LET us humbly ask our Blessed Saviour to admit us among the chosen disciples who followed Him to Gethsemani. There, casting off sleep, let us enter into the grotto in which Jesus is prostrate, and contemplate His agony. What a sad and sorrowful spectacle ! The human nature of our Saviour, till then calm and serene, is disturbed, saddened, and afraid at the approach of death; yet death is not for that nature a surprise. For a long time its cruel necessity, the hour in which it would take place, its many mournful circumstances were well known to Him. Then His humanity was not troubled; but now at the supreme moment the storm breaks more relentless and more dreadful than upon any other nature. Whence comes this awful change ? From a secret weakness long held under the mask of a hypocritical peace ? Blasphemy ! Every circumstance in the agony of our dear Master is a prodigy. The exercise of His omnipotence was necessary to open the door of His holy soul to grief at all ; and, again, His omnipotence was needed to prevent His death in His unspeakable anguish. It was because He willed it that passions hitherto submissive were agitated and troubled. It was His divine foreknowledge that placed clearly before Him the living and frightful images of death and sin. He brought before Him in one appalling vision all the evils He was about to endure — the treason of His disciples, the abandonment of those whom He loved, the sacrilegious hatred of the Jewish priests, the injustice of the great, the ingratitude of the people, the despair of His friends, the tortures of His beloved Mother; the insults, injuries, humiliations ; the spittle, the scourging, the crown of thorns ; the cross and, at last, His death as the most infamous of malefactors. And all these evils for sinners who had loaded past ages with their iniquities ! Sins of the mind, of the heart, of the senses; the abominations of idolatry, injustices, violences, debaucheries of pagan races; the prevarications and apostasies of His own people — Jesus saw it all. But the future weighed more heavily upon His dismayed soul than the past. His precious blood would be shed for millions to no purpose; they would ungratefully refuse His grace and would reject His merits.
" And He began to fear and to be sad" (Mark xiv.) Jesus is seized with a mysterious sadness. His sacrifice seems to be repugnant to Him, and He implores God to spare His life, threatened with so much ingratitude and profanation. We read it in the twenty-ninth Psalm, in which David had already spoken in His name : " What profit is there in My blood whilst I go down to corruption ? " Why shed it if, in a great measure, it is sure to be lost?
" Jesus begins to fear." His spirit and His flesh, so tenderly and so purely united, protest against the horrors of a cruel and unmerited separation.
"His soul is sorrowful, even unto death." He falls with His face to the ground ; a sweat of blood flows upon it ; He is in an agony. He would certainly have expired if He had not been sustained for the bitter death of the cross by divine power.
Oh, what a conflict ! Human nature, left for a moment to itself, repels the too bitter chalice which God presents to it. "O my Father ! if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me." But His human nature is promptly lifted up by the divine nature and abandons itself to the most holy will of its heavenly Father in the words : " Not My will but Thine be done."
O most sweet and blessed Jesus ! I am not scandalized in Thy agony and dereliction; rather do I see, under the doleful veil of this mystery, Thy sacred divinity, and I offer to it the homage of my faith and adoration. Pros- trate in spirit before Thee in the grotto of Gethsemani, I tenderly pity Thee in Thy awful sorrows, and I beg the grace to take part in them. Have I not merited these by my innumerable faults ? Is it not to me that this disgust with a sinful life, this fear of the terrors of divine justice, this sadness unto death, properly belong ? Be just and severe, O my Jesus ! Give me strength to suffer with Thee ! How bitter soever Thy chalice may be, grant me grace to submit to it, and accept it as Thou didst accept the holy will of God.
IN the sixteenth chapter of the book of Job we find words which admirably prefigure the awful scourging of our Lord: " He hath gathered together his fury against me, and threatening he hath gnashed with his teeth upon me ; my enemy hath beheld me with terrible eyes. They have opened their mouths upon me ; and, reproaching, they have struck me on the cheek. They are filled with my pains."
Having fallen into the hands of His enemies, having been judged and condemned, Jesus is delivered up to a troop of malefactors, the vilest and most cruel of whom act the part of executioners in the pretorian court. They seize their victim violently and bind Him fast to a pillar at which He is to be scourged. They arm themselves with rods and thongs, and strike Him with all their strength without counting their blows. The sacred body of our Saviour shudders. In the midst of the hissing of the scourges His deep moans and sad, low cries are heard. The fierce butchers, already drunk with wine, are infuriated at the sight of His blood.
They yield to fatigue, but the awful work is not yet finished. Still more ! Still morel is the cry that is heard. Some bring knotty brambles bristling with thorns, others bring iron-mounted thongs. These frightful cruelties last nearly an hour, a part of the people gloating over their victim, a part of them buried in stupor. Not to have expired under this treatment required the strength of God. Jesus can no longer stand erect. His body is one red, gushing wound. His eyes, almost closed with tears and blood, see only His executioners ; yet so sweet and mild are they that they would soften a savage beast. But under control of the passion of hatred man is more savage than any beast. So much love on the part of our dear Sayiour only irritated His enemies all the more. At last, when He had received five thousand strokes, as it has been revealed to His Saints, Jesus is untied from the pillar and falls covered with blood.
What hast Thou done, O sweet Lamb ! to bring upon Thyself this fearful barbarity ? Thou hast selected these people from among the gentile nations ; Thou hast delivered them from the slavery of Egypt. Through a thousand dangers Thou hast brought them into the land of benediction. To them and to us all Thou hast promised the blessed liberty of the children of God. Is it for this Thy beneficent hands are torn and bruised ? Is it for this Thou art tied, like a rebellious slave or a vile malefactor, to a pillar ?
Thou hast consoled the just and holy men of Israel, "the men of desires” who, inclining their hearts and souls to the future, looked for the coming of God's envoy. Thou didst go about doing good, and Thou hast stretched out Thy loving hand to solace all human infirmities. Thou hast cured the paralytic and the lame ; Thou hast given hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, life to the dead. Is it for this Thy sacred body has been beaten until it became one bleeding wound ? Thou hast brought down manna from heaven like the dew of the morning, and from the hard rock Thou hast brought pure water to relieve Thy people about to die of thirst in the desert. Thou hast multiplied a few loaves in another desert to feed the famished multitude that followed Thee. Thou hast allowed a torrent of heavenly doctrine to flow from Thy lips. Thou hast opened for our souls fountains of living water, the divine virtue of which will make it leap to the abodes of eternal life. Is it for this Thy flesh was torn and Thy blood shed ?
