ON the day you make this renewal of your resolutions, and on those
immediately following, you should often repeat with heart and
voice the earnest words of S. Paul, S. Augustine, S. Catherine of
Genoa, and others like-minded, "I am not mine own, whether I live
or whether I die, I am the Lord's. There is no longer any me or
mine, my 'me' is Jesus, my 'mine' is to be His. Thou world, wilt
ever be thyself, and hitherto I have been myself, but henceforth I
will be so no more."
We shall indeed not be ourselves any more,
for our heart will be changed, and the world which has so often
deceived us will in its turn be deceived in us; our change will be
so gradual that the world will still suppose us to be Esau, while
really we are Jacob.
All our devout exercises must sink into the heart, and when we
come forth from our meditation and retirement it behoves us to
tread warily in business or society, lest the wine of our good
resolutions be heedlessly spilt; rather let it soak in and
penetrate every faculty of the soul, but quietly, and without
bodily or mental excitement.
The world will tell you, my child, that all these counsels and
practices are so numerous, that anybody who tries to heed them can
pay no attention to anything else. Verily, my dear daughter, if we
did nothing else we should not be far wrong, since we should be
doing all that we ought to do in this world. But you see the
If all these exercises were to be performed every day they
would undoubtedly fill up all our time, but it is only necessary
to use them according to time and place as they are wanted.
What a quantity of laws there are in our civil codes and
digests! But they are only called into use from time to time, as
circumstances arise, not every day. Besides, for that matter,
David, king as he was, and involved in a multiplicity of
complicated affairs, fulfilled more religious duties than those
which I have suggested; and S. Louis, a monarch unrivalled in time
of peace or war, who was most diligent in the administration of
justice and in ruling his country, nevertheless was wont to hear
two masses daily, to say vespers and compline with his chaplain,
and to make his meditation daily. He used to visit the hospitals
every Friday, was regular at confession, took the discipline,
often attended sermons and spiritual conferences, and withal he
never lost any opportunity of promoting the public welfare, and
his court was more flourishing and notable than that of any of his
Be bold and resolute then in performing the spiritual exercises
I have set before you, and God will give you time and strength for
all other duties, yea, even if He were to cause the sun to stand
still, as He did in Joshua's time. (1) We are sure always to do
enough when God works with us.
Moreover, the world will say that I take it for granted that
those I address have the gift of mental prayer, which nevertheless
every one does not possess, and that consequently this book will
not be of use to all.
Doubtless it is true that I have assumed this, and it is also
true that every one has not the gift of mental prayer, but it is a
gift which almost every one can obtain, even the most ignorant,
provided they are under a good director, and will take as much
pains as the thing deserves to acquire it.
And if there are any altogether devoid of this gift (which I
believe will very rarely be the case), a wise spiritual father
will easily teach them how to supply the deficiency, by reading or
listening to the meditations and considerations supplied in this
book or elsewhere.