The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension

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It is our duty, therefore, to say it often—we should say it reverently and attentively and in the spirit in which Our Lord taught it. We make as many acts of the noblest Christian virtues as we pronounce words, when we recite attentively this divine prayer. When we ask that His name be hallowed and glorified we show a burning zeal for His glory, and when we ask for the spread of His Kingdom we make an act of hope; by the wish that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we show a spirit of perfect obedience.

In asking for our daily bread we practise poverty of spirit and detachment from worldly goods. When we beg Him to forgive us our sins we make an act of sorrow for them. By forgiving those who have trespassed against us we give proof of the virtue of mercy in its highest degree. As we wait for Him to deliver us from evil we exercise the virtue of patience. Finally, while asking for all these things — not for ourselves alone but also for our neighbor and for all members of the Church—we are carrying out our duty as true children of God, we are imitating Him in His love which embraces all men and we are keeping the commandment of love of neighbor.

For whenever we think that God is in heaven — as we place ourselves in His presence we should be filled with overwhelming reverence. Then the fear of the Lord will chase away all pride and we will bow before God in our utter nothingness. When we say the name Father and remember that we owe our existence to God by the means of our parents and even our knowledge to our teachers who hold the place and are the living images of God, then we cannot help paying them honor and respect, or, to be more exact, honoring God in them. Nothing then, too, would be farther from our thoughts than to be disrespectful to them or hurt them.

We are never farther from blaspheming than when we pray that the Holy Name of God may be glorified. If we really look upon the Kingdom of God as our heritage we cannot possibly be attached to the things of this world. If we sincerely ask God that our neighbor may have the very same blessings that we ourselves stand in need of, it goes without saying that we will give up all hatred, quarreling and jealousy. And of course if we ask God each day for our daily bread we shall learn to hate gluttony and lasciviousness which thrive in rich surroundings.

While sincerely asking God to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us we no longer give way to anger and thoughts of getting even — we return good for evil and really love our enemies. To ask God to save us from falling into sin when we are tempted is to give proof that we are fighting laziness and that we are genuinely seeking means to root out our vicious habits and to work out our salvation. To pray God to deliver us from evil is to fear His justice and this will give us true happiness. For since the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, it is through the virtue of the fear of God that men avoid sin.

The Angelic Salutation is so heavenly and so beyond us in its depth of meaning that Blessed Alan de la Roche held that no mere creature could ever possibly understand it, and that only Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary can really explain it. Its enormous value is due first of all to Our Lady to whom it was addressed, to the purpose of the Incarnation of the Word for which reason this prayer was brought from heaven, and also to the Archangel Gabriel who was the first ever to say it.

The Angelic Salutation is a most concise summary of all that Catholic theology teaches about the Blessed Virgin. The Most Blessed Trinity revealed the first part of it to us and the latter part was added by Saint Elizabeth who was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Holy Mother Church gave us the conclusion in the year when she condemned the Nestorian heresy at the council of Ephesus and defined that the Blessed Virgin is truly the Mother of God. At this time she ordered us to pray to Our Lady under this glorious title by saying:.

The greatest event in the whole history of the world was the Incarnation of the Eternal Word by Whom the world was redeemed and peace was restored between God and men. Our Lady was chosen as His instrument for this tremendous event and it was put into effect when she was greeted with the Angelic Salutation. The Archangel Gabriel, one of the leading princes of the heavenly court, was chosen as ambassador to bear these glad tidings. In the Angelic Salutation can be seen the faith and hope of the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles.

Furthermore it gives to martyrs their unswerving constancy and strength, it is the wisdom of the doctors of the Church, the perseverance of holy confessors and the life of all religious. Blessed Alan de la Roche It is also the new hymn of the law of grace, the joy of angels and men, and the hymn which terrifies devils and puts them to shame. By the Angelic Salutation God became man, a virgin became the Mother of God, the souls of the just were delivered from Limbo, the empty thrones in heaven filled.

In addition sin was forgiven, grace was given to us, sick people were made well, the dead were brought back to life, exiles were brought home, and the anger of the Most Blessed Trinity was appeased and men obtained eternal life. Finally, the Angelic Salutation is a rainbow in the heavens, a sign of the mercy and grace which God has given to the world. Blessed Alan da la Roche. Even though there is nothing so great as the majesty of God and nothing so low as man insofar as he is a sinner, Almighty God does not desire our poor prayers.

On the contrary, He is pleased when we sing His praises. This new hymn which David foretold was to be sung at the coming of the Messiah is none other than the Angelic Salutation. There is an old hymn and a new hymn: the first is that which the Jews sang out of gratitude to God for creating them and maintaining them in existence — for delivering them from captivity and leading them safely through the Red Sea — for giving them manna to eat and for all His other blessings. The new hymn is that which Christians sing in thanksgiving for the graces of the Incarnation and the Redemption.

As these marvels were brought about by the Angelic Salutation, so do we repeat the same salutation to thank the Most Blessed Trinity for His immeasurable goodness to us. In this spirit of deep thankfulness should we, then, always say the Hail Mary, making acts of faith, hope, love, and thanksgiving for the priceless gift of salvation.

Although this new hymn is in praise of the Mother of God and is sung directly to her, nevertheless it greatly glorifies the Most Blessed Trinity because any homage that we pay Our Lady returns inevitably to God Who is the cause of all her virtues and perfections. When we honor Our Lady: God the Father is glorified because we are honoring the most perfect of His Creatures; God the Son is glorified because we are praising His most pure Mother, and God the Holy Spirit is glorified because we are lost in admiration at the graces with which He has filled His Spouse. When we praise and bless Our Lady by saying the Angelic Salutation she always passes on these praises to Almighty God in the same way as she did when she was praised by Saint Elizabeth.

The latter blessed her in her most elevated dignity as Mother of God and Our Lady immediately returned the praises to God by her beautiful Magnificat. Just as the Angelic Salutation gives glory to the Blessed Trinity, it is also the very highest praise that we can give Our Lady.

One day when Saint Mechtilde was praying and was trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than she had done before, she fell into ecstasy. Blessed Alan De la Roche who was so deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin had many revelations from her and we know that he confirmed the truth of these revelations by a solemn oath. Three of them stand out with special emphasis: the first, that if people fail to say the Hail Mary the Angelic Salutation which has saved the world out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.

The second truth is that those who love this divine salutation bear the very special stamp of predestination. The third is that those to whom God has given the signal of grace of loving Our Lady and of serving her out of love must take very great care to continue to love and serve her until the time when she shall have had them place in heaven by her divine Son in the degree of glory which they have earned.

Blessed Alan, chapter XI, paragraph 2. They still say the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary. They either fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.

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Even if I did not believe that which has been revealed to Blessed Alan de la Roche, even then my own experience would be enough to convince me of this terrible but consoling truth. In our own day we see that people who hold new doctrines that have been condemned by Holy Mother Church may have quite a bit of surface piety, but they scorn the Rosary, and often dissuade their acquaintances from saying it, by destroying their love of it and their faith in it. In doing this they make elaborate excuses which are plausible in the eyes of the world. They are very careful not to condemn the Rosary and Scapular as the Calvinist do — but the way they set about attacking them is all the more deadly because it is the more cunning.

I shall refer to it again later on. My Hail Mary, my Rosary of fifteen or five decades, is the prayer and the infallible touchstone by which I can tell those who are led by the Spirit of god from those who are deceived by the devil. I have known souls who seemed to soar like eagles to the heights by their sublime contemplation and who yet were pitifully led astray by the devil.

I only found out how wrong they were when I learned that they scorned the Hail Mary and the Rosary which they considered as being far beneath them. The Hail Mary is a blessed dew that falls from heaven upon the souls of the predestinate. It gives them a marvelous spiritual fertility so that they can grow in all virtues. The Hail Mary is a sharp and flaming shaft which, joined to the Word of God, gives the preacher the strength to pierce, move and convert the most hardened hearts even if he has little or no natural gifts for preaching.

