Dedication

TO MARY, The Ever Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
My most holy Queen - On the point of publishing the present little work, in which I treat of the love of your Son, I know not to whom I can better dedicate it than to you, my most beloved Mother, who, among all creatures, are His most tender lover. I believe by this little offering which I present to you, and which is composed for the sole purpose of inflaming souls more and more with the love of Jesus Christ - I believe, I say, that by it I shall greatly please you, who desire to see Him loved by all as He deserves. To you, then, I consecrate it, such as it is; graciously accept and protect it; not indeed that I may receive the praise of men, but that all who read it may for the future correspond, by their greater devotion and affection, with the tender and excessive love which our most sweet Savior has been pleased to show us in His Passion, and in the institution of the Most Holy Sacrament. As such, I place it at your feet, and earnestly ask you to accept the gift as wholly yours, as also the giver, who has long since placed all his hopes in you, and wishes and hopes always to call himself, and to rejoice in being,

Most gracious Lady,

Your most loving, though most unworthy servant,

ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI,
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

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To the Reader

I BEG, my dear reader, that you will not despise this little book, though written with the utmost simplicity. I have composed it in a style very simple, because I believe that it will thus more likely promote devotion amongst all classes of persons. I also beg that whether I am living or dead you will recommend me to the Most Holy Sacrament each time that you use it; and on my part I promise to pray for all who do me this act of charity, every time I offer up the Most Holy Sacrifice.

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INTRODUCTION

The Visit to the Most Holy Sacrament

Our holy faith teaches us, and we are bound to believe, that in the consecrated Host Jesus Christ is really present under the species of bread. But we must also understand that He is thus present on our altars as on a throne of love and mercy, to dispense graces and there to show us the love which He bears us, by being pleased to dwell night and day hidden in the midst of us.
It is well known that the Holy Church instituted the festival of Corpus Christi with a solemn octave, and that she celebrates it with the many usual processions, and so frequent expositions of this Most Holy Sacrament, that men may thereby be moved gratefully to acknowledge and honor this loving presence and dwelling of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar, by their devotions, thanksgivings, and the tender affections of their souls. O God! how many insults and outrages has not this amiable Redeemer had, and has He not daily, to endure in this Sacrament on the part of those very men for whose love He remains upon their altars on earth!
Of this He indeed complained to His dear servant St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, as the author of the Book of Devotion to the Heart of Jesus relates. One day, as she was in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, Jesus showed her His heart on a throne of flames, crowned with thorns, and surmounted by a Cross, and thus addressed her: "Behold that heart which has loved men so much, and which has spared itself nothing; and has even gone so far as to consume itself, thereby to show them its love; but in return the greater part of men only show Me ingratitude, and this by the irreverences, tepidity, sacrileges, and contempt which they offer Me in this Sacrament of love; and that which I feel the most acutely is, that they are hearts consecrated to Me." Jesus then expressed His wish, that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi should be dedicated as a particular festival in honor of His adorable Heart; and that on that day all souls who loved Him should endeavor, by their homage, and by the affections of their souls, to make amends for the insults which men have offered Him in this Sacrament of the Altar; and at the same time He promised abundant graces to all who should thus honor Him.
We can thus understand what our Lord said of old by His prophet, that His delight is to be with the children of men; [Prov. viii. 31] since He is unable to tear Himself from them even when they abandon and despise Him. This also shows us how agreeable all those souls are to the heart of Jesus who frequently visit Him, and remain in His company in the churches in which He is, under the sacramental species. He desired St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament thirty-three times a day; and this beloved spouse of His faithfully obeyed Him, and in all her visits to the altar approached it as near as she possibly could, as we read in her life.
But let all those devout souls who often go to spend their time with the Most Blessed Sacrament speak;-----let them tell us the gifts, the inspirations which they have received, the flames of love which are there enkindled in their souls, the paradise which they enjoy in the presence of this hidden God.
The servant of God and great Sicilian missionary Father, Louis La Nusa, was, even in his youth and as a layman, so enamored of Jesus Christ, that he seemed unable to tear himself from the presence of his beloved Lord. Such were the joys which he there experienced, that his director commanded him, in virtue of obedience, not to remain there for more than an hour. The time having elapsed, he showed in obeying (says the author of his life), that in tearing himself from the bosom of Jesus Christ he had to do himself just such violence as a child that has to detach itself from its mother's breast in the very moment in which it is satiating itself with the utmost avidity; and when he had to do this, we are told that he remained standing with his eyes fixed on the altar, making repeated inclinations, as if he knew not how to quit his Lord, Whose Presence was so sweet and gracious to him. To St. Aloysius it was also forbidden to remain in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament; and as he used to pass before it, finding himself drawn, so to speak, by the sweet attractions of his Lord, and almost forced to remain there, he would, with the greatest effort, tear himself away, saying, with an excess of tender love: Depart from me, O Lord, depart!
There it was also that St. Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his many labors in India; for he employed his days in toiling for souls, and his nights in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. St. John Francis Regis did the same thing; and sometimes finding the church closed, he endeavored to satisfy his longings by remaining on his knees outside the door, exposed to the rain and cold, that at least at a distance he might attend upon his comforter concealed under the sacramental species.
St. Francis of Assisi used to go to communicate all his labors and undertakings to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. But tender indeed was the devotion of St. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia, to the Most Holy Sacrament. This holy king was so enamored of Jesus there present, that he not only gathered the wheat and grapes, and made the hosts and wine with his own hands, and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but he used, even during the winter, to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love, that their ardor imparted itself even to his body, and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold; for it is related that the servant who accompanied him in these nightly excursions, having to walk through the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy king, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion, and commanded him to follow him, and only to step in his footmarks; he did so, and never afterwards felt the cold.
In the visits you will read other examples of the tender affection with which souls inflamed with the love of God loved to dwell in the Presence of the Most Holy Sacrament. But you will find that all the Saints were enamored of this most sweet devotion; since, indeed, it is impossible to find on earth a more precious gem, or a treasure more worthy of all our love, than Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. Certainly amongst all devotions, after that of receiving the Sacraments, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament holds the first place, is the most pleasing to God, and the most useful to ourselves. Do not then, O devout soul, refuse to begin this devotion; and forsaking the conversation of men, dwell each day, from this time forward, for at least half or quarter of an hour, in some church, in the Presence of Jesus Christ under the sacramental species. Taste and see how sweet is the Lord. [Ps. xxxiii. 9] Only try this devotion, and by experience you will see the great benefit that you will derive from it. Be assured that the time you will thus spend with devotion before this most Divine Sacrament will be the most profitable to you in life, and the source of your greatest consolation in death and in eternity.
You must also be aware, that in a quarter of an hour's prayer spent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you will perhaps gain more than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day. It is true, that in every place God graciously hears the petitions of those who pray to Him, having promised to do so: Ask, and you shall receive; [John xvi. 24] yet the disciple tells us that Jesus dispenses His graces in greater abundance to those who visit Him in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Blessed Henry Suso used also to say that Jesus Christ hears the prayers of the faithful more graciously in the Sacrament of the Altar than elsewhere. And where, indeed, did holy souls make their most beautiful resolutions, but prostrate before the Most Holy Sacrament? Who knows but that you also may one day, in the presence of the tabernacle, make the resolution to give yourself entirely to God? In this little book I feel myself bound, at least out of gratitude to my Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, to declare, that through the means of this devotion of visiting the Most Blessed Sacrament, which I practiced, though with so much tepidity and in so imperfect a manner, I abandoned the world, in which, unfortunately, I lived until I was six-and-twenty years of age. Fortunate indeed will you be if you can detach yourself from it at an earlier period, and give yourself without reserve to that Lord Who has given Himself without reserve to you. I repeat it, that indeed you will be blessed, not only in eternity, but even in this life.
Believe me, all is folly: feasts, theatres, parties of pleasure, amusements - these are the goods of the world, but goods which are filled with the bitterness of gall and with sharp thorns. Believe me, who has experienced this and now weep over it. Be also assured that Jesus Christ finds means to console a soul that remains with a recollected spirit before the Most Blessed Sacrament, far beyond what the world can do with all its feasts and pastimes.
Oh, how sweet a joy it is to remain with faith and tender devotion before an altar, and converse familiarly with Jesus Christ, Who is there for the express purpose of listening to and graciously hearing those who pray to Him; to ask His pardon for the displeasures which we have caused Him; to represent our wants to Him, as a friend does to a friend in whom he places all his confidence; to ask Him for His graces, for His love, and for His kingdom; but above all, oh, what a heaven is it there to remain making acts of love towards that Lord Who is on the very Altar praying to the Eternal Father for us, and is there burning with love for us. Indeed that love it is which detains Him there, thus hidden and unknown, and when He is even despised by ungrateful souls! But why should we say more? "Taste and see."

The Visit to the Blessed Virgin

And now as to the visits to the Most Blessed Virgin, the opinion of St. Bernard is well known, and generally believed: it is, that God dispenses no graces otherwise than through the hands of Mary: "God wills that we should receive nothing that does not pass through Mary's hands."  [In Vig. Nat. Dom. s. 3] Hence Father Suarez declares that it is now the sentiment of the universal Church, that "the intercession of Mary is not only useful, but even necessary to obtain graces." [De Inc. p. 2, q. 37, a. 4, d. 23;  This question is treated at length in the Glories of Mary, Part I: ch. 5.] And we may remark that the Church gives us strong grounds for this belief, by applying the words of the Sacred Scripture to Mary, and making her say: In me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all you that desire me. [Ecclus. xxiv. 25] Let all come to me; for I am the hope of all that you can desire. Hence she then adds: Blessed is the man that hears me, and that watches daily at my gates, and waits at the posts of my doors. [Prov. viii. 34] Blessed is he who is diligent in coming every day to the door of my powerful intercession; for by finding me he will find life and eternal salvation: He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord. [Ibid. 35] Hence it is not without reason that the Holy Church wills that we should all call her our common hope, by saluting her, saying, "Hail, our hope!"
"Let us then," says St. Bernard (who went so far as to call Mary "the whole ground of his hope"), "seek for graces, and seek them through Mary." [De Aquaed.] Otherwise, says St. Antoninus, if we ask for graces without her intercession, we shall be making an effort to fly without wings, and we shall obtain nothing: "He who asks without her as his guide, attempts to fly without wings." [P. 4, tit. 15]
In Father Auriemma's little book, Affetti Scambievoli [Affetti Scam. p. 2. c. 3], we read of innumerable favors granted by the Mother of God to those who practiced this most profitable devotion of often visiting her in her churches or before some image. We read of the graces which she granted in these visits to Saint Albert the Great, to the Abbot Rupert, to Father Suarez, especially when she obtained for them the gift of understanding, by which they afterwards became so renowned throughout the Church for their great learning: the graces which she granted to Saint John Berchmans of the Society of Jesus, who was in the daily habit of visiting Mary in a chapel of the Roman college; he declared that he renounced all earthly love, to love no other after God than the Most Blessed Virgin, and had written at the foot of the image of his beloved Lady: "I will never rest until I shall have obtained a tender love for my Mother."; the graces which she granted to St. Bernardine of Siena, who in his youth also went every day to visit her in a chapel near the city-gate, and declared that that Lady had ravished his heart. Hence he called her his beloved, and said that he could not do less than often visit her; and by her means he afterwards obtained the grace to renounce the world, and to become what he afterwards was, a great Saint and the apostle of Italy.
Do you, then, be also careful always to join to your daily visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament a visit to the most holy Virgin Mary in some church, or at least before a devout image of her in your own house. If you do this with tender affection and confidence, you may hope to receive great things from this most gracious Lady, who, as St. Andrew of Crete says, always bestows great gifts on those who offer her even the least act of homage. [In Dorm. B. V. s. 3]
Mary, Queen of sweetest hope,
Who can ever forget thee?
By thy mercy, by thy love,
Have pity, Queen, on me?

