On Impurity


Bacchus with two Nymphs and Cupid - by EVERDINGEN, Caesar van - from Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

 

As Pride has filled Hell with Devils,
so Impurity fills Hell with Men.
There is no Vice which so much
Enslaves Men to the Devil, as Impurity.

Saint Isidore

 

On Impurity

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

The Man who Indulges-in Impurity, is like a Person Laboring under the Dropsy. The Latter, is so much Tormented by Thirst, that the more he Drinks, the more Thirsty he becomes. Such, too, is the Nature-of the Accursed Vice of Impurity; it is never Satiated. "As", says Saint Thomas of Villanova, "the more the Dropsical Man abounds-in Moisture, the more he Thirsts; so too is it with the Waves of Carnal Pleasures". I will Speak Today of the Vice of Impurity, and will Show-in the First (1st) Point, the Delusion of those who say that this Vice is but a small Evil; and in the Second (2nd), the Delusion of those who say that God takes Pity on this Sin, and that He does not Punish it.

 

First Point
Delusion of those who say that
Sins against Purity are not a Great Evil

The Unchaste, then, say that Sins Contrary-to Purity, are but a small Evil. Like "the Sow . . . Wallowing in the Mire" (2Peter 2:22), they are Immersed-in their own Filth, so that they do not See the Malice of their Actions; and therefore they neither Feel nor Abhor the Stench of their Impurities, which Excite Disgust and Horror in all Others. Can you, who say that the Vice of Impurity is but a small Evil - can you, I ask, Deny that it is a Mortal Sin? If you Deny it, you are a Heretic; for as Saint Paul says, "Do not Err: neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adulterers, nor the Effeminate, nor Liers-with Mankind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunkards, nor Railers, nor Extortioners, shall Possess the Kingdom of God" - 1Corinthians 6:9-10. It is a Mortal Sin; it cannot be a small Evil. It is more Sinful than Theft, or Detraction, or the Violation of the Fast. How then can you say that it is not a Great Evil? Perhaps Mortal Sin appears-to you to be a small Evil? Is it a small Evil to Despise the Grace of God, to Turn-your-Back on Him, and to Lose His Friendship, for a Transitory, Beastly Pleasure?

Saint Thomas teaches that Mortal Sin, because it is an Insult offered-to an Infinite (∞) God, contains a certain Infinitude (∞) of Malice. "A Sin committed against God, has a certain Infinitude, on account of the Infinitude of Divine Majesty" - Saint Thomas. Is Mortal Sin a small Evil? It is so-Great an Evil, that if all the Angels and all the Saints, the Apostles, Martyrs, and even the Mother of God, offered all their Merits to Atone-for a Single (1) Mortal Sin, the Oblation would not be Sufficient. No, for that Atonement or Satisfaction would be Finite; but the Debt contracted-by Mortal Sin is Infinite (∞), on-account-of the Infinite (∞) Majesty of God, which has been Offended. The Hatred which God Bears-to Sins against Purity, is Great beyond Measure. If a Lady find her Plate Soiled, she is Disgusted, and cannot Eat. Now with what Disgust and Indignation must God, Who is Purity itself, behold the Filthy Impurities by which His Law is Violated? He Loves Purity with an Infinite (∞) Love; and consequently He has an Infinite (∞) Hatred for the Sensuality which the Lewd, Voluptuous Man calls a small Evil. Even the Devils who held a High Rank in Heaven before their Fall, Disdain to Tempt Men to Sins of the Flesh.

Saint Thomas says, that Lucifer, who is supposed to have been the Devil that Tempted Jesus Christ in the Desert, Tempted Him to commit other Sins, but Scorned to Tempt Him to Offend against Chastity. Is this Sin a small Evil? Is it then a small Evil to see a Man, Endowed-with a Rational Soul, and Enriched-with so many Divine Graces, bring himself, by the Sin of Impurity, to the Level-of a 'Brute'? "Fornication and Pleasure", says Saint Jerome, "Pervert the Understanding, and change Men into Beasts". In the Voluptuous and Unchaste, are Literally Verified-by the Words-of David: "And Man, when he was in Honor, did not Understand; he is compared-to Senseless Beasts, and is become like to them" - Psalm 48:13. Saint Jerome says, that there is nothing more Vile or Degrading, than to allow oneself to be Conquered by the Flesh. "Nihil vilius quam vinci a carne". Is it a small Evil to Forget God, and to Banish Him from the Soul, for the Sake-of giving the Body a Vile Satisfaction, of which, when it is over, you feel Ashamed? Of this the Lord Complains by the Prophet Ezekiel, "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast Forgotten Me, and hast cast Me off behind thy back, bear thou also thy Wickedness, and thy Fornications" - Ezekiel 23:35. Saint Thomas says, that by every Vice, but Particularly-by the Vice of Impurity, Men are removed Far-from God. "Per luxuriam maxime recedit a Deo".

