I don’t ask you to take away my feelings, Lord, because I can use them to serve you with: but I ask you to put them through the crucible.

Faced with the marvels of God, and with all our human failures, we have to make this admission: “You are everything to me. Use me as you wish!” Then there will be no more loneliness for you — for us.

The great secret of sanctity comes down to becoming more and more like Him, the lovable and only Model.

When you pray, but see nothing, and feel flustered and dry, then the way is this: don’t think of yourself. Instead, turn your eyes to the Passion of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

Be convinced that he is asking each one of us, as he asked those three more intimate Apostles of his in the Garden of Olives, to “Watch and pray”.

When you open the Holy Gospel, think that what is written there — the words and deeds of Christ — is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail by detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life.

—God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life.

You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, “Lord, what would you have me do?…” And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, “The Will of God!”

Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done.

If you really want to be sure that your heart is ready to respond, I would recommend you enter one of the Wounds of Our Lord. In this way you will get to know him closely, you will cleave to him, you will feel his Heart beating… and you will follow him in everything that he asks of you.

There can be no doubt that for us who love Jesus, prayer is the great “pain-reliever”.

The Cross symbolises the life of an apostle of Christ, with a strength and a truth that delight both soul and body, though sometimes it is hard, and we can feel its weight.

I understand that, through Love, you want to suffer with Christ — to put your back between him and the executioners who are flogging him, your head instead of his for the thorns, and your hands and feet for the nails. Or at least to accompany our Mother, Holy Mary, on Calvary, and to plead guilty to deicide on account of your sins… and to suffer and to love.

You tell me: I have made up my mind to go more often to the Paraclete, to ask him for his light.

—Good. But remember, my child, that the Holy Spirit is a fruit of the Cross.

The cheerful love that fills the soul with happiness is founded on suffering. There is no love without renunciation.

Christ is nailed to the Cross. And you?… Still taken up with your whims and fancies — or rather, nailed by them!

We cannot, must not, be sugar-candy Christians: on earth there must be suffering and the Cross.

In this life of ours we must expect the Cross. Those who do not expect the Cross are not Christians, and they will be unable to avoid their own “cross”, which will drive them to despair.

Now, when the Cross has become a serious and weighty matter, Jesus will see to it that we are filled with peace. He will become our Simon of Cyrene, to lighten the load for us.

Then say to him, trustingly: “Lord, what kind of a Cross is this? A Cross which is no cross. Now I know the trick. It is to abandon myself in you; and from now on, with your help, all my crosses will always be like this.”

Renew in your own soul the resolution that friend of ours made long ago: “Lord, what I want is suffering, not exhibitionism.”

To have the Cross is to have found happiness: it is to have you, Lord!

What really makes a person — or a whole sector of society — unhappy, is the anxiety-ridden, selfish search for well-being, that desire to get rid of whatever is upsetting.

The way of Love is called Sacrifice.

The Cross, the Holy Cross, is heavy.

—First there are my sins. Then the sad truth of our Mother the Church’s suffering; the apathy of so many Catholics who want without really wanting; the separation — for all kinds of reasons — from those we love; the sufferings and trials of ourselves and of others…

—The Cross, the Holy Cross, is heavy. Fiat, adimpleatur…! “May the most just, the most lovable Will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted above all things for ever! Amen. Amen.”

When you walk where Christ walked; when you are no longer just resigned to the Cross, but your whole soul takes on its form — takes on its very shape; when you love the Will of God; when you actually love the Cross… then, only then, is it He who carries it.

Join your suffering, your Cross that comes from within or without, to the Will of God, by saying a generous Fiat! And you will be filled with joy and peace.

These are the unmistakable signs of the true Cross of Christ: serenity, a deep feeling of peace, a love which is ready for any sacrifice, a great effectiveness which wells from Christ’s own wounded Side. And always — and evidently — joy: a joy which comes from knowing that those who truly give themselves are beside the Cross, and therefore beside Our Lord.