O my dear Saviour ! Thou didst merit nothing but our tender respect and loving gratitude ; but I hear the prophet Isaias say (liii.) : " He was wounded for our iniquities ; He was bruised for our sins." And how truly has his word been realized in Thee !
Nothing could be more just than that our sinful flesh should be tied to a pillar and beaten to death ; but, even if our blood were drawn drop by drop until no more remained, of what value would it be as long as it was impure and sinful ? But there must needs be blood, for I hear the Apostle of the Gentiles say in his Epistle to the Hebrews: " Almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood ; and without the shedding of blood there is no remission" (chap, ix.)
Adorable Jesus, Thou hast fulfilled this austere law, and the lashes of Thy executioners, more effectual and more salutary than the rod of Moses, have opened, even in our flesh, wounds through which our salvation enters.
Flow on, flow on, O adorable stream of my Saviour’s blood ! I cast myself into this sacred fountain. Penetrate me and wash me, not only from all impurity and weakness of the flesh, but from all weakness and languor of soul. Go to the root of my imperfections and spiritual miseries. Wash away and bear far from me sin and the principles of sin.
THE CROWNING WITH THORNS — THE IGNOMINY OF JESUS.“Go forth, daughters of Zion, and see King vJ Solomon in the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart " (Cant, iii.)
This King Solomon means my Saviour. The Church, His spouse, invites us to go with her and contemplate the strange and unheard-of diadem with which the synagogue, His cruel and relentless step-mother, crowns our Holy Saviour.
Those who were employed to scourge Him are now glutted with blood ; the soldiers lying listlessly around wish to amuse themselves. " Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus in the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band " (Matt, xxvii. 27). A broken column and a shaky stool is found. It will answer for a throne. Our dear Saviour is stripped of His garments a second time. An old scarlet mantle is thrown upon His shoulders ; this is His royal purple. A reed is put into His right hand ; this is His sceptre. Now, O my Saviour, be seated ! Thou art about to be crowned !
The soldiers have obtained three thorny branches, which, with diabolical art, they twist together in the form of a crown, bristling on the inside with a hundred sharp points. These ruffians, assuming a solemn air and simulating a grave ceremony, place this newly-invented crown on the head of Jesus. It will not keep its place at first, but they force it to remain by the blows of a piece of wood. The thorns pierce His head on all sides, and His eyes are almost destroyed. All the veins of the head are pierced ; blood flows like water from this newly- opened source. Jesus now loses the power of sight ; He is a prey to burning fever ; He is devoured by extreme thirst, and He shudders with pain and anguish. Nothing can be conceived more frightful, but it is mere sport for His tormentors. One after another they come before Him, bending the knee in mockery, saluting Him with the words, " Hail, King of the Jews ! " Then they throw down the throne and its Occupant, and again put Him on it with brutal violence. All this lasts at least half an hour, and is applauded by the full cohort which surrounds the pretorian. Then our dear Saviour is brought to Pilate, who presents Him to the people with the words: "Behold the Man!"
Yes, behold the Man ! No longer the glorious being whom the Father presented to a world just fresh from His creating hand, saying to it : "Be ruled by Him, be His subject.” Behold now the Man such as sin has made Him! The ignominy of our Lord is a living and a horrible image of the ignominy of the sinner. How wretched indeed the sinner is ! He thinks that it will increase his power, or at least his independence, to throw off the yoke of the divine will and to follow no longer any but his own. Soon he becomes a marvel of shame and misery.
Behold the Man ! Jesus is despoiled of His clothing and covered with a ragged purple garment. The sinner is stripped of the white robe of innocence. Grace, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, the reflection of the glory of God in his soul, all disappear at the very instant in which he becomes a sinner. Only the tattered remnants of a dishonored nature are left to him.
Behold the Man ! Jesus is crowned with thorns, the sharp points of which pierce and torture His adorable head. The sinner is wild with joy in his transgression. His joy comes quickly and flies away again like the lightning. The enjoyment of past iniquity soon becomes nothing more than the sharp thorn of disgrace and remorse.
Behold the Man ! Jesus is forced to take into His hand a reed for a sceptre ; it is a mock sceptre, an insult to His omnipotence. The sinner holds over his passions only a power enfeebled by the consent he has given to sin. His reason, deprived of the supernatural vigor derived from grace, no longer knows how to rule the appetites. It is no longer the rigid sceptre to which obedience is given ; it is now but a reed that bends with the least resistance.
Behold the Man ! Jesus has His hands tied and is led without effort from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate. The sinner has forfeited his liberty, for t; he that commits sin is become the slave of sin " (John yiii. 34).
Behold the Man ! Jesus is the sport of a troop of soldiers, who deride Him, buffet Him, treat Him as a fool, and mock Him in His miserable state. The sinner, when his eyes are opened, will see around him a troop of devils well pleased with their triumph, laughing at the misfortune of their victim and feasting on their victory with atrocious joy. For a long time they had looked for his fall, which they effected by their wiles. Their hour is come ; they hold fast this proud soul that wished to be its own master. It is become in their hands a mock-king, whilst it listens only to their flatteries and is invisibly saturated with their outrages.
What ignominy ! O my God ! Behold what sin has made of man !
O humbled yet blessed Saviour ! I bring to Thy feet this miserable soul, which at length confesses its disgrace. I bring it confused, repentant, wounded not merely by cruel remorse, but also by the salutary thorns of contrition. Have pity on it. Touch it with one drop of that precious blood which flowed from Thy adorable head. It comes to Thee to be transformed, to be invested with glory and honor ; a master again, and possessed of the blessed liberty of the children of God. Seeing it, restored the angels will cry out in joy : " Be- hold the Man."
THE CARRIAGE OF THE CROSS — JESUS FALLS UNDER THE CROSS."NOTHING- in the Passion of our Saviour can possibly resemble ordinary sufferings ; all His ignominies, all His dolors are outside of the common description of punishments or of executions. He was scourged as no one had ever before been scourged ; no one before Him had been insultingly and barbarously crowned with thorns ; and now He is brought to the place of His execution in a manner different from all others.
