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THE following devotions have already appeared in the Catholic Manual, edited by Ambrose Lisle Phillipps, Esq., of Grace Dieu Manor, Leicestershire. They are now published in the present form with the hope that they may make their way to, and be made use of by, those who have not the means of procuring that valuable work.
It is unnecessary to speak here of the beauty of these devotions: a glance at them is sufficient to show that they are the outpourings of one whose very life was to dwell with Christ, and to hold communion with 4Him, and who consequently felt the most tender and affectionate love for His most Holy Mother.
No Catholic need be told that it is ordinarily impossible to love our Blessed Saviour as we ought, without at the same time having a most intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The one naturally flows from the other, and the more we meditate upon the Mystery of the Incarnation, the more we dwell on and fix in our minds the great doctrine that God became man for us the more we shall see and feel, that no words, no language can adequately express the exceeding dignity to which the Blessed Virgin has been raised as Mother of God, the more shall we perceive the claim She has upon our veneration and love, and become convinced that no consequences are too great to follow from 5that most wonderful and incomprehensible mystery.
This thought, as will be seen, is very remarkably brought out in the following devotions; and though the most ardent and rapturous expressions are used towards our Blessed Lady, as if the author were at a loss to find words at all adequate to express his ideas of what She really is, and of what ought to be a Christian’s love and affection towards Her, as if he went out of himself and were lost in the contemplation of Her amazing dignity and position in the Church of God; yet in his addresses to our Blessed Redeemer we feel at once that he is no longer speaking to a creature, but to the Creator Himself, the source of all grace, before whose infinite holiness and perfections even the graces and gifts of the Blessed 6Virgin Herself fade away and are lost as a drop in the ocean.
With Mary he is most affectionate, most tender, most loving, as a child with its mother.
With Jesus he is loving, and tender, and affectionate, but his love, and tenderness, and affection, are mingled with awe, and reverence, and the fear of God; he is full of confidence indeed, and is open and unreserved, but still he speaks as a subject to his Sovereign, as a servant to his Master, as a creature to its Creator.
The end which the translator of these devotions has in view in offering them to the faithful in their present form will be answered, if they tend in any way to increase amongst them a like spirit to that which animated the Venerable Blosius in their devotion to our Divine 7Redeemer, and his most Blessed Mother.
May they assist in exciting a holy familiarity with Jesus. and Mary may they suggest thoughts and expressions of that tender and childlike love, that intimate intercourse, which the Catholic ought to entertain as the child of Jesus and Mary. May they help in their measure to increase amongst us that devotion to the most Holy Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin, which is so special a feature in those countries where persecution has never forced the faithful to restrain themselves from giving the most full outward expression to feelings which animate and are the life of every Catholic soul.
Robert Aston Coffin,
Priest of the Oratory.
March 14, 1848.89
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