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Holy Wisdom Or Directions For The Prayer Of Contemplation by Ven. F. Augustine Baker




According to our promise (Treatise iii. section iii. chap. iii. § 25) we here present thee a peculiar exercise, consisting of all variety of affections and acts of the will, &c. Thou wilt there find for what dispositions it will be proper, and how by it a soul, without any other variety, may attain to a perfect active contemplation, according to the testimony of Lud. Blosius in Instit. Spirit. chap. xi., from whence the exercise itself is taken.

I have, moreover, added another like exercise in Latin, which perhaps may be agreeable to some. It also consists of several divisions and sorts of prayer, as contrition, reflections on the Passion, resignation, amorous desires, &c.; and each division, moreover, contains subdivided parts, to the end that if the whole exercise prove too large for one recollection, the exerciser in each division may content himself with one only of the parts. And, indeed, the devout soul is to be advised that she ought not to make any resolution to go through the whole exercise each recollection; but wheresoever she finds any act or prayer relishing to her, let her insist and dwell upon it with her mind as long as the gust thereof shall last; so that if only three or four, yea, if but one of the acts will suffice her, let her seek no further.


1. Of Contrition.

My Lord and my God, what shall I, sinful wretch, say unto Thee?

I bow the knees of my heart, acknowledging in Thy sight my manifold and grievous sins.

I have sinned, O God, I have sinned and done evil before Thee.

I have sinned against Thee, my most omnipotent Creator.

I have sinned against Thee, my most merciful Redeemer.

I have sinned against Thee, my most liberal Benefactor.

Woe unto me, I have continually been most ungrateful to Thee.

I am a most vile creature, dust and ashes.

Be merciful, O Lord; be merciful, be merciful unto me.

Behold my sorrow and contrition for my sins.

O, would to God I had never offended Thee!

Would to God I had never resisted and hindered the operation of Thy grace in my heart!

Would to God I had always pleased Thee, and observed Thy holy will and inspirations!

My purpose and firm resolution, through Thy grace, is to avoid henceforward whatsoever may offend Thee, and rather to die than willingly to provoke Thy wrath and hatred against me. Therefore, O merciful Jesus, by Thy most bitter Passion and all the merits of Thy most Sacred Humanity, I beseech Thee to pardon and blot out all my sins.

Wash me with Thy Precious Blood; heal, purge, and sanctify me.

2. Reflections on the Merits and Passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

I do adore, glorify, and bless Thee, O my only Saviour Jesus Christ, for all Thy unspeakable mercies and benefits.

O Son of the living God, I do most humbly give thanks to Thee for that for me Thou hast vouchsafed in Thine infinite love:

1. To become man.

2. To be born in a poor stable and laid in a manger.

3. To suffer poverty with Thy poor Virgin Mother.

4. For more than thirty years to be wearied with continual labours and travails for our good.

5. Out of inexpressible anguish to sweat drops of Blood.

6. To be ignominiously apprehended by sinners, unworthily bound and arraigned before Thine enemies.

7. To be shamefully defiled with spittings, cruelly beaten, and dishonourably clothed with a white and purple garment, like a fool and a mock king.

8. To be unjustly condemned to death.

9. To be cruelly torn with whips and crowned with thorns.

10. To be most tormentingly fastened with nails to the cross.

11. To be most inhumanely presented with gall and vinegar to drink in Thy extreme thirst.

12. For me to hang naked, wounded, and condemned in inconceivable torments many hours on the cross;

13. There to shed Thy most Precious Blood, and to offer Thy life a propitiation for my sins.

14. To be sealed up in the grave, from whence, notwithstanding, Thou didst raise Thyself, conquering death for me.

O blessed Jesus, my only Hope and Salvation, grant that I may love Thee with a most fervent and constant love.

O rosy wounds of my Lord, inflicted for me, I salute you. With what love were you suffered by Him! And what love do you deserve from me!

3. Acts of Humiliation, &c.

Behold, O most merciful Saviour, I, a most abominable sinner, in imitation of Thy most glorious humility, do submit myself to all creatures, acknowledging myself unworthy to live on earth; and, after the example of Thy most admirable charity, I do with sincere love, according to my utmost ability, embrace all those that do afflict or persecute me.

For Thy love I do renounce all iniquity and vanity, all inordinate delectations, all self-will and immortification.

I do relinquish and reject all things below Thee; and above all I do make election of Thee, as my only good.

I do commit and resign myself entirely to Thee.

