Behold at thy feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a wretched sinner who has recourse to thee and confides in thee. O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me. I hear thee called by all the Refuge and the Hope of Sinners: be then, my refuge and my hope. Assist me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth thy hand to a miserable fallen creature who recommends himself to thee, and who devotes himself to thy service for ever. I bless and thank Almighty God, Who in His mercy has given me this confidence in thee, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation. It is true that in the past I have miserably fallen into sin, because I had not recourse to thee. I know that, with thy help, I shall conquer. I know, too, that thou wilt assist me, if I recommend myself to thee; but I fear that, in time of danger, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus lose my soul. This grace, then, I ask of thee, and this I beg, with all the fervor of my soul, that in all the attacks of hell I may ever have recourse to thee. O Mary, help me. O Mother of Perpetual Help, never suffer me to lose my God. . 3 Hail Mary’s. . O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O purest Mary, O sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me, whenever I call on thee; for, in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary. O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion, fill my soul when I utter thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank the Lord for having given thee, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering thy name. Let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help. . 3 Hail Mary’s. . O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to us miserable sinners; and for this end, He has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, in order that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee: come to my aid, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protectest me, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my Judge, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear: that in the hour of temptation I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace ever to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help. . 3 Hail Mary’s.
Saint Herman (1150-1241) was a member of the Premonstratensian Order and a mystic. Born in Cologne, he was the son of Count Lothair of Meer, and his mother was Saint Hildegund. He was well educated, and it was known that from his earliest youth he spent all of his free time praying to the Blessed Virgin at the local church of Saint Mary. Once, while still a young boy, he innocently offered an apple saved from his own lunch to a statue of Our Lord, and was not surprised when a hand was extended and the apple was accepted. . One bitterly cold winter’s day, as little Saint Herman was walking barefoot into church, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him to inquire why he was going about barefoot in such freezing weather. . “Alas! Dear Lady,” Saint Herman answered, “it is because my parents are so poor.” . The Blessed Virgin pointed to a stone nearby, instructing little Herman to look under it. He promptly obeyed, and found four pieces of silver, just what he would need to purchase new shoes. . Returning to give thanks to his Blessed Mother, in another apparition to Saint Herman, she directed him to return to the same spot with faith and confidence that his needs would be met, and then departed. Never did he want for any necessity, though his friends, animated by a different spirit, would never find anything when they looked beneath the stone. . On another occasion Saint Herman saw the Blessed Virgin high up in the tribune, conversing with the Child Jesus and St. John. He longed to join them, but sadly realized there was no way for him to do so. Suddenly, Herman found himself at their side and began conversing with the Infant Jesus. . At age twelve Saint Herman went to the Norbertine, or Premonstratensian, house at Steinfeld, and was sent to continue his studies in the Netherlands because of his youth. Once he had completed his studies, he returned and was allowed to join the order and was made sacristan and also served in the refectory. . Because of his purity, Herman’s fellow-novices soon began calling him Joseph, in honor of Our Lord’s foster father. When he objected to such high praise, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and took him as her spouse, confirming that it was her desire that he should accept the name. . Pope Pius XII formally recognized that Joseph Herman was a saint in the year 1958.
At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. This is the Bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this Bread shall live forever.
By use of meat and drink men seek to attain to this end, namely, that they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. And yet nothing doth truly accomplish this, except that Meat and Drink whereby this corruptible is able to put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality; namely, the means of Communion with that general assembly and church of God’s holy children, who are kept in perfect peace, and are all one in full and perfect unity. And therefore it is, even as men of God before our time have understood it, that our Lord Jesus Christ hath set before us His Body and his Blood in the likeness of things which, from being many, are reduced into one. That is to say, in one loaf are many grains of corn, and in one cup of wine the juice of many grapes. Hence it is that, in this passage from the Gospel, He now giveth us to know how that which He spake cometh to pass, in answer to the question: How can this Man give us His Flesh to eat, and His Blood to drink?
He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. This, then, is to eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup, to wit: to dwell in Him, and to have Him dwelling in us. And contrariwise, He which dwelleth not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwelleth not, doth not spiritually eat Christ’s Flesh nor drink His Blood, although he do carnally and visibly press the Sacrament with his teeth; but rather, such an one eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, because he dareth to draw nigh unclean to that secret and holy thing of Christ, whereunto none draweth nigh worthily, save he which is clean; for concerning such it is said: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
As the living Father hath sent Me, saith He, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is as though He had said: The Father hath sent Me unto the world, and therefore I have humbled Myself, and taken upon Myself the form of a servant, and so was found in fashion as a man; and as Man I ascribe My life to One that is greater than I; but the partaking, whereby anyone eateth Me, causeth him to live by Me; I, having been brought low, live by the Father, but man, having been raised up, shall live by Me. And although He saith: I live by the Father: (that is, He is of the Father, not the Father of Him;) these words are no disparagement of the equality of the Father and the Son as God. On the other hand, by saying: He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me: he doth not signify equality between Him and ourselves, but rather that He is the one Mediator between God and man.
Among the immeasurable benefits, which the goodness of God hath bestowed on the Christian people, is a dignity beyond all price. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is unto us? The only-begotten Son of God was pleased to make us partakers of his divine nature; that is, he took our nature upon him, being himself made man that he might, as it were, make men into gods. And this body, which he took from us, he gave wholly unto our salvation. For, on the Altar of the Cross, he offered up his body to God the Father, as a sacrifice for our reconciliation, and thereon he shed his own blood for our redemption; that is, his blood is the price whereby he redeemeth us from wretchedness and bondage, and the washing whereby he cleanseth us from all sin. And for a noble and abiding Memórial of this his so great work of goodness, he hath left unto his faithful ones the same his very Body for Meat, and the same his very Blood for Drink, with which we are fed under the forms of Bread and Wine.
