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II. This Virgin being destined to become the Mother of the Eternal Word, God enriched her with such abundant graces that from the time of her immaculate conception she surpassed in sanctity all the saints and angels; having received grace of a superior order, such as corresponded with the dignity of Mother of God. O holy infant, O full of grace, I a miserable sinner salute you. You are the beloved, the delight of God, have pity therefore on me, who by my sins am the hatred and abomination of God. You, O most pure Virgin, even from your infancy, so gained the heart of God that he now denies you nothing, and grants all that you ask of him. In you therefore are my hopes. Recommend me to your Son, and I shall be secure.
III. At the time that Mary was destined to be the Mother of our Redeemer, she was also destined to become a mediatrix of intercession between God and us sinners. Hence St. Thomas Aquinas says that Mary received as many graces as were sufficient to save all men; and hence St. Bernard calls Mary a full aqueduct, of whose fulness all may participate. O Queen, O Mediatrix of sinners, fulfil your office, and intercede for me. I will not let my sins hinder me from placing my confidence in you, O holy Mother of God; no, I will confide in you, and my confidence shall be so great, that if my salvation were in my own hands, I would place it entirely in yours. O Mary, take me under your protection, this is all I desire and ask.
On St. Michael.
I. AMONG the angels in heaven none surpasses St. Michael in glory; and according to St. Basil and others, there is none that equals him: and with good reason, because St. Michael was chosen to subdue the pride of Lucifer and of all the rebel angels, and to expel them from heaven. Christian, if thou lovest this archangel, who has such great love for men, rejoice at the glory which he enjoys in heaven; and beseech him, that, as he is the protector of the whole Church and of all the faithful, he will be thy special protector with God, who loves him so much, and who rejoices in beholding one who is so faithful to him and so zealous for his honour, so much glorified by all.
II. In the Mass for the dead, the Church prays: "Let the standard bearer, St. Michael, bring them "into the holy light." The learned explain this prayer, and say that St. Michael has the honourable office of presenting to Jesus Christ the Judge, all the souls that depart out of this world in the grace of God. Protect me, therefore, O holy archangel, and by your protection enable my soul to become worthy of being presented by your hands on the day of my death, ornamented with divine grace, before my Judge Jesus Christ.
III. Again, the Holy Church prays to St. Michael in the name of all the faithful, to defend us from the assaults of the wicked enemy at the hour of our death, that we may not be conquered and lose our souls: "Holy St. Michael, the archangel, "defend us in battle, that we may not be lost at "the dreadful judgment." O holy archangel, the devil has many weapons to employ against me at
the hour of my death; these weapons are my sins, by which he will then endeavour to throw me into despair; he is also preparing furious assaults of temptations to cause me then to fall again into sin. You, who conquered him and expelled him from heaven, conquer him again for me, and drive him far away from me at the hour of my death; I beseech you to grant this my prayer for the love of that God who so much loves you, and whom you so much love. O Mary, Queen of heaven, procure for me the assistance of St. Michael at the hour of my death.
On our Guardian Angels.
I. ST. BERNARD says, there are three ways by which we ought to honour our guardian angels: by reverence, by devotion, and by confidence." By reverence; because these holy spirits and princes of heaven are always present with us, and assist us in all our actions. And on this account, out of regard to our guardian angels, we ought carefully to refrain from every action which can displease them. St. Frances Widow of Rome, saw that the angel who attended her in a human form, every time that he observed any improper action or word in any one in conversation, covered his face with his hands. O my holy guardian angel, how many times have I by my sins obliged you to cover your face! I ask your forgiveness, and I beseech you to implore forgiveness for me from God, for I am resolved to offend neither God nor you any more by my negligences.
II. In the second place, we ought to honour our
good angels by devotion to them, on account of the respect which they deserve, and the love which they have for us. No love of father, brother or friend, can equal the love which our good angels have for each one of us. Our worldly friends often love us from motives of interest, and on this account very easily forget us when we are in adversity, and much more when we offend them. Our angel guardians love us solely from motives of charity, and hence when we are in difficulties they assist us more particularly, and cease not to help us after we have rebelled against God. Then will they endeavour to enlighten us, in order that we may soon return to God by repentance. O how much do I thank you, my holy guardian, for the lights which you have communicated to me. Oh that I had always obeyed you! Continue to enlighten me, rebuke me when I fail, and do not forsake me unto the last moment of my life.
III. In the third place, we ought to have great confidence in the assistance of our good angels. God's love for us was not satisfied with giving us his Son Jesus for our Redeemer, and Mary for our advocate; he has been pleased to give us also his angels to be our guardians, and has commanded them to assist us during the course of our lives: He hath given his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways. Ps. xc. 11. O God of infinite mercy, what more canst thou do for me that I may be saved? I thank thee, O my Lord; and I thank you also, O prince of paradise, my good angel, who for so many years have assisted and protected me. I have been unmindful of you, but you have not forgotten me. Who knows how much farther I may have to go before I enter eternity? O my good angel, guide me in the way to heaven, and cease not to assist me, until you behold me become your eternal companion in the kingdom of heaven.
On St. Teresa.
I. LET us consider the love which this seraphic Saint had for Almighty God. It seemed to her impossible that there should be any one in the world who did not love God. She said: " O my "God, art thou not most amiable on account of thy "infinite perfections and of thy infinite love for us? "How can it be possible that any one should be "found that does not love thee ?" She was most humble, but speaking of love, she did not hesitate to say: "I am all perfection, except in desires and "in love." The Saint gives us this injunction: Detach the heart from all things, and seek God, "and thou wilt find him." She said, that to him who loves God, it is easy to become disengaged from the earth: "O my God, nothing more is neIcessary than to love thee truly, in order to find "all things else easy." And she writes in another place: "Since we have to live, let us live for thee, "and may our own interests cease. What more or 'greater can we obtain than to please thee? O
my happiness, my God, what shall I do to please "thee ?" She even said that, when she went to heaven, she should not be concerned to see others enjoy God more than she did, but should not be able to endure to see others love him more than she loved him herself.
II. What is so admirable in this Saint is the resolute spirit with which she endeavoured to do every thing which she knew to be pleasing to God: "There is nothing," said she, "however great it "may be, which if it should occur to me, that I "would not courageously meet." And hence she taught: "That the love of God is acquired by being