Guide This Day with the Master: 365 Daily Meditations (Discovery Devotional Series)

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The purpose of this examination of conscience is to purify the soul and to aid us to improve our confessions. I presuppose that there are three kinds of thoughts in my mind, namely: one which is strictly my own, and arises wholly from my own free will; two others which come from without, the one from the good spirit, and the other from the evil one. When a thought of committing a mortal sin comes to my mind which I resist at once, and thus overcome it.

When the same evil thought comes to me, and I resist it, but it returns again and again, and I always resist it till it is conquered. It is a venial sin if the same thought of sinning mortally comes to mind and for a short time one pays heed to it, or receives some sense pleasure, or is somewhat negligent in rejecting it. The first is to consent to the evil thought with the intention of carrying it out, or of doing so if one can.

The second way of sinning mortally is actually carrying out the sin to which consent was given. One may also offend God in word in many ways: by blasphemy, by swearing. One must not swear, neither by the creature nor by the Creator, unless it is according to truth, out of necessity, and with reverence. By necessity I mean that the truth I swear to is not just some true statement I choose to confirm by oath, but one of real importance, either for the welfare of the soul or of the body, or with regard to temporal interests.

By reverence I mean that when the name of the Creator and Lord is mentioned, one acts with consideration and devoutly manifests due honor and respect. It must be noted that in idle oaths we sin more grievously when we swear by the Creator than when we swear by a creature. However, to swear as one ought, according to truth, out of necessity, with reverence, is more difficult when we swear by a creature than when we swear by the Creator.

There are three reasons for this:. When we wish to take an oath by some creature, the intention to call upon its name does not make us so attentive and cautious to speak the truth, or to confirm it by oath only if necessary, as we would be with the intention to use the name of the Creator and Lord of all. When we swear by the name of some creature, it is not so easy to observe reverence and respect for the Creator as when in swearing we use the name of the Creator and Lord Himself.

For the intention of using the name of God our Lord carries along with it a greater respect and reverence than the intention to use the name of a creature. Hence, those who are perfect should be allowed to swear by a creature rather than those who are imperfect. The perfect, due to constant contemplation and the enlightenment of the understanding, consider, meditate, and ponder more that God our Lord is in every creature by His essence, power, and presence.

Therefore, when they swear by a creature, they are more apt to be disposed to show respect and reverence to the Creator and Lord than those who are imperfect. In frequent swearing by a creature, idolatry is more to be feared in those who are imperfect than in those who are perfect. Among other sins of the tongue that we must avoid are idle words. No idle word should be uttered. I understand a word to be idle when it serves no good purpose, either for myself or for another, and was not intended to do so. Nor are they idle because one speaks of matters that do not pertain to his state, for example, if a religious speaks of wars or of commerce.

In all we have mentioned, there will be merit if what is said is directed to some good purpose; there will be sin if it is directed to an evil purpose, or if engaged in for no good end. Lying, false testimony, detraction are also sins of the tongue. Nothing should be said to lessen the good name of another, or to complain about him. For if I reveal a hidden mortal sin of another, I sin mortally; if I reveal a hidden venial sin, I sin venially; if his defect, I manifest my own.

If, however, my intention is good, there are two ways in which it is permissible to speak of the sin or fault of another:. When a sin is public, as in the case of a woman openly leading a shameless life, or of a sentence passed in court, or of a commonly known error that infests the minds of those with whom we live. When a hidden sin is revealed to some one with the intention that he help the one who is in sin to rise from his state.

But then there must be some grounds or probable reasons for believing that he will be able to help him. Among sins of the tongue may be considered ridicule, insults, and other similar sins, which the one giving the Exercises may discuss if he judges it necessary. The subject matter for examination will be the Ten Commandments, the laws of the Church, the recommendations of superiors.

All transgressions of obligations arising from any of these three groups are more or less grievous sins according to the gravity of the matter. By recommendations of superiors is meant crusade indults and other indulgences, such as those for peace on condition of confession and reception of Holy Communion. For to be the cause of one acting against such pious recommendations and regulations of superiors, or to do so oneself, is no small sin. The third point is to demand an account of my soul from the time of rising up to the present examination.

I should go over one hour after another, one period after another. The thoughts should be examined first, then the words, and finally, the deeds in the same order as was explained under the Particular Examination of Conscience. The fifth point will be to resolve to amend with the grace of God.

Close with an Our Father. Among many advantages of a general confession which one makes of his own accord during the time of the Spiritual Exercises, there are especially these three:. It is true that one who confesses every year has no obligation to make a general confession.

But if one is made, there will be much greater merit and profit, because of the greater sorrow experienced for all the sins and perversities of his whole life. While one is going through the Spiritual Exercises, a far deeper insight into his sins and their malice is acquired than at a time when he is not so engaged with what concerns his inner life.

Since at this time he attains to a deeper knowledge and sorrow for his sins, there will be greater profit and merit than he would otherwise have had. As a consequence of having made a better confession, and of being better disposed, he will find that he is more worthy and better prepared to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament. This reception will strengthen him not only against falling into sin, but will also help him to retain the increase of grace which he has gained.

It will be better to make this general confession immediately after the Exercises of the First Week. This is a meditation on the first, second and third sin employing the three powers of the soul. After the preparatory prayer and two preludes it contains three principal points and a colloquy. In the preparatory prayer I will beg God our Lord for grace that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be directed purely to the praise and service of His Divine Majesty.