You must always be aware of and thankful for that favour of the King which throughout your life marks your flesh and your spirit with the royal seal of the Holy Cross.

“I carry a little Crucifix”, wrote a friend. “Its Crucified is worn out by use and by kisses . It was left to my father when his mother, who had used it, died.

It’s a poor thing and much the worse for wear, so I would not have the nerve to give it away to anyone. That’s why when I see it my love for the Cross will grow.”

There was a priest who prayed in a moment of affliction: “Jesus, let whatever Cross You want come to me. I resolve here and now to receive it joyfully, and I bless it with all the richness of my blessing as a priest.”

When you receive a hard knock, a Cross, you should not be disturbed. Rather the reverse: with a happy face you should give thanks to God.

Yesterday I saw a picture which I liked immensely , a picture of Jesus lying dead. An angel was kissing his left hand with inexpressible devotion. Another, at the Saviour’s feet, was holding a nail torn out of the Cross. In the foreground with his back to us there was a tubby little angel weeping as he gazed at Christ.

I prayed to God that they would let me have the picture. It is beautiful. It breathes devotion. I was saddened to hear that they had shown it to a prospective buyer who had refused to take it, saying, “It’s a corpse!” To me, You will always be Life.

Lord, I have no qualms in repeating this thousands of times: I want to keep you company, suffering with you, in the humiliations and cruelties of your Passion and Cross.

To find the Cross is to find Christ.

Jesus, may your Divine Blood enter my veins, to make me live the generosity of the Cross at every moment.

Look at Jesus hanging dead on the Cross, and pray. In this way the Life and Death of Christ can become the model and the spur of your life, and for your answer to the Will of God.

Remember this at the moment of sorrow or expiation: the Cross is the symbol of the redeeming Christ. It has ceased to be the symbol of evil, becoming instead the sign of victory.

Among the ingredients of your meal include that most delicious one, mortification.

It is not the spirit of penance to do great mortifications some days, and nothing on others.

—The spirit of penance means knowing how to overcome yourself every single day, offering up both great and small things for love, without putting on show.

If we join our own little things, those insignificant or big difficulties of ours, to the great sufferings of Our Lord, the Victim (He is the only Victim!), their value will increase. They will become a treasure, and then we will take up the Cross of Christ gladly and with style.

—And then every suffering will soon be overcome: nobody, nothing at all, will be able to take away our peace and our joy.

To be an apostle you have to bear within you Christ crucified, as Saint Paul teaches us.

It’s true! When the Holy Cross comes into our lives it unmistakably confirms that we belong to Christ.

The Cross is not pain, or annoyance, or bitterness… It is the holy wood on which Jesus Christ triumphs… and where we triumph too, when we receive cheerfully and generously what He sends us.

You have come to see that, after the Holy Sacrifice, it is on your Faith and your Love, on your penance, your prayer and your activity, that the perseverance, and even the life on earth of your people, to a great extent depend.

—Bless the Cross: the Cross that He — my Lord Jesus — and you and I bear.

O Jesus, I want to be a blazing fire of Love-madness. I want it to be sufficient for me just to be present in order to set the world on fire for miles around, with an unquenchable flame. I want to know that I am yours. Then, let the Cross come…

—This is a marvellous way: to suffer, to love, and to believe.

When you are ill, offer up your sufferings with love, and they will turn into incense rising up in God’s honour, and making you holy.

As a child of God, with his grace in you, you have to be a strong person, a man or woman of desires and achievements.

—We are not hothouse plants. We live in the middle of the world, and we have to be able to face up to all the winds that blow, to the heat and the cold, to rain and storms…, but always faithful to God and to his Church.

Insults hurt so much, even though you want to love them.

—Don’t be surprised: offer them to God.

You were very hurt at being slighted! That means you are forgetting too easily who you are.

When we think we have been accused of something unjustly, we should examine our behaviour, in God’s presence, cum gaudio et pace — calmly and cheerfully; and we should change our ways if charity bids us, even if our actions were harmless.

