This is what Our Lord wants, for we need it if we are to follow him closely. There is no other way. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in each soul — in yours. Be docile and present no obstacles to God, until he makes your poor flesh like that of Jesus on the Cross.

If the word love is often on your lips, without being backed by little sacrifices, it becomes tedious.

From every point of view, mortification has an extraordinary importance.

—Considering it humanly, anyone who does not know how to control himself will never be able to have a positive influence on others. He will be overwhelmed by his surroundings as soon as he finds they appeal to his personal tastes. He will be a man without energy, incapable of any great effort when required.

—Considering it before God, do you not think it appropriate for us to show, with these small acts, how much we love, obey and respect the One who gave everything for us?

A spirit of mortification, rather than being just an outward show of Love, arises as one of its consequences. If you fail in one of these little proofs, acknowledge that your love for the Love is wavering.

Have you not noticed that mortified souls, because of their simplicity, have a greater enjoyment of good things, even in this world?

Without mortification there is no happiness on earth.

When you make up your mind to be more mortified, your interior life will improve and you will be much more fruitful.

Let us not forget that in all human activities there must be men and women who, in their lives and work, raise Christ’s Cross aloft for all to see, as an act of reparation. It is a symbol of peace and of joy, a symbol of the Redemption and of the unity of the human race. It is a symbol of the love that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had, and continues to have, for mankind.

“You won’t laugh, Father, will you, if I tell you that, a few days ago, I found myself spontaneously offering the Lord the sacrifice of time it meant for me to mend a broken toy for one of my little children?”

—I am not laughing. I am delighted because with that Love, God sets about mending our faults.

Be mortified, but not careless or bitter. —Be recollected, but not timid.

A day without mortification is a day lost, because if we have not denied ourselves, we have not lived the holocaust.

Haven’t you gone against your own preference, your whims, some time, in something? —You must realise that the One who asks you is nailed to a Cross, suffering in all his senses and faculties, with a crown of thorns on his head… for you.

You present yourself as a wonderful theoretician. But you don’t give way to others even in the most insignificant trifles. I do not believe in that spirit of mortification of yours!

Care in little things requires constant mortification. It is a way to make life more agreeable for others.

I prefer virtue to austerity, Yahweh said, using different words, to the chosen people, who set too much store by certain external formalities.

—That is why we must cultivate penance and mortification as a proof of our true love for God and for our neighbour.

In our meditation, the Passion of Christ comes out of its cold historical frame and stops being a pious consideration, presenting itself before our eyes, as terrible, brutal, savage, bloody… yet full of Love.

—And we feel that sin cannot be regarded as just a trivial error: to sin is to crucify the Son of God, to tear his hands and feet with hammer blows, and to make his heart break.

If you really want to be a penitent soul — both penitent and cheerful — you must above all stick to your daily periods of prayer, which should be intimate, generous and not cut short. And you must make sure that those minutes of prayer are not done only when you feel the need, but at fixed times, whenever it is possible. Don’t neglect these details.

If you subject yourself totally to this daily worship of God, I can assure you that you will always be happy.

A Christian always triumphs from the Cross, through his self-renunciation, because he allows God’s omnipotence to act.

When you look back on your life, which seems to have been marked by no great efforts or achievements, think how much time you have wasted, and how you can recover it with penance and greater self-giving.

When you think of all the things in your life which remain worthless for not having been offered to God, you should act like a miser, anxious to get hold of every opportunity you can and to make use of each and every suffering. —For if suffering is always there for us poor creatures, what can it be but stupidity to waste it?

Do you entertain a spirit of opposition, of contradiction? Very well, exercise it by opposing and contradicting yourself.

While the Holy Family was asleep, the angel appeared to Joseph so that they flee to Egypt. Mary and Joseph took the Child and started out on the journey without delay. They did not rebel, they did not find excuses, they did not wait till the following morning… Tell our Holy Mother Mary and our Father and Lord Saint Joseph that we wish to be prompt in loving all passive penance.

I write this number so that you and I can finish this book with a smile, and so that those blessed readers who out of simplicity or malice sought a cabalistic significance in the 999 points of The Way may rest easy.

This chapter in another language