Attention must be called to the following point. When the contemplation or meditation is on something visible, for example, when we contemplate Christ our Lord, the representation will consist in seeing in imagination the material place where the object is that we wish to contemplate. I said the material place, for example, the temple, or the mountain where Jesus or His Mother is, according to the subject matter of the contemplation.

In a case where the subject matter is not visible, as here in a meditation on sin, the representation will be to see in imagination my soul as a prisoner in this corruptible body, and to consider my whole composite being as an exile here on earth, cast out to live among brute beasts.

I said my whole composite being, body and soul. The petition made in this prelude must be according to the subject matter. Thus in a contemplation on the Resurrection I will ask for joy with Christ in joy. In one on the passion, I will ask for sorrow, tears, and anguish with Christ in anguish. Here it will be to ask for shame and confusion, because I see how many have been lost on account of a single mortal sin, and how many times I have deserved eternal damnation, because of the many grievous sins that I have committed.

The Preparatory Prayer, which is never changed, and the two Preludes mentioned above, which are changed at times according to the subject matter, must always be made before all the contemplations and meditations. This will consist in using the memory to recall the first sin, which was that of the angels, and then in applying the understanding by reasoning upon this sin, then the will by seeking to remember and understand all to be the more filled with shame and confusion when I compare the one sin of the angels with the many sins I have committed.

I will consider that they went to hell for one sin, and the number of times I have deserved to be condemned forever because of my numerous sins. I said we should apply the memory to the sin of the angels, that is, recalling that they were created in the state of grace, that they did not want to make use of the freedom God gave them to reverence and obey their Creator and Lord, and so falling into pride, were changed from grace to hatred of God, and cast out of heaven into hell.

So, too, the understanding is to be used to think over the matter more in detail, and then the will to rouse more deeply the emotions. In the same way the three powers of the soul are to be applied to the sin of Adam and Eve. Recall to memory how on account of this sin they did penance for so long a time, and the great corruption which came upon the human race that caused so many to be lost in hell.

I said recall to mind the second sin, that of our First Parents. After Adam had been created on the Plain of Damascus and placed in the Garden of Paradise, and Eve had been formed from his side, they sinned by violating the command not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Thereafter, they were clothed in garments of skin and cast out of Paradise. By their sin they lost original justice, and for the rest of their lives, lived without it in many labors and great penance. So, too, the understanding is to be used to think over the matter in greater detail, and the will is to be used as explained above.

In like manner, we are to do the same with regard to the third sin, namely, that of one who went to hell because of one mortal sin. Consider also countless others who have been lost for fewer sins than I have committed. I said to do the same for the third particular sin. Recall to memory the gravity and malice of sin against our Creator and Lord.

Use the understanding to consider that because of sin, and of acting against the Infinite Goodness, one is justly condemned forever. Close with the acts of the will as we have said above. Imagine Christ our Lord present before you upon the cross, and begin to speak with him, asking how it is that though He is the Creator, He has stooped to become man, and to pass from eternal life to death here in time, that thus He might die for our sins.

As I behold Christ in this plight, nailed to the cross, I shall ponder upon what presents itself to my mind. The colloquy is made by speaking exactly as one friend speaks to another, or as a servant speaks to a master, now asking him for a favor, now blaming himself for some misdeed, now making known his affairs to him, and seeking advice in them.

This is a meditation on our sins. After the preparatory prayer and two preludes there are five points and a colloquy. This is to ask for what I desire. Here it will be to ask for a growing and intense sorrow and tears for my sins. This is the record of my sins. I will call to mind all the sins of my life, reviewing year by year, and period by period. Three things will help me in this: First, to consider the place where I lived; secondly, my dealings with others; thirdly, the office I have held.

I will weigh the gravity of my sins, and see the loathesomeness and malice which every mortal sin I have committed has in itself, even though it were not forbidden. I will consider myself as a source of corruption and contagion from which has issued countless sins and evils and the most offensive poison. I will consider who God is against whom I have sinned, going through His attributes and comparing them with their contraries in me: His wisdom with my ignorance, His power with my weakness, His justice with my iniquity, His goodness with my wickedness.

This is a cry of wonder accompanied by surging emotion as I pass in review all creatures. How is it that they have permitted me to live, and have sustained me in life! Why have the saints interceded for me and asked favors for me! And the heavens, sun, moon, stars, and the elements; the fruits, birds, fishes, and other animals—why have they all been at my service!

How is it that the earth did not open to swallow me up, and create new hells in which I should be tormented forever! I will conclude with a colloquy, extolling the mercy of God our Lord, pouring out my thoughts to Him, and giving thanks to Him that up to this very moment He has granted me life.

I will resolve with His grace to amend for the future. After the preparatory prayer and the two preludes, this exercise will consist in repeating the First and Second Exercise. In doing this, we should pay attention to and dwell upon those points in which we have experienced greater consolation or desolation or greater spiritual appreciation. After the repetition, three colloquies are to be used in the following manner:. The first colloquy will be with our Blessed Lady, that she may obtain grace for me from her Son and Lord for three favors:. An understanding of the disorder of my actions, that filled with horror of them, I may amend my life and put it in order;.

