VIII.-HOW TO CONVERSE CONTINUALLY AND FAMILIARLY WITH GOD
Be assured that though in the fulfilment of your dally duties you should be employed in the meanest occupations, the faithful discharge of them will certainly make you a saint. The Lord does not require of you lofty flights of contemplation, or formidable penances: all that He does demand is that you perform all your actions well.
To make a brief summary of what has already been said at large, I shall not omit to suggest a devout practice whereby you may fulfil all your daily actions in a manner pleasing to God.
When you wake in the morning let it be your first thought to raise your mind to God, offering to His glory all that you will do or suffer the day, praying Him to assist you by His grace. Then make your other morning acts of devotion, acts of thanksgiving and of love, prayers and resolutions to live that day as though it were to be the last day of your life. Father St. Jure recommends the making in the morning of a compact with the Lord that every time you make a certain sign, as placing your hand upon your heart, or raising your eyes to Heaven or to the Crucifix, and the like, you wish thereby to make an act of love, of desire to see God loved by all, of oblation of yourself, and other acts of the same kind. When you have made these acts and placed your soul in the Heart of Jesus and under the mantle of Mary, and have prayed the Eternal Father that for the love of Jesus and Mary He would protect you during the day, be careful, before you engage in anything else, to make your mental prayer, or Meditation, at least for half an hour; and let your specially chosen Meditation be the sorrow and the shame which Jesus Christ suffered in His Passion. This is the subject dearest to loving souls, and the one that most enkindles divine love within them. If you would make spiritual progress, let three devotions be especially dear to you: devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ, to the Most Holy Sacrament; and to the ever-blessed Virgin. In mental prayer, make again and again acts of contrition, of love to God and oblation of yourself. The Venerable Father Charles Carafia, Founder of the Pious Workers, said that one fervent act of the love of God made in the morning is sufficient to maintain the soul in fervour throughout the whole day.
Besides the more specific acts of devotion, such as Confession, Communion, recitation of the Divine Office, etc., whenever you are engaged in external occupations, as in study, labour, or in any other employment that may be proper to your condition in life, never forget, when commencing your work to offer it up to God, praying for His assistance to enable you to perform it in a perfect manner; and do not omit to retire frequently into the cell of your heart, in order to unite yourself to God, according to the practice of St. Catherine of Sienna. In short, whatever you do, do it with God and for God.
In going out of your room or house, and on returning again, always commend yourself to the divine Mother by saying a Hail Mary. When sitting down to meals, make an offering to God of the distaste or gratification you may find in what you eat and drink; and, on rising from table, return thanks to Him and say: Lord, how great is Thy goodness to one who has offended Thee so much! In the course of the day be careful to make your Spiritual Reading, to make a Visit to the Most Holy Sacrament and to Most Holy Mary; and in the evening to say the Rosary and to make an examination of conscience, together with the Christian acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, Contrition, resolutions of amendment, and of receiving the Holy Sacraments during life and at the hour of death, forming also the intention of gaining all the indulgences that you can gain. And again, on going to bed, reflect that if you had your deserts, you would be lying down in the flames of hell. Then, with the Crucifix in your arms, compose yourself to sleep, saying: In peace, in the self-same, I will sleep and take my rest-(Ps. iv. 9).
I would wish briefly to point out to you the many Indulgences that are attached to the various prayers or acts of devotion. Whence it is desirable for you in the morning to make the intention of gaining all the indulgences in your power during the day. To him who makes acts of the three Theological Virtues mentioned above-of Faith, etc.-there are granted Seven Years and Seven Quarantines each day; and by continuing them for a month a Plenary Indulgence may be gained, provided he confesses, communicates, and prays for the intentions of the Pope. This indulgence is in articulo mortis. In like manner, you should form the intention of gaining also all the Indulgences granted for saying the Rosary on Beads properly blessed; the Angelus Domini three times a day; the Litany of our Blessed Lady; the Salve Regina; the Ave Maria, and the Gloria Patri; also for saying: “Blessed be the holy and immaculate and most pure Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!”; “Praised now and forever be the Most Holy Sacrament!”; for reciting the prayer, Anima Christi, etc.; for bowing the head at the Gloria Patri, and at the most Holy Names of Jesus and Mary; as also for hearing Mass; for making half an hour’s mental prayer, to which besides a partial, there is also a Plenary Indulgence attached, provided it be continued for a month, on condition of Confession and Communion, and prayers for the Church; for genuflecting before the Most Holy Sacrament, and for kissing the Crucifix. Always have the intention formed of gaining every such indulgence.