The standard of holiness that God asks of us is determined by these three points:
Holy intransigence, holy coercion and holy shamelessness.
Holy shamelessness is one thing: plain cheekiness, quite another.
Holy shamelessness is a characteristic of the 'life of childhood.' A little child worries about nothing. He makes no effort to hide his weaknesses, his natural miseries, not even when everyone is watching him.
This shamelessness applied to the supernatural life, brings with it the following train of thought: praise, contempt; esteem, ridicule; honour, dishonour; health, sickness; riches, poverty; beauty, ugliness…
All right… so what?
Laugh at ridicule. Despise the bogey of what people will say. See and feel God in yourself and in your surroundings. And you will acquire the holy shamelessness that you need — what a paradox! — in order to live with the refinement of a christian gentleman.
If you have holy shamelessness, you won't be worried by the thought of 'what will people say?' or 'what can they have said?'
Convince yourself that there is no such thing as ridicule for whoever is doing what is best.
A man, a 'gentleman', ready to compromise would condemn Jesus to death again.
To compromise is a sure sign of not possessing the truth. When a man gives way in matters of ideals, of honour or of Faith, that man is a man without ideals, without honour and without Faith.
Listen to a man of God, an old campaigner, as he argues: 'So I won't yield an inch? And why should I, if I am convinced of the truth of my ideals? You, on the other hand, are very ready to compromise… Would you agree that two and two are three and a half? You wouldn't? Surely for friendship's sake you will yield in such a little thing?'
And why won't you? Simply because, for the first time, you feel convinced that you possess the truth, and you have come over to my way of thinking!
Holy intransigence is not bigotry.
Be uncompromising in doctrine and conduct. But be yielding in manner. A mace of tempered steel, wrapped in a quilted covering.
Be uncompromising, but don't be obstinate.
Intransigence is not just simply intransigence: it is 'holy intransigence.'
Don't forget that there also exists a 'holy coercion.'
If in order to save an earthly life it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not to be allowed use the same force — holy coercion — to save the Life (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?
What crimes are committed in the name of justice!
If you were a dealer in fire-arms and someone offered to buy a gun from you, so that he might use the weapon to kill your mother, would you sell it to him? — Yet, wasn't he ready to pay you a just price for it?
University professor, journalist, politician, diplomat: reflect.
God and daring! Daring is not imprudence. Daring is not recklessness.
Don't be content to ask Jesus pardon just for your own faults: don't love him just with your own heart…
Console him for every offence that has been, is, or will be done to him. Love him with all the strength of all the hearts of all those who have most loved him.
Be daring: tell him that you are crazier about him than Mary Magdalen, than either of his two Teresas, that you love him madly, more than Augustine and Dominic and Francis, more than Ignatius and Xavier.
Be more daring still, and, when you need something, don't ask, but — always mindful of the Fiat — say, 'Jesus, I want that… and that… and that', for this is the way children ask.
You say you've failed! We never fail. You placed your confidence wholly in God. Nor did you neglect any human means.
Convince yourself of this truth: your success — this time, in this — was to fail. — Give thanks to our Lord… and try again!
So you have failed? You — be convinced of it — cannot fail. You haven't failed; you have gained experience. On you go!
That was a failure, a disaster: because you lost our spirit. — You well know that, as long as we act from supernatural motives, the outcome (victory? defeat? bah!) has only one name: success.
Let's not confuse the rights of the office you hold with your rights as a person. The former can never be waived.
Sanctimony is to sanctity what 'piosity' is to piety: its caricature.
Remember that your virtue may seem to be that of a saint and yet be worth nothing if it is not joined to the ordinary virtues of a Christian.
That would be like adorning yourself with magnificent jewels over your underwear.
Let yours not be a noisy virtue.
Many false apostles, in spite of themselves, do good to the crowd, to the people, through the very power of the doctrine of Jesus that they preach but do not practise.
But this good does not make up the incalculable harm that they do by killing the souls of leaders, of apostles, who turn away in disgust from those who don't practise what they preach.
That is why, if such men and women are not willing to live a consistent life, they should never offer themselves as front-line leaders.
May the fire of your love not be a will-o'—the-wisp: an illusion, a dying fire, that neither sets ablaze what it touches nor gives off any heat.
The non serviam of Satan has been too fruitful. Don't you feel the generous urge to express your daily desire for prayer and work with a serviam — I will serve you, I will be faithful! — which will surpass in fruitfulness that cry of revolt?
How pathetic — a 'man of God' who has fallen away! But, how much more pathetic, a 'man of God' who is lukewarm and worldly!
Pay little heed to what the world calls victories or defeats. How often the victor comes out defeated!
'Sine me nihil potestis facere! Without me you can do nothing!' New light, new splendour for my eyes, from that Eternal Light, the holy Gospel.
Should I be surprised at all 'my' foolishness?
I will put Jesus into everything that is mine. And then there will be no foolishness in my conduct: and, if I would speak correctly, I should talk no more of what is 'mine', but of what is 'ours'.