A knowledge of the world, that filled with horror, I may put away from me all that is worldly and vain. I will make the same petitions to her Son that He may obtain these graces from the Father for me. I will make the same requests of the Father that He Himself, the eternal Lord, may grant them to me. I have called it a summary, because the intellect, without any digression, diligently thinks over and recalls the matter contemplated in the previous exercises. The same three colloquies should be used at the close.

This is a meditation on hell. Besides the preparatory prayer and two preludes it contains five points and a colloquy. This is a representation of the place. Here it will be to see in imagination the length, breadth, and depth of hell. I should ask for what I desire. Here it will be to beg for a deep sense of the pain which the lost suffer, that if because of my faults I forget the love of the eternal Lord, at least the fear of these punishments will keep me from falling into sin. This will be to see in imagination the vast fires, and the souls enclosed, as it were, in bodies of fire.

To hear the wailing, the howling, cries, and blasphemies against Christ our Lord and against His saints. Enter into conversation with Christ our Lord. Recall to memory that of those who are in hell, some came there because they did not believe in the coming of Christ; others, though they believed, because they did not keep the Commandments.

Divide them all into three classes:. Thereupon, I will give thanks to God our Lord that He has not put an end to my life and permitted me to fall into any of these three classes. I shall also thank Him for this, that up to this very moment He has shown Himself so loving and merciful to me.

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If the one giving the Exercises judges that it would be profitable for the exercitant, other exercises may be added here, for example, on death and other punishments of sin, on judgment, etc. Let him not think this is forbidden, though they are not given here. The First Exercise will be made at midnight; the Second, immediately on rising in the morning; the Third, before or after Mass, at all events before dinner; the Fourth, about the time of Vespers; the Fifth, an hour before supper.

This is more or less the arrangement of hours that I take for granted is being observed in all four Weeks. But as age, condition of health, and the physical constitution of the exercitant permit, there may be five exercises or fewer. The purpose of these directions is to help one to go through the exercises better and find more readily what he desires. After retiring, just before falling asleep, for the space of a Hail Mary, I will think of the hour when I have to rise, and why I am rising, and briefly sum up the exercise I have to go through.

When I wake up, I will not permit my thoughts to roam at random, but will turn my mind at once to the subject I am about to contemplate in the first exercise at midnight. I will seek to rouse myself to shame for my many sins by using examples, let us say, of a knight brought before his king and the whole court, filled with shame and confusion for having grievously offended his lord from whom he had formerly received many gifts and favors.

Similarly, in the Second Exercise, I will consider myself a great sinner, loaded with chains, that is, I will look upon myself as bound with fetters, going to appear before the supreme and eternal Judge, and I will recall the way prisoners, bound and deserving of death, appear before an earthly judge. As I dress, I will think over these thoughts or others in keeping with the subject matter of the meditation. I will stand for the space of an Our Father, a step or two before the place where I am to meditate or contemplate, and with my mind raised on high, consider that God our Lord beholds me, etc.

Then I will make an act of reverence or humility. I will enter upon the meditation, now kneeling, now prostrate upon the ground, now lying face upwards, now seated, now standing, always being intent on seeking what I desire. Hence, two things should be noted:. If I find what I desire while kneeling, I will not seek to change my position: if prostrate, I will observe the same direction, etc. I will remain quietly meditating upon the point in which I have found what I desire, without any eagerness to go on till I have been satisfied.

After an exercise is finished, either sitting or walking, I will consider for the space of a quarter of an hour how I succeeded in the meditation or contemplation. If poorly, I will seek the cause of the failure; and after I have found it, I will be sorry, so that I may do better in the future. If I have succeeded, I will give thanks to God our Lord, and the next time try to follow the same method. I should not think of things that give pleasure and joy, as the glory of heaven, the Resurrection, etc. I should rather keep in mind that I want to be sorry and feel pain. Hence it would be better to call to mind death and judgment.

For the same reason I should deprive myself of all light, closing the shutters and doors when I am in my room, except when I need light to say prayers, to read, or to eat. I should restrain my eyes except to look up in receiving or dismissing one with whom I have to speak. The tenth Additional Direction deals with penance. This is divided into interior and exterior penance. Exterior penance is the fruit of the first kind. It consists in inflicting punishment on ourselves for the sins we have committed. The principal ways of doing this are three:.

The first kind of exterior penance concerns eating. In this matter, if we do away with what is superfluous, it is not penance, but temperance. We do penance when we deny ourselves something of what is suitable for us. The more we do this, the better the penance, provided only we do no harm to ourselves and do not cause any serious illness.

The second kind of exterior penance concerns sleep. Here, too, it is not penance when we do away with the superfluous in what is pampering and soft. But it is penance when in our manner of sleeping we take something away from what is suitable. The more we do in this line, the better it is, provided we do not cause any harm to ourselves, and do not bring on any notable illness. But we should not deny ourselves a suitable amount of sleep, except to come to a happy mean in case we had the habit of sleeping too much. The third kind of penance is to chastise the body, that is, to inflict sensible pain on it.

This is done by wearing hairshirts, cords, or iron chains on the body, or by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerities. The more suitable and safe form of penance seems to be that which would cause sensible pain to the body and not penetrate to the bones, so that it inflicts pain, but does not cause sickness.

