The First Chapter
The Inward Conversation of Christ with the Faithful Soul
I WILL hear what the Lord God will speak in
me" (Ps. 84:9).
Blessed is the soul who hears the Lord speaking within her,
who receives the word of consolation from His lips. Blessed are
the ears that catch the accents of divine whispering, and pay no
heed to the murmurings of this world. Blessed indeed are the ears
that listen, not to the voice which sounds without, but to the
truth which teaches within. Blessed are the eyes which are closed
to exterior things and are fixed upon those which are interior.
Blessed are they who penetrate inwardly, who try daily to prepare
themselves more and more to understand mysteries. Blessed are they
who long to give their time to God, and who cut themselves off
from the hindrances of the world.
Consider these things, my soul, and close the door of your
senses, so that you can hear what the Lord your God speaks within
you. "I am your salvation," says your Beloved. "I am your peace
and your life. Remain with Me and you will find peace. Dismiss all
passing things and seek the eternal. What are all temporal things
but snares? And what help will all creatures be able to give you
if you are deserted by the Creator?" Leave all these things,
therefore, and make yourself pleasing and faithful to your Creator
so that you may attain to true happiness.
The Second Chapter
Truth Speaks Inwardly Without the Sound of Words
SPEAK, Lord, for Thy servant
heareth" (1 Kings 3:9). "I am Thy servant. Give
me understanding that I may know Thine ordinances (Ps. 118:125) . . .
Incline my heart to Thine ordinances (Ps. 118:36) . . . Let Thy speech
distil as the dew (Deut. 32:2)".
The children of Israel once said to Moses: "Speak thou to us
and we will hear thee: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die" (Exod. 20:19).
Not so, Lord, not so do I pray. Rather with Samuel the
prophet I entreat humbly and earnestly: "Speak, Lord, for Thy
servant heareth." Do not let Moses or any of the prophets speak to
me; but You speak, O Lord God, Who inspired and enlightened all
the prophets; for You alone, without them, can instruct me
perfectly, whereas they, without You, can do nothing. They,
indeed, utter fine words, but they cannot impart the spirit. They
do indeed speak beautifully, but if You remain silent they cannot
inflame the heart. They deliver the message; You lay bare the
sense. They place before us mysteries, but You unlock their
meaning. They proclaim commandments; You help us to keep them.
They point out the way; You give strength for the journey. They
work only outwardly; You instruct and enlighten our hearts. They
water on the outside; You give the increase.
They cry out words; You give understanding to the hearer.
Let not Moses speak to me, therefore, but You, the Lord my
God, everlasting truth, speak lest I die and prove barren if I am
merely given outward advice and am not inflamed within; lest the
word heard and not kept, known and not loved, believed and not
obeyed, rise up in judgment against me.
Speak, therefore, Lord, for Your servant listens. "Thou hast
the words of eternal life" (John 6:69). Speak to me for the comfort of my
soul and for the amendment of my life, for Your praise, Your
glory, and Your everlasting honor.
The Third Chapter
Listen Humbly to the Words of God. Many Do Not Heed Them
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, hear My words, words of greatest sweetness surpassing
all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of earth. My
words are spirit and life, and they are not to be weighed by man's
understanding. They are not to be invoked in vanity but are to be
heard in silence, and accepted with all humility and with great
"Happy is the man whom Thou admonishest, O Lord, and teachest
out of Thy law, to give him peace from the days of evil" (Ps. 93:12), and
that he be not desolate on earth.
The Voice of Christ
I taught the prophets from the beginning, and even to this
day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many
are deaf to My voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world
than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their
flesh than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises
small and passing things, is served with great eagerness: I
promise great and eternal things and the hearts of men grow dull.
Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things with as great
care as that with which the world and its masters are served?
"Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea
speaketh" (Isa. 23:4). And if
you ask why, listen to the cause: for a small gain they travel
far; for eternal life many will scarcely lift a foot from the
ground. They seek a petty reward, and sometimes fight shamefully
in law courts for a single piece of money. They are not afraid to
work day and night for a trifle or an empty promise. But, for an
unchanging good, for a reward beyond estimate, for the greatest
honor and for glory everlasting, it must be said to their shame
that men begrudge even the least fatigue. Be ashamed, then, lazy
and complaining servant, that they should be found more eager for
perdition than you are for life, that they rejoice more in vanity
than you in truth.
Sometimes indeed their expectations fail them, but My promise
never deceives, nor does it send away empty-handed him who trusts
in Me. What I have promised I will give. What I have said I will
fulfill, if only a man remain faithful in My love to the end. I am
the rewarder of all the good, the strong approver of all who are
devoted to Me.
Write My words in your heart and meditate on them earnestly,
for in time of temptation they will be very necessary. What you do
not understand when you read, you will learn in the day of
visitation. I am wont to visit My elect in two ways -- by
temptation and by consolation. To them I read two lessons daily --
one reproving their vices, the other exhorting them to progress in
virtue. He who has My words and despises them has that which shall
condemn him on the last day.
A Prayer for the Grace of Devotion
O Lord my God, You are all my good. And who am I that I
should dare to speak to You? I am Your poorest and meanest
servant, a vile worm, much more poor and contemptible than I know
or dare to say. Yet remember me, Lord, because I am nothing, I
have nothing, and I can do nothing. You alone are good, just, and
holy. You can do all things, You give all things, You fill all
things: only the sinner do You leave empty-handed. Remember Your
tender mercies and fill my heart with Your grace, You Who will not
allow Your works to be in vain. How can I bear this life of misery
unless You comfort me with Your mercy and grace? Do not turn Your
face from me. Do not delay Your visitation. Do not withdraw Your
consolation, lest in Your sight my soul become as desert land.
Teach me, Lord, to do Your will. Teach me to live worthily and
humbly in Your sight, for You are my wisdom Who know me truly, and
Who knew me even before the world was made and before I was born
The Fourth Chapter
We Must Walk Before God in Humility and Truth
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, walk before Me in truth, and seek Me always in the
simplicity of your heart. He who walks before Me in truth shall be
defended from the attacks of evil, and the truth shall free him
from seducers and from the slanders of wicked men. For if the
truth has made you free, then you shall be free indeed, and you
shall not care for the vain words of men.
O Lord, it is true. I ask that it be with me as You say. Let
your truth teach me. Let it guard me, and keep me safe to the end.
Let it free me from all evil affection and badly ordered love, and
I shall walk with You in great freedom of heart.
The Voice of Christ
I shall teach you those things which are right and pleasing
to Me. Consider your sins with great displeasure and sorrow, and
never think yourself to be someone because of your good works. You
are truly a sinner. You are subject to many passions and entangled
in them. Of yourself you always tend to nothing. You fall quickly,
are quickly overcome, quickly troubled, and quickly undone. You
have nothing in which you can glory, but you have many things for
which you should think yourself vile, for you are much weaker than
you can comprehend. Hence, let none of the things you do seem
great to you. Let nothing seem important or precious or desirable
except that which is everlasting. Let the eternal truth please you
above all things, and let your extreme unworthiness always
displease you. Fear nothing, abhor nothing, and fly nothing as you
do your own vices and sins; these should be more unpleasant for
you than any material losses.
Some men walk before Me without sincerity. Led on by a
certain curiosity and arrogance, they wish to know My secrets and
to understand the high things of God, to the neglect of themselves
and their own salvation. Through their own pride and curiosity,
and because I am against them, such men often fall into great
temptations and sins.
