MARY, OUR MOTHER

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Angela of FolignoImage via Wikipedia
For our Lenten Reading here are: 

MEDITATIONS

ON THE

LIFE AND PASSION

OF OUR

LORD JESUS CHRIST.

BY DR. JOHN TAULER,

    DOMINICAN FRIAR.

TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN

   BY A SECULAR PRIEST,

    AUTHOR OF A TRANSLATION OF

   "The Book of the Visions and Instructions of 
B. Angela of Foligno;"
   "The Life of V. Grignon de Montfort;" etc., etc.

   Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.


THE FIRST CHAPTER.

   A Confession on bended knees to implore God's goodness.

   O Most gracious Jesus, my Love, Salvation, and Comfort! O most faithful
   Lover of men, my Maker and Redeemer! Light of my heart, Solace of my
   spirit, and Medicine of my soul, how much do I owe Thee, O my God! Of
   what worth hast Thou esteemed me, O my Creator, Who hast formed me out
   of nothing to Thine own image and likeness? For a price beyond all
   reckoning hast Thou bought me; with exceeding great labour hast Thou
   redeemed me; for how many years in long-suffering hast Thou borne with
   me; while I still persevered in my iniquities hast Thou spared me. Many
   are the good gifts, and great is the loving-kindness, by which Thou
   hast drawn me, and followed after me; and countless are the times when
   in Thy mercy, and by Thy divine grace, Thou hast come to my help,
   although as many times I turned my back upon Thee, nor obeyed Thy holy
   inspirations,--but neglected Thy most holy will;--nay, when I even gave
   myself up, instead, to my own corrupt and wicked will.

   O most gracious God, how ungrateful have I been for all Thy bountiful
   gifts, even to this hour! O merciful God, behold I confess, to Thee my
   manifold and great iniquity. Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth
   shall show forth Thy praise; for, see, Lord, to Thee have I lifted up
   my soul. O unseen Sanctifier! do Thou purify my spirit, and make ready
   my heart to praise Thee, and give thanks unto Thee. Enlighten my
   understanding. Gather all my memory into one point. Kindle my desires.
   Purify my intention. Purge my affections. Raise up the powers of my
   soul to Thyself, and water its drought with the dew of Thy heavenly
   grace. O, most loving God! vouchsafe, now, I beseech Thee, to bow down
   Thine ears from Thy throne in heaven to me, Thy wretched and sinful
   creature, and hear my prayers, whereby in lowly fear I knock at the
   breast of Thy divine grace. Behold! I turn me wholly to Thee. Lo! I
   lift up all the powers of my soul to praise Thee, and bless Thee, and
   with my whole strength I open my heart unto Thee. Oh! cause this heart
   of mine, I beseech Thee, to be pierced by the rays of Thy divine love,
   to be enlightened by the splendours of Thy divine brightness, so that
   inwardly I may look into the lowest depth of my soul, and may see and
   acknowledge how far I am from Thee, my God!--that I may behold, too,
   the faults and vices which keep me from Thy love and service, and make
   me unworthy to receive into my soul the inpouring of Thy divine grace.
   For so long a time, O Lord my God, hast Thou embraced and girt me round
   about with Thy immeasurable gifts, and benefits, and graces, but, above
   all, with Thine incomprehensible charity, that I cannot hide me from
   the glow of Thy love, or keep back my spirit from Thy praise. Yea! my
   heart desireth to praise Thee, and give thanks unto Thee, so far as I
   am able, with every power of my soul; and my spirit exulteth earnestly
   in Thy praise, and my soul doth magnify Thee, for over me Thy grace is
   exceeding great. But who am I, O most high and Almighty Maker, that I
   should dare to praise Thee? Moreover, how shall I dare to open my
   mouth, full, as it is, of all uncleanness, and covered with the vile
   filth of so many vices, to tell of Thy power and might? Nay, what can I
   ever think, or understand, or speak of Thee, Who art immense,
   invisible, incomprehensible, inscrutable, so as to be able to praise,
   extol, and magnify Thee, since I am powerless to form any thought of
   Thee, or take in, or scrutinize Thy Being? Yet, although I, who am but
   a poor, little, worthless man,--an empty straw,--am not sufficient of
   myself to praise Thee, O high, and terrible, and incomprehensible
   Majesty, since neither Thyself nor Thy works can I comprehend;
   nevertheless, for this very reason ought I to laud and extol Thee, O my
   God, and give thanks unto Thee; because Thou art so wonderful, and
   high, and incomprehensible and inscrutable, that neither by
   understanding, nor keenness of mind, nor reason, can any of Thy
   creatures reach unto Thee, save only in the way and in the measure that
   Thou givest them to understand concerning Thee by Thy grace.