Spiritual Communion

As in all the following visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament a spiritual Communion is recommended, it will be well to explain what it is, and the great advantages which result from its practice. A spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, [P. 3, q. 80, a. 1] consists in an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.
How pleasing these spiritual Communions are to God, and the many graces which He bestows through their means, was manifested by our Lord Himself to Sister Paula Maresca, the foundress of the convent of St. Catherine of Sienna in Naples, when (as it is related in her life) He showed her two precious vessels, the one of gold, the other of silver. He then told her that in the gold vessel He preserved her sacramental Communions, and in the silver one her spiritual Communions. He also told Blessed Jane of the Cross that each time that she communicated spiritually she received a grace of the same kind as the one that she received when she really communicated. Above all, it will suffice for us to know that the holy Council of Trent [Sess. xiii. c. 8] greatly praises spiritual Communions, and encourages the faithful to practice them.
Hence all devout souls are accustomed often to practice this holy exercise of spiritual Communion. Blessed Agatha of the Cross did so two hundred times a day. And Father Peter Faber, the first companion of St. Ignatius, used to say that it was of the highest utility to make spiritual Communions, in order to receive the sacramental Communion well.
All those who desire to advance in the love of Jesus Christ are exhorted to make a spiritual Communion at least once in every visit that they pay to the Most Blessed Sacrament, and at every Mass that they hear; and it would even be better on these occasions to repeat the Communions three times, that is to say, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. This devotion is far more profitable than some suppose, and at the same time nothing can be easier to practice. The above-named Blessed Jane of the Cross used to say, that a spiritual Communion can be made without anyone remarking it, without being fasting, without the permission of our director, and that we can make it at any time we please: an act of love does all.

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Day 1

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Behold the source of every good, Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, Who says, If any man thirst let him come to Me. (John 7, 37.) Oh, what torrents of grace have the saints drawn from the fountain of the Most Blessed Sacrament, for there Jesus dispenses all the merits of His Passion, as it was foretold by the Prophet: You shall draw waters with joy out of the Savior's fountains. (Isa. 12, 3.) The Countess of Feria, that illustrious disciple of the Venerable Father John of Avila, afterwards a Poor Clare, and surnamed the spouse of the Most Blessed Sacrament from her long and frequent visits to It, on being asked how she employed the many hours thus passed in the presence of the Holy of Holies, replied: "I could remain there for all eternity. And is not the very essence of God, which will be the food of the blessed there present? Good God! Am I asked what I do in His presence? Why am I not rather asked, what is not done there? We love, we praise, we give thanks, we ask. What does a poor man do in the presence of one who is rich? What does a sick man do in the presence of his physician? What does a man do who is parched with thirst in the presence of a limpid fountain? What is the occupation of one who is starving, and is placed before a well-supplied table?"

O my most amiable, most sweet, most beloved Jesus, my life, my hope, my treasure, the only love of my soul! Oh, what has it cost You to remain thus with us in this Sacrament! You had to die, that You might thus dwell among us on our altars; and then how many insults have You not had to endure in this Sacrament, in order to aid us by Your presence! Your love, and the desire which You have to be loved by us, have conquered all.

Come then, O Lord! Come and take possession of my heart; close its doors forever, that henceforward no creature may enter there to divide the love which is due to You, and which it is my ardent desire to bestow all on You. You alone, my dear Redeemer, rule me; You alone possess my whole being; and if ever I do not obey You perfectly, chastise me with rigor that hence forward I may be more watchful to please You as You wilI. Grant that I may no longer seek for any other pleasure than that of giving You pleasure; that all my please may be to visit You often on Your altars; to entertain myself with You, and to receive You in Holy Communion. Let all who will, seek other treasures; the only treasure that I love, the only one that I desire, is that of Your love; for this only will I ask at the foot of the altar. Make me forget myself, that thus I may only remember Your goodness. Blessed Seraphim, I envy you, not for your glory, but for the love which you bear to your and my God; oh, teach me what I must do to love Him, and to please Him.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I will love You only; You only do I desire to please.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

In our Mother Mary we have another fountain, which is indeed fruitful to us. She is so rich in good things and in graces, says St. Bernard, that there is no one in the world who does not participate in them: "Of her fullness we have all received." [De Laud. V. M. hom. 2] The Most Blessed Virgin Mary was filled by God with grace, and as such was saluted by the angel, "Hail, full of grace"; not for herself alone, but also for us. St. Peter Chrysologus adds, that she received that great abyss of grace, that she might afterwards impart it to all who are devout to her; "The Blessed Virgin received this grace, that she might give in return salvation to all."

Ejaculation. Cause of our joy, pray for us!

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Day 2

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

The devout Father Nieremberg says, that bread being a food which is consumed by eating, and which keeps when preserved for use, Jesus was pleased to dwell on earth under its species, that He might thus not only be consumed by uniting Himself to the souls of His lovers by means of the Holy Communion, but also that He might be preserved in the tabernacle, and be present with us, and thus remind us of the love which He bears us. St. Paul says: He emptied Himself taking the nature of a slave. (Phil. 2, 7.) But what must we say when we see Him "taking the form of bread?" "No tongue would suffice," says St. Peter of Alcantara, "to proclaim the greatness of the love which Jesus bears to every soul that is in a state of grace. In order, therefore, that His absence might not be to them an occasion of forgetting Him, this most sweet Spouse, when He was pleased to quit this life, left as a memorial this Most Blessed Sacrament, in which He Himself remained. He did not wish that between these souls and Himself any other pledge but Himself should remain, whereby to keep alive their remembrance of Him."

Since, then, my Jesus, You are enclosed in this tabernacle to receive the supplications of miserable creatures who come to seek an audience of You, listen this day to the petition addressed to You by the most ungrateful sinner living on earth. I come repentant to Your feet: for I know the evil which I have committed in giving You displeasure. My first prayer and desire, then, is, that You will be pleased to pardon me all my sins that I have committed against You. Ah, my God, would that I had never offended You! After this I must tell You my next desire. Now that I have found out Your sovereign goodness, I have become enamored of You; I feel an ardent desire to love You and to please You; but I have not the strength to do this unless You help me. Manifest, O great Lord, Your supreme power, and Your immense goodness to the whole court of heaven; change me from a great rebel, such as I have hitherto been to You, into a great lover of You. You can do so, and I know that such is Your will; supply all that is wanting in me, that thus I may be enabled to love You much - at least that I may love You as much as I have offended You. I love You, my Jesus; I love You above all things; I love You more than my life, my God, my love, my all!

Ejaculation. My God and my All.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb.4,16.)

St. Antoninus says, that Mary is this throne, from which God dispenses all graces.

O most amiable Queen, since you have so great a desire to help sinners, behold a great sinner who has recourse to you; help me much, and help me without delay!

Ejaculation. Sole refuge of sinners, have mercy on me.

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Day 3

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

"And my delights were to be with the children of men." (Prov. 8, 31.) Behold, our Jesus, Who, not satisfied with dying on earth for our love, is pleased even after His death to dwell with us in the Most Holy Sacrament, declaring that He finds His delights among men. "O men," exclaims St. Teresa, "how can you offend a God Who declares that it is with you that He finds His delights!" Jesus finds His delights with us; and shall we not find ours with Jesus? And we especially who have had the honor to dwell in His palace. How greatly do those vassals esteem themselves honored to whom the king assigns an abode in his own residence! Behold the palace of the King; it is this house in which we dwell with Jesus Christ. Let us, then, learn to thank Him for it, and to avail ourselves of conversing with Jesus Christ.

Behold me, then, O my Lord and God, before this altar, on which You reside night and day for my sake. You are the source of every good; You are the healer of every ill; You are the treasure of every poor creature. Behold now at Your feet a sinner, who is of all others the poorest and most infirm, and who asks Your mercy; have pity upon me! Now that I see You in this Sacrament, come down from heaven upon earth only to do me good; I will not be disheartened at the sight of my misery. I praise You, I thank You, I love You; and if You will that I should ask You for an alms, I will ask for this; Oh listen to me: I desire never more to offend You, and I desire that You should give me light and grace to love You with all my strength. Lord, I love You with my whole soul; I love You with all my affections. Grant that I may thus speak with truth; and that I may speak in the same way during life and for all eternity. Most holy Virgin Mary, my holy patron saints, you angels, and all you blessed spirits of paradise, help me to love my most amiable God.

Ejaculation. O Good Shepherd, true bread, Jesus, have mercy on us: feed us; guard us; show us good things in the land of the living!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Her bands are a healthful binding. (Sirah. 6, 31.) The devout Pelbart says that devotion to Mary is a chain of predestination. Let us beseech our sovereign Lady to bind us always more closely by the chains of love to confidence in her protection.

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Day 4

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness. (Wis. 8, 16.)

Friends on earth find such pleasure in being together, that they lose entire days in each other's company: with Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, those who love Him not, get weary. After her death, St. Teresa, who was already in heaven, said to a nun: "Those who are in heaven and those who are on earth should be one and the same in purity and in love; we enjoying, and you suffering; and that which we do in Heaven with the Divine Essence, you should do on earth with the Most Blessed Sacrament." Behold, then, our paradise on earth - the Most Blessed Sacrament.

O immaculate Lamb, sacrificed for us upon the cross, remember that I am one of those souls that You have redeemed by so many sufferings, and by Your death. Grant that You may be mine, and that I may never lose You, since You have given Yourself to me, and give Yourself every day, sacrificing Yourself for my love on the altar; and grant that I may be all Yours. I give myself to You without reserve, that You may dispose of me as You please. I give You my will! Chain it with the sweet bonds of Your love, that it may forever be the slave of Your most holy will. I wish no longer to live for the satisfaction of my desires, but only to please Your goodness. Destroy in me all that does not please You; grant me the grace never to have any other thought than to please You, any other desire than that which You desire. I love You, O my dear Savior, with my whole heart; I love You because You desire that I should love You; I love You because You are indeed worthy of my love. I grieve that I love You not as much as You deserve. I desire, Lord, to die for Your love; accept my desire, and give me Your love. Amen

Ejaculation. O good pleasure of my God, I sacrifice myself all to You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary says: I am the Mother of fair love. (Ecclus. 24, 24.) This is to say, she is the Mother of that love which beautifies souls. St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi saw the Most Blessed Virgin Mary going about dispensing a sweet liquid, which was divine love. This gift is dispensed only by Mary; from Mary let us seek it.

Ejaculation. My Mother, my hope, make me belong wholly to Jesus.

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Day 5

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

The sparrow has found herself a house, and the swallow, a nest for herself, where she may lay her young: your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!" (Ps. 84, 3.)

The sparrow, says David, finds a dwelling in houses; swallows in nests; but You, my king and my God, have made Yourself a nest and found a dwelling on earth, on our altars, that we might find You, and that You might dwell among us.

Lord, we cannot but say, that You are too much enamored of men; You no longer know what to do to gain their love. But You, my most amiable Jesus, give us the grace that we also may be passionately enamored of You. It would indeed be unreasonable were we cold in our love towards a God who loves us with such affection. Draw us to You by the sweet attractions of Your love; make us understand the endearing claims which You have on our love.

