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tissima voluntas tua nunc
et in æternum. Amen.
most perfect will, now and for ever.
PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. FRANCIS HIMSELF FOR THE USE OF HIS TERTIARIES.
O my God and my all, I beseech Thee let the most sweet and ardent force of Thy love absorb my soul from everything beneath the heavens; that I may die to the world for love of Thy love, who for love of my love didst vouchsafe to die on the wood of the Cross, O my God and my all!
PRAYER FOR A TERTIARY ON HER RELIGIOUS PROFESSION, BY ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI.
Translated by the Very Rev. Dr. Callan.
O Jesus, my Saviour and my God, how have I merited this singular favour, that while Thou hast left in the world so many innocent souls, Thou shouldst have chosen me, a sinner, for Thy spouse1 [to live in Thy own house here on earth], that I might afterwards receive from Thee an eternal crown in heaven. O Lord, since Thou hast bestowed upon me so great a grace, grant me light to understand its value, and strength to be always grateful for it, and with my whole soul to correspond with the love which Thou hast borne me. Thou hast chosen me in preference to many others: it is my duty to prefer Thee to all. Thou hast given Thyself entirely to me: it is but just that I present my whole being to Thee, and that Thou be the sole object of all my love and of all my affections. Yes, my Jesus, I love Thee above all things; I desire to love Thee alone. Thou hast given Thyself to me without reserve; I offer myself entirely to Thee. I
1 The passages between brackets are for Tertiaries living in community.
beseech Thee to accept this oblation, and not to refuse the affections of a heart that once loved creatures, and even preferred them before Thee, the Sovereign Good. Accept and preserve my soul and body. Without Thy assistance I can do nothing; without it I shall certainly betray Thee. Since Thou hast chosen me for Thy spouse, make me a faithful and grateful spouse.
sacred fire, burning in the Heart of Jesus, inflame my soul, and destroy in my heart every affection which is not for Him; make me live only to love this my amiable Spouse, who has given His life to be loved by me. O Mary, Mother of God, since I am the spouse of thy Son, thou art not only my queen, but my mother. And since it was by thy intercession that I have been detached from the world [conducted into this house of God], and made the spouse of thy Son, assist me now, and do not abandon me for ever. Grant that my life and death may be worthy the spouse of Jesus Christ. Amen.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
WHICH MAY BE USED PREVIOUS TO RECEIVING THE GENERAL
Place yourself in the presence of God, and endeavour to impress yourself with His holy presence.
Earnestly implore the Holy Ghost to enlighten you, that you may perform well the great duty you are about to enter upon.
Ask the assistance of our Blessed Lady, of our holy Father St. Francis, of your patrons, and of all the Saints of the Order.
1. Have I doubted of any article of Catholic faith? Have I taken all necessary pains to cherish a love of this holy faith in my heart, and reduce it to practice?
2. Have I taken sufficient pains to inform myself of the duties imposed upon me by the Rule? Have I done all that was required of me on being received into the Order? Have I satisfied the penances given me for transgressions against the Rule? Have I made restitution? Have I done all in my power to be reconciled to my neighbour? Have I entertained any wish to withdraw from the Order?
3. Though not required to conform to the letter of the Rule with respect to the habit, have I conformed to it in spirit, by adopting simplicity and modesty in dress? Have I been careful to wear the scapular and cord of the Order, not laying them aside unnecessarily? Has my comportment been such as would become the religious habit?
4. Have I avoided balls, theatres, and other places of public amusement not suited to my position as a member of the Order? Have I in any way encouraged such amusements, either by giving money or sanctioning others attending them? Have I been frivolous in my amusements?
5. Have I kept the fasts prescribed by the Rule, or have I obtained the necessary dispensation? Being dispensed, have I observed the spirit of the Rule in this respect, avoiding gluttony or over-delicacy, taking all things with becoming moderation? Have I been careful to ask the prescribed blessing before, and to return thanks after, my meals; or, having omitted to do so, have I said the three Paters required?
6. Have I endeavoured to cherish in my heart a desire for frequent communion, and been careful to communicate, by the advice of my director, on the fes
tivals of the Saints of the Order, taking advantage of these occasions to implore them to assist me in being faithful to my Rule?
7. Have I armed myself with any weapon to resist any real or imaginary injury or insult? Have I done anything to bring about disagreement with my neighbour; or, being at variance, have I done all in my power to be reconciled with him? Have I avoided discussing vexed questions, such as are calculated to lead to angry differences?
8. Have I been exact as to time, and have I prepared myself for reciting the Office, or prayers substituted for it? Have I taken proper pains to be recollected, and said my Office with devotion, and not merely as a matter of form?
9. Have I made my will, as prescribed by the Rule? And done so with due regard to justice, so as not to expose my heirs to vexatious lawsuits?
10. Have I exercised due consideration for the feelings of others, avoiding anything calculated to vex or annoy them? Have I exercised my influence in reconciling others, and being reconciled myself? Have I been exacting of others?
11. Have I given cause for persecution by misconduct or imprudence? Have I forgiven those who have persecuted or annoyed me?
12. Have I given way to swearing; or, having done so from inadvertency or carelessness, have I repeated the three Paters prescribed by the Rule? Have I been moderate in my way of talking, or have I assumed a loud voice and imperious manner? Have I insisted doggedly upon any point?
13. Have I taken every reasonable opportunity of 'assisting at daily Mass, and the other offices of the Church, and done so on fasts, with due attention, en
deavouring to impress myself with the great solemnity? Have I assisted at the monthly assemblies, and offered alms according to my means?
14. Have I been careful to visit the sick members of the Order, offering them such consolation as I was able? Have I assisted at the interment of such as have died, and done what the Rule requires on behalf of defunct members? Have I prayed daily for the living and dead members of the Order?
15, 16. Being elected to any office, have I accepted it humbly, and fulfilled the duties faithfully?
17. Have I been careful to avoid lawsuits or vexatious litigation, being willing to make some sacrifice for this end? Or, not being able to avoid litigation, have I conducted it charitably, so as not to subject my adversary to unnecessary vexation?
18. Have I obtained dispensation from fasting without real necessity, but from a spirit of immortification?
19. Being warned of my faults, have I received the advice humbly, and endeavoured to correct my failings?
20. Though no omission or transgression against the Rule is a mortal or even a venial sin, unless it be opposed to the commandments of God or the Church, still have I, according to the spirit of the Order, cherished a love of obedience to these rules, being careful not to do anything contrary to them?
As members of a Religious Order, we should endeavour to practise the three virtues characteristic of the religious life-poverty, obedience, and chastity-according to our state. As children of St. Francis, the great lover of poverty, we should labour hard to destroy in our hearts all attachment to riches and worldly honours. Every-day life will afford us many opportunities for this.