Be watchful and diligent in God's service and often
think of why you left the world and came here. Was it
not that you might live for God and become a
spiritual man? Strive earnestly for perfection, then,
because in a short time you will receive the reward
of your labor, and neither fear nor sorrow shall come
upon you at the hour of death. Labor a little now,
and soon you shall find great rest, in truth, eternal
joy; for if you continue faithful and diligent in
doing, God will undoubtedly be faithful and generous
in rewarding. Continue to have reasonable hope of
gaining salvation, but do not act as though you were
certain of it lest you grow indolent and proud.
One day when a certain man who wavered often and
anxiously between hope and fear was struck with
sadness, he knelt in humble prayer before the altar
of a church. While meditating on these things, he
said: "Oh if I but knew whether I should persevere to
the end!" Instantly he heard within the divine
answer: "If you knew this, what would you do? Do now
what you would do then and you will be quite secure."
Immediately consoled and comforted, he resigned
himself to the divine will and the anxious
uncertainty ceased. His curiosity no longer sought to
know what the future held for him, and he tried
instead to find the perfect, the acceptable will of
God in the beginning and end of every good work.
"Trust thou in the Lord and do good," says the
Prophet; "dwell in the land and thou shalt feed on
There is one thing that keeps many from zealously
improving their lives, that is, dread of the
difficulty, the toil of battle. Certainly they who
try bravely to overcome the most difficult and
unpleasant obstacles far outstrip others in the
pursuit of virtue. A man makes the most progress and
merits the most grace precisely in those matters
wherein he gains the greatest victories over self and
most mortifies his will. True, each one has his own
difficulties to meet and conquer, but a diligent and
sincere man will make greater progress even though he
have more passions than one who is more even-tempered
but less concerned about virtue.
Two things particularly further improvement -- to
withdraw oneself forcibly from those vices to which
nature is viciously inclined, and to work fervently
for those graces which are most needed.
Study also to guard against and to overcome the
faults which in others very frequently displease you.
Make the best of every opportunity, so that if you
see or hear good example you may be moved to imitate
it. On the other hand, take care lest you be guilty
of those things which you consider reprehensible, or
if you have ever been guilty of them, try to correct
yourself as soon as possible. As you see others, so
they see you.
How pleasant and sweet to behold brethren fervent
and devout, well mannered and disciplined! How sad
and painful to see them wandering in dissolution, not
practicing the things to which they are called! How
hurtful it is to neglect the purpose of their
vocation and to attend to what is not their business!
Remember the purpose you have undertaken, and keep
in mind the image of the Crucified. Even though you
may have walked for many years on the pathway to God,
you may well be ashamed if, with the image of Christ
before you, you do not try to make yourself still
more like Him.
The religious who concerns himself intently and
devoutly with our Lord's most holy life and passion
will find there an abundance of all things useful and
necessary for him. He need not seek for anything
better than Jesus.
If the Crucified should come to our hearts, how
quickly and abundantly we would learn!
A fervent religious accepts all the things that
are commanded him and does them well, but a negligent
and lukewarm religious has trial upon trial, and
suffers anguish from every side because he has no
consolation within and is forbidden to seek it from
without. The religious who does not live up to his
rule exposes himself to dreadful ruin, and he who
wishes to be more free and untrammeled will always be
in trouble, for something or other will always
How do so many other religious who are confined in
cloistered discipline get along? They seldom go out,
they live in contemplation, their food is poor, their
clothing coarse, they work hard, they speak but
little, keep long vigils, rise early, pray much, read
frequently, and subject themselves to all sorts of
discipline. Think of the Carthusians and the
Cistercians, the monks and nuns of different orders,
how every night they rise to sing praise to the Lord.
It would be a shame if you should grow lazy in such
holy service when so many religious have already
begun to rejoice in God.
If there were nothing else to do but praise the Lord
God with all your heart and voice, if you had never
to eat, or drink, or sleep, but could praise God
always and occupy yourself solely with spiritual
pursuits, how much happier you would be than you are
now, a slave to every necessity of the body! Would
that there were no such needs, but only the spiritual
refreshments of the soul which, sad to say, we taste
When a man reaches a point where he seeks no
solace from any creature, then he begins to relish
God perfectly. Then also he will be content no matter
what may happen to him. He will neither rejoice over
great things nor grieve over small ones, but will
place himself entirely and confidently in the hands
of God, Who for him is all in all, to Whom nothing
ever perishes or dies, for Whom all things live, and
Whom they serve as He desires.
Always remember your end and do not forget that
lost time never returns. Without care and diligence
you will never acquire virtue. When you begin to grow
lukewarm, you are falling into the beginning of evil;
but if you give yourself to fervor, you will find
peace and will experience less hardship because of
God's grace and the love of virtue.
A fervent and diligent man is ready for all
things. It is greater work to resist vices and
passions than to sweat in physical toil. He who does
not overcome small faults, shall fall little by
little into greater ones.
If you have spent the day profitably, you will always
be happy at eventide. Watch over yourself, arouse
yourself, warn yourself, and regardless of what
becomes of others, do not neglect yourself. The more
violence you do to yourself, the more progress you