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THE FIFTY-FIFTH CHAPTER.
A devout Prayer for conformity to the sacred life and crucified image of Jesus Christ.
O Unity above all understanding! O adorable Trinity of God I beseech Thee, by the Humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took upon Him, and which was crucified, bow down the abyss of Thy Godhead to the abyss of my lowliness, and driving away all my wickedness, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.
O good Jesus, by that immense love who drew Thee from Thy Father’s heart and bosom into the womb of the Virgin unstained; by Thy taking on Thee our 438human nature, in which Thou becamest my servant, and deliveredst me from everlasting death, draw me out of myself to Thee my God; and may this Thy love, O my God, recover for me Thy grace, and perfect and increase in me whatever is imperfect in me; may it raise up what is fallen down, restore what hath been destroyed, conform me to Thy most holy life and loving conversation; and may it make me one with Thee, and enclose me within Thee, and engrave on the fleshly tables of my heart, and in all my behaviour, Thy holy life with all its virtues, as well as the goodness of Thy behaviour. Loosen my spirit, O my God, from all lower things, rule my soul, and, at the same time, work together with my body holy and just works.
By Thy holy Nativity purify me for a new life. By Thy holy conversation perfect me in all virtues. By Thy sacred doctrine, enlighten the eyes of my mind, and teach me the short and complete path of truth. By Thy lowly washing of the feet of Thy disciples, and even of him who betrayed Thee, cleanse and purify the feet of my corrupt affections, and whatever in me hath a leaning unto vice, and preserve them from being ever again defiled by filth. By the making ready of the Cenacle, by the institution of the most excellent Sacrament, wherein out of love unutterable 439Thou hast given Thyself for our food and drink, form within me by Thine own power, and fit up for Thyself a fitting place, and make in me Thy cenacle, adorning it with all kinds of spices and flowers of virtues, that it may be worthy to draw Thee within itself, and this by Thy own merits, and gratuitous and condign preparation. Vouchsafe, also, to be Thyself both the house and the Master of the house, the Priest and the Sacrifice, the Giver and the Receiver, and change me wholly and consume me in Thy burning love, and transform me thereby, and make me one with Thee, that I may die to myself, and live to Thee alone; and be Thou Thyself Thy own praise before Thy most holy Father in heaven and on earth; and grant, O Jesus, my sweetness and my life, that I may never be found ungrateful to this Thy love. By Thy immense lowliness, whereby Thou sufferedst Thyself to be sold by Thy own disciple, grant me, O my God, that I may never sell Thee, my God, for any passing thing or mere empty breath of empty glory, and that I may try to bear all contempt of myself for the honour of Thy blessed Name with loving meekness, and that I may sell myself to Thee for the kingdom of heaven, which is ever to be bought, and give my whole self up to Thee by a certain divine commerce, since it is Thou Who sayest: “Son, give Me 440thy heart. I am wounded for the love of thee. Give Me thy heart, and I shall be healed; give Me thy heart, and take Me as thy reward.”
By Thy intense sadness, distress and fear; by Thy devout prayer and humble resignation; by Thy bloody sweat, grant that I may have ever recourse to Thee in all adversity and temptation, that I may trust in Thee alone, forsake myself, and offer myself in resignation to Thee.
By that admirable love of Thine, whereby Thou sufferedst Thyself not only to be betrayed by Judas, but to be given up to Thine enemies; grant me, O good Jesus, that I may never betray Thee either in myself or in my neighbours, nor refuse to mine enemies the offices and courtesies. of love.
By that love, whereby Thou desiredst to be taken and bound by wicked sinful men, absolve me from the bonds of my sins, and again bind me with the cords of Thy commandments and Thy counsels, in union with Thy gracious will, so that all the members of my body, and all the powers of my soul, may constantly persevere in the presence of Thy divine Majesty, and never, at any time, be let loose through any fault of mine, to follow after the lustful liberty of the flesh.
By Thy burning love, whereby for my sake Thou wouldst bear much reproach 441and confusion, and suffer Thyself to be inhumanly and cruelly treated, have mercy on my sinful and guilty soul, and unburden it from all its heavy load of sin, whereby, alas! I have so shamefully disfigured Thy divine image, and wronged and contemned Thy holy Name in myself. Grant, I beseech Thee, O most loving Jesus, that I may gladly and willingly bear, for the honour of Thy sacred Name, all the shame and confusion that may come upon me.
By that priceless love, whereby Thou didst not shrink from painful scourgings, forgive me, O most merciful Jesus, for having, alas! times without number, scourged Thee by my own evil actions, and grant that I may ever confess Thee both in my heart and by my mouth, and that all my works may, by a pure intention, be in harmony with Thy gracious will, and be done in accordance with the same; and may the image of Thy countenance persevere unhurt within me.
By the loathsome and hateful spittle, with which for my sake Thou sufferedst Thy adorable and sweet Face to be defiled by the wicked Jews, forgive me, O kind Jesus, for having stained with numberless evil thoughts and impure desires, my own face in my own conscience, wherein Thou dwellest, and which ought clearly to reflect Thy shining countenance and image, and for having received Thy most sacred Body 442in the filthy spittle of a conscience stained with sin, and without reverence; and grant unto me, at the same time, that I may never defile the fair face of Thine image within me by unclean actions and thoughts.
