On the first day of every month renew the resolution given in Part
I. after meditation, and make continual protestation of your
intention to keep it, saying with David, "I will never forget Thy
Commandments, for with them Thou hast quickened me." (1) And
whenever you feel any deterioration in your spiritual condition,
take out your protest, and prostrating yourself in a humble
spirit, renew it heartily, and you will assuredly find great
Make open profession of your desire to be devout; I will not
say to be devout, but to desire it; and do not be ashamed of the
ordinary, needful actions which lead us on in the Love of God.
Acknowledge boldly that you try to meditate, that you would
rather die than commit a mortal sin; that you frequent the
Sacraments, and follow the advice of your director (although for
various reasons it may not be necessary to mention his name).
This open confession that you intend to serve God, and that you
have devoted yourself deliberately and heartily to His Holy Love,
is very acceptable to His Divine Majesty, for He would not have
any of us ashamed of Him or of His Cross.
Moreover, it cuts at the root of many a hindrance which the
world tries to throw in our way, and so to say, commits us to the
pursuit of holiness. The philosophers of old used to give
themselves out as such, in order to be left unmolested in their
philosophic life; and we ought to let it be known that we aim at
devotion in order that we may be suffered to live devoutly.
And if any one affirms that you can live a devout life without
following all these practices and counsels, do not deny it, but
answer meekly that your infirmity is great, and needs more help
and support than many others may require.
Finally, my beloved child, I intreat you by all that is sacred
in heaven and in earth, by your own Baptism, by the breast which
Jesus sucked, by the tender Heart with which He loves you, and by
the bowels of compassion in which you hope--be stedfast and
persevere in this most blessed undertaking to live a devout life.
Our days pass away, death is at hand. "The trumpet sounds a
recall," says S. Gregory Nazianzen, "in order that every one may
make ready, for Judgment is near." When S. Symphorian was led to
his martyrdom, his mother cried out to him, "My son, my son,
remember life eternal, look to Heaven, behold Him Who reigns
there; for the brief course of this life will soon be ended."
Even so would I say to you: Look to Heaven, and do not lose it
for earth; look at Hell, and do not plunge therein for the sake of
this passing life; look at Jesus Christ, and do not deny Him for
the world's sake; amid if the devout life sometimes seems hard and
dull, join in Saint Francis' song, (2) --
"Tanto `e il bene ch' io aspetto
Ch' ogni pena m' e diletto."
"So vast the joys that I await,
No earthly travail seemeth great."
Glory be to Jesus, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
be honour and glory, now and ever, and to all Eternity. Amen.