Moreover, Sins of Impurity, on Account-of their Great Number, are an Immense Evil. A Blasphemer does not always Blaspheme, but only when he is Drunk, or Provoked-to Anger. The Assassin, whose Trade is to Murder others, does not, at the most, Commit more than Eight (8) or Ten (10) Homicides. But the Unchaste are Guilty-of an Unceasing Torrent-of Sins, by Thoughts, by Words, by Looks, by Complacencies, and by Touches; so that, when they go to Confession, they find it Impossible-to Tell the Number-of the Sins they have Committed-against Purity. Even in their Sleep, the Devil represents-to them Obscene Objects, that on-Waking, they may take Delight-in them; and because they are made the Slaves-of the Enemy, they Obey and Consent-to his Suggestions; for it is Easy-to Contract a Habit-of this Sin. To other Sins, such as Blasphemy, Detraction, and Murder, Men are not Prone; but to this Vice, Nature inclines them. Hence Saint Thomas says, that there is no Sinner so Ready-to Offend God, as the Votary-of Lust is, on every Occasion that occurs-to him. "Nullus ad Dei contemptum promptior". The Sin of Impurity brings in its Train, the Sins of Defamation, of Theft, Hatred, and of Boasting of its Filthy Abominations. Besides, it ordinarily Involves the Malice of Scandal. Other Sins, such as Blasphemy, Perjury, and Murder, Excite Horror in those who Witness them; but this Sin Excites others, who are Flesh, to Commit it, or at least, to Commit it with less Horror.

"Totum Hominem"
Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Inferior Will/
Psychosomatic Powers/
Passion of Lust/
Sensory Appetite/
Memory/Imagination
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Intellect/
Understanding/Will/
Reason/Grace/
Infused Knowledge/
Heart/Conscience
(Dominant Partner)

 

"Totum hominem", says Saint Cyprian, "agit in triumphum libidinis". By Lust, the Devil Triumphs-over the Entire Man, over his Body and over his Soul; over his Memory, filling it with the Remembrance-of Unchaste Delights, in-order-to make him take Complacency-in them; over his Intellect, to make him Desire Occasions-of Committing Sin; over the Will, by making it love its Impurities as his Last End, and as if there were no God. "I made a Covenant with my Eyes, that I would not so much as Think upon a Virgin. For what Part should God from above have in me" - Job 31:1-2. Job was Afraid to Look-at a Virgin; because he knew that if he Consented-to a Bad Thought, God should have no-part in him. According to Saint Gregory, from Impurity arises Blindness-of Understanding, Destruction, Hatred of God, and Despair-of Eternal (∞) Life. "De luxuria caecitas mentis, praecipitatio, odium Dei, desperatio futuri saeculi generantur". Saint Augustine says that though the Unchaste may Grow-old, the Vice of Impurity does not Grow-old in him. Hence Saint Thomas says that there is no Sin in which the Devil Delights so-much, as-in this Sin; because there is no other Sin to which Nature Clings, with so much Tenacity. To the Vice of Impurity, it Adheres so-Firmly, that the Appetite-for Carnal Pleasures becomes Insatiable. "Diabolus dicitur gaudere maxime de peccato luxuriae, quia est maximae adhoerentiae; et difficile ab eo homo eripi potest; inasatiabilis est enim delectabilis appetitus" - Summa Theologica. Go now, and say that the Sin of Impurity is but a small Evil. At the Hour of Death, you shall not say so; every Sin of that kind, shall then Appear-to you a Monster of Hell. Much less, shall you say-so, before the Judgment-Seat of Jesus Christ, Who will tell you what the Apostle has already told you, "No Fornicator, or Unclean . . . hath Inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ, and of God" - Ephesians 5:5. The Man who has Lived-like a 'Brute', does not Deserve-to Sit-with the Angels.

