When our vision is clouded, when our eyes have lost their clarity, we need to go to the light. And Jesus Christ has told us that he is the Light of the world and that he has come to heal the sick.

—That is why your weaknesses and your falls — when God allows them — should not separate you from Christ, but rather draw you closer to him!

In my wretchedness I complained to a friend of mine, saying that it seemed as if Jesus were passing me by… and leaving me on my own.

—But immediately I thought better of it and was sorry. Full of confidence, I said: It is not true, my Love. Quite clearly it is I who have gone away from you. Never again!

Beg the Lord for his grace so that you may be purified by his Love… and by constant penance.

Turn to Our Lady and ask her — as a token of her love for you — for the gift of contrition. Ask that you may be sorry, with the sorrow of Love, for all your sins and for the sins of all men and women throughout the ages.

And with that same disposition, be bold enough to add: “Mother, my life, my hope, lead me by the hand… And if there is anything in me which is displeasing to my Father God grant that I may see it, so that, between the two of us, we may uproot it.”

Do not be afraid to continue: “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, pray for me, that by fulfilling the most lovable Will of your Son, I may be worthy to obtain and enjoy what Our Lord Jesus has promised.”

Heavenly Mother, let me regain once more fervour, dedication, self-denial: in one word, Love.

You shouldn’t be so easy on yourself! Don’t wait until the New Year to make your resolutions. Every day is a good day to make good decisions. Hodie, nunc! — Today, now!

It tends to be the poor defeatist types who leave it until the New Year before beginning afresh… And even then, they never really begin.

I agree. You acted badly, out of weakness. — But what I fail to understand is how, with a clear conscience, you have not repented. You cannot do something wrong and then say, or think, that it is something holy, or that it is of no importance.

You must always remember that the spiritual faculties are fed by what they receive from the senses. Guard them well!

As you very well know, you lose your peace when you consent in matters which entail unfaithfulness to your way.

—Make up your mind to be consistent and responsible in your behaviour!

The indelible memory of the favours you have received from God should always be a compelling force within you; especially so in times of tribulation.

There is but one fatal illness, one deadly mistake you can make: to settle for defeat, not to know how to fight with the spirit of a child of God. If this personal effort is lacking, the soul becomes paralysed and languishes alone, and is incapable of bearing fruit.

—Such cowardice on man’s part puts pressure on Our Lord to utter those words addressed to him by the paralytic at the pool of Bethsaida, hominem non habeo! — I have no man to help me.

—What a pity if Jesus does not find in you the man or the woman he expects!

The ascetical struggle is not something negative and therefore hateful, but rather a joyful affirmation. It is a sport.

A good sportsman doesn’t fight to gain just one victory, and that at the first attempt. He has to build himself up for it, training over a long period of time, calmly and confidently. He keeps trying again and again, and if he doesn’t succeed at the first attempt, he keeps on trying with determination until the obstacle is overcome.

You are my hope in all things, dear Jesus. Convert me!

When that priest, our good friend, used to sign himself “the sinner”, he did so convinced that what he wrote was true.

—My God, purify me too!

If you have done something wrong, be it big or small, go running back to God!

—Savour those words of the psalm, cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies — the Lord will never spurn or disregard a contrite and humbled heart.

Keep turning this over in your mind and in your soul: Lord, how many times you have lifted me up when I have fallen and once my sins have been forgiven have held me close to your Heart!

Keep returning to the thought… and never separate yourself from Him again.

You see yourself as a poor man whose master has stripped him of his livery. You are only a sinner! And you understand the nakedness felt by our first parents.

—You should be weeping all the time. And you have wept. You have suffered a great deal. And yet you are very happy. You wouldn’t change places with anyone. For many years now you have not lost your gaudium cum pace — your peaceful joy. You thank God for this and would like to let everyone into the secret of your happiness.

—Yes, I can see why people have often said of you — though you couldn’t care less about “what people say” — that you are “a man of peace”.

Some people do only what lies within the capacity of poor human creatures to accomplish, and consequently waste their time. What Peter experienced is repeated once more, word for word: Praeceptor, per totam noctem laborantes nihil cepimus. — Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing.