Fear the judgments of God! Dread the wrath of the Almighty!
Do not discuss the works of the Most High, but examine your sins
-- in what serious things you have offended and how many good
things you have neglected.
Some carry their devotion only in books, some in pictures,
some in outward signs and figures. Some have Me on their lips when
there is little of Me in their hearts. Others, indeed, with
enlightened understanding and purified affections, constantly long
for everlasting things; they are unwilling to hear of earthly
affairs and only with reluctance do they serve the necessities of
nature. These sense what the Spirit of truth speaks within them:
for He teaches them to despise earthly things and to love those of
heaven, to neglect the world, and each day and night to desire
The Fifth Chapter
The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
I BLESS You, O heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ,
for having condescended to remember me, a poor creature. Thanks to
You, O Father of mercies, God of all consolation, Who with Your
comfort sometimes refresh me, who am not worthy of it. I bless You
always and glorify You with Your only-begotten Son and the Holy
Spirit, the Paraclete, forever and ever.
Ah, Lord God, my holy Lover, when You come into my heart, all
that is within me will rejoice. You are my glory and the
exultation of my heart. You are my hope and refuge in the day of
my tribulation. But because my love is as yet weak and my virtue
imperfect, I must be strengthened and comforted by You. Visit me
often, therefore, and teach me Your holy discipline. Free me from
evil passions and cleanse my heart of all disorderly affection so
that, healed and purified within, I may be fit to love, strong to
suffer, and firm to persevere.
Love is an excellent thing, a very great blessing, indeed. It
makes every difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity.
For it bears a burden without being weighted and renders sweet all
that is bitter. The noble love of Jesus spurs to great deeds and
excites longing for that which is more perfect. Love tends upward;
it will not be held down by anything low. Love wishes to be free
and estranged from all worldly affections, lest its inward sight
be obstructed, lest it be entangled in any temporal interest and
overcome by adversity.
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or
wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing
better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot
rest except in God, Who is above all created things.
One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, not
bound. He gives all for all and possesses all in all, because he
rests in the one sovereign Good, Who is above all things, and from
Whom every good flows and proceeds. He does not look to the gift
but turns himself above all gifts to the Giver.
Love often knows no limits but overflows all bounds. Love
feels no burden, thinks nothing of troubles, attempts more than it
is able, and does not plead impossibility, because it believes
that it may and can do all things. For this reason, it is able to
do all, performing and effecting much where he who does not love
fails and falls.
Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it
is not tired. Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not
confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its
way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle.
If a man loves, he will know the sound of this voice. For
this warm affection of soul is a loud voice crying in the ears of
God, and it says: "My God, my love, You are all mine and I am all
Yours. Give me an increase of love, that I may learn to taste with
the inward lips of my heart how sweet it is to love, how sweet to
be dissolved in love and bathe in it. Let me be rapt in love. Let
me rise above self in great fervor and wonder. Let me sing the
hymn of love, and let me follow You, my Love, to the heights. Let
my soul exhaust itself in praising You, rejoicing out of love. Let
me love You more than myself, and let me not love myself except
for Your sake. In You let me love all those who truly love You, as
the law of love, which shines forth from You, commands."
Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love
is strong, patient and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and
manly. Love is never self-seeking, for in whatever a person seeks
himself there he falls from love. Love is circumspect, humble, and
upright. It is neither soft nor light, nor intent upon vain
things. It is sober and chaste, firm and quiet, guarded in all the
senses. Love is subject and obedient to superiors. It is mean and
contemptible in its own eyes, devoted and thankful to God; always
trusting and hoping in Him even when He is distasteful to it, for
there is no living in love without sorrow. He who is not ready to
suffer all things and to stand resigned to the will of the Beloved
is not worthy to be called a lover. A lover must embrace willingly
all that is difficult and bitter for the sake of the Beloved, and
he should not turn away from Him because of adversities.
The Sixth Chapter
The Proving of a True Lover
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, you are not yet a brave and wise lover.
The Voice of Christ
Because, on account of a slight difficulty you give up what
you have undertaken and are too eager to seek consolation.
The brave lover stands firm in temptations and pays no heed
to the crafty persuasions of the enemy. As I please him in
prosperity, so in adversity I am not displeasing to him. The wise
lover regards not so much the gift of Him Who loves as the love of
Him Who gives. He regards the affection of the Giver rather than
the value of the gift, and sets his Beloved above all gifts. The
noble lover does not rest in the gift but in Me Who am above every
All is not lost, then, if you sometimes feel less devout than
you wish toward Me or My saints. That good and sweet feeling which
you sometimes have is the effect of present grace and a certain
foretaste of your heavenly home. You must not lean upon it too
much, because it comes and goes. But to fight against evil
thoughts which attack you is a sign of virtue and great merit. Do
not, therefore, let strange fantasies disturb you, no matter what
they concern. Hold strongly to your resolution and keep a right
intention toward God.
It is not an illusion that you are sometimes rapt in ecstasy
and then quickly returned to the usual follies of your heart. For
these are evils which you suffer rather than commit; and so long
as they displease you and you struggle against them, it is a
matter of merit and not a loss.
You must know that the old enemy tries by all means in his
power to hinder your desire for good and to turn you from every
devotional practice, especially from the veneration of the saints,
from devout meditation on My passion, and from your firm purpose
of advancing in virtue. He suggests many evil thoughts that he may
cause you weariness and horror, and thus draw you away from prayer
and holy reading. A humble confession displeases him and, if he
could, he would make you omit Holy Communion.
Do not believe him or heed him, even though he often sets
traps to deceive you. When he suggests evil, unclean things,
accuse him. Say to him: "Away, unclean spirit! Shame, miserable
creature! You are but filth to bring such things to my ears.
Begone, most wretched seducer! You shall have no part in me, for
Jesus will be my strength, and you shall be confounded. I would
rather die and suffer all torments than consent to you. Be still!
Be silent! Though you bring many troubles upon me I will have none
of you. The Lord is my light, my salvation. Whom shall I fear?
Though armies unite against me, my heart will not fear, for the
Lord is my Helper, my Redeemer."
Fight like a good soldier and if you sometimes fall through
weakness, rise again with greater strength than before, trusting
in My most abundant grace. But beware of vain complacency and
pride. For many are led into error through these faults and
sometimes fall into almost perpetual blindness. Let the fall of
these, who proudly presume on self, be a warning to you and a
constant incentive to humility.
The Seventh Chapter
Grace Must Be Hidden Under the Mantle of Humility
The Voice of Christ
IT IS better and safer for you to conceal the grace of devotion,
not to be elated by it, not to speak or think much of it, and
instead to humble yourself and fear lest it is being given to one
unworthy of it. Do not cling too closely to this affection, for it
may quickly be changed to its opposite. When you are in grace,
think how miserable and needy you are without it. Your progress in
spiritual life does not consist in having the grace of
consolation, but in enduring its withdrawal with humility,
resignation, and patience, so that you neither become listless in
prayer nor neglect your other duties in the least; but on the
contrary do what you can do as well as you know how, and do not
neglect yourself completely because of your dryness or anxiety of
There are many, indeed, who immediately become impatient and
lazy when things do not go well with them. The way of man,
however, does not always lie in his own power. It is God's
prerogative to give grace and to console when He wishes, as much
as He wishes, and whom He wishes, as it shall please Him and no
Some careless persons, misusing the grace of devotion, have
destroyed themselves because they wished to do more than they were
able. They failed to take account of their own weakness, and
followed the desire of their heart rather than the judgment of
their reason. Then, because they presumed to greater things than
pleased God they quickly lost His grace. They who had built their
homes in heaven became helpless, vile outcasts, humbled and
impoverished, that they might learn not to fly with their own
wings but to trust in Mine.