O how precious a thing then, how marvellous, how health-giving, yielding royal dainties, is the Supper of the Lord. Than this Supper can anything be more precious? Therein there is put before us for meat, not as of old time, the flesh of bulls and of goats, but Christ himself, our very God. Than this Sacrament can anything be more marvellous? Therein it is that Bread and Wine become unto us the very Body and Blood of Christ; that is to say, perfect God and perfect Man, Christ himself, is there under the veils of a little bread and wine. His faithful ones eat him, but he is not mangled; nay, when the veil which shroudeth him in the Sacrament is broken, in each broken fragment thereof remaineth the whole Christ himself, perfect God and perfect Man. All that the senses can reach in this Sacrament, all these abide of bread and wine, but the Thing is not bread and wine. And thus room is left for faith. For Christ, who hath a Form that can be seen, is herein taken and received not only unseen, but seeming to be bread and wine, and the senses, which judge by the wonted look, are warranted against error.
Than this Sacrament can anything be more health-giving? Thereby are sins purged away, strength is renewed, and the soul fed upon the fatness of spiritual gifts. This Supper is offered up in the Church, both for the quick and the dead; it was ordained to the health of all, all get the good of it. Than this Sacrament can anything yield more of royal dainties? The glorious sweetness thereof is of a truth such that no man can fully tell it. Therein ghostly comfort is sucked from its very well-head. Therein a Memorial is made of that exceeding great love which Christ shewed in time of his sufferings. It was in order that the boundless goodness of that his great love might be driven home into the hearts of his faithful ones, that when he had celebrated the Passover with his disciples, and the Last Supper was ended, then, knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, and instituted this Sacrament. For this Sacrament is the everlasting forth-shewing of his death until he come again; this Sacrament is the embodied fulfilment of all the ancient types and figures; this Sacrament is is the greatest wonder which ever he wrought, and the one mighty joy of them that now have sorrow, till he shall come again; and thereby their heart shall rejoice, and their joy no man take from them.
When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’ s supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is My body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of Me. In like manner also the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as you shall eat this Bread, and drink the Chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until He come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of the Chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.
Cibávit eos ex ádipe fruménti, allelúja: et de petra, melle saturávit eos, allelúja, allelúja, allelúja.
He fed them also with the finest wheat flour, alleluia: and with honey from the rock hath He satisfied them, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Exsultáte Deo, adjutóri nostro: jubiláte Deo Jacob.
Rejoice to God our helper: sing aloud to the God of Jacob.
The Collect of the Feast of Corpus Christi:
Deus, qui nobis sub Sacraménto mirábili passiónis tuæ memóriam reliquísti: tríbue, quæsumus, ita nos córporis, et sánguinis tui sacra mystéria venerári; ut redemptiónis tuæ fructum in nobis júgiter sentiámus: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre, in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.
O God, Who in this wonderful Sacrament hast ordained unto us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever know within ourselves the fruits of Thy redemption. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
The Epistle of the Feast of Corpus Christi:
1 Cor 11:23-29
Fratres: Ego enim accépi a Dómino quod et trádidí vobis, quóniam Dóminus Jesus, in qua nocte tradebátur, accépit panem, et grátias agens fregit, et dixit: Accípite, et manducáte: hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradétur: hoc fácite in meam commemoratiónem. Simíliter ei cálicem, postquam cenávit, dicens: Hic calix novum Testaméntum est in meo sánguine. Hoc fácite, quotiescúmque bibétis, in meam commemoratiónem. Quotiescúmque enim manducábitis panem hunc et cálicem bibétis, mortem Dómini annuntiábitis, donec véniat. Itaque quicúmque manducáverit panem hunc vel bíberit cálicem Dómini indígne, reus erit córporis et sánguinis Dómini. Probet autem seípsum homo: et sic de pane illo e dat et de calice bibat. Qui enim mánducat et bibit indígne, judícium sibi mánducat et bibit: non dijúdicans corpus Dómini.
Brethren: I myself have received from the Lord – what I also delivered to you, – that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks broke, and said, Take and eat. This is My Body which shall be given up for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In like manner also the cup, after He had supped, saying, This is the new covenant in My Blood; do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you shall eat this Bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this Bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of the cup; for he who eats and drinks unworthily, without distinguishing the Body, eats and drinks judgment to himself.
The Gradual, Allelulia and Sequence of Corpus Christi:
Oculi ómnium in te sperant, Dómine: et tu das illis escam in témpore opportúno,
V. Aperis tu manum tuam: et imples omne animal benedictióne. Allelúja, allelúja,
John 6:56 – 57
Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus: qui mandúcat meam carnem et bibit meum sánguinem, in me manet et ego in eo. Alleluia.
The eyes of all look hopefully to Thee, O Lord; and Thou givest them their food in due season.
V. Thou openest Thy hand; and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Alleluia, alleluia.
V. My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eat My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him.
Sequence of the Feast of Corpus Christi:
Lauda, Sion, Salvatórem,
lauda ducem et pastórem
in hymnis et cánticis.
Quantum potes, tantum aude:
quia major omni laude,
nec laudáre súffícis.
Laudis thema speciális,
panis vivus et vitális
Quem in sacræ mensa cenæ
turbæ fratrum duodénæ
datum non ambígitur.
