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Your Personal Salvation

by St. Anthony Mary Claret

In this reflection by St. Anthony Mary Claret about your salvation you are led to love Jesus Christ more. He teaches you how to grow spiritually and become more pleasing to God and make your salvation more secure. Read this passage of a great Saint's writing, pray upon it and reflect on it. Get others to do the same. It is beautiful and very helpful in leading you to Heaven.

Preparatory Prayer

Composition of Place: Imagine you see Jesus nailed on the Cross and that He says to you: See how much I have done and have suffered, in order to deliver you from hell and save you. And you — will you not do what you should for yourself?

Petition:

O my Jesus! I do not want to be damned ... I wish to be saved ... no matter what it may cost ... My Savior, grant me the help and grace I need in order to gain my eternal salvation. Amen. We have now considered, my soul, the terrible calamities which a soul must suffer who loses its last End. But of what profit is this knowledge if souls do not set about their duty, using all means necessary to avoid falling into those calamities, and to make sure that they will gain their last End? I will explain to you here what one must do; and you, my soul, collect your thoughts and weigh my words with attention in the presence of Jesus Crucified.

Make your personal salvation more secure, not only by praying this meditation by St. Anthony Mary Claret, but by Consecrating yourself to Our Lady. Read about this in "Your Awesome Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" the extract taken from Father Trinchard's book, pictured here.

First Point:

The first fruit the soul should gain from all the preceding meditations is a sincere repentance and a perfect contrition of all the sins committed ... Tell me, my soul, in what state is your conscience at present? If an angel came down from Heaven at this moment and told you, "Prepare yourself; for you will die within an hour." What would your heart tell you? Would you feel peaceful about dying in the state you are in at present? Have your confessions been such that you can have good grounds for relying on them and you can confidently trust that your sins will prove to have been pardoned? Would you be content to die at this hour and in the state you are now in? Make an answer, but let your answer be before Jesus Crucified Who knows your heart. Realize, my soul, that the first step in going to God, the first rung for mounting to holiness, the first means for gaining interior peace, is that one's heart, by means of sincere repentance, become in such condition that it is ready to die at any moment, even by sudden death, and appear before the Divine Judge. In order for the soul to enter into this very happy condition, the two following resolves are necessary:

First resolve: During the time of the retreat make a general confession of your whole life, or for the period since the last general confession, with an exact examination, with such earnestness, such repeated acts of contrition, such sincerity in the admission of your sins, as to enable your conscience to always tell you: I have done as much as God requires in order for Him to pardon my sins; now I can appear before His tribunal without fear. O my soul, what sweet consolation, what well-founded interior peace, what sure hope of eternal life one gains by this kind of confession!

Second resolve: After you have reasonably satisfied yourself in this way (as far as possible in this life) of your present state of grace and future glory, make your confessions in the future with such a correct examination of conscience, with such deep contrition, with such sincerity, as you would if you knew with certainty that it was the last confession of your life.

Second Point:

The second fruit the soul should gain from the preceding meditations, is to give God all the satisfaction possible for the sins you have committed ...

Return, my soul, to the reflection on the prison of hell and ponder the following thoughts: Suppose that at this moment a ray of Divine Mercy penetrated that dark dwelling and a Divine Voice echoed there, which said, "Cain, come forth! Thou hast been here now six thousand years burning in these flames. I choose to make use of My Mercy with thee, but on condition that you are to suffer in silence all pains, all ailments, all contempt, all insults, all crosses and reverses, for love of Me, and in this way I will pardon thee thy sins and will save thee."

Oh, what a joyful voice that would be for the heart of Cain!

"Oh, Immense Mercy! I am glad to suffer cheerfully for a thousand years as much as a man could ever suffer, if I can in this way finally gain mercy and escape the eternal pains of hell and can come to behold Thee in Thy glory ..."

Ah! Tell me, my soul, have you not deserved to be cast into hell as much as Cain? Now this grace which God has given you, of granting you a period for repentance — is it not equal to what God would have given you if He had drawn you out of hell?