They who are still new and inexperienced in the way of the
Lord may easily be deceived and overthrown unless they guide
themselves by the advice of discreet persons. But if they wish to
follow their own notions rather than to trust in others who are
more experienced, they will be in danger of a sorry end, at least
if they are unwilling to be drawn from their vanity. Seldom do
they who are wise in their own conceits bear humbly the guidance
of others. Yet a little knowledge humbly and meekly pursued is
better than great treasures of learning sought in vain
complacency. It is better for you to have little than to have much
which may become the source of pride.
He who gives himself up entirely to enjoyment acts very
unwisely, for he forgets his former helplessness and that
chastened fear of the Lord which dreads to lose a proffered grace.
Nor is he very brave or wise who becomes too despondent in times
of adversity and difficulty and thinks less confidently of Me than
he should. He who wishes to be too secure in time of peace will
often become too dejected and fearful in time of trial.
If you were wise enough to remain always humble and small in
your own eyes, and to restrain and rule your spirit well, you
would not fall so quickly into danger and offense.
When a spirit of fervor is enkindled within you, you may well
meditate on how you will feel when the fervor leaves. Then, when
this happens, remember that the light which I have withdrawn for a
time as a warning to you and for My own glory may again return.
Such trials are often more beneficial than if you had things
always as you wish. For a man's merits are not measured by many
visions or consolations, or by knowledge of the Scriptures, or by
his being in a higher position than others, but by the truth of
his humility, by his capacity for divine charity, by his constancy
in seeking purely and entirely the honor of God, by his disregard
and positive contempt of self, and more, by preferring to be
despised and humiliated rather than honored by others.
The Eighth Chapter
Self-Abasement in the Sight of God
I WILL speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. If I
consider myself anything more than this, behold You stand against
me, and my sins bear witness to the truth which I cannot
contradict. If I abase myself, however, if I humble myself to
nothingness, if I shrink from all self-esteem and account myself
as the dust which I am, Your grace will favor me, Your light will
enshroud my heart, and all self-esteem, no matter how little, will
sink in the depths of my nothingness to perish forever.
It is there You show me to myself -- what I am, what I have
been, and what I am coming to; for I am nothing and I did not know
it. Left to myself, I am nothing but total weakness. But if You
look upon me for an instant, I am at once made strong and filled
with new joy. Great wonder it is that I, who of my own weight
always sink to the depths, am so suddenly lifted up, and so
graciously embraced by You.
It is Your love that does this, graciously upholding me,
supporting me in so many necessities, guarding me from so many
grave dangers, and snatching me, as I may truly say, from evils
without number. Indeed, by loving myself badly I lost myself; by
seeking only You and by truly loving You I have found both myself
and You, and by that love I have reduced myself more profoundly to
nothing. For You, O sweetest Lord, deal with me above all my
merits and above all that I dare to hope or ask.
May You be blessed, my God, for although I am unworthy of any
benefits, yet Your nobility and infinite goodness never cease to
do good even for those who are ungrateful and far from You.
Convert us to You, that we may be thankful, humble, and devout,
for You are our salvation, our courage, and our strength.
The Ninth Chapter
All Things should be Referred to God as their Last End
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, I must be your supreme and last end, if you truly desire
to be blessed. With this intention your affections, which are too
often perversely inclined to self and to creatures, will be
purified. For if you seek yourself in anything, you immediately
fail interiorly and become dry of heart.
Refer all things principally to Me, therefore, for it is I
Who have given them all. Consider each thing as flowing from the
highest good, and therefore to Me, as to their highest source,
must all things be brought back.
From Me the small and the great, the poor and the rich draw
the water of life as from a living fountain, and they who serve Me
willingly and freely shall receive grace upon grace. He who wishes
to glory in things apart from Me, however, or to delight in some
good as his own, shall not be grounded in true joy or gladdened in
his heart, but shall be burdened and distressed in many ways.
Hence you ought not to attribute any good to yourself or ascribe
virtue to any man, but give all to God without Whom man has
I have given all things. I will that all be returned to Me
again, and I exact most strictly a return of thanks. This is the
truth by which vainglory is put to flight.
Where heavenly grace and true charity enter in, there neither
envy nor narrowness of heart nor self-love will have place. Divine
love conquers all and enlarges the powers of the soul.
If you are truly wise, you will rejoice only in Me, because
no one is good except God alone, Who is to be praised above all
things and above all to be blessed.
The Tenth Chapter
To Despise the World and Serve God is Sweet
NOW again I will speak, Lord, and will not be silent. I will speak
to the hearing of my God, my Lord, and my King Who is in heaven.
How great, O Lord, is the multitude of Your mercies which You have
stored up for those who love You. But what are You to those who
love You? What are You to those who serve You with their whole
Truly beyond the power of words is the sweetness of
contemplation You give to those who love You. To me You have shown
the sweetness of Your charity, especially in having made me when I
did not exist, in having brought me back to serve You when I had
gone far astray from You, in having commanded me to love You.
O Fountain of unceasing love, what shall I say of You? How
can I forget You, Who have been pleased to remember me even after
I had wasted away and perished? You have shown mercy to Your
servant beyond all hope, and have exhibited grace and friendship
beyond his deserving.
What return shall I make to You for this grace? For it is not
given every man to forsake all things, to renounce the world, and
undertake the religious life. Is it anything great that I should
serve You Whom every creature is bound to serve? It should not
seem much to me; instead it should appear great and wonderful that
You condescend to receive into Your service one who is so poor and
unworthy. Behold, all things are Yours, even those which I have
and by which I serve You. Behold, heaven and earth which You
created for the service of man, stand ready, and each day they do
whatever You command. But even this is little, for You have
appointed angels also to minister to man -- yea more than all this
-- You Yourself have condescended to serve man and have promised
to give him Yourself.
What return shall I make for all these thousands of benefits?
Would that I could serve You all the days of my life! Would that
for but one day I could serve You worthily! Truly You are worthy
of all service, all honor, and everlasting praise. Truly You are
my Lord, and I am Your poor servant, bound to serve You with all
my powers, praising You without ever becoming weary. I wish to do
this -- this is my desire. Do You supply whatever is wanting in
It is a great honor, a great glory to serve You and to
despise all things for Your sake. They who give themselves gladly
to Your most holy service will possess great grace. They who cast
aside all carnal delights for Your love will find the most sweet
consolation of the Holy Ghost. They who enter upon the narrow way
for Your name and cast aside all worldly care will attain great
freedom of mind.
O sweet and joyful service of God, which makes man truly free
and holy! O sacred state of religious bondage which makes man
equal to the angels, pleasing to God, terrible to the demons, and
worthy of the commendation of all the faithful! O service to be
embraced and always desired, in which the highest good is offered
and joy is won which shall remain forever!
The Eleventh Chapter
The Longings of our Hearts Must Be Examined And Moderated
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, it is necessary for you to learn many things which you
have not yet learned well.
What are they, Lord?
The Voice of Christ
That you conform your desires entirely according to My good
pleasure, and be not a lover of self but an earnest doer of My
will. Desires very often inflame you and drive you madly on, but
consider whether you act for My honor, or for your own advantage.
