A son of God fears neither life nor death, because his spiritual life is founded on a sense of divine filiation. God is my Father, he thinks, and he is the Author of all good; he is all Goodness.
—But, you and I, do we really act as sons of God?
I was delighted to see that you understood what I had said to you: you and I have to work and live and die like people in love, and we will live in this way for all eternity.
God always wins. If you are his instrument, you too will win, because you will fight God’s battles.
Sanctity consists precisely in this: in struggling to be faithful throughout your life and in accepting joyfully the Will of God at the hour of death.
When you receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, thank him from the bottom of your heart for being so good as to be with you.
Have you ever stopped to consider that it took centuries and centuries before the Messiah came? All those patriarchs and prophets praying together with the whole people of Israel: Come, Lord, the land is parched!
If only your loving expectation were like this.
Even in our times, despite those who deny God, earth is very close to Heaven.
You wrote: “Simile est regnum caelorum — the Kingdom of God is like a treasure… This passage from the Holy Gospel has fallen on my soul and taken root. I had read it so many times before, without grasping its meaning, its divine flavour.”
Yes, everything! The prudent man has to sell everything to obtain the treasure — the precious pearl of Glory.
Talk with Our Lady and tell her trustingly, O Mary, in order to live the ideal which God has set in my heart I need to fly very high — ever so high!
It is not sufficient to detach yourself, with God’s help, from the things of this world, recognising them as the merest clay. More is needed: even if you were to put the whole universe in a pile under your feet to get closer to Heaven… it wouldn’t suffice!
You have to fly, without the support of anything here on earth, relying on the voice and the inspiration of the Spirit. And you will tell me: But my wings are stained and smeared with the clinging mud of many years.
And I repeat: Turn to Our Lady. Mary, you should say to her again, I can hardly get off the ground. The earth draws me like an accursed magnet. Mary, you can make my soul take off on that glorious and definitive flight which has as its destination the very Heart of God.
—Trust in her, for she is listening to you.
Think how pleasing to God Our Lord is the incense burnt in his honour. Think also how little the things of this earth are worth; even as they begin they are already ending.
In Heaven, instead, a great Love awaits you, with no betrayals and no deceptions. The fullness of love, the fullness of beauty and greatness and knowledge… And it will never cloy: it will satiate, yet still you will want more.
With a supernatural outlook, with serenity and peace. That is the way to see things, people and events — from the viewpoint of eternity.
And then, whatever barrier blocks your way — even if it is, humanly speaking, enormous — when you really raise your eyes to Heaven, how tiny it becomes!
If we are close to Christ and are following in his footsteps, we will wholeheartedly love poverty, privation and detachment from earthly things.
In our spiritual life, we often have to be ready to lose on earth so as to win in Heaven. This way we always win.
Men lie when they say “forever” in temporal matters. The only true “forever”, in the complete sense, is the forever of eternity.
—And that is the way you have to live, with a faith that brings a foretaste of the sweet honey of Heaven whenever you think about that eternity which is truly everlasting.
If this were the only life we had, life would be a cruel joke. It would be hypocrisy, evil, selfishness, betrayal.
Keep going forward cheerfully and trying hard, even though you are so little — nothing at all!
—When you are with Him nobody in the world can stop you. Consider, moreover, how everything is good for those who love God. Everything in this world can be put right, except death, and for us death is Life.
To save mankind, Lord, you died on the Cross. And yet for one mortal sin you condemn a man to a hapless eternity of suffering. How much sin must offend you, and how much I ought to hate it!
Saint Teresa assures us that “anyone who doesn’t pray doesn’t need any devil to tempt him; while whoever prays, even if only for a quarter of an hour each day, will necessarily be saved.” This is because our conversation with Our Lord — who is so loving, even in times of difficulty or dryness of soul —enables us to see things in their proper perspective and discover the true proportions of life.
Be a soul of prayer.
“So you are a king?”… Yes, Christ is the King, the King who not only grants you an audience whenever you like, but even in the madness of his love “gives up” — you know what I mean — his magnificent palace in Heaven, which you cannot yet reach, and waits for you in the Tabernacle.
—Don’t you think it is absurd not to hurry to speak to him, and not to do so more assiduously?
