YOU wish to make progress in virtue, live in the fear of the Lord, do not look
for too much freedom, discipline your senses, and shun inane
is a wonder that any man who considers and meditates on his exiled state and the
many dangers to his soul, can ever be perfectly happy in this life. Lighthearted
and heedless of our defects, we do not feel the real sorrows of our souls, but
often indulge in empty laughter when we have good reason to weep. No liberty is
true and no joy is genuine unless it is founded in the fear of the Lord and a
is the man who can throw off the weight of every care and recollect himself in
holy contrition. Happy is the man who casts from him all that can stain or
burden his conscience.
like a man. Habit is overcome by habit. If you leave men alone, they will leave
you alone to do what you have to do. Do not busy yourself about the affairs of
others and do not become entangled in the business of your superiors. Keep an
eye primarily on yourself and admonish yourself instead of your friends.
you do not enjoy the favour of men, do not let it sadden you; but consider it a
serious matter if you do not conduct yourself as well or as carefully as is
becoming for a servant of God and a devout religious.
is often better and safer for us to have few consolations in this life,
especially comforts of the body. Yet if we do not have divine consolation or
yourself unworthy of divine solace and deserving rather of much tribulation.
When a man is perfectly contrite, the whole world is bitter and wearisome to
good man always finds enough over which to mourn and weep; whether he thinks of
himself or of his neighbour he knows that no one lives here without suffering,
and the closer he examines himself the more he grieves.
sins and vices in which we are so entangled that we can rarely apply ourselves
to the contemplation of heaven are matters for just sorrow and inner remorse.
do not doubt that you would correct yourself more earnestly if you would think
more of an early death than of a long life. And if you pondered in your heart
the future pains of hell or of purgatory, I believe you would willingly endure
labour and trouble and would fear no hardship. But since these thoughts never
pierce the heart and since we are enamoured of flattering pleasure, we remain
very cold and indifferent. Our wretched body complains so easily because our
soul is altogether too lifeless.
humbly to the Lord, therefore, that He may give you the spirit of contrition and
say with the Prophet: "Feed me, Lord, with the bread of