I want to warn you against a difficulty that may arise: it is the temptation of weariness and discouragement.
—Isn’t it still fresh in your memory what life — your old life — used to be like, with no aim to it, no purpose, no sparkle, and then, with God’s light and your own dedication, a new direction was given to it and you were filled with joy?
—Don’t be so silly as to exchange your new life for that other one.
If you feel for whatever reason that you cannot manage, abandon yourself in God, telling him: Lord, I trust in you, I abandon myself in you, but do help me in my weakness!
And filled with confidence, repeat: See Jesus what a filthy rag I am. My life seems to me so miserable. I am not worthy to be a son of yours. Tell him all this — and tell him so over and over again.
—It will not be long before you hear him say, Ne timeas! — do not be afraid; and also: Surge et ambula! — rise up and walk!
You were still rather hesitant when you were telling me: “I am deeply aware of the occasions when the Lord is asking more of me.”
—All I could think of was to remind you how you used to assure me that the only thing you wanted was to identify yourself with him. What’s keeping you back?
If only you could manage to fulfil that resolution you made: “to die a little to myself each day.”
Joy, and supernatural and human optimism, can go hand in hand with physical tiredness, with sorrow, with tears (because we have a heart), and with difficulties in our interior life or our apostolic work.
He who is perfectus Deus, perfectus Homo — perfect God and perfect Man — and who enjoyed every happiness in Heaven, chose to experience fatigue and tiredness, tears and suffering… so that we might understand that if we are to be supernatural we must also be very human.
Jesus is asking you to pray … You see this very clearly.
—Nonetheless, how poor your response has been! Everything is a great effort for you: you are like a baby who is too lazy to learn to walk. But in your case it isn’t just laziness. It is fear, too, and a lack of generosity!
You should repeat very often: Jesus, if ever a doubt creeps into my soul, setting up other noble ambitions in place of what you are asking of me, I tell you now that I prefer to follow you, no matter how much it costs. Do not leave me!
Seek union with God and buoy yourself up with hope — that sure virtue! — because Jesus will illuminate the way for you with the light of his mercy, even in the darkest night.
Your prayer went like this: “My wretchedness weighs me down, but it doesn’t overwhelm me because I am a son of God. I want to atone, to Love… And,” you added, “like Saint Paul, I want to turn my weaknesses to good use, convinced that the Lord will not abandon those who place their trust in him.”
—Carry on like that. I assure you that — with God’s grace — you will succeed, and you will overcome your wretchedness and your shortcomings.
Any time is the right time to make an effective resolution, to say “I believe”, to say “I hope”, to say “I love”.
Learn to praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Learn to have a special devotion to the Blessed Trinity: I believe in God the Father, I believe in God the Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit; I hope in God the Father, I hope in God the Son, I hope in God the Holy Spirit; I love God the Father, I love God the Son, I love God the Holy Spirit. I believe, I hope and I love the most Holy Trinity.
—This devotion is much needed as a supernatural exercise for the soul, expressed by the movement of the heart, although not always in words.
The system, the method, the procedure, the only way to have a life abundant and fertile in supernatural fruits, is to follow the Holy Spirit’s advice, which comes to us via the Acts of the Apostles: omnes erant perseverantes unanimiter in oratione — all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer.
—Nothing can be done without prayer!
My Lord Jesus has a Heart more tender than the hearts of all good men put together. If a good man (of average goodness) knew that a certain person loved him, without seeking personal satisfaction or reward of any kind (he loves for love’s sake); and if he also knew that all this person wanted from him was that he should not object to being loved, even from afar… then it would not be long before he responded to such a disinterested love.
—If the Loved One is so powerful that he can do all things, I am sure that, as well as surrendering in the end to the faithful love of a creature (in spite of the wretchedness of that poor soul) he will give this lover the supernatural beauty, knowledge and power he needs so that the eyes of Jesus are not sullied when he gazes upon the poor heart that is adoring him.
—Love, my child; love and hope.
If there is sacrifice when you sow Love, you will also reap Love.
My child, are you not aflame with the desire to bring all men to love Him?
Jesus as a child, Jesus as an adolescent. I love to picture you like this, Lord, because… I can dare more. I love to see you as a tiny, almost helpless babe. It makes me feel you need me.
