More is achieved by whoever goes up closer to plead… That is why you must get close to God and be intent on becoming a saint.
I like to compare the interior life to clothing, to the wedding garment the Gospel speaks about. The cloth is woven from all the habits or acts of piety which, like threads, together give strength to the cloth. And so, just as a torn dress is rejected even though the rest of the material is in good condition, if you pray and work… but are not penitent (or the other way round) your interior life is not (so to speak) complete.
When will you realise that your only possible way is to seek sanctity seriously.
Make up your mind — don’t be offended — to take God seriously. That levity of yours, if you do not fight against it, could end up by becoming a sad and blasphemous mockery.
You sometimes allow the bad side of your character to come out, and it has shown itself, on more than one occasion, in an absurd harshness. At other times, you do not bother to prepare your heart and your head so that they may be a worthy dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity… And you invariably end up by remaining rather distant from Jesus, whom you know so little.
—If you go on like this, you will never have interior life.
Iesus Christus, perfectus Deus, perfectus Homo — Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect Man.
There are many Christians who follow Christ and are astonished by his divinity, but forget him as Man… And they fail in the practice of supernatural virtues, despite all the external paraphernalia of piety, because they do nothing to acquire human virtues.
Personal sanctity is a remedy for everything! —That is why the saints have been full of peace, of fortitude, of joy, of security…
Until now you had not understood the message that we Christians bring to the rest of men: the hidden marvel of the interior life.
What a wonderful new world you are placing in front of them!
How many new things you have discovered! And yet you are sometimes rather naive and think you have seen everything, that you have found out everything already. As time goes by, you will be able to reach out and touch the unique and unfathomable treasures of the Lord, who will always show you new things, if you respond with love and sensitivity. Then you will realise that you are only beginning, because holiness consists in identifying oneself with God, with that God of ours who is infinite and inexhaustible.
It is through Love rather than study that one comes to understand the things of God.
That is why you have to work, you have to study, you have to accept illness, you have to be sober — lovingly!
Here is a point for your daily examination. Have I allowed an hour to pass, without talking with my Father God? Have I talked to him with the love of a son? You can!
We should make no mistake… God is no shadowy or distant being who created us then abandoned us; nor is he a master who goes away and does not return. Though we do not perceive him with our senses, his existence is far more true than any of the realities which we touch and see. God is here with us, really present, living. He sees and hears us, He guides us, and knows our smallest deeds, our most hidden intentions.
We believe this — but we live as if God did not exist. For we do not have a thought or a word for him; for we do not obey him, nor try to control our passions; for we do not show that we love him, and we do not atone…
—Are we going to continue living with a dead faith?
If you had presence of God you would remedy many things that have apparently “no remedy”.
How are you going to live in God’s presence if you are only looking around everywhere? — It is as if you were drunk with novelties and futilities.
It is possible that you might be frightened by this word: meditation. It makes you think of books with old black covers, the sound of sighs and the irksome repetition of routine prayers… But that is not meditation.
To meditate is to consider, to contemplate God as your Father, and yourself as his son in need of help. And then to give him thanks for all that he has given you and for all that he will give you.
This is the only way to get to know Jesus: speak to him! You will always find in him a Father, a Friend, an Adviser, a Helper in all the noble deeds of your everyday life.
—And getting to know Him will give rise to Love.
You go on attending some classes daily, merely because in them you acquire a certain rather limited knowledge… How is it then that you are not constant in going to the Master, who is always ready to teach you the science of interior life, with its eternal content and savour?
What is a man or the greatest reward on earth worth compared with Jesus Christ, who is always ready to be with you?
To meditate for a while each day and be united in friendship with God is something that makes sense to people who know how to make good use of their lives. It befits conscientious Christians who live up to their convictions.
Those in love don’t know how to say good-bye: they are with one another all the time.
—Do you and I know how to love the Lord like this?
Haven’t you noticed how people in love dress to please one another by their appearance? —Well that is how you should tidy up and deck out your soul.
Grace, like nature, normally acts gradually. We cannot, properly speaking, move ahead of grace. But in all that does depend on us we have to prepare the way and co-operate when God grants grace to us.
Souls have to be encouraged to aim very high; they have to be impelled towards Christ’s ideal. Lead them to the highest goals which should not be reduced or made weaker in any way. But remember that sanctity is not primarily worked out with one’s own hands. Grace normally takes its time, and is not inclined to act with violence.
Encourage your holy impatience, but don’t lose your patience.
Is corresponding to divine grace, you ask, a matter of justice… or generosity…?
—It is a matter of Love!
“My affairs buzz around in my head at the most inopportune moments…”, you say.
That is why I have recommended you to try to establish some times for interior silence… and to guard your external and internal senses.
“Stay with us, it is towards evening…” The prayer of Cleophas and his companion was effective.
—How sad it would be if you and I were not able to “detain” Jesus who is passing by! What a shame not to ask him to stay!
I advised you to read the New Testament for some minutes every day, and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. This is so that you incarnate the Gospel, so that it is “fulfilled” in your life… and “make others fulfil it”.
Once you used to “enjoy” yourself a lot. —But now that you bear Christ within you, your whole life has been filled with a sincere and infectious joy. That is why you attract other people.
—Get to know Him better, so that you can reach all people.
Be careful you don’t get it wrong! —While you raise the temperature of the atmosphere around you make sure you do not cool down.
Get accustomed to referring everything to God.