The custom of the age required slaves to carry the gibbet of a condemned person to the place prepared for it. But figures and prophecies had proclaimed in advance the additional and special tortures reserved for Him. Abraham had placed the wood of the sacrifice on the shoulders of his son Isaac ; Jesus, the new Isaac, is made to bear His cross to the hill of sacrifice. The prophet Isaias had seen Him in this state of humiliation and suffering when he cried out : " The government is on His shoulder" — Principatus super humerum ejus (ix. 6).
Wherefore Jesus, having heard His sentence, is brought to the middle of the forum. His cross is there. He prostrates Himself to take it upon Him ; He embraces it as if it were a long-wished-for spouse. The trumpet is heard ; the officers cry out : " Move on ! " Jesus rises. On the right and on the left the people stare at Him.
With naked and bloody feet our dear Saviour, stooping low, tottering on His limbs, torn with wounds, exhausted by a long fast and by the loss of blood, advances, or rather creeps, to Calvary. Officers in front of Him are dragging Him along; others are pushing Him forward. He cannot make one firm step. Loaded as He is, and not being able to advance as they desire, those who follow Him ever press Him on, and thus he falls several times with His face to the ground, and the cross falls with Him. The executioners raise Him with imprecations and kick Him as they would the meanest animal. It is the most frightful spectacle to be imagined. O Christian soul ! veil not your face ; look on. Move forward along with Him. Follow your Saviour piously on the sorrowful way to Calvary. Content not yourself with weeping, like the holy women who will not leave Him ; but gather up and carefully guard, in an humble and contrite heart, the deep lessons He gives you. The burden of the cross is, after all, less heavy to Him than the immense weight of our sins. It is really under this weight He falls to teach us what a heavy load to carry is a sinful life. If we do not take steps to throw it from our souls as soon as we feel its weight, it will drag us down and cast us into an abyss. Vain thoughts, frivolous desires, culpable levities appear to us as nothing; yet bow often are they the cause of shameful falls ! Jesus falls several times on His way to Calvary. Herein He gives, for our benefit, a sign of our sad weakness. This Man, weakened, bruised, pushed forward, thrown down by soldiers and spectators, is a symbol of ourselves. The infirmities of nature and the tribulations of life cast us down ; the passions make us feel in our souls their terrible sting; the demon tempts and torments us; the world multiplies its seductions around us ; yet we go on in our course without serious attention to the dangers that beset us, and without any safeguard, as if there was no danger to our virtue. Our Saviour says to us : " Take care, take care, for the strong- have fallen ! "
He fell in the dolorous way, but He quickly rose again, notwithstanding His bruises and wounds, to show us that we too, when thrown down by the enemy of our salvation, ought to rise quickly again. To make no effort to gain our feet, not to call any one to our assistance, to make known to no one our great misfortune, would be the part of sloth and pride. And then the evil one, whose hatred rejoices in our falls, endeavors to persuade us that it is better to wait. Of what use is it to rise ? We are still so very weak we will fall again. Later in life, when age shall have fortified our reason, when the passions, growing cold, no longer make such pressing demands, when we shall have been satiated to disgust with pleasures the attraction to which has hastened our fall, then it will be time to say, " Eise, go on ! "
Oh ! how foolish. Who has promised that death will not come and find us in our sin, or that the inveteracy of evil habits will leave us any power at all to repent ? No, no ! Away with cowardly sloth, away with presumptuous delays ! Then all the rest will follow.
But can we repent now ? Are not our repeated falls an evidence of ingratitude which has exhausted the divine mercy ? Here is another temptation of the evil spirit against which the infinite goodness of our Saviour pro- tests, as well as the "plentiful redemption" we will find in His blood. "With the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plentiful re- demption" (Psalm cxxix.) He came to save sinners ; He will not break the reed bent down by the tempest. He wishes to receive us to His mercy, and to pardon all our sins each time we go to Him with an honest and sincere heart. Up, then, poor sinner, up ! It is Jesus invites you. It is possible you may fall again, notwithstanding all your good resolutions, But stay down not a moment ; always beg the grace of God to give you true penance until the supreme moment comes when God's last pardon shall be the answer to your last act, an act of contrition.
THE CRUCIFIXION — THE DEATH OF JESUS.WEAKENED almost to death by wounds, exhausted by a most painful journey, crushed and bruised under the weight of His cross, Jesus reaches the summit of Calvary. Let us concentrate our thoughts upon this last and most awful scene of His Passion. The executioners seize upon our dear Saviour and roughly drag off His garments, now adhering to the wounds made in His scourging. They stretch Him upon the cross and violently lay hold of His bruised and torn members, driving rough nails into His hands and feet. The breaking and disjointing of His bones is distinctly heard. Oh ! how horrible. Finally the cross is set upright and the Victim is exposed to the view of a degraded and immoral crowd, gathered from all parts to Jerusalem to feast on the spectacle of His agony and to insult Him in His expiring pains at a time when the suffering of the most infamous criminal would command pity and make of him an object sacred to respect and compassion. But the sweet Lamb of God forgets all injuries and all cruelties. He pardons His murderers, promises paradise to the repentant thief, gives His Mother to us to be our Mother for evermore, thirsts for souls and invites them to Him. He submits to the divine will, and fulfils the prophetic oracles until all is consummated. He lovingly complains that He is abandoned by the Father, commends His soul to Him, utters a loud cry, and expires. Jesus is dead ! But He has not yet poured out upon us all the treasures of His love. His Sacred Heart is pierced by a lance, which brings with it blood and water to give living virtue to the sacraments and to regenerate sinful souls. Jesus is dead ! Let us contemplate His body, all livid and covered with blood. To our carnal eyes it is without beauty or glory ; but His Father joyfully turns to Him : He clasps the Victim of sin in a loving embrace, and gathers into His merciful bosom all the merits and sufferings of that divine Victim. He is the well-beloved of whom Solomon, sang ; He is the well-beloved, clothed in the white robe of innocence and in the purple of sacrifice : " My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands " (Cant. v. 10). Jesus is dead ! Let us unite ourselves with the invisible angels who surround the cross and adore in silence His lifeless flesh. The soul of which it was the unspotted tabernacle has left it to visit the sombre prison in which the just souls of the old law awaited His coming ; but His divinity is still there, preparing in those dead members the triumph of the resurrection. Jesus is dead ! Let us weep with His Most Holy Mother, and beg of Her to obtain for us a portion, at least, of Her tender and profound compassion. All the dolors of Her Son are felt in Her maternal Heart. Her tears are a reproach to our guilty hearts, yet She desires nothing so anxiously as our pardon. O Queen of Martyrs! O Mother of God and of men ! we will cling for eyer to the memory of Thy great mercy. That we may continually bring it to mind, imprint deeply in our souls the wounds of Thy crucified Love :
Sancta Mater, istud agas,Jesus is dead ! Let us lament with Magdalen, and with the centurion strike our breasts ; our sins indeed have crucified our Saviour. Come forward now, all ye impieties, blasphemies, ingratitudes, sacrileges, proud thoughts, tumultuous ambitions, egotism, injustices, lies, deceit, pleasures of sense, shameful indulgences — come to the mangled body of your Saviour and be confounded. " Of a truth you have murdered the Author of life." O my Jesus ! I am ashamed to appear before Thee ; I fear the fate of Thy executioners ; I would fly far away from Calvary, the scene of my infamy, if I were not kept there by Thy merciful words and by Thy promises of pardon. Jesus is dead ! Let us forget all else, and give our hearts without reserve to the contemplation of the holy Cross, as if we were alone in the world with it. It is for us, for each one of us, He was crucified. For us, in this sense : that He is our substitute on that frightful gibbet on which, but for Him, we would have received the strokes of God's justice. For us, in the sense that He has expiated our faults and accomplished the work of our salvation. To Jesus crucified be ever given the homage, too long withheld, of our heartfelt repentance ! To Jesus crucified be ever given the homage of our deepest gratitude for the greatest of all benefits — that of our redemption !