—We have to struggle to be saints, more and more each day. Then let people say what they like so long as we can apply the words of the beatitude to their utterances: Beati estis cum… dixerint omne malum adversus vos mentientes propter me — Blessed are you when they slander you for my sake.

Someone — I don’t remember who, or when — once said that the hurricane of slander always rages against those who are outstanding, just as the wind beats most furiously on the tallest pines.

Plots, wretched misinterpretations, cut to the measure of the base hearts that will read them, cowardly insinuations… It is a picture that, sadly, we see over and over again, in different fields. They neither work themselves, nor let others work.

Meditate slowly on those verses of the Psalm: “My God, I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons. Because zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me.” And keep on working.

It is not possible to do good, even among good people, without running into the holy Cross of gossip.

In silentio et in spe erit fortitudo vestra — in quietness and in trust shall be your strength… This is what the Lord assures to those who are his own. Keep quiet, and trust in him. These are two essential weapons in moments of difficulty, when there doesn’t seem to be any human solution.

Look at Jesus in his Holy Passion and Death: suffering borne without complaint is also a measure of love.

This is the prayer of a soul who wanted to belong wholly to God, and, for his sake, to all mankind: “Lord, I beg you to work on this sinner, to rectify and purify my intentions, to pass them through the crucible.”

I was deeply impressed by the willingness to yield of that holy and very learned man, as well as his refusal to give way, when he said “I can come to terms with anything except an offence against God.”

Think of the good that has been done you throughout your lifetime by those who have injured or attempted to injure you.

—Others call such people their enemies. You should imitate the saints, at least in this. You are nothing so special that you should have enemies; so call them “benefactors”. Pray to God for them: as a result, you will come to like them.

Listen to me, my child: you must be happy when people treat you badly and dishonour you, when many come out against you excitedly and it becomes the done thing to spit on you, because you are omnium peripsema, like the refuse of the world.

—It’s hard, it’s very hard. It is hard, until at last a man goes to the Tabernacle, seeing himself thought of as the scum of the earth, like a wretched worm, and says with all his heart “Lord, if you don’t need my good name, what do I want it for?”

Up to then even that son of God does not know what happiness is — up to that point of nakedness and self-giving, which is a self-giving of love, but founded on mortification, on sorrow.

Opposition from good people? It’s the devil’s doing.

When you lose your peace and get nervous, it’s like not listening to reason.

At such times, one hears again the Master’s words to Peter as he sank among the waves of his own nerves and lack of peace: “Why did you doubt?”

Order will bring harmony to your life, and lead you to perseverance. Order will give peace to your heart, and dignity to your composure.

I copy these words for you because they can bring peace to your soul. “My financial situation is as tight as it ever has been. But I don’t lose my peace. I’m quite sure that God, my Father, will settle the whole business once and for all.

I want, Lord, to abandon the care of all my affairs into your generous hands. Our Mother — your Mother — will have let you hear those words, now as in Cana: ‘They have none!’ I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you, Jesus. I want nothing for myself: it’s for them.”

I love your Will. I love holy poverty, my own great lady.

—And, now and for ever, I detest and abominate anything that might mean the slightest lack of attachment to your most just, most lovable, and most fatherly Will.

The spirit of poverty, of detachment from the goods of the earth, results in effectiveness in the apostolate.

Nazareth: a way of faith, of detachment: a way in which the Creator subjects himself to his creatures as he does to his Heavenly Father.

Jesus always speaks with love… even when he corrects us or allows us to undergo trials.

Identify yourself with the Will of God. Then no trouble will be any trouble.

God loves us infinitely more than you love yourself… So let him make demands on you!

Accept God’s Will fearlessly. Resolve unhesitatingly to work all your life, with the materials which the teachings and the demands of our Faith provide.

—If you do, you can be sure that along with the sufferings, and even along with slander, you will be happy, with a happiness that will move you to love others and give them a share in your supernatural joy.

If troubles come, you can be sure they are a proof of the Fatherly love God has for you.