Sit laus plena, sit sonóra,
sit jucúnda, sit decóra
Dies enim sollémnis agitur,
in qua mensæ prima recólitur
In hac mensa novi Regis,
novum Pascha novæ legis
Phase vetus términat.
umbram fugat véritas,
noctem lux elíminat.
Quod in coena Christus gessit,
faciéndum hoc expréssit
in sui memóriam.
Docti sacris institútis,
panem, vinum in salútis
Dogma datur Christiánis,
quod in carnem transit panis
et vinum in sánguinem.
Quod non capis, quod non vides,
animosa fírmat fides,
præter rerum órdinem.
Sub divérsis speciébus,
signis tantum, et non rebus,
latent res exímiæ.
Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
manet tamen Christus totus
sub utráque spécie.
A suménte non concísus,
non confráctus, non divísus:
Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
quantum isti, tantum ille:
nec sumptus consúmitur.
Sumunt boni, sumunt mali
sorte tamen inæquáli,
vitæ vel intéritus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
vide, paris sumptiónis
quam sit dispar éxitus.
Fracto demum sacraménto,
ne vacílles, sed meménto,
tantum esse sub fragménto,
quantum toto tégitur.
Nulla rei fit scissúra:
signi tantum fit fractúra:
qua nec status nec statúra
Ecce panis Angelórum,
factus cibus viatórum:
vere panis filiórum,
non mitténdus cánibus.
In figúris præsignátur,
cum Isaac immolátur:
agnus paschæ deputátur:
datur manna pátribus.
Bone pastor, panis vere,
Jesu, nostri miserére:
tu nos pasce, nos tuére:
tu nos bona fac vidére
in terra vivéntium.
Tu, qui cuncta scis et vales:
qui nos pascis hic mortáles:
tuos ibi commensáles,
coherédes et sodáles
fac sanctórum cívium.
O Sion, Thy Redeemer praising,
Songs of joy to Him upraising,
Laud thy Pastor and thy Guide:
Swell thy notes most high and daring;
For His praise is past declaring,
And thy loftiest powers beside.
‘Tis a theme with praise that gloweth,
For the Bread that life bestoweth
Goes this day before us out;
Which, His holy supper taking,
To the brethren twelve His breaking
None hath ever called in doubt.
Full, then, be our praise and sounding,
Modest and with joy abounding
Be our mind’s triumphant state;
For the festal’s prosecution,
When the first blest institution
Of this feast we celebrate.
In the new King’s new libation,
In the new law’s new oblation,
Ends the ancient Paschal rite;
Ancient forms new substance chaseth,
Typic shadows truth displaceth,
Day dispels the gloom of night.
When He did at supper seated,
Christ enjoined to be repeated,
When His love we celebrate:
Thus obeying His dictation,
Blood and wine of our salvation,
We the victim consecrate.
‘Tis for Christian faith asserted,
Bread is into flesh converted,
Into blood the holy wine:
Sight and intellect transcending,
Nature’s laws to marvel bending,
‘Tis confirmed by faith divine.
Under either kind remaining,
Form, not substance, still retaining,
Wondrous things our spirit sees:
Flesh and blood thy palate staining,
Yet still Christ entire remaining,
Under either species.
All untorn for eating given,
Undivided and unriven,
Whole He’s taken and unrent;
Be there one, or crowds surrounding,
He is equally abounding,
Nor, though eaten, ever spent.
Both to good and bad ‘tis broken,
But on each a different token
or of life, or death attends:
Life to good, to bad damnation;
Lo, of one same manducation
How dissimilar the ends.
When the priest the victim breaketh,
See thy faith in no wise shaketh,
Know that every fragment taketh
All that ‘neath the whole there lies:
This in Him no fracture maketh,
‘Tis the figure only breaketh,
Form, or state, no change there taketh
Place in what it signifies.
Bread, that angels eat in heaven,
Now becomes the pilgrim’s leaven,
Bread in truth to children given,
That must ne’er to dogs be thrown.
He, in ancient types disguised,
Was the Isaac sacrificed,
For the feast a lamb devised,
Manna to the Fathers shown.
Bread, whose shepherd-care doth tend us,
Jesu Christ, Thy mercy send us,
Do Thou feed us, Thou defend us,
Lead us where true joys attend us,
In the land where life is given:
Thou all ken and might possessing,
Mercies aye to us largessing,
Make us share Thy cup of blessing,
Heritage and love’s caressing
With the denizens of heaven.
The Gospel of the Feast of Corpus Christi:
In illo témpore: Dixit Jesus turbis Judæórum: Caro mea vere est cibus et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui mandúcat meam carnem e bibit meum sánguinem, in me manet et ego in illo. Sicu misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: et qu mandúcat me, et ipse vivet propter me. Hic est panis, qu de coelo descéndit. Non sicu manducavérunt patres vestri manna, et mórtui sunt. Qu manducat hunc panem, vivet in ætérnum.
At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. This is the Bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this Bread shall live forever.
Levit. 21: 6
Sacerdótes Dómini incénsum et panes ófferunt Deo: et ídeo sancti erunt Deo suo, et non pólluent nomen ejus, allelúja.
The priests of the Lord do offer incense and loaves unto God: and therefore shall they be holy unto their God, and shall not defile His Name, alleluia.
Ecclésiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Dómine, unitátis et pacis propítius dona concéde: quæ sub oblátis munéribus mystice designántur. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus,
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that like as we in these our oblations do shew forth in a mystery the unity and concord of Thy Church: so Thou wouldest ever mercifully bestow upon her these Thy blessings. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God.