By that love, whereby for my salvation Thou didst suffer Thy glorious Face, on which the angels desire to look, to be veiled with a filthy linen cloth, that the image of Thy divine countenance, which in my inward soul was hidden and darkened, might again be uncovered within me, and that the purity of Thy bright light may again arise within me, and shine once more; by that love, I say, enlighten me inwardly with the pleasant light of Thy heavenly grace, and grant that Thy Face may henceforth be never clouded over within me; but rather take away from my heart every veil of ignorance and sin.
O most patient Jesus, Who for my salvation wast led from judge to judge, bestow upon me, I beseech Thee, the light of truth; rule all my actions, instruct my reason according to Thy gracious will, teaching it in Thy light how it ought to go forward in the royal path of virtue, and to pass from virtue to virtue.
O Jesus, meekest Lamb of God, Who for my sake didst vouchsafe to be cruelly bound, and horribly scourged all over Thy fair Body, because I had abused my whole body and all my members by sin and hurtful 443lusts, grant me, that I may expose and subject all my members to corporal sufferings, and patiently accept the scourges of Thy fatherly correction, nor ever scourge Thee by my vices or sins.
O gracious Jesus, Who for the love of me didst vouchsafe to be crowned with thorns, that Thou mightest restore and mend Thine image in my soul which had been injured by sin, as that to which Thou hast united the whole of Thy blessed Trinity—for by the power of the Father Thou upholdest my memory; by the wisdom of the Son Thou art the light of my understanding, and by the love of the Holy Ghost Thou possessest and dwellest in my will, so that without Thee I can retain nothing, understand nothing, do no good thing, but all this is done by Thy most holy Trinity, which hath made its own heaven within me, and whose kingdom is my soul. For which reason also, Thou sufferedst Thyself to be mockingly adored as a King, and Thy venerable Face to be defiled by the filthy spittle of wicked men, namely, that Thou mightest cleanse and wash Thy most holy Face within me, that had become defiled by sin. Wherefore, grant that I may adore Thee, my true God, in spirit and in truth, and hail Thee my King with due worship, and that Thy kingdom may be founded and stablished in me, and may endure, so as to deserve in 444an eternity of bliss to receive the crown of life.
O most merciful Jesus, Who, although innocent, wert sentenced to a cruel death for the race of man, inasmuch as I have not feared the judgments of Thy justice, grant that I may ever behold Thee sitting as Judge in my soul, which is Thy tribunal, where Thou mayest bring all my thoughts, and words, and works to judgment, my own conscience bearing witness against them—for, indeed, it biteth into me sharply, and accuseth me of all my vices—so that, at the last judgment, I may appear with a safe conscience, and bear with even mind the unjust judgments of men.
O Jesus, gentle Sheep, Who for my sake wert pressed down under the heavy burden of the Cross, grant that I may gladly embrace the cross of penance, and make all crosses light by Thy Humanity, in union with the love of Thy Godhead, whereby Thou wilt unburden me of every load, and make me feel that Thy yoke is indeed sweet, and Thy burden light; and this will be more grateful and pleasing unto Thee, than if I cling to my own crosses, and persist in them according to the feeling of my impotent nature.
O most merciful Jesus, Who wert stripped of Thy own garments, because I had lost the first state of innocence, and wert commanded to sit on a hard rock, while 445the rough wind burned into Thy wounded Body, and Thou Thyself wert waiting for the Cross to be made ready for Thee, grant that, by a simple confession of my sins, I may put off and lay aside the old man, and be clothed in Thy sight with the garments of virtue, so that I may not be found naked, and that, stripped of all passing and temporal things that might imperil my salvation, I may deserve to be founded and established in the rock, which is Christ, even in Thyself.
O sweet Lord Jesus Christ, Who sufferedst Thyself to be so inhumanly stretched upon the Cross, that all Thy bones could be numbered, grant that all my members, and all the powers of my body and soul, being ever stretched out, and raised up in worthy praise of thee, may be lovingly united to Thee, and that my nature may be so fixed in Thy love, that I may never depart from Thy commandments, but may remain fastened to Thy Cross by the nails of Thy fear.
O unconquered Jesus, Who sufferedst Thyself to be raised up on the Cross, in order to draw all souls unto Thee, draw me wholly to Thee, that, lifted up from all earthly affections and desires, I may in spirit walk ii the heavenly places, and there firmly abide in Thy heart, O Jesus, my life, my hope, and my salvation, Thou heaven of delight, Thou hope and refuge 446of sinners, and of all heavy laden and afflicted hearts.
O most gracious Jesus, I beseech Thee, by the bitterness of the sorrows which for my sake Thou didst suffer on the Cross, and especially when Thy noble Soul went forth from Thy Body, have mercy on my soul at its passing away; take it into Thy hands, and grant that the merits of Thy most holy Humanity may profit it, so that in me Thou mayest have peace, and joy, and delight, both in time and throughout all eternity. Amen.
Printed by Richardson and Son, Derby.
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