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to Blessed Angela of Foligno: "I have offered myself for thee, that thou mayest offer thyself to "me." Yes, my Jesus, since thou hast offered thy life to thy Eternal Father for me, I offer my life and my whole self to thee. Hitherto I have most ungratefully despised thee, but thou hast promised to forget the crimes of him who repents; O Jesus, I do sincerely repent of all my sins, and would willingly die of sorrow for them. I was dead in my sins, but now I hope for life from thee, and my life shall be to love thee, my sovereign good. Grant that I may love thee, I ask no more. the good things of this world, dispense them to those who desire them; my only desire is the treasure of thy love. O Jesus, thou art my all. O Mary, my Queen and my Mother, through you do I hope for every good.
On St. Joseph.
I. TO be convinced how much the intercession of St. Joseph prevails with Jesus Christ, we have only to consider these words of the Evangelist : “And he was subject to them." The Son of God employed thirty years in assiduously obeying Joseph and Mary! It was sufficient for Joseph by the least word or sign to show that he wished him to do anything, Jesus immediately obeyed. This humble obedience of Jesus teaches us that the dignity of Joseph is above that of all the other saints, except that of the Queen of the saints.
II. Let us hear what St. Teresa says of the confidence which all should place in the protection of St. Joseph: "To the other saints," she says, "it ap
pears that the Lord may have granted to succour "us on particular occasions; but to this saint, as experience proves, he has granted to help us on "all occasions. Our Lord would teach us, that as "he was pleased to be subject to Joseph upon "the earth, so he is now pleased to grant whatever "this saint asks for in heaven. Others whom I "have recommended to have recourse to Joseph, " have known this from experience. I never knew any one who was particularly devout to him, and "did not continually advance more and more in "virtue. For the love of God, let him who be"lieves not this, make his own trial. And I do "not know how any one can think of the Queen "of angels, at the time when she laboured so much "in the infancy and childhood of Jesus, and not "return thanks to Joseph for the assistance which "he rendered both to the Mother and to the Son."
III. We should be particularly devout to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death. He, from having preserved the child Jesus from the snares of his enemies, has the particular privilege of delivering those who are dying from the snares of the devil. Besides, from the assistance which he rendered for so many years to Jesus and to Mary in providing them by his own labour with food and lodging, he has the privilege of obtaining for those who are devout to him at the time of their death, a particular assistance from Jesus and Mary. My holy protector, St. Joseph, by my sins I have deserved an evil death; but if you defend me, I shall not be lost. You have not only been a great friend of my Judge, but also his guardian and foster father, recommend me therefore to your divine Jesus, who so much loves you. I place myself under your protection, accept of me for your constant servant. And through that holy company which you enjoyed in the life of Jesus and Mary, obtain
for me from God that I may never be separated from their love. And through the assistance which Jesus and Mary rendered you at your death, obtain for me a particular assistance at the hour of my death, from Jesus and Mary. Holy Virgin, through the love which you cherished towards your spouse Joseph, fail not to assist me at the hour of my death.
On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.
I. IT being the will of God to send his Son made flesh into the world to save lost man, God chose a virgin for his mother, who of all virgins was the most pure, the most holy, and the most humble. While Mary was praying in her house for the coming of the Messias, an angel saluted her, saying: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. St. Luke i. How great was the humiliation of this virgin in hearing herself thus commended! She was not elated, but troubled and silent: "She was troubled "at his saying." O Mary, are you so humble, and shall I be so proud? O obtain for me, I beseech you, the holy virtue of humility.
II. Did these praises lead her to suppose that she might perhaps be destined to become the mother of the promised Redeemer? No, they only made her conceive a great fear of herself; so that it was necessary for the angel to encourage her, saying: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace with "God." And then he announced to her that she had been chosen to become the mother of the Saviour of the world: Behold thou shalt conceive in
thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou "shalt call his name Jesus." O most blessed Mary! how were you then and are you still dear to God! have pity on me.
III. Why, says St. Bernard, O most holy Virgin, why do you hesitate to give your consent? The Word eternal waits to clothe himself with human flesh and to become your Son: we also all wait, who are condemned to eternal death; if you consent to become his mother, we shall all be redeemHasten, most blessed Lady, to reply; do not delay the salvation of the world, which depends upon your consent. But to our great joy, Mary replies: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it "done unto me according to thy word." As if she had said; behold me the slave of the Lord, ready to perform whatever the Lord requires of me: if he has chosen a slave for his mother, let not the slave be praised, but only the bounty of the Lord for thus honouring her. O most humble Mary, you became by your humility so pleasing to God, as to induce him to make you the Mother of his Son our Redeemer. I know that your Son denies you nothing that you ask of him; beseech him therefore to pardon me all my sins; beseech him to grant me his holy love; beseech him to enable me to persevere in virtue until the end of my life. In a word, recommend my poor soul to him: your recommendation will not be disregarded by a Son who so tenderly loves you. O Mary, through your holy intercession I hope to obtain the grace to secure my salvation.
ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST,
For the last fifteen days of Lent.
SATURDAY BEFORE PASSION SUNDAY.
On Jesus entering in triumph into Jerusalem.
I. OUR Blessed Redeemer, the time of his passion being near at hand, leaves Bethania to come to Jerusalem. When he is nigh to that ungrateful city, and beholds it, he weeps: Seeing the city he wept over it. St. Luke xix. 14. He weeps at beholding her, because he foresees the sad ruin her children will soon bring upon her and upon themselves, by the excesses of iniquity which they are about to commit in putting to death the Son of God. O my Jesus! in weeping over Jerusalem, thou weepest also over my soul, at the sight of my sins, by which I have obliged thee to condemn me to hell, after having died to save me. Cease to weep for the evil which I have committed by despising thee, my sovereign good; and have compassion on me.
II. Jesus Christ enters into the city; the people meet him and receive him with gladness and delight. To do him honour, some of them strew palm branches in the way, while others spread their garments for him to pass over. Oh! who will now say that this Lord, acknowledged as he now is for the Messias, and received with such distinguished marks of respect, will soon have to return the same way to execution, carrying a heavy cross upon his