1 Cor. 11: 26-27 1
Quotiescúmque manducábitis panem hunc et cálicem bibétis, mortem Dómini annuntiábitis, donec véniat: ítaque quicúmque manducáverit panem vel bíberit cálicem Dómini indígne, reus erit córporis et sánguinis Dómini, allelúja.
As often as ye do eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come: wherefore, whosoever shall eat of this bread, and drink of this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, alleluia.
Fac nos, quæsumus, Dómine, divinitátis tuæ sempitérna fruitióne repléri: quam pretiósi Córporis et Sánguinis tui temporális percéptio præfigúrat. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculórum.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we who in these outward tokens have been made partakers of Thy most precious Body and Blood: may after this life be replenished with the fruition of Thy glorious Godhead. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle within the fire of Thy love.
The divine Spirit has been sent to secure Unity to the Spouse of Christ; and we have seen how faithfully he fulfils his Mission, by giving to the Members of the Church to be one, as he himself is One. But the Spouse of a God who is, as he calls himself, the Truth, must be in the truth, and can have no fellowship with error. Jesus entrusted his teaching to her care, and has instructed her in the person of the Apostles. He said to them: All things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. And yet, if left unaided, how can the Church preserve free from all change, during the long ages of her existence, that word which Jesus has not written?—that truth which he came from heaven to teach her? Experience proves that everything changes her below; that written documents are open to false interpretations, and that unwritten traditions are frequently so altered in the course of time as to defy recognition.
Here again we have a proof of our Lord’s watchful love. In order to realize the wish he had to see us one, as he and his Father are One, he sent us his Spirit; and in order to keep us in the Truth, he sent us this same Spirit who is called the Spirit of Truth. When the Spirit of Truth is come, said he, he will teach you all truth. And what is the Truth which this Spirit will teach us? He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.
So that nothing of what the Divine Word spoke to men is to be lost. The beauty of his Spouse is to be based on truth, for “Beauty is the splendor of Truth.” Her fidelity to her Jesus shall be of the most perfect kind; for, if He be the Truth, how could she ever be out of the Truth? Jesus had said: I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever; and he shall be in you. It is by the Holy Ghost, then, that the Church is ever to possess the truth, and that nothing can rob her of it; for this Spirit, who is sent by the Father and the Son, will abide unceasingly with and in her.
The magnificent theory of St. Augustine comes most appropriately here. According to his teaching—which, after all, is but the explanation of the texts just cited—the Holy Ghost is the principle of the Church’s life; and He, being the Spirit of Truth, preserves and directs her in the truth, so that both her teaching and her practice cannot be other than expressions of the truth. He makes himself responsible for her words, just as our spirit is responsible for what our tongue utters. Hence it is that the Church, by her union with the Holy Ghost, is so identified with Truth that the Apostle did not hesitate to call her the pillar and ground of the Truth. The Christian, therefore, may well rest on the Church in all that regards Faith. He knows that the Church is never alone; that she is always with the Holy Spirit who lives within her; that her word is not her own, but the word of the Spirit, which is the word of Jesus.
Now, this word of Jesus is preserved in the Church by the Holy Ghost, and in two ways. He guards it as contained in the four Gospels, which the Evangelists wrote under his inspiration. It is by his watchful care that these holy writings have been kept free from all change during the past ages. The same is to be said of the other books of the New Testament, which were also written under the guidance of the same Spirit. Those of the Old Testament are equally the result of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: and although they do not give us the words spoken by our Savior during his mortal life, yet do they speak of him, and foretell his coming, and contain, moreover, the primitive revelations made by God to mankind. The Books of Sacred Writ are replete with mysteries, the interpretation of which is communicated to the Church by the Holy Ghost.
The other channel of Jesus’ word is Tradition. It was impossible for everything to be written; and even before the Gospels were composed, the Church was in existence. Tradition, like the Written Word itself is from God; but unless the Spirit of Truth watch over and protect it, how can it remain pure and intact? He therefore fixes it in the memory of the Church, he preserves it from change; it is his mission; and thanks to the fidelity wherewith he fulfils his mission, the Church remains in possession of the whole treasure left her by her Spouse.
But it is not enough that the Church possess the word,—Written and Traditional;—she must also have the understanding of that word, in order that she may explain it to her children. Truth came down from heaven, that it might be communicated to men; for it is their light, and without it they would be in darkness, knowing not whither they are going. The Spirit of Truth could not, therefore, be satisfied if the word of Jesus were kept as a hidden treasure; no, he will have it thrown open to men, that they may thence draw life to their souls. Consequently, the Church will have to be infallible in her teaching; for how can she be deceived herself, or deceive others, seeing it is the Spirit of Truth who guides her in all things and speaks by her mouth? He is her soul; and we have already had St. Augustine telling us that when the tongue speaks, the soul is responsible.
The infallibility of our holy Mother the Church is the direct and immediate result of her having abiding within her the Spirit of Truth. It is the promise made to her by Jesus; it is the necessary consequence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The man who does not acknowledge the Church to be infallible should, if he be consistent, admit that the Son of God has not been able to fulfill his promise, and that the Spirit of Truth is a Spirit of error. But he that reasons thus has strayed from the path of life; he thought he was but denying a prerogative to the Church, whereas in reality, he has refused to believe God himself. It is this that constitutes the sin of heresy. Want of due reflection may cover and hide the awful conclusion; but the conclusion is strictly implied in his principle. The heretic is at variance with the Holy Ghost, because he is at variance with the Church; he may become, once more, a living member, by humbly returning to the Spouse of Christ,—but at present, he is dead, for the Soul is not animating him. Let us again give ear to the great St. Augustine: “It sometimes happens,” says he, “that a member,—say a hand, or finger, or foot,—is cut from the human body; tell me, does the soul follow the member that is thus severed? As long as it was in the body, it lived; now that it is cut off, it is dead. In the same manner, a Christian is a Catholic so long as he lives in the Body (of the Church); cut off, he is a Heretic; the spirit follows not a member that is cut off.”