O infinite Majesty and infinite Goodness, You love men so much, You have done so much that You might be loved by men: how is it, then, that among men there are so few who love You? I will no longer be as I have hitherto been, of the unhappy number of those ungrateful creatures: I am resolved to love You as much as I can, and to love no other than You: You deserve it; You command me with so much earnestness to do so, I am resolved to satisfy You. Grant, O God of my soul, that I may fully satisfy You. I entreat You to grant me this favor by the merits of Your Passion, and I confidently hope for it. Bestow the goods of the earth on those who desire them; I desire and seek the great treasure of Your love alone. I love You, my Jesus; I love You, infinite Goodness. You are all my riches, my whole satisfaction, my entire love.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, You have given Your whole self to me; I give my whole self to You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My Lady, St. Bernard calls you "the ravisher of hearts." [Med. in Salve Reg.] He says that you go about stealing hearts by the charms of your beauty and goodness. Steal also my heart and will, I beseech you: I give them wholly to you: offer them to God with your own.

Ejaculation. Mother most amiable, pray for me!

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Day 6

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Where your treasure is, there also will your heart he. (Luke 12, 34.)

Jesus Christ says, that where a person esteems his treasure to be, there also he keeps his affections. Therefore the saints, who neither esteem nor love any other treasure than Jesus Christ, center their hearts and all their love in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

My most amiable Jesus, hidden under the sacramental veils, Who for the love which You bear me remain night and day imprisoned in this tabernacle, draw, I beseech You, my whole heart to You, that I may think of none but You, that I may love and seek and hope for You alone. Do this by the merits of Your Passion, through which I seek and hope for it.

Ah, my sacramental Lord and divine Lover, how amiable and tender are the inventions of Your love to gain the love of souls! O Eternal Word, You, in becoming man, was not satisfied with dying for us; You have also given us this sacrament as a companion, as food, and as a pledge of heaven. You reduce Yourself so as to appear among us, at one time as an infant in a stable, at another as a poor man in a workshop, then as a criminal on a gibbet, and now as bread on an altar. Tell me, could You invent other means to win our love?

O Infinite Goodness, when shall I really begin to correspond with such refinements of love? Lord, I will only live to love You alone. And of what use is life to me, if I do not spend it wholly in loving and pleasing You, my beloved Redeemer, who have poured out Your whole life for me? And what have I to love if it is not You, who are all beauty, all condescension, all goodness, all loving, all worthy of love? May I live only to love You; may the sole remembrance of Your love dissolve my soul with love; may the very names of crib, and cross, and sacrament inflame it with the desire to do great things for You, O my Jesus, who has indeed done and suffered great things for me!

Ejaculation. Grant, my Lord, that before I die I may do something for You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

As a fair olive tree in the plain. (Ecclus. 24, 19.) I am, says Mary, the beautiful olive tree from which the oil of mercy always flows. And I stand in the plain that all may see me, and that all may have recourse to me. "Remember (let us say in the words of the prayer of St. Bernard), O most compassionate Mary, that it has never been heard of in any age, that anyone having recourse to your protection was abandoned by you." Most merciful Queen, such a thing was never heard of, that anyone having recourse to your aid was abandoned: I will not be the first unfortunate creature who, having recourse to you, was abandoned.

Ejaculation. O Mary, grant me the grace always to have recourse to you!

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Day 7

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world. (Matt. 28, 20.)

Thus our loving Shepherd, who has given His life for us who are His sheep, would not separate Himself from us by death. Behold me, He says, beloved sheep; I am always with you; for you I have remained on earth in this Sacrament; here you find Me whenever you please, to help and console you by my presence: I will not leave you until the end of the world, as long as you are on earth. The Bridegroom, says St. Peter of Alcantara, wished to leave his bride company, that she might not remain alone during so long an absence; and therefore He left this Sacrament, in which He Himself, the best companion He could leave her, remains.

My sweetest Lord, my most amiable Savior, I am now visiting You on this altar; but You return me the visit with far other love when You enter my soul in the Holy Communion. You are then not only present to me, but You become my food; You unite and give Your whole self to me, so that I can then say with truth, My Jesus, You are now all mine. Since, then, You give Yourself all to me, it is reasonable that I should give myself all to You. I am a worm, and You are God. O God of love! O love of my soul! When shall I find myself all Yours, in deeds, and not only in words? You can do this; by the merits of Your blood increase my confidence, that I may at once obtain this grace of You, that I may find myself all Yours, and in nothing mine own. You graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of all; hear now the prayers of a soul that indeed desires really to love You. I desire to love You with all my strength, I desire to obey You in all that You will, without self interest, without consolations, without reward. I wish to serve You through love, only to please You, only to content Your heart, which is so passionately enamored of me. My reward will be to love You. O beloved Son of the Eternal Father, take possession of my liberty, of my will, of all that I possess, and of my entire self, and give me Yourself. I love You, I seek after You, I sigh after You; I desire You, I desire You, I desire You!

Ejaculation. My Jesus, make me all Your own!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

O our own most amiable Lady, the whole Church proclaims and salutes you as "our hope"! You, then, who are the hope of all, be also my hope. St Bernard called you "the whole ground of his hope," and said: "Let him who despairs hope in you." Thus also will I address you: My own Mary, you save even those who are in despair; in you I place all my hope.

Ejaculation. Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.

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Day 8

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

To every soul that visits Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, He addresses the words which He said to the Sacred Spouse: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. (Cant. 2, 10.) You, O soul, that visit Me, "arise" from your miseries; I am here to enrich you with graces. "Make haste," approach, come near Me; fear not My majesty, which has humbled itself in this Sacrament in order to take away your fear, and to give you confidence. "My beloved," you are no longer My enemy, but My friend; since you love Me and I love you. "My beautiful one," My grace has made you fair. "And come," draw nearer and cast yourself into My arms, and ask Me with the greatest confidence for whatever you wilI.

St. Teresa says that this great king of glory has disguised Himself in the Sacrament under the species of bread, and that He has concealed His majesty to encourage us to approach His divine heart with greater confidence. Let us, then, draw near to Jesus with great confidence and affection; let us unite ourselves to Him, and let us ask Him for graces.

O Eternal Word made man, and present for my sake in this Sacrament, what joy should be mine now that I stand in Your presence, Who are my God, Who are infinite majesty and infinite goodness, and have so tender an affection for my soul! You souls who love God, wherever you may be, either in heaven or on earth, love Him for me also. Mary, my Mother, help me to love Him. And You, most beloved Lord, make Yourself the object of all my love. Make Yourself the Lord of my entire will; possess my entire self. I consecrate my whole mind to You, that it may always be occupied with the thought of Your goodness; I also consecrate my body to You, that it may help me to please You; I consecrate my soul to You, that it may be all Yours. Would, O beloved of my soul, that all men could know the tenderness of the love which You bear them, that all might live only to honor You and to please You, as You desire and deserve. Grant that at least I may always live enamored of Your infinite beauty. From this day forward my desire is to do all that I can to be pleasing to You. I now resolve to abandon everything, be it what it may, as soon as I perceive that it displeases You, however much it may cost me, even should it be necessary for this purpose to lose all, or even to lay down my life. Fortunate indeed shall I be, if I lose all to gain You, my God, my treasure, my love, my all!

Ejaculation. Jesus, my love, take all that I have; take full possession of me.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Whoever is a little one let him come to me. (Prov. 9, 4.) Mary invites all children who need a mother to have recourse to her, as to the most loving of all mothers. The devout Nieremberg says that the love of all mothers is a shadow in comparison with the love which Mary bears to each one of us. My Mother, mother of my soul, you who love me, and desire my salvation more than any other after God, O Mother, "show yourself a Mother."

Ejaculation. My Mother, grant that I may always remember you!

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Day 9

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

St. John says that he saw Our Lord girt up with a golden girdle, which supported His breasts: I saw One like to a son of man girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. (Apoc. 1, 12f.)

Thus also is Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar, with His breasts all filled with milk; that is to say, with the graces which, in His mercy, He desires to bestow upon us. And as a mother, whose breasts are overcharged with milk, goes about seeking for children who may draw it off, and relieve her of its weight, so also does He call out to us, you shall be carried at the breasts. (Isa. 66,12.)

The Venerable Father Alvarez saw Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with His hands filled with graces, and seeking to whom He might dispense them.

O most beloved and only begotten Son of the Eternal Father, I know that You are the object most worthy of being loved. I desire to love You as much as You deserve to be loved, or at least as much as a soul can ever desire to love You. I fully understand that I, who am a traitor and so great a rebel to Your love, deserve not to love You, neither do I deserve to approach so near to You as I now am in this church. I hear You say, My son, give Me your heart. (Prov. 23, 26.) You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart. (Matt. 22, 37.) I understand that it is for this end that You have spared my life, and not sent me to hell, that I might be converted and turn all my affections to You. Since, then, You are pleased that even I should love You, oh, yes, my God, I will do so.

Behold me: to You I yield myself up; I give myself to You; I love You. O God! All goodness, all love. I choose You for the only king and lord of my poor heart. You desire it, and my will is to give it to You: it is cold, it is loathsome; but if You accept it, You will change it. Change me, my Lord, change me; I no longer have courage to live as I have hitherto done, ungrateful, and with so little love towards Your infinite goodness, which loves me so much, and deserves an infinite love. Enable me to supply from this day forward for all the love which I have hitherto failed to bear You.

Ejaculation. My God, my God, I will love You, I will love You, I will love You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

In all things like to her Son Jesus, is His Mother Mary; and as she is the Mother of mercy, she is thrice happy when she helps and consoles the miserable. So great is the desire of this Mother to bestow graces on all, that Blessed Bernardine de Bustis says "she desires more to do us good and to impart to us graces than we can desire to receive them." [Mar. p. 2, s. 5]

Ejaculation. Hail, our hope!

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Day 10

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

O Foolish ones of the world, says St. Augustine, miserable creatures, where are you going to satisfy your hearts? Come to Jesus; for by Him alone can that pleasure which you seek be bestowed. "Unhappy creatures, whither are you going? The good you seek for comes from Him." My soul, be not of the number of these foolish ones; seek God alone: "seek for that one good in which are all good things." And if you desire soon to find Him, behold, He is close to you; tell Him what you desire, since for this end it is that He is in the ciborium, to console you, and to grant your prayer. St. Teresa says that all are not allowed to speak to their king; the most that can be hoped for is to communicate with him through a third person. To converse with You, O King of glory, no third person is needed; You are always ready in the Sacrament of the Altar to give audience to all. Whoever desires You always finds You there, and converses with You face to face. And even if anyone at length succeeds in speaking with a king, how many difficulties has he had to overcome before he can do so! Kings grant audiences only a few times in the year; but You, in this Sacrament, grant audience to all night and day, and whenever we please.

O Sacrament of love, You who, whether You give Yourself in the Communion, or dwell on the altar, know, by the tender attractions of Your love, how to draw so many hearts to Yourself, who, enamored of You, and filled with amazement at the sight of such love, burn with joy, and think always of You, draw also my miserable heart to Yourself; for it desires to love You, and to live enslaved by Your love. For my part, I now and henceforward place all my interests, all my hopes, and all my affections, my soul, my body - I place all in the hands of Your goodness. Accept me, O Lord, and dispose of me as You please, I will never complain, O my love, of Your Holy dispensation; I know that, as they all take their source in Your loving heart, they will be full of love, and for my good. It is enough for me to know that You will them also in time and in eternity. Do all that You wilI in me and with me; I unite my entire self to Your will, which is all holy, all good, all beautiful, all perfect, all loving. O will of my God, how dear are you to me! My will is ever to live and die united to and bound up with You. Your pleasure is my pleasure. I will that Your desires shall also be my desires. My God, my God, help me; make me henceforward live for You alone; make me will only what You will, and make me live only to love Your amiable will. Grant that I may die for Your love, since You have died and become food for me. I curse those days in which I did my own will, so much to Your displeasure. I love You, O will of God, as much as I love God, since You are one with Him. I love You, then, with my whole heart, and give myself all to You.

