries once went to visit a tribe of Indians who had
been deprived of a priest for nearly half a century. After traveling
through the forest for some days he came near their village.

'Twas Sunday morning. Suddenly the silence was broken by a number of
voices singing in unison. He stopped to listen. To his great
astonishment he distinguished the music of a Mass, and of Catholic hymns
well known to him.

What could be more touching than this simple, savage people endeavoring
to celebrate the Lord's Day as they had been taught by the priest fifty
years before? What more elevating than those sacred songs--the _Stabat
Mater_, the _O Salutaris_, or the _Te Deum_--uttered by pious lips and
resounding through the forest primeval? What better evidence could we
have of the beneficial effects of our ceremonies in raising the heart to
God?

And yet few things connected with our holy religion have been more
frequently subjected to ridicule than her ceremonies. People scoff at
them, laugh at them, call them foolish and unreasonable. Those people do
not stop to consider that by doing so they, themselves, are acting most
unreasonably. For no reasonable person, no judge, will condemn another
without hearing both sides of the question.

These wiseacres, however, flatter themselves that they know all about
the Catholic Church and her ceremonies without hearing her side of the
case. Hence the misunderstandings and misrepresentations regarding her
that exist among well-meaning people.

If people would but learn to speak about that which they knew and
understood; if they would accord to the Catholic Church the same
treatment as to other institutions; if they would examine both sides of
the question before criticising and ridiculing her teachings and her
ceremonies; if they would but treat her with that openness, that
fairness, that candor, that honesty characteristic of the American
citizen when dealing with other questions--what a vast amount of
ignorance, of prejudice, of sin would be avoided!

We claim that ceremonies used in the worship of God are reasonable,
because they were sanctioned by God in the Old Testament and by Jesus
Christ and His apostles in the New Law.



I. Ceremonies Necessary to Divine Worship

THE angels are pure spirits. They have no body. Consequently the worship
they render God is spiritual, interior.

The heavenly bodies are not spiritual, but entirely material substances.
They render God a sort of external worship according to the words of the
prophet Daniel, "Sun and moon bless the Lord, . . . stars of heaven
bless the Lord. Praise and exalt Him forever." Man has a soul, a
spiritual substance similar to the heavenly bodies. He should,
therefore, honor God by the twofold form of worship, interior and
exterior.

"God is a spirit; and they that adore Him must adore Him in spirit and
in truth" (_John_ iv. 24).

From these words of the beloved disciple we are not to conclude that
interior worship is prescribed as the only essential, and exterior
worship condemned. True piety must manifest itself externally. Man
naturally manifests his feelings by outward signs and ceremonies.

The Catholic Church recognizes that man has a heart to be moved as well
as an intellect to be enlightened. She enlightens the intellect by her
good books, sermons, etc.; and she moves the heart by the grandeur of
her ceremonies.

If any one doubts that God considers ceremonies necessary to divine
worship, let him read the books of Leviticus and Exodus. Almost the
whole of these books treats of the rites and ceremonies used by the then
chosen people of God in their public worship.

The 26th, 27th, and 28th chapters of Exodus prescribe the form of the
tabernacle and its appurtenances, the size of the altar and the oil for
the lamps, and the holy vestments which Aaron and his sons were to wear
during the performance of the public ceremonies.

The book of Leviticus treats more particularly of the sacrifices, rites,
and ceremonies of the priests and Levites.

"And the Lord called Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of the
testimony, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say
to them: The man among you that shall offer to the Lord a sacrifice of
the cattle, that is, offering victims of oxen and sheep, if his offering
be a holocaust and of the herd, he shall offer a male, without blemish,
at the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, to make the Lord
favorable to him. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the victim,
and it shall be acceptable and help to his expiation" (_Lev._ i. 1_ et
seq._).

After enumerating all the sacrifices and ceremonies, the sacred writer
closes the book of Leviticus with the words, "These are the precepts
which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in Mount
Sinai," thus showing that He considers ceremonies necessary to divine
worship.

The religion instituted by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is more
spiritual than that of the Old Law. Nevertheless He did not discard
ceremonies. In the Garden of Gethsemani He fell upon His knees in humble
supplication. He went in procession to Jerusalem preceded by a great
multitude strewing palm-branches on the road and singing, "Hosanna to
the Son of David." Before He cured the deaf and dumb man, He put His
fingers into his ears and touched his tongue with spittle, and looking
up to heaven He groaned and said, "Ephpheta," which is, "Be thou
opened."

At the Last Supper He invoked a blessing on the bread and wine, and
after the supper He chanted a hymn with His disciples--ceremonies
similar to those used in the Mass. When He imparted the Holy Ghost to
His apostles, He breathed upon them. In a similar way they and their
successors communicated the Holy Ghost upon others by breathing upon
them, laying their hands upon them and praying over them, when
conferring the sacrament of Holy Orders.

St. James directs that if any man is sick he shall call in a priest of
the Church, who shall anoint him with oil, as is done in the sacrament
of Extreme Unction.

We must, therefore, admit that ceremonies used in the worship of God are
reasonable, since they are sanctioned by God in the Old Law and by Jesus
Christ and His apostles in the New Testament.

All these acts of Our Saviour--the prostration in the Garden, the
procession to Jerusalem, the touching of the deaf man's ears, the
chanting of the hymn, the laying on of hands, the anointing of the
sick--are but so many ceremonies serving as models of the ceremonies
used by the Catholic Church in her public worship and in the
administration of her sacraments.



II. Vestments Used by the Priest at Mass

BEFORE entering upon an explanation of the ceremonies of the Mass, which
is our principal act of public worship, let us examine the meaning of
the vestments worn by the priest during the celebration of that august
sacrifice. First, it is well to remember that these vestments come down
to us from the time of the apostles, and have the weight of antiquity
hanging upon them. Hence, if they did not demand our respect as
memorials of Christ, they are at least deserving of attention on account
of their antiquity.

The 28th chapter of Exodus tells us the sacred vestments God wished the
priests of the Old Law to wear during the public worship. "And these
shall be the vestments which they shall make: a rational and an ephod, a
tunic and a straight linen garment, a mitre and a girdle. They shall
make the holy vestments for thy brother Aaron and his sons, that they
may do the office of priesthood unto Me." As God in the Old Law
prescribed vestments for the priests, so the Church, guided by God,
prescribes sacred vestments to be worn by the priest of the New Law
while engaged in the sacred mysteries.

The long black garment which the priest wears around the church in all
the sacred functions is called a _cassock_. Kings and officers of the
army wear a special uniform when performing their public duties; priests
wear _cassocks_ and other special garments when performing their public
duties. These vestments are used to excite the minds of the faithful to
the contemplation of heavenly things.

Who, for example, can behold the cross on the chasuble the priest wears
without thinking of all Christ suffered for us on the cross? As the
priest in celebrating Mass represents the person of Christ, and the Mass
represents His passion, the vestments he wears represent those with
which Christ was clothed at the time of the passion.

The first vestment the priest puts on over the _cassock_ is called an
_amice_. It is made of linen, and reminds us of the veil that covered
the face of Jesus when His persecutors struck Him. (_Luke_ xxii. 64.)

When the priest puts on the _amice_ he first places it on his head, thus
recalling to mind the crown of thorns that pierced the head of Jesus.

The _alb_ (from _albus_, white) represents the white garment with which
Christ was vested by Herod when sent back to Pilate dressed as a fool.
(_Luke_ xxii. 11.)

White is emblematic of purity. Hence the wearer is reminded of that
purity of mind and body which he should have who serves the altar of the
Most High.

The _cincture_, or girdle, as well as the _maniple_ and _stole_,
represent the cords and bands with which Christ was bound in the
different stages of His passion. St. Matthew says in the 22d verse of
the 27th chapter, "They brought Him _bound_ and delivered Him to Pontius
Pilate, the governor."

The _chasuble_, or outer vestment the priest wears, represents the
purple garment with which Christ was clothed as a mock king. "And they
clothed Him with purple" (_Mark_ xv. 17). Upon the back of the
_chasuble_ you see a cross. This represents the cross Christ bore on His
sacred shoulders to Calvary, and upon which He was crucified.

In these vestments, that is, in the _chasuble_, _stole_, and _maniple_,
the Church uses five colors--white, red, purple, green, and black.

White, which is symbolic of purity and innocence, is used on the feasts
of Our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, of the angels, and of the saints
that were not martyrs.

Red, the symbol of fortitude, is used on the feast of Pentecost, of the
Exaltation of the Cross, of the apostles and martyrs.

Purple, or violet (the color of penance), is used in Advent and Lent.

Green (the color of hope) is used on all Sundays when no special feast
is celebrated, except the Sundays of Lent and Advent.

Black (the color of mourning) is used on Good Friday and during the
celebration of Mass for the dead.

Thus we see that each vestment and color used has a special
significance.

All are calculated to attract our attention, elevate our minds to God,
and fill us with a desire to do something for Him Who has done so much
for us--to at least keep His commandments.

One word about the use of Latin in the celebration of Mass will perhaps
be appropriate here. History tells us that when Christianity was
established the Roman Empire had control of nearly all of Europe, Asia,
and Africa. Wherever the Roman flag floated to the breeze the Latin
language was spoken, just as English is spoken where the sovereign of
Great Britain or the President of the United States holds sway. The
Church naturally adopted in her liturgy the language spoken by the
people.

In the beginning of the fifth century vast hordes of barbarians began to
come from the north of Europe and spread desolation over the fairest
portions of the Roman Empire. Soon the Empire was broken up. New
kingdoms began to be formed, new languages to be developed. The Latin
finally ceased to be a living language. The Church retained it in her
liturgy, 1st, because, as her doctrine and liturgy are unchangeable, she
wishes the language of her doctrine and liturgy to be unchangeable; 2d,
because, as the Church is spread over the whole world, embracing in her
fold children of all climes, nations, and languages--as she is
universal--she must have a universal language; 3d, because the Catholic
clergy are in constant communication with the Holy See, and this
requires a uniform language.

Besides, when a priest says Mass the people, by their English Missals or
other prayer-books, are able to follow him from beginning to end.

The Mass is a sacrifice. The prayers of the Mass are offered to God.
Hence when the priest says Mass he is speaking not to the people, but to
God, to whom all languages are equally intelligible. Are not these
sufficient reasons for the use of the Latin language? Are not good
Catholics more attentive, more devout at Mass than others at their
prayer-meetings? The good Catholic knows that the Mass represents the
passion and death of Christ; that the passion and death of Christ are
the sinner's only refuge, the just man's only hope; that it can not but
be good and wholesome to turn our minds and our hearts toward this
subject; that frequent meditation on Christ's passion will move us to
avoid sin, which caused it; and that nothing can more efficaciously
cause us to think of Christ's passion and death than the holy sacrifice
of the Mass.



III. Ceremonies of the Mass

THE Mass is the great sacrifice of the New Law. It was foreshadowed by
all the sacrifices ordained by God in the Old Law. They were shadows; it
is the substance.

We learn from Genesis of the fall of man. Universal tradition, as well
as Scripture, informs us that the creature formerly became guilty in the
eyes of the Creator. All nations, all peoples, endeavored to appease the
anger of Heaven and believed that a victim was necessary for this
purpose. Hence sacrifices have been offered from the beginning of the
human race.

