Sermon of St.Alphonsus Liguori~Second Sunday of Advent

SERMON II. SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. – ON THE ADVANTAGES OF TRIBULATIONS.

” Now when John had heard of the wonderful works of Christ,” etc. MATT. ix. 2.

IN tribulations God enriches his beloved souls with the greatest graces. Behold, St. John in his chains comes to the knowledge of the works of Jesus Christ: ” When John had heard in prison the works of Christ.” Great indeed are the advantages of tribulations. The Lord sends them to us, not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated his Son Jesus Christ, whose life, upon this earth was always full of tribulation. I shall now show, in the first point, the advantages we derive from tribulations; and in the second, I shall point out the manner in which we ought to bear them.

First Point. On the great advantages we derive from tribulations.

1. “What doth he know that had not been tried? A man that hath much experience shall think of many things, and he that hath learned many things shall show forth understanding.” (Eccl. xxxiv. 9.) They who live in prosperity, and have no experience of adversity, know nothing of the state of their souls. In the first place, tribulation opens the eyes which prosperity had kept shut. St. Paul remained blind after Jesus Christ appeared to him, and, during his blindness, he perceived the errors in which he lived. During his imprisonment in Babylon, King Manasses had recourse to God, was convinced of the malice of his sins, and id penance for them. “And after that he was in distress he prayed to the Lord his God, and did penance exceedingly before the God of his fathers.” (2 Paral. xxxiii. 12.) The prodigal, when he found himself under the necessity of feeding swine, and afflicted with hunger, exclaimed: ”I will arise and go to my father.” (Luke xv. 18.)

Secondly, tribulation takes from our hearts all affections to earthly things. When a mother wishes to wean her infant she puts gall on the paps, to excite his disgust, and induce him to take better food. God treats us in a similar manner: to detach us from temporal goods, he mingles them with gall, that by tasting its bitterness, we may conceive a dislike for them, and place our affections on the things of Heaven. ”God,” says St. Augustine, ”mingles bitterness with earthly pleasures, that we may seek another felicity, whose sweetness does not deceive.” (Ser. xxix., de Verb. Dom.)

Thirdly, they who live in prosperity are molested by many temptations of pride , of vain- glory; of desires of acquiring greater wealth, great honours, and greater pleasures. Tribulations free us from these temptations, and make us humble and content in the state in which the Lord has placed us. Hence the Apostle says: ”We are chastised by the Lord that we may not be condemned with this world.” (1 Cor. xi. 32.)

2. Fourthly, by tribulation we atone for the sins we have committed much better than by voluntary works of penance. “Be assured,” says St. Augustine, “that God is a physician, and that tribulation is a salutary medicine.” Oh! how great is the efficacy of tribulation in healing the wounds caused by our sins! Hence, the same saint rebukes the sinner who complains of God for sending him tribulations. ”Why,” he says, ”do you complain? What you suffer is a remedy, not a punishment.” (In Ps. lv.) Job called those happy men whom God corrects by tribulation; because he heals them with the very hands with which he strikes and wounds them. “Blessed is the man whom God correcteth. . . . For he woundeth and cureth. He striketh, and his hand shall heal.” (Job v. 17, 18.) Hence, St. Paul gloried in his tribulations: ”Gloriamur in tribulationibus.” (Rom. v. 3.)

3. Fifthly, by convincing us that God alone is able and willing to relieve us in our miseries, tribulations remind us of him, and compel us to have recourse to his mercy. ”In their affliction they will rise early to me.” (Osee vi. 1.) Hence, addressing the afflicted, the Lord said: ”Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. xi. 28.) Hence he is called”a helper in troubles.” (Ps. xlv. 1 .) “When,” says David,” he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned.” (Ps. lxxvii. 34.) When the Jews were afflicted, and were slain by their enemies, they remembered the Lord, and returned to him.

4. Sixthly, tribulations enable us to acquire great merits before God, by giving us opportunities of exercising the virtues of humility, of patience, and of resignation to the divine will. The venerable John d’Avila used to say, that a single blessed be God: in adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts in prosperity. ”Take away,” says St. Ambrose, ”the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns.” (In Luc., c. iv.) Oh! what a treasure of merit is acquired by patiently bearing insults, poverty, and sickness! Insults from men were the great objects of the desires of the saints, who sought to be despised for the love of Jesus Christ, and thus to be made like unto him.

5. How great is the merit gained by bearing with the inconvenience of poverty. ”My God and my all,” says St. Francis of Assisium: in expressing this sentiment, he enjoyed more of true riches than all the princes of the Earth. How truly has St. Teresa said, that”the less we have here, the more we shall enjoy hereafter.” Oh! how happy is the man who can say from his heart: My Jesus, thou alone art sufficient for me! If, says St. Chrysostom, you esteem yourself unhappy because you are poor, you are indeed miserable and deserving of tears; not because you are poor, but because, being poor, you do not embrace your poverty, and esteem yourself happy.”“Sane dignus es lachrymis ob hoc, quod miserum te extimas, non ideo quod pauper es.” (Serm, ii., Epis. ad Phil.)

