Acts of Faith, Hope and Love are valves which provide an outlet for the fire of those souls that live the life of God.
Do everything unselfishly, for pure Love, as if there were neither reward nor punishment. But in your heart foster the glorious hope of heaven.
It is good that you serve God as a son, without payment, generously. But don't worry if at times you think of the reward.
Jesus says: 'And anyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life'.
Try to find on earth anyone who repays so generously!
Jesus remains silent. Jesus autem tacebat. Why do you speak, to console yourself, or to excuse yourself?
Say nothing. Seek joy in contempt: you will always receive less than you deserve.
Can you, by any chance, ask: Quid enim mali feci, what evil have I done?
You can be sure that you are a man of God if you suffer injustice gladly and in silence.
What a fine reply was given by that venerable man to his young friend who complained of the unjust treatment he had suffered: 'So you don't like it?' he said, 'Then, give up trying to be good!'
Never give your opinion if you are not asked for it, even if you think that your view is the best.
It's true that he was a sinner. But don't pass so final a judgment on him. Have pity in your heart, and don't forget that he may yet be an Augustine, while you remain just another mediocrity.
All the things of this world are no more than earth. Place them in a heap under your feet and you will be so much the nearer to heaven.
Gold, silver, jewels: dust, heaps of manure. Gratification, sensual pleasures, satisfaction of the appetites: like a beast, like a mule, like a cock, like a pig, like a bull.
Honours, distinctions, titles: things of air, puffs of pride, lies, nothingness.
Don't give your heart to the things of this world. Such love is selfish… A few short hours after God calls you into his presence, those whom you love will recoil from you in horror and disgust. Elsewhere you will find the Love that lasts.
Gluttony is an ugly vice. Don't you feel a bit amused and even disgusted, when you see a group of dignified gentlemen, seated solemnly around a table, stuffing fatty substances into their stomachs, with an air of ritual, as if that were an end in itself?
At meals don't speak about food: that's vulgar and unworthy of you. Speak about something noble — of the soul or of the mind — and you will have dignified this physical duty.
The day you leave the table without having done some small mortification you have eaten like a pagan.
You generally eat more than you need. And that fullness, which often causes you physical heaviness and discomfort, benumbs your mind and renders you unfit to taste supernatural treasures.
What a fine virtue, even for this earth, temperance is!
I see you, christian gentleman — that is what you say you are — kissing an image, mumbling a vocal prayer, crying out against those who attack the Church of God…, and even frequenting the holy Sacraments.
But I don't see you making any sacrifice, or avoiding certain conversations of a 'worldly' nature (I could with justice use another term), or being generous towards those in need or towards that Church of Christ, or putting up with a failing in one of your brothers, or checking your pride for the sake of the common good, or getting rid of your tight cloak of selfishness, or… so many things more!
I see you… I don't see you… And yet you say that you are a christian gentleman? What a poor idea you have of Christ!
Your talents, your personality, your opportunities… are being wasted: you are not allowed to make full use of them.
Meditate well these words of a spiritual writer: 'The incense offered to God is not wasted. Our Lord is more honoured by the immolation of your talents than by the vain use of them.'