PRAYER: Ten Meditations, by Francis de Sales

From Introduction to the Devout Life
(A modern rewriting, making these meditations easier to read and understand, can be found at the website for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.)

The whole Earth is laid waste with desolation, because there is no one that thinks in his heart. (Jeremiah 12:2)

The First Meditation

On our creation

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  Beseech him to inspire you.

Considerations

1.  Consider that so many years ago that your being was a mere nothing.  Where were we, O my soul, at that time?  The world had lasted so many ages, and yet there was no news of us.

2.  God has framed you out of this nothing to make you what you are, merely of his own goodness; having no need at all of you.

3.  Consider the being that God has given you; for it is the highest in this visible world, capable of eternal life, and of being perfectly united with his divine majesty.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Humble yourself exceedingly in the presence of God, saying in your heart with the psalmist: O Lord, I am in thy sight a mere nothing; and how hadst thou remembrance of me to create me?  Alas, my soul, thou wert engulfed in that ancient nothing, and hast yet been there had not God drawn thee thence.  And what couldst thou have done remaining there?

2.  Give thanks to God.  O my great and good creator, how am I obliged to thee, since thou hast vouchsafed to take me out of this nothing, and by thy great mercy to make me what I am!  What can I do to bless thy holy name as I ought, and to render due thanks to thy inestimable goodness?

3.  Confound yourself.  But, alas! my creator, instead of uniting myself to thee by love and service, I have been a rebel to thee by my inordinate affections, wandering and straying away from thee, to unite myself to sin; valuing thy goodness no more than if thou hadst not been my creator.

4.  Prostrate yourself before God.  O my soul, know that the Lord is thy God: It is he that has made thee, and not thou thyself.  O God, I am the work of thy hands.

5.  I will then no more henceforth take pleasure in myself, since of myself I am nothing.  Why dost thou magnify thyself, O dust and ashes?  Yea, rather, O very nothing, why dost thou exalt thyself?  To humble therefore myself, I resolve to do such and such things; to suffer such and such disgraces: I will change my life, and henceforth follow my creator and esteem myself honored with that condition and being which he has given me, employing it entirely in obedience to his will, by such means as shall be taught me, and as I shall learn from my ghostly Father.

Conclusion

1.  Give thanks to God.  Bless thy God, O my soul, and let all that is within me praise his holy name; for his goodness has drawn me, and his mercy has created me out of nothing.  2.  Offer.  O my God, I offer to thee the being which thou hast given me: from my heart I dedicate and consecrate it to thee.  3.  Pray.  O God, strengthen me in these affections and resolutions.  O blessed Virgin, recommend them to the mercy of thy Son, with all for whom I ought to pray.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.

After your prayer, out of these considerations which you have made, gather a little nosegay of devotion, to smell to all the rest of the day.

The Second Meditation

On the end for which we were created

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2.  Beseech him to inspire you.

Considerations

1.  God has not placed you in this world for any need that he has of you, who are altogether unprofitable to him, but only to exercise his goodness in you, by giving you his grace and glory.  And to this end he hath enriched you with an understanding to know him; with a memory to be mindful of him; with a will to love him; an imagination to represent to yourself his benefits; eyes to behold his wondrous works; a tongue to praise him; and so of the other faculties.

2.  Being created and put into the world for this intent, all actions contrary to it are to be avoided and rejected; and whatever conduceth not to this end ought to be contemned as vain and superfluous.

3.  Consider the wretchedness of worldlings, who never think of this, but live as though they believed themselves created for no other end than to build houses, plant trees, heap up riches, and such like fooleries.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Confound yourself, reproaching your soul with her misery, which has hitherto been so great, as that she hath seldom or never considered this.  Alas! shall you say, how did I employ my thoughts, O God, when I placed them not upon thee?  What did I remember when I forgot thee?  What did I love when I loved not thee?  Alas!  I ought to have fed upon truth, and I have gutted myself with vanity; I have served the world, which was created but to serve me.

2.  Detest your past life.  I renounce you, O vain thoughts and unprofitable fancies: I abjure you, O frivolous and hateful remembrances: O unfaithful and disloyal friendships, lewd and wretched slaveries, ungrateful contentments, and irksome pleasures, I abhor you.

3.  Return to God.  And then, O my God, my Savior, thou shalt be from henceforth the sole object of my thoughts; I will no more apply my mind to objects that may be displeasing to thee.  My memory shall entertain itself all the days of my life with the greatness of thy clemency so mercifully exercised on me: thou shalt be the delight of my heart, and the sweetness of my affections.

