Against those who reduce religion to a set of negative statements, or are happy to settle for a watered-down Catholicism; against those who wish to see the Lord with his face against the wall, or to put him in a corner of their souls… we have to affirm, with our words and with our deeds, that we aspire to make Christ the King reign indeed over all hearts… theirs included.
When you work in apostolic enterprises, do not build for the present alone… Dedicate yourself to these tasks with the hope that others — brothers of yours sharing the same spirit as you — may reap what you are now sowing abroad, and may crown the buildings for which you are now laying the foundations.
When you truly become filled with the Christian spirit your ambitions will be put right. —You will feel no longer a hankering after celebrity, but a desire for perpetuating your ideal.
It would not be worth giving oneself unless it were to build up a great work which is very much for God — your own holiness.
That is why the Church, when canonising saints, proclaims the heroism of their lives.
When you work in earnest for the Lord, your greatest satisfaction will be that there are many others competing with you.
In this time of God, the time when you are in this world, make up your mind in earnest to do something worthwhile; time is pressing and the mission of men, of women, on earth is so noble, heroic and glorious when it enkindles withered and rotten hearts with the fire of Christ!
—It is worthwhile taking peace and happiness to others through a robust and jubilant crusade.
You are ready to give your life for your honour… Be ready to give up your honour for your soul.
Through the Communion of Saints you should feel very closely united to your brothers. Defend that holy unity without fear!
—If you were alone, your noble ambitions would be doomed to failure. A sheep on its own is nearly always a lost sheep.
I was amused by your vehemence. Faced by the lack of material resources to set to work, and with no one to help you, you said: “I have only two arms, but I sometimes feel impatient enough to become a monster with fifty arms to sow and reap the harvest.”
—Ask the Holy Spirit for that effectiveness… for he will grant it to you!
You found yourself with two books in Russian, and you felt an enormous desire to learn that language. You imagined the beauty of dying like a grain of wheat in that nation, now so arid, which in time will yield great harvests of wheat.
—I think that those ambitions are good. But, for now, dedicate yourself to the small task and great mission of every day, to your study, your work, your apostolate, and, above all, to your formation. This, since you still need to do so much pruning, is neither a less heroic nor a less beautiful task.
What use is a student who does not study?
When you find studying is an awfully uphill task offer that effort to Jesus. Tell him that you continue poring over your books, so that you may use your knowledge as a weapon to fight his enemies and so gain many souls for him… You can then be sure that your study is well on its way to becoming prayer.
If you waste hours and days, if you kill time, you are opening the doors of your soul to the devil. That way of behaving is equivalent to saying to him: “Make yourself at home.”
I grant you it is difficult not to waste time. But notice that God’s enemy, the “other side”, does not rest.
What is more, remember the truth that Paul, a champion of the love of God, proclaims, Tempus breve est! This life is slipping away through our fingers, and it is impossible to recover it.
Do you realise how much depends on whether you are soundly prepared or not? Many, many souls!
—And now will you cease to study or work with perfection?
There are two ways of reaching the top: one — the Christian way — by the noble and gallant effort of serving others; the other — the pagan way — by the mean and ignoble effort of dragging down your neighbour.
Don’t try to convince me that you live facing God, if you do not try always and in everything, to face men, any man, with sincere and open fraternity.
Those who are “ambitious”, with small, personal, miserable ambitions, cannot understand that the friends of God should seek to achieve something through a spirit of service and without such “ambition”.
You are anxious for one thing: to hurry and soon be forged, moulded, polished and hammered into the piece that fits and will fulfil effectively the work it has been designed to do. This work is the mission it has been assigned to…in the vast field of Christ.
I pray a great deal that this desire of yours may spur you on when you are tired, when you fail and in the hour of darkness… for “the mission it has been assigned to in the vast field of Christ” cannot change.
Fight courageously against that false humility — you should call it spirit of comfort — which stops you from behaving like a good son of God. You have to grow out of it!
Are you not ashamed when you see that your elder brothers have spent years in dedicated work, and you are not yet able, or do not want to be able, to lift a finger to help them?
Allow your soul to be consumed by desires — desires for loving, for being forgotten, for holiness, for Heaven. Do not stop to wonder whether the time will come to see them accomplished, as some pseudo-adviser might suggest. Make them more fervent every day, for the Holy Spirit says that he is pleased with men of desires.
Let your desires be operative and put them into practice in your daily tasks.
If the Lord has called you a friend you must respond to the call and walk with a hurried pace, with all the urgency needed, at God’s pace! Otherwise you run the risk of becoming a simple spectator.
Forget about yourself… May your ambition be to live for your brothers alone, for souls, for the Church; in one word, for God.
In the middle of the rejoicing at the feast in Cana, only Mary notices that they are short of wine… A soul will notice even the smallest details of service if, like her, it is alive with a passion for helping its neighbour, for God.