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thee: ask of me what thou wilt, and as much as thou wilt, and thou shalt be heard. Oh what treasures of grace are lost by those who offer but few prayers to God after Communion!
Affections and Prayers.
O GOD of love, dost thou so much desire to dispense thy graces to us, and are we careless in seeking for them? How great will be our distress when we come to die, to think of this neglect so pernicious to us! Forget, O Lord, what is past; for the future with thy holy assistance I will prepare myself in a better manner, by being careful to take off my affections from everything that can hinder me from receiving all those graces which thou desirest to impart to me. And, after Communion, I will endeavour as far as I am able, to obtain thy help to advance in thy love. Do thou give me grace to do this. O my Jesus, how careless have I hitherto been in loving thee! The time of life which in thy mercy thou dost allot me, is the time to prepare myself for death, and to make amends for the offences I have committed against thee. I desire to spend it all in bewailing my sins and in loving thee. I love thee, O Jesus, my love, I love thee, my only good; have pity on me and do not abandon me. And O Blessed Virgin Mary, never cease to succour me with your holy intercession.
On the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin.
I. MARY set out from Nazareth to go to the city of Hebron, distant seventy miles, that is, at least seven days journey, over rugged mountains, and without any other companion but her spouse Joseph. The holy Virgin made haste, as the Evangelist records: Mary went into the hill country with haste. St. Luke i. 39. Tell us, O Blessed Lady, why you undertake so long and painful a journey, and why you are in such haste on your way? I am going, she replies, to do my office of exercising charity, I am going to console a family. If then, O holy Mother of God, your office is to console us, and to dispense favours to our souls, Oh come and visit and console my poor soul. Your visit sanctified the house of Elizabeth; come, O Mary, and sanctify me also.
II. The Holy Virgin arrived at the house of Elizabeth. She was already become Mother of God, but she was the first to salute her relation : "She entered and saluted Elizabeth." Elizabeth, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, knew that the divine Word was already made flesh in the womb of Mary; and hence she called her blessed amongst women, and the fruit of her womb blessed also: "Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the "fruit of thy womb." And full of holy confusion and joy she at the same time exclaimed: "Whence "is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" But what did the humble Mary answer to such words? she answered: "My soul "doth magnify the Lord." As though she had said: Elizabeth, thou praisest me, but I praise my God, for having exalted me to the dignity of becoming
his mother: "He hath regarded the humility of his "handmaid." O most holy Mary, since you dispense so many favours to those who ask for them, I beseech you to impart to me your profound humility. You esteem yourself as nothing before God; but I am worse than nothing, for I am nothing and a sinner. You can make me humble. Make me such by your holy intercession, for the love of that God who made you his Mother.
III. But what took place at the first sound of Mary's voice, when she saluted Elizabeth? When Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. St. Luke i. 41. The infant John leaped for joy on account of the divine grace with which he was sanctified before his birth; Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and Zachary the father of the Baptist was a little while after consoled with the recovery of his speech. So that it is unquestionably true, O my Queen and Mother, that through you are dispensed the graces of God, and souls are made holy. Never, O most blessed Lady, be unmindful of me your poor servant, who loves you and relies so much upon you. Your prayers are all heard by Almighty God who loves you so much. Holy Mary, pray to him for me, and make me holy.
On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. August 15.
I. MARY dies; but how does she die? she dies completely detached from all affection to creatures, and consumed with that divine love, with which her most holy soul was always inflamed during her
whole life. O holy Mother, you now leave the earth; forget not us poor pilgrims, who remain in this valley of tears surrounded and assailed by so many enemies, who are ever seeking to accomplish our eternal perdition. Oh! through the merits of your precious death, obtain for us detachment from all earthly things, the pardon of our sins, the love of God, and holy perseverance; and when the hour of our death arrives, assist us from heaven with your holy prayers, and obtain for us to come and embrace your feet in paradise.
II. Mary dies; and her most pure body having been conducted and laid by the Apostles in a sepulchre, and guarded for three days by angels, is transported into heaven; but her beautiful soul enters immediately after her death into that blessed kingdom, accompanied by innumerable angels and conducted by her beloved Son. Being entered into heaven she humbly presents herself before God, adores him, and with the greatest love and gratitude thanks him for the many graces he has conferred upon her. God embraces her, blesses her, and appoints her to be Queen of the universe, and exalts her above all the saints and angels: "The holy Mother of God is exalted above the "choirs of angels to celestial kingdoms." Now if the human mind, as the Apostle says, cannot comprehend the immense glory which God prepares in heaven for those his servants who love him here on earth, what must have been the glory which he bestowed on his most holy Mother, who loved him, here upon the earth, more than all the saints and angels, and loved him with all her powers, to that degree that Mary alone, when entered into heaven, could say to God: if I have not loved thee on earth as much as thou deservest to be loved, at least I have loved thee as much as I was able.
III. Let us congratulate Mary on the glory with
which God has enriched her. And let us congratulate ourselves; for while Mary is appointed Queen of the universe, she is also appointed our advocate. She is an advocate so full of pity, as to undertake to defend all criminals who recommend themselves to her; and is so powerful with our Judge as to gain all the causes which she undertakes to defend. O Queen and advocate of sinners, in your hands is our welfare. If you pray for us, we shall be secure. Say to your divine Son that you desire us to be with you in paradise. He denies you nothing that you ask of him. Our life, our sweetness, and our hope, Mary, pray to Jesus for us.
On the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.
I. BEFORE the birth of Mary, the world was buried in the darkness of the night of sin: "but at "the birth of Mary," says a holy Father, "the "morning arose." Of Mary is it said in the Canticles: Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising ? vi. 9. As when morning breaks, the earth rejoices, because morning is the harbinger of the rising of the sun; so when Mary was born, the whole world rejoiced, because she was the harbinger of the rising of the Sun of justice, Jesus Christ, who was to become her son in order to save us by his death; hence the Church sings: "Thy nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, announced joy to the "whole world: for from thee arose the sun of justice, who gave us life everlasting." So that when Mary was born, our remedy was near at hand, our consolation, and our salvation; for through Mary was to come to us the Saviour of the world.