“Prayer is Helplessness, Casting itself on Power;
Infirmity, Leaning on Strength;
Misery, Reaching to Mercy; and a
Prisoner, Clamoring for Relief”. -

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

Most Beloved Brethren, let us Continue-to Pray to God, to Deliver us from this Vice; if we do not, we shall Lose our Souls. The Sin of Impurity brings-with it, Blindness and Obstinacy. Every Vice produces Darkness-of Understanding; but Impurity produces it in a Greater Degree, than all other Sins. Fornication, and Wine, and Drunkenness, take-away the Understanding" - Hosea 4:11. Wine Deprives us of Understanding and Reason; so does Impurity. Hence, Saint Thomas says that the Man who Indulges-in Unchaste Pleasures, does not Live according-to Reason. "In nullo procedit secundum judicium rationis". Now, if the Unchaste are Deprived-of Light, and no-longer See the Evil which they do, how can they Abhor it, and Amend their Lives? The Prophet Hosea says, that being Blinded-by their own Mire, they do not even Think-of Returning-to God; because their Impurities take-away-from them, all Knowledge of God. "They will not set their Thoughts to Return-to their God: for the Spirit of Fornication is in the midst of them, and they have not Known the Lord" - Hosea 5:4. Hence Saint Lawrence Justinian writes, that this Sin, makes Men 'Forget' God. "Delights of the Flesh induce Forgetfulness of God". And Saint John Damascene teaches, that "the Carnal Man cannot Look-at the Light of Truth". Thus, the Lewd and Voluptuous, no-longer Understand what is meant-by the Grace of God, by Judgment, Hell, and Eternity (∞). "Fire hath Fallen on them, and they shall not See the Sun" - Psalm 57:9. Some of these Blind Miscreants go so-far-as to say, that Fornication is not in-itself, Sinful. They say, that it was not Forbidden in the Old Law; and in-support-of this Execrable Doctrine, they Adduce the Words-of the Lord to Hosea, "Go, take thee a Wife of Fornications, and have of her Children of Fornications" - Hosea 1:2. In Answer, I say that God did not Permit Hosea to Commit Fornication; but Wished him to Take-for his Wife, a Woman who had been Guilty-of Fornication; and the Children-of this Marriage were called Children of Fornication, because the Mother had been Guilty of that Crime. This is, according-to Saint Jerome, the Meaning-of the Words-of the Lord to Hosea. "Idcirco", says the Holy Doctor, "fornicationis appellandi sunt filii, quod sunt de meretrice generati". But Fornication was always Forbidden, under Pain-of Mortal Sin, in the Old, as-well-as the New Law. Saint Paul says, "No Fornicator, or Unclean . . . hath Inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ, and of God - Ephesians 5:5. Behold the Impiety, to which the Blindness-of such Sinners, Carries them! From this Blindness, it Arises that, though they Go-to the Sacraments, their Confessions are Null, for Want-of True Contrition; for how is it Possible-for them to have True Sorrow, when they neither Know nor Abhor their Sins?

The Vice of Impurity also Brings-with it, Obstinacy. To Conquer Temptations, particularly-against Chastity, 'Continual' Prayer is Necessary. "Watch ye, and Pray that you Enter not into Temptation. The Spirit indeed is Willing, but the Flesh is Weak" - Mark 14:38. But, how will the Unchaste, who are always Seeking to be Tempted, Pray to God to-deliver them from Temptation? They sometimes, as Saint Augustine Confessed-of himself, even Abstain-from Prayer, through Fear-of being Heard, and Cured-of the Disease, which they Wish-to Continue. "I Feared", said the Saint, "that You would soon Hear and Heal the Sin of Concupiscence, which I Wished to be 'Satiated', rather-than 'Extinguished'". Saint Peter calls this Vice an Unceasing Sin. "Having Eyes, Full of Adultery, and of Sin that Ceaseth not" - 2Peter 2:14. Impurity is called an Unceasing Sin, on-Account-of the Obstinacy which it Induces. Some Persons, Addicted-to this Vice, say: I Always Confess the Sin. So much the Worse; for, since you always Relapse-into the Sin, these Confessions serve-to make you Persevere-in the Sin. The Fear of Punishment is Diminished, by saying: I always Confess the Sin. If you Felt-that this Sin certainly Merits Hell, you would Scarcely-say: I will not give it up; I do not Care if I am Damned. But, the Devil Deceives you. Commit this Sin, he says; for you afterwards Confess it. But, to Make a Good Confession of your Sins, you must have True Sorrow of the Heart, and a Firm-Purpose to Sin no-more. Where are this Sorrow and this Firm-Purpose-of Amendment, when you always Return-to the Vomit? If you had had these Dispositions, and had received Sanctifying Grace at your Confessions, you should not have Relapsed, or at-least you should have Abstained-for a Considerable Time, from Relapsing. You have always Fallen-Back into Sin in Eight (8) or Ten (10) Days, and perhaps in a Shorter Time, after Confession. What Sign is this? It is a Sign that you were always in Enmity-with God. If a Sick Man, Instantly Vomits the Medicine which he takes, it is a Sign that his Disease is Incurable.

