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and from this moment I dedicate myself eternally to thy love and service. Oh! grant that for the time to come I may ever fly and abhor sin more than death itself, and avoid all such occasions and companies as have unhappily brought me to it. I resolve henceforth to fly them all, by thy divine grace, without which, of myself, I can do nothing. I resolve to perform such and such devotions for obtaining this grace. I resolve to fly idleness, and to set myself a regular order and method of life, for the time I have yet to come. I beg thy blessing upon these my resolutions, that they may not be ineffectual, like so many others I have formerly made; for, O Lord, without thee I am nothing but misery and sin. Supply, also, by thy mercy, whatever defects have been in thi: my confession. I am sensible that it hath been very imperfect, and that I was far from having that true sorrow which the heinousness of my sins required; but let the precious blood of thine only Son make up this deficiency. Accept of my poor performance, such as it is, and give me grace to be now and always a true penitent, through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son. Amen.
Recommended by St. Francis of Sales, to be made by the penitent in
presence of his Director, by way of engraving in his soul a firm resolution of serving God. It may be used also in private.
I, N. N., placed in the presence of the eternal God, and of all the court of heaven, having considered the exceeding mercy of his divine goodness towards me, a most unworthy and wretched creature, whom he hath made out of nothing, preserved, maintained, and delivered from so many dangers, and loaded with so many benefits; but, above all, having considered the incomprehensible sweetness and clemency with which this most good God hath so graciously spared me in my iniquities, so frequently called upon me, inviting me to amend, and so patiently expected my repentance and conversion until this present time, notwithstanding all my ingratitude, disloyalty, and infidelity, whereby deferring my conversion, and despising his graces, I have so unadvisedly offended him; having, moreover, considered that, upon the day of my holy baptism, I was so happily and holily vowed and dedicated to my God to be his child; and that, contrary to the profession then made in my name, I have so many times, so execrably and detestably, profaned and violated all the powers of my soul and senses of my body, applying and employing them against his divine Majesty; at length, returning to myself, prostrate in heart and mind before the throne of the divine justice, I acknowledge, confess, and avow myself lawfully attainted and convicted of high treason against his divine Majesty, and guilty of the death and passion of Jesus Christ, by reason of the sins which I have committed, for which he died, and suffered the torments of the cross; so that I am worthy to be cast away, and condemned for ever.
But turning myself towards the throne of the infinite mercy of the same eternal God, having detested, from the bottom of my heart and with all my power, the many transgressions of my past life; I most humbly beg and crave pardon, grace, and mercy, with an entire absolution from my offences, by virtue of the death and passion of the same Saviour and Redeemer of my soul; on which relying, as on the only foundation of my hope, I confirm again and renew the sacred profession of allegiance made in my behalf to God at my baptism; renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh; abominating their horrible suggestions, vanities, and concupiscences, for all the time of this present life, and for all eternity. And converting myself unto my most gracious and merciful God, I desire, purpose, determine, and resolve irrevocably to serve and love him now and for ever. And to this end I give and consecrate to him my spirit with all its faculties, my soul with all its powers, my heart with all its affections, and my body with all its senses; protesting that I will never more abuse any part of my being against his divine will and sovereign Majesty ; to whom I offer up and sacrifice myself in spirit to be perpetually a loyal, obedient, and faithful creature, without ever unsaying, revoking, or repenting me of this resolution.
But if, alas! by the suggestion of the enemy, or through human frailty, I chance to transgress, in any thing whatsoever, this my purpose and resolution, I protest and determine from this very hour, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, to arise again as soon as I shall perceive my fall, and to return anew to the divine mercy, without any delay or protraction whatsoever. This is my will, intention, and resolution, inviolable and irrevocable, which I profess and confirm without reservation or exception, in the same sacred presence of my God, and in sight of the whole triumphant Church, and in the face of the Church militant my mother (who hears this my declaration, in the presence of him who, as her officer, hears me in this action].
