you are, wherever you go, you are miserable unless you turn
to God. So why be
dismayed when things do not happen as you wish and desire?
Is there anyone who has everything
as he wishes? No? neither I, nor you, nor any man on earth.
There is no one in the world, be he
Pope or king, who does not suffer trial and anguish.
is the better off then? Surely, it is the man who will suffer
something for God. Many
unstable and weak-minded people say: "See how well that
man lives, how rich, how great he is,
how powerful and mighty." But you must lift up your
eyes to the riches of heaven and realize that
the material goods of which they speak are nothing. These
things are uncertain and very burdensome
because they are never possessed without anxiety and fear.
Man's happiness does not consist in
the possession of abundant goods; a very little is enough.
on earth is truly a misery. The more a man desires spiritual
life, the more bitter the
present becomes to him, because he understands better and
sees more clearly the defects, the
corruption of human nature. To eat and drink, to watch and
sleep, to rest, to labor, and to be bound
by other human necessities is certainly a great misery and
affliction to the devout man, who would
gladly be released from them and be free from all sin. Truly,
the inner man is greatly burdened in
this world by the necessities of the body, and for this reason
the Prophet prayed that he might be
as free from them as possible, when he said: ?From my necessities,
O Lord, deliver me." (7)
woe to those who know not their own misery, and greater woe
to those who love this
miserable and corruptible life. Some, indeed, can scarcely
procure its necessities either by work or
by begging; yet they love it so much that, if they could
live here always, they would care nothing
for the kingdom of God.
foolish and faithless of heart are those who are so engrossed
in earthly things as to relish
nothing but what is carnal! Miserable men indeed, for in
the end they will see to their sorrow how
cheap and worthless was the thing they loved.
saints of God and all devout friends of Christ did not look
to what pleases the body nor to
the things that are popular from time to time. Their whole
hope and aim centered on the everlasting
good. Their whole desire pointed upward to the lasting and
invisible realm, lest the love of what
is visible drag them down to lower things.
not lose heart, then, my brother, in pursuing your spiritual
life. There is yet time, and your
hour is not past. Why delay your purpose? Arise! Begin at
once and say: "Now is the time to act,
now is the time to fight, now is the proper time to amend."
you are troubled and afflicted, that is the time to gain merit.
You must pass through water
and fire before coming to rest. Unless you do violence to
yourself you will not overcome vice.
long as we live in this fragile body, we can neither be free
from sin nor live without weariness
and sorrow. Gladly would we rest from all misery, but in
losing innocence through sin we also lost
true blessedness. Therefore, we must have patience and await
the mercy of God until this iniquity
passes, until mortality is swallowed up in life.
great is the frailty of human nature which is ever prone to
evil! Today you confess your
sins and tomorrow you again commit the sins which you confessed.
One moment you resolve to
be careful, and yet after an hour you act as though you had
made no resolution.
have cause, therefore, because of our frailty and feebleness,
to humble ourselves and never
think anything great of ourselves. Through neglect we may
quickly lose that which by God?s grace
we have acquired only through long, hard labor. What, eventually,
will become of us who so
quickly grow lukewarm? Woe to us if we presume to rest in
peace and security when actually there
is no true holiness in our lives. It would be beneficial
for us, like good novices, to be instructed
once more in the principles of a good life, to see if there
be hope of amendment and greater spiritual
progress in the future.