4.  Ah! such and such, trash and trifles to which I applied myself, such and such unprofitable employments, in which I have foolishly squandered away my days, such and such affections which have captivated my heart, shall henceforth be a horror to my thoughts, and to this end I will use such and such good remedies.

Conclusion

1.  Thank God who made you for so excellent an end.  Thou hast created me, O Lord, for thyself, and for the everlasting enjoyment of thy incomprehensible glory: O when shall I be worthy of it?  When shall I praise thee and bless thee as I ought?  2.  Offer.  I offer to thee, O my dear creator, all these affections and resolutions, with all my heart and soul.  3.  Pray.  I beseech thee, O God, to accept my desires and purposes, and give thy holy benediction to my soul, to the end that it may accomplish them, through the merits of thy blessed Son’s blood shed for me upon the cross, etc.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.  Make your little nosegay of devotion, as aforesaid.

The Third Meditation

On the benefits of God

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2.  Beseech him to inspire you.

Considerations

1.  Consider the corporal graces which God has bestowed upon you; what a body, what conveniences to maintain it, what health and lawful recreations to entertain it, what friends and assistances!  But consider all this with respect to many other persons much more worthy than yourself, who are destitute of all these blessings; some spoiled in their bodies, health, and limbs; others abandoned to the mercy of reproaches, contempts, and dishonors; others oppressed with poverty; and God has not suffered you to become so miserable.

2.  Consider the gifts of mind.  How many are in the world stupid, frantic, or mad; and why are not you of this number?  God has favored you.  How many are there who have been brought up rudely and in gross ignorance? and by God’s providence you have been educated liberally and honorably.

3.  Consider the spiritual graces.  O Philothea, you are a child of the Catholic church; God has taught you to know him even from your most tender age.  How often has he given you his sacraments?  How many inspirations, internal illuminations, and reprehensions for your amendment?  How frequently has he pardoned you your faults?  How often has he delivered you from the occasions of casting yourself away to which you were exposed?  And were not all these years past given you as a time and opportunity to advance the good of your soul?  Consider in particular how good and gracious God has always been to you.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Admire the goodness of God.  O how good is my God towards me!  O how gracious is he!  How rich is thy heart, O Lord, in mercy , and liberal in clemency!  O my soul, let us recount forever how many favors he has done us.

2.  Be astonished at your ingratitude.  But what am I, O Lord, that thou art so mindful of me!  Ah! how great is my unworthiness!  Alas, I have even trodden thy blessings under foot.  I have dishonored thy graces, perverting them into abuse and contempt of thy sovereign goodness.  I have opposed the depth of my ingratitude to the height of thy grace and favor.

3.  Stir yourself up to acknowledgement.  Walk then, my heart, be now no more unfaithful, ungrateful, and disloyal to this great benefactor.  And how shall not my soul henceforth be wholly subject to God, who has done so many wonders and favors to me and for me?

4.  Ah! withdraw then your body, Philothea, from such and such sensualities; and consecrate it to the service of God, who has done so much for it.  Apply your soul to know and acknowledge him by such exercises as shall be requisite for that purpose.  Employ diligently the means which you have in the church to save your soul, and love Almighty God.  Yes, O my God, I will be diligent in prayer; I will hear thy holy word, and put in practice thy inspirations and counsels.

Conclusion

1.  Thank God for the knowledge he hath now give you of your duty, and for the benefits hitherto received.  2.  Offer him your heart with all your resolutions.  3.  Pray him, that he will strengthen you to practice them faithfully through the merits of his Son’s death.  Implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the saints.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.  Make your little spiritual nosegay as before.

The Fourth Meditation

On sin

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2.  Beseech him to inspire you.

Considerations

1.  Call to mind how long it is since you began to sin, and examine how much since that beginning sins have been multiplied in your heart.  How every day you have increased them against God, against yourself, and against your neighbor, by work, by word, or by desire.

2.  Consider your evil inclinations, and how far you have followed them: and by these two points you shall find that your sins are greater in number than the hairs of your head, yea than the sands of the sea.

3.  Consider in particular the sin of ingratitude against God, which is a general sin, and extends itself over all the rest, making them infinitely more enormous.  Consider then how many benefits God has bestowed upon you, and how you have abused them all in prejudice of the giver: and in particular, how many inspirations have you despised?  How many good motions have you made unprofitable?  But above all, how many times have your received the sacraments? and where are the fruits of it?  What is become of all those precious jewels with which your dear spouse adorned you?  All these have been buried under your iniquities.  With what preparation have you received them?  Think on this ingratitude, that God having run so far after you, you have run from him to lose yourself?