Whenever I go into the oratory, having become a little child once more, I say to Our Lord that I love him more than anyone.
How wonderfully effective the Holy Eucharist is in the action — and even before that, in the spirit — of those who receive it frequently and piously.
If all those people became so enthusiastic and were ready to acclaim you over a piece of bread, even though the multiplication was a very great miracle, shouldn’t we be doing much more for all the many gifts you have granted us, and especially for giving us your very self unreservedly in the Eucharist?
Good child: see how lovers on earth kiss the flowers, the letters, the mementos of those they love…
—Then you, how could you ever forget that you have him always at your side… yes, Him!? — How could you forget… that you can eat him?
Put your head frequently round the oratory door to say to Jesus… I abandon myself into your arms.
—Leave everything you have — your wretchedness! — at his feet.
—In this way, in spite of the welter of things you carry along behind you, you will never lose your peace.
Pray resolutely using the words of the Psalmist: “Lord, you are my refuge and my strength, I trust in thee!”
I promise you that he will preserve you from the ambushes of the “noontide devil”, when you are tempted and… even when you fall, and when your age and virtues ought to have proved solid and you should have known by heart that He alone is your Strength.
Do you think people are grateful for services rendered only reluctantly? Evidently not. You might even say it would have been better not to have bothered.
—And yet you think you can serve God with sour looks? No! — You have to serve him cheerfully, in spite of your wretchedness, which we will be able to get rid of with God’s grace.
Doubts assail you, temptations, with that gloss of elegance about them.
—I love to hear you say how this shows that the devil considers you his enemy, and that God’s grace will never leave you unprotected. Keep up the struggle!
The majority of people who have personal problems “have them” because they selfishly think about themselves.
Everything seems so peaceful. God’s enemy, however, is not asleep…
—The Heart of Jesus is also awake and watching! There lies my hope.
Sanctity is to be found in struggling, in knowing that we have defects and in heroically trying to overcome them.
Sanctity, I insist, consists in overcoming those defects… although we will still have defects when we die; because if not, as I have told you, we would become proud.
Thank you, Lord, because — as well as allowing us to be tempted — you also give us the strength and beauty of your grace so that we can win through! Thank you, Lord, for the temptations you allow us to have so that we may be humble!
Do not abandon me, Lord. Don’t you see the bottomless pit this poor son of yours would end up in?
—My Mother: I am your son too.
It is impossible to live a clean life without God’s help. God wants us to be humble, and to ask him for his help through our Mother who is his Mother.
You should say to Our Lady, right now, speaking without the sound of words, from the accompanied solitude of your heart: “O, my Mother, sometimes this poor heart of mine rebels… But if you help me…” — She will indeed help you to keep it clean and to follow the way God has called you to pursue. The Virgin Mary will always make it easier for you to fulfil the Will of God.
To preserve holy purity and live a clean life you have to love and practise daily mortification.
Whenever you feel the stirrings of your poor flesh, which sometimes attacks with violent assaults, kiss your crucifix, kiss it many times with firm resolve, even if it seems to you that you are doing so without love.
Place yourself before the Lord each day and tell him slowly and in all earnestness, like the man in the Gospel who was in such great need, Domine, ut videam! — Lord, that I may see!; that I may see what you expect from me, and struggle to be faithful to you.
My God, how easy it is to persevere when we know that You are the Good Shepherd, and that we — you and I… — are sheep belonging to your flock!
—For we know full well that the Good Shepherd gives his whole life for each one of his sheep.
Today in your prayer you confirmed your resolution to be a saint. I understand you when you make this more specific by adding, “I know I shall succeed, not because I am sure of myself, Jesus, but because… I am sure of you.”
By yourself, if you don’t count on grace, you can do nothing worthwhile, for you would be cutting the link which connects you with God.
—With grace, on the other hand, you can do all things.
Do you want to learn from Christ and follow the example of his life? — Open the Holy Gospels and listen to God in dialogue with men… with you.
Jesus knows very well what is best… and I love his Will and will do so always. He it is who controls “the puppets” and so, provided it is a means to achieving our end, even if there are godless men who are determined to put obstacles in the way, he will grant what I am asking.
