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Blessed Alain de la Roche tells the story of a schoolmaster who, after having led the most abominable life, was brought before the courts and condemned to prison and to bread and water for the rest of his life.
He had already been a prisoner for a year, when he was struck by the air of resignation and even contentment with which one of his fellow prisoners was suffering the same punishment. He asked him how he could bear without a murmur such a sad fate from which only death could free him. The poor prisoner having answered that he attributed the cause to his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the schoolmaster said to him: “If this devotion is so advantageous, if it brings so much good to those who embrace it, why is it that you have been in prison for so long, and that, by its virtue, you have not been set free! – For a long time, he replied, it has depended on me to enjoy freedom, but I have not wanted to accept it, and I do not want it, because I am quite happy to do a harsh penance here for the rest of my life, in order to satisfy divine justice, and, by this temporal punishment, to avoid the eternal punishments which my crimes have deserved; for I will have reason to fear that my perverse inclinations to vice will cause me to fall back into the abyss of iniquity from which I am here safe from. In this view, prison seems sweet to me, and I prefer the rigor of my state to all the pleasures of the world. I owe all these graces to the Blessed Virgin, I shall pray Her to procure for you the same happiness; and, if you will devote yourself to Her service, you will feel Her protection.” The schoolmaster allowed himself to be persuaded, and addressed this prayer to Mary: “Holy Virgin Holy Virgin, have mercy on Your slave, I vow to serve You all my life, and I promise You to recite Your rosary every day, if You rescue me from this prison.” His prayer was answered. He obtained his freedom, and he took advantage of it to go to another country where he opened a school. He instilled in the children entrusted to him a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin; he taught them to say the rosary with piety, and the schoolchildren carried this holy practice into their families. The Blessed Virgin, by a last favor, opened to the master the entrance to a religious order. He led a very edifying life, and his death was precious before the Lord.
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.