<<< ReligiousBookshelf.com Home Page

Monday after Low Sunday

Morning Meditation


The Son of God wished to present Himself under the form of a sweet little Child that thus He might the more readily and the more forcibly draw to Himself the love of men. Little children of themselves are loved at once. To see them and to love them is the same thing. Thus, then, would He be born Who willed to be loved and not feared.


"O souls," exclaims St. Bernard;"love this little Child, for He is exceedingly to be loved! The Lord is great and greatly to be praised -(Ps. cxliv. 3). The Lord is a little one and greatly to be loved! Yes, says the Saint, this God has existed from all eternity and is worthy of all praise and reverence for His greatness, as David has sung: The Lord is great and greatly to be praised! But now that we behold Him become a little Infant, needing milk, and unable to move, trembling with cold, moaning and weeping, looking for someone to take and warm and comfort Him; ah, now indeed does He become the most cherished One of our hearts! " The LORD is a little One, and exceedingly to be loved!"

We ought to adore Him as our God, but our love ought to keep pace with our reverence towards a God so amiable, so loving.

St. Bonaventure reminds us that a child finds its delight with other children, with flowers, and to be in the arms. The Saint's meaning is, that if we would please this Divine Infant, we too must become children, simple and humble ; we must carry to Him flowers of virtue, of meekness, of mortification, of charity; we must clasp Him in the arms of our love.

And, O man, adds St. Bernard, what more do you wait to see before you give yourself wholly to God? See with what labour, with what ardent love, your Jesus has come down from Heaven to seek you. Hearken, he goes on to say, how, scarcely yet born, His wailings call to you, as if He would say: O soul, O soul, it is thee I am seeking; for thee, and to obtain thy love, I am come from Heaven to earth.

O God, even the very brutes, if we do them a kindness, if we give them some trifle, are so grateful for it they come near us, they do our bidding after their own fashion, and they show symptoms of gladness at our approach. And h ow comes it, then, that we are so ungrateful towards God, the same God Who has bestowed His whole Self upon us, Who has descended from Heaven to earth, and become an Infant to save us, and to be loved by us? Come, then, let us love the Babe of Bethlehem, is the enraptured cry of St. Francis; let us love Jesus Christ, Who has sought in the midst of such sufferings to attach our hearts to Himself.

St. Augustine says: "For this reason chiefly did Jesus Christ come, that man should know how much God loves him."

But, my Jesus, even now that Thou hast come, how many men are there who truly love Thee? Wretch that I am, Thou knowest how I have hitherto loved Thee! Thou knowest what contempt I have had for Thy love! Oh, that I might die of grief for it! I repent, my dear Redeemer of having despised Thee. Ah, pardon me and give me the grace to love Thee!


And for love of Jesus Christ we ought to love our neighbours, even those who have offended us. The Messias is called by Isaias, Father of the world to come -(Is. ix.6). Now, in order to be the Sons of this Father, Jesus admonishes us that we must love our enemies, and do good to those who injure us: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you... that you may be the chilldren of your Father who is in heaven -(Matt. v. 44, 46). And of this He Himself set us the example on the Cross, praying His Eternal Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him.

"He who pardons his enemy," says St. John Chrysostom, " cannot but obtain God's pardon for himself"; and we have the Divine assurance of it: Forgive and you, shall be forgiven - (Luke vi. 37). There was a certain Religious who otherwise had not led a very exemplary life, but who at death bewailed his sins not without great confidence and joy, "because," said he, " I have never avenged an injury done me." As much as to say: " It is true that I have offended the Lord, but He has engaged to pardon him who pardons his enemies; I have pardoned all who offended me, so then I am confident God will likewise pardon me."

But pardon is not enough for me, O my Jesus; Thou dost merit my love. Thou hast loved me even unto death; unto death will I also love Thee. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness, with all my soul; I love Thee more than myself. I love my neighbour for the love of Thee. Yes, my Jesus, I love Thee; I will always love Thee, my Treasure, my Life, my Love, my All.

Spiritual Reading


VII: Doubts

I do not wish that any soul be disturbed by what has been said in regard to concealing sins through a false shame. What I have said is applicable only to those who have a consciousness of grievous and certain sins, and who, through shame, will not confess them. With regard to doubts, which some may have of having com­mitted certain sins, or of having made bad confessions, if they wish to disclose them to a confessor for their greater tranquillity, they will do well, unless they have a scrupulous conscience. For the scrupulous, it is not advisable to confess their doubts. It may be useful for the timid to know certain doctrines approved by Theologians, that may save them from a great deal of disquiet of conscience, and give them peace of mind.

