Practices of a Good Religious
life of a good religious ought to abound in every virtue so that he is
interiorly what to others he appears to be. With good reason there ought to be
much more within than appears on the outside, for He who sees within is God,
Whom we ought to reverence most highly wherever we are and in Whose sight we
ought to walk pure as the angels.
day we ought to renew our resolutions and arouse ourselves to fervour as though
it were the first day of our religious life. We ought to say: "Help me, O
Lord God, in my good resolution and in Your holy service. Grant me now, this
very day, to begin perfectly, for thus far I have done nothing."
our intention is, so will be our progress; and he who desires perfection must be
very diligent. If the strong-willed man fails frequently, what of the man who
makes up his mind seldom or half-heartedly? Many are the ways of failing in our
resolutions; even a slight omission of religious practice entails a loss of some
men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their
resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking, for man, indeed, proposes
but God disposes, and God's
you cannot recollect yourself continuously, do so once a day at least, in the
morning or in the evening. In the morning make a resolution and in the evening
examine yourself on what you have said this day, what you have done and thought,
for in these things perhaps you have often offended God and those about you.
yourself like a man against the devil's assaults. Curb your appetite and you
will more easily curb every inclination of the flesh. Never be completely
unoccupied, but read or write or pray or meditate or do something for the common
good. Bodily discipline, however, must be undertaken with discretion and is not
to be practiced indiscriminately by everyone.
not common to all are not to be displayed in public, for such personal things
are better performed in private. Furthermore, beware of indifference to
community prayer through love of
everyone can have the same devotion. One exactly suits this person, another
that. Different exercises, likewise, are suitable for different times, some for
feast days and some again for weekdays. In time of temptation we need certain
devotions. For days of rest and peace we need others. Some are suitable when we
are sad, others when we are joyful in the Lord.
the time of the principal feasts good devotions ought to be renewed and the
intercession of the saints more fervently implored. From one feast day to the
next we ought to fix our purpose as though we were then to pass from this world
and come to the eternal holyday.
holy seasons, finally, we ought to prepare ourselves carefully, to live holier
lives, and to observe each rule more strictly, as though we were soon to receive
from God the reward of our labours. If this end be deferred, let us believe that
we are not well prepared and that we are not yet worthy of the great glory that
shall in due time be revealed to us. Let us try, meanwhile, to prepare ourselves
better for death.
is the servant," says Christ, "whom his master, when he cometh, shall
I say to you: he shall make him ruler over all his goods."