PART I. THE PREPARATION
1. Remote Preparation:
Detachment from sin
Mortification of the passions
Control of the interior and exterior senses
2. Proximate Preparation:
On the preceding evening and in the morning to think over the subject of meditation, and, in particular
(a) What we should consider in Our Lord;
(b) The motives proper to convince us;
(c) The resolutions we should take.
To keep strict silence from the evening till the next morning after prayer.
To go to prayer with gladness and humility.
3. Immediate Preparation:
To put one’s self in the presence of God by acts of faith and adoration.
To acknowledge one s self unworthy to appear before God and to be suffered in His presence, making acts of humility, contrition, and union with Our Lord.
To acknowledge one s self incapable of praying, on account of blindness of intellect and perverseness of the will.
To invoke the Holy Ghost.
PART II. THE BODY OF THE PRAYER
First Point: Adoration
To consider in Our Lord the subject proposed for meditation His sentiments, His words, His actions.
To discharge toward Him our duties of adoration, admiration, praise, thanksgiving, love, and joy or compassion.
Second Point: Communion
Consideration of the motives leading to virtue and withdrawing from vice; consideration of the circumstances of the mysteries.
Reflection on one s self, with sentiments of contrition for the past, confusion for the present, and desire for the future.
Petition, with humility, confidence, and perseverance.
Third Point: Cooperation
To take resolutions definite, present, efficacious.
To have great distrust in one s self.
To put entire confidence in Our Lord.
PART III. THE CONCLUSION
To thank God for having suffered us in His presence and for the graces He gave us during prayer.
To beg His pardon for the faults we may have committed during prayer.
To beg His blessing on our resolutions, the present day, our life, and our death.
To place ourselves and the fruit of our prayer under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.
To make the spiritual nosegay "Sub tuum praesidium." "O Jesu, vivens in Maria."
SUB TUUM PRAESIDIUM
SUB tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.
WE fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
V. Dignare me laudare te, virgo sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.
V. Benedictus Deus in sanctis suis.
V. Make me worthy to praise thee, holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength from thine enemies.
V. Blessed be God in His saints.
O JESU, VIVENS IN MARIA
O Jesu, vivens in Maria, veni et vive in famulis tuis, in Spiritus sanctitatis tuae, in plenitudine virtutis tuae, in veritate virtutum tuarum, in perfectione viarum tuarum, in communione mysteriorum tuorum, dominare omni adversae potestate in Spiritu tuo ad gloriam Patris. Amen.
O Jesus, who dost live in Mary, come and live in Thy servants, in the spirit of Thine own holiness, in the fulness of Thy power, in the reality of Thy virtues, in the perfection of Thy ways, in the communion of Thy mysteries, - have Thou dominion over every adverse power, in Thine own Spirit, to the glory of Thy Father. Amen.
EXPLANATION OF THE SULPICIAN METHOD OF MENTAL PRAYER
Very Rev. A. Magnien, S.S., D.D., former Superior of the Theological Seminary of St. Sulpice, Baltimore, in his introduction to Father Hamon’s "Meditations," writes:
This work is based upon the Method of Mental Prayer, which is followed in all Sulpician seminaries and in many other religious communities throughout the world. This method is extremely logical and as simple as it is logical.
Many, however, have been trained in the Ignatian method, and do not readily take to any other.
The Sulpician method of meditation consists essentially of three parts, the first of which is called the Preparation, the second the Body of the Prayer, and the third the Conclusion. We shall devote a few words to the explanation of each. All spiritual writers presuppose in those who practice meditation a preparation known as remote. By the very nature of the case, the lives of those who aim at perfection should be characterized by detachment from worldly things as such, and by the spirit of mortification. The method proper, then, opens with the proximate preparation. This should be made on the preceding evening and in the morning, continuing until the moment we are ready to begin our prayer. In its main outlines it is a summary of the whole Meditation, and is so styled in Father Hamon’s work. After dwelling upon the goodness of God as evidenced in each particular subject, we consider what we ought to do for Him in return, and what means it were best to adopt in view of the desired end. The resolutions flow naturally from these considerations, and are determined in their character by them.
We have now to deal with the Body of the Prayer, which in Father Hamon’s work falls under the title Meditation for the Morning. In the first part, called Adoration, we study the subject in our blessed Lord, calling to mind His words, His actions, and the spirit of His life. The mystery or virtue as seen in Him will induce us to render to Him our duties of adoration, admiration, praise, thanksgiving, love, joy, or compassion, according to circumstances. The second part (including points 1 and 2) supplies us with motives and means of practicing virtue, and suggests, in each case, that we reflect upon our conduct in order to see whether, and to what extent, we possess the particular virtue recommended. Our neglect and consequent failure will inspire us with sorrow for the past, confusion for the present, and desire for the future. Recognizing that God only can give effect to our desires, we earnestly implore Him to grant us the virtue upon which we have been meditating. That nothing may be wanting to success, we in the third part of the Body of the Prayer make definite resolutions for the present day, thus insuring our own cooperation.
What we have termed the Conclusion is made up of acts in which we thank God for the graces which He has bestowed upon us during prayer, and beg His pardon for any faults of which we may have been guilty whilst holding commune with Him.
The Spiritual Nosegay is a text taken from the Sacred Scriptures, or from the Fathers, or from the Office of the Church, which both summarizes and suggests the considerations and resolutions of the morning. Those who desire more intimate acquaintance with this excellent method will find an admirable exposition of its several parts in Father Faber’s treatises: "Growth in Holiness" in the chapter on Prayer.