As I have already said, this was the great secret that Our Lady taught Saint Dominic and blessed Alan so that they might convert heretics and sinners. Saint Antoninus tells us that this is why many priests got into the habit of saying a Hail Mary at the beginning of their sermons. This Heavenly Salutation draws down upon us the blessings of Jesus and Mary in abundance, for it is an infallible truth that Jesus and Mary reward in a marvelous way those who glorify them.

They repay us a hundredfold for the praises that we give them. Now, if we say the Hail Mary properly, is not this a way to love, bless and glorify Jesus and Mary? How could anyone possibly think that Jesus and Mary, who often do good to those that curse them, could ever curse those that bless and honor them by the Hail Mary? Both Saint Bernard and Saint Bonaventure say that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude; so she would never let us honor her with love and respect without repaying us one hundredfold.

Saint Bonaventure says that Mary will greet us with grace if we greet her with the Hail Mary. Who could possibly understand the graces and blessings which the greeting and tender regard of Our Lady effect in us? From the very first instant that Saint Elizabeth heard the greeting that the Mother of God gave her, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and the child in her womb leaped for joy. If we make ourselves worthy of the greeting and blessings of Our Lady we shall certainly be filled with graces and a flood of spiritual consolations will come down into our souls. Would you not treat me as a friend and give me all the graces that you were able to give?

If you want to gain the riches of grace and of glory, salute the Blessed Virgin, honor your good Mother. And you can expect such great things from her generosity! She is our Mother and our friend. She is the empress of the universe and loves us more than all the mothers and queens of the world have ever loved any one human being. This is really so, for the charity of the Blessed Virgin far surpasses the natural love of all mankind and even of all the angels, as Saint Augustine says.

One day Saint Gertrude had a vision of Our Lord counting gold coins. She summoned the courage to ask Him what He was doing. The holy and learned Jesuit, Father Suarez, was so deeply aware of the value of the Angelic Salutation that he said that he would gladly give all his learning for the price of one Hail Mary that had been said properly. And I despise the world And my heart is brim-full Of the love of God. For the sweetness of this blessed salutation is so great that there are no words to explain it adequately, and even when its wonders have been sung, we still find it so full of mystery and so profound that its depths can never be plumbed.

It has but few words but is exceeding rich in mystery; it is sweeter than honey and more precious than gold. We should often meditate upon it in our hearts and have it ever upon our lips so as to say it devoutly again and again. Are you in the miserable state of sin? Are you grouping in the darkness of ignorance and error? Have you strayed from the path leading to heaven? Are you in sorrow? Have you lost the state of grace? Praise and honor the numberless graces with which God has filled with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and she will give you some of these graces.

He is thy Son and His Flesh is thy flesh; thou art united to the Lord because of thy perfect likeness to Him and by your mutual love — for thou art His Mother. Have you become an outcast and have you been accursed by God? Do you hunger for the bread of grace and the bread of life? Draw near to her who bore the Living Bread Which came down from heaven, and say to her: Blessed be the Fruit of thy womb Whom thou hast conceived without the slightest loss of thy virginity, Whom thou didst carry without discomfort and to Whom thou didst give birth without pain.

Blessed be Jesus Who has redeemed our suffering world when we were in the bondage of sin, Who has healed the world of its sickness, Who has raised the dead to life, brought home the banished, restored sinners to a life of grace and Who has saved men from damnation. NOW During this short life So fraught with sorrow and uncertainty.

Pray for us now, Now — because we can be sure of nothing Except the present moment.

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Pray for us now That we are being attacked night and day By powerful and ruthless enemies… Pray for us now. Pray for us At the turning point When the die will be cast once and for all And our lot for ever and ever Will be heaven— Or hell. Come to the help of thy poor children, Gentle Mother of pity: And, oh, Advocate and Refuge of Sinners, Protect us At the hour of our death And drive far from us Our bitter enemies, The devils of our accusers, Those with frightful presence Fill us with dread. Light our path Through the valley of the shadow of death.

Intercede for us And ask thy Son to forgive us And let us into the ranks of the blessed Thy elect In the realm of everlasting glory. How could there possibly be any prayers more pleasing to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious or more helpful than these two prayers? As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. It is quite probable that it can be attributed to Saint Louis de Montfort himself. A mystery is a sacred thing which is difficult to understand. The works of Our Lord and of His Blessed Mother can be rightly called mysteries because they are so full of wonders and all kinds of perfections and deep sublime truths which the Holy Spirit reveals to the humble and simple souls who honor these mysteries.

The works of Jesus and Mary can also be called wonderful flowers; but their perfume and beauty can only be appreciated by those who study them carefully—and who open them and drink in their scent by diligent and sincere meditation. Saint Dominic has divided up the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady into fifteen mysteries which stand for their virtues and their most important actions. These are the fifteen tableaux or pictures whose every detail must rule and inspire our lives. They are fifteen flaming torches to guide our steps throughout this earthly life. They are fifteen shining mirrors which help us to know Jesus and Mary and to know ourselves as well.

They will also help light the fire of their love in our hearts. Our Lady taught Saint Dominic this excellent method of praying and ordered him to ppreach it far and wide so as to reawaken the fervor of Christians and to revive in their hearts a love for Our Blessed Lord. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death and passion of Jesus Christ — for this meditation is the soul of the prayer. For, in reality, the Rosary said without meditating on the sacred mysteries of our salvation would be almost like a body without a soul: excellent matter but without the form which is meditation — this latter being that which sets it apart from all other devotions.

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Our Lady and the angels were overwhelmed with joy the moment when the Son of God was incarnate. Heaven and earth rejoiced at the birth of Our Savior. Holy Simeon felt great consolation and was filled with joy when he took the Holy Child in his arms. The doctors were lost in admiration and wonderment at the answers which Jesus gave — and how could anyone describe the joy of Mary and Joseph when they found the Child Jesus after He had been lost for three days?

The third part of the Rosary contains five other mysteries which are called the Glorious Mysteries because when we say them we meditate on Jesus and Mary in their triumph and glory. These are the fifteen fragrant flowers of the Mystical Rose Tree; devout souls fly to them like wise bees, so as to gather their nectar and make the honey of a solid devotion. The chief concern of the Christian should be to tend to perfection. This obligation is included in the eternal decree of our predestination, as the one and only means prescribed by God to attain everlasting glory.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa makes a delightful comparison when he says that we are all artists and that our souls are blank canvasses which we have to fill in. The colors which we use are the Christian virtues, and the original which we have to copy is Jesus Christ, the perfect living image of God the Father. Just as a painter who wants to do a lifelike portrait places the model before his eyes and looks at it before making each stroke, so the Christian must always have before his eyes the life and virtues of Jesus Christ, so as never to say, think or do anything which is not in conformity with his model.

It was because Our Lady wanted to help us in the great task of working out our salvation that she ordered Saint Dominic to teach the faithful to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. She did this, not only that they might adore and glorify him, but chiefly that they might pattern their lives and actions on his virtues.

Children copy their parents through watching them and talking to them, and they learn their own language through hearing them speak. An apprentice learns his trade through watching his master at work; in the same way the faithful members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary can become like their divine Master if they reverently study and imitate the virtues of Jesus which are shown in the fifteen mysteries of his life. They can do this with the help of his grace and through the intercession of his blessed Mother.

Long ago, Moses was inspired by God to command the Jewish people never to forget the graces which had been showered upon them. The Son of God has all the more reason to command us to engrave the mysteries of his life, passion and glory upon our hearts and to have them always before our eyes, since each mystery reminds us of his goodness to us in some special way and it is by these mysteries that he has shown us his overwhelming love and desire for our salvation.

Be mindful of my poverty and humiliations; think of the gall and wormwood I took for you in my bitter passion. These words and many others which could be given here should be more than enough to convince us that we must not only say the Rosary with our lips in honor of Jesus and Mary, but also meditate upon the sacred mysteries while we are saying it. Jesus Christ, the divine spouse of our souls and our very dear friend, wishes us to remember his goodness to us and to prize his gifts above all else. Whenver we meditate devoutly and lovingly upon the sacred mysteries of the Rosary, he receives an added joy, as also do our Lady and all the saints in heaven.