Saint Jerome says, that the Vice of Impurity, when Habitual, will Cease when the Unhappy Man, who Indulges-in it, is Cast-into the Fire of Hell. "O Infernal Fire, Lust, whose Fuel is Gluttony, whose Sparks are Brief Conversations, whose End is Hell". The Unchaste become-like the Vulture that Waits to be Killed by the Fowler, rather than Abandon the Rottenness of the Dead Bodies, on-which it Feeds. This is what happened-to a Young Female, who, after having Lived in the Habit of Sin with a Young Man, Fell Sick, and Appeared to be Converted. At the Hour of Death, she asked Leave-of her Confessor, to Send-for the Young Man, in-order-to Exhort him to Change his Life, at the Sight-of her Death. The Confessor, very Imprudently gave the Permission, and Taught her what she should Say-to her Accomplice in Sin. But, Listen-to what Happened. As-soon-as she saw him, she Forgot her Promise to the Confessor, and the Exhortation she was to-give-to the Young Man. And what did she do? She Raised herself up, Sat-in the Bed, Stretched her Arms to him, and said: Friend, I have always Loved you, and even now, at the End of my Life, I Love you; I see that on your Account I shall go to Hell, but I do not Care; I am Willing, for the Love of you, to be Damned. After these Words, she Fell-back on the Bed, and Expired. These Facts are Related-by Father Segneri. Oh! how Difficult is it, for a Person who has contracted a Habit-of this Vice, to Amend his Life, and Return Sincerely to God! how Difficult is it for him Not-to Terminate this Habit in Hell, like the Unfortunate Young Woman, of whom I have just Spoken.

 

Second Point
Illusion of those who say,
that God takes Pity on this Sin

The Votaries of Lust, say that God takes Pity on this Sin; but such is not the Language-of Saint Thomas of Villanova. He says that in the Sacred Scriptures, we do not Read-of any Sin so Severely Chastised as the Sin of Impurity. "Luxuriae facinus prae aliis punitum legimus" - Sermon 4. We find in the Scriptures, that in Punishment-of this Sin, a Deluge-of Fire descended-from Heaven, on Four (4) Cities, and in an Instant, Consumed not only the Inhabitants, but even the very Stones. "And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha, Brimstone and Fire from the Lord out of Heaven. And He Destroyed these Cities, and all the Country about, all the Inhabitants of the Cities, and all things that Spring from the Earth" - Genesis 19:24-25. Saint Peter Damian relates that a Man and Woman, who had Sinned against Purity, were found 'Burnt', and 'Black' as a Cinder.

Salvian writes that it was in Punishment of the Sin of Impurity, that God sent-on the Earth the Universal Deluge, which was caused-by Continued-Rain for Forty (40) Days and Forty (40) Nights. In this Deluge, the Waters rose Fifteen (15) Cubits above the Tops-of the Highest Mountains; and only Eight (8) Persons, along-with Noah, were Saved in the Ark. The Rest-of the Inhabitants-of the Earth, who were more-Numerous then, than at-Present, were Punished with Death, in Chastisement-of the Vice of Impurity. Mark the Words-of the Lord in Speaking-of this Chastisement, which He Inflicted-on that Sin. "My Spirit shall not remain in Man Forever, because he is Flesh" - Genesis 6:3. "That is", says Liranus, "too Deeply Involved-in Carnal Sins". The Lord added, "For it Repenteth Me, that I have made them" - Genesis 6:7. The Indignation of God is not like ours, which Clouds the Mind, and Drives us into Excesses; His Wrath is a Judgment, perfectly Just and Tranquil, by which God Punishes and Repairs the Disorders of Sin. But to make us Understand the Intensity-of His Hatred for the Sin of Impurity, He represents Himself as if Sorry for having Created Man, who Offended Him so Grievously by this Vice. We, at the Present Day, see more Severe Temporal Punishment, Inflicted on this, than on any other Sin. Go into the Hospitals, and Listen-to the Shrieks of so many Young Men, who, in Punishment of their Impurities, are Obliged-to Submit-to the Severest Treatment, and to the most Painful Operations, and who, if they Escape Death, are, according-to the Divine Threat, Feeble, and Subject-to the most Excruciating Pain for the remainder-of their Lives. "Because thou hast Forgotten Me, and hast cast Me off behind thy back, Bear thou also thy Wickedness, and thy Fornications" - Ezekiel 23:35.

