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Monday, June 28, 2010

Prayer: Charles Spinola, S.J.

Meanwhile, by night and day, we confirm our souls by exercises of piety, we chastise our bodies by scourging, haircloths, and other like mortifications; and what constitutes our greatest consolation, we minister at the altar daily. And it has surely been by a special providence of God, that vestments and other requisites for the holy sacrifices were introduced unseen by the guards, after we had been at first for several months deprived of them and unable to refresh ourselves with that heavenly bread of angels.

For my own part I am overjoyed at this special benefit of God, accomplishing the desire which chiefly brought me hither, and I esteem it above the splendor of all fleeting dignities. And justly, for St. Paul, after being once imprisoned triumphed more in the glory of his chains and bonds, than in his very apostleship, calling himself, ‘Bound in the Lord.’ I blush for shame when I think how by no merit of mine, I have obtained this great grace; how God, having before so many holy persons who have cultivated this vineyard with such admirable zeal, has cast his eyes on me, the last of all in the gifts of nature and merit.

I, who can aver that I now begin to be a disciple of Christ amid the greatest pain and confinement of prison, even when my strength seemed failing from hunger alone, I was always refreshed by such delights of consolation, that I deemed all my sufferings undergone in the divine service richly rewarded. Were I still to pass several years in this dungeon, the time would seem to me short in my intense desire of suffering for His love, who so lavishly rewards the labors of this life and makes even torture itself sweet and desirable. Yet God is to be served chiefly for himself alone, for He is the fountain of all goodness, and merits all our devotion without any hope of reward.

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