IN the Old Law God commanded that a sacrifice should be offered up to Him at evening as well as at morning, to teach us that we should begin and end every day with Him. Gentle sleep is the balm of our nature; but you will never sleep more quietly than when you go to rest like a Christian, and lay yourself down in the peace you find in God.
GIVE THANKS TO GOD. O God, Whose most holy presence I acknowledge and with all submissiveness adore; O God most gracious, Who with such fatherly kindness hast preserved me and renewed to me this day so many graces, how shall I repay Thee for so many benefits? Thy saints shall praise and bless Thee therefor. Jesus, I kiss the holy wound of Thy right hand, and give thanks to Thee, in union with the thanks which Thou, when on earth, didst pay to Thy Father. (Praise the Lord, O my soul, for He is good, and His mercy endureth forever” (Ps. cxxxv. 1).
PRAY FOR LIGHT, THAT YOU MAY KNOW YOUR SINS. But, O Lord, how can my thanks please Thee when I have this day sinned so often before Thee, to Whom all things are open and known. By the wound of Thy left hand, I pray Thee, O Jesus, Who art the true light that enlighteneth every man, to enlighten me by Thy Holy Spirit that I may know wherein I have erred. I will now in bitterness of soul examine all my actions of this day. (Here examine your conscience, whether you have sinned by willful distraction in prayer, reading, meditation, at Mass, at sermon, at confession, or communion, or by irreverent behavior in church. Think whether you have resisted the grace and inspirations of God; whether you have sinned by cursing and swearing, or by want of confidence in God. Examine yourself, whether you have offended God by rash judgment against your neighbor, or by despising him; by hatred, envy, anger, strife, revenge, calumny, slander, mockery, false accusation, injustice, bad example, disobedience, unfaithfulness. Ask yourself before the all-knowing and holy God, whether you have sinned, by pride, by vain fear and human respect, by lies, by thoughts, desires, words, or deeds opposed to purity, with others or by yourself; by sinful thoughts and wishes of other kinds, by in temperance, by slothfulness in the performance of your duties ; by misuse of time, by sinful pleasures or useless occupations; how you have conducted yourself at home, at church, at table, in the street, in your intercourse with others, and whether you have made yourself guilty of the sins of others. But particularly, direct your attention to your habitual sins. Examine carefully what causes you to fall into them so frequently. Have a firm purpose to be on your guard against them the following day; impose upon yourself a penance proportioned to your sins and faults, and pray God to strengthen you in your resolution, with His grace.)
MAKE AN ACT OF CONTRITION.
Father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt my great guilt. I am ashamed at the sight of my faults and imperfections; I am heartily sorry for, and detest all my past sins, not because I have thereby lost all that is temporal and all that is eternal, but because I have thereby so often and so grievously offended Thee, my Lord and my God, my supreme and eternal Good, Whom I love above all things, and desire to love forever. O Jesus, Who hast so loved me that for me Thou didst offer up Thy life, I beseech Thee by the holy blood which flowed from Thy right foot, forgive me all my sins. Cleanse me from all the stains which defile my soul Thy image before Thy strict judgment shall visit me with punishment. With the penitent David I cry out, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me.”
MAKE A BESOLUTION TO AMEND YOUR LIFE.
By the blood which flowed from the wound of Thy left foot, O Jesus, I beseech of Thee the grace that, as I now earnestly purpose, I may shun every sin, and seek out and make use of every means of amendment. O God, Who givest grace to undertake what is good, give grace also to accomplish the same until the day of Jesus Christ.
COMMENDATION AND PETITION. I hide myself, O Jesus, in the wound of Thy holy side, and by the blood and water which at the piercing of the spear flowed therefrom, I beseech Thee to receive me under Thy almighty protection. According to Thy great mercy, spare all who this day offend Thee. Have patience with those children of darkness who shall abuse this night to manifold evil. Let not drunkards die in their sin. Grant that all who are this day at variance may not suffer the sun to go down upon their anger.
Strengthen those who must lie down in hunger. Have mercy upon those who this night lie sleepless through care or sickness, and upon those who draw near to death; deliver them in their necessity, relieve their pain, watch over the sick, and cause them, through faith in Thee, to partake of Thy holy consolation. Have care of all travelers, for all in authority over us, preserve the innocent from temptation, and protect our whole community from every harm and misfortune. Bless me and all that belong to me, my relatives, benefactors, friends, and enemies, bless all men. Let the suffering souls in purgatory experience the effects of Thy blessing; bring them out of their pain into everlasting rest and heavenly joys. Our Father. Hail Mary. I believe in God, etc.
THE LITANY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
(An indulgence of 200 days, each time.)
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Savior, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of angels, Queen of patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, Queen of martyrs, Queen of confessors, Queen of virgins, Queen of all saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, Lord! Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, Lord! Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. May the divine assistance always remain with us. Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
JUST BEFORE GOING TO BED. Grant, O Lord, Thy blessing to this house and to this place in which I am, that I and all that belong to me may rest in Thy peace. Suffer me to spend this night in Thy love unstained by any sin, that if Thou shouldst call me before Thee, I may die in Thy grace, and in this grace awake to Thee. Crucified Jesus! let me rest in Thy most sacred arms. I unite my sleep with Thine, and in that love with which Thou didst give rest to Thy most holy manhood upon earth. I also lay my body down to rest that I may to-morrow the better serve Thee. As often as I shall draw my breath, as often as my pulse shall beat this night, so often shall my heart cry to Thee, “My Lord and my God! I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for my sins, and detest everything that displeases Thee. To Thy infinite mercy I commit my body and soul. “O Mary, before, and at, and after the birth of thy Son, ever most pure virgin, for defense against all the assaults of Satan I entrust my body and my soul to thy love and intercession. Thou art my mother, be near thy foster-child. Angel of the Lord! who hast thus far led me so faithfully, and guarded me against so many dangers, defend me from every danger of body and soul. My holy patrons, and all ye elect of God, give continual praise and honor to God this night for me; pray for me that I may sleep this night free from all unclean imaginations, and from every sin, unharmed and undisturbed by all attacks of enemies.
(Here sprinkle yourself with holy water, undress yourself with modesty, say one Our Father for all who shall die this night. Perhaps in so doing you may be praying the last time for yourself. At getting into bed make the sign of the cross, and say: “In the name of my crucified Jesus I lay me down; may He bless, preserve, and bring me to life everlasting.” Compose yourself then to sleep; but if sleep will not come to you, think upon death, and that trying hour when the crucifix will be pressed into your hand and the door opened for you into eternity.)
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