For this reason it would seem more suitable to chastise oneself with light cords that cause superficial pain, rather than in any other way that might bring about a serious internal infirmity. To overcome oneself, that is, to make our sensual nature obey reason, and to bring all of our lower faculties into greater subjection to the higher;.

To obtain some grace or gift that one earnestly desires. Thus it may be that one wants a deep sorrow for sin, or tears, either because of his sins or because of the pains and sufferings of Christ our Lord; or he may want the solution of some doubt that is in his mind. Note that the first and second Additional Directions are to be observed for the exercises at midnight and at daybreak, and not for the exercises made at other times. The fourth Direction is never to be followed in the church before others, but only in private, for example, at home.

When the exercitant has not found what he has been seeking, for example, tears, consolation, etc. The reason for this is that more penance is better for some and less for others. Another reason is that we often quit doing penance, because we are too much concerned about our bodies and erroneously judge that human nature cannot bear it without notable illness.

On the other hand, at times we may do too much penance, thinking that the body can stand it. Now since God our Lord knows our nature infinitely better, when we make changes of this kind, He often grants each one the grace to understand what is suitable for him. The Particular Examination of Conscience will be made to remove faults and negligences with regard to the Exercises and the Additional Directions.

This will also be observed in the Second, Third, and Fourth Week. This is a mental representation of the place. Here it will be to see in imagination the synagogues, villages, and towns where Christ our Lord preached. I will ask for the grace I desire. Here it will be to ask of our Lord the grace not to be deaf to His call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will. This will be to place before my mind a human king, chosen by God our Lord Himself, to whom all Christian princes and people pay homage and obedience.

This will be to consider the address this king makes to all his subjects, with the words: "It is my will to conquer all the lands of the infidel. Therefore, whoever wishes to join with me in this enterprise must be content with the same food, drink, clothing, etc.

So, too, he must work with me by day, and watch with me by night, etc. Consider what the answer of good subjects ought to be to a king so generous and noble-minded, and consequently, if anyone would refuse the invitation of such a king, how justly he would deserve to be condemned by the whole world, and looked upon as an ignoble knight. The second part of this exercise will consist in applying the example of the earthly king mentioned above to Christ our Lord according to the following points:. If such a summons of an earthly king to his subjects deserves our attention, how much more worthy of consideration is Christ our Lord, the Eternal King, before whom is assembled the whole world.

To all His summons goes forth, and to each one in particular He addresses the words: "It is my will to conquer the whole world and all my enemies, and thus to enter into the glory of my Father. Therefore, whoever wishes to join me in this enterprise must be willing to labor with me, that by following me in suffering, he may follow me in glory.

Louis J. Puhl, SJ Translation

Consider that all persons who have judgment and reason will offer themselves entirely for this work. Those who wish to give greater proof of their love, and to distinguish themselves in whatever concerns the service of the eternal King and the Lord of all, will not only offer themselves entirely for the work, but will act against their sensuality and carnal and worldly love, and make offerings of greater value and of more importance in words such as these:. Eternal Lord of all things, in the presence of Thy infinite goodness, and of Thy glorious mother, and of all the saints of Thy heavenly court, this is the offering of myself which I make with Thy favor and help.

I protest that it is my earnest desire and my deliberate choice, provided only it is for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in bearing all wrongs and all abuse and all poverty, both actual and spiritual, should Thy most holy majesty deign to choose and admit me to such a state and way of life. This exercise should be gone through twice during the day, that is, in the morning on rising, and an hour before dinner, or before supper.

During the Second Week and thereafter, it will be very profitable to read some passages from the Following of Christ, or from the Gospels, and from the Lives of the Saints. This is a contemplation on the incarnation. After the preparatory prayer and three preludes there are three points and a colloquy. This will consist in calling to mind the history of the subject I have to contemplate. Here it will be how the Three Divine Persons look down upon the whole expanse or circuit of all the earth, filled with human beings.

Since They see that all are going down to hell, They decree in Their eternity that the Second Person should become man to save the human race. So when the fullness of time had come, They send the Angel Gabriel to our Lady. It will be here to see the great extent of the surface of the earth, inhabited by so many different peoples, and especially to see the house and room of our Lady in the city of Nazareth in the province of Galilee.

Here it will be to ask for an intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely. The same preparatory prayer without any change, as was mentioned in the beginning, and the three preludes, with such changes of form as the subject demands, are to be made during this Week and during the others that follow.

First, those on the face of the earth, in such great diversity in dress and in manner of acting. Some are white, some black; some at peace, and some at war; some weeping, some laughing; some well, some sick; some coming into the world, and some dying; etc. They look down upon the whole surface of the earth, and behold all nations in great blindness, going down to death and descending into hell.

This will be to listen to what the persons on the face of the earth say, that is, how they speak to one another, swear and blaspheme, etc. I will also hear what the Divine Persons say, that is, "Let us work the redemption of the human race," etc. Then I will listen to what the angel and our Lady say. Finally, I will reflect upon all I hear to draw profit from their words.

This will be to consider what the persons on the face of the earth do, for example, wound, kill, and go down to hell. Also what the Divine Persons do, namely, work the most holy Incarnation, etc. Likewise, what the Angel and our Lady do; how the Angel carries out his office of ambassador; and how our Lady humbles herself, and offers thanks to the Divine Majesty. The exercise should be closed with a colloquy. According to the light that I have received, I will beg for grace to follow and imitate more closely our Lord, who has just become man for me. This is the history of the mystery.

