You should correspond to God’s love by being faithful, very faithful! And this faithfulness should lead you to transmit the Love you have received to other people, so that they too may rejoice at meeting God.
My Lord Jesus, grant that I may feel your grace and second it in such a way that I empty my heart… so that you may fill it, my Friend, my Brother, my King, my God, my Love!
If your prayers, your sacrifices and your actions do not show a constant concern for the apostolate, it is a sure sign that you are not happy, and that you have to be more faithful.
—Whoever possesses happiness, and the good, will always seek to give it to others.
When you really trample on your own self and live for others, then you will become a good instrument in God’s hands.
He called — and is calling — his disciples, commanding them ut eatis! — “Go and seek all men.”
Form the resolution to set the world ablaze — you can —loving with a pure heart, and making all mankind happy by bringing them really closer to God.
In modico fidelis! — faithful in little things. Your job, my son, is not just to save souls but to bring them to holiness, day after day, giving to each moment — even to apparently commonplace moments — the dynamic echo of eternity.
We cannot separate the seed of doctrine from the seed of piety.
The only way to inoculate your work of sowing doctrine against the germs of ineffectiveness is by being sincerely devout.
Just as all the powerful machinery in dozens of factories is brought to a standstill and rendered useless when the electricity fails, so does apostolate cease to bear fruit when prayer and mortification fail, for they are what move the Sacred Heart of Christ.
If you follow faithfully the promptings of grace, you will yield good fruit, lasting fruit for the glory of God.
—To be a saint necessarily entails being effective, even though the saint may not see or be aware of the results.
Rectitude of intention consists in seeking “only and in all things” the glory of God.
The apostolate — which is a sure sign of spiritual life —means being constantly on the lookout so as to supernaturalise each detail of the day, whether big or small, by putting the love of God into everything one does.
As a bookmark for whatever book he happened to be reading, he always used a strip of paper with this motto written on it in a bold and energetic hand: Ure igne Sancti Spiritus! —You could almost say that, rather than writing the words, he had engraved them: Inflame with the fire of the Holy Spirit!
O Christian, engraved on your soul and burning on your lips and caught fast in your works, I would like to leave that divine fire.
You should try to have the holy shamelessness of a child who knows that his Father God always sends him what is best.
That is why even when the apparently most necessary things are lacking he doesn’t worry; and with complete serenity he says: I still have the Holy Spirit and he remains with me.
Please say a prayer each day for the following intention: that all of us Catholics may be faithful and determined to struggle to be saints.
—It is so obviously reasonable. What else are we to desire for those we love, for those who are bound to us by the strong ties of the faith?
When I am told that there are people dedicated to God who are no longer striving with fervour for sanctity, I think that — if there is any truth in this — their lives are heading towards great failure.
Qui sunt isti, qui ut nubes volant, et quasi columbae ad fenestras suas? — “Who are these that fly like clouds, and like doves to their nesting places?”, asks the Prophet. And a certain author comments: “Clouds come up from the sea and from rivers, and after circling about or following their course for a certain length of time, return once more to their source.”
And I say to you that this is what you have to be: a cloud which makes the world fertile, making it live the life of Christ. Those divine waters will bathe and drench the very depths of the earth, and filter out the many impurities without themselves being dirtied. Sparkling springs will flow from them that will later become streams and mighty rivers able to slake the thirst of mankind. Afterwards you shall return to your Shelter, to your boundless Sea, to your God, knowing that the fruits will continue to ripen thanks to the supernatural watering done by your apostolate, and to the fruitfulness of the waters of God which will last until the end of time.
My child, offer him even the sorrows and sufferings of other people.
Woes? Setbacks deriving from one thing or another? Can’t you see that this is the will of your Father-God… He is good… and He loves you — loves you personally — more than all the mothers in the world can possibly love their children?
Sincerely examine the way you are following the Master. Consider whether you might have given yourself in a dry, official way, with a faith that has no sparkle to it; if there is no humility or sacrifice, nor daily work; if you are all façade and pay no attention to the details of each moment… In a word, if you lack Love.
If this is the case, your ineffectiveness should come as no surprise to you. React right away, and be led by the hand of Our Lady.
Whenever you are in need of anything, or are facing difficulties, whether great or small, invoke your Guardian Angel, asking him to sort the matter out with Jesus, or to do the particular service you may require.