   For if, of old, profane and heathen men made such loud exultation, and
   boasted themselves so mightily of their great, and powerful, and
   immortal gods, in that they were made at great cost, and with cunning
   art, of gold, and other precious things,--and, indeed, in one sense
   they were not mortal, for never had they any share in mortal life--how
   much more just is it that I should exult in Thee, my Almighty Lord,
   Whose power is so exceeding great, that Thou fillest the heavens and
   the earth with the glory of Thy Majesty; Whose beauty is so exceeding
   fair, that the sun and the moon and all the elements marvel thereat,
   while the angelic spirits rejoice beyond all measure in contemplating
   Thee; Whose strength is so exceeding terrible, that by one look of
   Thine Thou makest the earth to tremble; Whose might is so exceeding
   marvellous, that by a word Thou didst bring forth the heavens and the
   earth, and all creatures are subject to Thy will; Whose riches are so
   exceeding vast, that whatsoever is contained within the boundary of
   heaven and earth belongeth to Thee alone, and is ruled by Thee without
   care or anxiousness; Whose goodness and loving kindness, last of all,
   are so exceeding tender, that Thy mercy is over all Thy works. For
   there is not even a little worm, however utterly vile, nor any
   creature, however abject, that doth not share Thy favour, or which Thou
   forgettest to uphold, and give it its food in due season.

   If, then, from Thy marvellous works, O Almighty and most gracious God,
   we are able to discover and gather, that Thou art so powerful, and
   wise, and good, because Thou createst all things of such wonderful
   workmanship without any labour, and governest them so wisely without
   any care, and upholdest them so tenderly without any lessening of Thy
   riches;--how powerful, and wise, and good, and admirable, must Thou be
   in Thyself, since, of a surety, the workman is higher, and nobler, and
   worthier, than the work of his hands! For with the same ease couldst
   Thou create, rule, and uphold a thousand heavens and a thousand worlds,
   as one heaven and one world. How then, O Almighty One, shall I tell of
   Thy praise, when this is above the understanding of all Thy creatures,
   even of the spirits in heaven? O most merciful God; I know that Thou
   standest in no need of any works or praise of ours, since in Thyself
   Thou ever aboundest in all praise. Simple art Thou in Thyself and
   perfect God, Whom no creature can add to, or take from by any of its
   works, nevertheless Thou vouchsafest to be praised by Thy frail and
   worthless creatures. Therefore, although my praise, O loving God, is
   far too lukewarm and vile, and unworthy of Thy lofty power, and
   incomprehensible wisdom, and unutterable goodness; yet do Thou
   vouchsafe graciously to accept it, and let Thy goodness make up for my
   weakness. O most tender Lord! although unworthy, it is still my chief
   duty to praise Thee. For how can I be ungrateful for Thy manifold gifts
   and benefits? Can I ever cease from praising Thee, when Thou ceasest
   not to do me good? O most merciful Jesus, I would indeed wish to gather
   together, and heap up in the ark of my heart, all Thy good gifts and
   all Thy loving-kindness which Thou hast poured out upon me, and to laud
   Thee and give Thee special thanks for each one of Thy benefits. But who
   is able, O Lord, to look into or sound the depth of Thy goodness, or to
   measure the breadth of Thy love? Yet, although this is impossible for
   all Thy creatures, still may this, the chief work of our salvation,
   wherein Thy mighty love is chiefly reflected, never depart from my
   heart!
 
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