Here it will be that our Lady, about nine months with child, and, as may be piously believed, seated on an ass, set out from Nazareth. She was accompanied by Joseph and a maid, who was leading an ox. They are going to Bethlehem to pay the tribute that Caesar imposed on those lands. It will consist here in seeing in imagination the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Consider its length, its breadth; whether level, or through valleys and over hills.

Observe also the place or cave where Christ is born; whether big or little; whether high or low; and how it is arranged. This will consist in seeing the persons, namely, our Lady, St. Joseph, the maid, and the Child Jesus after His birth. I will make myself a poor little unworthy slave, and as though present, look upon them, contemplate them, and serve them in their needs with all possible homage and reverence.

This is to consider, observe, and contemplate what the persons are saying, and then to reflect on myself and draw some fruit from it. This will be to see and consider what they are doing, for example, making the journey and laboring that our Lord might be born in extreme poverty, and that after many labors, after hunger, thirst, heat, and cold, after insults and outrages, He might die on the cross, and all this for me.

Close with a colloquy as in the preceding contemplation, and with the Our Father. After the preparatory prayer and the three preludes, a repetition of the First and Second Exercises will be made. In doing this, attention should always be given to some more important parts in which one has experienced understanding, consolation, or desolation. In this repetition and in all those which follow, the same order of proceeding should be observed as in the repetitions of the First Week.

The subject matter is changed but the same form is observed. This will consist in a repetition of the first and second exercises in the same way as in the repetition given above. This will consist in applying the five senses to the matter of the first and second contemplations.

After the preparatory prayer and three preludes, it will be profitable with the aid of the imagination to apply the five senses to the subject matter of the First and Second Contemplation in the following manner:. This consists in seeing in imagination the persons, and in contemplating and meditating in detail the circumstances in which they are, and then in drawing some fruit from what has been seen.

This is to hear what they are saying, or what they might say, and then by reflecting on oneself to draw some profit from what has been heard. This is to smell the infinite fragrance, and taste the infinite sweetness of the divinity. Likewise to apply these senses to the soul and its virtues, and to all according to the person we are contemplating, and to draw fruit from this. This is to apply the sense of touch, for example, by embracing and kissing the place where the persons stand or are seated, always taking care to draw some fruit from this. Throughout this Week and the subsequent Weeks, I ought to read only the mystery that I am immediately to contemplate.

Hence, I should not read any mystery that is not to be used on that day or at that hour, lest the consideration of one mystery interfere with the contemplation of the other. The First Exercise on the Incarnation should take place at midnight, the second at daybreak, the third about the time of Mass, the fourth near the time of Vespers, and the fifth an hour before supper.

If the exercitant is old or weak, or even when strong, if he has come from the First Week rather exhausted, it should be noted that in this Second Week it would be better, at least at times, not to rise at midnight. Then one contemplation would be in the morning, another would be at the time of Mass, a third before dinner, with one repetition of them at the time of Vespers, and the Application of the Senses before supper.

Of the ten Additional Directions given during the First Week, the following should be changed during the Second Week: the second, the sixth, the seventh, and part of the tenth. The second will be that as soon as I awake, I should place before my mind the subject of the contemplation with the desire to know better the eternal Word Incarnate in order to serve and follow Him more closely. The sixth will be to call to mind frequently the mysteries of the life of Christ our Lord from the Incarnation to the place or mystery I am contemplating.

The seventh will be that the exercitant take care to darken his room, or admit the light; to make use of pleasant or disagreeable weather, in as far as he perceives that it may be of profit, and help to find what he desires. In the observance of the tenth Additional Direction, the exercitant must conduct himself as the mysteries he is contemplating demand. Some call for penance; others do not. In all the exercises, except the one at midnight and the one in the morning, an equivalent of the second Additional Direction should be observed as follows:. As soon as I recall that it is time for the exercise in which I ought to engage, before proceeding to it, I will call to mind, where I am going, before whom I am to appear, and briefly sum up the exercise.

Then after observing the third Additional Direction, I shall enter upon the exercise. On the second day, for the first and second contemplations, the Presentation in the Temple, , and the Flight into Exile in Egypt, , should be used. Two repetitions will be made of these contemplations, and the Application of the Senses, in the same way as was done on the preceding day. Sometimes it will be profitable, even when the exercitant is strong and well-disposed, to make some changes from the second day to the fourth inclusive in order to attain better what is desired.

Thus, the first contemplation would be the one on rising. Then there would be a second about the time of Mass, a repetition about the time of Vespers, and the Application of the Senses before supper. On the third day use the contemplations on the Obedience of the Child Jesus to His parents, , and the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, Then will follow the two repetitions and the Application of the Senses. The example which Christ our Lord gave of the first state of life, which is that of observing the Commandments, has already been considered in meditating on His obedience to His parents.

The example of the second state, which is that of evangelical perfection, has also been considered, when He remained in the temple and left His foster father and His Mother to devote Himself exclusively to the service of His eternal Father. While continuing to contemplate His life, let us begin to investigate and ask in what kind of life or in what state His Divine Majesty wishes to make use of us. Therefore, as some introduction to this, in the next exercise, let us consider the intention of Christ our Lord, and on the other hand, that of the enemy of our human nature.

