"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."

St Philip Neri

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."

St Philip Neri

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Blessed John of Rusybroeck   (1293-1381)




by Blessed John of Rusybroeck



13. Of Obedience

From this humility there springs obedience, for none can be inwardly obedient save the humble man.

Obedience means an unassuming, submissive, and pliable humour, and a will in readiness for all that is good. Obedience makes a man submit to the biddings, the forbiddings, and the will of God; it subjects the senses and the animal powers to the higher reason, so that a man may live decently and reasonably. And it makes men submissive and obedient to Holy Church, to the sacraments, to the prelates and their teaching, to their commandments and their counsels, and to all the good customs practised by Holy Christendom. It also makes a man ready and supple in his intercourse with other men, in deed and counsel, in ghostly and bodily business, with prudent discretion, according to the needs of each.

And it casts out disobedience, that daughter of pride, more to be abhorred than venom or poison. To be obedient in will and deed adorns and enlarges and reveals the humility of a man. It makes peace in the cloister. If it is in the prelate, as it ought to be, it will draw to him all those whom he rules. It makes for peace and unanimity between equals; and he who has it is loved by his superiors and by those who are set over him; whilst by God he is advanced, and enriched with His gifts, which are eternal.

14. Of the Renunciation of Self-Will

From this obedience there springs the renunciation of one's own will and one's own opinion, for none can submit his own will in all things to the will of another, save the obedient man: though one may obey in outward things and yet remain self-willed.

The forsaking of one's own will causes a man to live without preference for either this or that, in doing or leaving undone, in those things which are strange and special in the saints, in their precepts and in their practice; but it makes him to live always according to the glory and the commandments of God, and the will of his prelates, and in peace with all men in his neighbourhood, so far as true prudence permits.

By renouncing self-will in doing, in leaving undone, and in suffering, the material and occasion of pride are wholly cast out, and humility is made perfect in the highest degree. And God becomes the Lord of the man's whole will; and the man's will is so united with the will of God that he can neither will nor desire in any other way. This man has put off the old man, and has put on the new man, who is renewed and made according to the dearest will of God. Of all such Christ says: Blessed are the poor in spirit�that is to say, those who have renounced self-will�for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.[41]

15. Of Patience

From the renunciation of self-will springs patience; for none can be perfectly patient in all things save the man who has subjected his own will to the will of God, and also in all profitable and seemly things, to the will of all other men.

Patience is a peaceful endurance of all things that may befall a man either from God or from the creatures. Nothing can trouble the patient man; neither the loss of earthly goods, of friends and kinsmen, nor sickness, nor disgrace, nor life, nor death, nor purgatory, nor devil, nor hell. For he has abandoned himself in perfect charity to the will of God, and as he is not burdened by mortal sin, everything that God imposes on him, in time and in eternity, is light to him. By this patience a man is also adorned and armed against peevishness and sudden wrath, and impatience in suffering; which often stir a man from within and from without, and lay him open to many temptations.
41. It will be seen that the description of the virtues in this section, like that of the terraces in Dante's Purgatorio, is arranged upon a definite plan. Each virtue or group of qualities opposes one of the seven mortal sins, and is associated with one of the Beatitudes.