The paradise of the Christian soul/Chap. IV. Rosaries and Exercises, in Verse, on the Life and Passion of Christ.

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The paradise of the Christian soul  (1877)  by Jacob Merlo Horstius
Chap. IV. Rosaries and Exercises, in Verse, on the Life and Passion of Christ.


Rosaries and Exercises,

In Verse,



The character of a Christian appears, not from his name, hut from his life. Glorious indeed is the profession of that name; but it will he of no avail to eternal glory, unless there he holiness of life to correspond with a name so holy.

The life of Christ, moreover, should he our rule to live by. But now there are many who take the name of Christians, hut are little careful to lead a life worthy of that name; and yet they presumptuously hope that they shall he partakers in Christ's glory, though they make no effort to be his followers in his life or on the way. Oh, how many, who in name only are Christians, are deluded by this hope, or rather preemption! who are either so indolent, or so ignorant, as not to know that a name so holy should he the spur to a more holy life, and that we should wish rather to be, than to be called, Christians.

What is to he done? Behold, our mirror is the life of Christ. Look upon it, O Christian! and compare with it thy own; and because what is straight is the rule both of itself and of what is crooked, observe in it its great beauty and its different virtues, and the stains and vices in thy own, that are, however, the easier to be washed out, the more diligently thou consultest thy spotless mirror.

Keep, then, thy eyes ever fixed upon it, and meditate day and night upon the life of Christ, that thou may est learn the faults of thy own life and the virtues of Christs, and conceive hatred for the one, and love, with longing desire, to imitate it, for the other. For meditation produces knowledge, enlightens the understanding, excites the affection, and inflames the will. But of that which is unknown there is no desire; what wonder, then, if Christ has but few to imitate him?

Can it be both distasteful to meditate on the life of Christ, and a pleasure to imitate it ?

But thou, O Christian, hear a few words on the use of this Rosary. It exhibits briefly the whole life of Christ, but suggests, if I mistake not, matter that is fruitful enough for meditation. In the first part of each verse is propounded a mystery, or point in the life and actions of Christ; in the latter, some pious affection is elicited from it, and desire for the virtue indicated is especially expressed.

It is distributed into five parts, or Decades, containing,

I. The infancy and youth of our Saviour to his Baptism.

II. The life of Christ from his Baptism to his Passion.

III. The Passion of Christ to his Crucifixion.

IV. His Crucifixion and acts on the Cross to his Death.

V. His acts after death, and, finally, his Resurrection and Ascension.

This Rosary will serve for Holy Communion, for celebrating and hearing Mass well, and also for other occasions. For as each is a memorial of our Lord's Passion, a better exercise can hardly be drawn from a better source than from its Mysteries themselves.

But that thou mayest profit the more by the use of this Rosary, whenever thou perceivest or readest of any virtue of Christ's, let it draw forth at once thy heart's affection, so that it may respond the more to that virtue or act.

Now there are various affections of the soul that harmonise with so good a work, and with these thy meditation should be watered from time to time, otherwise it will be empty and barren. They are these that follow, with an act of each subjoined.

1. Of sympathy in adversity, and congratulation in prosperity. From my heart I condole with thee, O Lord, because thou hast suffered so bitterly and undeservedly for one so unworthy as I am, &c.

2. Of Compunction and Contrition. Woe is me, for I have sinned; I am sorry because I have caused thee so many sorrows. Can I hold myself worthless when I know that thou hast bought me at so great a price! Shall I deem my soul of little value, the price of which is the Blood of Christ? Shall I be such a wretch as to sin again, when the Son of God has suffered so greatly for my sins?

3. Of Hope and Joy. It is good for me to adhere to God, and in God to place my hope. What may I not hope from thee, when thou hast done and suffered so much for me, O my God and my only refuge!

4. Of Praise and Thanksgiving. What shall I render to thee, O Lord, for all that thou hast rendered to me? My soul, bless the Lord, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

5. Of Imitation. Thou hast left us an example, O Lord! and wilt that we follow thy steps. Give what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt.