True faith shows itself in humility.
Dicebat enim intra se — that poor woman said to herself: Si tetigero tantum vestimentum eius, salva ero — if I can but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be healed.
—What humility she showed, a result and a sign of her faith!
If God gives you the burden, God will give you the strength.
Invoke the Holy Spirit in your examination of conscience so that you may get to know God better, and yourself also. In this way you will be converted each day.
Spiritual direction. Don’t object to someone poking at your soul with supernatural sense and holy shamelessness to check how true it is that you are able — and willing — to give glory to God.
Quomodo fiet istud quoniam virum non cognosco? — How can this marvel take place if I have no knowledge of man? What Mary asks the Angel is a reflection of her sincere Heart.
Observing the Blessed Virgin has confirmed for me a clear rule of conduct: to enjoy peace, and to live in peace, we must be very sincere with God, with those who direct our souls and with ourselves.
A foolish child wails and stamps his feet when his loving mother puts a needle to his finger to get a splinter out… A sensible child, perhaps with his eyes full of tears — for the flesh is weak — looks gratefully at his good mother who is making him suffer a little in order to avoid much greater harm.
—Jesus, may I be a sensible child.
My child, my little donkey: if the Lord, with Love, has washed your grimy back, so accustomed to the muck, and has laid a satin harness on you, and covered you with dazzling jewels, don’t forget, poor donkey, that with your faults you could throw that beautiful load on to the ground… But on your own you couldn’t put it back on again.
Rest in divine filiation. God is a Father — your Father! — full of warmth and infinite love.
—Call him Father frequently and tell him, when you are alone, that you love him, that you love him very much!, and that you feel proud and strong because you are his son.
Cheerfulness is a necessary consequence of our divine filiation, of knowing that our Father God loves us with a love of predilection, that he welcomes us, helps us and forgives us.
—Remember this and never forget it: even if it should seem at times that everything is collapsing, nothing is collapsing at all, because God doesn’t lose battles.
The best way of showing our gratitude to God is to be passionately in love with the fact that we are his children.
You are like the little pauper who suddenly finds out that he is the son of the King. That is why now the only thing that concerns you on this earth is the Glory of your Father God, his Glory in everything.
My little friend, say to him: Jesus, knowing that I love you and that you love me, nothing else matters: all is well.
“I have asked Our Lady for many things,” you were telling me, and then you corrected yourself: “What I should say is that I have brought many things to Our Lady’s attention.”
“I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” With him there is no possibility of failure, and this conviction gives rise to the holy “superiority complex” whereby we take on things with a spirit of victory, because God grants us his strength.
The artist stood before his canvas with a deep desire to surpass himself and cried out, “Lord, I want to paint for you thirty-eight hearts, thirty-eight angels bursting with continual love for you, thirty-eight marvels embroidered on your heaven, thirty-eight suns upon your mantle, thirty-eight flames of fire, thirty-eight ardours, thirty-eight feats of madness, thirty-eight joys…”
Then, humbly, he had to admit that it was all in his imagination and desire. In reality what confronts him are thirty-eight figures which haven’t come out properly and which mortify the sight rather than give pleasure.
We have no right to claim that the Angels should obey us… but we can be absolutely sure that the Holy Angels hear us always.
Allow God to lead you. He will lead you along “his path”, making use of innumerable adversities… possibly including your own sluggishness, so that it may clearly be seen that your work is being carried out by him.
Ask him without any fear, and insist. Remember that scene of the multiplication of loaves we read about in the Gospel. Notice how magnanimously he says to the Apostles, How many loaves do you have? Five?… How many are you asking for?… And he gives six, a hundred, thousands… Why?
—Because Christ sees all our needs with divine wisdom, and with his almighty power he can and does go far beyond our desires.
Our Lord sees much farther than our poor minds can discern and he is infinitely generous!
When we’re working for God we have to have a “superiority complex”, I told you.
But isn’t that a sign of pride? you asked me. — No! It is a consequence of humility; the humility which makes me say: Lord, you are who you are. I am nothingness itself. You have all the perfections: power, strength, love, glory, wisdom, authority, dignity… If I unite myself to you, like a child who goes to the strong arms of his father or the wonderful lap of his mother, I will feel the warmth of your divinity, I will feel the light of your wisdom, I will feel your strength coursing through my veins.
