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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
A young man, long forgotten of God, leaving for Paris, went, out of politeness, to ask a lady, a friend of his family, for his errands. “I would have one, said the lady, a small one, but perhaps it would bother you? – Say, Madame, I am at your orders. – Well, have the goodness, on your arrival in the capital, to go and say an Ave Maria for me at Notre-Dame des Victoires.”
Out of propriety, the young man bowed; but the errand was scarcely to his taste: he did not care for devotion. After a month’s stay spent visiting the wonders of Paris, the young traveler, ready to leave, remembered the promised Ave Maria. “Too bad!” he said to himself, “I won’t go… However, if, I go there…. I promised…” He runs to Notre-Dame des Victoires, kneels half on a kneeler, and, with the air of which one makes a chore, he searches in a corner of his memory for the prayer to Mary, almost forgotten; finally he finds it, and recites it. And, suddenly, as a burning coal sets fire to dry wood, this sweet invocation suddenly penetrates to the depths of the soul of this young sinner: he sheds tears that he no longer knows. The venerable parish priest of Notre-Dame des Victoires, accustomed to these sudden conversions, approached this prodigal whose trouble he guessed. The young man confessed, delayed his departure, took communion, and on his return to his country, his first visit was to the Lady of the Ave Maria, whom this change did not surprise too much, for she had been the real reason for the service requested.