Glory, then, be to the Holy Spirit, who has conferred upon the Spouse the “splendor of truth!” With regard to ourselves,—could we, without incurring the greatest of dangers, put limits to the docility wherewith we receive teachings which come to us simultaneously from the Spirit and the Bride, who are so indissolubly united? Whether the Church intimates what we are to believe by showing us her own practice, or simply expressing her sentiments, or solemnly pronouncing a definition on the subject,—we must receive her word with submission of heart. Her practice is ever in harmony with the truth, and it is the Holy Ghost, her life-giving principle, that keeps it so; the utterance of her sentiments is but an aspiration of that same Spirit, who never leaves her; and as to the definitions she decrees, it is not she alone that decrees them, but the Holy Ghost who decrees them in and by her. If it be the visible Head of the Church who utters the definition, we know that Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith may never fail, that he obtained it from the Father, and that he gave to the Holy Ghost the mission of perpetuating this precious prerogative granted to Peter. If it be the Sovereign Pontiff and Bishops, assembled in Council, who proclaim what is the faith on any given subject, it is the Holy Ghost who speaks by this collective judgment, makes truth triumph, and puts error to flight. It is this Divine Spirit that has given the Spouse to crush all heresies beneath her feet; it is He that, in all ages, has raised up within her learned men who have confuted error whensoever or wheresoever it was broached.
So that our beloved Mother the Church is gifted with Infallibility; she is True, always and in all things; and she is indebted for this to Him who proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. But there is another glory which she owes to him. The Spouse of the thrice holy God could not but be Holy. She is so; and it is from the Spirit of holiness that she receives her holiness. Truth and Holiness are inseparably united in God. Hence it was that our Savior, who willed us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect and, creatures as we are, would have us take the infinite good as our model—prayed that we might be “sanctified in the Truth.”
Jesus, therefore, consigned his Spouse to the direction of the Spirit, that he might make her Holy. Holiness is so inherent to this Divine Spirit that it is his very name. Jesus himself calls him the “Holy Ghost;” so that it is on the authority of the Son of God that we call him by this beautiful name. The Father is Power; the Son is Truth; the Spirit is Holiness: and it is for this reason that the Spirit has, here below, the office of Sanctifier; although the Father and Son are Holy, just as Truth is in the Father and the Spirit, and Power is in the Spirit and the Son. The three Persons of the Blessed Trinity have each their special property, but they are all one in essence or nature. Now, the special property of the Holy Ghost is Love, and Love produces Holiness; for it unites the sovereign good with the soul that loves him, and this union is Holiness, which is the “splendor of goodness,” as Beauty is the “splendor of Truth.”
That she might be worthy, then, of the Emmanuel, her Spouse, the Church was to be Holy. He gave her Truth, and the Divine Paraclete has preserved it within her; the Spirit is to endow her with Holiness; and the Father, seeing her True and Holy, will adopt her as his Daughter:—this is her glorious destiny. Let us now see what proofs she gives of her being Holy. The first is her fidelity to her Spouse. History is one long testimony of this her fidelity. Every possible snare has been laid, every sort of violence used, to make her unfaithful: she has bravely withstood them all: she has sacrificed everything—her blood, her peace, the very countries where she reigned—rather than allow what Jesus had entrusted to her to be corrupted or changed. Count, if you can, her Martyrs, from the Apostles down to our own times, who have died for the faith. Call to mind the offers made to her by the potentates of the earth, soliciting her to hush up truth. Think of the threats and persecutions whereby the world sought to make her withdraw one or other dogma of her Creed. Who that knows aught of past or present history can forget the great battle she fought against the Emperors of Germany in defense of the Liberty wherewith her Jesus had made her free, and of which he is so jealous; or the noble love of justice she evinced when her refusal to sanction, by an unlawful dispensation, the adultery of a King was to be followed by the apostasy of England; or the high-minded love of principle she showed in the person of Pius the Ninth, when she braved the clamors of modern infidelity, yea, and the cowardly remonstrances of temporizing Catholics, rather than allow a Jewish boy (who had been baptized when in danger of death) to be exposed to the temptation of denying his faith and blaspheming the Savior who had made him his Child?
Such has been, and such ever will be, the conduct of the Church, because she is holy in her fidelity, and because the Divine Spirit inspires her with a love which overlooks everything when duty is at stake. She can show the code of her laws to her enemies and to her faithful children, and defy them to point out a single enactment that has not been made with a view to procure the glory of her Jesus and lead mankind to virtue. The observance of these her laws has given millions of Saints to God, whom she has produced through the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Church claims each one of those myriads of the elect as the fruit of her maternal care. Even those whom Providence has permitted to be born of heretical parents—if they have lived in the disposition of mind of entering the True Church as soon as they should find it, and have faithfully corresponded, by a virtuous life, to the grace given to them through the merits of the Redeemer—they too were children of the church.