If you are aware of God’s presence, high above the deafening storm, the sun will always be shining on you; and deep below the roaring and destructive waves, peace and calm will reign in your soul.
For a son of God each day should be an opportunity for renewal, knowing for sure that with the help of grace he will reach the end of the road, which is Love.
That is why if you begin and begin again, you are doing well. If you have a will to win, if you struggle, then, with God’s help, you will conquer! There will be no difficulty you cannot overcome!
Make your way to Bethlehem, go up to the Child, take him in your arms and dance, say warm and tender things to him, press him close to your heart…
—I am not talking childish nonsense: I am speaking of love! And love is shown with deeds. In the intimacy of your soul, you can indeed hug him tight!
We should let Jesus know that we are children. And when children are tiny and innocent, what a lot of effort it takes for them to go up one step. They look as though they are wasting their time, but eventually they manage to climb up. Now there is another step. Crawling on their hands and knees, and putting their whole body into it, they score another success… one more step. Then they start again. What an effort! There are only a few more steps to go now… But then the toddler stumbles… and — whoops! — down he goes. With bumps all over and in floods of tears, the poor child sets out and begins to try again.
We are just like that, Jesus, when we are on our own. Please take us up in your loving arms, like a big and good Friend of the simple child. Do not leave us until we have reached the top. And then — oh then! — we will know how to correspond to your Merciful Love, with the daring of young children, telling you, sweet Lord, that after Mary and Joseph, there never has been nor will there ever be a mortal soul — and there have been some who have been really crazy — who loves you as much as I love you.
Don’t be ashamed of doing little childlike things, I advised you. As long as they are not done out of routine, they will not be fruitless.
— For example: Imagine that a soul who is following the way of spiritual childhood is moved each night, during the hours of sleep, to wrap up a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin.
Our intelligence would reject such an action as quite useless. But a soul, touched by grace, understands very well that a child would indeed act like this out of love.
And then the strong will, which all those who are spiritually tiny have, insists and moves the intelligence to give way… And if that childlike soul were to continue each day wrapping up the statue of Our Lady, there would be repeated each day a little childlike act which would be fruitful in the eyes of God.
When you are genuinely a child and you follow the ways of childhood — if you are moved by God to follow this path — you will be invincible.
The confident petition of a small child: Grant me, Lord, the sort of compunction which those who have pleased you most have had.
Small child, you would cease to be one if anyone or anything came between you and God.
I shouldn’t ask Jesus for anything. I will concentrate on pleasing him in everything and telling him things as though he didn’t know them already, just as a little child does with his father.
Little child, say to Jesus: I will not be satisfied with anything less than You.
In your prayer of spiritual childhood what childish things you say to your Lord! With the confidence of a child speaking to his great Friend of whose love he is utterly sure, you confided in him, saying, May I live only for your Glory!
Thinking things over you admit in all sincerity that everything you do turns out badly. “But,” you add, “this can’t surprise you, Jesus. It is impossible for me to do anything right. You have to help me. Please do it for me and you will see how well it turns out.”
Then, with great daring, and without departing from the truth, you continue: “May your Spirit thoroughly penetrate me and intoxicate me so that I may be able to do your Will. I want to do it. And if I don’t do it… it’s because you are not helping me. But you are helping me!”
You have to feel the urgent necessity to see yourself as small, weak and bereft of everything. You will then throw yourself onto the lap of our Mother in Heaven, with heartfelt aspirations and loving glances, Marian devotions… which are such a vital part of your filial spirit.
—She will watch over you.
Persevere along your way no matter what happens; persevere, cheerfully and optimistically, because the Lord is bent on sweeping aside all obstacles.
—Hear me well: I am quite certain that if you struggle, you will be a saint!
The first Apostles, when Our Lord called them, were by the side of an old boat busy mending the torn nets. Our Lord told them to follow him and statim — immediately — relictis omnibus — they left everything — everything! And followed him…
And it does happen sometimes that we, who wish to imitate them, don’t quite leave everything, and there remains some attachment in our heart, something wrong in our life which we’re not willing to break with and offer up to God.
