The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the shortest way to perfection. The life of Christ was but a continuous cross. God confers a great honour on us when He calls us to walk the same path as His only Son.
If you correspond to the designs of God, He will make a saint of you. Be generous, and remember that we ought to walk in the footsteps of Jesus crucified. The servant of God who is not crucified with Jesus Christ, what is he? He is unworthy of divine contemplation who has not fought and conquered some great temptation. God has suffered much for me ; ought I not suffer something for Him?
St. Paul of the Cross
God is ready to heal those who sincerely wish to amend their lives, but cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner. The Lord pardons sins, but He cannot pardon those who are determined to offend Him.
It will be seen how many in the midst of a corrupt age have kept themselves pure and inviolate from all concupiscence of the flesh and the spirit, working out their sanctification in the fear of God; how others, when exposed to the danger of temptation, have without delay restrained themselves gaining new strength for virtue from the peril itself; how others, having fallen, have been seized with the ardent desire to be restored to the embraces of a compassionate God.
Therefore, with these reflections before them, We beseech all again and again not to yield to the deceits of the old enemy, nor for any cause whatsoever to cease from the duty of prayer. Let their prayers be persevering, let them pray without intermission; let their first care be to supplicate for the sovereign good-the eternal salvation of the whole world, and the safety of the Church. Then they may ask from God other benefits for the use and comfort of life, returning thanks always, whether their desires are granted or refused, as to a most indulgent father.
Finally, may they converse with God with the greatest piety and devotion according to the example of the Saints, and that of our Most Holy Master and Redeemer, with great cries and tears.
Our fatherly solicitude urges Us to implore of God, the Giver of all good gifts, not merely the spirit of prayer, but also that of holy penance for all the sons of the Church… We exhort all and each one to the practice with equal fervor of both these virtues combined.
Thus prayer fortifies the soul, makes it strong for noble endeavors, leads it up to divine things: penance enables us to overcome ourselves, especially our bodies — most inveterate enemies of reason and the evangelical law.
And it is very clear that these virtues unite well with each other, assist each other mutually, and have the same object, namely, to detach man born for heaven from perishable objects, and to raise him up to heavenly commerce with God.
Pope Leo XIII
There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are—first, the distaste for a simple and laborious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.
I learn with joy that your confessor treats you rigorously, that he is hard and severe. Oh, what an excellent friend he is to you! It is now that God will put the last touch to the statue in order to embellish it and render it worthy of heaven; therefore He permits him, who ought to encourage you, to use the finest and sharpest tools. Oh, what a noble work! Beg God not to deprive you of that instrument until the work that He wishes to effect in you be accomplished. Do not be troubled by the annoyances and fears that your confessor occasions you. Listen to him with deep humility, simplicity, and silence.
Why in this hour of need should We not behold again such marvels of the power and goodness of the august Virgin, for the good of the Church and its Head, and of the whole Christian world, if the faithful only revive, on their part, the magnificent examples of piety given by their forefathers, under similar circumstances? And to make this most powerful Queen more and more propitious, We would honor her more and more in the invocation of the Rosary, and increase this devotion.
How grateful and magnificent a spectacle to see in the cities, and towns, and villages, on land and sea — wherever the Catholic faith has penetrated — many hundreds of thousands of pious people uniting their praises and prayers with one voice and heart at every moment of the day, saluting Mary, invoking Mary, hoping everything through Mary. Through her may all the faithful strive to obtain from her Divine Son that the nations plunged in error may return to the Christian teaching and precepts, in which is the foundation of the public safety and the source of peace and true happiness.
Pope Leo XIII
Spiritual Reading: HOW THE ROSARY SHOULD BE RECITED: St. Alphonsus Liguori
[…] Now in order that we may profit by this devotion and know how to recite the Rosary, we shall consider how the Rosary should be recited in order that it may be meritorious.
The Rosary is a prayer. Prayer is defined by St. John Damascene: “As an elevation of the mind to God.” Without a raising or elevation of the mind to God there is no true prayer. It is divided into mental prayer and vocal prayer: mental prayer consists wholly in the interior exercise of the mind; vocal prayer consists in praising God and praying to Him with the tongue and the mind. If one speaks to God only with the tongue, this would be a prayer without fruit and without merit, like that of a parrot which articulates words without knowing what it says. “Whoever prays merely with the voice,” says St. Bonaventure, “without any application of the mind and without knowing what he says, acts like a parrot.”
The elevation of the mind required in the recitation of the Rosary should be a pious meditation on the Joyous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries; hence, while we are reciting with the voice the “Our Fathers” and the “Hail Marys” which compose the Rosary, we should consider the Mystery that belongs to each decade.
It is true that a vocal prayer, like the Rosary, may be meritorious without the application of the mind to the consideration of the designated Mysteries; it is sufficient that one reflects either on the Presence of God, His Omnipotence, His Mercy, or some of His other perfections; on the temporal or eternal chastisements which one merits, or on other subjects that refer to God; but if one recites the Rosary with such thoughts, and does not consider its Mysteries, he does not gain the Indulgences granted by the Sovereign Pontiff, as Benedict XIII has expressly declared.