21 October 2009

Prayer to Christ Crucified

"Let him who desires to attain union with God keep the eyes of his soul ever fixed on Him who hangs dying on the Cross. It is from those wounds of the Saviour that man draws power to suffer not merely with patience, but with joy." ~ Saint Bonaventure

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 have pierced My Hands and My Feet, they have numbered all My Bones." (Ps. XXII 17-18)

indulgenced by Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758)

(On any Friday during Lent a plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who, after communion, devoutly recite the above prayer before an image of Jesus Christ crucified. On other days of the year the indulgence is a partial one.)

06 October 2009

Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin



This young Passionist cleric attained great sanctity in a short amount of time by his fervent efforts to practice virtue. His great love in life was Our Mother of Sorrows, to whom he cherished an exceptionally tender devotion. Below are some of his personal resolutions through which he was sanctified. Still in minor orders, he died of consumption at the age of 24 in 1862, and was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. He is the patron saint of young Religious.

  1. I will keep my rule, even the smallest.
  2. I will not neglect any of my spiritual exercises.
  3. Shun idleness.
  4. I will be punctual.
  5. I will obey the sound of the bell as though it were the voice of God.
  6. I will receive all things from the hand of God, as being sent by Him for my own personal benefit.
  7. I will profit by every occasion for mortification that may occur.
  8. I will fulfill exactly my ordinary duties, mortifying self in whatever would prove an obstacle to perfect obedience.
  9. I will mortify my eyes and my tongue.
  10. I will not leave my cell without necessity.
  11. I will not inquire after anything through curiosity.
  12. I will check my desire to talk.
  13. I will increase the number of such like acts daily.
  14. I will not take any food outside of mealtime.
  15. I am poor and I should act accordingly.
  16. I should be willing to put up with any inconvenience gladly.
  17. I will not eat with avidity, but rather with reserve and with modesty, subjecting my appetite to reason.
  18. I will mortify myself in ordinary things and whatever I feel inclined to do, saying in my heart: "O my God, I will not do this thing through mere inclination, but because it is thy will".
  19. I will be reserved toward those to whom I feel most inclined, prudently avoiding their presence and conversation.
  20. I will not utter a word that might, in the least, turn to my praise.
  21. I will not take pleasure in any praise bestowed upon me.
  22. I will never excuse myself when I am blamed or corrected, nor even resent it interiorly, much less put the blame upon others.
  23. I will never speak of the faults of others, even though they may be public, nor will I ever show want of esteem for others, whether in their presence or in their absence.
  24. I will not judge ill of anyone.
  25. I will show the good opinion I have of each one by covering up his faults.
  26. I will consider everyone my superior, treating all with humility and reverence.
  27. I will rejoice at the good done by others.
  28. I will not permit myself to become interested in vain and useless things.
  29. I will rejoice at the success of others.
  30. I will practice charity and kindness, assisting, serving and pleasing all.
  31. I will shun particular friendships, so as to offend no one.
  32. Every morning and evening I will practice some act of humility, and gradually increase the number.
  33. I will close my heart against disquiet of any kind.
  34. I will suppress immediately all emotions of impetuosity and all affections that might cloud my mind, even lightly.
  35. I will obey the voice of the Superior as if it were the voice of God himself.
  36. In my obedience I will neither examine the why nor the wherefore.
  37. I will conform my judgment to that of my Superior.
  38. I will not employ time in conversing about purely worldly matters.
  39. "Faithfulness in little things" is the motto I will always follow in my efforts to reach holiness.
  40. I will try to reproduce in myself whatever I see edifying and virtuous in the conduct of others.
  41. I will give to God the best that I have -- the entire affection of my heart.

03 October 2009

The Maxims and Sayings of St. Philip Neri


1. In passing from a bad state to a good one there is no need of counsel, but in passing from a good one to a better, time, counsel, and prayer must go to the decision.

2. We must continually pray to God for the conversion of sinners, thinking of the joy there is in heaven both to God and the angels in the conversion of each separate sinner.

3. To speak of ourselves without cause, saying, “I have said,” “I have done,” incapacitates us for receiving spiritual consolations.

4. We ought to desire to be in such a condition as to want sixpence, and not be able to get it.

5. Let us despise gold, silver, jewels, and all that the blind and cheated world vainly and ignorantly prizes.

6. Let us learn here below to give God the confession of praise which we ought to hope to give Him in heaven above.

7. He who wishes to go to Paradise must be an honest man and a good Christian, and not give heed to dreams.

8. Fathers and mothers of families should bring up their children virtuously, looking at them rather as God’s children than their own; and to count life and health, and all they possess, as loans which they hold of God.

9. In saying the Pater Noster, we ought to reflect that we have God for our Father in heaven, and so go on making a sort of meditation of it word by word.

10. To make ourselves disaffected to the things of the world, it is a good thing to think seriously of the end of them, saying to ourselves, “And then? And then?”

11. The devil, who is a most haughty spirit, is never more completely mastered than by humility of heart, and a simple, clear, undisguised manifestation of our sins and temptations to our confessor.

12. We ought not ordinarily to believe prophecies or to desire them, because it is possible there may be many deceits and snares of the devil therein.

13. It is a most useful thing, when we see another doing any spiritual good to his neighbour, to seek by prayer to have a part in that same good which the Lord is working by the hand of another.

14. At communion we ought to ask for the remedy of the vice to which we feel ourselves most inclined.

15. To him who truly loves God, nothing more displeasing can happen than the lack of occasion to suffer for Him.

16. We ought to hate no one, for God never comes where there is no love of our neighbours.

17. We must accept our own death and that of our relations when God shall send it to us, and not desire it at any other time; for it is sometimes necessary that it should happen at that particular moment for the good of our own and their souls.

18. The perfection of a Christian consists in knowing how to mortify himself for the love of Christ.

19. He who desires ecstasies and visions does not know what he is desiring.

20. As for those who run after visions, dreams, and the like, we must lay hold of them by the feet and pull them to the ground by force, lest they should fall into the devil’s net.

21. According to the rules of the fathers and ancient monks, whoever wishes to advance in perfection must hold the world in no reputation.

22. There is nothing more displeasing to God, than our being inflated with self-esteem.

23. When a man knows how to break down his own will and to deny his soul what it desires, he has got a good degree in virtue.

24. When a man falls into any bodily infirmity, he must lie and think, and say, “God has sent me this sickness, because He wishes something of me; I must therefore make up my mind to change my life and become better.”

25. When a man has a tribulation sent him from God, and is impatient, we may say to him, “You are not worthy that God should visit you; you do not deserve so great a good.”

26. Poverty and tribulations are given us by God as trials of our fidelity and virtue, as well as to enrich us with more real and lasting riches in heaven.

27. Scruples ought to be most carefully avoided, as they disquiet the mind, and make a man melancholy.

28. Let us throw ourselves into the arms of God, and be sure that if He wishes anything of us, He will make us good for all He desires us to do for Him.

29. Nothing helps a man more than prayer.

30. Idleness is a pestilence to a Christian man; we ought always therefore to be doing something, especially when we are alone in our rooms, lest the devil should come in and catch us idle.

31. We ought always to be afraid, and never put any confidence in ourselves; for the devil assaults us on a sudden, and darkens our understanding; and he who does not live in fear is overcome in a moment, because he has not the help of the Lord.