“CALL UPON ME IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE.”
Let us consider some few practical counsels which will help us to be patient under every trial.
In general, as St. Thomas says, to foresee and reflect upon the trials that may come is a help to bear them with fortitude. Jesus Christ said to His disciples: In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world (Jo. xvi. 33). My children, know that in the world you shall be afflicted and despised; but have confidence in Me Who have conquered the world. The reason is, that by reflecting beforehand on tribulation, and embracing it with patience we form to ourselves an idea of it, not as an evil, but as a conducive to eternal life. Thus, premeditation takes from us the fear of the evil that the tribulation excites. This has been the practice of the Saints: they embraced their crosses long before they came; and thus they found themselves prepared to bear them in peace whenever they came upon them, no matter how suddenly. Accustom yourself, then, in Mental Prayer to embrace the tribulations which are likely to be your lot.
And when you imagine it to be impossible for you to bear such a tribulation (should it happen), pray to the Lord to give you His aid to submit to it in case it occurs, and have confidence in Him, saying: I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me (Phil. iv. 13). And when you do this, doubt not that your prayers will in that case obtain the strength you do not possess. And how have the holy Martyrs obtained courage to bear so many torments, and deaths the most painful, except by prayer and by recommending themselves to God? When you find yourself under the cross have recourse instantly to prayer. Is any of you sad, says St. James, let him pray (James v. 13). Is any of you afflicted with any tribulation or passion, let him pray, and not cease to pray until he finds the peace of his soul restored. Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me (Ps. xlix. 15). When you are in tribulation invoke My aid, says the Lord, and I will rescue you from difficulties, and you will give glory to Me. When a soul in trouble recommends itself to God, He delivers it from the evil which afflicts it, or gives it grace to bear it with patience, and thus it glorifies the Lord. St. Ignatius of Loyola used to say that the greatest evil that could befall him in this world would be the destruction of the Society; but he hoped that, even should such a calamity happen, his peace of mind would be restored by a quarter of an hour’s Mental Prayer.
In the time of trial endeavour to communicate more frequently. The early Christians in the time of persecution prepared themselves for Martyrdom by frequent Communion.
Be careful to ask advice from your director, or from some other spiritual person; for a word of comfort gives great help to bear the cross with patience. But beware of explaining your trials to imperfect souls, for they will only add to your troubles and confusion, particularly if you have received an injury, or if you actually suffer persecution.
But above all, I say again, have recourse to prayer; have recourse to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, and beg of Him to make you in all things conformable to His holy will. He promises to comfort all who are in tribulation when they have recourse to Him. Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matt. xi. 28).
My God, I offer to Thee the pains of Jesus, Thy Son, in satisfaction for my sins. He is the Lamb Whom Thou didst one day behold sacrificed for Thy glory, and for our salvation on the Altar of the Cross. For the love of this Victim, so dear to Thee, pardon me all the offences, whether grievous or venial, which I have offered to Thee: I am sorry for them all with my whole heart, because by them I have offended Thy infinite goodness. Thou, O my God, dost call me to Thy love: behold I leave all things, and I come to Thee, my Treasure and my Life. For the love of Thee, I renounce all the goods and honours and pleasures of the world. I love Thee, O my Sovereign Good, above every other good. Ah, my Jesus, do not permit me to resist any longer, and to be ungrateful to the tender affection Thou hast shown me. Ah! make known to me always more and more the greatness of Thy goodness, that I may be enamoured of Thee Who art infinitely amiable. Thou hast shown Thyself enamoured of my soul, and shall I be able to love anything but Thee? No, my Redeemer: for Thee only do I wish to live; Thee only do I wish to love.
O Mary, my Mother, assist me, and obtain for me grace to be faithful to this my promise.