His gifts are the most outstanding results of his love for us and the richest presents he could possibly give us, and it is by virtue of such presents that the Blessed Virgin herself and all the saints are glorified in heaven. One day Blessed Angela of Foligno begged our Lord to let her know by which religious exercise she could honor him best. What can you ever do to return my lover for you? All the heavenly court also receive an added joy from the Mass. Several doctors of the Church, including St. Thomas, tell us that, for the same reason, all the blessed in heaven rejoice in the communion of the faithful because the Blessed Sacrament is a memorial of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and that by means of it men share in its fruits and work out their salvation.

Now the holy Rosary, recited with meditation on the sacred mysteries, is a sacrifice of praise to God for the great gift of our redemption and a holy reminder of the sufferings, death and glory of Jesus Christ. It is therefore true that the Rosary gives glory and added joy to our Lord, our Lady and all the blessed, because they cannot desire anything greater, for the sake of our eternal happiness, than to see us engaged in a practice which is so glorious for our Lord and so salutary for ourselves.

The Gospel teaches us that a sinner who is converted and who does penance gives joy to all the angels. If the repentance and conversion of one sinner is enough to make the angels rejoice, how great must be the happiness and jubilation of the whole heavenly court and what glory for our Blessed Lord himself to see us here on earth meditating devoutly and lovingly on his humiliations and torments and on his cruel and shameful death!

Is there anything that could touch our hearts more surely and bring us to sincere repentance? A Christian who does not meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary is very ungrateful to our Lord and shows how little he cares for all that our divine Savior has suffered to save the world. This attitude seems to show that he knows little or nothing of the life of Jesus Christ, and that he has never taken the trouble to find out what he has done and what he went through in order to save us. Let us meditate, then, on the life and sufferings of our Savior by means of the holy Rosary; let us learn to know him well and be grateful for all his blessings, so that, on the day of Judgement, he may number us among his children and his friends.

Saint Bernard began with this meditation and he always kept it up. I placed this bouquet upon my heart, thinking of the lashes, the thorns and the nails of his passion. I applied my whole mind to the meditation on these mysteries every day. This was also the practice of the holy martyrs; we admire how they triumphed over the most cruel sufferings.

Where could this admirable constancy of the martyrs come from, says Saint Bernard, if not from the wounds of Jesus Christ, on which they meditated so frequently? Where was the soul of these generous athletes when their blood gushed forth and their bodies were wracked with cruel torments?

Their soul was in the wounds of Christ and those wounds made them invincible. When she heard the angels sing their hymn of joy at his birth and saw the shepherds adore him in the stable, her heart was filled with wonder and she meditated on all these marvels. She compared the greatness of the Word incarnate to the way he humbled himself in this lowly fashion; the straw of the crib, to his throne in the heart of his Father; the might of God, to the weakness of a child; his wisdom, to his simplicity.

Saint Mary Magdalen continually performed the same religious exercises during the last thirty years of her life, when she lived at Saint-Baume. Saint Jerome tells us that this was the devotion of the faithful in the early centuries of the Church. From all the countries of the world they came to the Holy Land to engrave more deeply on their hearts a great love and remembrance of the Savior of mankind by seeing the places and things he had made holy by his birth, his work, his sufferings, and his death. All Christians have but one faith and adore one and the same God, and hope for the same happiness in heaven; they know only one mediator, who is Jesus Christ; all must imitate their divine model, and in order to do this they must meditate on the mysteries of his life, of his virtues and of his glory.

It is a great mistake to think that only priests and religious and those who have withdrawn from the turmoil of the world are supposed to meditate upon the truths of our faith and the mysteries of the life of Christ. If priests and religious have an obligation to meditate on the great truths of our holy religion in order to live up to their vocation worthily, the same obligation is just as much incumbent on the laity, because of the fact that every day they meet with spiritual dangers which might cause them to lose their souls.

Therefore they should arm themselves with the frequent meditation on the life, virtues, and sufferings of our Blessed Lord, which are presented to us in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Never will anyone be able to understand the marvelous riches of sanctification which are contained in the prayers and mysteries of the Holy Rosary. This meditation on the meditation on the mysteries of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the most wonderful fruits for those who make use of it. Today people want things that strike and move them, that leave deep impressions on the soul.

Now has there ever been anything in the history of the world more moving than the wonderful story of the life, death, and glory of our Savior which is contained in the holy Rosary? In the fifteen tableaux, the principal scenes or mysteries of his life unfold before our eyes. All our desires and all our needs are expressed in these two prayers. The meditation on the mysteries and prayers of the Rosary is the easiest of all prayers, because the diversity of the virtues of our Lord and the different situations of his life which we study, refresh and fortify our mind in a wonderful way and help us to avoid distractions.

For the learned, these mysteries are the source of the most profound doctrine, while simple people find them a means of instruction well within their reach. We need to learn this easy form of meditation before progressing to the highest state of contemplation. This is the view of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the advice that he gives when he says that, first of all, one must practise on a battlefield, as it were, by acquiring all the virtues of which we have the perfect model in the mysteries of the Rosary; for, says the learned Cajetan, that is the way we arrive at a really intimate union with God, since without that union contemplation is nothing but an illusion which can lead souls astray.

If only the Illuminists or Quietists of these days had followed this piece of advice, they would never have fallen so low or caused such scandals among spiritual people. To think that it is possible to say prayers that are finer and more beautiful than the Our Father and the Hail Mary is to fall a prey to a strange illusion of the devil, for these heavenly prayers are the support, the strength and the safeguard of our souls.

I admit it is not always necessary to say them as vocal prayers and that interior prayer is, in a sense, more perfect than vocal. But believe me, it is really dangerous, not to say fatal, to give up saying the Rosary of your own accord under the pretext of seeking a more perfect union with God. Sometimes a soul that is proud in a subtle way and who may have done everything that he can do interiorly to rise to the sublime heights of contemplation that the saints have reached may be deluded by the noonday devil into giving up his former devotions which are good enough for ordinary souls.

He turns a deaf ear to the prayers and the greeting of an angel and even to the prayer which God has composed, put into practice, and commanded: Thus all you pray: Our Father. Having reached this point, such a soul drifts from illusion to illusion, and falls from precipice to precipice.

Believe me, dear brother of the Rosary Confraternity, if you genuinely wish to attain a high degree of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the illusions of the devil so common with those who practice mental prayer, say the whole Rosary every day, or at least five decades of it. If you have already attained, by the grace of God, a high degree of prayer, keep up the practise of saying the holy Rosary if you wish to remain in that state and by it to grow in humility.

For never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil. This is a statement which I would sign with my blood. On the other hand, if God in his infinite mercy draws you to himself as forcibly as he did some of the saints while saying the Rosary, make yourself passive in his hands and let yourself be drawn towards him. Let God work and praying you and let him say your Rosary in his way, and that will be sufficient for the day.

But if you are still in the state of active contemplation or the ordinary prayer of quietude, or the presence of God, affective prayer, you have even less reason for giving up the Rosary. Far from making you lose ground in mental prayer or stunting your spiritual growth, it will be a wonderful help to you. Thus, without danger of being misled, you will easily arrive at the fullness of the age of Jesus Christ.

Whatever you do, do not be like a certain pious but self-willed lady in Rome, so often referred to by speakers on the Rosary. She was so devout and fervent that she put to shame by her holy life even the strictest religious in the church. Having decided to ask St. For penance he gave her one Rosary to say and advised her to say it every day.

She excused herself, saying that she had her regular exercises, that she made the Stations of Rome every day, that she wore sackcloth as well as a hair-shirt, that she gave herself the discipline several times a week, that she often fasted and did other penances.

Saint Dominic urged her over and over again to take his advice and say the Rosary, but she would not hear of it. She left the confessional, horrified at the methods of this new spiritual director who had tried so hard to persuade her to take up a devotion for which she had no taste. Later on, when she was at prayer she fell into ecstasy and had a vision of her soul appearing before the Supreme Judge. Saint Michael put all her penances and to her prayers on one side of the scale and all her sins and imperfections on the other.