Cain and Abel offered victims; the one the first fruits of the earth,
the other the firstlings of the flock. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and
Melchisedech worshiped this way, and their worship was acceptable to
God. Everywhere, even among the heathen, you find the altar, the priest,
and the sacrifice. As we learn from Leviticus and other portions of the
Old Testament, God Himself carefully prescribed the quality, manner,
number, and place of the various sacrifices which He was pleased to
accept from the hands of His chosen people. From this fact that
sacrifice has ever formed a prominent feature in the worship of all
people, we conclude that it belongs to the essentials of religion, and
that Christians to-day should have an altar of which, as St. Paul says,
"they can not eat who serve the tabernacle."

The sacrifices of the Old Law were provisional and prefigured the great
sacrifice of the New Law foretold by the prophet Malachy. This glorious
prophecy of Malachy, "From the rising of the sun even to the going down
My name is great among the Gentiles; in every place there is sacrifice,
and there is offered to My name a clean offering; for My name is great
among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of Hosts"--this glorious prophecy is
fulfilled only by the great sacrifice of the Catholic Church. We alone
can say with St. Paul, "_Habemus altare_" "We have an altar" and a true
sacrifice. Of all the blessings bequeathed by Jesus Christ to His
Church, there is none better, none greater, none holier than the holy
sacrifice of the Mass. It is the sacrifice of His own body and blood
offered to the heavenly Father under the appearances of bread and wine.
It was instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper, when He took bread and
wine in His sacred hands and blessed them, saying, "This is My body. . .
. This is My blood. . . . Do this for a remembrance of Me."

He instituted the holy Mass in order to represent and continue the
sacrifice of Calvary. St Paul says, in his first epistle to the
Corinthians, xi. 26, that it was instituted to show the death of the
Lord until His second coming. After the consecration, which the priest
effects by saying over the bread and wine the same words which Jesus
Christ said at the Last Supper, there is no longer bread and wine, but
the true and living Jesus Christ, God and man, hidden under the
appearances of bread and wine, just as in the manger He was hidden under
the appearance of an infant. The priest offers Him up to His heavenly
Father in the name of the Catholic Church, or rather He offers Himself
up, and we can confidently hope that we will obtain more through prayers
at the holy Mass than through our own unaided prayers. In order to have
part in the holy sacrifice of the Mass a person should follow the
actions and prayers of the priest, especially at the offertory,
consecration, and communion; meditate on the passion of Christ; say the
rosary or the prayers in the prayer-books, at the same time uniting his
intention with the intention of the sacrificing priest.

The sacrifice of the Mass is a true sacrifice, because it is the
oblation of a victim to God to represent by its destruction or change
His supreme dominion over life and death. It is offered to satisfy our
four great debts and wants in adoration to God on account of His
omnipotence, in thanksgiving for His benefits, in atonement for our
sins, and to obtain His assistance in difficulties and temptations. The
holy Mass obtains for us all graces and blessings, temporal and
spiritual.

Since the Mass is the highest act of public worship, it is proper that
it should be celebrated with fitting sacred ceremonies. Every ceremony
which the Church prescribes has its deep significance. All tend to bring
before our minds the mystery of the passion.

The _altar_, which is reached by means of steps, represents Mount
Calvary, upon which Christ died with His arms extended as if to enfold
all men as brothers. The _crucifix_ recalls Jesus dying on the cross.
The _lighted candles_ are symbols of the faith and devotion which ought
to burn in the hearts of the faithful when present at Mass. The _sacred
vestments_, embroidered with the sign of the cross, indicate that the
priest is the minister and visible representative of Jesus Christ, the
invisible priest. The sign of the cross made many times by the priest
over the host and chalice reminds us that we offer to God the divine
Victim of the cross, and that we ought to unite ourselves to Him by
loving the cross, by patience and Christian penance. We genuflect
because Our Lord is really present. If we know He is not present on the
altar we bow in honor of the place where He sometimes reposes. _Holy
water_ is used to signify that our souls must be pure if we wish God to
answer our prayers. _Incense_ is used at solemn High Mass and at
Vespers. It is symbolic of prayer, agreeably to the words of the 140th
psalm: "Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight." And
St. John, describing the heavenly Jerusalem in the 8th chapter of the
Apocalypse, says: "Another angel came, and stood before the altar,
having a golden censer; and there was given him much incense, that he
should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which is
before the throne of God."

The sacrifice of the Mass, then, is the sacrifice of Calvary, since the
same Victim is offered up and by the same High Priest, Jesus Christ. The
Emanuel, the God with us, the thought of whom made the prophets tremble
centuries before He came, that divine Teacher who loves to dwell with
the children of men, the Catholic Church beholds dwelling in the midst
of us on our altars. If you have visited some of our ancient cathedrals,
or any of our magnificent modern churches, and admired the varied
ornaments or artistic wonders therein; if you have ever been present at
our religious solemnities and witnessed the gravity of our ceremonies,
the beauty of the chants, the piety of the adorers; if you have
reflected upon the spirit of sacrifice and self-forgetfulness so common
to Catholicism and so unknown elsewhere--that spirit which moves
thousands of the young of both sexes to forsake the world and devote
themselves to the care of the sick, the education of the young, and to
other works of charity--if you have witnessed these things and reflected
upon them, you can not but have asked yourself why are such gorgeous
temples built; why such magnificent works of art as displayed on the
altar, the sacred vessels, paintings, and other things in the church?
What prompts such sacrifices? And the answer will be, because the church
is the edifice where God in the holy Mass daily renews the prodigies of
His mercy, and it can never be worthy of His love; because God, who
sacrificed Himself for us, is ever with us in the Blessed Sacrament of
the altar, to soothe our cares and answer our prayers. Yes, the grand
feature of the Catholic Church is the holy altar. On the altar is the
tabernacle for the residence of the Lord of Hosts.

There our "hidden God," Jesus in the Eucharist, dwells night and day in
the midst of His people, saying to them with words of love, "Come to me
all you that are burdened and heavy laden, and I will refresh you."

The Mass, independent of its sacrificial aspect, consists of the best
prayers ever uttered. The priest begins by making the sign of the cross,
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This
sign is an epitome of the Christian's belief in the unity and trinity of
God and in the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ. After making the
sign of the cross he repeats the 42d psalm, "Judge me, O God," and then
makes an humble confession of his sins to God. He ascends the altar and
nine times asks God to have mercy on him, _Kyrie Eleison_; then follows
the beautiful hymn the shepherds heard the angels singing at the birth
of the Saviour, _Gloria in Excelsis Deo_.

The prayer of the feast, the epistle and gospel follow, and then the
sermon in the vernacular is usually preached. After the Nicene Creed,
_Credo in Unum Deum_, the priest makes the offering of bread and wine.
He then washes the tips of his fingers, saying: "I will wash my hands
among the innocent," by which he is reminded to be free from stain to
offer worthily the Holy Sacrifice.

The preface, canon, and solemn words of consecration follow, during
which the bread and wine are changed by the power of Jesus Christ into
His body and blood. In a short time he comes to the best of all prayers,
the prayer taught us by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Our
Father, _Pater Noster_. The _Agnus Dei_ follows, then the communion,
when he partakes of the consecrated bread and wine, and afterward gives
holy communion to the faithful. He then continues the Mass, gives his
blessing, and finishes the Mass with the beginning of the Gospel of St.
John. Hence you see that, besides the great sacrifice which makes it an
act worthy of God, the Mass consists of the best of all prayers.

From what has been said it is evident that ceremonies in the worship of
God are reasonable, being sanctioned by God in the Old and New
Testaments; that the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest of all
acts of worship; and that the Catholic Church in using ceremonies is but
following the example of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His
apostles. St. John in the Book of Revelations tells us that before the
throne of God angels stand with golden censers, multitudes from all
nations follow and adore the Lamb, while virgins sing the new song which
they alone can utter. So, too, before the throne of God on earth we
swing our censers, multitudes from all nations prostrate themselves in
adoration, the sweet incense of their praise and prayer ascends to the
throne of grace, their minds are enlightened by God's word, while their
hearts are raised to God by the grandeur of our ceremonies.

The Son of God, after having taught us by His word, shown us by His
example, and merited for us by His grace the virtues necessary for
salvation, wished to institute the holy sacrifice of the Mass, that He
might come Himself in the Holy Sacrament and imprint them upon us. Of
these virtues, the most important are _humility_, _purity_, _obedience_,
_patience_, and _charity_.

Let us always ask God when present at the holy Mass for a lively faith
in His _Real Presence_, an ardent love for Him in the Blessed Sacrament
of the altar, and the grace to imitate His humility, His purity, His
meekness, obedience, patience, and charity _here_, and enjoy His
presence forever _hereafter_.

The following beautiful words of Cardinal Newman show that the Mass is
something more than a mere form of words, and that ceremonies are
reasonable as well as necessary in its celebration:

"To me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so
overcoming, as the Mass said as it is among us. I could attend Masses
forever and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words--it is a great
action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is not the
invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the
Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before Whom
angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the
scope and the interpretation of every part of the solemnity. Words are
necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the
throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of
consecration, of sacrifice.

"They hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go,
for they are awful words of sacrifice; they are a work too great to
delay upon, as when it was said in the beginning, 'What thou doest, do
quickly.' Quickly they pass, for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He
passed along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first
one and then another; quickly they pass, because as the lightning which
shineth from one part of the heaven unto the other, so is the coming of
the Son of Man.

"Quickly they pass, for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord
came down in the cloud, calling on the name of the Lord as He passed by,
'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and generous, long suffering, and
abundant in goodness and truth.' And as Moses on the mountain, so we,
too, make haste and bow our heads to the earth and adore.

"So we, all around, each in his place, look for the great Advent
'waiting for the moving of the water,' each in his place, with his own
heart, with his own wants, with his own prayers, separate but
concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in
its consummation; not painfully, and hopelessly following a hard form of
prayer from beginning to end, but like a concert of musical instruments
each different, but concurring in sweet harmony, we take our post with
God's priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little
children there, and old men, and simple laborers, and students in
seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their
thanksgiving, there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent
sinners; but out of these many minds rises one Eucharistic hymn, and the
great action is the measure and the scope of it."



The Practices of the Catholic Church

I. Vespers and Benediction

"Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day" (_Ex_. xx. 8).

THIS commandment teaches us that God wills the whole Sunday to be spent
in His honor. We should sanctify it by good works, and by assisting at
divine service. On that day servile works and improper amusements are
forbidden. A salutary rest and moderate recreation are allowed, but
never at the expense of duties of obligation. After hearing Mass on
Sunday morning, which is obligatory on all Catholics, there is no better
way of sanctifying the remainder of the day than by attending Vespers
and Benediction.

The Vesper service is a small portion of the divine office, which
priests must recite daily, for God's honor and glory. It consists of
five of the psalms of David (Dixit Dominus, Ps. 109; Confitebor tibi,
Ps. 110; Beatus vir, Ps. 111; Laudate pueri, Ps. 112; In exitu Israel,
Ps. 113, or Laudate Dominum, Ps. 116), a hymn, the Magnificat, or
canticle of the Virgin Mary, from the first chapter of St. Luke, and
some prayers. Is it not reasonable thus to praise God in psalms and
hymns and spiritual canticles?

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament usually follows Vespers. The
Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is really present in the
Blessed Sacrament. The reasonableness of this teaching will be seen in
the following article.

Since Jesus Christ is present, He ought to be adored by the faithful.
Faithful adorers frequently visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament and
worship Him in "spirit and in truth." Hence, the Blessed Sacrament is
kept in the Tabernacle on our altars to soothe our cares, answer our
prayers, and be ready at any time to be administered to the sick and
dying.