—Won’t you examine your heart in depth? Nothing should remain there except what is his. If not, we aren’t really loving him, neither you nor I.
Tell Our Lord constantly and sincerely that you desire to be a saint and to do apostolate… Then the poor vessel of your soul will not get broken. And should it do so, it will be put together again and acquire an added attractiveness, and it will continue to be of use for your sanctity and the apostolate.
Your prayer should be that of a child of God, and not that of the hypocrites who will hear from Jesus’ lips: “Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Your prayer, your clamour of “Lord, Lord” should be linked in a thousand different ways throughout the day to a desire and an effective effort to fulfil the Will of God.
Little one, say to him: O Jesus, I don’t want the devil to get hold of souls!
If God’s Love has chosen you out and called you to follow him, you have a duty to respond to him… and it is also your duty, an equally serious duty, to lead and to contribute to the holiness and good progress of other men, your brothers.
Cheer up!… Not least when the going gets hard. Doesn’t it make you happy to think that your faithfulness to your Christian commitments depends to a large extent on you?
Be full of joy and freely renew your decision: “Lord, I want it too. Count on the little I have to offer.”
God is not removing you from your environment. He is not taking you away from the world, or from your condition in life, or from your noble human ambitions, or from your professional work… But he wants you to be a saint — right there!
Putting yourself in the presence of God, and with your forehead flat against the ground, consider how (for that’s the way it is) you are more filthy and despicable than the sweepings swept up by a broom.
—And, in spite of this, the Lord has chosen you.
—When are you going to make up your mind!
Many people around you live a life of sacrifice simply for human reasons. These poor people forget they are children of God and act the way they do perhaps only out of pride, or to excel, or to be more comfortably off later on in life. They give up all kinds of things!
And you, who carry the sweet burden of the Church, of your family, your colleagues and friends, motives for which it is worthwhile sacrificing yourself, what are you doing about it? With what sense of responsibility are you reacting?
“O Lord, why did you come looking for me — who am useless — when there are so many people who are holy, wise, rich and full of prestige?”
—You are right… and precisely because of that you should be grateful to him with deeds and love.
Jesus, may everyone in your Holy Church persevere in their way, following their Christian vocation, like the Wise Men who followed the star, spurning Herod’s advice — which will not be lacking.
Let us ask Jesus Christ that the fruits of his Redemption may grow abundantly in souls: more and more, ever more abundantly — divinely abundantly!
And for this to be so, may he make us good children of his Blessed Mother.
Would you like to know a secret to happiness? Give yourself to others and serve them, without expecting to be thanked.
Live and work for God, with a spirit of love and service, with a priestly soul, even though you may not be a priest. Then all your actions will take on a genuine supernatural meaning which will keep your whole life united to the source of all graces.
Looking on the immense panorama of souls who are awaiting us, and being struck by the wonderful and awesome responsibility before us, you may at times have asked yourself, as I have: “Can I contribute anything, when the task is so vast? I, who am so puny?”
—It is then we have to open the Gospel and contemplate how Jesus cures the man born blind. He uses mud made from the dust of the earth and saliva. Yet this is the salve which brings light to those blind eyes!
That is what you and I are. Fully aware of our weaknesses and our worthlessness, but with the grace of God and our good will, we can be salve to give light and provide strength for others as well as for ourselves.
Said an apostolic soul: Jesus, You know what needs to be done… you know I am not working for myself…
If you persevere in your prayer, with “personal perseverance”, God Our Lord will give you all the means you need to be more effective and to spread his kingdom in the world.
—But you have to keep faithful: asking, asking, asking… Are you really behaving this way?
The Lord wants his children in all the honest pathways of this earth, sowing the seeds of understanding and forgiveness, of harmony, charity and peace.
—How about you? What are you doing?
The Redemption is still being accomplished, even now… and you are — you have to be — a co-redeemer.
To be a Christian in the world doesn’t mean isolating oneself — on the contrary! It means loving all mankind and burning with a desire to enkindle in everyone the fire of the love of God.
Dear Lady, Mother of God and my Mother, not in the remotest way do I wish that you may ever be anything less than Mistress and Empress of the whole of creation.