The tray of her good works were greatly outweighed by that of her sins and imperfections. Filled with alarm, she cried out for mercy, imploring the help of the Blessed Virgin, her gracious advocate, who took the one and only Rosary she had said for her penance and dropped it on the tray of her good works. This one Rosary was so heavy that it weighed more than all her sins as well as her good works. Our Lady then reproved her for having refused to follow the counsel of her servant Dominic and for not saying the Rosary every day.

As soon as she came to herself she rushed and threw herself at the feet of Saint Dominic and told him all that had happened, begged his forgiveness and promised to say the Rosary faithfully every day. By this means she rose to Christian perfection and finally to the glory of everlasting life. You who are people of prayer, learn from this the power, the value and importance of this devotion of the holy Rosary when it is said with meditation on the mysteries.

Few saints have reached the same heights of prayer as Saint Mary Magdalen, who was lifted up to heaven by angels each day, and who had the privilege of learning at the feet of Jesus and his holy Mother. Yet one day, when she asked God to show her a sure way of advancing in his love and arriving at the heights of perfect, he sent the archangel St. So he placed a cross in the front of her cave and told her to pray before it, contemplating the sorrowful mysteries which she had seen take place with her own eyes.

The example of Saint Francis de Sales, the great spiritual director of his time, should spur you on to join the holy confraternity of the Rosary, since, great saint though he was, he bound himself by vow to say the whole Rosary every day as long as he lived. Saint Charles Borromeo also said it every day and strongly recommended this devotion to his priests and clerics in seminaries and to all his people. Blessed Pius V, one of the greatest popes who have ever ruled the Church, used to say the Rosary every day. Follow their example; your spiritual directors will be very pleased, and if they are aware of the benefits which you can derive from this devotion, they will be the first to urge you to adopt it.

To encourage you still more in this devotion practiced by so many holy people, I should like to add that the Rosary recited with the meditation of the mysteries brings about the following marvelous results:. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the science of Christians and the science of salvation; it surpasses, says Saint Paul, all human sciences in value and perfection:. Blessed is the Rosary which gives us this science and knowledge of our Blessed Lord through our meditations on his life, death, passion and glory. Our Lady revealed to Blessed Alan that no sooner had Saint Dominic begun preaching the Rosary than hardened sinners were touched and wept bitterly over their grievous sins.

Young children performed unbelievable penances, and everywhere he preached the Rosary such fervor was aroused that sinners changed their lives and edified everyone by their penances and the amendment of their lives. If by chance your conscience is burdened with sin, take your Rosary and say at least a part of it in honor of some of the mysteries of the life, passion, and glory of Jesus Christ, and you can be sure that, while you are meditating on these mysteries and honoring them, he will show his sacred wounds to his father in heaven.

He will plead for you and obtain for you contrition and the forgiveness of your sins. This life is a continual war and a series of temptations; we do not have to contend with enemies of flesh and blood, but with the very powers of hell. What better weapon could we possibly use to combat them than the prayer which our great Leader has taught us, than the Angelic Salutation which has put devils to flight, destroyed sin and renewed the world? What better weapon could we use than the meditation on the life and passion of Jesus Christ? For, as Saint Peter tells us, it is with this thought that we must arm ourselves, in order to defend ourselves against the very same enemies whom he has conquered and who molest us every day.

This is why even a pair of rosary beads is so terrible to the devil, and why the saints have used them to fetter him and drive him from the bodies of those who were possessed. Such happenings have been recorded more than once. Blessed Alan relates that a man he knew had tried desperately all kinds of devotions to rid himself of the evil spirit which possessed him, but without success.

Finally, he thought of wearing his rosary round his neck, which eased him considerably. He discovered that whenever he took it off the devil tormented him cruelly, so he resolved to wear it night and day. This drove the evil spirit away forever because he could not bear such a terrible chain. Blessed Alan also testifies that he delivered a great number of those who were possessed by putting a rosary around their necks.

Father Jean Amat, of the Order of St. Dominic, was giving a series of Lenten sermons in the Kingdom of Aragon one year, when a young girl was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. After he had exorcised her several times without success, he put his rosary round her neck. The very next night, when Fr. Amat was in bed, the same devils who had possession of the girl came to him, foaming with rage and tried to seize him. But he had his rosary clasped in his hand and no efforts of theirs could wrench it from him. These stories show the power of the holy Rosary in overcoming all sorts of temptations from the evil spirits and all sorts of sins, because these blessed beads of the Rosary put devils to rout.

Augustine assures us that there is no spiritual exercise more fruitful or more useful than the frequent reflection on the sufferings of our Lord. There are several true devotions to Our Lady: here I do not speak of those that are false. Devotion without Special Practices. The first consists in fulfilling our Christian duties, avoiding mortal sin, acting more out of love than fear, praying to Our Lady now and then, honoring her as the Mother of God, yet without having any special devotion to her.

Devotion with Special Practices. The second consists in entertaining for Our Lady more perfect feelings of esteem and love, of confidence and veneration. The third devotion to Our Lady, known and practiced by very few persons, is the one I am now about to disclose to you, predestinate soul. It consists in giving oneself entirely and as a slave to Mary, and to jesus through Mary; and after that to do all that we do, with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary. Scope: Total Surrender. We should choose a special feast-day on which to give, consecrate and sacrifice to Mary voluntarily, lovingly and without constraint, entirely and without reserve: our body and soul, our exterior property, such as house, family and income; and also our interior and spiritual possessions; namely, our merits, graces, virtues and satisfactions.

It should be observed here that by this devotion the soul sacrifices to Jesus, through Mary, all that it holds most dear, things of which even no religious order would require the sacrifice; namely, the right to dispose of ourselves, of the value of our prayers and alms, of our mortifications and satisfactions.

The soul leaves everything to be freely disposed of by Our Lady so that she may apply it all according to her own will for the greater glory of God, which she alone knows perfectly. Surrender of the Value of Our Good Works. We leave to her disposal all the satisfactory and impetratory value of our good works, so that after we have made the sacrifice of them—although not by vow—we are no longer the masters of any good works we may do; but Our Lady may apply them, sometimes for the relief or the deliverance of a soul in Purgatory, sometimes for the conversion of a poor sinner, etc.

By this devotion we also place our merits in the hands of Our Lady, but only that she may preserve, augment and embellish them, because we cannot communicate to one another either the merits of sanctifying grace or those of glory. However, we give her all our prayers and good works, inasmuch as they have an impetratory and satisfactory value, that she may distribute and apply them to whom she pleases.

If, after having thus consecrated ourselves to Our Lady, we desire to relieve a Soul in Purgatory, to save a sinner, or to assist a friend by our prayers, our alms-deeds, our mortifications and sacrifices, we must humbly ask it of Our Lady, abiding, however, by her decision, which remains unknown to us; and we must be fully persuaded that the value of our actions, being dispensed by the same hand which God Himself makes use of to distribute to us His graces and gifts, cannot fail to be applied for His greater glory.

Three Kinds of Slavery. I have said that this devotion consists in giving ourselves to Mary as slaves. The first is the slavery of nature; in this sense all men, good and bad alike, are slaves of God. The second is the slavery of constraint; the devils and the damned are slaves of God in this second sense. The third is the slavery of love and of free will; and this is the one by which we must consecrate ourselves to God through Mary.

It is the most perfect way for us human creatures to give ourselves to God our Creator. Servant and Slave. Notice again, that there is a great difference between a servant and a slave. A servant claims wages for his services; a slave has a right to none. A servant is free to leave his master when he likes—he serves him only for a time; a slave belongs to his master for life and has no right to leave him.

A servant does not give to his master the right of life and death over him; a slave gives himself up entirely, so that his master can put him to death without being molested by the law.

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It is easily seen, then, that he who is a slave by constraint is rigorously dependent on his master. Strictly speaking, a man must be dependent in that sense only on his Creator. Hence, we do not find that kind of slavery among Christians, but only among pagans. Happiness of the Slave of Love. But happy and a thousand times happy is the generous soul that consecrates itself entirely to Jesus through Mary as a slave of love after it has shaken off by Baptism the tyrannical slavery of the devil! I should require much supernatural light to describe perfectly the excellence of this practice.