6. Of Admiration. Who art thou, O Lord, and who am I? Thou, who sufferest, art God and Lord, just and innocent. I am a worthless slave, a worm of earth, and a sinner, who have merited the punishment which thou, O miracle! endurest.

7. Of Love. O sweet Jesus, my salvation and my life! All thy works, O Lord, tell of thy love to me! It was love drew thee from heaven, and confined thee in the Virgin’s womb. It was love fastened thee to the Cross; and what shall separate me from thy love? This, oh, that neither life, nor death, nor whatever happens, may effect!

These, then, are the affections on which, according to the subject-matter, thy mind should be exercised, and thy meditation seasoned upon the Life and Passion of Christ; the practice of which in the several points is exhibited in the following Rosary, and will be taught thee more fully by the unction of the Spirit. But the affections of contrition and imitation should be chiefly attended to, especially by beginners. For to derive from the consideration of the Passion the hatred of sin and the love of virtue is one of its principal fruits. And what can more effectually deter us from sin than to think how greatly it was necessary for Christ to suffer, that he might save us from our sins? What can more powerfully incite us to the love of virtue than to reflect how God became man, visible in our flesh, and like us, to set before us examples of victory for us to imitate?

In this Rosary also are to be noted particularly the following virtues: Humility, obedience, meekness, patience, mercy, charity, &c. Remark these and the like, imitate them, and exercise other pious affections in relation to them. Christ, who, by the protection of his grace, guides those whom he teaches by the example of his life, will not fail to assist your endeavours, and will at last crown them that follow him with the eternal rewards of his glory.

The Rosary


Comprising, in a brief and agreeable manner, the principal points of his Life and Passion, and, with an easy method, supplying also fertile matter for meditation.

Father most high, who didst us make!

Jesu, who diedst for our sake!

Spirit, who care of us dost take!

One God who rulest all;

Grant that I may, with chastened thought,

The things for our salvation wrought

To memory recall.

Jesu! thou didst a Mother choose,

Whose Seed the serpent’s head should bruise, —

Seed of a Virgin’s womb!

May I, who seek thy Mother’s side.

And in her tender care confide,

Aye find in her a home!

Jesu, of joyful Saints the band,

Link’d with the Angels hand in hand,

Praise thee the Judge of all;

With these would I, too, praises bring,

Yet fear, through sinful memory’s sting:

Oh, hear thy suppliant’s call!

I believe in God.


Jesu, thy throne of glory thou

Didst quit, and for us lowly bow,

To take our shape on earth;

To us, oh, may such boundless love

Give power to raise ourselves above.

To those of heavenly birth!

Our Father.

Jesu, the Virgin Mother blest

Conceived thee in her spotless breast

By dew of heavenly grace;

May I, too, thee with purest heart,

Since in foul sin thou hast no part,

The dreadful God embrace!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, whom Mary, Mother chaste,

O’er rugged mountains bore in haste

Elizabeth to see;

Oh, that this blessed Mother mild

Would often, with her heav’nly Child,

Those sweet steps turn to me!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, with thee thy Mother pure

No pangs of childbirth did endure,

Exempt from sin's curst pow’r;

Grant that my heart, full-grown in love,

May burn towards thee, my God above,

Nor faint in trial’s hour!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, the spacious world was thine,

Yet, when thou wouldst thy head recline,

It scarce found room for thee;

And oh, shall sinful man be bent

On self-sought greatness, not content

With Christ-like poverty!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, to celebrate thy birth,

Bright Angels join in holy mirth,

With lowly shepherds nigh;

Make me, like them, my song to raise,

And chant the Angelic Hymn of praise,

Glory to God on high!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, my God and Saviour, thou

Didst, sinless, as a sinner, bow

To ordinance divine;

Restrain my loose and wandering eves,

Prune my self-will, and circumcise

This carnal heart of mine!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, to thee, the King of kings,

Brought earthly monarchs offerings,

And, falling low, adored;

For countless blessings from above,

What shall I give in proof of love?