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.
Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.
INTENTION OF THE APOSTOLATE OF PRAYER FOR MARCH.
THE WORK OF EXTENDING THE FAITH.AFTER the appeal so lately made by the Holy Father in behalf of the Association of the Propagation of the Faith, no words are needed here to recommend that pre-eminently Catholic work of zeal for souls. We are more concerned to vindicate ourselves from the possible reproach of an obstructive rivalry, by showing how close is the relationship and how complete the sympathy between the association thus praised by Leo the Thirteenth and another association of which he is the foremost promoter—our own Apostleship of Prayer. This likewise lays claim to a certain kind of Catholicity. It is universal in its possible extension, and already very widely spread in its actual acceptance. That which it demands lies within the competence of all Christians without exception, and, although comparatively few employ to the best advantage all the time at their disposal, making each day into a holocaust of spiritual works of mercy, yet very many in every country under heaven are helping the good cause with great good will, and are not unprofitable servants. They have understood that a life in which every act becomes a prayer is the offering which the associates of the Holy League are invited to cast into the treasury of the Church.
No interest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus remains outside the sphere of this modest but true and real apostolate. This consideration would alone suffice to win for the work of the Propagation of the Faith the cordial support of all who have felt the purpose and caught the spirit of the Apostleship of Prayer. To make it, however, more clear that this is not an after-thought arising from some new necessity of conciliation, or anything in the nature of a special plea designed to meet the last announcement of the Holy Father, we shall reproduce from a work,* which at the same time we venture to commend to our readers, certain very apposite words written sixteen years ago.
"We foresee," it was said, "a difficulty which may occur to the mind of some of our readers. It will be objected: 'Before the formation. of this new enterprize a league of prayer already existed—the Association for the Propagation of the Faith. Why is it necessary to create another. association having a similar object, with the evident risk of interfering with the development of a very useful work?'
"Most assuredly, if we had supposed that the Apostleship of Prayer could have any such result—nay, more, if we had not been intimately persuaded that in the attainment of its own distinct object it could not fail to help the action and promote the development of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, we should never have dreamed of establishing it.
"These two works are so far from being incompatible that, on the contrary, we find in the astonishing success of the association founded forty years ago in the sanctuary of Notre Dame de Fourvieres,+ a powerful argument for the promotion of that other association which began its life twenty years ago  in the not less famous sanctuary of Notre Dame du Puy."
After briefly recalling to mind the wonders wrought among heathen tribes and in Christian homes by the alms so generously furnished, twice-blest, blessing both givers and receivers, the writer whom we are quoting notices a significant contrast, and draws thence his own conclusion, which is also ours.
* L’ApostoIat de la Priere. Par le P. Henri Ramiere. Toulouse, 20, Rue des Fleurs.
+ See Messenger, April, iSSo.
"We cannot explain the wonders achieved by ascribing them simply to the outlay of money, for the sums contributed are, after all said and done, miserably inadequate to the relief of so many separate necessities of the great work of saving souls. Protestant propagandists scatter money from full hands to gain proselytes without having' so far made one genuine convert. It is worth while to try to understand what is the cause of the difference."
Any Catholic can solve this question easily. The work of conversion is from beginning to end an effect of supernatural grace. Faith comes by hearing, but unless when the words of the preacher fall upon the ear the voice of God is speaking to the heart of the hearer, no change is wrought in the inner man. Catholic and Protestant societies alike can collect money at home and send out missionaries to spend it abroad; but however upright may be the motives of those who are acting in invincible ignorance of the truth, they can never carry with them that which makes the strength of the preachers who are in communion with the See of Rome—the mighty impulse of the united prayers of the Church of God.
"Its material resources are small, but they are worth very much. They consist in part of the liberal donations of the rich man, who in the light of his faith esteems himself fortunate to be able thus to gain in exchange for his gold souls redeemed by the Precious Blood and destined to be eternally happy in Heaven. They consist more commonly of the alms of the poor man, saved from his hard-earned pittance, and of the widow's mite; but these alms, however scanty, are offered in the spirit of true charity, and are distributed by charitable hands. They spring from zeal, they are made fruitful by prayer, they exert that living force which love imparts, they have no other origin and end than the glory of God and the good of men—therefore they cannot fail to touch and transform many hears."
Herein is the secret of the superior success of the Catholic missions to the heathen, and herein also is a very sufficient reason for the establishment of the Apostleship of Prayer.
