~ 1 ~
May the sovereign grace and eternal love
of Christ our Lord and Creator greet and visit you with His gifts and graces
for His greater service, praise and glory [Ep. 1:363].
~ 2 ~
Man was created to praise, reverence,
and serve God our Lord and in this way to save his soul. The other things on
earth were created for man's use, to help him reach the end for which he was
created. Thus, it follows, that he must use these means, insofar as they help
him to reach his goal, and to refrain from using them insofar as they keep him
from that goal [Spir. Exer., "First Principle and
~ 3 ~
We should make
ourselves indifferent to all creatures inasmuch as it is left to our
individual freedom and not forbidden us; in this way we do not, on our part,
prefer health to sickness, wealth to poverty, honors to dishonor, a long life
to a short one, and so in all other things. We should only desire and choose
those things that most lead us to the goal for which we were created [Spir.
Exer., "First Principle and Foundation"].
~ 4 ~
For those who love, nothing is too
difficult, especially when it is done for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ [Ep.
~ 5 ~
I can love a person in this life only
insofar as he tries to advance in the praise and service of God our Lord; for
the man who loves anything for itself and not for the sake of God, does not
love God with his whole heart [Ep. 1:80].
~ 6 ~
We esteem, honor, and love the apostles
more than the other saints, because they served God more faithfully and
because they loved Him more perfectly [Ep. 1:80].
The moment you decided to use all your
strength in praising, honoring, and serving God our Lord, that was the moment
you entered battle with the world, raised your standards against it, and made
yourself ready to reject all that is exalted by embracing all that is lowly.
At the same time you resolved to accept with indifference positions high or
low, honor or dishonor, riches or poverty, to be loved or hated, to be
appreciated or scorned—in short, the world's glory or the injuries it could
inflict upon you [Ep. 1:86].
~ 8 ~
If we desire to live in honor and to be
esteemed by our neighbors, then we shall never be solidly rooted in God our
Lord, and it will be impossible for us to remain undisturbed when insults come
our way [Ep. 1:86].
~ 9 ~
Remember me affectionately to John, and
tell him that he must be always obedient to his parents and to keep the feast
days; if he does this he will enjoy a long life on earth as well as in heaven
~ 10 ~
Realize that illness and other temporal
setbacks often come to us from the hand of God our Lord, and are sent to help
us know ourselves better, to free ourselves of the love of created things, and
to reflect on the brevity of this life and, thus, to prepare ourselves for the
life which is without end [Ep. 1:84].
~ 11 ~
God our Lord would have us look to the
Giver and love Him more than His gift, keeping Him always before our eyes, in
our hearts, and in our thoughts [Ep. 1:85].
~ 12 ~
Be generous to the poor orphans and
those in need. The man to whom our Lord has been liberal ought not to be
stingy. We shall one day find in heaven as much rest and joy as we ourselves
have dispensed in this life [Ep. 1:81].
~ 13 ~
I ask you to put forth your every effort
to win honor in heaven, fame and renown before the Lord, who is to be our
judge. If God has given you the world's goods in abundance, it is to help you
gain those of heaven and to be a good example of sound teaching to your sons,
servants, and relatives [Ep. 1:81].
~ 14 ~
Setting aside one's private judgment, we
should keep our minds ready and prepared to obey, in all matters, the true
Spouse of Christ our Lord, that is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church [Spir.
Exer., "Rules for Thinking with the Church"].
~ 15 ~
Among the many signs of a lively faith
and hope we have in eternal life, one of the surest is not being overly sad at
the death of those whom we dearly love in our Lord [Ep. 7:409-410].
~ 16 ~
Those who are not called to the first
degree of perfection, viz., to desire only the possession of God, are at least
held to aspire to the second degree, that is, to possess the goods of this
earth without being possessed by them. If we do not renounce these goods for
the sake of God, then we ought, at least, make them subordinate to God, and no
matter how valuable they be, they must be placed lower than what the Gospel
calls "the one thing necessary" (Luke 10:42) [Bart. 2:256].
~ 17 ~
The more completely we focus our
attention on our Creator and Lord, the less chance there is of our being
distracted by creatures [Ep. 7:411].
~ 18 ~
You are much deceived in thinking that
the cause of your unrest and little progress in following the way of the Lord
comes from the place where you live, or your superiors, or your brethren. This
unrest comes from within you, that is, it comes from your own lack of
humility, obedience, and prayer, and finally from a want of mortification and
fervor in advancing in the way of perfection. You could have a change in
residence, of superiors, and of brethren, but if the interior man is not
changed these other changes will do you no good. Everywhere will be the same
for you, unless you become humble, obedient, devout, and you mortify your
self-love. This is the change you should seek and no other [Ep.
~ 19 ~
Here's a bit of advice: sincerely humble
yourself before your superior, seek his help, open your heart to him in
confession or in whatever way you like, and gladly and devoutly accept the
remedy he prescribes. Spend your time in discovering and bemoaning your own
imperfections rather than dwelling on those of others [Ep. 8:329].
~ 20 ~
Whoever wishes to be of help to others
should first attend to himself, enkindling in himself the charity he desires
to enkindle in his neighbor [AS 782, no. 561].
~ 21 ~
In order to replace a bad habit with a
good one, you must use effort upon effort, just as you use one nail to drive
out another [AS 779, no. 456].
~ 22 ~
Being pilgrims, as we are, on this
earth, and having our lasting city in the heavenly kingdom, we should not look
upon it as a great loss when those we love in our Lord depart a little before
us, for we too shall soon be following them to the place where Christ our Lord
and Redeemer has prepared for us a most happy dwelling filled with His
blessedness [Ep. 8:632].
~ 23 ~
Lord, what do I desire, if not You; and
what could I desire other than You? [AS 763, no. 476].
~ 24 ~
Sometimes it is necessary, if I may so
express it, to leave God in Himself in order to find God in our neighbor, for
the Lord says: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13) [AS
779, no. 548].
~ 25 ~
The peace of our Lord is something
interior, and it brings with it all the other gifts and graces necessary for
salvation and eternal life. This peace makes us love our neighbor for the love
of our Creator and Lord, and because of this same love we observe all the
commandments of the law, as St. Paul says: "He who loves his neighbor has
fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). He has fulfilled the law because he
loves his Creator and Lord and loves his neighbor for his Lord's sake [Ep.