“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 12:42
I ponder the salt of Wisdom which preserves the richness of our faith.
St. Augustine (Confessions I.11)
17. Even as a boy I had heard of eternal life promised to us through the humility of the Lord our God condescending to our pride, and I was signed with the sign of the cross, and was seasoned with His salt even from the womb of my mother, who greatly trusted in You. You saw, O Lord, how at one time, while yet a boy, being suddenly seized with pains in the stomach, and being at the point of death — You saw, O my God, for even then You were my keeper, with what emotion of mind and with what faith I solicited from the piety of my mother, and of Your Church, the mother of us all, the baptism of Your Christ, my Lord and my God. On which, the mother of my flesh being much troubled — since she, with a heart pure in Your faith, travailed in birth Galatians 4:19 more lovingly for my eternal salvation — would, had I not quickly recovered, have without delay provided for my initiation and washing by Your life-giving sacraments, confessing You, O Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins. So my cleansing was deferred, as if I must needs, should I live, be further polluted; because, indeed, the guilt contracted by sin would, after baptism, be greater and more perilous. Thus I at that time believed with my mother and the whole house, except my father; yet he did not overcome the influence of my mother’s piety in me so as to prevent my believing in Christ, as he had not yet believed in Him. For she was desirous that You, O my God, should be my Father rather than he; and in this You aided her to overcome her husband, to whom, though the better of the two, she yielded obedience, because in this she yielded obedience to You, who so commands.
18. I beseech You, my God, I would gladly know, if it be Your will, to what end my baptism was then deferred? Was it for my good that the reins were slackened, as it were, upon me for me to sin? Or were they not slackened? If not, whence comes it that it is still dinned into our ears on all sides,Let him alone, let him act as he likes, for he is not yet baptized? But as regards bodily health, no one exclaims,Let him be more seriously wounded, for he is not yet cured!How much better, then, had it been for me to have been cured at once; and then, by my own and my friends’ diligence, my soul’s restored health had been kept safe in Your keeping, who gave it! Better, in truth. But how numerous and great waves of temptation appeared to hang over me after my childhood! These were foreseen by my mother; and she preferred that the unformed clay should be exposed to them rather than the image itself.
Preserving in prayer
O my Redeemer,
will that dreadful time ever come,
when but few Christians shall be left
who are inspired by the spirit of faith,
that time when Thine anger shall be provoked
and Thy protection shall be take away from us?
Have our vices and our evil lives
irrevocably moved Thy justice to take vengeance,
perhaps this very day,
upon Thy children?
O Thou, the beginning and end of our faith,
we conjure Thee,
in the bitterness of our contrite and humbled hearts,
not to suffer the fair light of faith
to be extinguished in us.
Remember Thy mercies of old,
turn Thine eyes in mercy upon the vineyard
planted by Thine own right hand,
and watered by the sweat of the Apostles,
by the precious blood of countless Martyrs
and by the tears of so many sincere penitents,
and made fruitful by the prayers
of so many Confessors and innocent Virgins.
O divine Mediator,
look upon those zealous souls
who raise their hearts to Thee
and pray ceaselessly
for the maintenance of that most precious gift of Thine,
the true faith.
We beseech Thee,
O God of justice,
to hold back the decree of our rejection,
and to turn away Thine eyes from our vices
and regard instead the adorable Blood
shed upon the Cross,
which purchased our salvation
and daily intercedes for us upon our altars.
Ah, keep us safe in the true Catholic and Roman faith.
Let sickness afflict us,
vexations waste us,
misfortunes overwhelm us!
But preserve in us Thy holy faith;
for if we are rich with this precious gift,
we shall gladly endure every sorrow,
and nothing shall ever be able to change our happiness.
On the other hand,
without this great treasure of faith,
our unhappiness would be unspeakable and without limit!
O good Jesus, author of our faith,
preserve it untainted within us;
keep us safe in the bark of Peter,
faithful and obedient to his successor
and Thy Vicar here on earth,
that so the unity of Holy Church may be maintained,
the Holy See protected in freedom,
and the Church universal extended
to the benefit of souls.
O Jesus, author of our faith,
humble and convert the enemies of Thy Church;
grant true peace
and concord to all Christian kings and princes
and to all believers;
strengthen and preserve us in Thy holy service,
so that we may live in Thee and die in Thee.
O Jesus, author of our faith,
let me live for Thee and die for Thee.
(St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, C.Ss.R.)