"Since the abundant harvest with which God crowns the toil of His worthy labourers, and the rapid progress made by Catholic truth in various places, ought to be ascribed to the prayers and holy desires and to the ardent zeal of the members of the Propagation of the Faith, offered in union with the labours and sufferings of the missionaries, and at times also the shedding of their blood; since the money subscribed has a smaller share in the working of wonders than the good prayers of the Associates, the thought suggested itself very readily, that great advantage would be derived from an Association which, lending all the time efficacious help to that great work of zeal, and urging the faithful to augment the means at its command, might devote still more attention to prayer, and find therein its principal and, so to say, its only object; an Association, addressing itself especially to the members of religious communities, all the better able to help the Church with spiritual alms by the Very reason of their being by the vow of poverty precluded from giving pecuniary aid; an Association, which having its foundation in the idea that supernatural means conduce directly and appropriately to supernatural ends, conversion, salvation of souls, and the like, might cultivate these means with peculiar care, striving with unceasing effort to excite and develop true charity in all its members, and to urge them continually to implore fresh graces of salvation for the souls of infidels.
"If we contemplate a sacred league of the kind supposed, made up of pious Catholics and including a great number of religious houses, the glory and comfort of the Church, with many souls dear to God and eager to work for His glory, trying to make good by their prayers what their state of life does not permit them to effect by the words and acts of a sacerdotal ministry, and calling down upon the labourers in the vineyard that grace which can alone produce conversion, we shall see the holiest portion of the Church, its most illustrious members, pastors and people, striving with united efforts to increase the number of the children of God. Who can tell the power of such a combination, the pressure brought to bear upon the Sacred Heart? Everything would help to make an association of this kind very powerful for good—its animating principle of zeal, its constituent parts, the extent and the duration of its activity. This is the thought from which our work derives its origin."
We have in this passage a proof that it belongs to the original intention of the Apostleship of Prayer to help after its own fashion the Association of the Propagation of the Faith, and from that purpose it has never departed. Therefore, not with any new-found friendship, but faithful to the original spirit of our League of Prayer, we rejoice exceedingly in the words of praise which the Holy Father has bestowed upon a work so nearly related with our own, and that we may not rest satisfied with mere sympathy, we are invited to pray more fervently than ever during the coming month through Mary to Jesus for the good work of the Propagation of the Faith.
Sacred Heart of Jesus! through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer to Thee the prayers, labours, and crosses of this day, in expiation of our offences, and for all Thy other intentions.
I offer them to Thee in particular for the promotion of all works having for their object to spread the light of the Gospel in heathen nations. Turn aside, dear Lord, the dangers which might hinder the success of these holy enter prizes. Give to them greater abundance of temporal resources, that they may add increase to Thy glory, and more fully accomplish Thy desires.
March Intention - Apostleship of Prayer
INTENTION OF THE APOSTOLATE OF PRAYER FOR APRIL.
LOVE OF THE CROSS FOR ALL THE SERVANTS OF THE SACRED HEART.
The distinctive character of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is the desire of offering reparation to the outraged love of our Saviour. If men had always and everywhere treated the Blessed Sacrament with grateful reverence, there would have been a true service of the Sacred Heart in love and adoration, but such a service would have differed in one essential respect from that which we are asked to render now. Our Lord has made it impossible to doubt His meaning. It was a devotion of reparation which He commissioned Blessed Margaret Mary to demand. Not only did He repeatedly assert this intention in clear words, but the symbol which He selected for the outward expression of the spiritual object of the devotion displays the same idea, and should suffice to keep it ever present to the memory of our associates. It is not a simple image of the Sacred Heart which is presented to our veneration, but an image of the Sacred Heart encircled by the crown of thorns and surmounted by the Cross. We are not at liberty to think that any portion of this divinely chosen symbol is devoid of significance. Evidently it enters into the design, and is not a mere artistic arrangement, that the Cross, instead of being superimposed, is planted deeply in the Sacred Heart. In this there is matter for fruitful meditation. Our Lord could not have shown more unmistakeably that the Sacred Heart and the Cross must not be put asunder.Love of the Cross for All Servants of the Sacred Heart
When we see the enemies of God jubilant, and the work of demolition and sacrilege going forward almost unchecked, the thought may sometimes rise to our minds unbidden that our Saviour is forgetting His promises. Those promises were not unconditional. How have we observed our part of the compact? Perhaps the desire of sharing in the Cross of Christ which we frequently express in a set form of words has never found its first entrance into our hearts. Perhaps the prayers which are intended to breathe the very spirit of the devotion to the Sacred Heart have been pronounced by our lips alone. If it be so, then our Lord has more reason to complain of us than we of Him. He has not forgotten His promises, but we tie His hands. He is ready to give, but prayer is a necessary condition, prayer of those who love Him; and those do not love Him, who cry out, Lord, Lord! without ever dreaming of doing the things which He says.* "Many follow Christ unto the breaking of bread, but few unto the drinking of the chalice of the Passion."^ If we wish to help the good cause with efficient help, we must be careful to keep conjoined in our hearts the love of the Sacred Heart and the love of the Cross. If we take the Cross by itself, detached from the Sacred Heart, we shall certainly not have the courage to carry it: if we take the Sacred Heart apart from the Cross, we are not soldiers of Christ, but weak seceders.
It is too true that the greater part of Christians shrink from the very thought of helping our Lord to carry His Cross. Not in precise words, but equivalently, they tell Him that they are very grateful for what He has done to redeem them, but that they do not wish to take up their cross and follow Him. Their courage fails only because they do not sustain it by seeking strength from the Sacred Heart. They look at the Cross as an instrument of torture and death, and, feeling the repugnance of nature, they dare not even attempt to carry it. If they would call to mind that grace can accomplish many things which are hard to flesh and blood, and if, trusting in the Divine assistance, they would show their good will by making one earnest effort for a first beginning, they would speedily learn by their own experience that God helps those who help themselves. There is suffering in store for all, whether they be resigned or not. They are wise and happy who take up their cross cheerfully for the love of Christ our Lord, without waiting until they are compelled to carry it, and then wearying themselves in fruitless efforts to dislodge the heavy load. "My yoke is sweet and My burthen light," Jesus Christ has said; but the sweetness and the lightness are for those who follow Him of their own accord and serve Him, not for fear, but love. Those who forget that the Cross is planted in the Sacred Heart, that is to say, those who fix their mental gaze upon the suffering, pure and simple, and keep out of sight the motive which supplies courage, and the direct assistance of God's grace, which makes endurance not only possible, but easy, have only themselves to blame if they find their strength unequal to the weight which falls to their share.
* St. Luke vi. 46. t Imitation, bk. ii. c. xi.