Ejaculation. O will of God, you are my love.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The great Queen says, With me are riches ... that I may enrich them that love me. (Prov. 8, 8.21.) Let us Love Mary, if we would be rich in graces. The writer who calls himself "the Idiot" styles her "the treasurer of graces." Blessed is he who has recourse to Mary with love and confidence. M y mother, my hope, you can make me a saint; from you I hope for this favor.

Ejaculation. Mother most amiable, pray for me!

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Day 11

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

"Let us be careful," says St Teresa, "never to be at a distance from Jesus our beloved Shepherd, or to lose sight of Him; for the sheep which are near their shepherd are always more caressed and better fed, and always receive some choice morsels of that which he himself eats. If by chance the shepherd sleeps, still the lamb remains near him and either waits until his slumber ends, or itself awakens him; and it is then caressed with new favors."

My Redeemer, present in this Most Holy Sacrament, behold me near You: the only favor which I ask of You is fervor and perseverance in Your love. I thank You, O holy faith; for you teach and assure me that in the divine Sacrament of the Altar, in that heavenly bread, bread does not exist; but that my Lord Jesus Christ is all there, and that He is there for love of me. My Lord and my all, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament; and though unknown to eyes of flesh, by the light of holy faith I discern You in the consecrated Host, as the monarch of Heaven and earth, and as the Savior of the world. Ah, my most sweet Jesus! as You are my hope, my salvation, my strength, my consolation, so also I will that You should be all my love, and the only object of all my thoughts, of my desires, and of my affections. I rejoice more in the supreme happiness which You enjoy, and will enjoy forever, than in any good thing which I could ever have in time or in eternity. My supreme satisfaction is, that You, my beloved Redeemer, are supremely happy, and that Your happiness is infinite. Reign, reign, my Lord, over my whole soul; I give it all to You; Lord, possess it forever. May my will, my senses, and my faculties be all servants of Your love, and may they never in this world serve for anything else than to give You satisfaction and glory. Such was your life, O first lover and Mother of my Jesus! Most Holy Mary, help me; obtain for me the grace to live henceforward, as you did always live, in the happiness of belonging to God alone.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, may I be all Yours, and be You all mine!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed is the man .. . that watches daily at my gates, and waits at the posts of my doors. (Prov. 8, 34.) Blessed is he who, like the poor who stand before the gates of the rich, is careful to seek for the alms of graces before the doors of the mercy of Mary! And thrice blessed is he who moreover seeks to imitate the virtues which he remarks in Mary, and more especially her purity and humility!

Ejaculation. My hope, help me!

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Day 12

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4, 16.) He who loves Jesus dwells with Jesus, and Jesus with him. If anyone love Me... My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. (John 14, 23.) When St Philip Neri received the Holy Communion as Viaticum, on seeing the Most Blessed Sacrament enter his room, he exclaimed: "Behold my love! behold my love!" Let each one of us, then, say, here in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament: Behold my love! behold the object of all my love for my whole life and for all eternity!

Since, then, my Lord and my God, You have said in the Gospel that he who loves You will be beloved by You, and that You will come and dwell in him, and nevermore leave him, I love You above every other good: O God, love me also then; for I, indeed, esteem being loved by You above all the kingdoms of the world. Come and fix Your dwelling in the poor house of my soul in such a way that You may no more depart from me; or rather, so that I may never more drive You from me. You do not go, if You are not expelled; but as I have already done this, so I might do again. Ah, never allow such a fresh act of wickedness, such horrible ingratitude, to be perpetrated in the world, as that I, who have been so especially favored by You, and who have received so many graces, should again drive You from my soul! But this might happen. I, therefore, my Lord, desire death, if it so pleases You; that by dying united to You, I may live united to You forever. Yes, my Jesus; for this I hope. I embrace You; I press You to my poor heart; grant that I may always love You, and always be beloved by You. Yes, my most amiable Redeemer, I will always love You; and You will always love me. I trust that our love will ever be mutual, O God of my soul, and this for all eternity. Amen.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I desire always to love You, and always to be beloved by You.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

They that work by me shall not sin. (Sirach 24:30.) He, says Mary, who endeavors to honor me shall persevere to the end. They that explain me shall have life everlasting (Sirach 24:31.) and those who endeavor to make me known and loved by others will be of the number of the elect. Promise, then, that whenever you can, be it in public or in private, you will speak of the glories of Mary, and of devotion to her.

Ejaculation. Vouchsafe that I may praise You, most sacred Virgin!

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Day 13

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

My eyes and My heart shall he there always. (3 Kgs. 9, 3.) Behold, Jesus has verified this beautiful promise in the Sacrament of the Altar, wherein He dwells with us night and day.

My Lord, would it not have been enough had You remained in this Sacrament only during the day, when You could have had adorers of Your presence to keep You company; but why remain also the whole night, when the churches are all closed, and when men retire to their homes, leaving You quite alone? Ah, yes! I already understand You: love has made You our prisoner; the excessive love which You bear us has so bound You down on earth, that neither night nor day can You leave us. Ah, most amiable Savior, this refinement of love alone should oblige all men ever to stay near You in the sacred ciboriums, and to remain with You until forcibly compelled to leave You; and when they do so, they should all leave at the foot of the altar their hearts and affections inflamed with love towards an Incarnate God who remains alone and enclosed in a tabernacle, all eye to see and provide for them in their necessities, and all heart to love them, and who waits the coming day to be again visited by His beloved souls.

Yes, my Jesus, I will please You; whole will and all my affections to You. O infinite Majesty of God, You have left Yourself in this divine Sacrament, not only that You might be present with us and near us, but principally to communicate Yourself to Your beloved souls. But, Lord, who will presume to approach You to feed upon Your flesh? and who, on the other hand, can keep at a distance from You? For this purpose You conceal Yourself in the consecrated Host, that You may enter into us and possess our hearts. You burn with the desire of being received by us, and You rejoice in being there united with us. Come, then, my Jesus, come; I desire to receive You within myself, that You may be the God of my heart and of my will. All that is within me I yield, my dear Redeemer, to Your love; satisfactions, pleasures, self-will, all I give up to You. O Love, O God of love, reign, triumph over my entire self; destroy and sacrifice all in me which is mine and not Yours. Permit not, O my Love, that my soul, which, having received You in the Holy Communion, is filled with the Majesty of God, should again attach itself to creatures. I love You, my God, I love You; and I will love You alone and forever.

Ejaculation. Draw me by the chains of Your love.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Bernard exhorts us, saying: "Let us seek for grace, and let us seek it by Mary." "She," says St. Peter Damian, "is the treasurer of divine graces." She can enrich us, and she desires to do so. She therefore invites and calls us, saying: Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. (Prov. 9, 4.) Most amiable Lady, most exalted Lady, most gracious Lady, look on a poor sinner who recommends himself to You, and who places all his confidence in You.

Ejaculation. We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God!

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Day 14

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Most amiable Jesus, I hear You say from this tabernacle, in which You are present, This is my resting place forever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it. (Ps. 131, 14.) Since, then, You have chosen Your dwelling on our altars in the midst of us, remaining there in the Most Holy Sacrament, and since Your love for us makes You there find Your repose, it is but just that our hearts also should ever dwell with You in affection, and should find all pleasure and repose in You. Blessed are you, O loving souls, who can find no sweeter repose in the world than in remaining near to your Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament! And blessed should I be, my Lord, did I from this time forward find no greater delight than in remaining always in Your presence, or in always thinking of You, who in the Most Holy Sacrament are always thinking of me and of my welfare.

Ah, my Lord! and why have I lost so many years, in which I have not loved You? O miserable years I curse you; and I bless You, O infinite patience of my God, for having for so many years borne with me, though so ungrateful to Your love. And still, notwithstanding this ingratitude, You wait for me: and why, my God, why? It is, that one day, overcome by Your mercies and by Your love, I may yield wholly to You. Lord, I will no longer resist, I will no longer be ungrateful. It is but just that I should consecrate to You the time, be it long or short, which I have still to live. I hope for Your help, o my Jesus, to become entirely Yours. You did favor me so much when I fled from You and despised Your love; how much more may I now hope that You will favor me, now that I seek and desire to love You? Give me, then, the grace to love You, O God, worthy of infinite love. I love You with my whole heart; I love You above all things:

I love You more than myself, more than my life. I am sorry for having offended You, O infinite goodness: pardon me; and with Your pardon grant me the grace to love You much in this life until death, and in the next life for all eternity. O Almighty God, show the world the greatness of Your power, in the prodigy of a soul ungrateful as mine has been, becoming one of Your greatest lovers. Do this by Your merits, my Jesus. It is my ardent desire, and I resolve thus to love You during my whole life; please God, who inspire me with this desire, give me also the strength to accomplish it.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I thank You for having waited for me until now!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Germanus, addressing the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, says: "No one is saved but through you; no one is delivered from evils but through you; there is no one on whom any gift is bestowed but through you." Therefore, my Lady and my hope, if you do not help me I am lost, and shall be unable to bless you in heaven. But, Lady, I hear all the saints say that you never abandon those who have recourse to you. He only is lost who has not recourse to you. I, then, miserable creature that I am, have recourse to you, and in you place all my hopes.

Ejaculation. Mary is my whole confidence; she is the whole ground of my hope! St. Bern. De Aquaed.

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Day 15

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and what will I but that it he kindled? (Luke 12, 49.) Father Francis Olimpio, the Theatine, used to say that there was nothing on earth which enkindled such ardent flames of divine love in the hearts of men as the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Hence our Lord showed Himself to St. Catherine of Sienna in this Blessed Sacrament as a furnace of love, from which issued forth torrents of divine flames, spreading themselves over the whole earth; so much so, indeed, that the saint, in perfect astonishment, wondered how it was possible that men could live without burning with love for such love on the part of God towards them.

My Jesus, make me burn with the desire of You; grant that all my thoughts, and sighs, and desires, and seekings, may be for You alone. Oh, happy should I be, did this Your heavenly fire fully possess me, and as I advance in years, gradually consume all earthly affections in me!

O divine Word! O my own Jesus! I see You all sacrificed, all annihilated, and so to say destroyed on the altar, for my love. It is then, but right that, as You sacrifice Yourself as a victim of love for me, I at least should consecrate myself wholly to You. Yes, my God and my sovereign Lord, I now sacrifice to You my whole soul, my entire self, my whole will and my whole life. I unite this poor sacrifice of mine, O Eternal Father, to the infinite sacrifice of Himself which Jesus, Your Son and my Savior once offered to You on the cross, and which He now offers to You so many times every day on our altars. Accept it, then, through the merits of Jesus; and grant me the grace to renew it every day of my life, and to die sacrificing my whole self to Your honor. I desire the grace granted to so many martyrs, to die for Your love. But if I am unworthy of so great a grace, grant, at least, my Lord, that I may sacrifice my life to You, together with my entire will, by accepting the death which You send me. Lord, I desire this grace; I desire to die with the intention of honoring and pleasing You thereby; and from this moment I sacrifice my life to You; and I offer You my death, when or wheresoever it may take place.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I desire to die in order to please You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Allow me also, my most sweet Queen, to call you, with your own St. Bernard, "the whole ground of my hope," and to say with St. John Damascene, "I have placed my whole hope in you." You have to obtain for me the forgiveness of my sins; you, perseverance until death; you, deliverance from purgatory. All who are saved obtain salvation through you: you then, O Mary, have to save me: "He will be saved whom you will." Will, then, my salvation, and I shall be saved. But you save all who invoke you; behold, then, I invoke you and say:

Ejaculation. O salvation of those who invoke You, save me!