May it please thee, O my eternal God, almighty and gracious Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to confirm me in this my resolution, and to accept this inward sacrifice of my heart, in the odour of sweetness. And as it hath pleased thee to give me inspiration and will to do this, so grant me power and grace to perform it. O my God, thou art my God, the God of my heart, the God of my soul, and the God of my spirit. So I acknowledge and adore thee now and for ever. Live, O Jesus!
A Thanksgiving after Confession. I return unto thee, O Lord Jesus, and give thee thanks that thou hast been pleased to cleanse me from the foul leprosy of my sins. Blessed be thy Name, O Lord, for ever and ever. Truly thou art a Saviour who rejectest none that come unto thee seriously desiring to repent, but receivest them into thy favour, and numberest them with thy children. I acknowledge and adore thy mercy, and dedicate myself wholly to thy service hereafter. Assist my weakness, and suffer me not again to fall into my past sins and be separated from thee; but so bind my heart and soul to thee with the cords of thy love, that I may say with the Apostle, Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?
Psalms lxxxiv. cii., pp. 561, 610, may also be used here.
onstructions on Indulgences,
EVERY good work has a threefold value: merit, satisfaction, and impetration. And as the divine goodness, in consideration of our weakness, has ordained, that by the use of the sacraments, ex opere operato, we increase our merit; and by the impetration of the saints and the prayers of the Church we obtain many things independently of our own la. bour; so he has left to us also the treasure of indulgences, by which, through the satisfaction of Christ and the saints, we may obtain full and speedy satisfaction for the temporal punishment due to our sins either in this life or the next.
I. What an Indulgence is. By an indulgence is meant the remission of the temporal punishment due to us on account of our sins. Every sin, however grievous, is remitted through the sacrament of penance, or by an act of perfect contrition, as regards its guilt and the eternal punishment due to it. But the debt of temporal punishment is not always remitted at the same time. This latter is done away with by deep penitence, or by works of satisfaction, e.g. prayers, alms, fasting, &c.; or by the patient endurance of troubles and adversities sent us by God, &c.; or by the satisfaction of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Saints, applied to us by those who have the power to apply them.
And although, in order to escape this temporal punishment, we must not rely on indulgences alone, to the neglect of good works; yet because, at the best, our own good works are very imperfect, and the debt of punishment due to us very great, we ought to endeavour, as frequently as possible, to avail ourselves of the benefits of indulgences.
Indulgences are of two kinds :- 1st. A plenary indulgence,
when duly gained, is a full and entire remission of all the temporal punishment due to sin. The eight indulgences granted to the faithful in England, at the principal festivals of the year, are plenary indulgences. A jubilee is also a plenary indulgence occasionally granted by the Pope to the whole Church, in the most ample manner, and with the greatest solemnity. 2d. A partial, or limited indulgence, as of ten years, or a hundred days, &c., remits as much of the temporal punishment as would have been remitted by 10 years, or 100 days, &c., of the canonical penances formerly imposed on public penitents.
JI. What is required for obtaining an Indulgence. 1. That we should be in a state of grace ; that is, free from all mortal sin. Hence the sacraments of penance and the holy eucharist are always enjoined as pre-requisites for obtaining an indulgence. For indulgences only apply to the punishment of sin ; they suppose the guilt to have been removed. And although the guilt may be removed while the punishment is reserved, punishment cannot be remitted while the guilt remains.
2. In order to gain an indulgence, it is necessary to perform the prescribed works; for it is under this condition that indulgences are granted. But power is generally given to confessors to change the works for some others, in the case of the sick, or persons who are confined, and who cannot therefore fulfil some of the conditions, such as fasting, or visiting certain churches. It is absolutely necessary, at the very least, that the works required for the indulgence should all be done in a state of grace.
It may be useful to add here a list of indulgences attached to some of the prayers in this book :
1. For the acts of faith, hope, and charity (p. 76), 1st. An indulgence of 7 years and as many quadragenæ, or 40 days, as often as you recite these acts. 2d. A plenary indulgen once a month,* granted to all who shall recite the acts every day for a month, and shall confess their sins and receive the holy communion, praying for the usual intentions of the Church. 3d. A plenary indulgence at the hour of death, if
* By a month is meant a calendar month, January, February, &c.