If I am the cause, you will be well content with whatever I
ordain. If, on the other hand, any self-seeking lurk in you, it
troubles you and weighs you down. Take care, then, that you do not
rely too much on preconceived desire that has no reference to Me,
lest you repent later on and be displeased with what at first
pleased you and which you desired as being for the best. Not every
desire which seems good should be followed immediately, nor, on
the other hand, should every contrary affection be at once
It is sometimes well to use a little restraint even in good
desires and inclinations, lest through too much eagerness you
bring upon yourself distraction of mind; lest through your lack of
discipline you create scandal for others; or lest you be suddenly
upset and fall because of resistance from others. Sometimes,
however, you must use violence and resist your sensual appetite
bravely. You must pay no attention to what the flesh does or does
not desire, taking pains that it be subjected, even by force, to
the spirit. And it should be chastised and forced to remain in
subjection until it is prepared for anything and is taught to be
satisfied with little, to take pleasure in simple things, and not
to murmur against inconveniences.
The Twelfth Chapter
Acquiring Patience in the Fight Against Concupiscence
PATIENCE, O Lord God, is very necessary for me, I see, because
there are many adversities in this life. No matter what plans I
make for my own peace, my life cannot be free from struggle and
The Voice of Christ
My child, you are right, yet My wish is not that you seek
that peace which is free from temptations or meets with no
opposition, but rather that you consider yourself as having found
peace when you have been tormented with many tribulations and
tried with many adversities.
If you say that you cannot suffer much, how will you endure
the fire of purgatory? Of two evils, the lesser is always to be
chosen. Therefore, in order that you may escape the everlasting
punishments to come, try to bear present evils patiently for the
sake of God.
Do you think that men of the world have no suffering, or
perhaps but little? Ask even those who enjoy the most delights and
you will learn otherwise. "But," you will say, "they enjoy many
pleasures and follow their own wishes; therefore they do not feel
their troubles very much." Granted that they do have whatever they
wish, how long do you think it will last? Behold, they who prosper
in the world shall perish as smoke, and there shall be no memory
of their past joys. Even in this life they do not find rest in
these pleasures without bitterness, weariness, and fear. For they
often receive the penalty of sorrow from the very thing whence
they believe their happiness comes. And it is just. Since they
seek and follow after pleasures without reason, they should not
enjoy them without shame and bitterness.
How brief, how false, how unreasonable and shameful all these
pleasures are! Yet in their drunken blindness men do not
understand this, but like brute beasts incur death of soul for the
miserly enjoyment of a corruptible life.
Therefore, My child, do not pursue your lusts, but turn away
from your own will. "Seek thy pleasure in the Lord and He will
give thee thy heart's desires" (Ps. 36:4). If you wish to be truly
delighted and more abundantly comforted by Me, behold, in contempt
of all worldly things and in the cutting off of all base pleasures
shall your blessing be, and great consolation shall be given you.
Further, the more you withdraw yourself from any solace of
creatures, the sweeter and stronger comfort will you find in Me.
At first you will not gain these blessings without sadness
and toil and conflict. Habit already formed will resist you, but
it shall be overcome by a better habit. The flesh will murmur
against you, but it will be bridled by fervor of spirit. The old
serpent will sting and trouble you, but prayer will put him to
flight and by steadfast, useful toil the way will be closed to
The Thirteenth Chapter
The Obedience of One Humbly Subject to the Example of Jesus Christ
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, he who attempts to escape obeying withdraws himself from
grace. Likewise he who seeks private benefits for himself loses
those which are common to all. He who does not submit himself
freely and willingly to his superior, shows that his flesh is not
yet perfectly obedient but that it often rebels and murmurs
Learn quickly, then, to submit yourself to your superior if
you wish to conquer your own flesh. For the exterior enemy is more
quickly overcome if the inner man is not laid waste. There is no
more troublesome, no worse enemy of the soul than you yourself, if
you are not in harmony with the spirit. It is absolutely necessary
that you conceive a true contempt for yourself if you wish to be
victorious over flesh and blood.
Because you still love yourself too inordinately, you are
afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others. Is it such
a great matter if you, who are but dust and nothingness, subject
yourself to man for the sake of God, when I, the All-Powerful, the
Most High, Who created all things out of nothing, humbly subjected
Myself to man for your sake? I became the most humble and the
lowest of all men that you might overcome your pride with My
Learn to obey, you who are but dust! Learn to humble
yourself, you who are but earth and clay, and bow down under the
foot of every man! Learn to break your own will, to submit to all
subjection! Be zealous against yourself! Allow no pride to dwell
in you, but prove yourself so humble and lowly that all may walk
over you and trample upon you as dust in the streets!
What have you, vain man, to complain of? What answer can you
make, vile sinner, to those who accuse you, you who have so often
offended God and so many times deserved hell? But My eye has
spared you because your soul was precious in My sight, so that you
might know My love and always be thankful for My benefits, so that
you might give yourself continually to true subjection and
humility, and might patiently endure contempt.
The Fourteenth Chapter
Consider the Hidden Judgments of God
Lest You Become Proud of Your Own Good Deeds
YOU thunder forth Your judgments over me, Lord. You shake all my
bones with fear and trembling, and my soul is very much afraid. I
stand in awe as I consider that the heavens are not pure in Your
sight. If You found wickedness in the angels and did not spare
them, what will become of me? Stars have fallen from heaven, and I
-- I who am but dust -- how can I be presumptuous? They whose
deeds seemed worthy of praise have fallen into the depths, and I
have seen those who ate the bread of angels delighting themselves
with the husks of swine.
There is no holiness, then, if You withdraw Your hand, Lord.
There is no wisdom if You cease to guide, no courage if You cease
to defend. No chastity is secure if You do not guard it. Our
vigilance avails nothing if Your holy watchfulness does not
protect us. Left to ourselves we sink and perish, but visited by
You we are lifted up and live. We are truly unstable, but You make
us strong. We grow lukewarm, but You inflame us. Oh, how humbly
and lowly should I consider myself! How very little should I
esteem anything that seems good in me! How profoundly should I
submit to Your unfathomable judgments, Lord, where I find myself
to be but nothing!
O immeasurable weight! O impassable sea, where I find myself
to be nothing but bare nothingness! Where, then, is glory's hiding
place? Where can there be any trust in my own virtue? All
vainglory is swallowed up in the depths of Your judgments upon me.
What is all flesh in Your sight? Shall the clay glory against
Him that formed it? How can he whose heart is truly subject to God
be lifted up by vainglory? The whole world will not make him proud
whom truth has subjected to itself. Nor shall he who has placed
all his hope in God be moved by the tongues of flatterers. For
behold, even they who speak are nothing; they will pass away with
the sound of their words, but the truth of the Lord remains
The Fifteenth Chapter
How One Should Feel and Speak on Every Desirable Thing
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, this is the way you must speak on every occasion: "Lord,
if it be pleasing to You, so be it. If it be to Your honor, Lord,
be it done in Your name. Lord, if You see that it is expedient and
profitable for me, then grant that I may use it to Your honor. But
if You know that it will be harmful to me, and of no good benefit
to the welfare of my soul, then take this desire away from me."
Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may
seem right and good. It is difficult to be certain whether it is a
good spirit or a bad one that prompts one to this or that, and
even to know whether you are being moved by your own spirit. Many
who seemed at first to be led by a good spirit have been deceived
in the end.