She is the school of devotedness and heroism. Virtues, of which men knew not so much as the name before she was founded, are now being practiced in every country of the world. There are extraordinary actions of saintliness, which she rewards with the honor of canonization; there are the more humble and hidden virtues, which are to be published only on the day of Judgment. The precepts of Jesus are observed by all his disciples; they obey him as their dear Master. This Master has also his counsels, which all cannot follow, but which afford the Church a new scope for the development of her gift of holiness. Not only are there individual and generous souls who fervently practice these counsels; there are the Religious Orders, whose aim is perfection, and whose first law is the obligation, under vow, of observing the evangelical Counsels unitedly with that of the Precepts; and these Orders are produced in the Church by the action of the Spirit of Holiness.
After this, we cannot wonder at her having the gift of Miracles, which is the outward mark of Holiness. It is a supernatural gift, which our Lord told her she would always possess: now the Apostle assures us that the working of miracles comes directly from the Holy Ghost.
It may be objected that all the members of the Church are not holy: to this we reply that she offers to all the means of becoming so, but that their free-will may and frequently does reject such means. Free will has been granted to man that he might thereby merit; and it is a contradiction in terms to say that he who has free will is, at the same time, necessitated to choose good. Moreover, an immense number of those who are now in a state of sin, but who are members of the Church by faith and respectful submission to her lawful Pastors and particularly to the Sovereign Pontiff, will, sooner or later, be reconciled to God and die in holy dispositions. It is the mercy of the Holy Ghost that works this wonderful change, and he works it through the Church, who, imitating her divine Spouse, breaketh not the bruised reed, nor quencheth the smoking flax.
How could she be otherwise than Holy, who has received, in order to administer them to her children, the Seven Sacraments, of which we have spoken in one of the preceding weeks? What more holy than these divine rites, some of which give life to sinners, and others an increase of grace to the just? These Sacraments, which were instituted by Christ and given in heritage to his Church, all bear some relation with the Holy Ghost. In Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, his operation is direct; in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, it is by his action that the Man-God lives and is immolated on our Altars; it is He that restores baptismal grace by Penance; He is the Spirit of Fortitude, who strengthens the dying by Extreme Unction; He is the sacred link which inseparably unites husband and wife together in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Our Jesus gave us these Seven Sacraments as a pledge of his love, when he left us to return to his Father; but the treasure remained sealed up until the descent of the Holy Ghost. It was for Him to prepare the Spouse, by sanctifying her, to receive these precious gifts into her royal hands, and to administer them faithfully to her children; it was for him, therefore, to put her in possession of them.
Lastly, the Church is Holy because of her ceaseless Prayer. He who is the spirit of grace and of prayer is ever producing, in the children of the Church, those varied acts of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, repentance, and love, which constitute the sublime concert of Prayer. To these he adds, for many of the Faithful, the gifts of Contemplation, whereby either the creature is raised up to his God, or God comes down to him with favors which seem only fit for such as are already in heaven. Who could enumerate the aspirations, we mean the effusions of love, which the Holy Spouse sends up to her Jesus in those millions of prayers which are day and night ascending from earth to heaven, and seem to unite the two in the embrace of closest intimacy? How could she be otherwise than Holy who, as the Apostle so forcibly expresses it, has her conversation in heaven?
But if the individual Prayer offered up by her children is thus admirable by its multiplicity and its ardor—how beautiful and grand must not be the united Prayer of the Church herself in her Liturgy, wherein the Holy Ghost acts with all the plenitude of his inspiration and puts upon her lips those thrilling and sublime words, which we have undertaken to explain in our “Liturgical Year?” We would ask those who have followed us thus far if the Liturgy is not the best of all prayers, and the guide and soul of their own individual prayer? Let them, therefore, love the Holy Mother who gives them to partake of her own abundance! Let them glorify the Spirit of grace and prayers for all that he so mercifully deigns to do both for her and them!
O Church of our God! thou art sanctified in truth! By thee we are taught the whole doctrine of our Jesus! By thee we are put in the path of that holiness which is thy very life. What would we have more, having Truth and Holiness? They who seek them out of thee, seek in vain. Happy we, that have nothing to seek, because we have thee for our Mother, who art ever lavishing upon us all thy grand gifts and lights! Oh! how beautiful art thou on this solemnity of Pentecost, which gave thee the riches thou givest to us! We gaze with delighted wonder at the magnificent prerogatives prepared for thee by thy Jesus and communicated to thee by the Holy Ghost. And now that we know thee better, we will love thee with warmer hearts!
The Station for the Thursday of Whitsuntide is in the Basilica of St. Laurence outside the walls. This venerable Church, where lie the relics of the intrepid Archdeacon of Rome, is one of the grandest trophies of the victory gained by the Holy Ghost over the Prince of this world. This annual assembly of the Faithful in so holy a place, and for all these long ages, is an eloquent testimony of the completeness of that victory which made Rome and her power subject to Christ.
The Armenian Church comes, for the fourth time, to aid us in our homage to the Holy Ghost. The richest fragrance of antiquity is in the stanzas we select for today.
(Canon quintæ diei.)
Hodie exsultant chori Apostolorum adventu Spiritus Dei, quos consolatus est loco Verbi incarnati, degens apud illos: gloriam offeramus illi agiologa voce.
Today, the choir of Apostles rejoice at the coming of the Spirit of God: he consoles them, he lives with them, taking the place of the Incarnate Word. Let us offer him our holy songs of praise!
Hodie exiit aqua viva in Jerusalem, unde repleta sunt flumina Dei, et currentes inebriarunt terrarum orbem quadrifluvio fonte Eden; gloriam offeramus alli agiologa voce.
Today, a Living Water sprang up in Jerusalem: it filled the rivers of God, which ran through the whole earth, inebriating it with the four-fold Fountain of Eden. Let us offer our holy songs of praise!