I do desire and beseech Thee that Thy most perfect and well-pleasing will may be accomplished in me and concerning me, in time and eternity.

For Thy love and glory I am ready to want any consolation, and to suffer any injury, contempt, or tribulation. If such be Thy pleasure, my Heavenly Lord, let me live in the same poverty and afflictions that Thou didst suffer all Thy life long.

4. Address to the Blessed Virgin, &c.

O Mary, the most sweet Virgin Mother of our Lord, the most glorious Queen of Heaven, intercede for me to thy Son.

O merciful protectress of the oppressed,

Support of the weak and infirm,

Refuge of afflicted sinners, look with thine eyes of pity on me.

By thine intercession let my heart be inflamed with a most ardent love unto our Lord Jesus Christ.

O all you glorious Angels and blessed Saints, intercede for me.

O thou blessed angel appointed by God to be my sure guardian and most comfortable companion in this valley of tears, pray for me.

O thou my most special patron S. Benedict, intercede in my behalf unto our Lord, that, living according to thy perfect rule and example, I may with thee contemplate His beautifying face.

5. Petitions to our Lord for Grace, &c.

My Lord and my God, with the company and assistance of these Thy beloved Saints, I take the boldness to make known unto Thee my miseries and defects, beseeching Thee to cure them all.

Mortify in me whatsoever is displeasing to Thee.

Adorn me with merits and graces acceptable in Thy sight.

Give me true humility, obedience, meekness, patience, and charity.

Grant me a perfect restraint and dominion over my tongue and all my senses and members.

Give me true internal purity, nakedness, liberty, and most profound introversion.

Illuminate my soul with Thy most pure divine light.

I acknowledge that Thou art most immediately and intimely present to me, and in the very centre of my spirit.

Vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to see with my eyes, to hear with my ears, and to operate with my external members.

Possess my memory and understanding, and inflame my will and affections with Thy love.

Lead me into the naked fund of my spirit, and translate me into Thee, my God and original; that I may clearly know Thee, ardently love Thee, be immediately united to Thee, and, by a quiet fruition, rest in Thee, to the glory of Thy name. Amen.

6. Supplication in Behalf of the Church, &c.

O my God, be graciously merciful to all those whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy most Precious Blood.

Convert all miserable sinners to Thee.

Restore all heretics and schismatics unto the bosom of Thy Church; illuminate all infidels that are ignorant of Thee.

Be present to all that are in any tribulation or necessity.

Bless all my parents, kindred, acquaintance, and benefactors.

Give unto the living pardon and grace; and to all the faithful departed light and rest everlasting.

7. Adoration, of the Most Blessed Trinity.

O most Holy, Glorious, and Ever-blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; One omnipotent, most wise, most holy, and most merciful God;

I do in the profound abyss of mine own nothing adore Thee, my most gracious God.

Vouchsafe to teach and assist me, whose hope is only in Thee.

O Heavenly Father, by Thine infinite power establish my memory in Thee, fill it with holy and divine thoughts; O eternal Son of Thy coeternal Father, by Thine infinite wisdom illuminate mine understanding, and adorn it with the knowledge of Thy supreme excellency and mine own incomprehensible vileness.

O Holy Spirit, the most pure love of the Father and Son, by Thine infinite goodness inflame my soul with an inextinguishable ardour of divine love.

O my God and all my good, O that I could love and praise Thee as perfectly and incessantly as all Thy Angels and Saints do!

According to the utmost extent and capacity that Thou hast given me, I do glorify, adore, love, and magnify Thee. But because I cannot worthily praise Thee, do Thou vouchsafe to praise and glorify Thyself in and by me.

If I had the love of all creatures, I would most willingly expend and employ it on Thee only.

8. Amorous Aspirations, &c.

My Lord and my God.

O Being infinitely peaceable and infinitely amiable;

O infinite abyss of goodness, infinitely delicious and desirable;

O torrent of inestimable delectations and joys;

O my all-sufficient reward;

Thou art my only immutable good.

What do I desire but Thee!

O, draw me after Thee;

Inflame me with the fire of Thy most fervent love.

O my God, my God and All,

Plunge me in the abyss of Thy Divinity, swallow me entirely, and make me one spirit with Thee, that Thou mayest take Thy delights in me.

Nothing but Jesus, nothing but Jesus.

O Jesus, do Thou alone live and reign in my soul.

My God, let me only love Thee, and that suffices me.

N.B. If this or the following exercise seem to any too long, it may be divided into several hours for recollection; or it may be comprehended briefly in a few words, or even without words. So saith Blosius.

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