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Day 16

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Had men but always recourse to the Most Blessed Sacrament to seek from it the remedy for their ills, they certainly would not be so miserable as they are. The prophet Jeremias, lamenting, exclaimed: Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there? (Jer. 8, 22.) Galaad, a mountain of Arabia, rich in aromatic spices, according to venerable Bede, is a figure of Jesus Christ, Who, in this Sacrament, keeps in readiness all the remedies for our woes. Why, then, our Redeemer seems to ask, do you complain of your misfortunes, O sons of Adam, when you have the physician and the remedy for them all in this Sacrament? Come to Me ... and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11, 28.) I will, then, address You in the words of the sisters of Lazarus: Behold, he whom You love is sick. (John 11, 3.) Lord, I am that miserable creature whom You love; my soul is all wounded by the sins which I have committed; my divine physician, I come to You, that You may heal me; if You will, You can cure me: Heal me, because I have sinned against You. (Ps. 40, 5.) Draw me wholly to Yourself, my sweet Jesus, by the all winning attractions of Your love. Far rather would I be bound to You than become the Lord of the whole earth. I desire nothing else in the world but to love You. I have but little to give You; but could I gain possession of all the kingdoms of the world, I would do so, that I might renounce them all for Your love. For You, then I renounce what I can; I give up all relatives, all comforts, all pleasures, and even spiritual consolations: for You I renounce my liberty and my will. On You I desire to bestow all my love. I love You, infinite goodness; I love You more than myself, and I hope to love You for all eternity.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I give myself to You; My Jesus, accept me!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My Lady you did say to St. Bridget: "However much a man sins, if he returns to me with a real purpose of amendment, I am instantly ready to welcome him; neither do I pay attention to the greatness of his sins, but to the intention alone with which he comes. I do not disdain to anoint and heal his wounds; for I am called, and truly am, the Mother of Mercy." Since, then, you have both the power and the will to heal me, behold, I have recourse to you, O heavenly physician; heal the many wounds of my soul: with a single word addressed by you to your Son I shall be restored.

Ejaculation. O Mary, have pity on me.

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Day 17

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Loving souls can find no greater delight than to be in the company of those whom they love. If we, then, love Jesus Christ much, behold we are now in His presence. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament sees us and hears us: shall we, then, say nothing to Him? Let us console ourselves in His company: let us rejoice in His glory, and in the love which so many enamored souls bear Him in the Most Holy Sacrament. Let us desire that all should love Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, and consecrate their hearts to Him: at least let us consecrate all our affections to Him. He should be all our love and our whole desire. Father Salesius, of the Society of Jesus, felt consolation in only speaking of the Most Blessed Sacrament; he could never visit it enough. When called to the parlor, on returning to his room, when going about the house, he always profited by these occasions to repeat his visits to his beloved Lord; so much so, that it was remarked that scarcely an hour of the day passed without his visiting Him. At length he obtained the favor to die by the hands of heretics while defending the truth of the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Oh, had I but the happiness to die for so noble a cause as the defense of this Sacrament, in which, O most amiable Jesus, You have taught us the tenderness of the love which You bear us! But since, my Lord, You work so many miracles in this Sacrament, work this one also: draw my entire self to You. You indeed desire that I should be all Yours, and You do also indeed deserve that I should be so. Give me the strength to love You with all the affection of my soul. Give the goods of this world to whomsoever You will. I renounce them all: I sigh after and desire Your love alone; this alone do I now and will always seek. I love You, my Jesus; grant me the grace always to love You, and grant me this alone.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, when shall I really love You?

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My most sweet Queen, how pleasing to me is that beautiful name by which your devout clients address you: "Most Amiable Mother!" Yes, my Lady, you are truly and indeed amiable. Your beauty has captivated your Lord himself: The king shall greatly desire your beauty. (Ps. 44, 12.) St. Bernard says that your very name is so amiable to your lovers that when they pronounce or hear it they are inflamed with a fresh desire to love you: "O sweet, O pious, O exceedingly amiable Mary! You cannot be named without inflaming, neither can your name be heard without enkindling the affections of those who love you. It is, then, reasonable, my most amiable Mother, that I should love you. But I am not satisfied with only loving you; I desire in the first place on earth, and then in heaven, to be, after God, your greatest lover. If my desire is presumptuous, it is you yourself who are to blame, on account of your amiability and the special love which you have shown me. If you were less amiable my desire to love you would be less. Accept then, O Lady, this my desire; and in token that you have accepted it, obtain for me from God this love for which I ask you, since He is so well pleased with the love which is borne you.

Ejaculation. My most amiable Mother, I love You much.

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Day 18

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

One day Jesus will be seated on a throne of majesty in the valley of Josaphat; but now, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, He is seated on a throne of love. Did a king, to show his love for a poor shepherd, go and live in his village, how great would be the ingratitude of this peasant did he not often go to visit him, knowing the king's wish to see him, and that for this purpose he had come to reside there!

Ah, my Jesus, for love of me, You dwell in the Sacrament of the Altar. Could I, then, do so, my desire would be to remain night and day in Your presence. If the angels, O my Lord, filled with astonishment at the love which You bear us, remain always around You, it is but reasonable that I, seeing You for my sake on this altar, should endeavor to please You, at least by remaining in Your presence, to praise the love and goodness which You have for me; I will praise You, O Lord ... because You have heard the words of my mouth; in the sight of the Angels I will sing psalms to You ... I will praise Your name, because of Your goodness and fidelity. (Ps. 137, if.)

O God present in this Most Holy Sacrament, O bread of angels, O heavenly food, I love You, but You are not, neither am I, satisfied with my love. I love You: but I love You too little. My Jesus, make known to me the beauty and the immense goodness for me to love You: make my heart banish from itself all earthly affections, and give place to Your divine love. To fill me with Your love, and to unite Yourself all to me, You descend every day from heaven on our altars; it is, then, but just that I should think of nothing else but of loving, adoring, and pleasing You. I love You with my whole soul, I love You with all my affections. If You are graciously pleased to make me a return for this love, increase my love, render its flames more ardent; that thus I may always love You more, and desire more and more to please You.

Ejaculation. Jesus, my love, give me love!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

As poor sick persons, who on account of their miseries are abandoned by all, find shelter in the public hospitals; so also do the most miserable sinners, although discarded by all, find protection in the mercy of Mary, by whom they are never rejected; for God has placed her in the world as a receptacle and as a public hospital for sinners, as St. Basil of Seleucia gives us to understand. Hence St. Ephrem also calls her "the asylum of sinners." Therefore, my Queen, if I have recourse to you, you cannot reject me on account of my sins. No, even the more wretched I am, the greater is the claim which I have on your protection, since God has created you as the refuge of the most miserable. Therefore to you I have recourse, O Mary; I place myself under your mantle. You are the refuge of sinners; you are, then, my refuge, the hope of my salvation. If you reject me, to whom shall I have recourse?

Ejaculation. Mary, my refuge, save me!

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Day 19

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

It is sweet to everyone to be in the company of a dear friend; and shall we not find it sweet, in this valley of tears, to remain in the company of the best friend we have, and who can do us every kind of good; who loves us with the most tender affection, and therefore dwells always with us? Behold, in the Most Blessed Sacrament we can converse at pleasure with Jesus, we can open our hearts to Him, we can lay our wants before Him, and we can seek Him for His graces; in a word, in this Sacrament we can treat with the King of Heaven, in all confidence and without restraint. Joseph was only too happy when, as the sacred Scripture tells us, God descended by his grace into his prison to comfort him: She went down with him into the pit, and in bands she left him not. (Wis. 10, 13.) But we are yet more highly favored; for we have always with us in this land of miseries our God made Man, who by His real presence, is with us all the days of our life, and comforts and helps us with the greatest affection and compassion. What a consolation it is to a poor prisoner to have an affectionate friend, who keeps him company, consoles him, gives him hope, assists him, and thinks of relieving him in his misery! Behold our good friend Jesus Christ, who in this Sacrament encourages us, saying: Behold, I am with you all days. (Matt. 28, 20.) Behold me, He says, all yours: I am come from heaven into your prison expressly to console you, to help you, to deliver you. Welcome Me, and do so always; cling to Me and thus you will never feel your miseries; and afterwards you will come with Me to My kingdom, where I shall make you perfectly happy.

O God, O incomprehensible ocean of love, since Your condescension towards us is so great, that in order to dwell near us You descend upon our altars, I propose often to visit You; I am determined, as often as I possibly can, to enjoy Your most sweet presence, which is the beatitude of the saints in heaven. Oh, could I but always remain in Your presence, to adore You and to make You acts of love! I urnestly ask You to arouse my soul, when through tepidity or worldly affairs it neglects to visit You. Enkindle in me a great desire always to remain near You in this Sacrament. Ah, my loving Jesus would that I had always loved You! would that I had always pleased You! I console myself that I still have time to do so, not only in the next life, but also in this. I am determined to do so; I am determined to love You indeed, my sovereign good, my love, my treasure, my all. I will love You with all my strength.

Ejaculation. My God, help me to love You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed Bernardine de Bustis says: "O sinner, whoever you may be, despair not; but with confidence have recourse to this Lady: you will find her hands filled with mercies and graces." "And know also, that this most compassionate Queen has a greater desire to do you good than you can have to be assisted by her." O my Lady, I will forever thank God for having taught me to know you. Unfortunate indeed should I be did I not know you, or did I forget you: would it fare with my salvation. But my Mother, I bless you, I love you; and so great is my confidence in you, that I place my whole soul in your hands.

Ejaculation. O Mary, blessed is he who knows you, and puts his trust in you!

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Day 20

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

The prophet Zacharias says: In that day there shall he a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for the washing of the sinner. (Zach. 13, 1.) Jesus in the Holy Sacrament is the fountain foretold by the prophet as open to all, and to which we can go whenever we please, to wash our souls from all the stains of sin which are daily contracted. When anyone falls into some fault, what more beautiful remedy is there than to have immediate recourse to the Most Blessed Sacrament?

Yes, my Jesus, I resolve always to do this; for I know that the waters of this fountain of Yours not only cleanse me, but also give me light, and strengthen me not to fall, and enable me cheerfully to bear contradictions, and also inflame me with Your love. I know that for this end it is that You await my visits, and recompense those of Your lovers with so many graces. My Jesus, delay not; but wash me now from all the defects that I have committed this day, and for which I am grieved because they have displeased You; strengthen me against relapse by giving me a great desire to love You much.

Oh, could I but always dwell near You, as did Your faithful servant Mary Diaz, who lived in the time of St. Teresa, and had permission from the bishop of Avila to inhabit the tribune of a church, where she remained almost always in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which she called her neighbor, and which she only left to go to Confession and Communion. When the Venerable Brother Francis of the Infant Jesus, of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, passed before a church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept, he could not refrain from entering to visit it, saying: "That it was not becoming for a friend to pass before the door of a friend without entering, at least to salute him and exchange a word." But a word did not satisfy him; he always remained as long as obedience allowed him in the presence of his beloved Lord.