Let us also see how we ought to prepare ourselves to arrive at perfection in whatever state or way of life God our Lord may grant us to choose. The one of Christ, our supreme leader and lord, the other of Lucifer, the deadly enemy of our human nature. This is the history. Here it will be that Christ calls and wants all beneath His standard, and Lucifer, on the other hand, wants all under his. It will be here to see a great plain, comprising the whole region about Jerusalem, where the sovereign Commander-in-Chief of all the good is Christ our Lord; and another plain about the region of Babylon, where the chief of the enemy is Lucifer.

Here it will be to ask for a knowledge of the deceits of the rebel chief and help to guard myself against them; and also to ask for a knowledge of the true life exemplified in the sovereign and true Commander, and the grace to imitate Him. Imagine you see the chief of all the enemy in the vast plain about Babylon, seated on a great throne of fire and smoke, his appearance inspiring horror and terror. Consider how he summons innumerable demons, and scatters them, some to one city and some to another, throughout the whole world, so that no province, no place, no state of life, no individual is overlooked.

Consider the address he makes to them, how he goads them on to lay snares for men and bind them with chains. First they are to tempt them to covet riches as Satan himself is accustomed to do in most cases that they may the more easily attain the empty honors of this world, and then come to overweening pride. The first step, then, will be riches, the second honor, the third pride. From these three steps the evil one leads to all other vices. In a similar way, we are to picture to ourselves the sovereign and true Commander, Christ our Lord. Consider Christ our Lord, standing in a lowly place in a great plain about the region of Jerusalem, His appearance beautiful and attractive.

Consider how the Lord of all the world chooses so many persons, apostles, disciples, etc. Consider the address which Christ our Lord makes to all His servants and friends whom He sends on this enterprise, recommending to them to seek to help all, first by attracting them to the highest spiritual poverty, and should it please the Divine Majesty, and should He deign to choose them for it, even to actual poverty.

Secondly, they should lead them to a desire for insults and contempt, for from these springs humility. Hence, there will be three steps: the first, poverty as opposed to riches; the second, insults or contempt as opposed to the honor of this world; the third, humility as opposed to pride. From these three steps, let them lead men to all other virtues. A colloquy should be addressed to our Lady, asking her to obtain for me from her Son and Lord the grace to be received under His standard, first in the highest spiritual poverty, and should the Divine Majesty be pleased thereby, and deign to choose and accept me, even in actual poverty; secondly, in bearing insults and wrongs, thereby to imitate Him better, provided only I can suffer these without sin on the part of another, and without offense of the Divine Majesty.

Then I will say the Hail Mary. This will be to ask her Son to obtain the same favors for me from the Father. Then I will say, Soul of Christ. This will be to beg the Father to grant me the same graces. Then I will say the Our Father. This exercise will be made at midnight and again in the morning.

Prayers To Unlock Blessings

There will be two repetitions of the same exercise, one about the time of Mass and the other about the time of Vespers. The same three colloquies, with our Lady, with her Son, and with the Father, will close all these exercises as well as the one on the Three Classes of Men, which follows an hour before supper. This is the history of the Three Classes of Men. Each of them has acquired ten thousand ducats, but not entirely as they should have, for the love of God.

They all wish to save their souls and find peace in God our Lord by ridding themselves of the burden arising from the attachment to the sum acquired, which impedes the attainment of this end. Here it will be to behold myself standing in the presence of God our Lord and of all His saints, that I may know and desire what is more pleasing to His Divine Goodness.

Here it will be to beg for the grace to choose what is more for the glory of His Divine Majesty and the salvation of my soul. They would like to rid themselves of the attachment they have to the sum acquired in order to find peace in God our Lord and assure their salvation, but the hour of death comes, and they have not made use of any means. They want to rid themselves of the attachment, but they wish to do so in such a way that they retain what they have acquired, so that God is to come to what they desire, and they do not decide to give up the sum of money in order to go to God, though this would be the better way for them.

These want to rid themselves of the attachment, but they wish to do so in such a way that they desire neither to retain nor to relinquish the sum acquired. They seek only to will and not will as God our Lord inspires them, and as seems better for the service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

Meanwhile, they will strive to conduct themselves as if every attachment to it had been broken. They will make efforts neither to want that, nor anything else, unless the service of God our Lord alone move them to do so. As a result, the desire to be better able to serve God our Lord will be the cause of their accepting anything or relinquishing it.

I will make use of the same three colloquies employed in the preceding contemplation on Two Standards. It should be noted that when we feel an attachment opposed to actual poverty or a repugnance to it, when we are not indifferent to poverty and riches, it will be very helpful in order to overcome the inordinate attachment, even though corrupt nature rebel against it, to beg our Lord in the colloquies to choose us to serve Him in actual poverty. We should insist that we desire it, beg for it, plead for it, provided, of course, that it be for the service and praise of the Divine Goodness.

The contemplation on the journey of Christ our Lord from Nazareth to the river Jordan and His baptism. This matter should be contemplated once at midnight, and again in the morning. There will be two repetitions of it, one about the time of Mass and the other about the time of Vespers. Before supper there will be the Application of the Senses to the same mystery. In each of these five exercises, there will be at the beginning, the preparatory prayer and the three preludes as was fully explained in the contemplations on the Incarnation and the Nativity.

