The like is to be said of the following Devotions to our Blessed Lady, &c.
1. O my soul, when wilt thou be ready to follow the humility of thy Lord Jesus Christ?
2. When shall the example of His patience shine in thee?
3. When wilt thou be wholly free from passions and vicious affections?
4. When wilt thou peaceably and gently endure all tribulation and temptation?
5. When wilt thou perfectly love thy God?
6. When wilt thou be pure, simple, and resigned before Him?
7. How long will it be ere thou be hindered no more from His most chaste embraces?
8. O that thou didst fervently love God!
9. O that thou didst inseparably cleave unto thy chiefest good!
10. O my soul, where is thy love? where is thy treasure? where is thy desire? where is all thy good? where is thy God? when shalt thou be with Him? when shalt thou most happily enjoy Him?
11. If thou hast sinned and art wounded, behold thy God, behold thy Physician is ready to cure thee.
12. Peradventure thou art afraid, because He is thy judge; but take heart, for He who is thy judge is also thy advocate.
13. His mercy is infinitely greater than is or can be thy iniquity.
14. Thy God is most gentle, most sweet; He is wholly amiable, wholly desirable, and loveth all things which He has created.
15. Let not thine imperfections discourage thee too much, for thy God doth not despise thee, because thou art frail and infirm; but loveth thee exceedingly, because thou desirest and labourest to be more perfect.
16. Arise, my soul; arise out of the dust, thou captive daughter of Sion.
17. Arise, forsake the puddle of thy negligent life.
18. How long must thou take pleasure in perils? how long wilt thou esteem anxiety and torments to be rest? how long wilt thou securely sleep in destruction?
19. Return unto our Lord thy God, for He expecteth thee.
20. Make haste, be not slack, for He is ready to receive thee.
21. Join thyself to Jesus, He will illuminate thee.
22. Alas, my soul, how ungrateful hast thou been to thy God!
23. He hath promised those things unto thee, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard, nor can the heart of man comprehend.
24. O my soul, if it were necessary daily to suffer torments, yea, to endure hell itself for a long time together, that we might see Christ in His glory and be joined in fellowship of the Saints in His heavenly city, were it not meet, thinkest thou, to sustain all manner of misery that we may be made partakers of so great a good and so great a felicity?
25. Love Him, then, love Him of whom thou art beloved; attend to Him that attendeth to thee, and seek Him that seeketh thee.
26. Love this Lover, of whom thou art beloved, with whose love thou art prevented, and who is the fountain from whence thy love floweth.
27. O my soul, sigh vehemently and aspire fervently to that glorious city so highly spoken of!
28. Heaven and earth and all therein contained do continually exhort thee to love thy Lord God.
29. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why art thou troubled? Hope in our Lord, for He will be thy comfort and solace.
30. Sweet and amiable Jesus is present with thee; thou must with reverence and love attend unto Him.
AN EXAMPLE OF ACTS WHICH A SOUL MAY EXERCISE TOWARDS GOD AS ABSENT FROM HER.
1. I will bless our Lord at all times, His praises shall ever be in my mouth.
2. Our Lord have mercy on us, enlighten His countenance upon us and take pity on us.
3. It is good for me to seek after our Lord and get near unto Him, for He is our hope and our all.
(The Psalms of David are full of these acts.)
AN EXAMPLE OF SPEAKING SUPPOSED TO BE MADE BY GOD TO THE SOUL.
1. Son, it behoveth thee to give all for all, and reserve nothing to thyself.
2. Son, where is true peace to be found? is it not in Me?
3. Son, thou canst not attain to perfect liberty if thou dost not wholly forsake thyself.
4. Son, abide constant, and hope in Me: this is all in all.
AN EXERCISE OF DEVOTION TO OUR BLESSED LADY MOTHER OF GOD.
1. Hail, sweet Mary; hail, most sacred Virgin, whom God before all ages did choose for His most sacred Mother;
2. Thou art betwixt God and man, that blessed mediatrix by whom the highest things are joined to the lowest;
3. Thou art the beginning of life, the gate or entry of grace, the safe haven of the world suffering shipwreck;
4. Obtain for me, I beseech thee, perfect pardon of my sins and the perfect grace of the Holy Ghost;
5. That I may diligently worship, chastely and fervently love thy Son my Saviour, and thee the Mother of mercy.
6. Hail, sweet Mary, whom, foreshadowed in sundry figurative speeches, and promised in divers oracles of the Prophets, the ancient fathers did covet most earnestly;
7. O my Lady, receive me for thy poor servant; adopt me, O Mother, for thy son;
8. Grant that I may be numbered among them whom thou dost love (whose names are written in thy virginal breast), and whom thou dost teach, direct, help, cherish, and protect.