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Be confounded at your misery.  O my God! how dare I appear before thine eyes?  Alas! I am but the corruption of the world, and a very sink of sin and ingratitude.  Is it possible that I have been so disloyal, as not to have left any one of my senses, nor any one of the powers of my soul, which I have not corrupted, violated, and defiled; and that not so much as one day of my life has passed, in which I have not brought forth such wicked effects?  Is it thus that I have recompensed the benefits of my creator, and the precious blood of my redeemer?

2.  Crave pardon, and cast yourself at the feet of your Lord, like the prodigal child, like a penitent Magdalene, or like a woman that has defiled her marriage-bed with all kinds of adultery.  Mercy, O Lord, upon this poor sinner!  Alas! O living fountain of compassion, have pity on this wretch.

3.  Resolve to live better.  No, O Lord, never more, with the help of thy grace, never more will I abandon myself to sin.  Alas! I have loved it too much; now I detest it, and embrace thee.  O Father of Mercy, I will live and die in thee.

4.  To expiate my sins past, I will accuse myself of them courageously; and will not leave one unbanished form my heart.

5.  I will use all possible endeavors to extirpate all the roots of sin out of my heart; and in particular such and such vices, which I am most inclined to.

6.  To accomplish this, I will constantly embrace the means which I shall be advised to; and think I have never done enough to repair so grievous offences.

Conclusion

1.  Give God thanks for expecting your amendment till this hour; and bless him that he has given you these affections.  2.  Offer him up your heart, that you may put them in execution.  3.  Desire him to strengthen you, etc.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.  Make your little nosegay of devotion as above.

The Fifth Meditation

On death

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2.  Beseech him to inspire you with his grace.  3.  Imagine yourself to be extremely sick, lying on your bed, and without any hope of recovery.

Considerations

1.  Consider the uncertainty of the day of your death.  O my soul, thou must one day out of this body; but when shall that day be?  Shall it be in winter or in summer?  In city or in country?  By day or by night?  Shall it be suddenly, or on notice give thee?  By sickness or by accident?  Shalt thou have leisure to make thy confession?  Shalt thou have the assistance of thy ghostly Father?  Alas! of all this we know nothing at all: only certain it is, that we shall die, and that always sooner than we imagine.

2.  Consider that when the world shall end in regard of you; for it will last no longer to you, it will turn upside down before your eyes: for then the pleasures and the vanities, the worldly joys and fond affections of our life will seem to us shadows and airy clouds.  Ah wretch! for what toys and trifles have I offended God?  You shall then see that for a mere nothing you have forsaken him.  On the contrary, devotion and good works will then seem to you sweet and delightful.  O why did I not follow this lovely and pleasant path?  Then sins which before seemed very little will appear as big as mountains, and your devotion very small.

3.  Consider the long and languishing farewells your soul will then give this world: she will then take her leave of riches, vanities, and all idle company; of pleasures, pastimes, friends and neighbors; of kindred, children, husband and wife; in short, of every creature; and finally of her own body, which she will leave pale, hideous, and loathsome.

4.  Consider with what hurrying they will carry away this body, to cover it under the earth: which done, the world will think no more of you, than you have thought on others; God’s peace be with him, they will say, and that’s all.  O death, how void art thou of regard or pity!

5.  Consider how the soul, being departed from the body, takes her way to the right hand, or to the left.  Alas! whither shall yours go? what way shall it take?  No other than that which it began here in this world.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Pray to God, and cast yourself into his arms.  Alas! O my Lord, receive me into thy protection at that dreadful day: make that hour happy and favorable to me; and rather let all the other days of my life be sad and sorrowful.

2.  Despise the world.  Since then I know not the hour in which I must leave thee, O wretched world, I will no more set my heart upon thee.  O my dear friends and relations, pardon me if I love you no more but with a holy friendship, which may last eternally: for why should I unite myself to you, so as to be forced to break and dissolve that knot?

3.  I will then prepare myself against that hour, and take all possible care to end this journey happily.  I will secure the state of my conscience to the uttermost of my ability, and take present order for the amendment of such and such defects.