I am every day more convinced that happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.
With crystal clarity I see the formula, the secret of happiness, both earthly and eternal. It is not just a matter of accepting the Will of God but of embracing it, of identifying oneself with it — in a word, of loving the Divine Will with a positive act of our own will.
—This, I repeat, is the infallible secret of joy and peace.
How often you will find yourself inundated, intoxicated with God’s grace — and what a sin if you do not respond!
In the hour of temptation, practise the virtue of Hope, saying: For my rest and enjoyment I have the whole of eternity ahead of me. Here and now, full of Faith, I will earn my rest through work and win my joy through suffering. What will Love be like in Heaven?
Better still, you should practise your Love by saying: What I want is to please my God, my Love, by doing his Will in all things, as though there were neither reward nor punishment — simply to please him.
Whenever the worrying thought enters your head that you lack rectitude of intention — sometimes it may come like a flash of lightning, at other times like a filthy pestering fly which you brush off but which keeps coming back — always make acts of the opposite virtue straight away… and carry on working calmly for Him and with Him.
—At the same time, even though you might feel you are only pronouncing the words mechanically, say slowly: Lord, I want nothing for myself. May everything be for your glory and for your Love.
It is all the same to you, you tell me, to be here or in China.
—Well then, try to be always where you are fulfilling the Holy Will of God.
Much depends on you too. If you respond many will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to everlasting life.
Get into the habit of praying to the Guardian Angel of each person you are following up, to help them to be good and faithful and cheerful, so that when the time comes they will be able to receive the eternal embrace of Love from God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and from the Blessed Virgin.
Like the grain of wheat, we too have to die in order to become fruitful.
You and I, with the help of God’s grace, want to open up a deep furrow, to blaze a trail. That is why we have to leave the poor animal man behind and launch out into the sphere of the spirit, giving a supernatural meaning to every human undertaking and, at the same time, to all those engaged in them.
Jesus, let my distractions be the other way round. Instead of recalling the world when I am engaged in conversation with you, let me rather recall you when I am engaged in the things of this world.
You became a bit frightened when you saw so much light, so bright that you thought it would be difficult to look, or even to see.
—Disregard your obvious weaknesses, and open the eyes of your soul to faith, to hope and to love. Carry on, allowing yourself to be guided by God through whoever directs your soul.
Be generous. Don’t ask Jesus for even one consolation!
—You ask me why. And I reply, because you know very well that even though this God of ours seems to be far away, he really is seated in the very centre of your soul, imparting a divine character to your whole life.
I was saying to you that even people who had not received baptism were moved when they were telling me, “I can well understand that saintly souls must be happy, for they look at events with a vision that is above the things of this world. They see things with the eyes of eternity.”
May you not lack that same vision, I added afterwards, so that you can respond to the special love with which the Blessed Trinity has treated you.
I assure you that if we want to, as children of God, we can make a powerful contribution towards lighting up the work and the lives of men with the divine and eternal splendour which it has pleased the Lord to place in our souls.
But “he who says he abides in Jesus ought to walk the same way He walked” as Saint John teaches. It is a path which always leads to glory. But it also always passes through sacrifice.
What a disappointment awaited those who saw the light of the pseudo-apostle, and wishing to come out of their darkness, were drawn to his light. They raced to get there. They may have left shreds of their skin along the way. Some in their eagerness for that light may also have left behind some shreds of their very souls. And now, having reached the pseudo-apostle, they find cold and darkness. Cold and darkness which will eventually fill the broken hearts of those who for a while have believed in that ideal.
It is an evil deed the pseudo-apostle has done. Those disappointed men who had been ready to give the flesh of their hearts in exchange for those glowing fires, for a breathtaking ruby of charity, drop once more back to the earth from which they had come. Down they go, with no fire in their heart, with a heart that is not a heart — just a chunk of ice shrouded in a darkness that will eventually cloud their brain.
You false apostle of paradoxes, see what you have done: because Christ is on your lips but not in your deeds; because you attract with a light which you yourself lack; because there is no warmth of charity in you, and you claim to be concerned about outsiders while all the time you are neglecting your own; because you are a liar, and the devil is the father of lies. And so, you are working for the devil, causing bewilderment to those who follow the Master, and even though you may triumph frequently here on earth, woe to you on that day which is approaching when our friend Death will come, and you shall see the anger of the Judge whom you have never deceived. Paradoxes, no, Lord: paradoxes? Never!