In the forge of suffering that accompanies the life of all who love, the Lord teaches us that those who tread fearlessly where the Master treads, hard though the going is, find joy.

Strengthen your spirit with penance, so that when difficulty comes you may never lose heart.

When will you make up your mind, once and for all, to identify yourself with Christ, with Life!

To persevere in following in the footsteps of Jesus, you always need a continuous freedom, a continuous willingness, a continuous exercise of your own freedom.

You are amazed to find that in each of the possibilities for improvement there are many different goals…

—They are other ways within the way, and they help you to avoid possible routine and bring you closer to Our Lord.

—Be generous: aim for the highest.

Work with humility. I mean, count first on God’s blessings, which will not fail you. Then, on your good desires, on your work plans — and on your difficulties! Do not forget that among those difficulties you must always include your own lack of holiness.

—You will be a good instrument if every day you struggle to be better.

You told me, in confidence, that in your prayer you would open your heart to God with these words: “I think of my wretchedness, which seems to be on the increase in spite of the graces you give me. It must be due to my failure to correspond. I know that I am completely unprepared for the enterprise you are asking of me. And when I read in the newspapers of so very many highly qualified and respected men, with talents and money, speaking, writing, organizing in defence of your reign… I look at myself, and see that I’m a nobody: ignorant, poor: so little, in a word. This would fill me with shame if I did not know that you want me to be so. But Lord Jesus, you know how very gladly I have put my ambition at your feet… To have Faith and Love, to be loving, believing, suffering. In these things I do want to be rich and learned: but no more rich or learned than you, in your limitless Mercy, have wanted me to be. I desire to put all my prestige and honour into fulfilling your most just and most lovable Will.”

—I then said to you: don’t let this remain merely as a good desire.

Love for God invites us to shoulder the Cross squarely: to feel on our back the weight of the whole human race, and to fulfil, in the circumstances of our own situation in life and the job we have, the clear and at the same time loving designs of the Will of the Father.

He was the greatest madman of all times. What greater madness could there be than to give oneself as he did, and for such people?

It would have been mad enough to have chosen to become a helpless Child. But even then, many wicked men might have been softened, and would not have dared to harm him. So this was not enough for him. He wanted to make himself even less, to give himself more lavishly. He made himself food, he became Bread.

—Divine Madman! How do men treat you? How do I treat you?

Jesus, the madness of your Love has stolen my heart. You are small and helpless, so that those who eat you can become great.

You have to make your life essentially, totally eucharistic.

I like to call the Tabernacle a prison — a prison of Love.

—For twenty centuries He has been waiting there, willingly locked up, for me and for everyone.

Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life?

—We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves very well to receive him.

Tell Our Lord that from now on, every time you celebrate Mass or attend it, and every time you administer or receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, you will do so with a great faith, with a burning love, just as if it were to be the last time in your life.

—And be sorry for the carelessness of your past life.

I can understand your keenness to receive the Holy Eucharist each day, because those who feel they are children of God have an overpowering need of Christ.

While you are at Mass, think that you are sharing in a divine Sacrifice. For that is how it is: on the altar, Christ is offering himself again for you.

When you receive him, tell him: Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenceless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures.

By a process of assimilation we should make these words of Jesus our own: Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum: I have longed and longed to eat this Passover with you. There is no better way to show how great is our concern and love for the Holy Sacrifice than by taking great care with the least detail of the ceremonies the wisdom of the Church has laid down.

This is for Love: but we should also feel the need to become like Christ, not only inside ourselves but also in what is external. We should act, on the wide spaciousness of the Christian altar, with the rhythm and harmony which obedient holiness provides, uniting us to the will of the Spouse of Christ, to the Will of Christ himself.

We should receive Our Lord in the Eucharist as we would prepare to receive the great ones of the earth, or even better: with decorations, with lights, with new clothes…

—And if you ask me what sort of cleanliness I mean, what decorations and what lights you should bring, I will answer you: cleanliness in each one of your senses, decoration in each of your powers, light in all your soul.