Imitation of the Trinity. It Honors Jesus. To go to Jesus through Mary is truly to honor Jesus Christ, for it denotes that we do not esteem ourselves worthy of approaching His infinite holiness directly and by ourselves because of our sins; that we need Mary, His holy Mother, to be our advocate and Mediatrix with Him, our Mediator. It is to approach Jesus as our Mediator and Brother, and at the same time to humble ourselves before Him, as before our God and our Judge. In a word, it is to practice humility, which is always exceedingly pleasing to the heart of God. Let us pray, then, to our dear Mother and Queen, that having received our poor present, she may purify it, sanctify it, embellish it and thus render it worthy of God.

All that our soul possesses is of less value before God, the Heavenly Householder, when it comes to winning His friendship and favor, than a worm-eaten apple presented to the king by a poor farmer in payment of the rent of his farm. But what would such a farmer do if he were wise and if he were well liked by the queen?

Would he not give his apple to the queen? And would she not out of kindness to the poor man, as also out of respect for the king, remove from the apple all that is worm-eaten or spoiled, and then place it in a gold dish and surround it with flowers? Would the king refuse to accept the apple then? Or would he not rather receive it with joy from the hands of the queen, who favors that poor man? Great God, how insignificant everything that we do really is!

When we have given ourselves to Mary to the very utmost of our power, by despoiling ourselves completely in her honor, she will far outdo us in generosity and will repay us a hundredfold. Charity in the Highest Degree. Moreover, to give ourselves thus to Our Lady is to practice charity towards our neighbor in the highest possible degree, because we give her all that we hold most dear and let her dispose of it at her will in favor of the living and the dead.

It Increases the Grace of God in Us. One may see every day the cedars of Lebanon fall into the mire and the eagles, which had raised themselves to the sun, become birds of night; and so do a thousand of the just fall on my left hand and ten thousand on my right. But thou, my most powerful princess, sustain me lest I fall; keep all my possessions for fear I may be robbed of them. All I have I entrust to thee. I know well who thou art; therefore, I entrust myself entirely to thee; thou art faithful to God and to men; thou wilt not allow anything to perish that I entrust to thee; thou art powerful, and nothing can hurt thee nor rob thee of anything thou holdest in thy hands.

They express in substance all I have said. Were there but this one motive to incite in me a desire for this devotion—namely, that it is a sure means of keeping me in the grace of God and even of increasing that grace in me, my heart ought to burn with longing for it. It Renders the Soul Free. This devotion truly frees the soul with the liberty of the children of God. She delivers the soul from weariness, sadness and scruples. It was this devotion which Our Lord taught to Mother Agnes of Jesus 24 as a sure means of delivering her from the severe sufferings and perplexities which troubled her.

Obedience to the Counsels of the Church. To show that this devotion is rightfully authorized it would be necessary to mention the bulls of the Popes and the pastoral letters of the bishops, speaking in its favor; the indulgences granted to it; the confraternities established in its honor; the examples of the many Saints and illustrious persons who have practiced it. But all that I shall leave out. Its Guiding Formula. I have said that this devotion consists in doing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary.

Scope of This Formula. It is not enough to have given ourselves once as slaves to Jesus through Mary, nor is it enough to renew that act of consecration every month or every week. That alone would not make it a permanent devotion, nor could it bring the soul to that degree of perfection to which it is capable of raising it.

It is not very difficult to enroll ourselves in a confraternity, nor to practice this devotion in as far as it prescribes a few vocal prayers every day; but the great difficulty is to enter into its spirit. Now its spirit consists in this, that we be interiorly dependent on Mary; that we be slaves of Mary, and through her, of Jesus. I have found many people who, with admirable zeal, have adopted the exterior practices of this holy slavery of Jesus and Mary, but I have found only a few who have accepted its interior spirit, and still fewer who have persevered in it.

Act with Mary. The essential practice of this devotion is to do all our actions with Mary. This means that we must take Our Lady as the perfect model of all that we do. Before undertaking anything, we must renounce ourselves and our own views. We must have recourse to Our Lady, uniting ourselves to her and to her intentions, although they are not known to us; and through Mary we must unite ourselves to the intentions of Jesus Christ. In other words, we must place ourselves as instruments in the hands of Mary, that she may act in us and do with us and for us whatever she pleases, for the greater glory of her Son, and through the Son, for the glory of the Father; so that the whole work of our interior life and of our spiritual perfection is accomplished only by dependence on Mary.

Act in Mary. We must do all things in Mary; 26 that is to say, we must become accustomed little by little to recollect ourselves interiorly and thus try to form within us some idea or spiritual image of Mary. In short, Mary will be the only means used by our soul in dealing with God; she will be our universal refuge. If we pray, we will pray in Mary; if we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we will place Him in Mary, so that He may take His delight in her; if we do anything at all, we will act in Mary; everywhere and in all things we will renounce ourselves. Act through Mary.

We must never go to Our Lord except through Mary, through her intercession and her influence with Him. We must never be without. Mary when we pray to Jesus. Act for Mary. This means that as slaves of this august princess, we must work only for her, for her interests and her glory—making this the immediate end of all our actions—and for the glory of God, which must be their final end. In everything we do, we must renounce our self-love, because very often self-love sets itself up in an imperceptible manner as the end of our actions.

It is for thee that I go here or there; for thee that I do this or that; for thee that I suffer this pain or wrong. Beware, predestinate soul, of believing that it is more perfect to go straight to Jesus, straight to God. Moreover, do not try to feel and enjoy what you say and do, but say and do everything with that pure faith which Mary had on earth and which she will communicate to you in due time.

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That is the best you can do for the time being. Take great care also not to torment yourself should you not enjoy immediately the sweet presence of the Blessed Virgin in your soul, for this is a grace not given to all; and even when God, out of His great mercy, has thus favored a soul, it is always very easy to lose this grace, unless by frequent recollection the soul remains alive to that interior presence of Mary.

Should this misfortune befall you, return calmly to your Sovereign Queen and make amends to her. Experience will teach you much more about this devotion than I can tell you; and if you remain faithful to the little I have taught you, you will find so many rich fruits of grace in this practice that you will be surprised and filled with joy. Ambrose says. This devotion, faithfully practiced, produces many happy effects in the soul.

And when, by an unspeakable yet real grace, the Blessed Virgin is Queen in a soul, what wonders does she not work there! She is the worker of great wonders, particularly in our soul, but she works them in secret, in a way unknown to the soul itself, for were it to know, it might destroy the beauty of her works. As Mary is the fruitful Virgin everywhere, she produces in the soul wherein she dwells purity of heart and body, purity of intention and of purpose, and fruitfulness in good works. Do not think, dear soul, that Mary, the most fruitful of all pure creatures, who has brought forth even a God, remains idle in a faithful soul.

She will cause Jesus Christ to live in that soul, and the soul to live in constant union with Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is the fruit of Mary in each individual soul, as well as in all souls in general, He is, however, her fruit and her masterpiece more particularly in a soul in which she dwells. Mary Becomes Everything to That Soul. In fine, Mary becomes everything to that soul in the service of Jesus Christ. But why dwell any longer on this? Only experience can teach the wonders wrought by Mary, wonders so great that neither the wise nor the proud, nor even many of the devout can believe them.

Through Mary, Jesus Will Reign. As it is through Mary that God came into the world the first time, in a state of humiliation and annihilation, may we not say that it is through Mary also that He will come the second time, as the whole Church expects Him to come, to rule everywhere and to judge the living and the dead? Who knows how and when that will be accomplished? I do know that God, Whose thoughts are as far removed from ours as Heaven is distant from the earth, will come in a time and a manner that men expect the least, even those who are most learned and most versed in Holy Scripture, which is very obscure on this subject.