Besides our private devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Church has
appointed solemn rites to show publicly our faith and devotion toward
the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. These rites are processions on Corpus
Christi, the Forty Hours' devotion, and, especially, the rite called
Benediction.

When it is time for Benediction many candles are lighted on the altar.
This is done to show our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. If
He were not present, this display would be unreasonable, unnecessary,
and meaningless. But the candles we light, the incense we burn, the
flowers and other ornaments we use to decorate the altar, and all that
we do for Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can not be too much.

Everything being prepared, the priest takes the Blessed Sacrament out of
the tabernacle, and, placing it in the ostensorium, exposes it on an
elevated throne, while the choir sings in honor of the Blessed Sacrament
the hymn "O Salutaris Hostia," "O Saving Host." The priest incenses Our
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, as, according to the Apocalypse, angels
do in heaven. Another hymn or a litany follows; after which is sung the
"Tantum Ergo," "Down in adoration falling," followed by a prayer by the
priest. Then in the midst of a solemn silence (except that a small bell
is tinkled) the priest takes the monstrance, or ostensorium, containing
the Blessed Sacrament, and, turning toward the people, makes with it the
sign of the cross over them, thus blessing the faithful with the Most
Holy One.

This is certainly a most touching and impressive rite even to those who
do not believe in it. Cardinal Newman calls it one of the most
beautiful, natural, and soothing practices of the Church. No one will
deny that this practice, or rite of the Church, is reasonable, if Jesus
Christ is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. That He is really
present is our belief. This being our belief, is it not reasonable to
light candles as a sign of spiritual joy, and thus to show our faith in
Him who is the light of the world? He gave us all that we have. He gave
us the beautiful world we dwell upon with its variety of scenery--with
its snow-capped mountains, its green-carpeted hills, and its blooming
valleys. He has no need of our gifts; for the earth is His "and the
fulness thereof." Yet as He was pleased to receive the gifts of the Magi
and the precious ointment of Mary, so, too, is He pleased to receive our
offerings. And is anything too good, too beautiful, too precious, for
Him? Can the altar on which He dwells be too richly adorned? Are the
pure candles we light, the sweet incense we burn, the choice flowers and
costly ornaments with which we decorate the altar, too much to use in
honor of Our Lord and our God? Yes, the Catholic practice or rite of
Benediction is dictated by right reason. Everything connected with
Benediction is reasonable, beautiful, and suggestive of the _noblest
sentiments of the heart of man_.

[Illustration: Mary, Star of the Sea.]



II. Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and
broke, and gave to His disciples, and said: take ye and eat. This is My
body" (_Matt_. xxvi. 26).

PERHAPS no mystery of revelation has been so universally attacked as the
Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

By the Real Presence is meant that Jesus Christ is really and truly,
body and blood, soul and divinity, present in the Blessed Sacrament,
under the form and appearance of bread and wine.

This teaching of the Church is in perfect agreement with Scripture,
tradition, and reason.

If the reader will take up his Bible and read carefully the 6th chapter
of the Gospel according to St. John; the 26th chapter, 26th, 27th, and
28th verses of St. Matthew; the 14th chapter, 22d verse of St. Mark; the
First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 10th chapter, 16th verse,
as well as other portions of the New Testament, he will certainly see
that the Catholic teaching and practice concerning the Real Presence of
Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament are founded on Scripture. In this
6th chapter of St. John, we learn that before instituting the Blessed
Sacrament Our Saviour wished to announce or promise it to His disciples
in order to prepare them for it. He first gave them a figure of the
Blessed Sacrament in the multiplication of the five loaves of bread by
which He fed five thousand persons. After this miracle He told them that
He would give them bread superior to that which they had eaten, and that
this bread was His own flesh and blood. "The bread that I will give is
My flesh, for the life of the world." It is almost impossible to
understand these words of Our Lord in any other than a literal sense. He
was so understood by those who heard Him. "How can this man give us his
flesh to eat?" they said, and many withdrew from Him. It is but
reasonable to believe that if He did not wish to be understood in a
literal sense He would have told His hearers so, rather than have them
leave Him.

This promise of a doctrine so difficult to understand was fulfilled at
the Last Supper.

Then Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to His
disciples, and said: "Take ye and eat. This is My body." And taking the
chalice He gave thanks; and gave to them, saying: "Drink ye all of this.
For this is My blood of the new testament which shall be shed for many
for the remission of sins."

"Do this for a commemoration of Me."

These are substantially the words of SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and of the
apostle Paul.

In the 10th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul
says: "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the
communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it
not the partaking of the body of the Lord?"

Any one of these texts abundantly proves the Catholic doctrine of the
Real Presence, and shows the reasonableness of the Catholic practice
regarding the Blessed Sacrament. Reflect upon them. Reflect especially
upon the words of Christ, "This is My body." Think what an insult it is
to the divinity and veracity of Christ to doubt His word, because you
can not understand how what appears to be bread is in reality His own
body and blood.

If you remember that Jesus Christ is God, that He had the power to make
this change, that He could confer this power on others, as the apostles
and their successors, that He did so when He said: "Do this in
commemoration of Me," and that this change at the present time as at the
time of the apostles is made by His almighty power, you will have no
difficulty in believing it.

The belief and practice of the Catholic Church of to-day regarding the
Blessed Sacrament is the same as it was in every age since the time of
Christ. The history of every century tells us this. The Fathers,
Doctors, and Church writers of every age say the same. If it were not
so, some one ought to be able to find the time when the doctrine was
invented, and the person who invented it. But, since no one has been
able to find the inventor of this doctrine and practice, the time or
place of the invention, we rightly conclude that they came down to us
from the time of Christ, and had Christ for an author. (Berengarius, in
the eleventh century, was the first who denied this doctrine.) If, then,
Christ is the author, is not the Catholic practice reasonable?

But I don't understand the Catholic doctrine regarding the Blessed
Sacrament, some one may say; therefore it is contrary to reason. Dear
reader, did the consummate puerility, silliness, foolishness of such an
objection ever present itself to you? Do you understand the Blessed
Trinity? And is it contrary to reason? No. Although above reason, it is
not against it. Do you understand how Jesus Christ is both God and man?
Do you understand any mystery? No. If you did it would no longer be a
mystery. For a mystery is something above human intelligence. It is
something incomprehensible to us, for it pertains to the divine
intelligence. And as well might you attempt to pour the mighty ocean
into a small hole on the shore, as attempt to hold with your limited
capacity the illimitable ocean of divinity. The proper office of reason
is to examine the evidences of revelation, and see if God has spoken.
But it constitutes no part of its office to dispute the word of God.
That God has spoken is evident from the fulfilment of many prophecies
and the authority of many miracles. That these prophecies have been
fulfilled, and these miracles performed, is as certain as is any
historical fact. Reason teaches us this. It teaches us, too, that no one
but God (or by the power of God) can prophesy; no one but God can
derogate from the order of nature, by the performance of a miracle.
Reason teaches us, then, that God has spoken. When we know God speaks,
genuine reason will dictate that we humbly believe His holy word. Thus
will true reason ever act. And when God says, "This is My body," it will
not hesitate to believe.

We all believe that at the baptism of Our Saviour by St. John Baptist,
the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. Now, is it not as
reasonable for Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity,
to appear in the form of bread as it was for the Holy Ghost, the third
person of the Trinity, to appear in the form of a dove? We must
therefore admit that the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus
Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is reasonable; that it has been believed
by the Christian Church of every age from the time of Christ until the
present time; and that it is taught by SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John, and by St. Paul in clear and unmistakable terms.

Now, dear reader, since Jesus Christ is really present, is not the
Catholic practice regarding the Blessed Sacrament reasonable? Should we
not honor Our Lord and Our God? Should we not adore Him as really
present in the Blessed Sacrament? Should we not frequently receive Him
with pure and contrite hearts? Should we not, when we enter the church,
genuflect, bend the knee in His honor? Should we not show Him every mark
of respect and devotion? Can we do too much in His honor? Let us, then,
adore Our Lord and Our God, for we are His people and the sheep of His
pasture. Let us return love for love to the great King of suffering, who
was born for love of us, who died for love of us, and who, for love of
us, remains ever with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us ask that our
faith and love may persevere to the end; that loving and adoring Him
here in the Blessed Sacrament of His love, _we may be united with Him
forever hereafter_.



III. Holy Communion

"He that eateth this bread shall live forever" (_John_ vi. 59)

HOLY communion is receiving the body and blood of Christ in the Blessed
Sacrament. The clergy when saying Mass, except on Good Friday, receive
under both forms. When not celebrating Mass, they receive only the one
kind, the consecrated bread. In the early ages of the Church communion
was given to the people under both forms.

The faithful, however, could, if they wished, dispense with one form and
receive under the form of bread. This shows that the Church always
taught that Christ is entire both under the form of bread and under the
form of wine. At one time the faithful received under both forms; now
they receive under one form, the form of bread. It is merely a matter of
discipline, which the Church could change, if circumstances demanded it.
Whether you receive under one form or both, you receive whole and entire
the body and blood of Christ. This is clearly taught by St. Paul in the
11th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says:
"Whosoever shall eat this bread, _or_ drink the chalice of the Lord
_unworthily_, shall be guilty of the body _and_ blood of the Lord."

How could a person eating that bread unworthily be guilty of the body
and blood of the Lord, unless the body and blood of the Lord were there
under the form of bread?

Since Jesus Christ is whole and entire under the form of bread, as well
as under the form of wine, the practice of the Catholic Church of giving
holy communion under one form is reasonable.

Good Christians frequently receive their Lord and their God in holy
communion. He inspires them with feelings of love, gratitude, and
adoration. He reminds them to think frequently of their Creator--to give
Him their first thoughts in the morning and their last in the evening.
He gives them strength to restrain their guilty passions.

Holy Communion is the seed of immortality. "He that eateth this bread
_shall live forever_."



IV. Confirmation

"Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost"
(_Acts_ viii. 17).

BEFORE the coming of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost, the apostles were weak
and vacillating. One of them betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of
silver; another--the Prince of the Apostles, he whom Christ afterward
made head of His Church--thrice denied his Lord and his God.

After the descent of the Holy Ghost, what a change! What a wonderful
transformation! They who before had been as timid as the lamb, as
changeable as the chameleon's hue, became now as bold as the lion, as
firm as Gibraltar's rock.

In a similar way does Confirmation act on the receiver. Confirmation is
that sacrament in which, by the imposition of the bishop's hands, we
receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and
soldiers of Jesus Christ. It is the second in the order of the
sacraments, because the early Christians were accustomed to receive it
immediately after Baptism. In the 8th chapter of the Acts of the
Apostles we find the first recorded instance of the administering of
Confirmation by the apostles. Here we are told that St. Peter and St.
John confirmed the Samaritans who had been baptized by Philip. "They
prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. . . . Then they
laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost." In a
similar way does the bishop, the successor of the apostles, administer
Confirmation at the present day. First, he turns toward those to be
confirmed and says: "May the Holy Ghost come down upon you and the power
of the Most High keep you from sin." Then extending his hands over them
he prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost.

In the 6th verse of the 19th chapter of the Acts the sacred writer,
after telling about the baptism of the disciples at Ephesus, adds: "And
when Paul had laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them." In
the 6th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews St. Paul mentions
Confirmation, the laying on of hands, with Baptism and Penance, as among
the principal practices of Christianity.