If they work on their own, without being united with the Church, not reckoning with the Church, what possible effectiveness could their apostolate have? None at all!

—They need to be convinced that on their own they can achieve nothing. You should help them to go on listening to the rest of that Gospel story: in verbo autem tuo laxabo rete — at your word I will let down the net. It is then that the catch will be plentiful and effective.

—How beautiful it is to mend our ways when we find we have, for whatever reason, done apostolate on our own account!

It was you who wrote what I am now copying out: “Domine, tu scis quia amo te! — Lord, you know that I love you! How very often, Jesus, I repeat again and again those words your dear Cephas uttered, as a bitter-sweet litany. For I know that I love you, and yet I am so very unsure of myself that I cannot bring myself to say it to you clearly. There are so many denials in my wicked life. Tu scis, Domine! — You know that I love you! — May my actions, Jesus, never go against these yearnings of my heart.”

—Keep up this prayer of yours and he will certainly hear you.

Repeat this with confidence: Lord, if only my tears had been contrite!

—Ask him humbly to grant you the sorrow you desire.

How villainous has been my behaviour and how unfaithful I have been to God’s grace!

—My Mother, Refuge of sinners, pray for me. May I never again hinder God’s work in my soul.

So close to Christ for so many years and… such a sinner!

—Does that intimate love of Jesus for you not make you sob?

It is not that I lack true joy; on the contrary… And yet, painfully aware of my unworthiness, it is only natural that I should cry out with Saint Paul, “wretched man that I am!”

—It is at such a time that you should increase your desire to tear down once and for all the barriers you yourself have set up.

Do not become alarmed or discouraged to discover that you have failings… and such failings!

—Struggle to uproot them. And as you do so, be convinced that it is even a good thing to be aware of all those weaknesses, for otherwise you would be proud. And pride separates us from God.

Be filled with wonder at God’s goodness, because Christ wants to live in you. Be filled with wonder also when you are aware of all the weight of your poor wretchedness, of this poor flesh, of all the vileness of this poor clay.

—Yes, but then remember too that call from God: Jesus Christ, who is God and Man, understands me and looks after me, for he is my Brother and my Friend.

Your life is happy, very happy, though on occasions you feel a pang of sadness, and even experience almost constantly a real sense of weariness.

—Joy and affliction can go hand in hand like this, each in its own “man”: the former in the new man, the latter in the old.

Humility is born of knowing God and knowing oneself.

Lord, I ask for a gift from you: Love… a Love that will cleanse me. — And another gift as well: self-knowledge so that I may be filled with humility.

The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives: those who always manage to get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope.

If your mistakes make you more humble, if they make you reach out more urgently for God’s helping hand, then they are a road to sanctity: Felix culpa! — O happy fault!, the Church sings.

Prayer — even my prayer! — is all-powerful.

Humility teaches each soul not to lose heart in the face of its own blunders.

—True humility leads us… to ask for forgiveness!

If I were a leper my mother would hug me. She would kiss my wounds without fear or hesitation.

—Well then, what would the Blessed Virgin Mary do? When we feel we are like lepers, all full of sores, we have to cry out: Mother! And the protection of our Mother will be like a kiss upon our wounds, which obtains our cure.

In the sacrament of Penance, Jesus forgives us.

—Christ’s merits are applied to us there. It is for love of us that he is on the Cross with his arms stretched out, fastened to the wood more by the Love he has for us than by the nails.

If ever you fall, my son, go quickly to Confession and seek spiritual guidance. Show your wound!, so that it gets properly healed and all possibility of infection is removed, even if doing this hurts you as much as having an operation.

Sincerity is indispensable if we are to achieve greater union with God.

—If you have an ugly “toad” inside you, my son, let it out! As I have always advised you, the first thing you must mention is what you wouldn’t like anybody to know. Once the “toad” has been let out in Confession — how well one feels!

Nam, et si ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis, non timebo mala — though I should walk through the valley of the shadow of death, no evil will I fear. Neither my wretchedness nor the temptations of the enemy will worry me, quoniam tu mecum es — for you Lord are with me.