Whatever the mind sees as good, ask and desire in fear of God
and humility of heart. Above all, commit the whole matter to Me
with true resignation, and say: "Lord, You know what is better for
me; let this be done or that be done as You please. Grant what You
will, as much as You will, when You will. Do with me as You know
best, as will most please You, and will be for Your greater honor.
Place me where You will and deal with me freely in all things. I
am in Your hand; turn me about whichever way You will. Behold, I
am Your servant, ready to obey in all things. Not for myself do I
desire to live, but for You -- would that I could do this worthily
A Prayer that the Will of God Be Done
Grant me Your grace, O most merciful Jesus, that it may be
with me, and work with me, and remain with me to the very end.
Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most
acceptable and pleasing to You. Let Your will be mine. Let my will
always follow Yours and agree perfectly with it. Let my will be
one with Yours in willing and in not willing, and let me be unable
to will or not will anything but what You will or do not will.
Grant that I may die to all things in this world, and for Your
sake love to be despised and unknown in this life. Give me above
all desires the desire to rest in You, and in You let my heart
have peace. You are true peace of heart. You alone are its rest.
Without You all things are difficult and troubled. In this peace,
the selfsame that is in You, the Most High, the everlasting Good,
I will sleep and take my rest. Amen.
The Sixteenth Chapter
True Comfort Is to Be Sought in God Alone
WHATEVER I can desire or imagine for my own comfort I look for not
here but hereafter. For if I alone should have all the world's
comforts and could enjoy all its delights, it is certain that they
could not long endure. Therefore, my soul, you cannot enjoy full
consolation or perfect delight except in God, the Consoler of the
poor and the Helper of the humble. Wait a little, my soul, wait
for the divine promise and you will have an abundance of all good
things in heaven. If you desire these present things too much, you
will lose those which are everlasting and heavenly. Use temporal
things but desire eternal things. You cannot be satisfied with any
temporal goods because you were not created to enjoy them.
Even if you possessed all created things you could not be
happy and blessed; for in God, Who created all these things, your
whole blessedness and happiness consists -- not indeed such
happiness as is seen and praised by lovers of the world, but such
as that for which the good and faithful servants of Christ wait,
and of which the spiritual and pure of heart, whose conversation
is in heaven, sometime have a foretaste.
Vain and brief is all human consolation. But that which is
received inwardly from the Truth is blessed and true. The devout
man carries his Consoler, Jesus, everywhere with him, and he says
to Him: "Be with me, Lord Jesus, in every place and at all times.
Let this be my consolation, to be willing to forego all human
comforting. And if Your consolation be wanting to me, let Your
will and just trial of me be my greatest comfort. For You will not
always be angry, nor will You threaten forever."
The Seventeenth Chapter
All Our Care is to Be Placed in God
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, allow me to do what I will with you. I know what is best
for you. You think as a man; you feel in many things as human
Lord, what You say is true. Your care for me is greater than
all the care I can take of myself. For he who does not cast all
his care upon You stands very unsafely. If only my will remain
right and firm toward You, Lord, do with me whatever pleases You.
For whatever You shall do with me can only be good.
If You wish me to be in darkness, I shall bless You. And if
You wish me to be in light, again I shall bless You. If You stoop
down to comfort me, I shall bless You, and if You wish me to be
afflicted, I shall bless You forever.
The Voice of Christ
My child, this is the disposition which you should have if
you wish to walk with Me. You should be as ready to suffer as to
enjoy. You should as willingly be destitute and poor as rich and
O Lord, I shall suffer willingly for Your sake whatever You
wish to send me. I am ready to accept from Your hand both good and
evil alike, the sweet and the bitter together, sorrow with joy;
and for all that happens to me I am grateful. Keep me from all sin
and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not cast me out forever
nor blot me out of the Book of Life, and whatever tribulation
befalls will not harm me.
The Eighteenth Chapter
Temporal Sufferings Should Be Borne Patiently,
After the Example of Christ
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, I came down from heaven for your salvation and took upon
Myself your miseries, not out of necessity but out of love, that
you might learn to be patient and bear the sufferings of this life
without repining. From the moment of My birth to My death on the
cross, suffering did not leave Me. I suffered great want of
temporal goods. Often I heard many complaints against Me. Disgrace
and reviling I bore with patience. For My blessings I received
ingratitude, for My miracles blasphemies, and for My teaching
O Lord, because You were patient in life, especially in
fulfilling the design of the Father, it is fitting that I, a most
miserable sinner, should live patiently according to Your will,
and, as long as You shall wish, bear the burden of this
corruptible body for the welfare of my soul. For though this
present life seems burdensome, yet by Your grace it becomes
meritorious, and it is made brighter and more endurable for the
weak by Your example and the pathways of the saints. But it has
also more consolation than formerly under the old law when the
gates of heaven were closed, when the way thereto seemed darker
than now, and when so few cared to seek the eternal kingdom. The
just, the elect, could not enter heaven before Your sufferings and
sacred death had paid the debt.
Oh, what great thanks I owe You, Who have shown me and all
the faithful the good and right way to Your everlasting kingdom!
Your life is our way and in Your holy patience we come nearer to
You Who are our crown. Had You not gone before and taught us, who
would have cared to follow? Alas, how many would have remained far
behind, had they not before their eyes Your holy example! Behold,
even we who have heard of Your many miracles and teachings are
still lukewarm; what would happen if we did not have such light by
which to follow You?
The Nineteenth Chapter
True Patience in Suffering
The Voice of Christ
WHAT are you saying, My child? Think of My suffering and that of
the saints, and cease complaining. You have not yet resisted to
the shedding of blood. What you suffer is very little compared
with the great things they suffered who were so strongly tempted,
so severely troubled, so tried and tormented in many ways. Well
may you remember, therefore, the very painful woes of others, that
you may bear your own little ones the more easily. And if they do
not seem so small to you, examine if perhaps your impatience is
not the cause of their apparent greatness; and whether they are
great or small, try to bear them all patiently. The better you
dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you act and the
greater is the reward promised you. Thus you will suffer more
easily if your mind and habits are diligently trained to it.
Do not say: "I cannot bear this from such a man, nor should I
suffer things of this kind, for he has done me a great wrong. He
has accused me of many things of which I never thought. However,
from someone else I will gladly suffer as much as I think I
Such a thought is foolish, for it does not consider the
virtue of patience or the One Who will reward it, but rather
weighs the person and the offense committed. The man who will
suffer only as much as seems good to him, who will accept
suffering only from those from whom he is pleased to accept it, is
not truly patient. For the truly patient man does not consider
from whom the suffering comes, whether from a superior, an equal,
or an inferior, whether from a good and holy person or from a
perverse and unworthy one; but no matter how great an adversity
befalls him, no matter how often it comes or from whom it comes,
he accepts it gratefully from the hand of God, and counts it a
great gain. For with God nothing that is suffered for His sake, no
matter how small, can pass without reward. Be prepared for the
fight, then, if you wish to gain the victory. Without struggle you
cannot obtain the crown of patience, and if you refuse to suffer
you are refusing the crown. But if you desire to be crowned, fight
bravely and bear up patiently. Without labor there is no rest, and
without fighting, no victory.
O Lord, let that which seems naturally impossible to me
become possible through Your grace. You know that I can suffer
very little, and that I am quickly discouraged when any small
adversity arises. Let the torment of tribulation suffered for Your
name be pleasant and desirable to me, since to suffer and be
troubled for Your sake is very beneficial for my soul.