6. By bearing patiently with the pains of sickness, a great, and perhaps the greater, part of the crown which is prepared for us in Heaven is completed. The sick sometimes complain that in sickness they can do nothing; but they err; for, in their infirmities they can do all things, by accepting their sufferings with peace and resignation. ”The Cross of Christ,” says St. Chrysostom, ”is the key of Paradise.” (Com. in Luc. de vir.)

7. St. Francis de Sales used to say . ”To suffer constantly for Jesus is the science of the saints; we shall thus soon become saints.” It is by sufferings that God proves his servants, and finds them worthy of himself. ”Deus tentavit es, et invenit eos dignos se.” (Wis. iii. 5) “Whom,” says St. Paul, “the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb. xii. 6.) Hence, Jesus Christ once said to St. Teresa: ”Be assured that the souls dearest to my Father are those who suffer the greatest afflictions.” Hence Job said: ”If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil ?” (Job. ii. 10.) If we have gladly received from God the goods of this Earth, why should we not receive more cheerfully tribulations, which are far more useful to us than worldly prosperity? St. Gregory informs us that, as flame fanned by the wind increases, so the soul is made perfect when she is oppressed by tribulations. ”Ignis flatu premitur, ut crescat.” (Ep. xxv.)

8. To holy souls the most severe afflictions are the temptations by which the Devil impels them to offend God: but they who bear these temptations with patience, and banish them by turning to God for help, shall acquire great merit. ”And,” says St. Paul, ”God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will also make issue with the temptation that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. x. 13.) God permits us to be molested by temptations, that, by banishing them, we may gain greater merit. ”Blessed,” says the Lord, ”are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. ”(Matt. v. 5.) They are blessed, because, according to the Apostle, our tribulations are momentary and very light, compared with the greatness of the glory which they shall obtain for us for eternity in Heaven. ”For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (1 Cor. iv. 17.)

9. It is necessary, then, says St. Chrysostom, to bear tribulations in peace; for, if you accept them with resignation, you shall gain great merit; but if you submit to them with reluctance, you shall increase, instead of diminishing, your misery”Si vero ægre feras, neque calamitatum minorem facies, et majorem reddes procellam” (Hom. Ixiv., ad Pop.) If we wish to be saved, we must submit to trials. ”Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts xiv. 21.) A great servant of God used to say, that Paradise is the place of the poor, of the persecuted, of the humble and afflicted. Hence St. Paul says: “Patience is necessary for you, that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Heb. x. 36.) Speaking of the tribulations of the saints, St. Cyprian asks”What are they to the servants of God, whom Paradise invites ?” (Ep, ad Demetr.) Is it much for those to whom the eternal goods of Heaven are promised, to embrace the short afflictions of this life?

10. In fine, the scourges of Heaven are sent not for our injury, but for our good. ”Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord, with which, like servants, we are chastised, have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction.” (Judith viii. 27.)”God,” says St. Augustine, ”is angry when he does not scourge the sinner.” (In Ps. Ixxxix.) When we see a sinner in tribulation in this life, we may infer that God wishes to have mercy on him in the next, and that he exchanges eternal for temporal chastisement. But miserable the sinner whom the Lord does not punish in this life! For those whom he does not chastise here, he treasures up his wrath, and for them he reserves eternal chastisement.

11. ”Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremiah, ”doth the way of the wicked prosper?” (xii. 1.) Why, Lord, do sinners prosper? To this the same prophet answers: ”Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.” (Tb. v. 3.) As on the day of sacrifice the sheep intended for slaughter are gathered together, so the impious, as victims of divine wrath, are destined to eternal death. “Destine them,” says Du Hamel, in his commentary on this passage, “as victims of thy anger on the day of sacrifice.”

12. When, then, God sends us tribulations, let us say with Job: “I have sinned, and indeed I have offended, and I have not received what I have deserved.” (Job xxxiii. 27.) O Lord, my sins merit far greater chastisement than that which thou hast inflicted on me. We should even pray with St. Augustine, ”Burn cut spare not in this life, that thou mayest spare for eternity.” How frightful is the chastisement of the sinner of whom the Lord says: “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice.” (Is. xxvi. 10.) Let us abstain from chastising the impious: as long as they remain in this life they will continue to live in sin, and shall thus be punished with eternal torments. On this passage St. Bernard says: “Misericordiam hanc nolo, super omnem iram miseratio ista.” (Serin, xlii., in Cant.) Lord, I do not wish for such mercy, which is a chastisement that surpasses all chastisements.