9. Hail, sweet Mary, whom God by a most Honourable privilege did preserve from sin,
10. And adorned with most singular graces and most excellent gifts;
11. O glorious Virgin, O gracious Virgin, O most pure Virgin, O most pure Virgin chosen amongst thousands;
12. Do not repel me, wicked sinner; do not despise and reject me, defiled with the filth of sin;
13. But hear me, a miserable wretch, crying unto thee; comfort me, desiring thee; and help me, trusting in thee. Amen.
AN EXERCISE TO THE HOLY ANGELS, AND ESPECIALLY THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
1. I salute you, O holy spirits, and with all my heart congratulate your happiness, who continually contemplate the Divine Face and all-satiating Goodness:
2. You, O Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones, who are of the higher hierarchy; you, O Dominations, Virtues, and Powers, of the middle; you, O Princes, Archangels, and Angels, of the lowest, who continually sing, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.
3. Thou, O my Lord, hast made these holy spirits angels for my benefit, and hast commanded them to keep me in all Thy ways.
4. They do therefore assist us with great care, and with watchful endeavour at all times and in all places succouring us.
5. They present our sighs and sobs to Thee, O Lord; they inflame our wills, illuminate our understandings, and replenish our minds with holy thoughts.
6. They walk with us in all our ways, rejoicing at our virtues and contristated at our vices.
7. Their love is great and excessive towards us.
8. They help such as are taking pains; they protect such as are at rest; they encourage such as fight; they crown the conquerors; they rejoice with such as joy (I mean such as joy in Thee); and they suffer with such as suffer (I mean such as are in sufferance for Thee).
9. Great and very great is the honour done to man to have angels to wait on and assist him.
10. O my dear Angel Guardian, govern, protect, and defend me; illuminate, comfort, and direct me, now and evermore.
11. O blessed angels, be you ever blessed and praised for all and every favour and benefit you have most lovingly and powerfully bestowed on me and vouchsafed me.
12. Grant, O Father of heaven and earth, that they may ever rejoice concerning us (that is, by our practice of virtue), and that Thou mayest ever be praised by them and us; and that both they and we may be brought into one sheepfold, that together we may confess to Thy holy name, O Thou Creator of men and angels. Amen.
AN EXERCISE OF DEVOTION TOWARDS OUR HOLY FATHER AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER, ST. BENEDICT.
1. Hail, most blessed and glorious Father; I congratulate with all my heart thy glory and grace with God.
2. I praise likewise and thank the Divine Goodness that made thee worthy and brought thee to thy fame,
3. Bestowing on thee in this life very great natural and supernatural gifts and graces, by means whereof thou hast obtained thy present most glorious and happy condition.
4. In particular I praise and magnify the same Divine Goodness for that it gave thee the grace in the very flower or prime of thy youth, with a thirsty mind to seek after the sole felicity of the future life.
5. And for that end to forsake all the vain pleasures of this life; the solaces of thy parents, kindred, and country; the desire of human sciences and learning; and (generally) all things that might not be needful for thee towards attaining the foresaid felicity.
6. And I praise and magnify the same Divine Goodness that, by such calling and taking of thee so timely out of the world and the snares of it, He freed and secured thee from worse habits and multitudes of sins which the world (if thou hadst remained longer in it) had been apt to breed and cause in thee.
7. I praise and magnify the same Divine Goodness for leading thee to a place of solitude, and there providing for thee all corporal necessaries towards His holy service and thine own soul's good;
8. And especially for that the same Divine Goodness itself vouchsafed to become thy immediate Master and Director, inspiring thee and teaching thee what to do continually;
9. And gave thee grace and strength to perform and accomplish the things necessary and expedient to the end He called thee to;
10. And, namely, to live in mortification of body and will, and, as it were, in continual prayer and high contemplation.
11. I praise and glorify the same Divine Goodness for bestowing on thee the most necessary gift of perseverance, by which thou didst remain constant in such perfect divine service from thy first call to the very period of thy life;
12. That, coming to die, even ripe for most holy death, thou didst, as it were, pass from life to life, as one who feels not what corporal death means;
13. So that thy expiration was aspiration, according to what St. Gregory said of thee: Ultimum spiritum inter verba orationis efflavit;' to wit, His last breath was prayer: passing forth of the faithful contemplation of this life to the real and beatifical contemplation of the other.
14. I now cordially congratulate the perfect felicity thou enjoyest.
15. And since I am called by the divine grace (as I truly hope) to live according to thy holy rite for my salvation and perfection, vouchsafe thy holy intercession for that end, that I may, through God's grace, live accordingly and die consummated and perfect therein and thereby, for without His grace I can do nothing;
16. And, as the said St. Gregory saith, thou framest thy rule according to thy holy life. Sweet Jesus, give me grace interiorly and exteriorly to be a faithful imitator thereof;
17. That I may be led by the same guide, the Holy Ghost,
18. And exercise true spiritual prayer, the only means to all virtues;
19. That I may in all things abandon myself with all purity of intention,
20. And do all good and abstain from all evil which interiorly and exteriorly may concern me,
21. Especially in all things occurring, patiently to suffer all injuries and crosses
22. And that all may be accomplished, God grant me, as He did to thee, the gift of perseverance;
23. That I expiring may be admitted into the happy society of thee and thy faithful followers. Which God grant, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
(This exercise to St. Benedict was the devotion of the Venerable Father Baker, to give God thanks for the happiness of his religious vocation.)