Furthermore the more a man recognises his own insignificance, the
more he fully and the more clearly he becomes aware to the divine
majesty, and the more a man is low in his own eyes for the sake of
God, the truth and justice, the more precious he is in the eyes of
For this reason let us strive with the whole strength of our
desire to consider ourselves the lowest of all and to consider
ourselves unworthy of any favour. We should strive to be
displeasing to ourselves and pleasing only to God, while regarded
as low and unworthy of consideration by others. Above all not to
be moved by difficulties, afflictions and insults, and not to be
upset by those who inflict such things on us, or entertain evil
thoughts against them or be indignant, but to believe steadfastly
and with equanimity in all insults, slights, blows and dereliction
that it is only appropriate.
For in truth he who is really penitent and grieving before God
hates to be honoured and loved by all, and does not try to
manipulate things so as to avoid being to some degree hated,
neglected and despised right to the end, so that he can be truly
humbled and sincerely cleave to God alone with a pure heart.
Indeed, for loving God alone and hating oneself more than
anything, and desiring to be despised by others we do not require
external work or physical strength, but rather physical solitude,
the labour of the heart, and peace of mind so that, as it were, by
labour of the heart and the disposition of the inmost mind, one
may rise up, casting off from oneself lower and physical things,
and so soar up, ascending to things heavenly and divine.
For indeed in so doing we changed into God, and this will
especially take place when without judgement, condemnation or
contempt of our neighbour, we choose rather to be considered as
scum and a disgrace by everyone and to be despised as unclean
filth by everyone than to experience all sorts of different
delicacies or to be honoured and exalted by men, or enjoy all
sorts of transitory physical forms of well-being and comfort.
We should not desire any pleasure of this present, mortal and
physical life but rather to mourn, bewail and lament our offences,
faults and sins without ceasing, and to perfectly despise and
annihilate ourselves, and from day to day to be considered more
and more abject by others, while in all our insignificance we
become worthless even in our own eyes, so that we can be pleasing
to God alone, love him alone, and cleave to him alone.
We should not wish to be concerned about anything except the Lord
Jesus Christ himself who alone should reside in our affections,
and we should not be concerned or anxious about anything except
him on whose dominion and providence everything in general and
So from now on it should not be your aim to seek enjoyment but to
truly mourn with all your heart. For that reason, if you do not
mourn, mourn for that, while if you do mourn, mourn especially
that you have brought the cause of your pain on yourself by your
own great offences and infinite sins. For just as a condemned man
on receiving his sentence does not concern himself about the
seating of the spectators, so he who laments and is genuinely
mourning is not interested in pleasures, resentment, fame or
wrongs or things of that sort.
And just as townsfolk and contemned criminals have different
accommodation, the state and position of those who are mourning
and have committed offences deserving punishment ought to be
completely different from those who are innocent and under no
obligation. Otherwise there would be no difference between the
guilty and the innocent in matters of punishment and reward. The
result would be great dereliction of duty, and evil behaviour
would have more freedom than goodness.
So everything must be renounced, everything despised, everything
rejected and avoided, so that we can lay a firm foundation of
Then, loving Jesus Christ in reality, yearning for him, and
holding him in one's heart, in reality experiencing pain for one's
sins and faults, in reality seeking to know the coming Kingdom,
while with true faith bearing in mind the reality of the torments
and eternal judgement, and firmly and fully taking up the
recollection and fear of one's own death, we should be aware of
nothing else, and not care or be worried about anything else.
For that reason, he who hurries towards the blessed state of
impassibility and towards God should reckon himself to have
experienced great loss every day that he is not insulted and
despised. Impassibility after all is freedom from vices and
passions and purity of heart and the adornment of all virtues. So
consider yourself as already dead since there is no doubt that you
have got to die.
And as a final thought let this be the test for you of whether any
thought, word or action of yours is of God, whether you are made
more humble because of it, more inward and more recollected and
established in God. If you find it is otherwise in yourself, you
should be suspicious about it, whether it be not according to God,
unacceptable to you and not to your benefit.