Then why do you not apply yourself to doing genuine penance and making up to God for the wrongs done Him through your sins? Why do you not practice forbearance in your troubles?

The two following rules are for achieving this purpose:

First rule: Practice with extraordinary care and earnestness the means which God has ordained to satisfy for sin. The principal ones are: 1) the holy Sacrament of Penance, 2) the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 3) holy Indulgences, 4) frequent acts of true contrition, made as earnestly as one can, 5)works of penance and mortification.

Second rule: Bear in silence for love of God all the harassments which your state of life carries with it, and all the troubles coming to you from Divine Providence. In all the sufferings you meet, let this be the sigh of your heart: O my good God, Who art so merciful, what I have deserved is the everlasting horrible pain of hell, and what I suffer here is a cross rather light and short-lived.

Third Point:

The third fruit which the soul should adopt from these meditations is to avoid all venial sins, especially those which pave the way for grave sin. It is not enough, my soul, to have a firm resolve to suffer death rather than consent to any grave sin. It is necessary to have a like resolution to venial sin. He who does not find in himself this will, cannot have security. There is nothing which can give us such a certain security of eternal salvation as an uninterrupted cautiousness to avoid even the lightest venial sin, and a notable, all-extensive earnestness reaching to all practices of the spiritual life — earnestness in prayer, and in dealing with God; earnestness in mortification and self-denial; earnestness in being humble and in accepting contempt; earnestness in obeying and renouncing one's own self-will; earnest love of God and neighbor. He who wants to gain this earnestness and keep it, must necessarily have the resolve to always avoid especially the following venial sins:

1. The sin of giving entrance into your heart to any unreasonable suspicion or unfair judgment against your neighbor.

2. The sin of introducing talk about another's defects or offending charity in any other way, even lightly.

3. The sin of omitting out of laziness our spiritual practices or of performing them with voluntary neglect.

4. The sin of having a disordered affection for somebody.

5. The sin of having a vain esteem for oneself, or of taking vain satisfaction in things pertaining to us.

6. The sin of receiving the holy Sacraments in a careless way, with distractions and other irreverences, and without a serious preparation.

7. Impatience, resentment, any failure to accept disappointments as coming from God's Hand; for this puts obstacles in the way of the decrees and dispositions of Divine Providence concerning us.

8. The sin of giving ourselves an occasion that can even remotely blemish a spotless condition of holy purity.

9. The fault of advertently hiding from those who ought to learn them, one's bad inclinations, weaknesses, and mortifications, seeking to pursue the road of virtue not under the direction of obedience, but under the guidance of one's own whims.

(Note: This speaks of times when we might have worthy direction if we seek it, but we prefer to follow our own dim lights.)

My soul, if you do not resolve to quit these venial sins, you will not draw the least fruit from these spiritual exercises, you will never set foot on even the lowest rung of perfection, you will never come to have any communing with God nor interior peace and quiet of heart, nor a condition wherein one can look forward to death without fear. But if you do resolve to avoid these sins, then present your resolves in the following form, while on your knees with crucifix in hand:

O my God, O my crucified Love, my Jesus! Thou hast enlightened me enough by Thy Infinite Mercy. Now I know what it is to possess Thee forever and what it means to lose Thee eternally ... How blessed I am if I come to possess Thee! But woe to me if I come to lose Thee! I know quite well that I cannot expect to ever possess Thee and must always fear the prospect of losing Thee, as long as I do not entrust myself entirely into Thy Hands, avoiding all sins, even the smallest, and begin to serve Thee with care and earnestness ...

Indeed I do resolve upon this, and with the deepest affection of my heart I love Thee and embrace Thee, O my Jesus! Thou art my Sovereign Good, worthy to be loved above all things, more than all angels and men, more than my soul and my life. Oh, blessed be Jesus Christ!

Our Father. Hail Mary. Conclusion.