3 Goodness and Peace in Man
4 Purity of Mind and Unity of Purpose
6 The Joy of a Good Conscience
7 Loving Jesus Above All Things
8 The Intimate Friendship of Jesus
9 Wanting No Share in Comfort
10 Appreciating God's Grace
11 Few Love the Cross of Jesus
12 The Royal Road of the Holy Cross
The First Chapter
THE kingdom of God is within you," says the Lord.
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 impious.
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 wonderful indeed.
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."
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
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
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.
The Second Chapter
BE NOT troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take
care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear
and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God
wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly
experience God's help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore,
place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men
and free them from all distress.
It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them,
for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of
his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those
who are angry with him.
It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble
whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows
great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory.
He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them
come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations,
because his trust is in God, not in the world.
Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look
upon yourself as inferior to all others.
The Third Chapter
Goodness and Peace in Man
FIRST keep peace with yourself; then you will be able to bring peace
to others. A peaceful man does more good than a learned man. Whereas a
passionate man turns even good to evil and is quick to believe evil, the
peaceful man, being good himself, turns all things to good.
The man who is at perfect ease is never suspicious, but the disturbed
and discontented spirit is upset by many a suspicion. He neither rests
himself nor permits others to do so. He often says what ought not to be
said and leaves undone what ought to be done. He is concerned with the
duties of others but neglects his own.
Direct your zeal, therefore, first upon yourself; then you may with justice
exercise it upon those about you. You are well versed in coloring your
own actions with excuses which you will not accept from others, though
it would be more just to accuse yourself and excuse your brother. If you
wish men to bear with you, you must bear with them. Behold, how far you
are from true charity and humility which does not know how to be angry
with anyone, or to be indignant save only against self!
It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association
is naturally pleasing. Everyone enjoys a peaceful life and prefers persons
of congenial habits. But to be able to live at peace with harsh and perverse
men, or with the undisciplined and those who irritate us, is a great grace,
a praiseworthy and manly thing.
Some people live at peace with themselves and with their fellow men, but
others are never at peace with themselves nor do they bring it to anyone
else. These latter are a burden to everyone, but they are more of a burden
to themselves. A few, finally, live at peace with themselves and try to
restore it to others.
Now, all our peace in this miserable life is found in humbly enduring
suffering rather than in being free from it. He who knows best how to
suffer will enjoy the greater peace, because he is the conqueror of himself,
the master of the world, a friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven.
The Fourth Chapter
Purity of Mind and Unity of Purpose
A MAN is raised up from the earth by two wings -- simplicity and purity.
There must be simplicity in his intention and purity in his desires. Simplicity
leads to God, purity embraces and enjoys Him.
If your heart is free from ill-ordered affection, no good deed will be
difficult for you. If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure
of God and the welfare of your neighbor, you will enjoy freedom within.
If your heart were right, then every created thing would be a mirror of
life for you and a book of holy teaching, for there is no creature so
small and worthless that it does not show forth the goodness of God. If
inwardly you were good and pure, you would see all things clearly and
understand them rightly, for a pure heart penetrates to heaven and hell,
and as a man is within, so he judges what is without. If there be joy
in the world, the pure of heart certainly possess it; and if there be
anguish and affliction anywhere, an evil conscience knows it too well.
As iron cast into fire loses its rust and becomes glowing white, so he
who turns completely to God is stripped of his sluggishness and changed
into a new man. When a man begins to grow lax, he fears a little toil
and welcomes external comfort, but when he begins perfectly to conquer
himself and to walk bravely in the ways of God, then he thinks those things
less difficult which he thought so hard before.
The Fifth Chapter
WE MUST not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding
are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we
quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so
blind in heart. Meanwhile we do wrong, and then do worse in excusing it.
At times we are moved by passion, and we think it zeal. We take others
to task for small mistakes, and overlook greater ones in ourselves. We
are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others,
but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us. If a man would
weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass
severe judgment on others.
The interior man puts the care of himself before all other concerns, and
he who attends to himself carefully does not find it hard to hold his
tongue about others. You will never be devout of heart unless you are
thus silent about the affairs of others and pay particular attention to
yourself. If you attend wholly to God and yourself, you will be little
disturbed by what you see about you.
Where are your thoughts when they are not upon yourself? And after attending
to various things, what have you gained if you have neglected self? If
you wish to have true peace of mind and unity of purpose, you must cast
all else aside and keep only yourself before your eyes.
