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 silliness.
Sorrow opens the door to many a blessing
which dissoluteness usually destroys.
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 good conscience.
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.
Fight 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 favor 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
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 experience
it rarely, it is our own fault because
we seek no sorrow of heart and do not forsake vain outward
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 him.
good man always finds enough over which to mourn and weep;
whether he thinks of himself
or of his neighbor 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
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 labor and
trouble and would fear no hardship. But
since these thoughts never pierce the heart and since we
are enamored 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 mourning
and give me to drink of tears in full