a suitable time for leisure and meditate often on the favors
of God. Leave curiosities alone.
Read such matters as bring sorrow to the heart rather than
occupation to the mind. If you withdraw
yourself from unnecessary talking and idle running about,
from listening to gossip and rumors, you
will find enough time that is suitable for holy meditation.
many great saints avoided the company of men wherever possible
and chose to serve God
in retirement. "As often as I have been among men,"
said one writer, "I have returned less a man."
We often find this to be true when we take part in long conversations.
It is easier to be silent
altogether than not to speak too much. To stay at home is
easier than to be sufficiently on guard
while away. Anyone, then, who aims to live the inner and
spiritual life must go apart, with Jesus,
from the crowd.
man appears in safety before the public eye unless he first
relishes obscurity. No man is
safe in speaking unless he loves to be silent. No man rules
safely unless he is willing to be ruled.
No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to
obey. No man rejoices safely unless
he has within him the testimony of a good conscience.
than this, the security of the saints was always enveloped
in the fear of God, nor were
they less cautious and humble because they were conspicuous
for great virtues and graces. The
security of the wicked, on the contrary, springs from pride
and presumption, and will end in their
promise yourself security in this life, even though you seem
to be a good religious, or a
devout hermit. It happens very often that those whom men
esteem highly are more seriously
endangered by their own excessive confidence. Hence, for
many it is better not to be too free from
temptations, but often to be tried lest they become too secure,
too filled with pride, or even too
eager to fall back upon external comforts.
only a man would never seek passing joys or entangle himself
with worldly affairs, what a
good conscience he would have. What great peace and tranquillity
would be his, if he cut himself
off from all empty care and thought only of things divine,
things helpful to his soul, and put all his
trust in God.
man deserves the consolation of heaven unless he persistently
arouses himself to holy
contrition. If you desire true sorrow of heart, seek the
privacy of your cell and shut out the uproar
of the world, as it is written: "In your chamber bewail
your sins." There you will find what too
often you lose abroad.
cell will become dear to you if you remain in it, but if you
do not, it will become wearisome.
If in the beginning of your religious life, you live within
your cell and keep to it, it will soon become
a special friend and a very great comfort.
silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns
the hidden truths of Scripture.
There she finds a flood of tears with which to bathe and
cleanse herself nightly, that she may become
the more intimate with her Creator the farther she withdraws
from all the tumult of the world. For
God and His holy angels will draw near to him who withdraws
from friends and acquaintances.
is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation
than to neglect it and work
miracles. It is praiseworthy for a religious seldom to go
abroad, to flee the sight of men and have
no wish to see them.
wish to see what you are not permitted to have? ?The world
passes away and the
concupiscence thereof.? Sensual craving sometimes entices
you to wander around, but when the
moment is past, what do you bring back with you save a disturbed
conscience and heavy heart? A
happy going often leads to a sad return, a merry evening
to a mournful dawn. Thus, all carnal joy
begins sweetly but in the end brings remorse and death.
can you find elsewhere that you cannot find here in your cell?
Behold heaven and earth
and all the elements, for of these all things are made. What
can you see anywhere under the sun
that will remain long? Perhaps you think you will completely
satisfy yourself, but you cannot do
so, for if you should see all existing things, what would
they be but an empty vision?
your eyes to God in heaven and pray because of your sins and
shortcomings. Leave vanity
to the vain. Set yourself to the things which God has commanded
you to do. Close the door upon
yourself and call to you Jesus, your Beloved. Remain with
Him in your cell, for nowhere else will
you find such peace. If you had not left it, and had not
listened to idle gossip, you would have
remained in greater peace. But since you love, sometimes, to
hear news, it is only right that you
should suffer sorrow of heart from it.