My only and infinite good, I see that You have instituted this Sacrament, and that You remain on this altar, to be loved by me; and that for this end You have given me a heart capable of loving You much. Why is it, then, that I am so ungrateful as not to love You, or that I love You so little? Now it is not just that such goodness as You are should be so little loved. The love, at least, which You bear me, deserves other and greater love on my part. You are an infinite God, and I am a miserable worm. It would be little, did I die for You, or wear myself out for You, Who did die for me, and do sacrifice Your entire self for me every day on the altar. You deserve to be much loved; I will love You much; help me, my Jesus, help me to love You, help me to do that which pleases You so much, and which You so earnestly seek of me.

Ejaculation. My Beloved to me, and I to my Beloved!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My most sweet, most compassionate, most amiable Queen, oh, how great is the confidence with which St. Bernard inspires me when I have recourse to you! He says that you do not go examining the merits of those who have recourse to your compassion, but that you offer yourself to help all who pray to you: "Mary does not discuss merits, but shows herself ready to hear and welcome all." Therefore, if I pray to you, graciously hear me. Well, then, listen to what I have to ask you: I am a poor sinner, deserving of a thousand hells. I wish to change my life; I wish to love my God, whom I have so greatly offended. I dedicate myself to you as your slave; to you I give myself, miserable as I am; save, then, a poor creature who is no longer his own but yours. My Lady, do you understand me? Yes; I trust that you have understood me, and graciously heard my prayer.

Ejaculation. O Mary, I am yours; save me.

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Day 21

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Wherever the body is, there will the eagles he gathered together. (Luke 17, 37.) The saints generally understand by this body that of Jesus Christ; and by the eagles, souls who, being detached from creatures, rise above the things of the earth, and fly towards heaven, after which they always sigh in thought and affection, and where they constantly dwell. These eagles also find their paradise on earth wherever they find Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament; so much so, indeed, that they seem never to tire hovering around Him. "If," says St. Jerome, "eagles scenting a body come to it from afar, how much more are we bound to seek Jesus, to fly to Him in the ever-blessed Sacrament, as the most beloved Food of our souls?" Hence the saints in this valley of tears have always as parched hearts run to this fountain of paradise. Father Balthasar Alvarez, of the Society of Jesus, in whatever occupation he was engaged, used often to cast his eyes towards the place where he knew Our Lord was present in the Blessed Sacrament; he often visited Him, and even spent entire nights in His presence. He used to weep when he saw the palaces of the great ones of this world filled with people, who paid court to a man from whom they hoped for some miserable earthly good, and the churches so abandoned, in which the supreme sovereign of the world dwells, and remains with us as on a throne of love, rich in immense and eternal treasures. He used also to say, that religious persons were indeed fortunate, because in the very houses in which they reside, they can, whenever they please, either night or day, visit this great Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament; and this, lay people cannot do.

Since, then, my most loving Lord, notwithstanding that You see me as a leper, and so ungrateful to Your love, You invite me to approach You, I will not be discouraged at the sight of my miseries: I come and approach You; Lord, wholly change me. Drive from me every love which is not for You, every desire which displeases You, every thought which does not tend towards You. My Jesus, my love, my treasure, my all, I am determined to please You alone. I will give pleasure only to You. You alone deserve all my love; You only will I love with my whole heart. Detach me from everything, my Lord, and bind me to Yourself alone; but bind me so firmly that I may never more be able to separate myself from You, either in this life or in the next.

Ejaculation. My most sweet Jesus, never allow me to be separated from You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Denis, the Carthusian, calls the Most Blessed Virgin "the advocate of all the wicked who have recourse to her." Since, then, O great Mother of God, your office is to defend the causes of the most guilty criminals who have recourse to you, behold me now at your feet; to you I have recourse, and I address you in the words of St. Thomas of Villanova: "O gracious advocate, fulfill your charge." Now quickly enter upon your office, undertake my cause: it is true that I have indeed been guilty before my Lord, having offended Him, after the many benefits and graces He has conferred upon me; but the evil is done; you can save me. You have only to tell your God that you defend me, and then I shall be forgiven, and shall be saved.

Ejaculation. My dear Mother, you have to save me.

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Day 22

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

The Spouse in the sacred Canticles went about seeking for her Beloved; and, not finding Him, she asked all whom she met: Have you seen Him Whom my soul loves? (Cant. 3, 3.) Jesus was not then on earth; but now, if a soul that loves Him seeks Him, she can always find Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Venerable Father John Avila used to say, that among all sanctuaries he could neither find nor desire a more delightful one than a church in which the Most Blessed Sacrament is reserved.

O infinite love of my God, worthy of infinite love! Oh, how could You, my Jesus, ever abase Yourself so far as, in order to dwell among men and to unite Yourself to their hearts to humble Yourself to such a point as to conceal Yourself under the species of bread? O incarnate Word, You are supreme in Your humility, because You are supreme in Your love! How can I do otherwise than love You with my entire self knowing as I do how much You have done to captivate my love? I love You much; and therefore I give Your good pleasure the preference above every interest and every satisfaction of my own. My pleasure is to give You pleasure, my Jesus, my God, my love, my all. Make me hunger to be continually in Your presence in the Blessed Sacrament, to receive You into my heart, and to keep You company. I should be indeed ungrateful did I not accept so sweet and gracious an invitation. Ah, Lord, annihilate in me all affection for created things! You will that You alone, my Creator, should be the object of all my sighs, of all my love. I love You, most amiable goodness of my God. Oh, ask nothing of You but Yourself. I desire not my own pleasure; Your pleasure is all my desire, and sufficient for me. Accept, my Jesus, this good desire of a sinner who wishes to love You. Help me by Your grace. Grant that I, a miserable slave of hell, may from this day forward be the happy slave of Your love.

Ejaculation. I love You, Jesus, my treasure, above every other treasure!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My most sweet Lady and Mother, I am a vile rebel to your great Son; but I come repentant to your mercy, that you may obtain for me pardon. Say not that you cannot do so, for St. Bernard calls you "the minister of propitiation." To you also it belongs to assist those who are in dangers. St. Ephrem calling you "the helper of those in peril." My Lady, who is in greater danger than I am? I have lost God: it is certain that I have been condemned to hell. I know not whether God has yet pardoned me. I may again lose Him. But you can obtain for me all; and from you I hope for every good, for forgiveness, perseverance, and heaven. I hope to be one of those who, in the kingdom of the blessed, will most praise your mercies, O Mary, for having saved me by your intercession.

Ejaculation. I will sing the mercies of Mary for all eternity. I will sing them forever and ever! Amen, amen.

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Day 23

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Many Christians submit to great fatigue, and expose themselves to many dangers, to visit the places in the Holy Land where our most loving Savior was born, suffered, and died. We need not undertake so long a journey, nor expose ourselves to so many dangers; the same Lord is near us, and dwells in the church, only a few steps distant from our houses. If pilgrims, says St. Paulinus, consider it a great thing to bring back a little dust from the crib, or from the holy sepulchre in which Jesus was buried, with what ardor should not we visit the Most Blessed Sacrament, where the same Jesus is in person, and where we can go without encountering so much fatigue and so many dangers! A religious person, to whom God had given great love for the Most Blessed Sacrament among other things wrote as follows in a letter: "I see that every good thing that I have comes to me from the Most Blessed Sacrament. I see the great desire that our Lord has to dispense His graces in the Sacrament. O holy mystery! O sacred Host! Where is it that God manifests His power the most, if it is not in this Host? For this Host contains all that God has ever done for us. Let us not envy the blessed who are in heaven, since on earth we have the same Lord, but with greater wonders of His love. Induce all with whom you speak to devote themselves to the Most Blessed Sacrament. I speak thus because this Sacrament enraptures my soul. Nor can I cease to speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which deserves so greatly to be loved. I know not what to do for Jesus in this Sacrament." Thus the letter ends.

O you Seraphim, who remain sweetly burning with love around your and my Lord; though it is not indeed for love of you but for me that this King of Heaven is pleased to be present in this Sacrament - O loving Angels, let me also burn with love; and enkindle your love in me, that with you I also may burn! O my Jesus, teach me to know the greatness of the love which You bear to men, that at the sight of so great love my desire to love You and please You may go on always increasing! I love You, most amiable Lord, and I will always love You; and this alone to please You.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You, and I give myself to You!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Most amiable Virgin, St. Bonaventure calls you, "the Mother of orphans"; and St. Ephrem, moreover, calls you "the receiver of orphans." Alas, these wretched orphans are no others than poor sinners who have lost God! Behold, then, I have recourse to you, Most Holy Mary. I have lost my Father; but you are my mother, who must enable me to recover Him. In this my so great misfortune I call you to my aid; assist me. Shall I remain disconsolate? No; for Innocent III., speaking of you, asks, "Whoever called upon her, and was not graciously heard by her?" And whoever prayed to you, and was not heard and helped by you? He alone is lost who has not recourse to you? Then, my Queen, if you desire my salvation, enable me always to invoke and confide in you.

Ejaculation. My own most holy Mary, give me confidence in you!

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Day 24

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Verily You are a hidden God. (Isa. 45, 15.) In no other work of divine love are these words so fully verified as in this adorable mystery of the Most Holy Sacrament, where our God is entirely hidden. When the Eternal Word took flesh, He hid His divinity, and appeared as a man on earth; but remaining with us in this Sacrament, He hides even His humanity, and, as remarks St. Bernard, appears under the form of bread, to show thereby the tenderness of the love which He bears us: "The divinity is hid, the humanity is hide: the bowels of charity alone appear." O my Beloved Redeemer, at the sight of the excessive tenderness You have for men, I am beside myself, my Lord, and know not what to say. In this Sacrament You go so far for their love as to hide Your majesty and lower Your glory; You go so far as even to consume and annihilate Your divine life. And while You are on the altar You seem to have nothing else to do than to love men, and to show them the love which You bear them. And what gratitude do they show You in return, O great Son of God?

O Jesus, O too great lover of men, allow me to say so, for I see that You prefer their advantage to Your own glory. And did You not know to how much contempt this loving design of Yours would expose You? I see, and before me You did see it full well Yourself, that the greater part of men adore You not, neither will they acknowledge You for what You are in this Sacrament I know that these very men have gone so far as to trample on consecrated Hosts, that they have thrown them on the ground, into water, and into fire. And I see the greater part even of those who believe in You, O God, who, so far from repairing so many outrages by the homage of their devotion, either come to the church to offend You still more by their irreverences, or else abandon You on Your altar, and sometimes even leave it unprovided with a lamp or the necessary ornaments!

