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Week 1: Knowledge of Self

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Knowledge of Self

Prayers, examinations, reflection, acts of renouncement of our own will, of contrition for our sins, of contempt of self, all performed at the feet of Mary, for it is from her that we hope for light to know ourselves. It is near her, that we shall be able to measure the abyss of our miseries without despairing.

During this period, we shall consider not so much the opposition that exists between the spirit of Jesus and ours, as the miserable and humiliating state to which our sins have reduced us.


Jesus is the most perfect example of living in humility and obedience!  Perhaps we ask ourselves, "to whom are we to be subject, to whom must we be obedient?"  Yet even when we know the answer, we might resist, considering that those we are expected to obey are not without fault themselves.  Let us then pray for the grace to see our offering of obedience as instruction in humility at the hand of God, and as obedience to God himself.  And perhaps we will find in our humility the grace to truly love those with whom we find fault! – Bernadette Harmon

The Imitation of Christ, Book 3, Chapter 13, Thomas à Kempis

The Obedience of One Humbly Subject to the Example of Jesus Christ

My child, he who attempts to escape obeying withdraws himself from grace. Likewise he who seeks private benefits for himself loses those which are common to all. He who does not submit himself freely and willingly to his superior, shows that his flesh is not yet perfectly obedient but that it often rebels and murmurs against him.

Learn quickly, then, to submit yourself to your superior if you wish to conquer your own flesh. For the exterior enemy is more quickly overcome if the inner man is not laid waste. There is no more troublesome, no worse enemy of the soul than you yourself, if you are not in harmony with the spirit. It is absolutely necessary that you conceive a true contempt for yourself if you wish to be victorious over flesh and blood.

Because you still love yourself too inordinately, you are afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others. Is it such a great matter if you, who are but dust and nothingness, subject yourself to man for the sake of God, when I, the All-Powerful, the Most High, Who created all things out of nothing, humbly subjected Myself to man for your sake? I became the most humble and the lowest of all men that you might overcome your pride with My humility. Learn to obey, you who are but dust!

Learn to humble yourself, you who are but earth and clay, and bow down under the foot of every man! Learn to break your own will, to submit to all subjection!

Prayers for Week 1

Total Consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort