Grant me help in my needs, O Lord, for the aid of man is useless.
How often have I failed to find faithfulness in places where I
I possessed it! And how many times I have found it where I least
expected it! Vain, therefore, is hope in men, but the salvation of
the just is in You, O God. Blessed be Your name, O Lord my God, in
everything that befalls us.
We are weak and unstable, quickly deceived and changed. Who is the
man that is able to guard himself with such caution and care as
not sometimes to fall into deception or perplexity? He who
confides in You, O Lord, and seeks You with a simple heart does
not fall so easily. And if some trouble should come upon him, no
matter how entangled in it he may be, he will be more quickly
delivered and comforted by You. For You will not forsake him who
trusts in You to the very end.
Rare is the friend who remains
faithful through all his friend's distress. But You, Lord, and You
alone, are entirely faithful in all things; other than You, there
is none so faithful.
Oh, how wise is that holy soul1 who said: "My mind is firmly
settled and founded in Christ." If that were true of me, human
fear would not so easily cause me anxiety, nor would the darts of
words disturb. But who can foresee all things and provide against
all evils? And if things foreseen have often hurt, can those which
are unlooked for do otherwise than wound us gravely? Why, indeed,
have I not provided better for my wretched self? Why, too, have I
so easily kept faith in others? We are but men, however, nothing
more than weak men, although we are thought by many to be, and are
In whom shall I put my faith, Lord? In whom but You? You are the
truth which does not deceive and cannot be deceived. Every man, on
the other hand, is a liar, weak, unstable, and likely to err,
especially in words, so that one ought not to be too quick to
believe even that which seems, on the face of it, to sound true.
How wise was Your warning to beware of men; that a man's enemies
are those of his own household; that we should not believe if
anyone says: "Behold he is here, or behold he is there."
I have been taught to my own cost, and I hope it has given me
greater caution, not greater folly. "Beware," they say, "beware
and keep to yourself what I tell you!" Then while I keep silent,
believing that the matter is secret, he who asks me to be silent
cannot remain silent himself, but immediately betrays both me and
himself, and goes his way. From tales of this kind and from such
careless men protect me, O Lord, lest I fall into their hands and
into their ways. Put in my mouth words that are true and steadfast
and keep far from me the crafty tongue, because what I am not
willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun.
Oh, how good and how peaceful it is to be silent about others,
not to believe without discrimination all that is said, not easily
to report it further, to reveal oneself to few, always to seek You
as the discerner of hearts, and not to be blown away by every wind
of words, but to wish that all things, within and beyond us, be
done according to the pleasure of Thy will.
How conducive it is for the keeping of heavenly grace to fly the
gaze of men, not to seek abroad things which seem to cause
admiration, but to follow with utmost diligence those which give
fervor and amendment of life! How many have been harmed by having
their virtue known and praised too hastily! And how truly
profitable it has been when grace remained hidden during this
frail life, which is all temptation and warfare!