You will make great progress if you keep yourself free from all temporal
cares, for to value anything that is temporal is a great mistake. Consider
nothing great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except
God Himself or that which is of God. Consider the consolations of creatures
as vanity, for the soul that loves God scorns all things that are inferior
to Him. God alone, the eternal and infinite, satisfies all, bringing comfort
to the soul and true joy to the body.
The Sixth Chapter
The Joy of a Good Conscience
THE glory of a good man is the testimony of a good conscience. Therefore,
keep your conscience good and you will always enjoy happiness, for a good
conscience can bear a great deal and can bring joy even in the midst of
adversity. But an evil conscience is ever restive and fearful.
Sweet shall be your rest if your heart does not reproach you.
Do not rejoice unless you have done well. Sinners never experience true
interior joy or peace, for "there is no peace to the wicked,"
says the Lord.
Even if they say: "We are at peace, no evil shall befall us and no
one dares to hurt us," do not believe them; for the wrath of God
will arise quickly, and their deeds will be brought to naught and their
thoughts will perish.
To glory in adversity is not hard for the man who loves, for this is to
glory in the cross of the Lord. But the glory given or received of men
is short lived, and the glory of the world is ever companioned by sorrow.
The glory of the good, however, is in their conscience and not in the
lips of men, for the joy of the just is from God and in God, and their
gladness is founded on truth.
The man who longs for the true, eternal glory does not care for that of
time; and he who seeks passing fame or does not in his heart despise it,
undoubtedly cares little for the glory of heaven.
He who minds neither praise nor blame possesses great peace of heart and,
if his conscience is good, he will easily be contented and at peace.
Praise adds nothing to your holiness, nor does blame take anything from
it. You are what you are, and you cannot be said to be better than you
are in God's sight. If you consider well what you are within, you will
not care what men say about you. They look to appearances but God looks
to the heart. They consider the deed but God weighs the motive.
It is characteristic of a humble soul always to do good and to think little
of itself. It is a mark of great purity and deep faith to look for no
consolation in created things. The man who desires no justification from
without has clearly entrusted himself to God: "For not he who commendeth
himself is approved," says St. Paul, "but he whom God
To walk with God interiorly, to be free from any external affection --
this is the state of the inward man.
The Seventh Chapter
Loving Jesus Above All Things
BLESSED is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises
himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He
wishes to be loved alone above all things.
Affection for creatures is deceitful and inconstant, but the love of Jesus
is true and enduring. He who clings to a creature will fall with its frailty,
but he who gives himself to Jesus will ever be strengthened.
Love Him, then; keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others
do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not,
you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life
and death; trust yourself to the glory of Him who alone can help you when
all others fail.
Your Beloved is such that He will not accept what belongs to another -
He wants your heart for Himself alone, to be enthroned therein as King
in His own right. If you but knew how to free yourself entirely from all
creatures, Jesus would gladly dwell within you.
You will find, apart from Him, that nearly all the trust you place in
men is a total loss. Therefore, neither confide in nor depend upon a wind-shaken
reed, for "all flesh is grass" and all its glory, like the
flower of grass, will fade away.
You will quickly be deceived if you look only to the outward appearance
of men, and you will often be disappointed if you seek comfort and gain
in them. If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find
Him. Likewise, if you seek yourself, you will find yourself -- to your
own ruin. For the man who does not seek Jesus does himself much greater
harm than the whole world and all his enemies could ever do.
The Eighth Chapter
The Intimate Friendship of Jesus
WHEN Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult. When He
is absent, all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other comfort
is empty, but if He says only a word, it brings great consolation.
Did not Mary Magdalen rise at once from her weeping when Martha said to
her: "The Master is come, and calleth for thee"? Happy is
the hour when Jesus calls one from tears to joy of spirit.
How dry and hard you are without Jesus! How foolish and vain if you desire
anything but Him! Is it not a greater loss than losing the whole world?
For what, without Jesus, can the world give you? Life without Him is a
relentless hell, but living with Him is a sweet paradise. If Jesus be
with you, no enemy can harm you.
He who finds Jesus finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good,
whereas he who loses Him loses more than the whole world. The man who
lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor, whereas no one is so rich
as the man who lives in His grace.
It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus, and great wisdom
to know how to keep Him. Be humble and peaceful, and Jesus will be with
you. Be devout and calm, and He will remain with you. You may quickly
drive Him away and lose His grace, if you turn back to the outside world.