The sacrament of Confirmation has been administered to the faithful of
every age from the time of Christ until the present. We learn this from
the Fathers and writers of the various ages. Among them St. Clement
says: "All must make haste to be confirmed by a bishop, and receive the
sevenfold grace of the Holy Ghost." The practice of administering
Confirmation is founded on tradition, then, as well as on Scripture. Is
it not reasonable to believe and practise that which the Christian
Church of every age believed and practised?

The apostles of Christ administered Confirmation by praying that the
faithful may receive the Holy Ghost and laying their hands upon them.
The successors of the apostles do likewise. Who will say that this
practice is not reasonable? Baptism gives spiritual life; Confirmation
increases it. Baptism makes persons children of God; Confirmation
strengthens them, causes them to grow, and makes them strong men and
soldiers of Jesus Christ.

All the morality of life is implied in the sacrament of Confirmation. It
strengthens man, it gives him courage to confess God; and as sin is the
denial of God, whoever has courage to confess _God will practise
virtue_.



V. Honoring the Blessed Virgin

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God . . . to a Virgin . . . and the
Virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in said to her: Hail,
full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women"
(_Luke_ i. 26, 28).

"From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (_Luke_ i. 48).

THESE words from St. Luke show that the Catholic practice of honoring
Mary is scriptural. We alone fulfil the prophecy, "From henceforth all
generations shall call me blessed." If Mary was so pure that the
archangel Gabriel could salute her as full of grace; if she was so
perfect as to be honored, respected, and loved by her divine Son, Jesus
Christ, is it not reasonable that we, too, should honor, respect, and
love her?

How we honor the sword of Washington! What a cluster of tender
recollections clings to the staff of Franklin! Is there a loyal American
citizen who does not think with feelings of love and respect of the
mother of our Revolutionary hero, or who would not doff his hat at the
unveiling of a statue of the sage of Monticello? And why? Is it on
account of their intrinsic merit? No. We honor them principally on
account of the relation they bear to those three brightest stars in the
American firmament. So it is with the honor we show to Mary, the Mother
of God. Although she was an example of all virtues, we honor her
principally because it was through her instrumentality He was born by
whom we achieved not civil liberty, but the liberty of the children of
God. She did not draw lightning from heaven, nor the scepter from kings;
but she brought forth Him who is the Lord of heaven and King of kings.

The principal reason, then, why we honor Mary is because she is the
Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This honor consists of
love, respect, and veneration. We love her with an interior love, a love
proceeding from the heart; nor should we fear to let this love appear
outwardly. When others revile her, speak disrespectfully of her, we
should shrink from the very idea of acting similarly toward her. We
should then remember that she is the Mother of Our Saviour, and should
ask ourselves how we would have acted toward her had we lived in her day
and been witnesses of the honor shown her by her divine Son. By so doing
we will show her that love which is her due. Our respect, our veneration
for her, should be affectionate and deep. When we remember that it was
her hand that first lifted from the ground and received in maternal
embrace the sacred body of Jesus, just born and just dead; when we think
how respectfully Elizabeth greeted her; when we recall to mind the
reverent salutation of the archangel; when we consider the honor shown
her by the apostles and by her own divine Son, can we help feeling a
deep love, respect, and veneration for her? You see, dear reader,
honoring Mary is scriptural and reasonable.

But if we should honor her principally because she is the Mother of God,
we should also honor her because she is the peerless glory, the
matchless jewel of her sex. She constitutes a sole exception to a
general law. Sin never contaminated, never touched her fair soul. This
is what we mean by the Immaculate Conception.

God created the first man free from sin. But he transgressed the law of
God, and, by his transgression, all his posterity are born in sin and
conceived in iniquity. For St. Paul says: "By one man sin entered into
this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom
all have sinned" (_Rom._ v. 12). But God promised that the woman, Mary,
should crush the head of the serpent. Now if she was to crush the head
of the serpent, it was fit that she should never be under his power,
that she should be pure, free from sin of every kind.

There have been exceptions to all general laws. At the time of the
deluge Noe was saved. Lot was saved from the destruction of Sodom. In
like manner, the Blessed Virgin is an exception to the general law that
all sinned in Adam. Isaias and St. John Baptist were sanctified in their
mother's womb. Was it any more difficult for God to sanctify Mary at the
moment of her conception, at the moment of the union of her soul with
her body? God chose His own Mother. If He had the power to choose her
did He not also have the power to preserve her from original sin? And
does it not appear to you most fitting that God, the Holy Ghost, should
preserve His spouse, and God, the Son, His Mother, from sin of every
kind?

"Hail, full of grace," the angel said to her. If she was full of grace,
no vacancy was left for sin. Grace denotes the absence of sin, as light
denotes the absence of darkness. Hence if Mary was full of grace, she
was never subject to sin; she was always pure and her conception
immaculate. It is but natural, then, that we arrive at the belief in the
Immaculate Conception, at the belief in the sinlessness, the
spotlessness of the Blessed Virgin from the very beginning of her
existence. If we honor Mary principally because the angel honored her,
because God honored her, we honor her, also, because of her immaculate
conception and total freedom from sin. She was a model of all virtues.
Is it not reasonable, then, to honor Mary, to love her, and to believe
that she loves us? If we honor the good and virtuous, where can we find
a nobler example of virtue than Mary? What a beautiful model Mary is for
Christians, and especially for Christian women! Good Catholic mothers
are continually urging upon their daughters the necessity of choosing as
a model Mary, the true type of female excellence. In Mary you find all
that is tender, loving, constant, and true. In her you find all virtues.
In her humility she refused the highest honors; while in patience she
endured more anguish and agony than any other creature on earth.

Mary is a creature of God. As the praise we bestow on a beautiful
picture redounds to the glory of the artist, so the honor we give Mary
redounds to God, since we honor her for His sake. Let us honor her. That
person who honors the Blessed Virgin; who loves, respects, and venerates
her as the Mother of God; who takes her as a model and imitates her
virtues; who prays to her in trials and afflictions and asks her
intercession with her divine Son, does not only act in a reasonable
manner, but such action is certain to make the path through this world
smooth and easy and at the same time safe to a life of _eternal
happiness_.



VI. Confession of Sin

"Whom when He saw He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests" (_Luke_
xvii. 14).

"Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins ye shall forgive, they are
forgiven them, and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained"
(_John_ xx. 23).

THE whole of the life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be summed
up in these words of the Acts: "He went about doing good." He healed the
sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and raised the dead
to life.

The healing of the body, however, was to Him a secondary object. The
healing of the soul was His mission on earth. He frequently called the
attention of His followers to this. For example, He cured the man of the
palsy to prove that as man He had the power to forgive sins. Another
example is when He gives us in the cure of the lepers a figure of sin
and its cure.

Leprosy has always been considered a figure of sin. As leprosy covers
the body and makes it disgusting and frightful to behold, so sin covers
the soul and makes it hideous in the sight of God. The Old Law required
lepers to separate themselves from society until their cure was
certified to by the priests who were appointed for this purpose. Our
Lord has been pleased, in the New Law, to institute a similar method for
the cure of the more fatal leprosy of sin. The spiritual leper, the
sinner, is to show himself to the priest, make known the diseased state
of his soul, and submit to the inspection and treatment of the priest,
who is the divinely appointed physician of the soul. But should we not
go directly to God, since God alone has power to justify us? It is true,
God alone can effect our justification; but He has appointed the priest
to judge in His place and pass sentence in His name. To the priests He
has said: "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound in
heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also
in heaven" (_Matt._ xviii. 18); and again: "Whose sins you shall
forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you shall retain, they are
retained" (_John_ xx. 23). These two texts clearly show that auricular
confession as practised in the Catholic Church was taught by Christ. For
how could the apostles and their successors, the pastors of the Church,
know what sins to bind and retain and what sins to loose and forgive
unless the sins were confessed to them and they were allowed to judge?

No matter how numerous or how great these are, provided they are
confessed with a sincere repentance, they will be forgiven. And they
will be forgiven by the power of the priest. Properly speaking, God
alone has power to forgive sins. But no one will deny that He has power
to confer this power on others. He communicated this power to His
apostles and commanded them, in turn, to communicate it to others by
means of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

That Our Saviour communicated this power to His apostles is evident from
the words of St. John: "As the Father hath sent Me I also send you.
Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are
forgiven." But sin was to continue till the end of the world. Hence the
necessity of the means of forgiving sin being coextensive with sin. As
the people receive from the priests the Word of God and the cleansing
from sin in Baptism, so also do they receive from them the cleansing
from sin in confession.

It is certain that the apostles conferred the power of forgiving sins
upon others, if we find that those whom the apostles ordained this
power. But we find this to be the case.

From the time of Christ until the present the writers of every age tell
us that confession of sins was practised. St. John, who lived until the
beginning of the second century, says in the 1st chapter of his First
Epistle: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity."

St. Cyprian, who wrote in the third century, says: "Let each of you
confess his faults, and the pardon imparted by the priest is acceptable
before God."

St. Ambrose, in the fourth century, wrote: "The poison is sin; the
remedy, the accusation of one's crime. The poison is iniquity:
confession is the remedy."

St. Augustine, who lived in the fifth century, seems to be talking to
some people of the present day, who say they confess in private to God,
when he says: "Let no one say to himself, I do penance to God in
private, I do it before God. Is it then in vain that Christ hath said:
'Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven'? Is it
in vain that the keys have been given to the Church? Do we make void the
Gospel? void the words of Christ?"

These first five centuries were the golden age of Christianity. All
admit that the doctrines and practices of those early centuries were
pure and undefiled, as they came from Christ. But among the practices of
the time we find confession. Hence it is a reasonable practice, because
conformable to Christ's teaching. We might continue quotations from
writers of every century from the sixth to the nineteenth, showing that
the teaching and practice of confession did not vary through the lapse
of ages from the time of Christ until the present day. But this is
unnecessary. The quotations from the first five centuries show that the
power of forgiving sin was not only communicated by Christ to His
apostles, but by them to their successors by means of the sacrament of
Holy Orders. What would be the necessity of this power if they could not
exercise it in confession? If, as some say, priests invented confession,
some one ought to find out and tell us when and where it was invented,
and why they did not exempt themselves from such a humiliating practice.

Confession alone, however, will be of no avail without contrition.
Contrition is a sincere sorrow and detestation for sin with a firm
determination to sin no more. To the truly humble and sorrowful sinner
confession is not a punishment, but a remedy for a tortured conscience.
The most painful secret to be kept by a heart not yet corrupted by
disease is the secret of sin and crime. The soul that loves God hates
sin and desires to separate herself from it. To this desire is
associated the desire of expiating it. All, from the mother who
questions her child about wrongdoing to the judge who interrogates the
criminal, recognize in spontaneous confession an expiatory power.

Confession, it is true, is necessarily accompanied by shame and
humiliation. This humiliation is diminished by the knowledge that it is
of divine origin and that eternal silence is divinely imposed upon him
who receives it. Priests never divulge what they know from the
confessional. They have been ill-treated, as was Father Kohlmann in this
country; have even been tortured and cruelly put to death, as was St.
John Nepomucene, in order to extort from them knowledge they gained in
the confessional, but without avail. For what they knew through the
tribunal of penance, they knew as ministers of God. And as it is better
to obey God than man, no minister of state could force them to divulge
that which the laws of God forbid.