We ought also to believe that toward the End of Time, and perhaps sooner than we think, God will raise up great men full of the Holy Ghost and imbued with the spirit of Mary, through whom this powerful Sovereign will work great wonders in the world, so as to destroy sin and to establish the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, her Son, upon the ruins of the kingdom of this corrupt world; and these holy men will succeed by means of this devotion, of which I do but give here the outline and which my deficiency only impairs.

Besides the interior practice of this devotion, of which we have just spoken, there are also certain exterior practices, which we must neither omit nor neglect. Consecration and Renewal. The first one is to choose a special feast-day on which to consecrate ourselves to Jesus through the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose slaves we make ourselves. On the same day we should receive Holy Communion for that intention, and spend the day in prayer. At least once a year, on the same day, we should renew our act of consecration.

A Token of Our Servitude. The second one is to pay to Our Lady, every year on that same day, some little tribute, as a token of our servitude and dependence; such has always been the homage paid by slaves to their masters. That tribute may consist of an act of mortification, an alms, a pilgrimage or some prayers. Marino, we are told by his brother, St.

Peter Damian, was wont to take the discipline in public every year on the same day before the altar of Our Lady. Such zeal is not required, nor do we counsel it; but if we give but little to Mary, let us at least offer it with a humble and grateful heart. Celebration of the Annunciation. The third practice is to celebrate every year, with special devotion, the feast of the Annunciation, which is the patronal feast of this devotion and was established to honor and imitate the dependence in which the Eternal Word placed Himself on that day out of love for us.

Recitation of the Little Crown and the Magnificat. The fourth external practice is to say every day the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, which is composed of three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys; also, often to recite the Magnificat, which is the only hymn of Mary that we possess, to thank God for His graces in the past and to beg of Him fresh blessings for the present. Above all, we ought not to fail to say this hymn in thanksgiving after Holy Communion. The learned Gerson tells us that Our Lady herself was wont to recite it after Communion.

Viewer Questions 11: Preparing for Ascension

Predestinate soul, have you understood, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, what I have tried to explain to you in the preceding pages? If so, be thankful to God, for it is a secret known and understood by only a few. If you have found the treasure hidden in the field of Mary, the precious pearl of the Gospel, sell all that you have in order to buy it. You must make the sacrifice of yourself to the Blessed Mother, you must disappear in her, so that you may find God alone. If the Holy Ghost has planted in your soul the true Tree of Life, which is the devotion that I have just explained to you, you must do all you can to cultivate it, in order that it may yield its fruit in due season.

No Human Support. This Tree, once planted in a faithful heart, requires the open air and freedom from all human support. Being Heavenly, it must be kept clear from any creatures that might prevent it from lifting itself to God, in Whom its origin lies. Hence, you must not rely on your own skill or your natural talents, on your own repute or the protection of men. You must have recourse to Mary and rely on her help alone. Constant Concern of the Soul. The one in whose soul this Tree is planted must, like a good gardener, constantly watch over it and tend it, for it is a Tree that has life and is capable of yielding the fruit of life.

Therefore, it must be cultivated and raised by the steady care and application of the soul; and the soul that would become perfect will make this its chief aim and occupation. Violence to Oneself. Whatever is likely to choke the Tree or in the course of time prevent its yielding its fruit, such as thorns and thistles, must be cut away and rooted out.

This means that by mortification and doing violence to ourselves, we must suppress and renounce all useless pleasures and vain traffic with creatures. In other words, we must crucify the flesh, keep recollected and mortify our senses. No Self-Love. You must also keep watch on insects which might do harm to the Tree.

These insects are self- love or love of comfort. They eat away the foliage of the Tree and destroy the fair hopes it gives of yielding fruit, for self-love is opposed to the love of Mary. Horror of Sin. You must not allow destructive animals to approach the Tree of Life. By these animals are meant all sins.

They may kill the Tree of Life by their touch alone. Even their breath must be kept away from it, namely, venial sins, for they are most dangerous if committed without regret. Fidelity to Religious Practices. It is also necessary to water this Heavenly Tree often with the fervor of piety in our religious practices, in our Confessions and Communions, in all our prayers, both public and private; otherwise, it will stop yielding fruit. Peace in Trials. Do not become alarmed when the Tree is moved and shaken by the wind, for it is necessary that the storms of temptation should threaten to uproot it, that snow and ice should cover it, so as, if possible, to destroy it.

This means that this devotion will of necessity be attacked and contradicted, but provided we persevere in cultivating it in our souls, we need not fear. Its Fruit: Our Lord. Predestinate soul, if you thus cultivate the Tree of Life, freshly planted in your soul by the Holy Ghost, I assure you that in a short time it will grow so tall that the birds of Heaven will come to dwell in it. It will be a good tree, yielding fruit of honor and grace in due season, namely, the sweet and adorable Jesus, who always has been, and always will be, the only fruit of Mary. Before Communion. You must humble yourself most profoundly before God.

You must renounce your corrupt interior, and your dispositions, however good your own self-love may make them look. You must renew your consecration by saying, Tuus totus ego sum , et Omnia mea tua sunt —I am all thine, my dear Mistress, with all I have. You must implore that good Mother to lend you her heart, that you may receive her Son there with the same dispositions as her own.

But if she will come and dwell with you, in order to receive her Son, she can do so by the dominion which she has over all hearts; and her Son will be well received by her, without stains, and without danger of being outraged or destroyed. Deus in medio ejus , non commovebitur. You will tell her confidently, that all you have given her of your good is a little matter to honour her; but that by the Holy Communion you wish to make her the same present as the Eternal Father gave her, and that you will honour her more by that than if you gave her all the goods in the world; and, finally, that Jesus, who loves her alone, still desires to take His pleasure and His repose in her, even in your soul, though it be filthier far and poorer than the stable where He made no difficulty to come, simply because she was there.

You will ask her for her heart by these tender words: Accipio te in mea omnia , prcebe mihi cor tuum, O Maria! At Communion. On the point of receiving Jesus Christ, after the Our Father, you say three times, Domine non sum dignus. Tenui eum , nec dimittam donec introducam illum in domum matris mece , et in cubiculum genitricis mece Cant. You will pray Him to rise, and come to the place of His repose, and into the ark of His Sanctification: Surge , Domine , in requiem tuam , tu et arca sanctificationis tuce.

Tell Him you put no confidence at all in your own merits, your own strength, and your own preparations, as Esau did; but that you trust only in Mary, your dear Mother, as the little Jacob did in the cares of Rebecca. Tell Him that, sinner and Esau as you are, you dare to approach His Sanctity, supported and adorned, as you are, with the virtues of His holy Mother.

You shall say with St. Bernard, Hcec mea maxima fiducia , h cec tota ratio spei mece. You can pray even Him to come Himself in Mary, His indissoluble Spouse, telling Him that her bosom is as pure, and her heart as burning as ever; and that without His descent into your soul neither Jesus nor Mary will be formed, nor yet worthily lodged. After Holy Communion. After Holy Communion, while you are inwardly recollected and holding your eyes shut, you will introduce Jesus into the heart of Mary.

You will give Him to His Mother, who will receive Him lovingly, will place Him honourably, will adore Him profoundly, will love Him perfectly, will embrace Him closely, and will render to Him, in spirit and in truth, many homages which are unknown to us in our thick darkness. Or else you will keep yourself profoundly humbled in your heart, in the presence of Jesus residing in Mary.

The way of ascension, preparing for Planetary and Personal Ascension

There are an infinity of other thoughts which the Holy Ghost furnishes, and will furnish you, if you are thoroughly interior, mortified, and faithful to this grand and sublime devotion which I have been teaching you. But always remember that the more you leave Mary to act in your Communion, the more Jesus will be glorified. The more you leave Mary to act for Jesus, and Jesus to act in Mary, the more profoundly will you humble yourself, and will listen to them in peace and silence, without putting yourself in trouble about seeing, tasting, or feeling; for the just man lives throughout on faith, and particularly in Holy Communion, which is an action of faith.

Justus meus ex fide vivit. This is evidenced from the fact that the Saint himself advocates a serious preparation consisting of twelve preliminary days, in which the soul endeavours to rid itself of the spirit of the world as opposed to the spirit of Christ. This is followed by three weeks of prayer and meditation during which the soul strives to acquire a better knowledge of self First Week , of Mary Second Week , and of Jesus Christ Third Week.