There is an opposite error which is almost equally fatal to true progress and spiritual usefulness, and it consists in looking at the Sacred Heart alone, without adverting to the fact that It holds the Cross firmly embedded. That devotion to the Sacred Heart is not acceptable which begins and ends with protestations of sympathy for the sufferings of our Blessed Saviour. In all genuine piety there must be some effort to imitate what we gratefully remember, some desire to bear our Lord company on the road to Calvary. Piety which is entirely removed from the spirit of self-sacrifice is little better than mere sentiment, which the lightest summer breeze of temptation will be strong enough to dissipate.
From those who belong to His Holy League our Lord may well demand prayer of the right kind, prayer supported by mortification, prayer made at the foot of the Cross in union with the sorrowful Heart of the Mother of Jesus. At all times this is true, but the lesson comes before us each year with fuller force in the holy season of Lent, consecrated as it is to the remembrance of the Passion. "Rise, brethren, let us march together, Jesus will be with us. For the sake of Jesus, we have accepted the Cross, for the sake of Jesus we will remain upon the Cross. He Who is our Captain and our Guide will be our Helper also. Behold, our King goes in front, and will fight for us. Let us follow valiantly, casting our fears away, and holding ourselves in readiness to die bravely in battle, nor let us ever bring upon our glory the reproach of fleeing from the Cross."*
Sacred Heart of Jesus! through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer to Thee the prayers, labours, and crosses of this day, in expiation of our offences, and for all Thy other intentions.
I offer them to Thee in particular to obtain true love of the Cross for all who desire to love the Sacred Heart. Grant, dear Lord, that by uniting in their devotion these two objects of holy love, they may both sanctify themselves and labour fruitfully for the salvation of their brethren. Amen.
* Imitation, bk. iii. c. lvi.
Spiritual ConferencesEverywhere in creation there is a charm, the fountain of which is invisible. In the natural, the moral, and the spiritual world it is the same. We are constantly referring it to causes, which are only its effects. Faith alone reveals to us its true origin. God is behind everything. His sweetness transpires through the thick shades which hide Him. It comes to the surface, and with gentle mastery overwhelms the whole world. The sweetness of the hidden God is the delight of life. It is the pleasantness of nature, and the consolation which is omnipresent in all suffering. We touch Him; we lean on Him; we feel Him; we see by Him; always and everywhere. Yet He makes Himself so natural to us, that we almost overlook Him. Indeed, if it were not for faith, we should overlook Him altogether. His presence is like light, when we do not see the face of the sun. It is like light on the stony folds of the mountaintop, coming through rents in the waving clouds, or in the close forest where the wind weaves and unweaves the canopy of foliage, or like the silver arrows of underwater light in the deep blue sea, with coloured stones and bright weeds glancing there. Still God does not shine equally through all things. Some things are more transparent, other things more opaque. Some have a greater capacity for disclosing God than others. In the moral world, with which alone we are concerned at present, kind thoughts have a special power to let in upon us the light of the hidden God.
KINDNESS. II. KIND THOUGHTS.
The thoughts of men are a world by themselves, vast and populous. Each man's thoughts are a world to himself. There is an astonishing breadth in the thoughts of even the most narrow-minded man. Thus we all of us have an interior world to govern, and he is the only real king who governs it effectually. There is no doubt that we are very much influenced by external things, and that our natural dispositions are in no slight degree dependent upon education. Nevertheless our character is formed within. It is manufactured in the world of our thoughts, and there we must go to influence it. He, who is master there, is master everywhere. He, whose energy covers his thoughts, covers the whole extent of self. He has Himself completely under his own control, if he has learned to control his thoughts. The fountains of word and action have their untrodden springs in the caverns of the world of thought. He, who can command the fountains, is master of the city. The power of suffering is the grandest merchandize of life, and it also is manufactured in the world of thought. The union of grace and nature is the significance of our whole life. It is there, precisely in that union, that the secret of our vocation resides. The shape of our work and the character of our holiness are regulated from the point, different in different men, at which nature and grace are united. The knowledge of this point brings with it, not only the understanding of our past, but a sufficiently clear vision of our future; to say nothing of its being the broad sunshine of the present. But the union of nature and grace is for the most part effected in the world of thought.
Bat I will go even further than this, and will venture to contradict a common opinion. It seems to me that our thoughts are a more true measure of ourselves than our actions are. They are not under the control of human respect. It is not easy for them to be ashamed of themselves. They have no witnesses but God. They are not bound to keep within certain limits or observe certain proprieties. Religious motives alone can claim jurisdiction over them. The struggle, which so often ensues within us before we can bring ourselves to do our duty, goes on entirely within our thoughts. It is our own secret, and men cannot put us to the blush because of it. The contradiction, which too often exists between our outward actions and our inward intentions, is only to be detected in the realm of our thoughts, whither none but God can penetrate, except by guesses, which are not the less offences against charity because they happen to be correct. In like manner, as an impulse will sometimes show more of our real character, than what we do after deliberation, our first thoughts will often reveal to us faults of disposition which outward restraints will hinder from issuing in action. Actions have their external hindrances, while our thoughts better disclose to us our possibilities of good and evil. Of course there is a most true sense in which the conscientious effort to cure a fault is a better indication of our character than the fault we have not yet succeeded in curing. Nevertheless we may die at any moment; and when we die, we die as we are. Thus our thoughts tell us, better than our actions can do, what we shall be like, the moment after death. Lastly, it is in the world of thought that we most often meet with God, walking as in the shades of ancient Eden. It is there we hear His whispers. It is there we perceive the fragrance of His recent presence. It is thence that the first vibrations of grace proceed.
Now, if our thoughts be of this importance, and also if kindness be of the importance which was assigned to it in the last Conference, it follows that kind thoughts must be of immense consequence. If a man habitually has kind thoughts of others, and that on supernatural motives, he is not far from being a saint. Such a man's thoughts are not kind intermittingly, or on impulse, or at hap-hazard. His first thoughts are kind, and he does not repent of them, although they often bring suffering and disgust in their train. All his thoughts are kind, and he does not chequer them with unkindly ones. Even when sudden passions or vehement excitements have thrown them into commotion, they settle down into a kindly humour, and cannot settle otherwise. These men are rare. Kind thoughts are rarer than either kind words or kind deeds. They imply a great deal of thinking about others. This in itself is rare. But they imply also a great deal of thinking about others without the thoughts being criticisms. This is rarer still. Active-minded men are naturally the most given to criticize; and they are also the men whose thoughts are generally the most exuberant. Such men therefore must make kind thoughts a defence against self. By sweetening the fountain of their thoughts, they will destroy the bitterness of their judgments.
