Prayer of Saint Peter Damian to the Blessed Virgin Mary
I know, O my Lady, that thou art all benign, and that
thou lovest us with a love that can be surpassed by no other love. How often
dost thou not appease the wrath of our Judge, when he is on the point of
chastising us! All the treasures of the mercies of God are in thy hands. Ah
never cease to benefit us; thou only seekest occasion to save all the wretched,
and to shower thy mercies upon them; for thy glory is increased when, by thy
means, penitents are forgiven, and thus reach heaven. Turn then towards us,
that we also may be able to go and see thee in heaven; for the greatest glory
we can have will be, after seeing God, to see thee, to love thee, and be under
Be pleased then to grant our prayer; for thy beloved Son desires
to honour thee, by denying thee nothing that thou askest. Amen.
In the course of this year, in this month, on this very
day, your life may end. What follows from this? Do as St. Peter did: be
solicitous for your salvation. Employ well the short and uncertain time. What
you think necessary for your salvation defer not to a future, uncertain time.
The hope of having plenty of time to work out their salvation has deceived
many, to their eternal ruin. Keep watch that you do not deceive yourself by
such a doubtful, dangerous hope. Life is short and uncertain. "Man knoweth
not his own end: but as fishes are taken with the hook, and birds are caught by
the snare, so men are taken in the evil time, when it shall suddenly come upon
them." Thus speaks Holy Writ. Again, what have we to deduce from this?
Nothing, but what is further said: "Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do
it earnestly; for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge, shall be
in the grave, whither thou art hastening" (Eccl. ix.). This plainly
declares that when you are dead you can no longer work out your own salvation.
Therefore, set to work now, without loss of time, without delay, without
hesitation, as it is unknown to you when your end will come. Take this
admonition of God to your inmost heart. Add to it the words of St. Paul:
"Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good" (Gal. vii.). Why?
"Time is short," says the same holy Apostle. And when you have
trifled away this time, you cannot, in all eternity, repair the loss; as time,
once gone, is irrecoverable. "If the time which Divine goodness has
bestowed upon us to do penance and work out our salvation is once lost,"
says St. Bonaventure, "it cannot be recalled in all eternity." ~ F.
X. Weninger