Only sinners, who after a thorough preparation, a sincere sorrow, and a
good confession, can realize the soothing and beneficial effects of
confession, and feel with David, "Blessed are they whose sins are
forgiven." If you have ever noticed such after leaving the confessional
you could see joy beaming on their countenances, as if a heavy burden
had been removed.

Confession quiets the conscience. But this is only one of the benefits
it confers upon those who practise going to confession. It has also a
salutary influence upon their morals; for one of its necessary
conditions is promise of amendment.

The pagans of the first centuries were aware of the guiding and
reforming power of the confessional. Voltaire, the leading infidel of
the last century, one who made sport of everything Christian, says that
"there is, perhaps, no wiser institution, and that confession is an
excellent thing, a restraint upon inveterate crime, a very good practice
to prevent the guilty from falling into despair and relapsing into sin,
to influence hearts full of hate to forgive and robbers to make
restitution--that the enemies of the _Romish_ Church who have opposed so
beneficial an institution have taken from man the greatest restraint
that can be put upon crime." While his everyday experience forced these
words of praise from the arch-infidel, his hatred of the Church creeps
out in the word "Romish."

Confession of sin, as we have seen, is a _reasonable practice_, because
it was taught by Jesus Christ, and by His apostles and their successors
from Christ's time until the present; but _especially_ because it has
the power of soothing and pacifying the conscience by freeing it from
the torture of sin, the poison of crime. It is not strange, then, that
it is so dear to virtuous souls. It is offensive only to those whose
hearts are so hardened as to blunt the sting of remorse. Confession is
Christianity using its moral power to correct and perfect the
individual. In the confessional the minister of God is continually
coming in contact with hearts in which reigns an idol that he
overthrows, a bad practice that he causes to cease, or some injustice
that he has repaired.

Confession is one of the gates by which Christianity penetrates the
interior man, wipes away stains, heals diseases, and sows therein the
seeds of virtue. The lives and experience of millions are witness of the
truth of this. Is it not, then, a reasonable, a beneficial practice? It
is only the malicious or the ignorant who calumniate the practice and
the consecrated minister who sits in judgment in the sacred tribunal.
Those who lay aside their prejudice and study the question soon become
convinced of its divine origin. A little study and reflection will show
them that confession of sin benefits society by preventing crimes that
would destroy government, cause riots, and fill prisons; that it
promotes human justice, makes men better, nobler, purer, higher, and
more Godlike; that it soothes the sorrowful heart whose crime might make
the despairing suicide; and that individuals and families who
frequently, intelligently, and properly approach this fountain of God's
grace will receive His blessing here _and a pledge of His union
hereafter_.



VII. Granting Indulgences

"Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven, and
whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven"
(Matt xviii. 18).

OF THE many practices of the Church, few have been the cause of more
controversy than that of granting indulgences. Though not the cause, the
granting of an indulgence furnished a pretext for Luther's apostasy. Leo
X, who was Pope at that time, desiring to complete St. Peter's at Rome,
appealed to all Catholics for financial aid. There was certainly nothing
wrong in this. With these alms it was intended that the most magnificent
Christian temple in the world would be completed.

  "Majesty, Power, Glory, Strength, and Beauty, all are aisled
  In this eternal ark of worship undefiled."

All who contributed toward the completion of St. Peter's and complied
with the necessary conditions were granted an indulgence.

The alms were not one of the indispensable conditions. Those conditions
were a sincere repentance and confession. Hence, those who did not
contribute could gain the indulgence. Perhaps the Dominican Tetzel, who
was chosen to announce the indulgence, exceeded his powers and made them
serve his own ends.

His action in the affair was not approved by Rome. If it is certain that
the Pope did nothing wrong in asking for aid to build that beautiful
monument to religion, it is equally certain that he did nothing wrong,
that he did not exceed the limits of his powers when he granted the
indulgence. In order to understand this, we must have a clear idea of
what is meant by an indulgence.

You frequently hear it said that it is the forgiveness of sin, or that
it is a permission given to commit sin. It is neither the one nor the
other. An indulgence is not the forgiveness of sin. In fact, an
indulgence can not be gained until sin has been forgiven. One of the
necessary conditions for gaining an indulgence is confession.

Neither is an indulgence a license, a permission to commit sin. No one,
not even God Himself, could give permission to commit sin. For God is
all good, and although all powerful He can not sanction that which is
evil in itself. It would be contrary to His very nature. An indulgence,
then, is not what it has been painted. Having seen what an indulgence is
not, let us see what it is. It is a remission of the whole or a part of
the debt of temporal punishment due to sin after the guilt and eternal
punishment have been forgiven in the sacrament of Penance.

In the early ages of the Church notorious sinners, after being absolved,
were sentenced to long public penances. By sincere sorrow, an indulgence
or remission of some of the time was granted them. Public confession and
public penances have passed away. These public penances are replaced by
pious devotions. Upon the performance of certain pious devotions the
Church at times grants an indulgence; that is, a remission of such
temporal punishment as is equivalent to the canonical penances
corresponding to the sins committed.

Attached to every mortal sin, besides the guilt, is the punishment
incurred. This punishment is eternal and temporal. That there is this
twofold punishment we learn from various places in the Bible. We have an
example in the sin of David. God sent the prophet Nathan to warn him of
his guilt. When Nathan rebuked the king, he confessed his sin with signs
of true contrition. Then Nathan told him that God had forgiven his sin,
but that many temporal punishments would follow. When God forgave the
sin, the guilt and eternal punishment were taken away; but temporal
punishment remained. Other examples could be cited, but this is
sufficient to show that there is a twofold kind of punishment--eternal
and temporal. In confession the guilt and eternal punishment are taken
away, but not always the temporal punishment. This temporal punishment
is what is taken away in whole by a plenary and in part by a partial
indulgence.

In a similar manner we have a twofold punishment attached to crime in
this world. A man commits a crime. He is sentenced to a term in the
penitentiary. After spending his time of punishment he comes back to
society, but finds he has another punishment to undergo in being avoided
by his friends and others.

The practice of granting indulgences was founded on many passages of
Scripture, both of the Old and New Testament. In the 12th chapter of the
book of Numbers we learn that Mary, the sister of Moses, was forgiven a
sin which she had committed. But God inflicted upon her the penalty of
leprosy. This was a temporal punishment. By the prayer of Moses an
indulgence was granted; for God took away the temporal punishment.

Our divine Lord left with His Church the power of granting indulgences,
as we learn from His words taken from St. Matthew: "Whatsoever you shall
loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven." This promise implies
the power of loosing not only from sin and its eternal punishment, but
also the power of releasing the bond of temporal punishment, of freeing
from everything that would prevent the soul from entering the kingdom of
heaven. St. Paul granted an indulgence to the incestuous Corinthian, as
we learn from the 2d chapter of his Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
By the power and authority which he received from Christ, he granted the
Corinthian pardon from performing a certain penance. This penance was a
temporal punishment. The apostle took away the temporal punishment. That
is an indulgence.

Non-Catholics grant a kind of plenary indulgence to every one by saying
that works of penance are unnecessary. The practice of the Catholic
Church of granting an indulgence only to the deserving is certainly more
conformable to Scripture as well as more reasonable.

Experience teaches us the utility of indulgences. They encourage the
faithful to frequent the sacraments, to repent, to do acts of penance,
and perform works of piety, charity, and devotion.

A practice productive of such beneficial results is reasonable; it is
also reasonable because it is sanctioned by Scripture and the Church of
every age. For God would not sanction it nor could the Church practise
it if it were _not conformable to reason_.



VIII. The Last Sacraments

"Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the
Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord
shall raise him up, and if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him"
(_James_ v. 14, 15).

BY THESE words St. James admonishes Christians when sick to do that
which Our Saviour had previously directed to be done. This you will
learn from the 6th chapter of St. Mark: "And [the apostles] anointed
with oil many that were sick."

The historians of the first centuries tell us that the early Christians
were as anxious to receive the last sacraments as are the Catholics of
our own day. St. Cesarius, in the fifth century, writes: "As soon as a
person falls dangerously sick, he receives the body and blood of Jesus
Christ. Then his body is anointed, and thus is fulfilled what stands
written: 'Is any man sick among you? Let him call in the priests of the
Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil.'" What the
Christians of the first centuries did, we do; and we do it by the
direction of Jesus Christ and of St. James.

Penance, Holy Eucharist, and Extreme Unction are administered to the
sick and are known as the last sacraments. The priest first hears the
sick person's confession, then he administers holy communion. Afterward
he administers the sacrament of Extreme Unction--last anointing.

This sacrament aids the sick to bear their sufferings with patience. It
wipes away sin, even mortal sin if the person is unable to confess; and
it purifies the soul for its entrance into heaven. The other sacraments
assist us in making our lives holy like the life of our divine Model.
This sacrament assists in making our death holy, like the death of
Jesus. The sacrament of Baptism met us at our entrance into this world;
the sacrament of Extreme Unction will be our guide at our departure to
the other world. Religion, which rocked us in the cradle of life, will
lull us to sleep in the cradle of death.

Go to the bedside of the dying Catholic and you will see the
reasonableness of the practice of calling the priest to administer the
last sacraments. After the sacraments have been administered, peace and
joy and contentment are visible on the countenance of the sick person.
He clings no more to the things of earth. His thoughts are centered in
heaven. The minister of God consoles him with the thought of immortality
and the resurrection of the body. He soon hears the singing of the
angelic choir; and breathing the sweet names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
his soul takes its flight to the _regions of eternal bliss_.



IX. Praying for the Dead

"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that
they may be loosed from their sins" (_2 Mach_. xii. 46).

NO ONE will deny that the practice of praying for the dead is
reasonable, if the dead are benefited by our prayers. That our prayers
are beneficial to the departed we will endeavor to show. We are taught
by revelation that besides heaven and hell, a state of everlasting
pleasure and a state of eternal pain, there also exists a middle state
of punishment for those who die in venial sin, or who have not
sufficiently satisfied the justice of God for mortal sins already
forgiven.

The people of God in the Old Law believed, and Jesus Christ and His
apostles in the New Law taught, the existence of this middle state. In
the Second Book of Machabees, quoted above, we read that the pious
general Judas Machabeus having made a collection, "sent twelve thousand
drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifices to be offered for the
dead [soldiers], thinking well and religiously concerning the
resurrection [for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should
rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the
dead], and because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with
godliness had great grace laid up for them. It is, therefore, a holy and
wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from
their sins." If prayers were not beneficial to the dead, God would not
have sanctioned them.

This is exactly the practice of the Catholic Church. We pray and offer
sacrifices for the souls in purgatory, just as Judas Machabeus did. Even
if the Books of Machabees were not inspired, it is historically true
that the Jews and almost all nations of antiquity believed in the
existence of purgatory and the utility of prayers for the souls detained
there. This universal consent is the voice of nature and of God. Hence
we see that the practice of praying for the dead is reasonable.

This practice is in accordance with the teaching of Christ. In the 12th
chapter, 32d verse, of St. Matthew, He says: "He that shall speak
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this
world nor in the world to come."

These words teach us that some sins will be pardoned in the life to
come. They can not be pardoned in heaven, since nothing defiled can
enter heaven; nor can they be pardoned in hell, out of which there is no
redemption, for "their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be
quenched." Therefore, there must be a state in the next world where sins
will be forgiven, and we call that place or state purgatory. And the
existence of purgatory implies the necessity of praying for those
detained there. The belief in the existence of purgatory and the
practice of praying for the faithful departed have existed in the Church
from the time of its foundation.

