This meditation comes from a set of books written by a French priest that have been out of print for over 100 years. Meditations for All the Days of the Year, a 5-volume hardcover set complete with dust jackets and ribbons, is now being reprinted and is available for pre-order for a short time at nearly 60% off suggested retail. More information can be found here.
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore Jesus Christ not being able to endure that it should be said of Him that He is good. (Mark 10:18) He wills to suffer the blackest calumnies, the most unworthy treatment, both in His mortal and His Eucharistic life. Let us adore, admire, thank, and imitate Him.
We are Made up of Nothing but Miseries and Subjects of Humiliation
What is there, in fact, in us which is worth anything, or because of which we can esteem and glorify ourselves? Is it our body? God took it, as regards its beginning, out of the earth. In respect to its actual existence, it is a vessel of uncleanliness, a sink of corruption, hidden beneath a more or less agreeable coat of varnish. As to its future destiny, it will be the food of worms, a mass of decomposition, which men will hasten to bury beneath the ground, that they may not be poisoned by it. Is it our intellectual faculties in which we can glory? Alas! As regards our understanding, how limited it is, what darkness and obscurity there is in it; in our judgments, what temerity and precipitation, what errors and uncertainties; in our imagination, what extravagances, what ridiculous and absurd images; in our knowledge, what defects and ignorance! The more we know, the more clearly we see that we know nothing; and the knowledge of the philosopher who is sufficiently instructed to be able to measure the field of science, reveals to him his profound ignorance with respect to a thousand more objects than there are stars in the heavens or grains of dust on the earth. Is it the qualities of our heart respecting which we may glorify ourselves? Alas! All the vices exist there as seeds, and there is not a single vice committed by a man of which another man would not be capable if God did not hold him back. All the passions have their root therein; it is like an infected pit, whence exhale a thousand malignant vapors of vanity and pride, of sensuality and impurity, of impatience and a disordered will, of the love of pleasure and of riches. Is it our good actions and our virtues of which we have a high opinion? Alas! Where is the good work in which something evil is not mingled sometimes self-love and vain complaisance, sometimes negligence and tepidity? Is there in us a single virtue such as that possessed by the saints? Have we their humility, their mortification? And what is our whole life except inconstancy in our resolutions, weakness in our temptations, indiscretion in our words, susceptibility in our self-love, distractions and coldness in our prayers? Is it, lastly, the graces which we have received of which we may be vain? But it is that, on the contrary, which ought to put me most to shame. So many graces ought to have made of me a great saint, and I am still miserable and a sinner, still as imperfect, as negligent, as tepid as ever in the service of God. Lord, the abyss of my miseries cries out towards Thee, the depth of my nothingness raises its hands towards Thy mercy. (Hab. 3:10)
All Which Remains in us, Beyond our Miseries, is also Worth Nothing
Everything is worth only according to what it is, and according to what it has or what it can do. Now, it is a truth which has been made clear by our preceding meditations, that we are nothing, that we have nothing, that we can do nothing; therefore we are worth nothing. Moreover, on account of the way in which we have abused our being and the gifts of God, we have deserved to be deprived of all being and to return to nothingness. We have become like the salt which, having lost its savor, is fit only to be thrown into the dirt, and to be trodden down under the feet of the contempt of men. Let us be ashamed, then, that, being worth nothing, we have nevertheless esteemed ourselves so greatly; let us ask God to pardon us for the past, and beg of Him grace to be content, for the future, that we should be despised and looked upon as worth nothing.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.