God is right there in the centre of your soul, and mine, and in the soul of everyone who is in a state of grace. He is there for a purpose: so that our salt may increase, that we may acquire more light and that each one of us from his place may know how to distribute those gifts of God.
And how can we share out these gifts from God? With humility and piety, and by being very united to our Mother the Church.
—Do you not recall the vine and the branches? How fruitful is each branch when united to the vine! What large bunches of grapes! And how sterile the broken-off branch that dries up and becomes lifeless!
Jesus, may my poor heart be filled from the ocean of your Love, with such big waves that can cleanse me and expel from me all my wretchedness. Pour those most pure and ardent waters of your Heart into mine, until my desires for loving you are fully satisfied and I can no longer hold back my response to your divine ardour. My heart shall surely break then, dying for Love, and pour out that Love of yours which, in irresistible and most fertile, life-giving torrents, will reach other hearts that will beat through contact with these living waters, with the pulsating force of Faith and Charity.
Live the Holy Mass!
—You may be helped by a consideration which that priest, in love, used to repeat to himself: “Is it possible, my God, to take part in the Holy Mass and not be a saint?”
—And he would continue, “Each day, in fulfilment of an old promise, I will remain hidden in the Wound of Our Lord’s Side!”
—Shouldn’t you do the same?
You can do so much good, and so much harm!
—You will do good if you are humble and you give yourself cheerfully, with a spirit of sacrifice: good for yourself and for your fellow men, and for that good Mother, the Church.
—And how much harm if you allow yourself to be led by your pride.
Please don’t let yourself become bourgeois, for if you do, you will be a hindrance. You will become a dead weight for others in the apostolate and, above all, a source of suffering for the Heart of Christ.
You must not stop doing apostolate, nor abandon your effort to do your work as best you can, nor neglect your life of piety.
—God will do the rest.
From time to time you have to deal with souls as you would with a fire in the hearth, giving it a good poke to get rid of the embers, which are what shine most but are causing the fire of the love of God to die down.
Let us go to Jesus in the Tabernacle where we can get to know him and assimilate his teaching, and then be able to hand out this food to souls.
When you hold Our Lord in your breast and you taste the delights of his Love, promise him that you will strive to change the course of your life in whatever way is necessary, so that you can bring him to the masses of people who do not know him, who live without ideals and who, unfortunately, go on behaving like animals.
“Where charity and love are found, there is God” we sing in the liturgical hymn. Here is what a certain soul noted down: “Fraternal love is a great and marvellous treasure. It is not simply a consolation — which it certainly often has to be — but it really brings home the certainty of having God close to us, and shows itself in the charity our neighbours have for us and in the charity which we have for them.”
Shun public display! May your life be known to God, for holiness passes unnoticed, even though it is most effective.
Try to ensure that people don’t notice when you lend a helping hand; try not to be praised or seen by anyone… so that, being hidden like salt, you may give flavour to your normal surroundings. And thus, as a result of your Christian outlook, you will be helping to give to everything about you a natural, loving and attractive tone.
For this world of ours to set its course in a Christian direction — which is the only one worthwhile — we have to exercise a loyal friendship with all men, based on a prior loyal friendship with God.
You have heard me speak many times about the apostolate ad fidem.
I still think the same way. What a marvellous field of work awaits us throughout the world with those who do not know the true faith and who, nonetheless, are noble, generous and cheerful.
I often feel like shouting in the ears of so many men and women in offices and shops, in the world of the media and in the law courts, in schools, on the factory floor, in mines and on farms, and telling them that, with the backing of an interior life and by means of the Communion of Saints, they ought to be bringing God into all these different environments, according to that teaching of the Apostle: “Glorify God with your life and carry him always with you. by making your bodies the shrines of his presence.”
Those of us who bear in our hearts the truth of Christ have to put this truth into the hearts, and minds and lives of others. Not to do so would show a love of comfort and bad tactics too.
Think it over once again: Did Christ ask you permission before coming into your soul? He left you free to follow him, but he was the one who sought you out, because he chose to.
With our acts of service we can prepare an even greater triumph for the Lord than that of his entry into Jerusalem. For there will be no repetition of the Judas episode, or that of the Garden of Gethsemane, or of that dark night. We will succeed in setting the world alight with the flames of that fire which he came to cast upon the earth! And the light of Truth — which is our Jesus — will enlighten men’s minds in an unending day.
I beg you, don’t be so shocked! As a Christian you have the right and the duty to provoke a wholesome crisis in souls so that they live their lives with their eyes on God.