Tertullian, who lived in the second century, considered it a solemn
duty, whose obligation came down from the apostles, to offer sacrifices
and prayers for the faithful departed. St. Augustine says: "The whole
Church received from the tradition of the Fathers to pray for those who
died in the communion of the body and blood of Christ." The dying
request of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, is well known. "I
request you," she said, "that wherever you may be, you will remember me
at the altar of the Lord." And he assures us that he frequently and
fervently prayed for her soul.

The teaching of the Church of every age confirms the teaching of the Old
and New Testament regarding purgatory and praying for the dead. To one
who believes in heaven and hell, a place of eternal pleasure and of
eternal punishment, the doctrine of purgatory must appear as a
necessity, and the practice of praying for the dead reasonable. For it
is certain that nothing defiled can enter heaven. But it is possible
that many die guilty of but slight sins. Therefore, it must be said that
these are damned, which is impious and absurd; that what is defiled can
enter heaven, which is unscriptural; or that there is a purgatory, a
state in which such souls are made pure as the driven snow, so that they
can enter into the presence of their Maker. For an infinitely just God
can not condemn to the same eternal punishment the child who dies guilty
of a slight fault and the hardened murderer. No. He will render to every
one according to his works.

The doctrine of purgatory, then, is reasonable as well as scriptural and
traditional. Reasonable, too, is the practice of praying for the dead,
for they are still members of the Church. All the members of the Church,
consisting of the church militant on earth, the church triumphant in
heaven, and the church suffering in purgatory, are one family bound
together by the bond of charity. The members of the Church on earth pray
to those in heaven, who love us and pray for us; and we pray for those
in purgatory. They are God's friends deprived of heaven for a time. As
those in heaven rejoice when one sinner does penance, so those in
purgatory hear us, see us, love us, and are helped by our prayers. We
love them and never cease to pray for them and offer the Holy Sacrifice
for them. Even the unbeliever will stand or kneel by the remains of his
departed friend and offer a prayer for him, thus showing that praying
for the dead is reasonable and the natural dictate of the human heart.



X. Praying to the Saints

"And may the angel that delivereth me from all evils bless these boys"
(_Gen_. xlviii. 16).

"So I say to you there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one
sinner doing penance" (_Luke_ xv. 10).

"For in the resurrection they [the saints] shall be as the angels of God
in heaven" (_Matt_. xxii. 10).

THE saints are friends of God. They are like the angels in heaven. We
honor them, not as we honor God, but on account of the relation they
bear to God. They are creatures of God, the work of His hands. When we
honor them, we honor God; as when we praise a beautiful painting, we
praise the artist.

We do not believe that the saints can help us of themselves. But we ask
them to "pray for us." We believe that everything comes to us "through
Our Lord Jesus Christ." With these words all our prayers end. It is
useful, salutary, and reasonable to pray to the saints and ask them to
pray for us. No doubt all will admit the reasonableness of this practice
if the saints can hear and help us.

That they hear and help us is evident from many passages of Scripture.
The patriarch Jacob would not have prayed to the angel to bless his
grandchildren Manasses and Ephraim (as we learn he did from _Gen_.
xlviii.), unless he knew the angel could do so.

We are informed (_Luke_ xv.) that the angels rejoice when one sinner
does penance. We are also informed (_Matt_ xxii.) that the saints are
like the angels--_i.e._, have the same happiness and knowledge.

Hence the saints, as well as the angels, can hear us, can help us, and
are acquainted with our actions, words, and thoughts.

It is generally conceded that it is reasonable to ask pious persons on
earth to pray for us. St. Paul, in his epistles, frequently asks the
Christians to pray for him. "Brethren," he says, "pray for us." It is
well known that God was pleased to answer the prayer of Abraham in favor
of Abimelech. "More things are wrought by prayer than this world knows
of." Now, if we poor sinners here on earth do not pray in vain for one
another, will the saints in heaven, the friends of God, who rejoice when
a sinner does penance, pray in vain for us? No. We have hosts of friends
in heaven to speak a good word for us. And as a child who has disobeyed
his parents wisely asks a better brother or sister to intercede with his
parents for mercy, so, too, having disobeyed our heavenly Father by sin,
we have recourse to others better than ourselves, to our better brothers
and sisters, the Blessed Virgin and saints, to intercede with God for
us.

Is not this a reasonable practice?

If your mother or sister crosses the sea she will continue to pray for
you. And if she crosses the sea of death will she forget you? No. The
love she bore you here will continue in heaven. She will pray for you,
and the "Lord will hear the prayers of the just." Ask the saints to pray
to your God and their God for you. Honor God by honoring His friends and
asking their intercession. And all your friends in heaven will unite in
praying to the Father of us all that one day all who love God and His
friends, the saints, may be admitted with them into the _company of the
Saint of saints, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ._



XI. Crucifixes, Relics, and Images

"Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of
anything that is in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of
those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not
adore them nor serve them" (_Ex_. xx. 4, 5).

THIS first commandment teaches us to adore God alone. It does not forbid
the making of images, but it forbids the adoring of them, worshiping
them as gods. This would be idolatry. If the making of images were
forbidden, it would be improper to have images or pictures of our
friends.

It has frequently been said that Catholics ate idolaters, because they
have in their churches crucifixes, relics, and images of the saints,
which they honor. Perhaps many of those who accuse us of idolatry, if
asked, could not tell what idolatry is. Idolatry is giving to a creature
(whether a crucifix, an image, or any created thing) that honor which
belongs to God.

The honor we give those sacred things is a relative honor. We honor them
on account of the relation they bear to God and His friends, the saints.

Every Catholic, even the child, is taught the difference between the
idol of the pagan and a Catholic image. Pagans looked upon their idols
as gods. They thought these senseless objects had power, intelligence,
and other attributes of the Deity. They worshiped them as gods and
thought they could assist them. Hence they were image-worshipers or
idolaters.

Catholics know full well that images have no intelligence to understand,
no power to assist them. They do not adore nor serve them. That would be
idolatry. It would be breaking the first commandment. They do not say
when praying before the crucifix or image of a saint, "I adore thee, O
Crucifix"; nor "Help me, O Image," But they say, "I adore thee, O God,
whose cruel death is represented by this crucifix," or "Pray for me, O
saint represented by this image."

We have images, pictures, and relics of Our Lord, His Blessed Mother,
and the saints, for the same reason that we have relics and portraits of
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or of our relatives and friends.
They remind us of the original. Who can look upon the crucifix or upon a
picture of the Crucifixion without being reminded of all the sufferings
of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

And who can seriously contemplate those sufferings, borne for us so
patiently, without being moved to pity and to repentance? Such a person
will be moved to say with the heart if not with the lips: "Oh, my God, I
am sorry for having offended Thee and caused Thee such suffering. Grant
that I may love Thee with my whole heart and never more offend Thee."

Catholics, as we have seen, adore God alone. They honor the Blessed
Virgin and saints represented by images. They use these holy pictures
and statues to beautify the house of God. These pictures are also a
source of instruction. They are a profession of our faith. If you enter
a house and see on one side of the room a picture of the Blessed Virgin,
Cardinal Gibbons, or of Pope Leo XIII, and on the other a picture of
Lincoln, Cleveland, or Washington, you will at once know the religious
faith as well as the political belief or patriotism of the occupant.

By the aid of the relics of the martyrs we are reminded of all they
suffered for the faith. By the use of religious pictures, our devotion
is increased and we are stimulated to imitate the virtues of the saints
represented.

If it is reasonable to have pictures of our martyred President and
relics of our Revolutionary heroes that we may be reminded of their
patriotism, it is none the less reasonable to have pictures and relics
of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints, that we may be reminded
of their virtues. By imitating their virtues here, we may be _happy with
them hereafter_.



XII. Some Sacramentals

"Pray without ceasing" (_2 Thess_. v. 17).

"Every creature is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (_1 Tim_.
4, 5).

BY SACRAMENTALS we mean the various prayers, blessings, ceremonies and
pious practices of the Church. Here mention will be made of some of the
most common of the sacramentals that have not already been treated.
Sacramentals, like sacraments, have an outward sign; the latter,
however, were instituted by Christ, the former by the Church, and while
the latter always give grace if we place no obstacle in the way, the
former do not give grace, but excite good thoughts, increase devotion,
and raise the mind to God.

The chief sacramentals that have not been mentioned are the books used
by the priest in the performance of his sacred duties, the sign of the
cross, holy water, blessed candles, blessed palm and ashes, holy oils,
scapulars, medals, Agnus Dei, prayers, litanies, rosary, the Angelus,
stations, the funeral service, and various blessings.

The books used by the priest in the performance of his sacred duties are
the _Missal_, which contains the Masses for the various feasts of the
ecclesiastical year; the _Breviary_, in which is the office recited by
the priest every day; and the _Ritual_, where is to be found the form of
administering the different sacraments, the funeral service, and the
various benedictions.

The sacramental of most frequent use in the Church is the _sign of the
cross_. It is used to remind us of the Passion and Death of Our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ on the cross. The cross is the emblem of the
Christian, the "sign of the Son of Man." It is an act of faith in the
principal truths of Christianity. When we say the words, "In the name,"
we profess our faith in the unity of God, which means that there is but
one God; "of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," are a
profession of faith in the Trinity--_i.e._, that there are three divine
persons in one God. The form of the cross which we trace with our right
hand from our forehead to our breast, and then from the left to the
right shoulder, is a profession of faith in the Incarnation of the Son
of God, who became man and died on the cross for our redemption.
Tertullian and other writers of the early ages of the Church tell us
that before every action, before rising or retiring, before meals, at
every step, "we impress on our forehead the sign of the cross." The
Catholic Church of to-day, in accordance with the teachings of Christ,
His apostles, and their successors of all time, teaches her children to
put their trust in the merits of Jesus Christ's sufferings on the cross,
and to do everything "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Ghost."

_Holy water_ is water blessed by a priest. During the blessing beautiful
prayers are recited. These prayers express the spiritual blessings the
Church wishes to follow all who use it. The Church uses holy water in
all the benedictions and some of her sacraments. It is placed at the
doors of her churches, that all who enter may use it and be reminded of
that purity of heart which it symbolizes. Holy water is also kept in the
houses of Catholics, to be used in times of trial and when the priest
comes to administer the sacraments.

The _blessed candles_ used in the service of the Church receive their
special blessing on Candlemas Day. We use these lighted candles at
different times to remind us of Jesus, who is the "Light of the world."
Catholics always keep a blessed candle in the house. The Church puts a
lighted candle in our hand at our baptism, and wishes us to die with one
in our hand, to remind us to hope in Him who is our Light and the light
of the world.

On Ash Wednesday _ashes_ are blessed and put on the forehead of the
faithful in the form of a cross, with the words, "Remember, man, that
thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return," to remind them that they
are only dust and ashes. These are the ashes of burnt _palms_ blessed
the Palm Sunday of the previous year. These palms are blessed in memory
of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when the people spread
palm branches along the way. This palm should remind us to perform
faithfully our duty if we wish to enjoy the palm of victory.

The _holy oils_ are blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday of each year.
They are of three kinds: oil of the sick, used in the sacrament of
Extreme Unction; oil of the Catechumens, used in blessing baptismal
water and in the sacrament of Baptism; and Holy Chrism, used in the
preparation of baptismal water in the ceremonies of Baptism,
Confirmation, and at the consecration of a bishop, of churches, altars,
bells and chalices. The olive oil used should remind us of Our Saviour's
_passion_ in the Garden of Olives.