But kind thoughts imply also a contact with God, and a divine ideal in our minds. Their origin cannot be anything short of divine. Like the love of beauty, they can spring from no baser source. They are not dictated by self-interest, nor stimulated by passion. They have nothing in them which is insidious, and they are almost always the preludes to some sacrifice of self. It must be from God's touch that such waters spring. They only live in the clammy mists of earth, because they breathe the fresh air of heaven. They are the scent with which the creature is penetrated through the indwelling of the Creator. They imply also the reverse of a superficial view of things. Nothing deepens the mind so much as a habit of charity. Charity cannot feed on surfaces. Its instinct is always to go deeper. Roots are its natural food. A man's surfaces are always worse than his real depths. There may be exceptions to this rule; but I believe them to be very rare. Self is the only person who does not improve on acquaintance. Our deepest views of life are doubtless very shallow ones; for how little do we know of what God intends to do with His own world? We know something about His glory and our own salvation, but how the last becomes the first in the face of so much evil neither theologian nor philosopher has ever been able adequately to explain. But so much we are warranted in saying, that charity is the deepest view of life, and nearest to God's view, and therefore also, not merely the truest view, but the only view which is true at all. Kind thoughts, then, are in the creature what His science is to the Creator. They embody the deepest, purest, grandest truth, to which we untruthful creatures can attain about others or ourselves.
Why are some men so forward to praise others? Is it not that it is their fashion of investing themselves with importance? But why are most men so reluctant to praise others? It is because they have such an inordinate opinion of themselves. Now kind thoughts for the most part imply a low opinion of self. They are an inward praise of others, and because inward, therefore genuine. No one, who has a high opinion of himself, finds his merits acknowledged according to his own estimate of them. His reputation therefore cannot take care of itself. He must push it; and a man who is pushing anything in the world is always unamiable, because he is obliged to stand so much on the defensive. A pugnacious man is far less disagreeable than a defensive man. Every man, who is habitually holding out for his rights, makes himself the equal of his inferiors, even if he be a king, and he must take the consequences, which are far from pleasant. But the kindthoughted man has no rights to defend, no self-importance to push. He thinks meanly of himself, and with so much honesty, that he thinks thus of himself with tranquillity. He finds others pleasanter to deal with than self; and others find him so pleasant to deal with, that love follows him wherever he goes, a love which is the more faithful to him because he makes so few pretences to be loved. Last of all, kind thoughts imply also supernatural principles; for inward kindness can be consistent on no others. Kindness is the occupation of our whole nature by the atmosphere and spirit of heaven. This is no inconsiderable affair. Nature cannot do the work itself, nor can it do it with ordinary succours. Were there ever any consistently kind heathens? If so they are in heaven now, for they must have been under the dominion of grace on earth. We must not confound kindness and mere good-humour. Good-humour is—no! on such an unkindly earth as this it will be better not to say a disparaging word even of mere good-humour. Would that there were more even of that in the world! I suspect angels cluster round a good-humoured man, as the gnats cluster round the trees they like.
But there is one class of kind thoughts which must be dwelt upon apart. I allude to kind interpretations. The habit of not judging others is one which it is very difficult to acquire, and which is generally not acquired till late on in the spiritual life. If men have ever indulged in judging others, the mere sight of an action almost indeliberately suggests an internal commentary upon it. It has become so natural to them to judge, however little their own duties or responsibilities are connected with what they are judging, that the actions of others present themselves to the mind as in the attitude of asking a verdict from it. All our fellowmen, who come within the reach of our knowledge, and for the most retired of us the circle is a wide one, are prisoners at the bar; and if we are unjust, ignorant, and capricious judges, it must be granted to us that we are indefatigable ones. Now all this is simple ruin to our souls. At any risk, at the cost of life, there must be an end of this, or it will end in everlasting banishment from God. The standard of the last judgment is absolute. It is this—the measure which we have meted to others. Our present humour in judging others reveals to us what our sentence would be if we died now. Are we content to abide that issue? But, as it is impossible all at once to stop judging, and as it is also impossible to go on judging uncharitably, we must pass through the intermediate stage of kind interpretations. Few men have passed beyond this to a habit of perfect charity, which has blessedly stripped them of their judicial ermine and their deeply-rooted judicial habits of mind. We ought therefore to cultivate most sedulously the habit of kind interpretations.
Men's actions are very difficult to judge. Their real character depends in a great measure on the motives which prompt them, and those motives are invisible to us. Appearances are often against what we afterwards discover to have been deeds of virtue. Moreover a line of conduct is, in its look at least, very little like a logical process. It is complicated with all manner of inconsistencies, and often deformed by what is in reality a hidden consistency. Nobody can judge men but God, and we can hardly obtain a higher or more reverent view of God than that which represents Him to us as judging men with perfect knowledge, unperplexed certainty, and undisturbed compassion. Now kind interpretations are imitations of the merciful ingenuity of the Creator finding excuses for His creatures. It is almost a day of revelation to us, when theology enables us to perceive that God is so merciful precisely because He is so wise; and from this truth it is an easy inference, that kindness is our best wisdom, because it is an image of the wisdom of God. This is the idea of kind interpretations, and this is the use which we must make of them. The habit of judging is so nearly incurable, and its cure is such an almost interminable process, that we must concentrate ourselves for a long while on keeping it in check, and this check is to be found in kind interpretations. We must come to esteem very lightly our sharp eye for evil, on which perhaps we once prided ourselves as cleverness. It has been to us a fountain of sarcasm; and how seldom since Adam was created has a sarcasm fallen short of being a sin? We must look at our talent for analysis of character as a dreadful possibility of huge uncharitableness. We should have been much better without it from the first. It is the hardest talent of all to manage, because it is so difficult to make any glory for God out of it. We are sure to continue to say clever things, so long as we continue to indulge in this analysis; and clever things are equally sure to be sharp and acid. Sight is a great blessing, but there are times and places in which it is far more blessed not to see. It would be comparatively easy for us to be holy, if only we could always see the characters of our neighbours either in soft shade or with the kindly deceits of moonlight upon them. Of course we are not to grow blind to evil; for thus we should speedily become unreal. But we must grow to something higher, and something truer, than a quickness in detecting evil.