They will conclude with the three colloquies of the meditation on Three Classes of Men, or according to the note which follows this meditation. The Particular Examination of Conscience after dinner and after supper will be made upon the faults and negligences with regard to the exercises of the day and on the Additional Directions. The same will be observed on the subsequent days. The same directions that were given for the fifth day will be followed here.

Every one, according to the time he wishes to devote to the contemplations of this Second Week, and according to his progress, may lengthen or shorten this Week. If he wishes to lengthen it, let him take the mysteries of the Visitation of our Lady to Elizabeth, the Shepherds, the Circumcision of the Child Jesus, the Three Kings, and also others. If he wishes to shorten the Week, he may omit even some of the mysteries that have been assigned. For they serve here to afford an introduction and method for better and more complete meditation later.

Before entering upon the Choice of a Way of Life, in order that we may be filled with love of the true doctrine of Christ our Lord, it will be very useful to consider attentively the following Three Kinds of Humility. These should be thought over from time to time during the whole day, and the three colloquies should also be added as will be indicated further on. This is necessary for salvation. It consists in this, that as far as possible I so subject and humble myself as to obey the law of God our Lord in all things, so that not even were I made lord of all creation, or to save my life here on earth, would I consent to violate a commandment, whether divine or human, that binds me under pain of mortal sin.

This is more perfect than the first.


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I possess it if my attitude of mind is such that I neither desire nor am I inclined to have riches rather than poverty, to seek honor rather than dishonor, to desire a long life rather than a short life, provided only in either alternative I would promote equally the service of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

Besides this indifference, this second kind of humility supposes that not for all creation, nor to save my life, would I consent to commit a venial sin. This is the most perfect kind of humility. It consists in this. If we suppose the first and second kind attained, then whenever the praise and glory of the Divine Majesty would be equally served, in order to imitate and be in reality more like Christ our Lord, I desire and choose poverty with Christ poor, rather than riches; insults with Christ loaded with them, rather than honors; I desire to be accounted as worthless and a fool for Christ, rather than to be esteemed as wise and prudent in this world.

So Christ was treated before me. If one desires to attain this third kind of humility, it will help very much to use the three colloquies at the close of the meditation on the three Classes of Men mentioned above. He should beg our Lord to deign to choose him for this third kind of humility, which is higher and better, that he may the more imitate and serve Him, provided equal or greater praise and service be given to the Divine Majesty. In every good choice, as far as depends on us, our intention must be simple. I must consider only the end for which I am created, that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul.

Hence, whatever I choose must help me to this end for which I am created. I must not subject and fit the end to the means, but the means to the end. Many first choose marriage, which is a means, and secondarily the service of God our Lord in marriage, though the service of God is the end. So also others first choose to have benefices, and afterwards to serve God in them. Such persons do not go directly to God, but want God to conform wholly to their inordinate attachments.

Consequently, they make of the end a means, and of the means an end. As a result, what they ought to seek first, they seek last. Therefore, my first aim should be to seek to serve God, which is the end, and only after that, if it is more profitable, to have a benefice or marry, for these are means to the end. Nothing must move me to use such means, or to deprive myself of them, save only the service and praise of God our Lord, and the salvation of my soul. The purpose of this consideration is to afford information on the matters about which a choice should be made.

It contains four points and a note. It is necessary that all matters of which we wish to make a choice be either indifferent or good in themselves, and such that they are lawful within our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church, and not bad or opposed to her. There are things that fall under an unchangeable choice, such as the priesthood, marriage, etc.

There are others with regard to which our choice may be changed, for example, to accept or relinquish a benefice, to receive or renounce temporal goods. With regard to an unchangeable choice, once it has been made, for instance, by marriage or the priesthood, etc. Only this is to be noted. If the choice has not been made as it should have been, and with due order, that is, if it was not made without inordinate attachments, one should be sorry for this, and take care to live well in the life he has chosen.

Since such a choice was inordinate and awry, it does not seem to be a vocation from God, as many erroneously believe. They make a divine call out of a perverse and wicked choice. For every vocation that comes from God is always pure and undefiled, uninfluenced by the flesh or any inordinate attachment.

In matters that may be changed, if one has made a choice properly and with due order, without any yielding to the flesh or the world, there seems to be no reason why he should make it over. But let him perfect himself as much as possible in the one he has made. It is to be observed that if a choice in matters that are subject to change has not been made sincerely and with due order, then, if one desires to bring forth fruit that is worthwhile and most pleasing in the sight of God our Lord, it will be profitable to make a choice in the proper way.

When God our Lord so moves and attracts the will that a devout soul without hesitation, or the possibility of hesitation, follows what has been manifested to it. Paul and St. Matthew acted thus in following Christ our Lord. When much light and understanding are derived through experience of desolations and consolations and discernment of diverse spirits. This is a time of tranquillity. One considers first for what purpose man is born, that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of his soul.

With the desire to attain this before his mind, he chooses as a means to this end a kind of life or state within the bounds of the Church that will be a help in the service of his Lord and for the salvation of his soul. I said it is a time of tranquillity, that is, a time when the soul is not agitated by different spirits, and has free and peaceful use of its natural powers. If a choice of a way of life has not been made in the first and second time, below are given:. This is to place before my mind the object with regard to which I wish to make a choice, for example, an office, or the reception or rejection of a benefice, or anything else that may be the object of a choice subject to change.

