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CHAPTER XXII.

PIOUS ASPIRATIONS, OR DARTS OF LOVE.

THOU shouldst always have in readiness some efficacious words, and prayers in the form of ejaculations, by which thou mayest recall and elevate thy mind to God. We will here subjoin a little collection of such short prayers:

O my soul, behold thy God, behold thy Creator and Redeemer; behold Him who washes away thy sins, and sanctifies thee: behold thy life and thy salvation: behold thy only good!

See how far the King of Kings has humbled Himself for thy sake; consider what bitter things thy Saviour endured for thee; weigh with how much charity He loves thee, since for thee He took upon Himself so great poverty and so many calamities.

Remain with thy Lord, depart not from thy Master; 57for it cannot be well with thee if thou dost desert thy God, nor can it be ill with thee if thou keepest near Him.

Relinquish the many things, and embrace the one, for one thing is necessary (St. Luke x. 42). There is One who loves thee unutterably; do thou also love One above all.

O good Jesus, compassionate Shepherd, O sweet Master, O King of eternal glory, I adore Thee, I bless and thank Thee, who hast so loved me, who hast done such great things, and hast borne such indignities for me. “Be merciful to me a sinner” (St. Luke xviii. 13). Cleanse, heal, and strengthen me; direct, teach, and enlighten me.

O that I had not hitherto been ungrateful to Thee! O that I might even now be pleasing to Thee! O that all evil passions and affections were dead in me! O that I could stand before Thee truly humble and gentle, truly free and tranquil!

O that Thou alone didst possess my heart! O that I utterly despised all transitory things! O that I might seek after Thee alone, attach myself to Thee alone, and inseparably cling to Thee!

O that 1 might most ardently love Thee! O that I might ever pant after Thee with most burning desires! Alas, O my Lord, when shall I worship Thee with a pure, simple, and joyful mind? when shall I serve Thee with a quiet, steadfast, and serene conscience? when will my spirit be absorbed in the immensity of thy love?

What do I desire besides Thee? or what can all 58things profit me without Thee? Thou alone sufficest to my soul.

O my God, O my love, O my desire, O my refuge! O my consolation, my hope, and my trust! O my peace, my rest, and my light! O my glory, my happiness, and all my joy! O my sweetness, my treasure, and my only good!

When shall I see Thee? when shall I be with Thee? when will this world be silent to me? when will all the hindrances, all the vicissitudes of this life cease for me? when shall I be delivered from the miserable captivity of this present exile? When will the shadows of mortality retire, and the day of eternity break? (Cant. ii. 17). When shall I have laid down the burden of this body, and happily praise Thee with Thy Saints to all eternity? Have mercy on me, O my Lord Jesus, have mercy on me; for my soul trusteth in Thee (Ps. lvi. 1).

Innumerable other aspirations (for so we name these short ejaculatory prayers) may be made, or may be sought for out of the Holy Scriptures. Those which we have here given may perchance be of use to some; but those which are suggested to each one by his own devotion, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, are sweeter than what are suggested by the feeling and devotion of others.

The exercise which consists in aspirations and short prayers of this sort, is most effectual in extirpating vices, and moving to charity. However, the faithful soul that is given to this practice must not be disquieted if it perhaps rarely feels itself intimately 59united with God, to whom it aspires; for God receives its good will and holy desires with the same complacency as if it languished with love, and were perfectly united to Him.

That soul which has not yet entirely come out of Egypt, and which is still much disfigured by the deformity of sin, must not presume; that is, it must not rashly offer itself to the most sacred embraces of the Heavenly Spouse; but, sitting at the feet of the Lord, it must first strive to wash away its stains, to cultivate its beauty, to arrange its garments, to correct its manners; and, when all these have been changed and amended, it may then more freely (still observing due reverence) lift itself up, and humbly rise to the sublime kisses of the eternal King.

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