The Lord needs strong and courageous souls who refuse to come to terms with mediocrity and enter all kinds of environments with a sure step.
A calm and balanced character, an inflexible will, deep faith and an ardent piety: these are the indispensable characteristics of a son of God.
The Lord can raise children of Abraham from the very stones… But we must make sure that the stone is not crumbly, for though hard rock may be shapeless, it is easier to hew good stone for building from it.
An apostle must not remain at the level of the mediocre. God calls him to be fully human in his actions, and at the same time to reflect the freshness of eternal things. —That is why the apostle has to be a soul who has undergone a long, patient and heroic process of formation.
You say that you are discovering new things in yourself every day… I answer: you are now beginning to know yourself.
When you really love… you find new ways of loving even more.
It would be a very sad thing if anyone looking at the way Catholics in society behave, concluded that they were sheepish and easily imposed upon.
Never forget that our Master was — indeed is! — perfectus Homo — perfect Man.
If the Lord has given you some natural quality or skill, you should not just enjoy it yourself or show off about it; you should use it charitably in the service of your neighbour.
—And what better occasion than now will you find to serve, since you live with so many souls who share the same ideal as yourself?
Under the pressure and impact of a materialistic, pleasure-loving, faithless world, how can we demand and justify the freedom of not thinking as they do, and of not acting as they do?
—A son of God has no need to ask for that freedom, because Christ won it for us once and for all. But he does need to defend it and practise it whatever the circumstance he finds himself in. Only thus will they understand that our freedom is not bound up in our surroundings.
Your relatives, colleagues and friends are beginning to notice the change, and realise that it is not a temporary phase, but that you are no longer the same.
—Don’t worry, carry on! Vivit vero in me Christus — it is now Christ that lives in me — that’s what is happening.
You should respect those who are capable of saying No to you. And you should also ask them to give you reasons for their refusal, so that you can learn… or put them right.
Once you were pessimistic, hesitant and apathetic. Now you are completely transformed: you feel courageous, optimistic and self-confident, because you have made up your mind, at last, to rely on God alone.
What a sorry state someone is in when he has marvellous human virtues but a total lack of supernatural outlook, because he will apply those virtues quite easily to his own selfish ends. —Meditate on this.
Since you want to acquire a Catholic or universal mentality, here are some characteristics you should aim at:
—a breadth of vision and a vigorous endeavour to study more deeply the things that are permanently alive and unchanged in Catholic orthodoxy;
—a proper and healthy desire, which should never be frivolous, to present anew the standard teachings of traditional thought in philosophy and the interpretation of history…;
—a careful attention to trends in science and contemporary thought;
—and a positive and open attitude towards the current changes in society and in ways of living.
You have to learn to disagree charitably with others — whenever the need arises — without becoming unpleasant.
With the grace of God and a solid formation you can make yourself understood in a backward environment. There, they would find it difficult to follow you if you lacked “the gift of tongues”, the capacity to try and reach their understanding.
You should always be well-mannered towards everybody, especially towards those who present themselves as your adversaries (you should never have enemies) when you are trying to let them see their mistake.
You feel sorry for a spoilt child, don’t you? Well then, don’t look after yourself so well. Can’t you see that you are going to get soft?
Moreover, you must know that the flowers with the sweetest scent are the wild flowers that have grown out in the open, through rain and drought.
He will go very far, they say. It is frightening to think of his future responsibility. He has never been known to work unselfishly or to say a timely word or to write anything fruitful. His life is entirely negative. He always gives the impression of being submerged in deep thought, although it is well known that he never cultivated any ideas worth thinking about. His face and manner have the gravity of a mule, and so he has the reputation of being prudent.
—He will go very far! But, I ask myself, what will he be able to teach others? How and in what will he serve them if we do not help him to change?
The pedant interprets the simplicity and humility of the learned as ignorance.
Don’t be one of those people who, when they receive an order, immediately begin to think about how to change it… —We might say they have too much “personality”, and they cause disunity or ruin.
Experience, great knowledge of the world, being able to read between the lines, an exaggerated sharpness, a critical spirit… All those things, in your business and social relations, have led you too far, to such an extent that you have become a bit cynical. All that “excessive realism”, which is a lack of supernatural spirit, has even invaded your interior life. —Through failing to be simple, you have become at times cold and unfeeling.
At heart you are a good chap, but you fancy yourself as a Machiavelli. —Remember that to enter into Heaven you have to be a good and honest man, not a tiresome little intriguer.
That good humour of yours is admirable… But to take absolutely everything as a joke is, you must admit, going too far. —The real position is quite different. Since you do not have the will to take your own affairs seriously, you justify yourself by poking fun at others who are better than you.
I do not deny that you are clever. But your unreasonable vehemence leads you to act like a fool.
Your character is so uneven! —Your keyboard is out of order. You play very well on the high notes and on the low notes… but no sound comes from the ones in the middle, the ones used in ordinary life, the ones people normally hear.
Take note of this. I told a certain noble, learned and dauntless man, on a memorable occasion, that by defending a holy cause, which “good people” were attacking, a high post in his field was at stake: he was going to lose it. —With a voice full of human and supernatural seriousness, despising the honours of this earth, he answered: “It is my soul that is at stake.”
Diamonds are polished with diamonds…, and souls with souls.
“A great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman adorned with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars about her head.” —From this, you and I and everyone may be sure that nothing perfects our personality so much as correspondence with grace.
—Try to imitate the Virgin Mary and you will be a complete man or woman.