_Agnus Deis_ (blessed by the Pope), _scapulars_, and _medals_ are small
articles worn by Catholics to remind them of Our Lord (the Lamb of God),
of the Blessed Virgin, and of the saints. They are emblems of the
Christian, as the starry banner is the emblem of the American; and as
the flag of our country shows that we are under the protection of the
Government of the United States, so the Agnus Dei, scapulars, and medals
show that we are under the protection of Jesus Christ, His Blessed
Mother, and His saints.

_Prayer_ is the elevation of our mind and heart to God to ask Him for
all blessings, temporal and spiritual. Prayer is necessary to salvation.
We are taught in St. Luke (xviii.) to pray always and faint not. We
should pray with attention and devotion, with confidence and humility.
We are told in the Lord's Prayer to pray for others as well as for
ourselves, and God's choicest blessings will be granted us through Jesus
Christ Our Lord. The best of all prayers is the one God taught us--the
Lord's Prayer. Other prayers common in the Church are Litanies,
Rosaries, the Angelus, Stations, and the Funeral Service for the dead.
The Litanies most in use in the Church are the Litany of All Saints, of
the Blessed Virgin, of the Holy Name of Jesus. In these Litanies we ask
God to have mercy on us and the saints to pray for us; but we ask
everything through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Few practices of the Church
are more widespread than the _Rosary_ of the Blessed Virgin. It consists
of the best of all prayers--the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, three
Hail Marys, and the Glory be to the Father; then the Our Father and ten
Hail Marys repeated five times. This constitutes the beads, or one-third
part of the Rosary. During the recitation of these prayers the mind
should be occupied meditating on the principal mysteries of the life of
Our Lord. These mysteries are divided into the five joyful mysteries:
the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel, the Visitation of the Blessed
Virgin to St. Elizabeth, the Birth of Our Lord, the Presentation, and
the Finding in the Temple; the five sorrowful mysteries: the Agony in
the Garden, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the
Cross, and the Crucifixion; and the five glorious mysteries: the
Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and the Crowning of the Blessed Virgin
in heaven. Any one of these mysteries furnishes sufficient material to
occupy the mind of man for hours. These mysteries contain the whole
history of the Redemption. The prayers and meditations of the Rosary
satisfy the minds of the humblest, while they are sufficient to occupy
the attention of the most exalted and most cultivated. The _Angelus_ is
a beautiful prayer, said morning, noon, and night. In Catholic countries
the bell is rung, when all cease their occupations, kneel, and recite:
"The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy
Ghost"--a Hail Mary. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord--be it done unto
me according to Thy Word"--a Hail Mary. "And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt amongst us"--a Hail Mary. The prayer: "Pour forth, we beseech
Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the
Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an
angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His
resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen." By this beautiful
practice we show in a special manner our faith in the Incarnation of Our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The _Stations of the Cross_ are fourteen paintings representing the
various stages of the passion and death of Our Redeemer. The faithful
pass from station to station and meditate upon that feature of the
passion represented by each station. Tradition tells us that from the
beginning pious pilgrims were accustomed to tread the path and bedew
with their tears the way sanctified by our Saviour on that sorrowful
journey from Pilate's tribunal to Calvary's heights. But Jerusalem
falling into the hands of infidels, and many being unable to visit those
holy places, permission was obtained to erect in churches fourteen
crosses and pictures commemorating these sorrowful acts. From these
stations all can meditate upon the sufferings of our Saviour, and learn
from Him submission to God's holy will, patience, charity, and
forgiveness of injuries.

The _funeral service_ of the Catholic Church is beautiful, touching, and
instructive. After blessing, strengthening, and encouraging us through
life with her sacraments; after fortifying our souls for the last great
struggle, she follows us beyond the grave with her blessings, her
prayers, and her sacrifices. "Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord," she
prays; "and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in
peace."

There are various other prayers and blessings used by the Church on
special occasions. In fact, the Church blesses everything she uses. This
blessing of the priest is not such an absurd thing as some imagine it to
be; it is rather a most reasonable practice. It is simply a prayer said
by the priest, asking God to send His blessing upon the person or thing
indicated. People of all denominations say grace before meals, asking
God to bless the food they are about to use. This is precisely what the
priest does when blessing anything. He uses different forms of prayer
ordained by the Church to implore God's blessing upon the water,
candles, and other things before using them. This blessing of churches,
water, candles, and other things has its foundation on Scripture. We
read in the Old Testament of the solemn blessing of the Temple of
Solomon. St. Paul tells us that "every creature is sanctified by the
word of God and prayer." Churches, water, candles, bells, books,
persons, and other things blessed by the Church are creatures. Therefore
we are following St. Paul in blessing them, for every creature is
sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

We do not claim that those articles that are blessed have any efficacy
in themselves; but we hope and pray that God in His infinite goodness
and mercy may render those blessed articles beneficial to those using
them, may protect them and lead them to _His blessed abode above, where
all is peace and light and love._



XIII. The Celebration of Feasts

"Seven days shalt thou celebrate feasts to the Lord thy God, in the
place which the Lord shalt choose" (_Deut_. xvi. 15).

"If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and
the publican" (_Matt._ xviii. 17).

FROM these texts we learn that besides the Sunday God wishes certain
other days to be observed religiously, and that the Church has the power
of designating these days.

As the State sets aside certain national holidays in commemoration of
its founder or of the Declaration of Independence, so the Church sets
aside these holidays in honor of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and
the saints.

Besides the feasts celebrated on Sundays, there are in this country but
six holidays of obligation. Three of these are commemorative of events
in the life of Our Lord: Christmas, the Circumcision, and the Ascension;
two, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, in honor of the
Blessed Virgin; and one in honor of God's saints--the Feast of All
Saints.

The ecclesiastical year begins in Advent. Advent is a period of about
four weeks of penance and prayer preparatory to the great feast of
Christmas and corresponding to the penitential season of Lent before
Easter. During the ecclesiastical year, the first of the feasts of
obligation in the order of time is the feast of the _Immaculate
Conception_.

It is celebrated on the 8th of December. On this day we commemorate the
fact that Mary was immaculate when she first came into being in her
mother's womb; that she was always pure; that sin never touched her fair
soul. Immaculate Conception, as you will see in the article on the
Blessed Virgin, means that she was always free from sin.

The great feast of _Christmas_, in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ,
is celebrated on December 25th. This feast is a time of joy and peace to
all mankind, and is celebrated by the Church with much pomp and
ceremony.

The festival of the _Circumcision_ is kept on the first day of the new
year. It is commemorative of Our Lord's strict observance of the law by
submitting to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. We solemnly celebrate
the day in honor of our merciful Lord, who is our model in all things.

Next in the order of time is the feast of the _Ascension_. It is kept
forty days after the grand feast of Easter, and is in honor of Our
Lord's glorious ascension into heaven.

The _Assumption_ of the Blessed Virgin, celebrated the 15th of August,
is commemorative of the glorious taking up to heaven of Mary, soul and
body. (This is a pious tradition.)

_All Saints'_ Day is November 1st. Every day is a saint's day. There is
not a day that the Catholic Church does not celebrate a feast in honor
of some special mystery or saint. But as there are more saints in heaven
than could be thus specially honored, she sets aside this one day every
year in honor of all the saints in heaven.

There are various other important feasts, some of which fall on Sunday;
but these we have mentioned being feasts of obligation to be observed as
Sunday, it was thought that it would not be uninteresting to give a
short explanation of them.

On them we honor God and His special friends. Let us always, by faith,
hope, and love, _bear Jesus in our minds and hearts_.



XIV. Infant Baptism

"Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the
Holy Ghost, he can not enter into the kingdom of God" (_John_ iii 5).

WHILE most Christians admit the necessity of Baptism for adults, the
Catholic Church is alone in insisting upon the practice of infant
Baptism. This practice is in accordance with the teaching of St. John,
quoted above. It is also in accordance with apostolic teaching and
practice.

We read in the 16th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that St. Paul
baptized Lydia "and her household," and that the keeper of the prison
was converted and "was baptized and presently all his family." Among
these families it is but reasonable to suppose that there were some
infants.

Infant Baptism was the practice of the apostles; it was the practice of
the Christians of the early Church, as Origen tells us. The Church
received the tradition from the apostles to give Baptism to infants, and
it has been the practice of the Church from the time of Christ until the
present.

St. Paul tells us that Adam's sin was transmitted to all his posterity.
"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death,
and so death passed unto all men in whom all have sinned" (_Rom_. v.
12). Every infant, according to St. Paul, is born to sin--original sin.
But as Baptism takes away original sin, and as nothing defiled can enter
heaven (_Apoc_. xxi.), Baptism of infants is necessary to open for them
the gates of heaven.

Baptism may be validly administered by dipping, sprinkling, or pouring.
The method practised in this part of Christendom is pouring the water on
the head of the person to be baptized, saying at the same time: "I
baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Ghost."

The reasonableness of the practice of baptizing infants will be evident
if we remember that Christ taught the necessity of baptism for all when
He said: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he can
not enter into the kingdom of God"; and that He declared little children
capable of entering into the kingdom of God when He said: "Suffer little
children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom
of heaven."

Now, if infants are capable of entering heaven (and Christ so declares),
they must be capable of receiving Baptism, without which Christ says no
one can enter the kingdom of God.

While in adults faith and sorrow for sin are required before receiving
Baptism, no disposition is required in infants.

They contracted original sin without their knowledge; without their
knowledge they are freed from it.

By Baptism they are made heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

They can be made heirs of property, of a kingdom on earth without their
consent; why not also of the kingdom of heaven?

Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments which the Church confers
upon man. It cleanses us from original sin (actual sin also if the
recipient be guilty of any), makes us Christians, children of God, and
heirs of heaven. It prepares us for the reception of the other
sacraments. By Baptism we all contracted the obligation of believing and
practising the doctrines of Jesus Christ as taught us by the true
Church. We fulfil this obligation by _leading a truly Christian life_.



XV. The Marriage Tie--One and Indissoluble

"But I say to you that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for
the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery; and he that
shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery" (_Matt_. v. 33).

"What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder"
(_Matt_. xix. 5, 6).

FEW practices of the Church have been productive of more good to society
than that concerning Christian marriage. The Christian family is the
foundation of Christian society, and Christian marriage is the basis of
the Christian family. Without marriage neither the family nor society
could exist. Marriage was instituted by God before society existed, and,
as a natural consequence, it is subject not to the laws of society, but
to the laws of God and His Church. The principal law and necessary
condition of Christian marriage is its unity and indissolubility. It is
the union of one man with one woman for the purposes intended by the
Creator, which union is to last as long as both survive. Such was
marriage in the beginning; to such it was restored by our Saviour when
He made it a sacrament of His law and a type of His union with His
Church.

The practice of the Catholic Church in not permitting a divorce that
will allow either party to marry during the life of the other, is
clearly taught by Jesus Christ in the 5th chapter of Matthew: "He who
puts away his wife maketh her to commit adultery, and he that marrieth
her committeth adultery."

No human power can break the bond of marriage. "What God hath joined
together, let no man put asunder." It is the work of God. Let no man
dare meddle with it. St. Paul teaches the same when he says in the 39th
verse of the 7th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians: "A
woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her
husband die, she is at liberty, let her marry whom she will." The
practice of the Catholic Church is conformable to this teaching of
Christ, St. Paul, the apostles, and their successors.