Have you noticed how many of your companions know how to be very kind and considerate when dealing with the people they love, whether it is their girl-friend, their wife, their children or their family?
—Tell them — and ask it of yourself too — that the Lord does not deserve less. They must treat him that way! Advise them, besides, to continue practising that kindness and consideration, but do it with Him and for Him, and they will achieve, even here on earth, a happiness they had never dreamed of.
The Lord sowed good seed in your soul. And for that sowing of eternal life he used the powerful means of prayer. For you cannot deny that often while you were in front of the Tabernacle, face to face with him, he made you hear in the depths of your soul that he wanted you for himself, that you had to leave everything… If you denied it now you would be a miserable traitor. And if you have forgotten it you are ungrateful.
Do not doubt, for you have never doubted it up to now, that he has also used the supernatural advice and suggestions of your director, who has insistently repeated to you things that you cannot ignore. At the beginning, too, to deposit the good seed in your soul He used that noble, sincere friend, who told you some home truths which were filled with the love of God.
—But you have discovered and have been naively surprised that the enemy has sown tares in your soul. And he will continue to sow it, as long as you are comfortably asleep and slacken off in your interior life. That, and no other, is the reason why you find clinging to your soul all sorts of worldly weeds, which sometimes seem as if they are going to choke the grain of the good wheat you received…
—Uproot them once and for all! God’s grace is enough for you. Do not be afraid of leaving an empty space, a wound. The Lord will plant new seed of his there: love of God, fraternal charity, apostolic zeal. And after a certain time not the slightest sign will remain of those tares. That is if, while there is still time, you pull it out by the roots, and better still, if you do not fall asleep, and watch your field overnight.
Jesus speaks to us all the time, and happy are those blessed souls who, when they hear Jesus being spoken about, recognise him immediately as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
—You are well aware that when we do not enjoy that happiness it is because we have lacked the determination to follow him.
Once again you felt Christ was very near. —And once again you realised that you have to do everything for him.
Come closer to the Lord… Closer! —Until he becomes your Friend, your Confidante, your Guide.
Every day you notice that you are more rooted in God… you tell me. —Every day, then, you will be closer to your brothers.
If until now, when you had not yet found Him, you wanted to run through life with your eyes wide open, to find out about everything, from this moment onwards you can run with a clear vision, to see with him what is really of abiding interest to you.
When there is interior life, you can have recourse to God in any difficulty, with the spontaneity with which blood rushes to a wound.
“This is my Body…”, and the immolation of Jesus took place, hidden under the appearances of the bread. He is now there, with his Flesh and with his Blood, with his Soul and with his Divinity. He is the same as on the day that Thomas placed his fingers in His glorious Wounds.
And yet, on so many occasions, you saunter by, giving not even a hint of a greeting out of simple good manners that you would give to any person you knew when you met him.
—You have much less faith than Thomas!
If, to free you, a close friend of yours had gone to prison, would you not try to visit him, to talk to him for a while, take him some present, console him and show him the warmth of your friendship…? And, if that conversation with the prisoner were to save you from some evil and do you good… would you go without it? And if instead of a friend it were to be your father himself or your brother?
Jesus has remained in the Sacred Host for us! So as to stay by our side, to sustain us, to guide us. —And love can only be repaid with love.
—How could we not turn to the Blessed Sacrament each day, even if it is only for a few minutes, to bring him our greetings and our love as children and as brothers?
Have you seen it happening? Any old sergeant or a low ranking second lieutenant… sees coming towards him a fine-looking recruit, of an incomparably better quality than the officer; but the salute and its return are still given.
Meditate on the contrast. From the tabernacle of that church, Christ, perfect God, perfect Man, who has died for you on the Cross and gives you everything that you need… approaches you. And you go by without paying any attention to him.
You have started to visit the Blessed Sacrament every day… I am not surprised to hear you say, “I have come to love the sanctuary light madly.”
Do not neglect to say, “Jesus, I love you”, and make one spiritual communion, at least, each day, in atonement for all the profanations and sacrileges he suffers because he wants to be with us.
Do you not greet warmly all the people you love, and speak to them cordially? —Well, you and I are going to greet Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and our Guardian Angels, many times a day.
Develop a lively devotion for Our Mother. She knows how to respond in a most sensitive way to the presents we give her.
What is more, if you say the Holy Rosary every day, with a spirit of faith and love, Our Lady will make sure she leads you very far along her Son’s path.
Without Our Mother’s aid, how can we manage to keep up our daily struggle? —Do you seek it constantly?
The Guardian Angel always accompanies us as our principal witness. It is he who, at your particular judgement, will remember the kind deeds you performed for Our Lord throughout your life. Furthermore, when you feel lost, before the terrible accusations of the enemy, your Angel will present those intimate desires of your heart — which perhaps you yourself might have forgotten — those proofs of love which you might have had for God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
That is why you must never forget your Guardian Angel, and that Prince of Heaven shall not abandon you now, or at that decisive moment.
Your Communions were very cold: you paid little attention to the Lord: you were distracted by the smallest trifle… But ever since you began to realise during an intimate dialogue with God that the angels are present, your attitude has changed… “Let them not see me like this!”, you say to yourself…
—And see how, as a result of thinking, “What will they say?” — this time, for a good motive — you have advanced a little towards Love.
When you see yourself with a dry heart, without knowing what to say, go with confidence to the Virgin Mary. Say to her, “My Mother Immaculate, intercede for me.”
If you invoke her with faith, she will make you taste in the midst of your dryness the proximity of God.