When one thinks clearly about the poor things of this world, and compares them with the riches of life with Christ there is only one plain word, I can’t help thinking, for the road that people choose: stupidity, stupidity, stupidity.

It is not just that most of us men make mistakes. There is something much worse about us: we are complete and utter fools.

It is sad that you do not want to remain hidden as a foundation stone and support the building. But to become a stumbling block for others? I think that is villainous!

Do not be scandalised because there are bad Christians who are active but do not practise. The Lord, says the Apostle, “will render to every man according to his works”; to you for yours, and to me, for mine.

—If you and I make up our minds to behave well, there will be two fewer scoundrels in the world for a start.

If you do not fight against being frivolous, your head will be like a junk shop: you will only be storing up impossible ideals, false hopes, and… old rubbish.

You are very independent-minded. If you made use of this in a supernatural way, it would help you to become a great Christian. But the way you use it just makes you very free and easy.

You take everything so lightly that I am reminded of the old story. The cry went up: “There is a lion coming!” And the naturalist answered: “Why tell me? I catch butterflies.”

A terrible person is one who is ignorant but at the same time works tirelessly.

Take care that even when you are old and decrepit, you keep on wanting to be better trained.

This is the excuse of a frivolous and selfish man: “I don’t want to commit myself to anything.”

You neither want to be an evil man nor a good one. And so, limping on both legs, you will have mistaken your way and filled your life with emptiness.

In medio virtus — Virtue is to be found in the mean, the wise saying goes, warning us against extremism. But do not make the mistake of turning that advice into a euphemism for your own comfort, calculation, tepidity, easy-goingness, lack of idealism and mediocrity.

Meditate on these words of Sacred Scripture: “Would that you were cold or hot. But because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”

You never reach the kernel of things. You always concern yourself with accidentals! —Allow me to repeat what Sacred Scripture says: you have only “spoken in the wind”!

Don’t behave like those people who after hearing a sermon, instead of applying the doctrine to themselves, they think: that would suit So-and-so very well.

Sometimes people think there is no malice in slander. It is the hypothesis, they say, by which ignorance explains what it does not know or understand, so as to appear well-informed.

But it is doubly evil: as ignorance and as a lie.

Do not speak so irresponsibly… Don’t you realise that as soon as you throw the first stone others — anonymously — will organise a full-scale stoning?

Is it you who are creating that atmosphere of discontent among those around you? —Forgive me then for having to tell you that, apart from being bad, you are plain stupid.

When some misfortune or mistake occurs, it is poor satisfaction to be able to say: “I knew it would happen.”

It would mean that you are unconcerned with the troubles of your neighbour, for you should have sought a remedy if it was in your power to do so.

There are many ways of sowing confusion. It is enough, for instance, to speak of the exception as if it were the general rule.

You say you are a Catholic… That is why I feel so sorry for you when I see that your convictions lack the solidity needed to let you practise Catholicism in action, without introducing reservations or compartmentalising your life.

It would be laughable, if it were not so sad, to see the naivety with which you accept — through superficiality, ignorance, or an inferiority complex — the most transparent nonsense.

People who are stupid, unscrupulous, or hypocritical, think that others are just the same. And — this is the real pity — they treat them as if they were.

It would be bad if you were to waste your time, which is not yours but God’s and is meant for his glory. But if on top of that you make others waste it, you both diminish your own standing and defraud God of more of the glory you owe him.

You lack the maturity and composure appropriate for those who make their way through this life with the certainty of an ideal, of a goal.

—Ask the Blessed Virgin to teach you how to praise God with your whole heart, without distractions of any kind.

References to Holy Scripture
References to Holy Scripture
This chapter in another language