To advance in interior life and apostolate, you do not need devotion that you can feel, but a definite and generous disposition of the will to respond to what God asks of you.
Without the Lord you will not be able to take one sure step forward. —This conviction that you need his help will lead you to be more united to him, with a strong, enduring confidence, accompanied by joy and peace, even though the road might become hard and steep.
Look at the great difference between the natural and the supernatural way of acting. The first begins well, but later ends up slackening. The latter begins equally well… and later struggles to become even better.
It is not at all bad to behave well for upright human reasons. —But… what a difference it makes when the supernatural ones rule!
When he saw the happiness with which that hard work was being done, that friend asked: “Is it through enthusiasm that you get all these tasks done?” —And they answered him happily and calmly: “Through enthusiasm…? That would be the day! Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum! — through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is constantly awaiting us.”
The world is waiting for us to wake up those who are asleep, to encourage the timid, to guide those who have lost their way; in other words, for us to enrol them in the ranks of Christ, so that such a lot of energy is not lost.
Perhaps you too might find it helpful to make use of this reminder of supernatural things which shows all the sensitivity of willing love. It was what a soul very much given to God used to repeat when he was faced by the various demands made on him. “It is high time to make up your mind in earnest to do something worthwhile.”
What sort of Christian perfection do you expect to achieve, if you are only following your whims and doing “what you like”? All your defects, unless you fight against them, will naturally produce bad works as their constant fruit. And your will, untempered by a persevering fight, will be of no use to you when a difficult occasion arises.
The appearance is that of strength and resilience. —But how much softness and lack of willpower there is within!
—You must hold to your determination not to let your virtues become fancy dress but clothes which define your character.
“I know some men and women who don’t even have the strength to ask for help”, you tell me with sorrow and disappointment. —Don’t leave them in the lurch. Your desire to save yourself and them can be the starting point for their conversion. Furthermore, if you think about it carefully you will realise that someone also had to lend you a hand.
Soft people who complain about a thousand silly trivialities are the ones who do not know how to sacrifice themselves for Jesus… in those daily trifles — let alone sacrifice themselves for others.
What a shame if your behaviour — which is so hard and demanding with other people! — should show the same softness in your daily life!
You suffer a lot because you realise that you don’t make the grade. You would like to do more, and do it more effectively, but very often you do things in a complete daze, or you don’t dare do them at all.
Contra spem, in spem! — live in certain hope, against all hope. Rely on that firm rock which will save you and help you on. It is a wonderful theological virtue, which will encourage you to press on, without being afraid of going too far, and will not let you stop.
—Don’t look so troubled! Yes, cultivating hope means strengthening the will.
Whenever your will weakens in your ordinary work, you must recall these thoughts: “Study, work, is an essential part of my way. If I were discredited professionally as a consequence of my laziness it would make my work as a Christian useless or impossible. To attract and to help others, I need the influence of my professional reputation, and that is what God wants.”
—Never doubt that if you abandon your task, you are going away from God’s plans and leading others away from them!
You were scared of following the way of the children of God, for in the name of the Lord you were urged to do your duty, to deny yourself and climb down from your ivory tower. You excused yourself from taking part… and I admit that I do not find it at all strange that you should now feel that weight which is oppressing you: a set of complexes and twisted complications, of inhibitions and scruples, which leaves you useless.
Don’t be annoyed with me if I tell you that you have behaved with less courage than depraved people, who boldly propagate evil, as if you were worse or lower than them.
Surge et ambula! — get up and walk. Make up your mind! You can still get rid of that evil dead weight if you listen with the grace of God to what he is asking, and, above all, if you do it fully and wholeheartedly!
t is good that your soul should be eaten up by that impatience. But don't be in a hurry. God wants you to prepare yourself seriously, taking all the months or years necessary, and is counting on your decision to do so. With good reason did that emperor say: "Time is my ally".
This is how a right-minded man summarised jealousy or envy: “They must be very ill-intentioned to want to stir up such clean waters.”
You ask if you have to remain silent and inactive… —In the face of unjust aggression against a just law, the answer is: No!
Every day you are becoming more ‘crazy’… —It is noticeable in the wonderful self-assurance and confidence that knowing you are working for Christ has given you.
—Sacred Scripture has already proclaimed it: Vir fidelis multum laudabitur — the faithful man merits praise from all.
You have never felt so absolutely free as you do now that your freedom is interwoven with love and detachment, with security and insecurity; for you do not trust yourself at all, but trust in God for everything.
Have you seen how water is stored in reservoirs against a time of drought…? In the same way, to achieve the even character that you need in times of difficulty, you have to store up cheerfulness, clear insights and the light which the Lord sends you.
As the flames of your first enthusiasm die down, it becomes difficult to advance in the dark. —But that progress is all the more reliable for being hard. And then, when you least expect it, the darkness vanishes, and the enthusiasm and light return. Persevere!
God wants his children to be on the offensive. —We cannot just ‘wait and see’. Our business is to fight, wherever we may be, as an army in battle array.
It is not a matter of fulfilling your obligations in a hurry, but of bringing them to a finish without a pause, at God’s pace.
You have the agreeable manner of an intelligent conversationalist… But you are also very apathetic. “Nobody has come to look for me” is your excuse.
—Let me be more specific: if you don’t change and seek out those who are waiting for you, you will never be an effective apostle.
There are three extremely important things you need to do to draw people to God. Forget yourself, and think only of the glory of your Father God. Subject your will filially to the Will of Heaven, as Jesus Christ taught you. Follow with docility the lights of the Holy Spirit.
Mary spent three days and three nights looking for the Son who was lost. May you and I also be able to say that our willingness to find Jesus knows no rest.