1. Consider the points on which you are about to renew your resolutions.
- Firstly, that you have forsaken, rejected, detested and renounced all mortal sin for ever.
- Secondly, that you have dedicated and consecrated your soul, heart and body, with everything appertaining thereto, to the Service and Love of God.
- Thirdly, that if you should unhappily fall into any sin, you would forthwith rise up again, with the help of God’s Grace.
Are not these worthy, right, noble resolutions? Consider well within your soul how holy, reasonable and desirable an act it is to renew them.
2. Consider to Whom you make these promises; for if a deliberate promise made to men is strictly binding, how much more those which we make to God. “My heart is inditing of a good matter. I will not forget Thee,” David cried out. (1)
3. Consider before Whom you promised. It was before the whole Court of Heaven. The Blessed Virgin, S. Joseph, your Guardian Angel, S. Louis, the whole Company of the Blessed, were looking on with joy and approbation, beholding, with love unspeakable, your heart cast at your Saviour’s Feet and dedicated to His Service. That act of yours called forth special delight in the Heavenly Jerusalem, and it will now be renewed if you on your part heartily renew your good resolutions.
4. Consider how you were led to make those resolutions. How good and gracious God was then to you! Did He not draw you by the tender wiles of His Holy Spirit? Were not the sails by which your little bark was wafted into the haven of safety those of love and charity? Did not God lure you on with His Heavenly Sweetness, by Sacraments, prayer, and pious books? Ah, my child, while you slept God watched over you with His boundless Love, and breathed thoughts of peace into your heart!
5. Consider when God led you to these important resolutions. It was in the flower of your life, and how great the blessing of learning early what we can never know soon enough. S. Augustine, who acquired that knowledge when he was thirty years old, exclaimed, “Oh, Thou Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new, too late I loved Thee! Thou wert within and I abroad: Thou wert with me, but I was not with Thee.” (2) Even so you may say, “Oh, Blessedness of ancient days, wherefore did I not appreciate Thee sooner!” You were not yet worthy of it, and yet God gave you such grace in your youth;–therefore say with David, “Thou, O God, hast taught me from my youth up until now; therefore will I tell of Thy wondrous works.” (3) Or if you who read should not have known Him till old age, bethink you how great His Grace in calling you after you had wasted so many years; how gracious the Mercy which drove you from your evil courses before the hour of death, which, had it found you unchanged, must have brought you eternal woe.
Consider the results of this call; you will surely find a change for the better, comparing what you are with what you were. Is it not a blessing to know how to talk with God in prayer, to desire to love Him, to have stilled and subdued sundry passions which disturbed you, to have conquered sundry sins and perplexities, and to have received so many more Communions than formerly, thereby being united to the Great Source of all eternal grace? Are not all these things exceeding blessings?
Weigh them, my child, in the balances of the sanctuary, for it is God’s Right Hand which has done all this: “The Right Hand of the Lord hath the pre-eminence, the Right Hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (4) with heart, lips and deeds.
After dwelling upon all these considerations, which will kindle abundance of lively affections in you, you should conclude simply with an act of thanksgiving, and a hearty prayer that they may bring forth fruit, leaving off with great humility and trust in God, and reserving the final results of your resolution till after the second point of this spiritual exercise