First, it is a solid and very probable opinion of Theologians that there is no obligation of confessing doubtful mortal sins, as, for instance, when a person doubts whether he had full advertence, or whether he gave a perfect and deliberate consent. The divines add that at death there is an obligation either of making an act of perfect contrition lest the doubtful sin should have been really grievous, or to tell, not the doubtful sin, but any certain sin (a venial sin is sufficient), and to receive the Sacrament of Penance. But this is necessary only when a person after the doubtful sin, had never received sacramental absolution. Many Theologians of high authority also say that persons who have for a long time led a spiritual life, when doubtful whether they have consented to mortal sin, may remain certain of not having lost the grace of God; because it is morally impossible that a person well confirmed in good pur­poses should be suddenly changed and yield to mortal sin without clearly perceiving that he had consented to it. For mortal sin is a monster so horrible that it cannot enter a soul that for a long time has abhorred it without producing on the mind a clear knowledge of its entrance into the soul. This is fully proved in my work on Moral Theology. (Lib. 6. n, 450 et 476.)

Secondly, when it is certain that a mortal sin has been committed, and when there is a doubt whether it has been ever confessed, then, if the doubt be a negative one--that is, if there be no reason to judge that it has been confessed--it is certainly necessary to tell the sin in Confession. But when there is reason to believe, or a well-founded presumption that the sin has been once told, then according to the common opinion of divines, there is no obligation of confessing it. Hence, divines commonly teach that if a person who has made his general or particular confessions with sufficient diligence doubts whether he has forgotten in confession a certain sin, or circumstance of sin, he is not bound to confess it; because he can prudently judge that it has been already sufficiently confessed. (Lib 6. n. 477.) He need not confess the sin, though he should feel a great unwillingness to dis­close the doubt that tormented him. But such a person may say: If I were bound to tell such a thing I should feel great shame. But what does it matter that you are ashamed to tell it? As long as you are not obliged to confess it be not troubled. The confession of certain natural actions should also cause shame, but you are not therefore obliged to mention them. Thus, for example, you are not obliged to confess certain acts of levity or immodest jests that occurred in your childhood without a knowledge of their malice. Nor is your having done thes acts in secret a certain proof of malice; for children do certain natural actions secretly, though the actions are not sins. Hence we are not bound to accuse ourselves in particular of such things, unless we remember that we committed them with an impression, or at least with a doubt, that they were grievous sins. It is, then, enough for a person to say within himself: Lord, if I really knew that I was bound to confess these things I would readily confess them, though I should suffer every pain.

This is intended for the comfort of timorous souls that feel great anxiety arising from a fear that they did not well know how to explain all their doubts in Confession. But it is useful for all, at least for their humiliation, to make known to their director the doubts by which they are troubled. I except the scrupulous, for they should not speak of their doubts. What I would advise is that all would explain to their confessors their passions, attachments, and the causes of their temptations, that he may be able to cut off the roots which, if not extirpated, will never cease to cause temptations, and will expose the soul to great danger of consenting to sin, when it can but will not remove the cause. It will also be very profitable to some to disclose the temptations that are most humiliating, particularly thoughts against chastity, though there should be no consent. St. Philip Neri used to say that a temptation disclosed is half­ conquered. I have said that it is very profitable to some: for with regard to others of tried virtue, who are too timid on this point and are always afraid of having consented to sin, it is sometimes useful to forbid them to confess such temptations, unless they are certain of having yielded to them. For by the very examination that such persons make in order to ascertain whether they have consented or not, and thinking of the manner in which they will explain the temptation, the images of the bad objects presented to the mind become more vivid, and the soul becomes more agitated by repeated apprehensions of consent. Obey your confessor on this point, and be ruled by his advice.

Evening Meditation




"O Jesus, stealer of hearts, the strength of Thy love has broken the exceeding hardness of our hearts! Thou hast inflamed the whole world with Thy love. O most loving Lord, inebriate our hearts with this wine, consume them with this fire, pierce them with this dart of Thy love! Thy Cross is indeed an arrow which pierces hearts. May all the world know that my heart is smitten! O sweetest Love, what hast Thou done? Thou hast come to heal me and Thou hast wounded me. Thou hast come to teach me, and Thou hast made me well nigh mad. O madness full of wisdom, may I never live without thee! All, O Lord, that I behold upon the Cross, invites me to love Thee: the wood, the figure, the Wounds of Thy Body; and, above all, Thy love engages me to love Thee, and never more to forget Thee.


But in order to arrive at the perfect love of Jesus Christ we must adopt the means of doing so. The means which St. Thomas Aquinas gives us: (1) To have a constant remembrance of the benefits of God, both general and particular; (2) To consider the infinite goodness of God Who is ever waiting to do us good, and Who ever loves us and seeks from us our love; (3) To avoid even the smallest thing that could offend Him; (4) To renounce all the sensible goods of this world, riches, honours, and sensual pleasures. Father Thaulers says that meditation on the Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ is a great means also for acquiring His perfoct love.

Who can deny that, of all devotions, devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ is the most useful, the most tender the most agreeable to God -- One that gives the greatest consolation to sinners, and at the same time most powerfully enkindles loving souls? Whence is it that we receive so many blessings, if it be not from the Passion of Jesus Christ? Whence have we hope of pardon, courage against temptations, confidence that we shall go to Heaven? Whence come so many lights to know the truth, so many loving calls, so many spurrings to change our life, so many desires to give ourselves to God, as from the Passion of Jesus Christ? The Apostle therefore had but too great reason to declare him to be excommunicated who did not love Jesus Christ: If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema - (1 Cor. xvi. 22).