The kingdom of God is within you," says the Lord.(1)
Turn, then, to God with all your heart. Forsake this
wretched world and your soul shall find rest. Learn
to despise external things, to devote yourself to
those that are within, and you will see the kingdom
of God come unto you, that kingdom which is peace and
joy in the Holy Spirit, gifts not given to the
Christ will come to you offering His consolation,
if you prepare a fit dwelling for Him in your heart,
whose beauty and glory, wherein He takes delight, are
all from within. His visits with the inward man are
frequent, His communion sweet and full of
consolation, His peace great, and His intimacy
Therefore, faithful soul, prepare your heart for this
Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you; He
Himself says: "If any one love Me, he will keep My
word, and My Father will love him, and We will come
to him, and will make Our abode with him."(2)
Give place, then, to Christ, but deny entrance to
all others, for when you have Christ you are rich and
He is sufficient for you. He will provide for you. He
will supply your every want, so that you need not
trust in frail, changeable men. Christ remains
forever, standing firmly with us to the end.
Do not place much confidence in weak and mortal
man, helpful and friendly though he be; and do not
grieve too much if he sometimes opposes and
contradicts you. Those who are with us today may be
against us tomorrow, and vice versa, for men change
with the wind. Place all your trust in God; let Him
be your fear and your love. He will answer for you;
He will do what is best for you.
You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger
and a pilgrim wherever you may be, and you shall have
no rest until you are wholly united with Christ.
Why do you look about here when this is not the
place of your repose? Dwell rather upon heaven and
give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They
all pass away, and you together with them. Take care,
then, that you do not cling to them lest you be
entrapped and perish. Fix your mind on the Most High,
and pray unceasingly to Christ.
If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly
things, direct your thoughts to Christ's passion and
willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn
devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of
Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you
will mind but little the scorn of men, and you will
easily bear their slanderous talk.
When Christ was in the world, He was despised by
men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by
acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of
scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised;
do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies
and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend,
your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if
no adversity test it? How can you be a friend of
Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship?
Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to
reign with Him.
Had you but once entered into perfect communion
with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you
would care nothing at all for your own comfort or
discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you
suffer; for love of Him makes a man despise himself.
A man who is a lover of Jesus and of truth, a
truly interior man who is free from uncontrolled
affections, can turn to God at will and rise above
himself to enjoy spiritual peace.
He who tastes life as it really is, not as men say or
think it is, is indeed wise with the wisdom of God
rather than of men.
He who learns to live the interior life and to
take little account of outward things, does not seek
special places or times to perform devout exercises.
A spiritual man quickly recollects himself because he
has never wasted his attention upon externals. No
outside work, no business that cannot wait stands in
his way. He adjusts himself to things as they happen.
He whose disposition is well ordered cares nothing
about the strange, perverse behavior of others, for a
man is upset and distracted only in proportion as he
engrosses himself in externals.
If all were well with you, therefore, and if you
were purified from all sin, everything would tend to
your good and be to your profit. But because you are
as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from
all earthly affection, there is much that often
displeases and disturbs you. Nothing so mars and
defiles the heart of man as impure attachment to
created things. But if you refuse external
consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly
things and often to experience interior joy.