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V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
Let us pray.
Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, all this habitation, and drive all dangers far from it, and from this thine handmaid; and let thy holy angels dwell in it, to preserve her and her offspring in peace; and let thy blessing be always upon her: save them, O Almighty God, and grant unto them thy perpetual light. Through our Lord, &c.
A Prayer that may be daily said by a Woman in the
state of Pregnancy. O Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who hast made us all out of nothing, and redeemed us by the precious blood of thy only Son; look down upon thy poor handmaid here prostrate before thee, humbly imploring thy mercy, and begging thy blessing for herself and her child, which thou hast given her to conceive. Preserve, I beseech thee, the work of thy hands; and defend both me and the tender fruit of my womb from all perils and all evils. Grant me in due time a happy delivery, and bring my child safe to the font of baptism, that it may be there happily dedicated to thee, to love and serve thee faithfully for ever. But, O my God, I have too much reason to fear, lest my great and manifold sins should hinder thee from hearing my prayers, and draw down thy judgments upon me and mine, instead of the mercies for which I pray: and therefore I feel that the first thing I ought to do is, to repent from the bottom of my heart for all my offences, humbly confess them, and continually cry to thee for mercy. I do
test, then, all my sins with my whole heart, and desire to lay them all here at thy feet, to be effaced and destroyed for ever. I renounce and abhor them with my whole soul, because they are infinitely odious to thee; and I wish that I could expiate them with tears of blood : I humbly beg thy pardon for them all, and I wish, with all my heart, that I had never committed them. I here offer myself to make what satisfaction I am able for them; and I most willingly accept of whatever I may have to endure in childbearing, and offer it up now beforehand to thee for my sins; firmly resolving, by thy grace, never wilfully to offend thee any more, Look upon my poor heart, O Lord, and if it be not according to my words, at least I desire it should be so: I desire it should be that contrite and humble heart, which thou never despisest. In this disposition of soul, and with a lively confidence in thy mercies, and in the merits of the death and passion of Jesus Christ thy Son, I renew my most humble petition, and once more beg of thee, for myself, thy grace and protection, and a happy delivery; and for my child, that thou wouldest be pleased to preserve it for the grace of holy baptism, sanctify it for thyself, and make it thine for ever. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
DEVOTIONS FOR THE SICK. If you are attacked by any serious illness, let your first care be to send for your spiritual physician, and settle the state of your soul. This is much better done in the beginning of sickness than afterwards, when the strength of fever, or the nature of the remedies, may render a person absolutely unfit for so great a work. Sickness is often sent for a punishment of sin, and therefore a sincere repentance and confession of sin are often a more effectual means of recovery than any other.
2. If you have not already made your Will, as in prudence you ought, let this also be done in the beginning of your sickness; that so, having settled your temporal affairs, you may apply your soul without disturbance to the spiritual.
3. Engage your best friends to give you timely notice if your illness be dangerous; and not to flatter you with hopes of life, when there are little or no grounds for hope. Make the best you can of that time which, perhaps, is to be your last. Admit but of few visits, nor of any discourse but such as may be for your soul's profit.
4. Take proper care for the discharge of your debts, and all other obligations incumbent upon you; and this as much as may be in the beginning also of your sickness. Forgive all those who have in any way injured you, and ask pardon of those whom you have injured.
5. Receive your sickness from the hand of God, with a perfect resignation to his holy will, as a just punishment of your offences ; frequently offer yourself up to him, and beg that he will give you patience, and sanctify your sufferings, and that he will accept of all your pains and uneasiness, in union with the sufferings of your Saviour Jesus Christ, in deduction of the punishment due to your sins,
6. Often procure some friends to read to you such prayers as are most affecting and proper for your present condition, especially the Penitential Psalms, the Litanies, Acts of the Love of God, of Patience and Resignation, &c.
7. Have the crucifix, or a picture of Christ crucified, always before your eyes : think often upon his passion, hide yourself in spirit in his wounds, and embrace his feet with all the affection of your soul.
8. Aim, as much as you can, at a penitential spirit during your sickness; often cry to God for mercy, and make frequent acts of contrition for your sins, St. Augustine used to say, that no Christian, however innocent his life might have been, ought to venture to die in any other state than that of a penitent.
A Prayer proper to be daily repeated in time of
Sickness. O Lord Jesus Christ, behold I receive this sickness, with which thou art pleased to visit me, as coming from thy fatherly hand. It is thy will it should be thus with me, and therefore I submit: thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. May this sickness be to the honour of thy holy name, and for the good of my soul. For this end, I here offer myself with an entire submission to all thine appointments, to suffer whatever thou pleasest, as long as thou pleasest, and in what manner thou pleas. est; for I am thy creature, O Lord, who have most ungratefully offended thee; and since my sins have a long time cried aloud to heaven for justice, why should I now complain if I feel thy hand upon me?
But rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy fury, nor chastise me in thy wrath ; but have regard to my weakness. Thou knowest how frail I am ; that I am nothing but dust and ashes. Deal not with me, therefore, according to my sins, neither punish me according to mine iniqui. ties; but, according to the multitude of thy most tender mercies, have compassion on me. 0! let thy justice be tempered with mercy, and let thy heavenly grace come to my assistance, to support me under this my illness. Confirm my soul with strength from above, that I may bear with a true Christian patience all the uneasiness, pains, disquiets, and difficulties of my sickness, and that I may cheerfully accept them as the just punishment of my offences. Preserve me from all temptations, and be thou my defence against all the assaults of the enemy, that in this illness I may in no way offend thee; and if this is to be my last, I beseech thee so to direct me by thy grace, that I may not neglect nor be deprived of those helps which, in thy mercy, thou hast ordained for the good of my soul, to prepare it for its passage into eternity; that, being perfectly cleansed from all my sins, I may believe in thee, put my whole trust in thee, love thee above all things, and, through the merits of thy death and passion, be admitted into the company of the blessed, where I may praise thee for ever. dmen. Short Acts of the most necessary Virtues proper to be
inculcated in the time of Sickness. Lord, I accept this sickness from thy hands, and entirely resign myself to thy blessed will, whether it be for life or death. Not my will, but thine be done : thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Lord, I submit to all the pains and uneasiness of this my illness ; my sins have deserved infinitely more. Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right.
Lord, I offer up to thee all that I now suffer, or may have yet to suffer, to be united to the sufferings of my Redeemer, and sanctified by his passion.
I adore thee, O my God and my All, as my first beginning and last end ; and I desire to pay thee the best homage I am able, and to bow down all the powers of my soul to thee.
Lord, I desire to praise thee for ever, in sickness as well as in health ; I desire to join my heart and voice with the whole Church of heaven and earth, in blessing thee for ever.
I give thee thanks from the bottom of my heart for all the mercies and blessings bestowed upon me and thy whole Church, through Jesus