This is the sure way: through humiliation to the Cross; then, from the Cross, with Christ, to the immortal Glory of the Father.
How much I savoured the epistle of that day! The Holy Spirit through Saint Paul teaches us the secret of immortality and of Glory. All of us human beings yearn to live on.
We would wish to make those moments in our lives when we are happy last forever. We would wish the memory of our deeds to be glorified. We would like our cherished ideals to become immortal. And so it is that when we seem to be happy, when something consoles us in our distress, we all naturally say and desire that it should last forever, forever.
Oh the wisdom of the devil! How well he knew the human heart. You will be like gods, he said to our first parents. That was a cruel deception. Saint Paul in this Epistle to the Philippians teaches us a divine secret by which to attain immortality and Glory: Jesus… emptied himself, taking the form of a slave… He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the Cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth…
If we are to accompany Christ in his Glory, in his final triumph, we have first of all to share in his holocaust, becoming identified with him, who died on Calvary.
Don’t let yourself be distracted, don’t give free rein to your imagination. Live the life within you and you will be closer to God.
Help me repeat in the ear of this person and of that other one… and of everyone: a sinner who has faith, even if he were to obtain all the blessings of this earth, will necessarily be unhappy and wretched.
It is true that the motive that leads us (and should lead everyone) to hate sin, even venial sin, ought to be a supernatural one: that God abhors sin from the depths of his infiniteness, with a supreme, eternal and necessary hatred, as an evil opposed to the infinite good. But the first reason I mentioned to you can lead us to this other one.
You will have as much sanctity, as you have mortification done for Love.
Violent persecution had broken out. And that priest prayed: Jesus, may every sacrilegious fire increase in me the fire of Love and Reparation.
When you consider the beauty, the greatness and the effectiveness of apostolic work, you affirm that your head aches thinking of the amount of ground that still has to be covered — there are so many souls who are waiting! And you feel so very happy offering yourself as a slave to Jesus. You have a great desire for his Cross and for suffering, for Love and for souls. Without thinking about it, in an instinctive movement — which was one of Love — you stretched out your arms and opened the palms of your hands, ready for him to nail you to his Holy Cross. You were ready to be his slave — serviam — which is to reign.
I was moved by the heartfelt petition that came from your lips: “My God, my only desire is to be pleasing in your sight; nothing else matters to me. My Mother Immaculate, may I be motivated exclusively by Love.”
With your whole heart, ask for death, and a thousand deaths, rather than offend your God.
And not because of the punishment due to sin, which we deserve so much, but because Jesus has been and is so good to you.
My God, when will I love you for yourself? Although when we think about it, Lord, to desire an everlasting reward is to desire you, for you give yourself as our reward.
Taste and see that the Lord is good, the Psalmist says.
—Spiritual conquest, which is Love, has to be — in big things and small — a desire for the Infinite, for eternity.
Jesus, I don’t want to think of what “tomorrow” will be like, for I don’t want to put limits on your generosity.
Make those reflections of your friend your own. He wrote: “I was considering how good God was to me and, full of interior joy, I was ready to shout out loud, there in the street, for everyone to know about my filial gratitude: ‘Father! Father!’ And though not in fact shouting out loud, I kept calling him so —‘Father!’ — in a low voice, many times, quite certain that it pleased him.
—I seek nothing else. I only want to please him and give him Glory. Everything for him. If I desire my salvation and my sanctification it is because I know that he desires it. If in my Christian life I hunger for souls, it is because I know that he has this great hunger. I say this in all truth: I will never set my sights on the prize. I don’t desire a reward: everything for Love!”
How that sick woman whom I tended spiritually loved the Will of God! She saw her many, long-lasting and painful illnesses (not a single part of her body was healthy), as a blessing from Jesus and a sign of his special love. Although in her humility she used to say that she deserved punishment, the terrible sufferings that she felt all over her were not a punishment, but a mercy.