The Twentieth Chapter
Confessing Our Weakness in the Miseries of Life
I WILL bring witness against myself to my injustice, and to You, O
Lord, I will confess my weakness.
Often it is a small thing that makes me downcast and sad. I
propose to act bravely, but when even a small temptation comes I
find myself in great straits. Sometimes it is the merest trifle
which gives rise to grievous temptations.
When I think myself
somewhat safe and when I am not expecting it, I frequently find
myself almost overcome by a slight wind. Look, therefore, Lord, at
my lowliness and frailty which You know so well. Have mercy on me
and snatch me out of the mire that I may not be caught in it and
may not remain forever utterly despondent.
That I am so prone to fall and so weak in resisting my
passions oppresses me frequently and confounds me in Your sight.
While I do not fully consent to them, still their assault is very
troublesome and grievous to me, and it wearies me exceedingly thus
to live in daily strife. Yet from the fact that abominable fancies
rush in upon me much more easily than they leave, my weakness
becomes clear to me.
Oh that You, most mighty God of Israel, zealous Lover of
faithful souls, would consider the labor and sorrow of Your
servant, and assist him in all his undertakings! Strengthen me
with heavenly courage lest the outer man, the miserable flesh,
against which I shall be obliged to fight so long as I draw a
breath in this wretched life and which is not yet subjected to the
spirit, prevail and dominate me.
Alas! What sort of life is this, from which troubles and
miseries are never absent, where all things are full of snares and
enemies? For when one trouble or temptation leaves, another comes.
Indeed, even while the first conflict is still raging, many others
begin unexpectedly. How is it possible to love a life that has
such great bitterness, that is subject to so many calamities and
miseries? Indeed, how can it even be called life when it begets so
many deaths and plagues? And yet, it is loved, and many seek their
delight in it.
Many persons often blame the world for being false and vain,
yet do not readily give it up because the desires of the flesh
have such great power. Some things draw them to love the world,
others make them despise it. The lust of the flesh, the desire of
the eyes, and the pride of life lead to love, while the pains and
miseries, which are the just consequences of those things, beget
hatred and weariness of the world.
Vicious pleasure overcomes the soul that is given to the
world. She thinks that there are delights beneath these thorns,
because she has never seen or tasted the sweetness of God or the
internal delight of virtue. They, on the other hand, who entirely
despise the world and seek to live for God under the rule of holy
discipline, are not ignorant of the divine sweetness promised to
those who truly renounce the world. They see clearly how gravely
the world errs, and in how many ways it deceives.
The Twenty-first Chapter
Above All Goods and All Gifts We Must Rest in God
ABOVE all things and in all things, O my soul, rest always in God,
for He is the everlasting rest of the saints.
Grant, most sweet and loving Jesus, that I may seek my repose
in You above every creature; above all health and beauty; above
every honor and glory; every power and dignity; above all
knowledge and cleverness, all riches and arts, all joy and
gladness; above all fame and praise, all sweetness and
consolation; above every hope and promise, every merit and desire;
above all the gifts and favors that You can give or pour down upon
me; above all the joy and exultation that the mind can receive and
feel; and finally, above the angels and archangels and all the
heavenly host; above all things visible and invisible; and may I
seek my repose in You above everything that is not You, my God.
For You, O Lord my God, are above all things the best. You
alone are most high, You alone most powerful. You alone are most
sufficient and most satisfying, You alone most sweet and
consoling. You alone are most beautiful and loving, You alone most
noble and glorious above all things. In You is every perfection
that has been or ever will be. Therefore, whatever You give me
besides Yourself, whatever You reveal to me concerning Yourself,
and whatever You promise, is too small and insufficient when I do
not see and fully enjoy You alone. For my heart cannot rest or be
fully content until, rising above all gifts and every created
thing, it rests in You.
Who, O most beloved Spouse, Jesus Christ, most pure Lover,
Lord of all creation, who shall give me the wings of true liberty
that I may fly to rest in You? When shall freedom be fully given
me to see how sweet You are, O Lord, my God? When shall I
recollect myself entirely in You, so that because of Your love I
may feel, not myself, but You alone above all sense and measure,
in a manner known to none? But now I often lament and grieve over
my unhappiness, for many evils befall me in this vale of miseries,
often disturbing me, making me sad and overshadowing me, often
hindering and distracting me, alluring and entangling me so that I
neither have free access to You nor enjoy the sweet embraces which
are ever ready for blessed souls. Let my sighs and the manifold
desolation here on earth move You.
O Jesus, Splendor of eternal glory, Consolation of the
pilgrim soul, with You my lips utter no sound and to You my
silence speaks. How long will my Lord delay His coming? Let Him
come to His poor servant and make him happy. Let Him put forth His
hand and take this miserable creature from his anguish. Come, O
come, for without You there will be no happy day or hour, because
You are my happiness and without You my table is empty. I am
wretched, as it were imprisoned and weighted down with fetters,
until You fill me with the light of Your presence, restore me to
liberty, and show me a friendly countenance. Let others seek
instead of You whatever they will, but nothing pleases me or will
please me but You, my God, my Hope, my everlasting Salvation. I
will not be silent, I will not cease praying until Your grace
returns to me and You speak inwardly to me, saying: "Behold, I am
here. Lo, I have come to you because you have called Me. Your
tears and the desire of your soul, your humility and contrition of
heart have inclined Me and brought Me to you."
Lord, I have called You, and have desired You, and have been
ready to spurn all things for Your sake. For You first spurred me
on to seek You. May You be blessed, therefore, O Lord, for having
shown this goodness to Your servant according to the multitude of
What more is there for Your servant to say to You unless,
with his iniquity and vileness always in mind, he humbles himself
before You? Nothing among all the wonders of heaven and earth is
like to You. Your works are exceedingly good, Your judgments true,
and Your providence rules the whole universe. May You be praised
and glorified, therefore, O Wisdom of the Father. Let my lips and
my soul and all created things unite to praise and bless You.
The Twenty-Second Chapter
Remember the Innumerable Gifts of God
OPEN my heart, O Lord, to Your law and teach me to walk in the way
of Your commandments. Let me understand Your will. Let me remember
Your blessings -- all of them and each single one of them -- with
great reverence and care so that henceforth I may return worthy
thanks for them. I know that I am unable to give due thanks for
even the least of Your gifts. I am unworthy of the benefits You
have given me, and when I consider Your generosity my spirit
faints away before its greatness. All that we have of soul and
body, whatever we possess interiorly or exteriorly, by nature or
by grace, are Your gifts and they proclaim Your goodness and mercy
from which we have received all good things.
If one receives more and another less, yet all are Yours and
without You nothing can be received. He who receives greater
things cannot glory in his own merit or consider himself above
others or behave insolently toward those who receive less. He who
attributes less to himself and is the more humble and devout in
returning thanks is indeed the greater and the better, while he
who considers himself lower than all men and judges himself to be
the least worthy, is the more fit to receive the greater blessing.
He, on the other hand, who has received fewer gifts should
not be sad or impatient or envious of the richer man. Instead he
should turn his mind to You and offer You the greatest praise
because You give so bountifully, so freely and willingly, without
regard to persons. All things come from You; therefore, You are to
be praised in all things. You know what is good for each of us;
and why one should receive less and another more is not for us to
judge, but for You Who have marked every man's merits.