It is necessary to keep as my aim the end for which I am created, that is, the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul. Besides this, I must be indifferent, without any inordinate attachment, so that I am not more inclined or disposed to accept the object in question than to relinquish it, nor to give it up than to accept it. I should be like a balance at equilibrium, without leaning to either side, that I might be ready to follow whatever I perceive is more for the glory and praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul.

I should beg God our Lord to deign to move my will, and to bring to my mind what I ought to do in this matter that would be more for His praise and glory. Then I should use the understanding to weigh the matter with care and fidelity, and make my choice in conformity with what would be more pleasing to His most holy will. This will be to weigh the matter by reckoning the number of advantages and benefits that would accrue to me if I had the proposed office or benefice solely for the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

On the other hand, I should weigh the disadvantages and dangers there might be in having it. I will do the same with the second alternative, that is, weigh the advantages and benefits as well as the disadvantages and danger of not having it. After I have gone over and pondered in this way every aspect of the matter in question, I will consider which alternative appears more reasonable.

Then I must come to a decision in the matter under deliberation because of weightier motives presented to my reason, and not because of any sensual inclination. After such a choice or decision, the one who has made it must turn with great diligence to prayer in the presence of God our Lord, and offer Him his choice that the Divine Majesty may deign to accept and confirm it if it is for His greater service and praise. The love that moves and causes one to choose must descend from above, that is, from the love of God, so that before one chooses he should perceive that the greater or less attachment for the object of his choice is solely because of His Creator and Lord.

I should represent to myself a man whom I have never seen or known, and whom I would like to see practice all perfection. Then I should consider what I would tell him to do and choose for the greater glory of God our Lord and the greater perfection of his soul. I will do the same, and keep the rule I propose to others.

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This is to consider what procedure and norm of action I would wish to have followed in making the present choice if I were at the moment of death. I will guide myself by this and make my decision entirely in conformity with it. Let me picture and consider myself as standing in the presence of my judge on the last day, and reflect what decision in the present matter I would then wish to have made.

I will choose now the rule of life that I would then wish to have observed, that on the day of judgment I may be filled with happiness and joy. Guided by the rules given above for my eternal salvation and peace, I will make my decision, and will offer it to God our Lord as directed in the sixth point of the First Way of Making a Choice of a Way of Life.

It must be borne in mind that some may be established in an ecclesiastical office, or may be married, and hence cannot make a choice of a state of life, or, in matters that may be changed and hence are subject to a choice, they may not be very willing to make one. It will be very profitable for such persons, whether they possess great wealth or not, in place of a choice, to propose a way for each to reform his manner of living in his state by setting before him the purpose of his creation and of his life and position, namely, the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of his soul.

If he is really to attain this end, during the Exercises and during the consideration of the ways of making a choice as explained above, he will have to examine and weigh in all its details how large a household he should maintain, how he ought to rule and govern it, how he ought to teach its members by word and example. So too he should consider what part of his means should be used for his family and household, how much should be set aside for distribution to the poor and other pious purposes.

Let him desire and seek nothing except the greater praise and glory of God our Lord as the aim of all he does. For every one must keep in mind that in all that concerns the spiritual life his progress will be in proportion to his surrender of self-love and of his own will and interests. The purpose of these notes is to give the reasons for the translation adopted when it differs from the traditional wording.

The marginal number will be placed over the comment on any word or passage occurring in that section. But first a note on the prayer, Soul of Christ. In the breviary and in the missal this prayer occurs in the Thanksgiving after Mass under the heading Aspirationes Sancti Ignatii. This is true, of course, not in the sense that St. Ignatius composed the prayer, but in the sense that it was frequently used and recommended by him.

It was not prefixed to the Autograph copy or to the early Latin versions. It first appeared at the beginning of the Exercises in an edition printed in Vilna in Since then it has become the universal custom to place it at the beginning of all copies of the Exercises. It is referred to in the Exercises where the Triple Colloquy is explained. Here it serves as the vocal prayer at the close of the Second Colloquy. It is also referred to in the Second and Third Methods of Prayer, where it seems to be taken for granted that it is one of the ordinary daily prayers.

Certainly, nothing was further from the mind of St. Ignatius, with his meagre education and his limping Spanish, than to invent new words or new meanings for old words. Nor do the ideas contained in the Exercises demand it. It is true that in the Exercises new meanings are given to old words, and new word forms are used. This is due to lack of literary training and lack of knowledge of Castilian.

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There is no reason to perpetuate these defects. What St. Ignatius meant by annotaciones is clear from examining them. They are a numbered series of observations on the Exercises. That they are to serve as some kind of introduction is clearly stated in the title. Evidently, therefore, they are introductory observations, and that is what we have called them.

Annotation has not such a meaning in current English and apparently never did have. The Spanish seems to be equivalent to, this whole system. Nonell, Ars Ignatiana , p. But due to the comparison with bodily exercises it is practically impossible to use any way of expressing this meaning. I have retained the traditional translation which in the context comes practically to the same thing. Read more. Sign in to check out Check out as guest. The item you've selected was not added to your cart. Add to Watchlist Unwatch. Watch list is full. Longtime member.

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Advaita Vedanta

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