And, if you drive Him away and lose Him, to whom will you go and whom
will you then seek as a friend? You cannot live well without a friend,
and if Jesus be not your friend above all else, you will be very sad and
desolate. Thus, you are acting foolishly if you trust or rejoice in any
other. Choose the opposition of the whole world rather than offend Jesus.
Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all
things be loved for the sake of Jesus, but Jesus for His own sake.
Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of
all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends
and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.
Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who
has no equal. Never wish that anyone's affection be centered in you, nor
let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in
you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any
You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and
see how sweet the Lord is. Truly you will never attain this happiness
unless His grace prepares you and draws you on so that you may forsake
all things to be united with Him alone.
When the grace of God comes to a man he can do all things, but when it
leaves him he becomes poor and weak, abandoned, as it were, to affliction.
Yet, in this condition he should not become dejected or despair. On the
contrary, he should calmly await the will of God and bear whatever befalls
him in praise of Jesus Christ, for after winter comes summer, after night,
the day, and after the storm, a great calm.
The Ninth Chapter
Wanting No Share in Comfort
IT IS not hard to spurn human consolation when we have the divine. It
is, however, a very great thing indeed to be able to live without either
divine or human comforting and for the honor of God willingly to endure
this exile of heart, not to seek oneself in anything, and to think nothing
of one's own merit.
Does it matter much, if at the coming of grace, you are cheerful and devout?
This is an hour desired by all, for he whom the grace of God sustains
travels easily enough. What wonder if he feel no burden when borne up
by the Almighty and led on by the Supreme Guide! For we are always glad
to have something to comfort us, and only with difficulty does a man divest
himself of self.
The holy martyr, Lawrence, with his priest, conquered the world because
he despised everything in it that seemed pleasing to him, and for love
of Christ patiently suffered the great high priest of God, Sixtus, whom
he loved dearly, to be taken from him. Thus, by his love for the Creator
he overcame the love of man, and chose instead of human consolation the
good pleasure of God. So you, too, must learn to part with an intimate
and much-needed friend for the love of God. Do not take it to heart when
you are deserted by a friend, knowing that in the end we must all be parted
from one another.
A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to
master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God. When
he trusts in himself, he easily takes to human consolation. The true lover
of Christ, however, who sincerely pursues virtue, does not fall back upon
consolations nor seek such pleasures of sense, but prefers severe trials
and hard labors for the sake of Christ.
When, therefore, spiritual consolation is given by God, receive it gratefully,
but understand that it is His gift and not your meriting. Do not exult,
do not be overjoyed, do not be presumptuous, but be the humbler for the
gift, more careful and wary in all your actions, for this hour will pass
and temptation will come in its wake.
When consolation is taken away, do not at once despair but wait humbly
and patiently for the heavenly visit, since God can restore to you more
This is neither new nor strange to one who knows God's ways, for such
change of fortune often visited the great saints and prophets of old.
Thus there was one who, when grace was with him, declared: "In my
prosperity I said: 'I shall never be moved.'" But when grace was
taken away, he adds what he experienced in himself: "Thou didst hide
Thy face, and I was troubled." Meanwhile he does not despair; rather
he prays more earnestly to the Lord, saying: "To Thee, O Lord, will
I cry; and I will make supplication to my God." At length, he receives
the fruit of his prayer, and testifying that he was heard, says "The
Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper."
And how was he helped? "Thou hast turned," he says, "my
mourning into joy, and hast surrounded me with gladness."
If this is the case with great saints, we who are weak and poor ought
not to despair because we are fervent at times and at other times cold,
for the spirit comes and goes according to His will. Of this the blessed
Job declared: "Thou visitest him early in the morning, and Thou provest
In what can I hope, then, or in whom ought I trust, save only in the great
mercy of God and the hope of heavenly grace? For though I have with me
good men, devout brethren, faithful friends, holy books, beautiful treatises,
sweet songs and hymns, all these help and please but little when I am
abandoned by grace and left to my poverty. At such times there is no better
remedy than patience and resignation of self to the will of God.
I have never met a man so religious and devout that he has not experienced
at some time a withdrawal of grace and felt a lessening of fervor. No
saint was so sublimely rapt and enlightened as not to be tempted before
and after. He, indeed, is not worthy of the sublime contemplation of God
who has not been tried by some tribulation for the sake of God. For temptation
is usually the sign preceding the consolation that is to follow, and heavenly
consolation is promised to all those proved by temptation. "To him
that overcometh," says Christ, "I will give to eat of the Tree
of Life." Divine consolation, then, is given in order to make a
man braver in enduring adversity, and temptation follows in order that
he may not pride himself on the good he has done.