Hodie rore intelligibili de subibus Spiritus lætata sunt germina Ecclesiæ, pinguefacti sunt agri justitia, speciosa effecta est deserta pura virginitate; gloriam offeramur illi agiologa voce.
Today, the young plants of the Church were gladdened with spiritual dew from the clouds of the Spirit; the fields were made rich in justice; the desert was made to bloom with purest virginity. Let us offer him our holy songs of praise!
We subjoin a Sequence from Germany; in which her illustrious Prophetess, the holy Abbess Hildegarde, gives expression to her love of the Divine Spirit, whose inspiration she almost uninterruptedly enjoyed and obeyed.
O ignis Spiritus Paraclite,
Vita vitæ omnis creaturæ.
O sacred Fire! O Paraclete Spirit! thou art the Life of every creature’s life.
Sanctus es, vivificando formas.
Thou art the Holy One, vivifying all beings!
Sanctus es ungendo
Thou art the Holy One, healing with thine unction them that are dangerously bruised!
Sanctus es, tergendo
Thou art the Holy One, cleansing our festered wounds!
O spiraculum sanctitatis,
O ignis charitatis,
O dulcis gustus
O Breath of Holiness! O Fire of Charity! O thou sweet Savor of the soul, and the heart’s Infusion of the pleasing odor of virtues!
O fons purissimus,
In quo consideratur,
Quod Deus alienos
Et perditos requirit.
O purest Fount! wherein is reflected God’s mercy that adopts aliens for his Children, and goes in search of them that are lost.
O lorica vitæ,
Et spes compaginis
O cingulum honestatis,
O Breast-plate of life, that givest all the members hope of compact strength! O Girdle of beautiful energy, save us thy happy people!
Qui carcerati sunt
Et solve ligatos,
Quos divina vis
Be the Protector of them that have been imprisoned by the enemy! Loose the bonds of them, whom God’s power would save!
O iter fortissimum,
Quod penetravit omnia,
Et in terrenis,
Et in omnibus abyssis,
Quum omnes componis
O Way, which nothing can resist! that penetratest heaven, and earth, and every deep abyss, bringing all to order and unity!
De te nubes fluunt,
Lapides humorem habent,
Aquæ rivulos educunt
Et terra viriditatem sudat.
’Tis by thee that clouds glide in the firmament, that air wings its flight, that rocks yield springs, that waters flow, and earth gives forth her verdure.
Tu etiam semper
Per inspirationem sapientiæ
’Tis thou that leadest men to knowledge, gladdening them with the inspiration of wisdom.
Unde laus tibi sit,
Qui es sonus laudis
Et gaudium vitæ,
Spes et honor fortissimus,
Dans præmia lucis.
Praise, then, be to thee, O thou praise-yielding Spirit, thou Joy of life, our Hope, our highest Honor, the giver of the reward of Light!
The Gift of Counsel
We have seen how necessary for the sanctification of a Christian is the gift of Fortitude; but it is not sufficient; there is need of another gift, which completes it. This other gift is Counsel. Fortitude needs direction. The gift of Knowledge is not the guide of Fortitude, and for this reason,—that Knowledge teaches the soul her last end and gives her general rules for her conduct; but it does not bring her light sufficient for the special application of God’s law to particular cases, and for the practical doing our duty. In those varied circumstances in which we are to be placed, and in the decisions we must then form, we shall have to hearken to the voice of the Holy Ghost, and this voice speaks to us through the gift of Counsel. It will tell us if we are attentive to its speaking, what we must do and what we must not do, what we must say and what we must not say, what we may keep and what we must give up. The Holy Ghost acts upon our understanding by the gift of Counsel, as he acts upon our will by the gift of Fortitude.
This precious gift bears upon our whole life; for we are continually obliged to be deciding on one of two sides or questions. How grateful, then, should we not be to the Holy Ghost, who is ever ready to be our counselor, if we will but permit him! And if we follow his direction, what snares he will teach us to avoid! how many illusions he will dispel! how grand the truths he will show us! But in order that his inspirations may not be lost upon us, we must be on our guard against such miseries of our nature as the following: natural impulse, which is but too often the sole motive of our acts; rashness, which makes us follow whatever feeling happens to be uppermost in our mind; precipitation, which urges us to judge or act before we have seen both sides of the case; and lastly, indifference, which makes us decide at hap-hazard, out of a repugnance we have to take the trouble of examining what is the best course to pursue.
By the gift of Counsel, the Holy Ghost saves us from all these evils. He corrects the impetuosity, or, it may be, the apathy of our temperament. He keeps the soul alive to what is true and good and conducive to her real interests. He introduces into the soul that virtue which completes the seasons every other—we mean discretion, whereby the other virtues are harmonized and kept from extremes. Under the direction of the gift of Counsel, the Christian has nothing to fear; the Holy Ghost takes the whole responsibility. What matters it, therefore, if the world find fault, or criticize, or express surprise, or be scandalized? The world thinks itself wise; but it has not the gift of Counsel. Hence, it often happens that what is undertaken by its advice results in the very opposite to what was intended. Was it not of the world that God spoke, when he said: My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways?
Let us, then, with all the ardor of our hearts, desire this divine gift, which will preserve us from the danger of being our own guides; but let us remember, it will only dwell in us on the condition of our allowing it to be master. If the Holy Ghost see that we are not led by worldly principles, and that we acknowledge our own weakness, he will be our Counsel; if he find that we are wise in our own eyes, he will withdraw his light and leave us to ourselves.