Behold, myself, O Lord!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, on strict obedience bent,

To God thy parents thee present Tho’ free from legal bond;

Oh, make my heart, like theirs, upright,

That I may in thy law delight,

And to thy will respond!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, sweet fugitive, who fledst

From kingly Herod’s bloody quest

Thine infant life to slay;

Give me, O Lord, like modest care

To fly the world, when it speaks fair.

To steal thy grace away!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, when thee, with sorrowing mind,

Thy Mother sought, she joy’d to find,

Teaching in God’s own House;

Blest they who keep thee, free from sin,

Or, losing, can regain, within

The Church, thy mystic Spouse!

Hail Mary.

Mighty Creator, deign to hear;

Vouchsafe to listen, Saviour dear;

Directing Spirit, he thou near,

Thou art my God, my all!

Pray for us, Mary, Mother sweet,

Mother most kind, thy Son entreat,

Ever refresh our weary feet.

That seek His homeward call!


Jesu, baptised, the Father’s voice

Declared thee his peculiar choice,

The Spirit too came down;

So wash me, Lord, that I may be

At the great day approved of thee,

Before the Father’s throne!

Our Father,

Jesu, thro’ might of lengthen’d fast,

How powerfully didst thou blast

The tempter’s arch deceit;

Lest sin’s deep fraud should me confound,

Grant that I may with faith abound,

The devil’s wiles to meet!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, who calledst from the sea

Poor fishermen, design’d by thee

To teach the world thy way;

Grant, Lord, that at thy in* ward call

We too may come, and guard from fall

The feet that would delay!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, who, when a marriage guest,

Didst, at thy Mother’s sweet request,

Change water into wine;

Make me to seek, by acts of love,

My neighbour’s good, and thus to prove

My zeal for thee and thine!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, how toil’d thy blessed Feet

O’er hill and dale and stony street,

In weary want and pain!

Oh, may I rather cold and heat

Prefer, with hunger, thirst, and sweat,

To joys thou didst disdain!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, in all the zeal of love.

How graciously didst thou reprove

Poor wretches lost in sin!

Ah, may I first in penance live,

Rebuking self, then humbly strive

My brother’s soul to win!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, who didst the multitude

Twice nourish with miraculous food.

Of soul and body both;

Give 'me my daily bread, O Lord,—

Thy Flesh,— Thyself, Incarnate Word,

That feeds our heav’nly growth!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, what truths by thee were taught,

What Borrows soothed, what wonders wrought,

Requited were with hate;

Vouchsafe that I may ever be Like-minded, blessed Lord, with thee,

And envy no man’s state!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, who on Mount Thabor’s height

Didst shew thyself inglorious light,

A Type of what shall be;

Oh, that my life so stainless were,

That I too on God’s hill might share

The prize of victory!

Hail Mary.

Jesus, at sight of Salem’s steep,

Thy tender Heart was moved to weep

For all her future woes;

Oh, that thy love might wake such grief

In me for sin, and bring relief, In pardon, from its throes!

Hail Mary.

Jesu, betray’d and cheaply sold

By Judas, for the love of gold,

His God, his friend, his guide;

May I of avarice beware,

And make thy love my chiefest care,

Preferr’d to all beside!

Hail Mary.

Mighty Creator, deign to hear,

Vouchsafe to listen, Saviour dear; Directing Spirit, be thou near,

Thou art my God, my all!

Pray for us, Mary, Mother sweet,

Mother most kind, thy Son entreat,

Ever refresh our weary feet.

That seek His homeward call!


Jesus, our Lord and Master, thou

To wash thy servants’ feet didst bow,

Man’s haughtiness to lower.

Wash me, O Lord, from all my sin,

And if perchance pride lurks within,

Quell all its deadly power!

Our Father.

Jesus, who my true flesh didst take

Upon the Paschal night, and break

For our most precious food;

Oh, Living Bread, be thou my strength,

Through which the world and flesh at length

In me may be subdued!

Hail Mary.

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