Be a eucharistic soul!

—If the centre around which your thoughts and hopes turn is the Tabernacle, then, my child, how abundant the fruits of your sanctity and apostolate will be!

The objects used in divine worship should have artistic merit, but bearing in mind that worship is not for the sake of art: art is for the sake of worship.

Go perseveringly to the Tabernacle, either bodily or in your heart, so as to feel safe and calm: but also to feel loved… and to love!

I copy some words which a priest wrote for those who followed him in an apostolic enterprise: “When you contemplate the Sacred Host exposed on the altar in the monstrance, think how great is the love, the tenderness of Christ. My way to understand it is by thinking of the love I have for you: if I could be far away, working, and at the same time at the side of each one of you, how gladly I would do it!

But Christ really can do it! He loves us with a love that is infinitely greater than the love that all the hearts of the world could hold; and he has stayed with us so that we can join ourselves at any time to his most Sacred Humanity, and so that he can help us, console us, strengthen us, so that we may be faithful.”

Don’t think that turning your life into service is easy. This good desire needs to be translated into deeds, for “the kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power”, as the Apostle teaches us. Moreover, the practice of constantly helping other people is not possible without sacrifice.

You must always have, in everything, the same “sentiments” as the Church. For this, you must acquire the spiritual and doctrinal training that you need, which will make you a person of sound judgement in temporal matters, humble and quick to correct yourself when you realise you have made a mistake.

—Correcting your own mistakes, nobly, is a very human and very supernatural way of using your freedom.

There is an urgent need for spreading the doctrine of Christ.

Store up your training, fill yourself with clear ideas, with the fullness of the Christian message, so that afterwards you can pass it on to others.

—Don’t expect God to illuminate you, for he has no reason to when you have definite human means available to you: study and work.

Error does not only darken the understanding: it also sunders wills.

But veritas liberabit vos: the truth will set you free from the partisan spirit that dries up charity.

You spend your time with that companion of yours who is scarcely even civil to you… and it’s hard.

—Keep at it, and don’t judge him. He’ll have his “reasons”, just as you have yours, which you strengthen so as to pray for him more each day.

If you walk in the world on all fours, how can you be surprised if other people are not angels?

Be lovingly on your guard, to live holy purity, because a spark is more easily put out than a roaring blaze.

But all human care, and mortification, and the cilice, and fasting — which are essential weapons! — how little all these are worth without you, my God!

Constantly call to mind that at every moment you are cooperating in the human and spiritual formation of those around you, and of all souls — for the blessed Communion of Saints reaches as far as that. At every moment: when you work and when you rest; when people see you happy or when they see you worried; when at your job, or out in the middle of the street, you pray as does a child of God and the peace of your soul shows through; when people see that you have suffered, that you have wept, and you smile.

Holy coercion is one thing; blind violence or revenge is quite another.

The Master has said it already: if only we children of the light were to put at least as much effort and obstinacy into doing good as the children of darkness put into their activities!

—Don’t complain. Work, instead, to drown evil in an abundance of good!

The charity that harms the supernatural effectiveness of the apostolate is a false charity.

God needs women and men who are sure and strong, on whom he can lean.

We do not live for the world, or for our own honour, but for the honour of God, for the glory of God, for the service of God. It is this that should be our motive!

Ever since Jesus Christ Our Lord founded the Church, this Mother of ours has suffered continual persecution. Perhaps in other times persecution was carried out openly, while nowadays it is often done surreptitiously: but today as yesterday the Church continues to be attacked.

—How great is our obligation to live every day as responsible Catholics!

Use this prescription for your life: “I don’t remember that I exist . I don’t think of my own affairs, because there is no time left.”

—Work and service!

These are the characteristics that define the incomparable goodness of our holy Mother, Mary: a love taken to the extreme, fulfilling the Will of God with tender care; a complete forgetfulness of herself, for she is happy to be where God wants her to be.

—For this reason, not even the slightest gesture of hers is trivial. Learn from her.

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