In defence of this practice of forbidding divorce, since marriage is one
and indissoluble, the Catholic Church has had many a severe conflict.
And had she not fought this battle bravely for the sanctity, the unity,
and the indissolubility of the marriage tie, Europe and America would
today be in as degraded a condition as are the Mahometan and other
nations where the laws of marriage are disregarded. For divorces are not
only contrary to Christ's teaching concerning the sanctity, unity, and
indissolubility of the marriage tie, but are also subversive of society.
They sever the marriage tie inasmuch as the law of man can do it. If the
marriage tie is loosened, the family is dissolved; and if the family is
dissolved, society, the state, falls to ruin. Divorce destroys conjugal
love, causes unhappiness, renders the proper education of children
impossible, and often leads to terrible crimes. Is it not reasonable as
well as scriptural to forbid it?

The Christian husband and wife, knowing the sanctity, the unity, and the
indissolubility of the marriage tie, live in love and peace and honor
together; together they rear the issue of their union, teaching them to
be good children, good citizens, and good Christians; together, after a
long, a prosperous, and a happy union, they return to dust; and together
they will meet again beyond the confines of the tomb--_yes, they will
meet to part no more_.



XVI. Respect Shown to Ecclesiastical Superiors

"We are ambassadors for Christ; God, as it were, exhorting by us" (_2
Cor_. v. 20).

"As the Father sent me, I also send you" (_John_ xx. 21).

"Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature"
(_Mark_ xvi. 15).

THE respect Catholics have for the bishops and priests of the Church is
often a matter of surprise to those not of the Faith. They do not
understand, as Catholics do, that the priests are "ambassadors for
Christ" sent to "preach the Gospel to every creature." For Christ
instituted the priesthood to carry on divine worship, to govern the
Church, to preach His doctrine, and to administer the sacraments.

As in the Old Law God chose His priests from among the family of Aaron,
so in the New Law He chooses them from among those whom His apostles and
their successors see fit to ordain. Priests and other ministers of the
Church receive in the sacrament of Holy Orders the power and grace to
perform their sacred duties. If we would but consider seriously for a
moment the importance of these duties and the great dignity of the
minister of God, we would have no difficulty in understanding the
reasonableness of the Catholic practice of showing profound respect to
God's priesthood.

The priest is the minister of Jesus Christ, who chose him that he might
obtain for himself the greatest good and in return bestow this good upon
his fellow-man. Jesus Christ chose him that he might aid Him in the work
for which He came on earth. What a noble mission! What important duties!
What a great dignity! To aid Jesus Christ in saving souls, to teach them
the truths of salvation, to loose them from their sins, to offer the
eucharistic sacrifice for them, to pray for them, to minister unto them,
and to fill them with Heaven's choice blessings; for such a high
mission, for such important duties did Jesus Christ choose the priest.
If his duties are so important, his dignity must be correspondingly
great.

On the banks of the Lake of Genesareth the Great Teacher chose Peter as
His vicar and head of His Church. As the pontiff could not be
everywhere, Peter and the other apostles imposed hands on others as the
needs of the growing Church demanded. They understood that it was by a
living, teaching ministry this work of salvation was to be carried on.
For we find it recorded in the 14th chapter of the Acts that Paul and
Barnabas ordained priests in Lystra and Iconium.

Paul also consecrated Titus Bishop of Crete, for the express purpose of
ordaining others. Thus we see that as Christ was sent by the Father, the
apostles by Christ, so, too, is the priest invested with the same power
"for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry and for
the edification of the body of Christ" (_Eph_. iv. 12), and that no one
but a priest divinely called, rightly ordained, and legitimately sent
has power from God to teach God's words to the faithful. He is the
ambassador of God, commissioned to do His work with His authority; the
vicar of Christ continuing the work He commenced; and the organ of the
Holy Ghost for the sanctification of souls. He is ever imitating his
model, going "about doing good." He devotes his life to alleviate the
sufferings of men. To spend one's life instructing man is but second in
importance to alleviating his sufferings. This the priest is ever doing.
He rescued us from barbarism; saved for us at the risk of his life the
Holy Scriptures, the classics of Greece and Rome, and the writings of
the Fathers; founded the great universities of Europe; and is to-day, as
in the past, the greatest educator in the world. He does all this for
love of God. Do you wonder, then, that Catholics love and revere their
priests?

Nowhere can there be found a body of men or a series of rulers so
venerable, so renowned for wisdom, justice, charity, and holiness, as
the Popes, bishops, and priests of the Catholic Church in every age,
_from the time of Christ until the present_.



XVII. Celibacy

"He who is unmarried careth about the things of the Lord, how he may
please God" (_i Cor_. vii. 32).

THE Catholic Church recognizes matrimony as a holy state. She recommends
celibacy to those desiring greater perfection, and enjoins it on her
priests because, as St. Paul says, "He who is unmarried careth about the
things of the Lord." It is said that the life of the priest is a hard,
lonely one, and that it is unscriptural. Let us see. That his life is
one of hardships is certain. His path is by no means one of roses; it is
rather one covered with thorns. The young man knows this well before he
enters it. With a full knowledge of its duties and responsibilities, he
willingly enters the priesthood. He knows well that it is a life full of
trials and crosses. He knows, too, that the whole life of Jesus Christ,
from the stable of Bethlehem to the cross on Calvary's heights, was one
continuous trial, cross, mortification; and that the life of every
follower, especially every minister, of Jesus Christ should be fashioned
after that of his divine model. "If any man will come after Me," He says
in the 16th chapter of St. Matthew, "let him deny himself, take up his
cross and follow Me." The disciple, the minister of Christ, is not above
his Master; and it is not becoming that the path of the disciple or
minister should be covered with flowers while that of the Master was
strewn with thorns and sprinkled with His own precious blood.

Yes, the priest's life is one of trials, crosses, and hardships. But the
more trials he has to bear, the more crosses he has to carry, the more
hardships he has to endure, the greater is his resemblance to his model,
Jesus Christ; and if he bears those trials, crosses, and hardships,
which he shares with his Master here, with a proper spirit, the more
certain he is of sharing with Him a happy eternity hereafter.

But is the life of celibacy unscriptural? No. In fact, few questions are
more clearly defined in Holy Scripture than that of religious celibacy.
St. Paul, in the 7th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians,
says: "I would have you without solicitude. He who is unmarried careth
for the things of the Lord, how he may please God; but he who is married
careth about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is
divided. And the unmarried woman and virgin thinketh about the things of
the Lord, how she may be holy in body and spirit. But she that is
married thinketh about the things of the world, how she may please her
husband. Therefore," he concludes, "he that giveth his virgin in
marriage doth well; and he who giveth her not doth better." Could
language be clearer? Marriage is good; celibacy is better.

"He that is unmarried careth about the things of the Lord, how he may
please God." This teaching of St. Paul is the teaching of the Church--
that marriage is honorable, is good, but that there is a better, a
holier state for those who are called by the grace of God to embrace it.

Religious celibacy is one of the principal reasons why the Catholic
priest and missionary will risk all dangers, overcome all obstacles,
face all terrors, and in time of plague expose himself to death in its
most disgusting forms for the good of his fellow-man.

All are acquainted with the noble examples of numbers of priests and
Sisters of Charity who, at the risk of their own lives, voluntarily
nursed the sick and dying during the yellow-fever scourge in the South a
few years ago. Do you think they would have done so had they families
depending upon them? No; they would have cared for the things of this
world. Jesus Christ has said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that
a man give up his life for his fellow-man." This the good priest is ever
doing, ever ready to do. Although death stares him in the face, he never
shrinks from his post of duty, never abandons his flock while there is a
wound to heal, a soul to save.

When his duty calls him, he is not afraid of death, because St. Paul
says: "_He who is without a wife is solicitous about the things of the
Lord._"



XVIII. Conclusion

"If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments" (_Matt_. xix. 17).

WHEN Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, He did so in order to lead
us into life, to open heaven for all mankind. How important our
salvation must be, then, for which Christ shed His precious blood. If it
is important, He must have taught us how to attain it. This, too, He did
by the words, "keep the commandments."

To assist us in keeping the commandments He left a representative on
earth. His Church, whose ministers were to teach all nations, is this
representative. To her He said: "He that hears you, hears Me."

The night before He died He instituted the adorable sacrifice of the
Mass, saying: "This is My body . . . This is My blood which shall be
shed for you." He then gave the apostles and their successors power to
do what He had just done: "Do this in commemoration of Me." He also gave
them power to baptize, to forgive sins, to bless, to be "dispensers of
the mysteries of God." He gave them power to confer these powers on
others. "As the Father sent Me [_i.e._, with the same power] I also send
you." To these apostles and their successors He spoke when He said that
He would remain with them until the consummation of the world. To them
and the Church He said: "He that hears you hears Me." What the Church
teaches, then, Christ teaches.

As, in the natural order, man is born, grows to manhood, is nourished,
and if sick needs proper food and remedies: so, in the supernatural
order, there is a birth, it is Baptism; there is a manly growth, it is
Confirmation; there is a nourishing food, it is the Holy Eucharist, the
Bread of Life; there is a medicinal remedy against death, it is Penance;
and there is a balm to heal the wounds, the scars of sin, it is Extreme
Unction. These are some of the channels through which God's grace flows
into our souls to assist us to keep the commandments.

The practices of the Church naturally flow from her teachings. She
teaches that there is but one God, the creator and Lord of heaven and
earth and all things; that man by his reason alone can find out this
truth; that the order, beauty, and harmony of the works of nature show
God's work; but that there are some truths which the deepest intellect
of man can never fathom. Hence she teaches that God has revealed certain
truths; such as the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, and
the Blessed Sacrament. When we know that God has revealed these truths
we are acting reasonably not only in believing them, but also in showing
our belief by practices of respect, adoration, and love.

The Church teaches that we must not only believe, but practise our
religion. For faith alone will not save us. "Faith without works is
dead." To have these works we must "keep the commandments." We must love
God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. All the commandments
are comprised in this. In fact, the essence of Christianity is charity.

Where will you find charity practised in reality except in the Catholic
Church? If you wish to see the truth of this, visit our larger towns and
cities, and you will find hundreds of hospitals, asylums, schools, and
other charitable institutions in which are thousands of the children of
the Catholic Church, who have left everything to alleviate every ill
that flesh is heir to, and follow the meek and humble Jesus in His
mission of love.

The Catholic Church alone teaches, as Jesus taught while on earth, the
duty of penance. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
take up his cross and follow Me." According to Christ's teaching, the
Church sets aside the penitential season of Lent and other times of
mortification.

The Church also teaches that we must not only be faithful in the
observance of the practices of religion, but that we must also live in
peace and justice and charity with all mankind, and die with a hope
beyond the grave. If we love God we will faithfully observe the
practices of the Church; these practices will assist us in keeping the
commandments, by which we will enter into life.

We have seen that the various ceremonies and practices of the Catholic
Church are dictated by right reason; that they are the rational
deduction from Christ's teaching; that they obtain for us divine grace,
excite pious thoughts, and elevate our minds to God; and that a true
Christian is one who not only believes but also practises the teachings
of Christ and His Church. The observance of these pious practices of the
Church makes us Christians in fact as well as in name. They assist us to
keep the commandment and to live in accordance with our faith. By
faithfully observing them, we show that we are not ashamed to be
Christ's followers. And if we follow Him, who is the way, the truth, and
the life, we will not walk in darkness; but will enter by the narrow way
into the presence of truth itself, _in the regions of eternal light_.


PRINTED BY BENZINGER BROTHERS, NEW YORK





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