The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead; therefore, you must
never cease your preparation for battle, because on the right and on the
left are enemies who never rest.
The Tenth Chapter
Appreciating God's Grace
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
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 wishes.
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 the proud.
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 constant purpose.
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.
The Eleventh Chapter
Few Love the Cross of Jesus
JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear
His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial.
He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting.
All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him.
Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the
chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame
of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many
praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But
if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into
complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him
for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all
trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even
if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise
Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love
for Jesus -- love that is flee from all self-interest and self-love!
Do not those who always seek consolation deserve to be called mercenaries?
Do not those who always think of their own profit and gain prove that
they love themselves rather than Christ? Where can a man be found who
desires to serve God for nothing? Rarely indeed is a man so spiritual
as to strip himself of all things. And who shall find a man so truly poor
in spirit as to be free from every creature? His value is like that of
things brought from the most distant lands.
If a man give all his wealth, it is nothing; if he do great penance, it
is little; if he gain all knowledge, he is still far afield; if he have
great virtue and much ardent devotion, he still lacks a great deal, and
especially, the one thing that is most necessary to him. What is this
one thing? That leaving all, he forsake himself, completely renounce himself,
and give up all private affections. Then, when he has done all that he
knows ought to be done, let him consider it as nothing, let him make little
of what may be considered great; let him in all honesty call himself an
unprofitable servant. For truth itself has said: "When you shall
have done all these things that are commanded you, say: 'we are unprofitable
Then he will be truly poor and stripped in spirit, and with the prophet
may say: "I am alone and poor." No one, however, is more wealthy
than such a man; no one is more powerful, no one freer than he who knows
how to leave all things and think of himself as the least of all.
The Twelfth Chapter
The Royal Road of the Holy Cross
TO MANY the saying, "Deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow
Me," seems hard, but it will be much harder to hear that final
word: "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire."
Those who hear the word of the cross and follow it willingly now, need
not fear that they will hear of eternal damnation on the day of judgment.
This sign of the cross will be in the heavens when the Lord comes to judge.
Then all the servants of the cross, who during life made themselves one
with the Crucified, will draw near with great trust to Christ, the judge.
Why, then, do you fear to take up the cross when through it you can win
a kingdom? In the cross is salvation, in the cross is life, in the cross
is protection from enemies, in the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness,
in the cross is strength of mind, in the cross is joy of spirit, in the
cross is highest virtue, in the cross is perfect holiness. There is no
salvation of soul nor hope of everlasting life but in the cross.
Take up your cross, therefore, and follow Jesus, and you shall enter eternal
life. He Himself opened the way before you in carrying His cross, and
upon it He died for you, that you, too, might take up your cross and long
to die upon it. If you die with Him, you shall also live with Him, and
if you share His suffering, you shall also share His glory.
Behold, in the cross is everything, and upon your dying on the cross everything
depends. There is no other way to life and to true inward peace than the
way of the holy cross and daily mortification. Go where you will, seek
what you will, you will not find a higher way, nor a less exalted but
safer way, than the way of the holy cross. Arrange and order everything
to suit your will and judgment, and still you will find that some suffering
must always be borne, willingly or unwillingly, and thus you will always
find the cross.
Either you will experience bodily pain or you will undergo tribulation
of spirit in your soul. At times you will be forsaken by God, at times
troubled by those about you and, what is worse, you will often grow weary
of yourself. You cannot escape, you cannot be relieved by any remedy or
comfort but must bear with it as long as God wills. For He wishes you
to learn to bear trial without consolation, to submit yourself wholly
to Him that you may become more humble through suffering. No one understands
the passion of Christ so thoroughly or heartily as the man whose lot it
is to suffer the like himself.
The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter
where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself
with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above,
below, without, or within --you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere
you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal
If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired
goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall
be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and
increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away
one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one. Do you expect
to escape what no mortal man can ever avoid? Which of the saints was without
a cross or trial on this earth? Not even Jesus Christ, our Lord, Whose
every hour on earth knew the pain of His passion. "It behooveth Christ
to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, . . . and so enter into his
glory." How is it that you look for another way than this, the
royal way of the holy cross?
