To thee do we sigh, mourning and weeping, in this valley of tears.
A young nobleman who was on a sea-voyage begun to read an obscene book, in which he took much pleasure. A religious noticed this, and said to him: “Are you disposed to make a present to our Blessed Lady?” The young man replied that he was. “Well,” the other answered, “I wish that, for the love of the most holy Virgin you would give up that book, and throw it into the sea.” “Here it is, Father,” said the young man. “No,” replied the religious, “you must yourself make Mary this present.” He did so; and no sooner had he returned to Genoa, his native place, than the Mother of God so inflamed his heart with divine love that he entered a religious Order.
O my soul, see what a sure hope of salvation and eternal life our Lord has given you, by having in his mercy inspired you with confidence in the patronage of his Mother; and this, notwithstanding that so many times by your sins you have merited his displeasure and hell. Thank your God, and thank your protectress Mary, who has condescended to take you under her mantle; for of this you may be well convinced, after the many graces that you have received by her means. O yes, I do thank you, my most loving Mother, for all you have done for me who am deserving of hell. And from how many dangers have you not delivered me, O Queen! How many inspirations and mercies have you not obtained for me from God! What service, what honor, have I ever rendered you, that you should do so much for me? I know that it is your sole goodness that has impelled you. Ah, too little would it be in comparison with all that I owe you, did I shed my blood and give my life for you; for you have delivered me from eternal death; you have enabled me, as I hope, to recover divine grace; to you, in fine, I owe all I have. My most amiable Lady, I, poor wretch that I am, can make you no return but that of always loving and praising you. Ah, disdain not to accept the tender affection of a poor sinner, who is inflamed with love for your goodness. If my heart is unworthy to love you, because it is impure and filled with earthly affections it is you who must change it. Ah, change it, then. Bind me to my God, and bind me so that I may never more have it in my power to separate myself from his love. You ask of me that I should love your God, and I ask of you that you should obtain this love for me, to love him always; this is all that I desire. Amen.