Ordering Devotions

Father Guibert offers advice on how to prioritize religious devotions. He writes: “It is important to bring to [devotions] a certain order and to give the first place to those that bring us most directly into communion with God.”

“The devotions which are addressed to our Lord, then, will win our preference. The Holy Eucharist will hold the first place, because it contains Christ Himself living whole and entire under the forms of the sacred species: therein we have His flesh, His heart, His soul, His virtues and His divinity: to receive Him and to visit Him often in this great Sacrament, this is the primary devotion of the true Christian.”

“Next comes the Gospel, which under the surface of the letter offers us the very word of Jesus: it is a very Catholic devotion always to carry with one, and to read frequently, the sacred text.”

“Of all the symbols that speak to us of Jesus Christ, there is none more traditional nor more suggestive than the Crucifix; since it is on the Cross that Jesus redeemed us, and on the Cross that He desires to be exhibited before the eyes of all generations of men, we ought to carry the Cross on our breasts, and to hang it up in the most worthy position in our houses and to keep it on our work-tables.”

“After having given the Holy Eucharist, the Gospel, and the Cross, the honour due to them, we may follow our inclination for this or that part of the Person or the life of our Lord; His Infancy, His Passion, His Divine Heart, His precious Blood, the five Wounds, the various instruments of His Passion, the Way of the Cross, and so on.”

“After Jesus, there is no one who gives us God Himself more than Mary.” She is honoured “according to the mystery of her life” and “according to the excellence or the intercessory power that we venerate in her.” However, “Mary should be honoured for the sake of Jesus, and that in Mary we should look for Jesus, and that, with Mary’s help, we should grow like Jesus.”

“Beyond these devotions to our Lord and to His holy Mother, we must be very sober. All the Saints certainly deserve special honours; all are powerful intercessors on our behalf. . . . But our spirit is soon found wanting; it cannot engage in too many things without overstrain to breaking-point.” We must “fix a limit to our devotions to the Saints.”

Quotations from Jean Guibert, On the Exercises of Piety (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1911).

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