Conclusion

Give thanks to God for these resolutions which he has given you.  Offer them to his divine majesty.  Be instant with him to give you a happy death, by the merits of that of his dearly beloved Son.  Implore the assistance of the Blessed Virgin, and of the glorified saints.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.  Make a posy of myrrh.

The Sixth Meditation

On judgment

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2.  Beseech him to inspire you with his grace.

Considerations

1.  After the time that God hath prescribed for the continuance of the world; after many signs and dreadful presages, which will cause men to pine away through fear and anguish; a fire raging like a torrent shall burn and reduce to ashes everything that is upon the face of the Earth; nothing which we see upon it shall be spared.

2.  After these flames and thunderbolts, all men shall arise from their graves (excepting such as are already risen) and at the voice of the angel they shall all appear in the valley of Josaphat.  But alas! with what difference! for the one sort shall arise in glorified and resplendent bodies; and others in bodies most hideous and horrid.

3.  Consider the majesty with which the sovereign judge will appear, environed with all his angels and saints: before him shall be borne his cross, shining much brighter than the sun; an ensign of mercy to the good, and of justice to the wicked.

4.  This sovereign judge, by his dreadful command, which shall be suddenly obeyed, will separate the good from the bad, placing the one at his right hand, and the other at his left.  O everlasting separation! after which these two companies shall never meet.

5.  This separation being made, and the books of conscience opened, all men shall see clearly the malice of the wicked, and their contempt against God; and on the other side the penance of the good, and the effects of God’s grace which they have received, and nothing shall lie hid.  O God, what a confusion will this be to the one, and what a consolation to the other!

6.  Consider the last sentence pronounced against the wicked: Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.  Ponder well those weighty words.   Go, saith he; a word of eternal banishment against those miserable wretches, excluding them eternally from his glorious presence.  He calls them cursed:   O my soul, how dreadful a curse!  A general curse, including all manner of woes; an irrevocable curse, comprehending all times and eternity.  He adds, into everlasting fire: behold, O my heart, this vast eternity: O eternal eternity of pains, how dreadful art thou!

7.  Consider the contrary sentence of the good.  Come, saith the judge; O sweet word of salvation, by which God draws us to himself and receives us into the bosom of his goodness!  Blessed of my Father; O dear blessing, which comprehends all happiness!  Possess the kingdom which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world: O good God, what excess of bounty!  For this kingdom shall never have an end.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Tremble, O my soul, at the remembrance of these things.  O my God, who shall secure me in that day when the pillars of Heaven shall tremble for fear?

2.  Detest your sins, which only can condemn you in that dreadful day.

3.  Ah! wretched heart of mine, resolve to amend.  O Lord, I will judge myself now, that I may not be judged then.  I will examine my conscience, and condemn myself, I will accuse and chastise myself, that the eternal judge may not condemn me in that dreadful day.  I will therefore confess my sins, accept of all necessary advice, etc.

Conclusion

Thank God who has given you means to provide for that day, and time to do penance.  Offer him your heart to perform it.  Pray him to give you grace duly to accomplish it.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo, etc.  Make your spiritual nosegay for all the day.

 

The Seventh Meditation

On hell

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2. Humble yourself and implore his assistance.  3.  Represent to yourself a dark city, all burning, all stinking with pitch and brimstone, and full of inhabitants who cannot get out.

Considerations

1.  The damned are in the depth of hell, as within this woeful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments, in all their senses and members; because as they have employed all their senses and members in sinning, so shall they suffer in them all the punishments due to sin.  The eyes for lascivious looks shall be afflicted with the horrid vision of hell and devils.  The ears for delighting in vicious discourses shall hear nothing but wailings, lamentations, desperate howlings; and so of the rest.

2.  Besides all these torments there is another greater, which is the loss and privation of God’s glory, from the sight of which they are excluded forever.  Now if Absolom found it more grievous to him to be denied the seeing the face of his father David, than to be banished; O God, what a grief it will be, to be forever excluded from beholding thy most sweet and gracious countenance!

3.  Consider above all the eternity of these pains, which above all things makes hell intolerable.  Alas! if a flea in your ear, or if the heat of a little fever, make one short night so long and tedious, how terrible will the night of eternity be, accompanied with so many torments?  From this eternity proceeds eternal desperation, infinite rage, and blasphemy, etc.

Affections and Resolutions

1  Terrify yourself with the words of the prophet Isaiah.  O my soul, art thou able to live forever in everlasting flames, and amidst this devouring fire?  Wilt thou forfeit the sight of thy God forever?

