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CHAPTER XV. General Affections which should result from these Considerations, and Conclusion of the Exercise.

O PRECIOUS resolutions! ye are as the lovely tree of life planted by God’s Own Hand in the midst of my heart, a tree which my Saviour has watered with His Blood. Rather would I die a thousand deaths than suffer any blast of wind to root you up—neither vanity, nor pleasure, nor wealth, nor sorrows shall ever overthrow my intentions.

Lord, Thou hast planted and nurtured this 371 tree in Thy Bosom, but how many souls there are which have not been thus favoured, how can I ever sufficiently acknowledge Thy Mercy? Blessed and holy resolutions, if I do but keep you, you will keep me! if you live in my soul, my soul will live in you. Live ever, then, ye resolutions, which have an eternity of your own in God’s Mercy, live ever in me, and may I never forsake you.

Next, you must particularise the necessary means for maintaining your good resolutions, determining to use them diligently,—such as frequency in prayer, in Sacraments, in good works; the amendment of the faults you have already discovered, cutting off occasions of sin, and following out carefully all the advice given you with this view. Then, take breath as it were in a renewed profession of your resolutions, and, as though you held your heart in your hands,—dedicate, consecrate, sacrifice, immolate it to God, vowing never to recall it, but leave it for ever in His Right Hand of Majesty, prepared everywhere and in all things to obey His Commands. Ask God to renew your will, to bless your renewed resolutions and to strengthen them. While your heart is thus roused and excited, hasten to your spiritual father, accuse yourself of any faults which you have discovered since you made your general confession, and 372 receive absolution as you did at the first. Make your protest and sign it in his presence, and then lose no time in uniting your renewed heart to its Creator and Saviour, in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

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