This culminates in the final Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin that you may renew yearly or monthly, or even every day by giving all your actions to Mary. One of the most fruitful ways to carry out this consecration in your every-day life is to say the Holy Rosary every day.

This purity is the indispensable condition for contemplating God in heaven, to see Him on earth and to know Him by the light of faith. The first part of the preparation should be employed in casting off the spirit of the world which is contrary to that of Jesus Christ.

The spirit of the world consists essentially in the denial of the supreme dominion of God; a denial which is manifested in practice by sin and disobedience; thus it is principally opposed to the spirit of Christ, which is also that of Mary. It manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life. Its works are: sin in all forms, then all else by which the devil leads to sin; works which bring error and darkness to the mind, and seduction and corruption to the will.

Its pomps are the splendor and the charms employed by the devil to render sin alluring in persons, places and things. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?

It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.

I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Veni Creator Spiritus. Ave Maris Stella. Glory Be. Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men.

Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.

And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like to them, for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him. Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation.

But deliver us from evil. For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences. Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye?

Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you. Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?

Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him? All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

That man has no good of himself, and that he cannot glory in anything Lord, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him; or the son of man, that Thou visit him? What has man deserved that Thou should give him grace? Lord, what cause have I to complain, if Thou forsakest me, or what can I justly allege, if what I petition Thou shalt not grant? This most assuredly, I may truly think and say: Lord I am nothing, I can do nothing of myself, that is good, but I am in all things defective and ever tend to nothing.

And unless I am assisted and interiorly instructed by Thee, I become wholly tepid and relaxed, but Thou, O Lord, art always the same, and endurest unto eternity, ever good, just and holy, doing all things well, justly and holily and disposing them in wisdom.

But I who am more inclined to go back, than to go forward, continue not always in one state, for I am changed, seven different times. He who would be too secure in time of peace will often be found too much dejected in time of war. If you could always continue to be humble and little in your own eyes, and keep your spirit in due order and subjection, you would not fall so easily into danger and offense.

It is good counsel that, when you have conceived the spirit of fervor, you should meditate how it will be when that light shall be withdrawn. Wherefore, but I did know well, how to cast from me all human comfort, either for the sake of devotion, or through the necessity by which I am compelled to seek Thee, because there is no man that can comfort me. Then might I deservedly hope in Thy favor, and rejoice in the gift of a new consolation.

Thanks be to Thee from Whom all things proceed, as often as it happens to me. I, indeed, am but vanity, and nothing in Thy sight , an inconstant and weak man. Where, therefore, can I glory, or for what do I desire to be thought of highly? Forsooth of my very nothingness; and this is most vain. Truly vainglory is an evil plague, because it draws away from true glory, and robs us of heavenly grace.

For, while a man takes complacency in himself, he displeases Thee; while he wants for human applause, he is deprived of true virtues. To find pleasure in no creature, save only for Thy sake. Let Thy Name be praised, not mine; let Thy work be magnified, not mine; let Thy Holy Name be blessed, but let nothing be attributed to me of the praise of men. Thou art my glory; Thou art the exultation of my heart; in Thee, will I glory and rejoice all the day; but for myself, I will glory in nothing but in my infirmities.

On the Example of the Holy Fathers. Look upon the lively examples of the holy Fathers in whom shone real perfection and the religious life, and you will see how little it is, and almost nothing that we do. Alas, what is our life when we compare it with theirs? Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness, in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches.

Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the Martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them in life everlasting. Oh what a strict and self-renouncing life the holy Fathers of the desert led! What long and grievous temptations did they bear! How often were they harassed by the enemy, what frequent and fervent prayers did they offer up to God, what rigorous abstinence did they practice!

What a valiant contest waged they to subdue their imperfections! What purity and straightforwardness of purpose kept they towards God! By day they labored, and much of the night they spent in prayer; though while they labored, they were far from leaving off mental prayer. They spent all their time profitably. Every hour seemed short to spend with God; and even their necessary bodily refreshment was forgotten in the great sweetness of contemplation. They renounced all riches, dignities, honors and kindred; they hardly took what was necessary for life.

It grieved them to serve the body even in its necessity. Accordingly, they were poor in earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtues. Outwardly they suffered want, but within they were refreshed with grace and Divine consolation. They were aliens to the world; they seemed as nothing and the world despised them; but they were precious and beloved in the sight of God. They persevered in true humility, they lived in simple obedience, they walked in charity and patience, and so every day they advanced in spirit and gained great favor with God.

They were given for example to all religious, and ought more to excite us to advance in good, than the number of lukewarm to induce us to grow remiss. Oh, how great was their devotion in prayer, how great was their zeal for virtue! How vigorous the discipline that was kept up, what reverence and obedience, under the rule of the superior, flourished in all! Their traces that remain still bear witness, that they were truly holy and perfect men who did battle so stoutly, and trampled the world under their feet.

Now, he is thought great who is not a transgressor; and who can, with patience, endure what he has undertaken. Ah, the lukewarmness and negligence of our state! Oh that advancement in virtue be not quite asleep in thee, who has so often seen the manifold examples of the devout! As long as we live in this world, we cannot be without temptations and tribulations.

No one is so perfect and holy as sometimes not to have temptations and we can never be wholly free from them. Nevertheless, temptations are very profitable to man, troublesome and grievous though they may be, for in them, a man is humbled, purified and instructed. All the Saints passed through many tribulations and temptations and were purified by them. And they that could not support temptations, became reprobate, and fell away.

Many seek to flee temptations, and fall worse into them. We cannot conquer by flight alone, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. He who only declines them outwardly, and does not pluck out their root, will profit little; nay, temptations will sooner return and he will find himself in a worse condition. Take council the oftener in temptation, and do not deal harshly with one who is tempted; but pour in consolation, as thou wouldst wish to be done unto yourself.

Inconstancy of mind and little confidence in God, is the beginning of all temptations. For as a ship without a helm is driven to and fro by the waves, so the man who neglects and gives up his resolutions is tempted in many ways. Fire tries iron, and temptation a just man. We often know not what we are able to do, but temptations discover what we are. Still, we must watch, especially in the beginning of temptation; for then the enemy is more easily overcome, if he be not suffered to enter the door of the mind, but is withstood upon the threshold the very moment he knocks. The longer anyone has been slothful in resisting, so much the weaker he becomes, daily in himself, and the enemy, so much the stronger in him.

Some suffer grievous temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others in the end and others are troubled nearly their whole life. We must not, therefore, despair when we are tempted, but the more fervently pray to God to help us in every tribulation: Who, of a truth, according to the sayings of St.

Paul, will make such issue with the temptation, that we are able to sustain it. Let us then humble our souls under the hand of God in every temptation and tribulation, for the humble in spirit, He will save and exalt. In temptation and tribulations, it is proved what progress man has made; and there also is great merit, and virtue is made more manifest. That it is sweet to despise the world and to serve God.

But what art Thou, for those who love Thee? What, to those who serve Thee with their whole heart? Unspeakable indeed is the sweetness of Thy contemplation, which Thou bestowest on those who love Thee. In this most of all hast Thou showed me the sweetness of Thy love, that when I had no being, Thou didst make me; and when I was straying far from Thee, Thou brought me back again, that I might serve Thee: and Thou hast commanded me to serve Thee. O Fountain of everlasting love, what shall I say of Thee? How can I forget Thee, Who hast vouchsafed to remember me even after I was corrupted and lost?

Beyond all hope Thou showest mercy to Thy servant; and beyond all desert, hast Thou manifested Thy grace and friendship. What return shall I make to Thee for this favor? For it is granted to all who forsake these things, to renounce the world, and to assume the monastic life. Is it much that I should serve Thee, Whom the whole creation is bound to serve? It ought not to seem much to me to serve Thee; but this does rather appear great and wonderful to me, that Thou vouchsafest to receive one so wretched and unworthy as Thy servant. It is a great honor, a great glory, to serve Thee, and to despise all things for Thee, for they who willingly subject themselves to Thy holy service, shall have great grace.

