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The scholar Æneas Sylvius, who later became pope under the name of Pius II, speaks in his writings of a gentleman who was long tormented by violent temptations to commit suicide. More than once, he was on the verge of executing his infernal plan. One day, it occurred to him to turn to a very learned religious for advice. The servant of God consoled him as best he could, advising him to keep a priest in his castle and to attend Holy Mass daily. The gentleman received this advice gratefully, took great care to follow it punctually, and was so well off that he was for a year free from the temptations which had once so cruelly tormented him. But it so happened that at this time his chaplain was invited to go and celebrate Mass in a neighboring parish, an invitation to which the gentleman readily gave his consent, since he intended to go there. However, pressing and unforeseen occupations kept him at the castle. Towards the hour of noon, he was, to his great horror, assailed again by his old temptations of suicide. Without thinking long about his desperate situation, he mounted one of his best horses, and immediately set off at full speed, fearing that he would not arrive soon enough to attend Mass. On his way he met a peasant, who, at his request, told him that it was in vain that he was hurrying, since mass was over. At these words, the gentleman began to curse his fate and to exclaim with the accent of deep sorrow: “It is done with me, I am lost!” The peasant, curious to know what was causing him so much fear, asked him the reason, and was greatly surprised to learn that it was simply because he had not yet heard Mass. “If you will consent, he then said to him, to give me your cloak, I will give you in return all the merit I may have derived from the Mass.” The gentleman did not hesitate; he threw his cloak to him, and nevertheless continued to walk towards a small church to satisfy his particular devotion. – But what was his astonishment, when, turning back, he saw the peasant hanging from a tree, a few steps from the place where the exchange we have spoken of had taken place.
It is probable that as a punishment for his greed and the low esteem in which he had held the fruits of the mass, he had been assailed by the same temptations to commit suicide that had tormented the gentleman, and that he had succumbed to them. The gentleman renewed his pious resolution never to let a day pass without attending Mass, and from that time on he was completely free of his old temptation.
(Æneas sylv., De Europa, c. 21.)
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.