—We spoke of death. And of Heaven. And of what she was going to say to Jesus and to Our Lady. And how she would be “working” much more from up there than she could down here. She was ready to die whenever God wanted… but, she exclaimed, full of joy, “If only it could be today!” She looked forward to death with the same joy as one who knows that when we die we go to meet our Father.
Do not fear death. Death is your friend!
—Try to get used to the fact of death: peer into your grave often, looking at and smelling, and touching your own rotting corpse there, a week, no more, after your death.
—Remember this especially when you are troubled by the impulses of the flesh.
When he bared his soul to me he said, “These days I have been thinking about death as a rest, in spite of my crimes. And I thought that if I was told: ‘The time has come for you to die’, I would gladly reply: ‘The time has come for me to Live’.”
To die is a good thing. How can anyone with faith be, at the same time, afraid to die? But as long as the Lord wants to keep you here on earth, it would be cowardice for you to want to die. You must live, live and suffer and work for Love: that is your task.
At least once a day, cast your mind ahead to the moment of death so that you can consider the events of each day in this light.
I can assure you that you will have a good experience of the peace this consideration brings.
You became very serious when you heard me say: I accept death whenever God wants it, the way he wants it, where he wants it; and at the same time I think it is too easy to die early, because we should want to work many years for him, and because of him, in the service of others.
To die?… That’s too easy, I say once more.
—Say, just as that holy bishop did when he was old and sick, non recuso laborem — Lord, as long as I can be useful, I do not refuse to keep on living and working for you.
You shouldn’t want to do things to gain merit, nor out of fear of the punishments of purgatory. From now on, and always, you should make the effort to do everything, even the smallest things, to please Jesus.
Desire ardently that, when that unavoidable good sister of yours, death, comes to render you the service of taking you to God, she will not find you attached to anything on this earth!
If you long to have life — eternal life and happiness —you must not leave the barque of Holy Mother Church. Look, if you go beyond the confines of the ship you end up in the waves of the sea, heading for death, drowned in the ocean. You cease to be with Christ. You lose that friendship of his which you freely chose when you realised that it was he who was offering it to you.
Jesus came down to this earth to suffer… and so that others might avoid sufferings, even earthly ones.
There is no greater self-mastery than to know oneself to be serving , in a willing service of all souls!
—This is how to gain the greatest honours, both on earth and in Heaven.
In the face of suffering and persecution, a certain soul with supernatural sense said, “I prefer to take a beating down here rather than get it in purgatory.”
If I love, there will be no hell for me.
How good it is to live on God’s bounty! How good it is to desire nothing other than his Glory.
If you really want to attain eternal life and honour, you must learn in many cases to put aside your own noble ambitions.
Don’t lay so much stress on ‘my health’, ‘my family name’, ‘my career’, ‘my job’, or ‘my next step’… How annoying this can be! It would seem you have forgotten that you don’t have anything, that everything is His. How annoying this can be! It would seem you have forgotten that you don’t have anything, that everything is His.
When sometimes — perhaps without reason — you feel humiliated; when you think your opinion should prevail; when you notice that at every moment your “self” keeps cropping up: your things, your things, your things… convince yourself that you are killing time, and that what you need is someone to kill your selfishness.
I advise you not to look for praise, even when you deserve it. It is better to pass unnoticed, and to let the most beautiful and noble aspects of our actions, of our lives, remain hidden. What a great thing it is to become little! Deo omnis gloria! —All the glory to God.
In moments of disappointment, that soul said to Our Lord: “My Jesus, what else could I give you apart from my honour, if I had nothing else? If I had had a fortune I would have given it to you. If I had had virtues, I would have built up each one to serve you better. The only thing I had was my honour and I have given it to you. May you be blessed! It’s clear that it was safe in your hands!”
It is from clay I come and the earth is the inheritance of all my lineage.
Who but God deserves praise?
When you feel self-love — pride! — stirring within you, making you out to be a superman, it is time to cry out: No! In this way you will savour the joy of the good son of God who goes through life with faults, but doing good.
Sancta Maria, Stella maris — Holy Mary, Star of the sea, be our guide.
Make this firm request, because there is no storm which can shipwreck the most Sweet Heart of Mary. When you see the storm coming, if you get into that firm Refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down.