The whole life of Christ was a cross and a martyrdom, and do you seek
rest and enjoyment for yourself? You deceive yourself, you are mistaken
if you seek anything but to suffer, for this mortal life is full of miseries
and marked with crosses on all sides. Indeed, the more spiritual progress
a person makes, so much heavier will he frequently find the cross, because
as his love increases, the pain of his exile also increases.
Yet such a man, though afflicted in many ways, is not without hope of
consolation, because he knows that great reward is coming to him for bearing
his cross. And when he carries it willingly, every pang of tribulation
is changed into hope of solace from God. Besides, the more the flesh is
distressed by affliction, so much the more is the spirit strengthened
by inward grace. Not infrequently a man is so strengthened by his love
of trials and hardship in his desire to conform to the cross of Christ,
that he does not wish to be without sorrow or pain, since he believes
he will be the more acceptable to God if he is able to endure more and
more grievous things for His sake.
It is the grace of Christ, and not the virtue of man, which can and does
bring it about that through fervor of spirit frail flesh learns to love
and to gain what it naturally hates and shuns.
To carry the cross, to love the cross, to chastise the body and bring
it to subjection, to flee honors, to endure contempt gladly, to despise
self and wish to be despised, to suffer any adversity and loss, to desire
no prosperous days on earth -- this is not man's way. If you rely upon
yourself, you can do none of these things, but if you trust in the Lord,
strength will be given you from heaven and the world and the flesh will
be made subject to your word. You will not even fear your enemy, the devil,
if you are armed with faith and signed with the cross of Christ.
Set yourself, then, like a good and faithful servant of Christ, to bear
bravely the cross of your Lord, Who out of love was crucified for you.
Be ready to suffer many adversities and many kinds of trouble in this
miserable life, for troublesome and miserable life will always be, no
matter where you are; and so you will find it wherever you may hide. Thus
it must be; and there is no way to evade the trials and sorrows of life
but to bear them.
Drink the chalice of the Lord with affection it you wish to be His friend
and to have part with Him. Leave consolation to God; let Him do as most
pleases Him. On your part, be ready to bear sufferings and consider them
the greatest consolation, for even though you alone were to undergo them
all, the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the
glory to come.
When you shall have come to the point where suffering is sweet and acceptable
for the sake of Christ, then consider yourself fortunate, for you have
found paradise on earth. But as long as suffering irks you and you seek
to escape, so long will you be unfortunate, and the tribulation you seek
to evade will follow you everywhere. If you put your mind to the things
you ought to consider, that is, to suffering and death, you would soon
be in a better state and would find peace.
Although you were taken to the third heaven with Paul, you were not thereby
insured against suffering. Jesus said: "I will show him how great
things he must suffer for My name's sake." To suffer, then, remains
your lot, if you mean to love Jesus and serve Him forever.
If you were but worthy to suffer something for the name of Jesus, what
great glory would be in store for you, what great joy to all the saints
of God, what great edification to those about you! For all men praise
patience though there are few who wish to practice it.
With good reason, then, ought you to be willing to suffer a little for
Christ since many suffer much more for the world.
Realize that you must lead a dying life; the more a man dies to himself,
the more he begins to live unto God.
No man is fit to enjoy heaven unless he has resigned himself to suffer
hardship for Christ. Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more helpful
for you on this earth than to suffer willingly for Christ. If you had
to make a choice, you ought to wish rather to suffer for Christ than to
enjoy many consolations, for thus you would be more like Christ and more
like all the saints. Our merit and progress consist not in many pleasures
and comforts but rather in enduring great afflictions and sufferings.
If, indeed, there were anything better or more useful for man's salvation
than suffering, Christ would have shown it by word and example. But He
clearly exhorts the disciples who follow Him and all who wish to follow
Him to carry the cross, saying: "If any man will come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
When, therefore, we have read and searched all that has been written,
let this be the final conclusion -- that through much suffering we must
enter into the kingdom of God.
1 Luke 17:21.
2 John 14:23.
3 Isa. 48:22.
4 2 Cor. 10:18.
5 Isa. 15:6.
6 John 11:28.
7 Ps. 29:7-12.
8 Job 7:18.
9 Apoc. 2:7.
10 Luke 17:10.
11 Ps. 24:16.
12 Matt. 16:24.
13 Matt. 25:41.
14 Luke 24:46, 26.
15 Acts 9:16.
16 Luke 9:23.
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