Why do you look for rest when you were born to work?
Resign yourself to patience rather than to comfort,
to carrying your cross rather than to enjoyment.
What man in the world, if he could always have them,
would not readily accept consolation and spiritual
joy, benefits which excel all earthly delights and
pleasures of the body? The latter, indeed, are either
vain or base, while spiritual joys, born of virtue
and infused by God into pure minds, are alone truly
pleasant and noble.
Now, since the moment of temptation is always
nigh, since false freedom of mind and overconfidence
in self are serious obstacles to these visitations
from heaven, a man can never enjoy them just as he
God does well in giving the grace of consolation,
but man does evil in not returning everything
gratefully to God. Thus, the gifts of grace cannot
flow in us when we are ungrateful to the Giver, when
we do not return them to the Fountainhead. Grace is
always given to him who is duly grateful, and what is
wont to be given the humble will be taken away from
I do not desire consolation that robs me of
contrition, nor do I care for contemplation that
leads to pride, for not all that is high is holy, nor
is all that is sweet good, nor every desire pure, nor
all that is dear to us pleasing to God. I accept
willingly the grace whereby I become more humble and
contrite, more willing to renounce self.
The man who has been taught by the gift of grace, and
who learns by the lash of its withdrawal, will never
dare to attribute any good to himself, but will
rather admit his poverty and emptiness. Give to God
what is God's and ascribe to yourself what is yours.
Give Him thanks, then, for His grace, but place upon
yourself alone the blame and the punishment your
Always take the lowest place and the highest will
be given you, for the highest cannot exist apart from
the lowest. The saints who are greatest before God
are those who consider themselves the least, and the
more humble they are within themselves, so much the
more glorious they are. Since they do not desire
vainglory, they are full of truth and heavenly glory.
Being established and strengthened in God, they can
by no means be proud. They attribute to God whatever
good they have received; they seek no glory from one
another but only that which comes from God alone.
They desire above all things that He be praised in
themselves and in all His saints -- this is their
Be grateful, therefore, for the least gift and you
will be worthy to receive a greater. Consider the
least gift as the greatest, the most contemptible as
something special. And, if you but look to the
dignity of the Giver, no gift will appear too small
or worthless. Even though He give punishments and
scourges, accept them, because He acts for our
welfare in whatever He allows to befall us.
He who desires to keep the grace of God ought to be
grateful when it is given and patient when it is
withdrawn. Let him pray that it return; let him be
cautious and humble lest he lose it.