We must rise to something truer. Yes! Have we not always found in our past experience that on the whole our kind interpretations were truer than our harsh ones? What mistakes have we not made in judging others! But have they not almost always been on the side of harshness? Every day some phenomenon of this kind occurs. We have seen a thing as clear as day. It could have but one meaning. We have already taken measures. We have roused our righteous indignation. All at once the whole matter is differently explained, and that in some most simple way, so simple that we are lost in astonishment that we should never have thought of it ourselves. Always distrust very plain cases, says a legal writer. Things that were dark begin to give light. What seemed opaque is perceived to be transparent. Things that everybody differed about, as people in planting a tree can never agree what it wants to make it straight, now everybody sees in the same light; so natural and obvious has the explanation been. Nay, tilings that it appeared impossible to explain are just those the explanations of which are the most simple. How many times in life have we been wrong when we put a kind construction on the conduct of others? We shall not need our fingers to count those mistakes upon. Moreover grace is really much more common than our queralousness is generally willing to allow. We may suspect its operations in the worst men we meet with. Thus, without any forced impossibility, we may call in supernatural considerations in order to make our criticisms more ingenious in their charity. When we grow a little holier, we shall summon also to our aid those supernatural motives in ourselves, which, by depressing our own ideas of ourselves, elevate our generous belief in others.
But, while common sense convinces us of the truth of kind interpretations, common selfishness ought to open our eyes to their wisdom and their policy. We must have passed through life unobservantly, if we have never perceived that a man is very much himself what he thinks of others. Of course his own faults may be the cause of his unfavourable judgments of others; but they are also, and in a very marked way, effects of those same judgments. A man, who was on a higher eminence before, will soon by harsh judgments of others sink to the level of his own judgments. When you hear a man attribute meanness to another, you may be sure, not only that the critic is an illnatured man, but that he has got a similar element of meanness in himself, or is fast sinking to it. A man is always capable himself of a sin which he thinks another is capable of, or which he himself is capable of imputing to another. Even a well-founded suspicion more or less degrades a man. His suspicion may be verified, and he may escape some material harm by having cherished the suspicion. But he is unavoidably the worse man in consequence of having entertained it. This is a very serious consideration, and rather a frightening argument in favour of charitable interpretations. Furthermore, our hidden judgments of others are, almost with a show of special and miraculous interference, visited upon ourselves. Virtue grows in us under the influence of kindly judgments, as if they were its nutriment. But in the case of harsh judgments we find we often fall into the sin of which we have judged another guilty, although it is not perhaps a sin at all common to ourselves. Or, if matters do not go so far as this, we find ourselves suddenly overwhelmed with a tempest of unusual temptations; and on reflection conscience is ready to remind us that the sin, to which we are thus violently and unexpectedly tempted, is one which we have of late been uncharitably attributing to others. Sometimes also we are ourselves falsely accused, and widely believed to be guilty, of some fault of which we are quite innocent; but it is a fault of which we have recently, in our own minds at least, accused another. Moreover the truth or falsehood of our judgments seem to have very little to do with the matter. The truth of them does not protect us from their unpleasant consequences ; just as the truth of a libel is no sufficient defence of it. It is the uncharitableness of the judgment, or the judging at all, to which this self-revenging power is fastened. It works itself out like a law, quietly but infallibly. Is not all this matter for very serious reflection? But, in conclusion, what does all this doctrine of kind interpretations amount to? To nothing less, in the case of most of us, than living a new life in a new world. We may imagine life in another planet, with whose physical laws we may happen to have a sufficient acquaintance. But it would hardly differ more in a physical way from our earthly life, than our moral life would differ from what it is at present, if we were habitually to put a kind interpretation on all we saw and heard, and habitually had kind thoughts of every one of whom we thought at all. It would not merely put a new face on life; it would put a new depth to it. We should come as near as possible to becoming another kind of creatures. Look what an amount of bitterness we have about us! What is to become of it? It plainly cannot be taken into heaven. Where must it be left behind? We clearly cannot put it off by the mere act of dying, as we can put off thereby a rheumatic limb, or wasted lungs, or diseased blood. It will surely be a long and painful process in the heats of purgatory; but we may be happy if mercy so abound upon us, that the weight of our bitterness shall not sink us deeper into the fire, into that depth from which no one ever rises to the surface more. But when we reach heaven, in what state shall we be? Certainly one very important feature of it will be the absence of all bitterness and criticism, and the way in which our expanded minds will be possessed with thoughts of the most tender and overflowing kindness. Thus by cultivating kind thoughts we are in a very special way rehearsing for heaven. But more than this: we are effectually earning heaven. For by God's grace we are imitating in our own minds that which in the Divine Mind we rest all our hopes on,—merciful allowances, ingeniously favourable interpretations, thoughts of unmingled kindness, and all the inventions and tolerations of a supreme compassion.
The practice of kind thoughts also tells most decisively on our spiritual life. It leads to great self-denial about our talents and influence. Criticism is an element in our reputation and an item in our influence. We partly attract persons to us by it. We partly push principles by means of it. The practice of kind thoughts commits us to the surrender of all this. It makes us, again and again in life, sacrifice successes at the moment they are within reach. Our conduct becomes a perpetual voluntary forfeiture of little triumphs, the necessary result of which is a very hidden life. He, who has ever struggled -with a proud heart and a bitter temper, will perceive at once what innumerable and vast processes of spiritual combat all this implies. But it brings its reward also. It endows us with a marvellous facility in spiritual things. It opens and smooths the paths of prayer. It sheds a clear still light over our self-knowledge. It adds a peculiar delight to the exercise of faith. It enables us to find God easily. It is a fountain of joy in our souls, which rarely intermits its flowing, and then only for a little while and for a greater good. Above all things, the practice of kind thoughts is our main help to that complete government of the tongue, which we all so much covet, and without which the apostle says that all our religion is vain. The interior beauty of a soul through habitual kindliness of thought is greater than our words can tell. To such a man life is a perpetual bright evening, with all things calm, and fragrant, and restful. The dust of life is laid, and its fever cool. All sounds are softer, as is the-way of evening, and all sights are fairer, and the golden light makes our enjoyment of earth a happily pensive preparation for heaven.
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