2.  Confess that you have deserved hell, yea oftentimes.  From henceforth I will take a new course; for why should I go down into this bottomless pit?  I will therefore use this or that endeavor to avoid sin, which only can bring me to this eternal death.  Give thanks.  Offer.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.

The Eighth Meditation

On Heaven

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2. Beseech him to inspire you with his grace.

Considerations

1.  Consider a fair and clear night, and think how pleasant it is to behold the sky all spangled with that multitude and variety of stars: join this now with the beauty of as clear a day, so as the brightness of the sun may no ways hinder the luster of the stars nor moon; and then say boldly, that all this put together is nothing in comparison with the excellent beauty of the Heavenly paradise.  Oh! how this lovely place is to be desired!  Oh! how precious is this city!

2.  Consider the glory, beauty, and multitude of the inhabitants in this blessed country; those millions of millions of angels, cherubims, and seraphims! those troops of apostles, prophets, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and holy matrons.  The number is innumerable.  O how blessed is this company?  The meanest of them is more beautiful to behold than all this world: what a sight then will it be to see them all?  But, O my God, how happy are they!  They sing continually harmonious songs of eternal love; they always enjoy a constant mirth; they interchange one with another unspeakable contentments, and live in the comfort of a happy and indissoluble society.

3.  In fine, consider how blessed they are to enjoy God, who rewards them forever with his lovely aspect, and by the same infuses into their hearts a treasure of delights: how great a happiness it is to be united everlastingly to the sovereign good.  They are there like happy birds flying and singing perpetually in the air of his divinity, which encompasses them on all sides with incredible pleasure.  There every one does his best, and without envy sings the creator’s praise.  Blessed be thou forever, O sweet and sovereign creator and redeemer, who art so bountiful to us, and dost communicate to us so liberally the everlasting treasures of thy glory: blessed be you forever, says he, my beloved creatures, who have so faithfully served me, and who now shall praise me everlastingly, with so great love and courage.

Affections and Resolutions

1.  Admire and praise this Heavenly country.  O how beautiful art thou, my dear Jerusalem! and how happy are thy inhabitants!

2.  Reproach your heart with the little courage it has had hitherto, in wandering so far from the way of this glorious habitation.  O why have I strayed so far from my sovereign good?  Ah! wretch that I am, for these foolish and trivial pleasures have I a thousand thousand times forsaken eternal and infinite delights!  Was I not mad, to despise such precious blessings for so vain and contemptible affections?

3.  Aspire now with fervor to this delightful habitation.  O my gracious God, since it has pleased thee at length to direct my wandering steps into the right way, never hereafter will I turn back.  Let us go, my dear soul, let us go to this eternal repose: let us walk towards this blessed land that is promised us: what have we to do in this Egypt?  I will therefore disburthen myself of all such things as may divert or retard me in so happy a journey: I will perform such and such things as may conduct me to it.

Give thanks.  Offer.  Pray.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.

 

The Ninth Meditation

By way of election and choice of Heaven preparation

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2. Humble yourself before his majesty, and beseech him to inspire you with his grace.  Imagine yourself to be in a plain field, all alone with your good angel, as young Toby going to Rages, and that he shows you Heaven open, with all the pleasures represented in the former meditation; then, beneath that, he shows you hell wide open, with all the torments described in the meditation of hell: you being thus placed in your imagination, and kneeling by your good angel.

Considerations

1.  Consider that it is most true, you are between Heaven and hell; and that the one and the other is open to receive you, according to the choice you shall make.

2.  Consider that the choice which you shall make in this world shall last for all eternity in the other.

3.  And though both the one and the other be opened to receive you, according to your choice, yet God, who is ready to give you either the one by his justice, or the other by his mercy, desires notwithstanding with an incomparable desire that you would make choice of Heaven; and your good angel also importunes you with all his power, offering you on God’s behalf a thousand assistances, and a thousand graces, to help you thither.

4.  Consider that Jesus Christ beholds you from above in his clemency, and graciously invites you, saying: Come, my dear soul, to everlasting rest within the arms of my goodness, where I have prepared immortal delights for thee in the abundance of my love.  Behold likewise with your inward eyes the Blessed Virgin, who with a motherly love exhorts you, saying: Take courage, my child, despise not the desires of my Son, nor so many sighs which I have cast forth for thee, thirsting with him after thy eternal salvation.  Behold the saints also that exhort you, and millions of blessed souls sweetly inviting you, and wishing nothing more than to see your heart united with theirs in praising and loving God forever; assuring you that the way to Heaven is not so hard as the world makes it.  Be of good courage, dear brother, say they, he that shall diligently consider the way of devotion, by which we ascended hither, shall see that, we came to these immortal delights by pleasures incomparably more sweet than those of the world.