Therefore, O Lord God, I consider it a great blessing not to
have many things which human judgment holds praiseworthy and
glorious, for one who realizes his own poverty and vileness should
not be sad or downcast at it, but rather consoled and happy
because You, O God, have chosen the poor, the humble, and the
despised in this world to be Your friends and servants. The truth
of this is witnessed by Your Apostles, whom You made princes over
all the world. Yet they lived in this world without complaining,
so humble and simple, so free from malice and deceit, that they
were happy even to suffer reproach for Your name and to embrace
with great affection that which the world abhors.
A man who loves You and recognizes Your benefits, therefore,
should be gladdened by nothing so much as by Your will, by the
good pleasure of Your eternal decree. With this he should be so
contented and consoled that he would wish to be the least as
others wish to be the greatest; that he would be as peaceful and
satisfied in the last place as in the first, and as willing to be
despised, unknown and forgotten, as to be honored by others and to
have more fame than they. He should prefer Your will and the love
of Your honor to all else, and it should comfort him more than all
the benefits which have been, or will be, given him.
The Twenty-Third Chapter
Four Things Which Bring Great Peace
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, I will teach you now the way of peace and true liberty.
Seek, child, to do the will of others rather than your own. Always
choose to have less rather than more. Look always for the last
place and seek to be beneath all others. Always wish and pray that
the will of God be fully carried out in you. Behold, such will
enter into the realm of peace and rest.
O Lord, this brief discourse of Yours contains much
perfection. It is short in words but full of meaning and abounding
in fruit. Certainly if I could only keep it faithfully, I should
not be so easily disturbed. For as often as I find myself troubled
and dejected, I find that I have departed from this teaching. But
You Who can do all things, and Who always love what is for my
soul's welfare, give me increase of grace that I may keep Your
words and accomplish my salvation.
A Prayer Against Bad Thoughts
O Lord my God, be not far from me. O my God, hasten to help
me, for varied thoughts and great fears have risen up within me,
afflicting my soul. How shall I escape them unharmed? How shall I
"I will go before you," says the Lord, "and will humble the
great ones of earth. I will open the doors of the prison, and will
reveal to you hidden secrets."
Do as You say, Lord, and let all evil thoughts fly from Your
face. This is my hope and my only comfort -- to fly to You in all
tribulation, to confide in You, and to call on You from the depths
of my heart and to await patiently for Your consolation.
A Prayer for Enlightening the Mind
Enlighten me, good Jesus, with the brightness of internal
light, and take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart.
Restrain my wandering thoughts and suppress the temptations which
attack me so violently. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish these
evil beasts -- the alluring desires of the flesh -- so that peace
may come through Your power and the fullness of Your praise
resound in the holy courts, which is a pure conscience. Command
the winds and the tempests; say to the sea: "Be still," and to the
north wind, "Do not blow," and there will be a great calm.
Send forth Your light and Your truth to shine on the earth,
for I am as earth, empty and formless until You illumine me. Pour
out Your grace from above. Shower my heart with heavenly dew. Open
the springs of devotion to water the earth, that it may produce
the best of good fruits. Lift up my heart pressed down by the
weight of sins, and direct all my desires to heavenly things, that
having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may find no
pleasure in thinking of earthly things.
Snatch me up and deliver me from all the passing comfort of
creatures, for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my
desires. Join me to Yourself in an inseparable bond of love;
because You alone can satisfy him who loves You, and without You
all things are worthless.
The Twenty-Fourth Chapter
Avoiding Curious Inquiry About the Lives of Others
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, do not be curious. Do not trouble yourself with idle
cares. What matters this or that to you? Follow Me. What is it to
you if a man is such and such, if another does or says this or
that? You will not have to answer for others, but you will have to
give an account of yourself. Why, then, do you meddle in their
Behold, I know all men. I see everything that is done under
the sun, and I know how matters stand with each -- what is in his
mind and what in his heart and the end to which his intention is
directed. Commit all things to Me, therefore, and keep yourself in
good peace. Let him who is disturbed be as restless as he will.
Whatever he has said or done will fall upon himself, for he cannot
Do not be anxious for the shadow of a great name, for the
close friendship of many, or for the particular affection of men.
These things cause distraction and cast great darkness about the
heart. I would willingly speak My word and reveal My secrets to
you, if you would watch diligently for My coming and open your
heart to Me. Be prudent, then. Watch in prayer, and in all things
The Twenty-Fifth Chapter
The Basis of Firm Peace of Heart and True Progress
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, I have said: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give
unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you" (John 14:27).
All men desire peace but all do not care for the things that
go to make true peace. My peace is with the humble and meek of
heart: your peace will be in much patience. If you hear Me and
follow My voice, you will be able to enjoy much peace.
What, then, shall I do, Lord?
The Voice of Christ
Watch yourself in all things, in what you do and what you
say. Direct your every intention toward pleasing Me alone, and
desire nothing outside of Me. Do not be rash in judging the deeds
and words of others, and do not entangle yourself in affairs that
are not your own. Thus, it will come about that you will be
disturbed little and seldom.
Yet, never to experience any disturbance or to suffer any
hurt in heart or body does not belong to this present life, but
rather to the state of eternal rest. Do not think, therefore, that
you have found true peace if you feel no depression, or that all
is well because you suffer no opposition. Do not think that all is
perfect if everything happens just as you wish. And do not imagine
yourself great or consider yourself especially beloved if you are
filled with great devotion and sweetness. For the true lover of
virtue is not known by these things, nor do the progress and
perfection of a man consist in them.
In what do they consist, Lord?
The Voice of Christ
They consist in offering yourself with all your heart to the
divine will, not seeking what is yours either in small matters or
great ones, either in temporal or eternal things, so that you will
preserve equanimity and give thanks in both prosperity and
adversity, seeing all things in their proper light.
If you become so brave and long-suffering in hope that you
can prepare your heart to suffer still more even when all inward
consolation is withdrawn, and if you do not justify yourself as
though you ought not be made to suffer such great things, but
acknowledge Me to be just in all My works and praise My holy name
-- then you will walk in the true and right path of peace, then
you may have sure hope of seeing My face again in joy. If you
attain to complete contempt of self, then know that you will enjoy
an abundance of peace, as much as is possible in this earthly
The Twenty-Sixth Chapter
The Excellence of a Free Mind,
Gained Through Prayer Rather Than By Study
IT IS the mark of a perfect man, Lord, never to let his mind relax
in attention to heavenly things, and to pass through many cares as
though he had none; not as an indolent man does, but having by the
certain prerogative of a free mind no disorderly affection for any
Keep me, I beg You, most merciful God, from the cares of this
life, lest I be too much entangled in them. Keep me from many
necessities of the body, lest I be ensnared by pleasure. Keep me
from all darkness of mind, lest I be broken by troubles and
overcome. I do not ask deliverance from those things which worldly
vanity desires so eagerly, but from those miseries which, by the
common curse of humankind, oppress the soul of Your servant in
punishment and keep him from entering into the liberty of spirit
as often as he would.
My God, Sweetness beyond words, make bitter all the carnal
comfort that draws me from love of the eternal and lures me to its
evil self by the sight of some delightful good in the present. Let
it not overcome me, my God. Let not flesh and blood conquer me.
Let not the world and its brief glory deceive me, nor the devil
trip me by his craftiness. Give me courage to resist, patience to
endure, and constancy to persevere. Give me the soothing unction
of Your spirit rather than all the consolations of the world, and
in place of carnal love, infuse into me the love of Your name.