Pray for everyone, for people of every race and tongue and of every creed, for those who have only a vague idea about religion and for those who do not know the faith .
—And this zeal for souls, which is a sure and a clear sign that we love Jesus, will make Jesus come.
When they heard of work with souls in far-off lands, how their eyes sparkled! They seemed ready to cross the ocean in one leap. And indeed the world is very small when Love is great.
Not a single soul — not one! — can be a matter of indifference to you.
A disciple of Christ can never think as follows: “I try to be good; as for others, if that’s what they want… let them go to hell.”
Such an attitude is not human. Nor is it in keeping with the love of God, or with the charity we owe our neighbour.
When a Christian understands what catholicity means and practises it, and he realises the urgent need to proclaim the Good News of salvation to all creatures, he knows that as the Apostle teaches, he has to make himself “all things to all men, that all may be saved.”
You have to love your fellow men to the point where even their defects, as long as they do not constitute an offence against God, hardly seem to you to be defects at all. If you love only the good qualities you see in others — if you do not know how to be understanding, to make allowances for them and forgive them — you are an egoist.
You must not destroy the souls of your fellow human beings through your neglect or your bad example.
—In spite of your passions, you have a responsibility for the Christian life of your neighbour, for the spiritual effectiveness of everyone, indeed for their very sanctity.
Physically far away and yet feeling very close to them all, “very close to them all…” you cheerfully repeated.
You were happy thanks to that communion of charity which I spoke to you about, and which you must not get tired of keeping alive.
You asked me what you could do to prevent the loneliness of that friend of yours.
—I will tell you what I always say, because we have at our disposal a marvellous weapon which is the answer to everything: prayer. In the first place, you must pray. And then you must do for him what you would like others to do for you if you were in similar circumstances.
Without humiliating him, you must help him in such a way that what he finds difficult is made easy .
Put yourself always in your neighbour’s shoes. You will then see the various issues or problems calmly. You will not get annoyed. You will be understanding. You will make allowances and will correct people when and as required. And you will fill the world with charity.
We cannot give way in matters of faith. But don’t forget that in order to speak the truth there is no need to ill-treat anyone.
When the good of your neighbour is at stake you cannot remain silent. But speak in a kindly way, with due moderation and without losing your temper.
It’s not possible to comment on events or doctrines without making personal references…, although you are not judging anyone: qui judicat Dominus est — it is God who has to judge.
—Don’t worry, then, if now and again you come across someone who lacks an upright conscience and — either in bad faith or through lack of discernment — takes your words for gossip.
Some poor people seem to get annoyed by the good works you are doing, as if a thing ceases to be good when it is not being carried out or organized by themselves.
—This lack of understanding cannot be an excuse for you to slacken off in what you are doing. Try to do it even better, right now. When you get no applause on earth, your work will be all the more welcome in Heaven.
At times, fifty per cent of the work is lost because of in-fighting stemming from a lack of charity, and from tales and back-biting among brothers. Furthermore, yet another twenty-five per cent of the work is lost by constructing buildings which are unnecessary for the apostolate. Gossip should never be allowed and we shouldn’t waste our time building so many houses. People will then be apostles, one hundred per cent.
Pray for the priests of today, and for those who are to come, that they may really love their fellow men, every day more and without distinction, and that they may know also how to make themselves loved by them.
I have been thinking of all the priests throughout the world. Help me to pray for the fruitfulness of their apostolates.
—“My brother in the priesthood, please speak always about God and, when you really do belong to him, your conversations will never be monotonous.”
Preaching — the preaching of Christ crucified — is the word of God.
Priests need to prepare themselves as best they can before carrying out such a divine ministry, the aim of which is the salvation of souls.
Lay people should listen with very special respect.
It made me very happy to hear what they said about that priest: “He preaches with all his soul… and with his body too.”
Let this be your prayer, apostolic soul: Lord, may I know how to lean on people and get them all to burn like fires of Love, which will then become the driving force of all our undertakings.
We Catholics have to go through life being apostles, with God’s light and God’s salt. We should have no fear, and we should be quite natural; but with so deep an interior life and such close union with Our Lord that we may shine out, preserving ourselves from corruption and from darkness, and spread around us the fruits of serenity and the effectiveness of Christian doctrine.
The sower went out to sow, to scatter the seed at all the crossroads of this earth. What a blessed task we have. We have the job of making sure that in all the circumstances of time and place the word of God takes root, springs up and bears fruit.
