Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: January 19th On the consideration of ourselves

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by
✠Challoner Meditation January 19th



Consider first, that besides the obligation we are under of daily consideration, in order to know God and our duty to him, there is another branch of necessary knowledge, which also calls for our serious attention and meditation; and this is the knowledge of ourselves. ‘This is the highest and most profitable lesson,’ says the devout a Kempis, ‘truly to know, and to despise ourselves.’ The knowledge of ourselves is the foundation of true humility, which is the virtue that teaches us to despise ourselves; and humility is the foundation of all other virtues; they have all a necessary dependence upon it. So that the knowledge of ourselves is, in effect, the foundation of all virtues. Now this knowledge of ourselves is not to be acquired without frequent and serious consideration. For to know ourselves aright, we must consider attentively our origin and extraction; what we have hitherto been; what we are now at present; and what we shall be by-and-by: and such considerations as these will open our eyes and will convince us, what poor wretches we are, and how little reason we have to be proud; and, on the contrary, how many urgent reasons we have to despise ourselves, and to be thoroughly humble.

Consider therefore, 2ndly, your extraction; as to your body, out of dirt and corruption; as to your soul, out of nothing; and that whatsoever you have, either as to body or soul, above mere nothing, is not of your own growth, but the property of your Maker. Reflect that you no sooner came into being but you were defiled with sin, and were children of wrath; that your whole life has hitherto been one continued course of sin and ingratitude. And ah! how often have you fallen into the worst of evils, that bottomless pit of mortal sin? And what a dreadful figure did you then make in the sight of God and his holy Angels? What confusion, what horror, what an eternal damnation was then your due! And is not this still your case at this day? And what title have you then to any regard, either from God or man? What claim to any benefit or service from any of God’s creatures? or what just complaint can you make, if all the world should abhor you as a traitor to God, a slave to the devil, and a victim of hell; and all creatures should join together against you, to revenge upon you the cause of their Creator? Reflect also on the many miseries you daily lie under; the small light there is in you for the discerning true good from that which is only so in appearance; the strength of your passions and self-love; your perpetual repugnance to the taking true pains for acquiring real goods, and the violent bent of your inclinations to evil. And then consider how soon death will be with you, and send your bodies to the worms, and your souls to the bar of divine justice, under a dreadful uncertainty as to your eternal lot. And see if, in the consideration of these things, you will not find matter enough to cure your pride, and to bring you to a true sense of your manifold misery and corruption; that so you may learn entirely to distrust yourselves, to be ever humble, and to place your whole confidence in God. 

Consider 3rdly, the other great advantages which the soul acquires by often entering into herself, by the means of serious consideration, and taking an impartial view of the whole state of her own interior. Here she discovers her spiritual maladies, (to which before she was a stranger,) and she is enabled by this discovery to seek and to apply proper remedies to all her evils. Here she finds out the secret ambushes of her enemies, especially those more subtle ones of pride and self-love, which are continually seeking to impose upon her and deceive her. Here she learns to discern between the different motions of nature and grace, to watch over her own heart, to regulate its affections and inclinations, to guard against her passions, and to order her whole interior in such a manner, as to be agreeable to him who desires to make it his everlasting temple. O how happy is it for the soul thus to know herself! Ah! what will it avail a man to know all things else, if he be a stranger to himself! 

Conclude to make the knowledge of thyself one of thy principal studies for the future. The Saints have always considered the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of themselves, as the most necessary of all the sciences. O study well, by means of daily meditation, this science of the Saints in both its parts. Daily pray with St Augustine, noverim te, noverim me. Lord, give me grace to know thee. Lord, give me grace to know myself.

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