O Holy Spirit! we would not that thou shouldst ever abandon us. Sad experience has taught us how fraught with danger is all human prudence. Most cheerfully do we promise thee to mistrust our own ideas, which are so apt to blind and mislead us. Keep up within us the magnificent gift thou gavest us at Baptism: be thou our Counsel, yea, unreservedly and forever! Show me, O Lord, thy ways, and teach me thy paths. Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God who canst save me; therefore have I waited on thee, all the day long. We know that we are to be judged for all our works and intentions; but we know too that we have nothing to fear so long as we are faithful to thy guidance. Therefore will we attentively hear what the Lord God will speak in us; we will listen to thee, O Holy Spirit of Counsel, whether thou speakest to us directly thyself, or whether thou sendest us to those whom thou shalt appoint as our guides. Blessed, then, be Jesus, who has sent us such a Counselor! and blessed be thou, O Holy Spirit! who deignest to give us thine aid, in spite of all our past resistance!
Then calling together the twelve apostles, He gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And He said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats. And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them. And going out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.
We learn from Christ’s precepts what manner of men they ought to be who preach the kingdom of God as the Gospel saith: Take nothing for your journey; neither staves nor scrip, neither bread, neither money. Thus let the apostolic preacher (seeking no earthly help, and relying on faith) deem himself able to do all the more, as he needeth all the less. And they who wish to do so, may interpret this passage as referring to the proper interior intention, to wit: A man may be said to have laid aside the encumbrances of the body, not only by abdicating power, and despising riches, but also by truly abandoning the allurements of the flesh. And first of all, Christ gave the Apostles a general precept concerning their manner: they were to be bringers of peace; not gadding about, but observing both the laws and ties of hospitality which were offered to them. To gad about from house to house, and to abuse the rights of hospitality, are things alien to a preacher of the kingdom of heaven.
But as the kindness of hospitality is to be met with courtesy, so also is it said: Whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them. Hereby is taught that hospitality doth meet with a good reward; for if, to those who receive us, we bring peace, then also it is true to say that, wheresoever there enter the feet of them that bear the Gospel, there the clouds of sinful vanities do flee away. And so it is not without reason that Matthew saith: Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence: thus avoiding any possible need of going from house to house. But no such caution is enjoined on him that giveth hospitality, lest his hospitality should be lessened by shewing partiality.
This passage, taken according to its plain meaning, instructeth us in the sacred duties of hospitality, and charmeth us with a hint of heavenly mystery. When the house is chosen, it is asked if the master thereof be worthy. Perchance this is a figure of the Church, and of her Master, Christ. What worthier house can the apostolic preacher enter than holy Church? Or what host is more to be preferred before all others than Christ, Who was wont to wash the feet of His guests? Yea, He suffereth not that any whom He receiveth into His house should dwell there with unclean feet. However defiled they be from their former wanderings, He doth vouchsafe to cleanse them for the rest of their journey. From His house ought no man ever to go forth, nor change his roof for any other shelter, for unto him it is well said: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life: and these words of Thine we do believe.
I greet thee, St. Anthony, lily of purity, ornament and glory of Christianity. I greet thee, great saint, filled with divine love. I rejoice at the favors Our Lord has so generously bestowed on thee. I humbly and confidently entreat thee to help me for I know that God has given thee charity as well as power.
Good St. Anthony, meek and humble in spite of thy great gifts, and whom we invoke so confidently to help us find that which is lost; pray, I beg thee, that I may never lose my faith, the gift that I cherish most.
Behold my needs (here mention your request). I beg of thee, by the love thou felt towards the little Jesus when He embraced thee so lovingly, to tell Him now of my needs. Remember how complete was thy happiness when thou heldest Him in thy arms.
I venerate thee, glorious favorite of God, and bow my guilty head before thee in humble reverence while I raise my sad heart full of hope toward the throne of Divine Mercy and to thee, my intercessor. He who placed Himself in thy arms will now fill thy hands with all I ask of thee.
Please obtain for me what I desire, if it be God’s Holy Will, and I will make known the wondrous power of thy intercession for the greater Glory of God. Amen
V. If, then, thou seekest miracles, Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons flee, The sick, by him made whole, arise.
R. The sea withdraws and fetters break, And withered limbs he doth restore, While treasures lost are found again,
When young or old his help implore.
V. All dangers vanish from our path, Our direst needs do quickly flee; Let those who know repeat the theme: Let Paduans praise St. Anthony.
R. To Father, Son let glory be, And Holy Ghost eternally.
Pray for us, O blessed Anthony, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Let us pray.
Let Thy Church, O God, be gladdened by the solemn commemoration of blessed Anthony Thy Confessor: that she may evermore be defended by Thy spiritual assistance, and merit to possess everlasting joy. Through Christ our Lord.
V. O mighty St. Anthony, Hammer of Heretics, glorious by reason of the fame of thy miracles and defense of the Faith,
R. Who hadst the happiness of receiving within thine arms * our blessed Lord under the guise of a little child, * obtain
for me of His bounty * this favor that I desire from the bottom of my heart.
V. (state your intentions)
V. O wondrous St. Anthony, thou wast so gracious
unto poor sinners,
R. Regard not the lack of merit * on the part of him who calls upon thee, * but consider the glory of God, * which will be exalted once more through thee, * to the salvation of my soul * and the granting of the petition that I now make * with such ardent yearning.
V. As a pledge of my gratitude, I beg thee to accept my promise to live henceforth more agreeably to the teachings of the Gospel,
R. And to be devoted to the service of the poor * whom thou didst ever love and still dost love so greatly; * bless this my resolution * and obtain for me the grace to be faithful thereto * even until death. * Amen.