They shall experience the most sweet consolation of the Holy Spirit, Who for the love of Thee, have cast aside all carnal delight. On the Fervent Amendment of our Whole Life. Do now what you would do, and thou shall be perfectly secure. He no longer wished for curious things; searching to find out what would happen to him, but studied rather to learn what was the acceptable and perfect will of God for the beginning and the perfection of every good work. And assuredly they especially advance beyond others in virtues, who strive the most manfully to overcome the very things which are the hardest and most contrary to them.

For there a man does profit more and merit more abundant grace, when he does most to overcome himself and mortify his spirit. All have not, indeed, equal difficulties to overcome and mortify, but a diligent and zealous person will make a greater progress though he have more passions than another, who is well regulated but less fervent in the pursuit of virtues.

But if thou observest anything worthy of reproof, beware thou do not the same. And if at any time thou hast done it, labor quickly to amend thyself. As thine eye observeth others, so art thou by others noted again. How sweet and pleasant a thing it is, to see brethren fervent and devout, obedient and well-disciplined! How sad and grievous a thing it is, to see them walk disorderly, not applying themselves to that for which they are called! How hurtful a thing it is, when they neglect the purpose of their calling and busy themselves in things not committed to their care!

Be mindful of the purpose thou hast embraced, and set always before thee the image of the Crucified. Good cause thou hast to be ashamed in looking upon the life of Jesus Christ, seeing thou hast not as yet endeavored to conform thyself more unto Him, though thou hast been a long time in the way of God. A religious person that exercizeth himself seriously and devoutly in the most holy life and passion of our Lord, shall there abundantly find whatsoever is profitable and necessary for him, neither shall he need to seek any better thing, besides Jesus.

O if Jesus crucified would come into our hearts, how quickly and fully should we be. A man fervent and diligent is prepared for all things. It is harder toil to resist vices and passions, than to sweat in bodily labors. He that avoideth not small faults, by little and little falleth into greater. Thou wilt always rejoice in the evening, if thou spend the day profitably. Be watchful over thyself, stir up thyself, warn thyself, and whatsoever becometh of others, neglect not thyself. The more violent thou uses against thyself, the more shalt thou progress.

PRAYERS, examinations, reflection, acts of renouncement of our own will, of contrition for our sins, of contempt of self, all performed at the feet of Mary, for it is from her that we hope for light to know ourselves. It is near her, that we shall be able to measure the abyss of our miseries without despairing. We should employ all our pious actions in asking for a knowledge of ourselves and contrition of our sins: and we should do this in a spirit of piety.

During this period, we shall consider not so much the opposition that exists between the spirit of Jesus and ours, as the miserable and humiliating state to which our sins have reduced us. Moreover, the True Devotion being an easy, short, sure and perfect way to arrive at that union with Our Lord which is Christlike perfection, we shall enter seriously upon this way, strongly convinced of our misery and helplessness.

And it came to pass, that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.

And he said to them: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves, Because a friend of mine is come off his journey to me, and I have not what to set before him. And he from within should answer, and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth.

And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Litany of the Holy Ghost. My son, he that endeavoreth to withdraw himself from obedience, withdraweth himself from grace; and he who seeketh for himself private benefit Matt.

He that doth not cheerfully and freely submit himself to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not as yet perfectly obedient unto him, but oftentimes kicketh and murmureth against him. Learn thou therefore quickly to submit thyself to thy superior, if thou desire to keep thine own flesh under the yoke. For more speedily is the outward enemy overcome, if the inward man be not laid waste. There is no worse nor more troublesome enemy to the soul than thou art unto thyself, if thou be not well in harmony with the Spirit.

It is altogether necessary that thou take up a true contempt for thyself, if thou desire to prevail against flesh and blood. Because as yet thou lovest thyself too inordinately, therefore thou art afraid to resign thyself wholly to the will of others. I became of all men the most humble and the most abject Luke ; John , that thou mightest overcome thy pride with My humility. O dust! Learn to humble thyself, thou earth and clay, and to bow thyself down under the feet of all men.

Learn to break thine own wishes, and to yield thyself to all subjection. And there were present, at that very time, some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things? No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them: think you, that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. We Need Mary in order to Die to Ourselves. Secondly, in order to empty ourselves of self, we must die daily to ourselves. This involves our renouncing what the powers of the soul and the senses of the body incline us to do. We must see as if we did not see, hear as if we did not hear and use the things of this world as if we did not use them.

This is what St. If we do not die to self and if our holiest devotions do not lead us to this necessary and fruitful death, we shall not bear fruit of any worth and our devotions will cease to be profitable. All our good works will be tainted by self-love and self-will so that our greatest sacrifices and our best actions will be unacceptable to God.

Consequently when we come to die we shall find ourselves devoid of virtue and merit and discover that we do not possess even one spark of that pure love which God shares only with those who have died to themselves and whose life is hidden with Jesus Christ in him. Thirdly, we must choose among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin the one which will lead us more surely to this dying to self. This devotion will be the best and the most sanctifying for us. During the first week they should offer up all their prayers and acts of devotion to acquire knowledge of themselves and sorrow for their sins.

Let them perform all their actions in a spirit of humility. With this end in view they may, if they wish, meditate on what I have said concerning our corrupted nature, and consider themselves during six days of the week as nothing but sails, slugs, toads, swine, snakes and goats. Or else they may meditate on the following three considerations of St. They will turn to our Blessed Lady and beg her to obtain for them that great grace which is the foundation of all others, the grace of self-knowledge. Imitation of Christ: Book 2, Chapter 5. We cannot trust over much to ourselves Jer.

Little light is there in us, and this we quickly lose by our negligence. Oftentimes too we perceive not our inward blindness how great it is. Oftentimes we do evil, and excuse it worse Psalm We are sometimes moved with passion, and we think it zeal. We reprehend small things in others, and pass over our own greater matters Matt. Quickly enough we feel and weigh what we suffer at the hands of others; but we mind not how much others suffer from us.

He that well and rightly considereth his own works, will find little cause to judge hardly of another. Of Judgment, and the Punishment of Sinners. In all things look to the end; and how thou wilt stand before that strict Judge Heb. O wretched and foolish sinner, who sometimes art in terror at the countenance of an angry man, what answer wilt thou make to God who knoweth all thy wickedness Job ! Why dost thou not provide for thyself Luke against the day of judgement, when no man can be excused of defended by another, but every one shall be a sufficient burden for himself!

And he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed.

I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat.

He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.

Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him: and if he do penance, forgive him. And if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day be converted unto thee, saying, I repent; forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith. And the Lord said: If you had faith like to a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this mulberry tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou transplanted into the sea: and it would obey you.

But which of you having a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle, will say to him, when he is come from the field: Immediately go, sit down to meat: And will not rather say to him: Make ready my supper, and gird thyself, and serve me, whilst I eat and drink, and afterwards thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant, for doing the things which he commanded him?

I think not. So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do. Imitation of Christ: Book 3, Chapter My son, be not wearied out by the labors which thou hast undertaken for My sake, nor let tribulation cast thee down ever at all; but let My promise strengthen and comfort thee under every circumstance.

I am well able to reward thee, above all measure and degree. Thou shalt not long toil here, nor always be oppressed with griefs. Wait a little while, and thou shalt see a speedy end of thine evils. And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them.

Which when the disciples saw, they rebuked them. But Jesus, calling them together, said: Suffer children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it. And a certain ruler asked him, saying: Good master, what shall I do to possess everlasting life? And Jesus said to him: Why dost thou call me good? None is good but God alone.

Thou knowest the commandments: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Honour thy father and mother. Who said: All these things have I kept from my youth. Which when Jesus had heard, he said to him: Yet one thing is wanting to thee: sell all whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

He having heard these things, became sorrowful; for he was very rich. And Jesus seeing him become sorrowful, said: How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.

The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension
The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension
The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension
The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension
The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension The Book Of Secrets III: Preparing For Ascension

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