He who follows Me, walks not in darkness," says the
Lord. John 8:12. By these words of Christ we are
advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to
be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of
heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study
the life of Jesus Christ.
The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the
advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will
find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who
hear the Gospel often but care little for it because
they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever
wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must
try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.
What good does it do to speak learnedly about
the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the
Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man
holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing
to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how
to define it. For what would it profit us to know the
whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
philosophers if we live without grace and the love of
God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to
love God and serve Him alone.
This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of
heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity,
therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish.
It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up
with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the
body and to desire things for which severe punishment
later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life
and to care little about a well-spent life. It is
vanity to be concerned with the present only and not
to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to
love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where
eternal joy abides.
Often recall the proverb: "The eye is not satisfied
with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing."(1) Try,
moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things
visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For
they who follow their own evil passions stain their
consciences and lose the grace of God.