Election

1.  O hell, I detest thee now and forevermore: I detest thy torments and pains; I detest thy miserable and accursed eternity: and above all, I detest those eternal blasphemies and maledictions, which thou vomitest out eternally against my God.  And turning my heart and soul to thee, O beautiful paradise, everlasting glory, and endless felicity, I choose my habitation forever and irrevocably within thy fair and blessed mansions, within they holy and most lovely tabernacles.  I bless thy mercy, O my God, and accept the offer which it pleaseth thee to make me of it.  O my sweet Savior Jesus, I accept thy everlasting love, and the purchase which thou hast made for me of a place in this Heavenly Jerusalem, not so much for any other thing, as to love and bless thee forever and ever.

2.  Accept the favors which the Blessed Virgin and the saints offer you: promise them to advance towards them, and give your hand to your good angel, that he may guide you thither.  Encourage your soul to make this choice.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.

 

The Tenth Meditation

By way of election and choice which the soul makes of a devout life

Preparation

1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  2. Prostrate yourself before him, and implore the assistance of his grace.

Considerations

1.  Imagine yourself again to be in a plain field, all alone with your good angel; and that you see on your left hand the devil, seated on a great high throne, with many infernal spirits about him, environed with a great troop of worldlings, who all bare-headed acknowledge him for their lord, and do him homage, some by one sin, and some by another.  Observe the countenance of all the wretched courtiers of this abominable king.  Behold some of them transported with hatred, envy, and passion; others killing one another; others consumed with cares, pensive, and anxious to heap up riches; others bent upon vanity without any manner of pleasure which is not empty and unprofitable; others wallowing in the mire, buried and putrified in their brutish affections.  Behold how they are all without rest, order, and decency: behold how they despise one another, and love but in show.  In a word, you shall see a lamentable commonwealth miserably tyrannized over by this cursed king, which will move you to compassion.

2.  On the other side, behold Jesus Christ crucified, who with a cordial love prays for these poor enthralled people, that they may be freed from this tyranny, and calls them to himself.  Behold, round about him a troop of devout persons with their angels.  Contemplate the beauty of this kingdom of devotion.  O what a sight is it to see this troop of virgins, men and women, whiter than the lilies; that assembly of widows full of holy mortification and humility: see the ranks of divers married people living peaceably together with mutual respect, which cannot be without great charity.  Consider how these devout souls join the exterior care of the house with the care of the interior, the love of the husband with that of the celestial bridegroom.  Consider them all universally, and you shall see them in a sweet, holy, and lovely order, observing our Savior, whom everyone would willingly plant in the midst of his heart.  They are full of joy, but that joy is comely, charitable, and well ordered; they love one another, but their love is most pure and holy: such as suffer afflictions amongst this devout company torment not themselves much, nor lose courage.  Lastly, behold those eyes of our Savior, who comforts them, and how they all together aspire to him.

3.  You have already shaken off Satan with all his cursed execrable troop, by the good affections and resolutions you have conceived; but you are not yet arrived at Jesus, nor united with this blessed and holy company of devout people, but have hitherto kept yourself between the one and the other.

4.  The Blessed Virgin, with Saint Joseph, and a hundred thousand others, who are of the squadron of those who have lived in the world, invite and encourage you.  And the crucified King himself calls you by your name: Come, my well-beloved, come, that I may crown thee.

Election

O world!  O abominable troop!  No, never more shall you see me under your banner.  I have forever left off your fooleries and vanities.  O king of pride, O cursed king, infernal spirit, I renounce thee with all thy vain pomps, I detest thee with all thy works.

2.  And turning myself to thee, my dear Jesus, king of felicity and immortal glory, I embrace thee with all the powers of my soul, I adore thee with all my heart, I choose thee now and ever for my king, and with inviolable fidelity I pay thee irrevocable homage, and submit myself to the obedience of thy holy laws and ordinances.

3.  O sacred Virgin, my dear Lady, I choose thee for my guide, I put myself under thy colors, I offer thee a particular respect and special reverence.

4.  O my good angel, present me to this sacred assembly, and forsake me not till I arrive at this blessed company, with whom I say, and will say forever in testimony of my choice, Live Jesus, Live Jesus.  Pater.  Ave.  Credo.

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