Dominus dabit benignitatem suam et terra nostra dabit fructum suum — the Lord will grant his blessing and the earth will bring forth its fruit.
That blessing is indeed the source of all good fruit, the necessary climate for producing saints, men and women of God, in this world of ours.
Dominus dabit benignitatem — the Lord will grant his blessing. Notice, however, that he goes on to point out that he awaits our fruit — yours and mine. Nor is this crop to be meagre or blighted because we have not really given ourselves completely. He expects abundant fruit since he fills us with his blessings.
You saw your vocation like one of those pods that contain the seeds. The moment to expand will come and then the seeds will spread out and take root all at once.
You are to be yeast within the great multitudes that make up humanity — remember we are interested in all souls. In this way, with God’s grace and your own correspondence to it, you will act as leaven throughout the world, adding quality, flavour and volume to the bread of Christ so that it can nourish the souls of others.
The enemies of Jesus — and even some who call themselves his friends — come decked out in the armour of human knowledge and wielding the sword of power. They laugh at us Christians, just as the Philistine laughed at David and despised him.
In our own days too, the Goliath of hatred, the Goliath of falsehood, of dominating power, of secularism and indifferentism, will also come crashing to the ground. And then, once the giant of those false ideologies has been struck down by the apparently feeble weapons of the Christian spirit — prayer, expiation and action — we shall strip him of his armour of erroneous doctrines, equipping our fellow men instead with true knowledge, with Christian culture and the Christian way of life.
In the campaigns against the Church there are many organizations which conspire together, sometimes going hand in hand with those who call themselves good. They influence people through newspapers, leaflets, satire, calumnies and spoken propaganda. They then take people where they wish — to hell itself. They try to turn people into an amorphous mass, as if they had no soul. They are a pitiful sight.
However, since people do have souls, we have to snatch them out of the claws of these organizations of evil and place them at the service of God.
Quite a considerable proportion of the people who go to Church read bad publications…
Calmly and with love of God we need to pray and teach them sound doctrine so that they don’t go on reading those diabolical worthless papers, which they claim their families buy — for they are ashamed of it — though perhaps it is they themselves who do so.
Defend the truth with charity and firmness when the things of God are at stake. Practise holy shamelessness in denouncing errors, even though at times they are no more than insinuations; at other times they will be odious utterances of the most blatant ignorance, and, normally, a sign of man’s frustration at not being able to endure the fruitfulness of the word of God.
In times of general confusion it may seem as though God is not listening to your pleading with him on behalf of his souls, and is turning a deaf ear to your calls. You even reach the point of thinking that all your apostolic labours have been in vain.
—Don’t worry! Carry on working with the same cheerfulness, the same energy, the same zeal. Allow me to insist: when you work for God, nothing is unfruitful.
My child, all the seas of this world are ours and the places where it is harder to fish are the places where it is all the more necessary.
Through your Christian doctrine, your upright life and your work well done, you have to give good example to the people around you — relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours, pupils — in the way you carry out your profession and fulfil the duties your job entails. You cannot be a shoddy worker.
That close intimacy you have with Christ means that you have a duty to bear fruit.
—And yours will be a fruit that will satisfy the hunger of men who come up to you in your work, in your day-to-day life, in your family environment…
When you fulfil your duties in a cheerful and generous way you obtain abundant grace from God for other souls also.
Make an effort to spread your Christian spirit to the world about you, so that there may be many friends of the Cross.
As well as having given you abundant and effective grace, the Lord has given you a brain, a pair of hands and intellectual powers so that your talents may yield fruit.
God wants to work miracles all the time — to raise the dead, make the deaf hear, restore sight to the blind, enable the lame to walk… — through your sanctified professional work, which you will have turned into a holocaust that is both pleasing to God and useful to souls.
The day you no longer strive to draw others closer to God — since you ought to be a burning coal all the time — you will become a contemptible little piece of charcoal, or a little heap of ashes to be scattered by the slightest puff of wind.
—You have to be on fire; you need to be a thing that burns, producing flames of the love of God, of faithfulness and apostolate.
Invoke the Blessed Virgin. Keep asking her to show herself a Mother to you — monstra te esse Matrem! As well as drawing down her Son’s grace, may she bring the clarity of sound doctrine to your mind, and love and purity to your heart, so that you may know the way to God and take many souls to him.