Just now, Jesus, when I was considering my wretchedness, I said to you: Allow yourself to be taken in by this son of yours, just like those good fathers, full of kindness, who put into the hands of their little children the presents they want to receive from them… knowing perfectly well that little children have nothing of their own.

—And what merriment of father and son, even though they are both in on the secret!

Jesus, my Love, to think that I could offend you again! Tuus ego sum… salvum me fac. — I am yours: save me!

You, who see yourself so badly lacking in virtues, in talents, in abilities… Do you not feel the desire to cry out like the blind Bartimaeus, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”?

—What a beautiful aspiration for you to say very often, “Lord, have pity on me!”

—He will hear you and come to your aid.

Foster a desire for atonement in your soul, so that you may acquire greater contrition each day.

If you are faithful you will be able to count yourself a conqueror.

—Even though you may lose some battles in your life, you will not know defeat. You can be sure that there is no such thing as failure, if you act with purity of intention and with a desire to fulfil the Will of God.

—And then, whether you win or lose, you will always triumph in the end, because you will have carried out your work with Love.

I am sure that God has listened to your humble and heartfelt plea: My Lord, I am not worried about “what people say”. Forgive me for my unworthy life: May I be a saint!… But it’s You alone I wish to please.

In a Christian’s life everything has to be for God — even personal weaknesses, once they have been put right! The Lord understands and forgives them.

What have I done to you, Jesus, that you should love me so? I have offended you… and loved you.

—Loving you: this is what my life is going to be all about.

Surely all those consolations I receive from the Master are given me so that I may think of him all the time and serve him in little things, and so be able to serve him in great things.

—A resolution: to please my good Jesus in the tiniest details of my daily life.

We have to love God because our heart is made for love. That is why, if we don’t give our heart to God, to Our Lady and Mother, to souls… with a pure affection, it will seek revenge… and will breed worms instead.

Tell Our Lord with your whole heart: In spite of all my wretchedness I am madly in Love!, I am drunk with Love!

From now on, truly sorrowful for my many falls, I shall remain, with God’s help, always on the Cross.

What the flesh lost, the flesh should pay back: be generous in your penance.

Invoke the Lord, and beg him for the spirit of penance of one who conquers himself every day, and offers him this constant victory unassumingly and perseveringly.

In your personal prayer, whenever you experience the weakness of the flesh you should repeat: Lord, give the Cross to this poor body of mine, which gets tired and rebellious!

How right that priest was when he preached, saying, “Jesus has forgiven me the great multitude of my sins in spite of my ingratitude. How generous he is! If the many sins of Mary Magdalen were forgiven because she loved greatly, many more have been forgiven me. What a great debt of love still remains for me to pay!”

Jesus, I’m ready to the point of madness and heroism! With the help of your grace, even if I have to die for you, Lord, I will never abandon you again.

Lazarus rose because he heard the voice of God and immediately wanted to get out of the situation he was in. If he hadn’t wanted to move, he would just have died again.

A sincere resolution: to have faith in God always; to hope in God always; to love God always… he never abandons us, even if we are rotting away as Lazarus was.

Let us marvel at the lovable paradox of our Christian condition: it is our own wretchedness which leads us to seek refuge in God, to become “like unto God”. With him we can do all things.

When you have fallen or when you find yourself overwhelmed by the weight of your wretchedness, repeat with a firm hope: Lord, see how ill I am; Lord, you who died on the Cross for love of me, come and heal me.

Be full of confidence, I insist. Keep on calling out to his most loving Heart. As he cured the lepers we read about in the Gospel, he will cure you.

Trust fully in God and have a greater desire each day never to run away from him.

Virgin Immaculate, my Mother!, do not abandon me. See how my poor heart is filled with tears. — I do not want to offend my God!

—I already know, and I trust I shall never forget, that I am worth nothing. My smallness and my loneliness weigh upon me so much! But… I am not alone. You, Sweet Lady, and my Father God will never leave me.

Faced with the rebellion of my flesh and the diabolical arguments against my Faith, I love Jesus and I believe: I do Love and do Believe.

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