Oh, could I, my most sweet Savior, but wash with my tears, or even with my blood, those unhappy places in which, in this Sacrament, Your love and Your enamored, heart have been so greatly outraged! But if so much is not granted me, I desire at least, my Lord, and determine, to visit You often, in order to adore You as I now adore You, and this in compensation for the insults which You receive in this most divine mystery. Accept, O Eternal Father, this scanty honor, which I, the most miserable of men, now offer You in reparation of the outrages offered to Your Son in the Most Holy Sacrament; accept it in union with that infinite honor which Jesus Christ gave You on the cross, and which he daily gives You in the Most Blessed Sacrament. O my Sacramental Jesus, would that I could fill all men with love for the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Ejaculation. O amiable Jesus, make Yourself known, make Yourself loved!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

My most powerful Lady, in the midst of my misgivings as to my eternal salvation, how great is the confidence which I feel when I have recourse to you; and when I think that you, my Mother, are, on the one hand, so rich in graces that St. John Damascene calls you "a sea of graces;" St. Bonaventure "the assemblage of graces," that is, the source in which all graces are congregated; St. Ephrem, "a fountain of grace and of all consolation;" and St. Bernard, "the fullness of every good" and when, on the other hand, I reflect that your desire to do us good is so great that you esteem yourself offended, as St. Bonaventure says, by him who does not ask you for graces: "They sin against you, O Lady," he says, "who do not ask of you" - O most rich, O most wise, and most merciful Queen, I see that you know far better than I do the wants of my soul and that you love me far more than I can love you! Know, then, the grace for which I now ask you; obtain for me the grace which you know to be the most expedient for my soul. Ask this favor from God and I am satisfied.

Ejaculation. My God, grant me the graces which Mary asks You for me.

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Day 25

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

St. Paul praises the obedience of Jesus Christ, saying, that He obeyed His Eternal Father even to death: becoming obedient to death. (Phil. 2,18.) But in this Sacrament He has gone still farther; for here He has been pleased to become obedient, not only to death, but as long as the world shall last; so that we can say: "He has become obedient even unto the consummation of the world." He, the King of Heaven, comes down from heaven in obedience to man, and then seems to dwell and converse there, in order to obey men: And I do not resist. (Isa. 50, 5.) There He remains without moving Himself; He allows Himself to be placed where men will, be it for exposition in the monstrance, or to be enclosed in the tabernacle. He allows Himself to be carried wheresoever He is borne, be it into houses or through the streets: He allows Himself to be given in Communion to whomsoever He is administered, be they just or sinners. St. Luke says that while He dwelt on earth He obeyed the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph; but in this Sacrament He obeys as many creatures as there are priests on earth: and I do not resist.

Permit me now to address You, O most loving Heart of my Jesus, from which indeed all the Sacraments flowed forth, but principally this Sacrament of love. I would gladly give You as much glory and honor as You give in the Holy Sacrament in our churches to the Eternal Father. I know that on this altar You still love me with that same love with which You did love me when You did close Your divine life in the midst of so much anguish on the cross. O divine Heart, enlighten all those who know You not with the knowledge of Yourself! Through Your merits deliver from purgatory, or at least relieve, the afflicted souls, who are already Your spouses for all eternity. I adore You, I thank You, I love You in union with all souls who at this moment love You, be they on earth or in heaven. O most pure Heart, purify my heart from all attachment to creatures, and fill it with Your holy love! O most sweet Heart, possess my whole heart, so that henceforward it may be all Yours, and always be enabled to say: "Who shall separate .... from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? (Rom. 8, 35. 39.) Write, O most Sacred Heart, upon my heart all the bitter sorrows, which for so many years You did endure on earth with so much love for me, that, on seeing them, I may henceforward desire, or at least endure with patience, all the sorrows of this life. Most humble Heart of Jesus, give me a share of Your humility. Most meek Heart, impart Your sweetness to me. Take from my heart all that displeases You; convert it wholly to You, so that I may no longer will or desire other than what You will. In a word, grant that I may live only to obey You, only to love You, only to give You pleasure. I know that I, indeed, owe You much; and that You have indeed placed me under great obligations: it will be but little if I consume and wear myself out for You.

Ejaculation. O Heart of Jesus, You are the sole Lord of my heart!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Bernard says, that Mary is that heavenly ark, in which, if we take timely refuge, we shall certainly be delivered from the shipwreck of eternal damnation: "She is the ark in which we escape shipwreck." The ark in which Noah escaped from the general wreck of the world was indeed a type of Mary. But Hesychius says that Mary is a more spacious, a stronger, and a more compassionate ark. Only a few men and a few beasts were received into and saved by the ark of Noah; but Mary, our ark, receives all who take refuge under her mantle, and with certainty saves them all. Unfortunate should we be had we not Mary! But still, my Queen, how many are lost! and why? Because they have not recourse to you?

Ejaculation. Grant, most holy Mary, that we may all and always have recourse to you!

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Day 26

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Rejoice, and praise, O you habitation of Sion; for great is He that is in the midst of you, the Holy One of Israel. (Isa. 12, 6.) O God, and what joy ought not we men to conceive, what hopes and what affections, in knowing that in the midst of our land, in our churches, near our homes, the Holy of Holies, the true God, dwells and lives in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar! He who by His presence alone renders the saints in heaven blessed! He who is love itself. "It is not so much that He has love, as that He is love itself," says St. Bernard. This Sacrament is not only a sacrament of love, but is love itself; it is God Himself, who, for the immense love which He bears his creatures, calls Himself, and is, love itself: God is Love. (1 John 4, 16.)

But I hear You complain, O my Sacramental Jesus: I was a stranger, and you did not take me in; (Matt. 25, 43.) that You came on earth to be our guest for our good, and that we have not welcomed You. You are right, Lord, You are right; and I am one of these ungrateful creatures who have left You alone, without even visiting You. Chastise me as You please; but not by depriving me of Your presence, which is the chastisement I deserve: no, I will repair my fault, and the indignities which I have heaped upon You. From this day forward I will not only visit You often, but will remain with You for as long a time as I can. O most compassionate Savior, be pleased to make me faithful to You; and grant that I may also, by my example, excite others to keep You company in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I hear the Eternal Father, who says: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt. 3, 17.) A God, then, finds all his complacency in You; and shall not I, a miserable worm, find mine in dwelling with You in this valley of tears! O consuming fire, destroy in me all affections for earthly things; for they alone can render me unfaithful, and take me away from You. You can do so if You will: Lord, if You will, You can make me clean. (Matt. 8, 2.) You have already done so much for me, do this also: banish from my heart all love which does not tend towards You. Behold, I give myself all to You: I now dedicate the whole remainder of my life to the love of the Most Blessed Sacrament. You, O Sacramental Jesus, have to be my comfort, my love in life, and at the hour of my death, when You will come to be my Viaticum and my Guide to Your blessed kingdom. Amen, amen. So do I hope; so may it be!

Ejaculation. When, O my Jesus, shall I behold Your beautiful face!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

In you, our own most holy Mother, we find the remedy for all our woes; in you we find strength in our weakness; for St. Germanus calls you the "strength itself of our weakness," in you we find a door by which to make our exit from the slavery of sin; for St. Bonaventure calls you "the gate of liberty." In you we find our certain peace for the same Saint calls you "the safe repose of men." In you we find relief in our miserable life. You are "the solace of our pilgrimage," as St. Laurence Justinian calls you. In you, in a word, we find divine grace and God Himself, for St. Bonaventure calls you "the throne of God's grace"; and St. Proclus, "the bridge by which God descends to men'; that happy bridge by which God, who had been driven to a distance by our sing, returns to dwell by His grace in our souls.

Ejaculation. O Mary, you are my strength, my deliverance, my peace, and salvation!

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Day 27

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

The Holy Church sings in the Office of the Most Blessed Sacrament "There is no other country, however great, whose gods are near as our God is near to us." When the Gentiles heard how far our God carried His works of love, they exclaimed: Oh, how good a God is this God of the Christians! And, indeed, although the Gentiles imagined their gods according to their own caprices - yet, if you read history, you will never find in all their fables, and among the many gods they invented, that they went so far as even to imagine a god so enamored of men as is our true God, Who, to show His love for His adorers, and to enrich them with graces, has worked such a prodigy of love as to become their constant companion, and to remain night and day concealed on their altars, seeming as if He knew not how to separate Himself from them, even for a moment: He has made His wondrous works to be remembered. (Ps. 110, 4.)

You, then, my most sweet Jesus, has been pleased to work the greatest of Your miracles in order to satisfy the excessive desire which You have to remain always near and present to us. Why, then, do men fly from Your presence? And how can they live for so long a time at a distance from You, or visit You so seldom? How is it that when in Your presence they get so weary that a quarter of an hour appears an age? O, patience of my Jesus, how great are You! Yes, my Lord, I understand You; Your patience is great, because the love You bear to men is great: and this it is which, so to say, forces You to dwell always in the midst of creatures so ungrateful.

Ah, my God, Who because You are infinite in perfections are also infinite in love, permit not that I should for the future be, as I have hitherto been, of the number of these ungrateful ones. Grant me a love equal to Your merits and to my own obligations. At one time I also was weary in Your presence, either because I loved You not, or because I loved You too little; but if by Your grace I am enabled to love You much, I shall no longer find it tedious to remain even for whole days and nights at Your feet in the Most Holy Sacrament. O Eternal Father, I offer You Your own Son Himself: accept Him for me, and through His merits give me so ardent and tender a love towards the Most Blessed Sacrament that, constantly turning towards some church in which Jesus dwells, I may think of, and desire with longing anxiety, the time when I may be able to go and enjoy myself in His presence.

Ejaculation. My God, for the love of Jesus, give me a great love for the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary is that tower of David, of which the Holy Ghost says in the sacred Canticles: It is built with bulwarks; a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armor of valiant men. (Cant. 4, 4.) A tower built with a thousand fortresses, and containing a thousand shields and weapons, for the benefit of those who have recourse to it. You are, then, according to an expression of St. Ignatius, the martyr, o most holy Mary, a most powerful defense for all those who are engaged in battle. Oh, how constantly are my enemies attacking me in order to deprive me of the grace of God and of your protection, my most dear Lady! But you are my strength. You, indeed, do not disdain to battle for those who trust in you; for St Ephrem calls you "the bulwark of all who confide in you." Then, defend me and fight for me, who have such great hope and confidence in you.

Ejaculation. Mary, Mary, your name is my defense!

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Day 28

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

God, having given us His own Son, says St. Paul, what good thing is there that we can fear He might deny us! How can He fail to grant us also all things with Him? (Rom. 8, 32.) We know, indeed, that all that the Eternal Father has He has given to Jesus Christ: The Father had given Him all things into His hands. (John 13, 3.) Let us, then, ever thank the goodness, the mercy, the liberality of our most loving God, Who has been pleased to make us rich in all good things, and in every grace, by giving us Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar: In everything you have been enriched in Him ... that you lack no grace. (1 Cor. 1, 5.7 )

Therefore, O Savior of the world, O Incarnate Word, if I desire to possess You, I can consider You as mine, and all mine. But can I at the same time say that I am all Yours, as You desire? Ah, my Lord, prevent it; and never let the world witness such disorder and such ingratitude as that I should not be Yours when You desire me! Ah, no; let it never be! If it has been so hitherto, let it never be so again. I now, with the utmost determination, consecrate myself entirely to You; for time and eternity I consecrate to You my life, my will, my thoughts, my actions, my sufferings. Behold me all Yours, as a victim consecrated to You, I bid farewell to all creatures, and offer my whole self to You. Consume me with the flames of Your divine love. No, I am determined that creatures shall no longer share my heart. The proofs which You have given me of the love which You bear me, even at a time when I did not love You, make me hope that You certainly accept me, now that I love You, and out of love give myself to You.

