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Introduction to the Devout Life
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CHAPTER XV. Of the other Public Offices of the Church.

FURTHERMORE, my daughter, you should endeavour to assist at the Offices, Hours, Vespers, etc., as far as you are able, especially on Sundays and Festivals, days which are dedicated to God, wherein we ought to strive to do more for His Honour and Glory than on others. You will greatly increase the fervour of your devotion by so doing, even as did S. Augustine, who tells us in his Confessions, that in the early days of his conversion he was touched to the quick, and his heart overflowed in happy tears, when he took part in the Offices of the Church. 4141     “Nor was I sated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning the salvation of mankind. How did I weep, in Thy hymns and canticles, touched to the quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned church The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth distilled into my heart, whence the affections of my devotion overflowed, and tears ran down, and happy was I therein.”—conf. bk. ix. 14. Moreover (let me say it here once for all), there is always more profit and more consolation in the public Offices of the Church than in private acts of devotion, God having willed to give the preference to communion in prayer over all individual action. Be ready to take part in any confraternities and associations you may find in the place where you are called to dwell, especially such as are most fruitful and edifying. This will be pleasing to God; for although confraternities are not ordained, they are recommended by the Church, which grants various privileges to those who are united thereby. And it is always a work of love to join with others and take part in their good works. And although it may be possible that you can use equally profitable devotions by yourself as in common with others,—perhaps even you may like doing so best,—nevertheless God is more glorified when we unite with our brethren and neighbours and join our offerings to theirs.

I say the same concerning all public services and prayers, in which, as far as possible, each one of us is bound to contribute the best example we can for our neighbour’s edification, and our hearty desire for God’s Glory and the general good of all men.


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