Behold, eating, drinking, clothing, and other necessities
that sustain the body are burdensome to the fervent soul. Grant me
the grace to use such comforts temperately and not to become
entangled in too great a desire for them. It is not lawful to cast
them aside completely, for nature must be sustained, but Your holy
law forbids us to demand superfluous things and things that are
simply for pleasure, else the flesh would rebel against the
spirit. In these matters, I beg, let Your hand guide and direct
me, so that I may not overstep the law in any way.
The Twenty-Seventh Chapter
Self-Love is the Greatest Hindrance to the Highest Good
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, you should give all for all, and in no way belong to
yourself. You must know that self-love is more harmful to you than
anything else in the world. In proportion to the love and
affection you have for a thing, it will cling to you more or less.
If your love is pure, simple, and well ordered, you will not be a
slave to anything. Do not covet what you may not have. Do not
possess anything that can hinder you or rob you of freedom.
It is strange that you do not commit yourself to Me with your
whole heart, together with all that you can desire or possess. Why
are you consumed with foolish sorrow? Why are you wearied with
unnecessary care? Be resigned to My will and you will suffer no
If you seek this or that, if you wish to be in this place or
that place, to have more ease and pleasure, you will never rest or
be free from care, for some defect is found in everything and
everywhere someone will vex you.
To obtain and multiply earthly
goods, then, will not help you, but to despise them and root them
out of your heart will aid. This, understand, is true not only of
money and wealth, but also of ambition for honor and desire for
empty praise, all of which will pass away with this world.
The place matters little if the spirit of fervor is not
there; nor will peace be lasting if it is sought from the outside;
if your heart has no true foundation, that is, if you are not
founded in Me, you may change, but you will not better yourself.
For when occasion arises and is accepted, you will find that from
which you fled and worse.
A Prayer for Cleansing the Heart and Obtaining Heavenly Wisdom
Strengthen me by the grace of Your holy spirit, O God. Give
me the power to be strengthened inwardly and to empty my heart of
all vain care and anxiety, so that I may not be drawn away by many
desires, whether for precious things or mean ones. Let me look
upon everything as passing, and upon myself as soon to pass away
with them, because there is nothing lasting under the sun, where
all is vanity and affliction of spirit. How wise is he who thinks
Give me, Lord, heavenly wisdom to learn above all else to
seek and find You, to enjoy and love You more than anything, and
to consider other things as they are, as Your wisdom has ordered
them. Grant me prudence to avoid the flatterer and to bear
patiently with him who disagrees with me. For it is great wisdom
not to be moved by the sound of words, nor to give ear to the
wicked, flattering siren. Then, I shall walk safely in the way I
The Twenty-Eighth Chapter
Strength Against Slander
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, do not take it to heart if some people think badly of
you and say unpleasant things about you. You ought to think worse
things of yourself and to believe that no one is weaker than
yourself. Moreover, if you walk in the spirit you will pay little
heed to fleeting words. It is no small prudence to remain silent
in evil times, to turn inwardly to Me, and not to be disturbed by
human opinions. Do not let your peace depend on the words of men.
Their thinking well or badly of you does not make you different
from what you are. Where are true peace and glory? Are they not in
Me? He who neither cares to please men nor fears to displease them
will enjoy great peace, for all unrest and distraction of the
senses arise out of disorderly love and vain fear.
The Twenty-Ninth Chapter
How We Must Call Upon and Bless the Lord When Trouble Presses
BLESSED be Your name forever, O Lord, Who have willed that this
temptation and trouble come upon me. I cannot escape it, yet I
must fly to You that You may help me and turn it to my good. Now I
am troubled, Lord, and my heart is not at rest, for I am greatly
afflicted by this present suffering.
Beloved Father, what shall I say? I am straitened in harsh
ways. Save me from this hour to which, however, I am come that You
may be glorified when I am deeply humbled and freed by You. May it
please You, then, to deliver me, Lord, for what can I, poor wretch
that I am, do or where can I go without You? Give me patience,
Lord, even now. Help me, my God, and I will not be afraid however
much I may be distressed.
But here, in the midst of these troubles, what shall I say?
Your will be done, Lord. I have richly deserved to be troubled and
distressed. But I must bear it. Would that I could do so
patiently, until the storm passes and calm returns! Yet Your
almighty hand can take this temptation from me, or lighten its
attack so that I do not altogether sink beneath it, as You, my
God, my Mercy, have very often done for me before. And the more
difficult my plight, the easier for You is this change of the
right hand of the Most High.
The Thirtieth Chapter
The Quest of Divine Help and Confidence in Regaining Grace
The Voice of Christ
MY CHILD, I am the Lord Who gives strength in the day of trouble.
Come to Me when all is not well with you. Your tardiness in
turning to prayer is the greatest obstacle to heavenly
consolation, for before you pray earnestly to Me you first seek
many comforts and take pleasure in outward things. Thus, all
things are of little profit to you until you realize that I am the
one Who saves those who trust in Me, and that outside of Me there
is no worth-while help, or any useful counsel or lasting remedy.
But now, after the tempest, take courage, grow strong once
more in the light of My mercies; for I am near, says the Lord, to
restore all things not only to the full but with abundance and
above measure. Is anything difficult for Me? Or shall I be as one
who promises and does not act? Where is your faith? Stand firm and
persevere. Be a man of endurance and courage, and consolation will
come to you in due time. Wait for Me; wait -- and I will come to
It is only a temptation that troubles you, a vain fear that
Of what use is anxiety about the future? Does it bring you
anything but trouble upon trouble? Sufficient for the day is the
evil thereof. It is foolish and useless to be either grieved or
happy about future things which perhaps may never happen. But it
is human to be deluded by such imaginations, and the sign of a
weak soul to be led on by suggestions of the enemy. For he does
not care whether he overcomes you by love of the present or fear
of the future.
Let not your heart be troubled, therefore, nor let it be
afraid. Believe in Me and trust in My mercy. When you think you
are far from Me, then often I am very near you. When you judge
that almost all is lost, then very often you are in the way of
gaining great merit.
All is not lost when things go contrary to your wishes. You
ought not judge according to present feelings, nor give in to any
trouble whenever it comes, or take it as though all hope of escape
were lost. And do not consider yourself forsaken if I send some
temporary hardship, or withdraw the consolation you desire. For
this is the way to the kingdom of heaven, and without doubt it is
better for you and the rest of My servants to be tried in
adversities than to have all things as you wish. I know your
secret thoughts, and I know that it is profitable for your
salvation to be left sometimes in despondency lest perhaps you be
puffed up by success and fancy yourself to be what you are not.
What I have given, I can take away and restore when it
pleases Me. What I give remains Mine, and thus when I take it away
I take nothing that is yours, for every good gift and every
perfect gift is Mine.
If I send you trouble and adversity, do not fret or let your
heart be downcast. I can raise you quickly up again and turn all
your sorrow into joy. I am no less just and worthy of great praise
when I deal with you in this way.
If you think aright and view things in their true light, you
should never be so dejected and saddened by adversity, but rather
rejoice and give thanks, considering it a matter of special joy
that I afflict you with sorrow and do not spare you. "As the
Father hath loved Me, so also I love you," I said to My disciples,
and I certainly did not send them out to temporal joys but rather
to great struggles, not to honors but to contempt, not to
idleness, but to labors, not to rest but to bring forth much fruit
in patience. Do you, My child, remember these words.