Eternal Father, I now offer You all the virtues, the actions, the affections of the Heart of Your dear Jesus. Accept them, and by His merits, which are all mine - for He has given them to me - grant me the graces which Jesus asks You for me. With these merits I thank You for the many mercies which You have shown me; with these I satisfy for what I owe You for my sins; through these I hope for every grace from You - pardon, perseverance, paradise, and, above all, the crowning gift of Your pure love. I well see that to all these gifts I myself place impediments; but You also remedy this. I ask it of You in the name of Jesus Christ, Who has promised: If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you. (John 16, 23.) Then You cannot refuse me. Lord, my only desire is to love You, to give myself to You without reserve, and no longer to be ungrateful to You, as I have hitherto been. Behold me, and graciously hear me; grant that this may be the day of my entire conversion to You, so that I may never more cease to love You. I love You, my God! I love You, Infinite Goodness! I love You, my love, my paradise, my good, my life, my all!

Ejaculation. My Jesus, Who are all mine, You desire me, and I desire You.

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

What relief do I feel in my miseries, and what consolation in my tribulations, what strength do I not find in the midst of temptations, when I remember and call you to my aid, O my most sweet and most holy Mother Mary! Yes, indeed, you were right, O you saints, in calling my Lady "the haven of those who are in tribulation," with St. Ephrem; "the repairer of our calamities," and "the solace of the miserable," with St. Bonaventure; and "the rest from our mourning," with St. Germanus. My own Mary, console me. I see myself loaded with sins, and surrounded by enemies, without virtue, and cold in my love towards God. Comfort me, comfort me, and let my consolation be to begin a new life - a life which will be really pleasing to your Son and to you.

Ejaculation. Change me, O Mary my Mother; change me; you can do it.

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Day 29

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Behold I stand at the door and knock. (Apoc. 3, 20.) O most loving shepherd, who, not satisfied with sacrificing Yourself once to death on the altar of the cross for the love of Your flock, have moreover been pleased to hide Yourself in this divine Sacrament on the altars of our churches, to be always near, and to knock at the doors of our hearts, and thus obtain Your admission. Ah, did I but know how to enjoy Your nearness to me as did the sacred Spouse in the Canticles, who says: I sat down under His shadow, Whom I desired. (Cant. 2, 3.) Ah, did I but love You, did I but really love You, my most amiable Jesus, I also should wish never to leave the foot of a tabernacle either night or day; and fixing myself near Your Majesty, concealed under the apparent shadow of the sacred species, I also should find that divine sweetness and that happiness which souls enamored of You find there. O Jesus, be graciously pleased to draw me by the odor of Your beauties, and of the immense love which You do manifest in this Sacrament: Draw me, we will run after You to the odor of Your ointments. (Cant. 1, 3.) Yes, my Savior, I will leave creatures and all earthly pleasures, to run after You in this Sacrament: As olive shoots round about your table. (Ps. 127, 3.) Oh, what abundant fruits of virtues do those happy souls, like olive shoots, bring forth to God, who assist with love before the sacred tabernacle! But I am ashamed to appear before You, O my Jesus, so naked and so devoid of all virtues. You have commanded that all who approach the altar to honor You should present a gift: You shall not appear empty before Me. (Ex. 23, 15.) What, then, am I to do? Am I no more to appear before You? Ah, no; this would not please You. Poor as I am, I will approach You; and God, provide me with the gifts which You desire. I see that You dwell in this Sacrament, not only to reward Your lovers, but also to provide for the poor out of Your riches.

Be it so, then; let us now begin. I adore You, O King of my heart, and true Lover of men. O Shepherd, loving Your sheep beyond all bounds, to this throne of Your love I now approach; and having nothing else to present to You, I offer You my miserable heart, that it may be entirely consecrated to Your love and to Your good pleasure. With this heart I can love You, and I will love You as much as I can. Draw it, then, to Yourself, and bind it wholly to Your will, so that, filled with consolation, I may be able from henceforth to say, as Your dear disciple said, that I am bound by the chains of Your love: I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus. (Eph. 3, 1.) Unite me, my Lord, entirely to Yourself, and make me forget myself, that I may have the happiness one day to lose all things, and even myself, to find You alone, and to love You forever. I love You, my Sacramental Lord; to You do I bind myself, to You do I unite myself; make me find You, make me love You; and never more separate Yourself from me.

Ejaculation. My Jesus, You alone are sufficient for me!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Bernard calls Mary "the royal road of the Savior"; the safe road by which to find the Savior and salvation. Since, then, it is true, O Queen, that you are, as the same saint says, "the chariot in which our souls go to God" - the one who guides us to Him - ah, Lady, you must not suppose that I shall advance towards God, if you do not carry me in your arms! Carry me, carry me; and if I resist, carry me by main force; do all the violence that you can by the sweet attractions of your charity to my soul and to my rebellious will, that they may leave creatures, to seek God alone and His divine will. Show the court of heaven the greatness of your power. After so many wonders of your mercy, show one more; make a poor creature who is far from God wholly His.

Ejaculation. O Mary, you can make me a saint; I hope for this grace from you!

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Day 30

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Why hide You Your face? (Job 13, 24.) Job feared when he saw that God hid His face: but to know that Jesus Christ veils His majesty in the Most Blessed Sacrament should not inspire us with fear, but rather with greater love and confidence; since it is precisely to increase our confidence, and with greater evidence to manifest His love, that He remains on our altars concealed under the appearance of bread. Novarinus says: "that while God hides His face in this Sacrament, He discloses His love." And who would ever dare approach Him with confidence, and lay bare before Him his affections and desires, did this King of Heaven appear on our altars in the splendor of His glory?

Ah, my Jesus! what loving invention was this of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to hide Yourself under the appearance of bread, in order to make Yourself loved and that You might be found on earth by all who desire You! The Prophet was right in saying that men should speak and raise their voices throughout the world, in order to make known to all men to what an excess the inventions of the love of our good God go for us: Make His works known among the people. (Isa. 12, 4.) O most loving Heart of my Jesus, worthy to possess the hearts of all creatures - Heart all and ever full of flames of most pure love! O consuming fire, consume my whole being, and give me a new life of love and grace! Unite me to Yourself in such a way that I may never more be separated from You. O Heart open to be the refuge of souls, receive me! O Heart, which on the cross was so agonized for the sins of the world, give me true sorrow for my sins! I know that in this Sacrament You preserve the same sentiments of love for me which You had when dying on Calvary; and therefore You have an ardent desire to unite me wholly to Yourself. And is it possible that I should any longer resist yielding up my entire self to Your love and to Your desire? Ah, by Your merits, my beloved Jesus, be pleased Yourself to wound me, to bind me, to force me, to unite me in all things to Your Heart. I am now determined by Your grace to give You all the pleasure that I possibly can, by trampling under foot all human respects, inclinations, repugnances, all my tastes and conveniences, which may prevent me from entirely pleasing You. So help me, my Lord, that I may execute this determination in such a way, that henceforward all my works, opinions, and affections, may be in conformity with Your good pleasure. O love of God, drive out all other loves from my heart!

O Mary, my hope, you are all powerful with God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of the pure love of Jesus until death. Amen, amen. So I hope: so may it be in time and in eternity!

Ejaculation. Who shall separate me from the love of Christ!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St Bernard affirms, that the love of Mary toward us cannot be greater or more powerful than it is; hence by her affection she is always abundant in her compassion for us, and by her power she is plentiful in the relief she affords us: "The most powerful and compassionate charity of the Mother of God abound in tender compassion, and in kind relief; she is equally rich in both."

So that, my most pure Queen, you are rich in power, and rich in compassion; you are able and desire to save all. I therefore beg you now, and I will do so always in the words of the devout Blosius saying: "O Lady! protect me in my combats, and confirm me when I am wavering." O most holy Mary, in this great battle in which I am now engaged with hell, always help me; but when you see me wavering and likely to fall, O my Lady! then extend your hand with greater promptitude, and sustain me with greater vigor. O God! how many temptations have I still to overcome before my death! Mary, my hope, my refuge, my strength, do you protect me, a nd never allow me to lose the grace of God. And on my part I resolve always and instantly to have recourse to you in all temptations, saying:

Ejaculator. Help me, Mary! Mary, help me!

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Day 31

Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

Oh, how beautiful a sight was it to behold our sweet Redeemer on that day when, fatigued by His journey, He sat down, all engaging and loving, beside the well to await the Samaritan woman, that He might convert and save her! "Jesus, therefore ... was sitting at the well. (John 4: 6). It is precisely thus that this same Lord seems sweetly to dwell with us all the day long, having come down from Heaven upon our altars, which are as so many fountains of graces, whereat He waits and invites souls to keep Him company, at least for awhile, that He may thus draw them to His perfect love. From every altar on which Jesus remains in the Most Holy Sacrament He seems to address all, saying: O men! why do you not draw near to Me, Who love you so much, and who remain thus annihilated for your sake? Why do you fear? I am not now come on earth to sit in judgment, but I have hid Myself in this Sacrament of love only to be good, and to save all who have recourse to Me: I have not come to judge the world, hut to save the world. (John 12, 47.)

Let us, then, understand, that as Jesus Christ, in heaven lives always to make intercession for them, so in the Sacrament of the Altar He is continually, night and day, exercising the compassionate office of advocate; offering Himself as a victim for us to the Eternal Father, thus to obtain for us His mercy and innumerable graces. Therefore the devout Thomas a' Kempis says that we ought to approach Jesus to converse with Him in the Blessed Sacrament without fear of chastisement, and unrestrained, as to a beloved friend, "as one who loves, speaks to his beloved, as a friend to a friend."

Since, then, You thus give me permission, let me, O my hidden King and Lord, now open my heart to You with confidence, and say: O my Jesus! O enamored of souls, I well know the injustice that men do You. You love them, and are not beloved by them; You do good, and receive contempt; You desire to make them hear Your voice, and they give You no ear; You offer them Your graces, and they refuse them. Ah, my Jesus! and is it true that I also at one time joined these ungrateful creatures in thus displeasing You? O God, it is but too true? But I am determined to amend, and to endeavor during the time that I still have to live, to make up for the displeasure which I have caused You, by doing all that I possibly can to please You and to give You pleasure. Tell me, Lord, what You ask of me, I will execute all without any reserve: make known Your will to me by the means of holy obedience, and I hope to accomplish it. My God, I now resolutely promise You that I will never, from this day forward, omit what I know to be the more pleasing to You, even were it to cost me the loss of all - parents, friends, esteem, health, yea life itself. Let all perish, provided You are pleased. Happy loss, indeed, when all is lost and sacrificed to satisfy Your Heart, O God of my soul! I love You, O sovereign good, worthy of love above every other good; and in loving You I unite my poor heart to all the hearts with which the Seraphim love You; I unite it to the heart of Mary, to the Heart of Jesus. I love You, and You alone will I always love.

Ejaculation. My God, my God! I am Yours, and You are mine!

Visit to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed Amadeus says that our most blessed Queen Mary is always in the divine presence, acting as our advocate, and interposing with God by her prayers, which are most powerful: "The most blessed Virgin stands before the face of her Creator, interceding with her most powerful prayers for us." For, he adds, "she well sees our miseries and our dangers, and as our most clement and sweet Lady compassionates and helps us with a mother's love."

You, my advocate and my most loving Mother, you even now see the miseries of my soul; you see my dangers and pray for me. Pray, pray, and cease not to pray, until you see me saved and thanking you in heaven. The devout Blosius tells me that you, O most sweet Mary, are, after Jesus, the certain salvation of those who are your faithful servants. Ah! this grace I now ask you: grant me the happy lot of being your faithful servant until death: that after death I may go to bless you in heaven, where I shall be certain never more, as long as God is God, to leave your sacred feet.

Ejaculation. O Mary, my Mother, grant that I may be ever yours.

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