Saint Remigius writes, that if children be-excepted, the Number-of Adults that are Saved, is Few, on-account-of the Sins of the Flesh. "Exceptis parvulis ex adultis propter vitiam carnis pauci salvantur". In Conformity-with this Doctrine, it was Revealed-to a Holy Soul, that as Pride has filled Hell with Devils, so Impurity fills it with Men. Saint Isidore assigns this Reason. He says that there is no Vice which so-much Enslaves Men to the Devil, as Impurity. "Magis per luxuriam, humanum genus subditur diabolo, quam per aliquod aliud" - Saint Isidore. Hence Saint Augustine says, that with-regard-to this Sin, the Combat is Common, and the Victory Rare. Hence it is that on-account-of this Sin, Hell is Filled-with Souls.

All that I have said on this Subject, has been said, not that anyone Present, who has been Addicted-to the Vice of Impurity, may be Driven-to Despair, but that such Persons may be Cured. Let us then come-to the Remedies. There are Two (2) Great Remedies; Prayer and the Flight-of Dangerous Occasions. Prayer, says Saint Gregory of Nyssa, is the Safeguard of Chastity. "Oratio pudicitiae praesidium et tutamen est". And before him, Solomon, speaking-of himself, said the same. "And as I knew that I could not otherwise be Continent, except God gave it, . . . I went to the Lord, and Besought Him" - Wisdom 8:21. Thus it is Impossible for us to Conquer this Vice, without God's Assistance. Hence, as-soon-as a Temptation against Chastity presents itself, the Remedy is to Turn Instantly to God for Help, and to Repeat Several Times, the Most Holy Names-of Jesus and Mary, which have a Special Virtue to banish Bad Thoughts-of that Kind. I have said Immediately, without Listening-to, or Beginning-to Argue-with the Temptation. When a Bad Thought, occurs-in the Mind, it is Necessary to Shake-it-off Instantly, as you would a Spark that Flies-from the Fire, and Instantly, to Invoke Aid from Jesus and Mary.

As to the Flight-of Dangerous Occasions, Saint Philip Neri used to say, that 'Cowards' - that is, they who Fly-from the Occasions - Gain the Victory. Hence, you must, in the First (1st) Place, keep a Restraint-on the Eyes, and must Abstain-from Looking-at Young Females. Otherwise, says Saint Thomas, you can Scarcely Avoid this Sin. "Luxuria vitari vix potest nisi vitatur aspectus mulieris pulchrae" - Summa Theologica. Hence Job said: "I made a Covenant with my Eyes, that I would not so much as Think upon a Virgin" - Job 31:1. He was Afraid to look-at a Virgin; because from Looks, it is easy to Pass-to Desires, and from Desires, to Acts. Saint Francis de Sales used to say, that to Look-at a Woman does not do so much Evil, as to Look-at her a Second (2nd) Time. If the Devil has not Gained a Victory the First (1st), he will Gain it the Second (2nd) Time. And if it be Necessary-to Abstain-from looking-at Females, it is much more-Necessary, to-avoid Conversation-with them. "Tarry not among Women" - Ecclesiasticus 42:12. We should be Persuaded that, in avoiding Occasions of this Sin, no Caution can be too-Great. Hence we must be always Fearful, and Fly-from them. "A Wise Man Feareth, and Declineth from Evil: the Fool leapeth over, and is Confident" - Proverbs 14:16. A Wise Man is Timid, and Flies-away; a Fool is Confident, and Falls.

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation

Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches. Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.

Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may Love none other, but You.

I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that belongs to me, as You Please.

I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.

I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to those who have done Evil to me.

Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.

Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary. Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.

Amen

 

Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls

This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it, or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.

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O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and Desires.

O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, Pray for us.

Amen

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Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .

 

Consecration to God thru Mary