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 fervor 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
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 kind.
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 way is not man?s. If a habitual exercise is sometimes
omitted out of piety or in the
interests of another, it can easily be resumed later. But
if it be abandoned carelessly, through
weariness or neglect, then the fault is great and will prove
hurtful. Much as we try, we still fail too
easily in many things. Yet we must always have some fixed
purpose, especially against things
which beset us the most. Our outward and inward lives alike
must be closely watched and well
ordered, for both are important to perfection.
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
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 your own devotions. If, however, after doing completely
and faithfully all you are bound and
commanded to do, you then have leisure, use it as personal
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 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
labors. 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 find watching.
Amen I say to you: he shall make him ruler over all his goods."