13. The man whom the Lord afflicts in this life has a certain proof that he is dear to God. ”And,” said the angel to Tobias, ”because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptations should prove thee.” (Tob. xii. 13.) Hence, St. James pronounces blessed the man who is afflicted: because after he shall have been proved by tribulation, he will receive the crown of life.” (Jam. i. 12.)

14. He who wishes to share in the glory of the saints, must suffer in this life as the saints have suffered. None of the saints has been esteemed or treated well by the world all of them have been despised and persecuted. In them have been verified the words of the Apostle: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. iii. 12.) Hence St. Augustine said, that they who are unwilling to suffer persecutions, have not as yet begun to be Christians. “Si putas non habere persecutiones, nondum cæpisti esse Christianus.” (In Ps. Iv.) “When we are in tribulation, let us be satisfied with the consolation of knowing that the Lord is then near us and in our company. ”The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart.” (Ps. xxxiii. 19.)”I am with him in tribulation.” (Ps. xc. 15.)

Second Point. On the manner in which we should bear tribulations.

15. He who suffers tribulations in this world should, in the first place, abandon sin, and endeavour to recover the grace of God; for as long as he remains in sin, the merit of all his sufferings is lost. ”If,” says St. Paul, ”I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) If you suffered all the torments of the martyrs; or bore to be burned alive, and were not in the state of grace, it would profit you nothing.

16. But, to those who can suffer with God, and with resignation for God’s sake, all the tribulations shall be a source of comfort and gladness. ”Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John xvi. 20.) Hence, after having been insulted and beaten by the Jews, the apostles departed from the council full of joy, because they had been maltreated for the love of Jesus Christ. ”And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.” (Acts v. 41.) Hence, when God visits us with any tribulations, we must say with Jesus Christ: ”The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?” (John xviii. 11.) It is necessary to know that every tribulation, though it may come from men, is sent to us by God.

17. When we are surrounded on all sides with tribulations, and know not what to do, we must turn to God, who alone can console us. Thus King Josaphat, in his distress, said to the Lord: “As we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee.” (2 Par. xx. 12.) Thus David also in his tribulation had recourse to God, and God consoled him: “In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and he heard me.” (Ps. cxix. 1.) We should turn to God, and pray to him, and never cease to pray till he hears us. ”As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.” (Ps. cxxii. 2.) We must keep our eyes continually raised to God, and must continue to implore his aid, until he is moved to compassion for our miseries. We must have great confidence in the heart of Jesus Christ, and ought not to imitate certain persons, who instantly lose courage because they do not feel that they are heard as soon as they begin to pray. To them may be applied the words of the Saviour to St. Peter: “0 thou of little faith! why didst thou doubt?” (Matt. xiv. 31.) When the favours which we ask are spiritual, or can be profitable to our souls, we should be certain of being heard, provided we persevere in prayer, and do not lose confidence. ”All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you.” (Mark xi. 24.) In tribulations, then, we should never cease to hope with confidence that the divine mercy will console us; and if our afflictions continue, we must say with Job: ”Although he should kill me, I will trust in him.” (xiii. 15.)

18. Souls of little faith, instead of turning to God in their tribulations, have recourse to human means, and thus provoke God’s anger, and remain in their miseries. “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” (Ps. cxxvi. 1.) On this passage St. Augustine writes: “Ipse ædificat, ipse intellectum aperit, ipse ad finem applicat sensum vestrum: et tamen laboramus et nos tanquam operarii, sed nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem,” etc. All good all help must come from the Lord. Without him creatures can give us no assistance.

19. Of this the Lord complains by the mouth of his prophet: ”Is not,” he says, ”the Lord in Sion? . . .Why then have they provoked me to wrath with their idols. . . Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there? Why then is not the wound of the daughter of my people closed?” (Jer. viii. 19, 22.) Am I not in Sion? Why then do men provoke me to anger by recurring to creatures, which they convert into idols by placing in them all their hopes? Do they seek a remedy for their miseries? Why do they not seek it in Galaad, a mountain full of balsamic ointments, which signify the divine mercy? There they can find the physician and the remedy of all their evils. Why then, says the Lord, do your wounds remain open? Why are they not healed? It is because you have recourse not to me, but to creatures, and because you confide in them, and not in me.

20. In another place the Lord says: “Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a late ward springing land? Why then have my people said: We are revolted; we will come to thee no more ?. .But my people have forgotten me days without number.” (Jer. ii. 31, 32.) God complains, and says: ”Why, my children, do you say that you will have recourse to me no more? Am I become to you a barren land, which gives no fruit, or gives it too late? Is it for this reason that you have so long forgotten me? By these words he manifests to us his desire that we pray to him, in order that he may be able to give us his graces; and he also gives us to understand that when we pray to him, he is not slow, but instantly begins to assist us.

21. The Lord, says David, is not asleep when we turn to his goodness, and ask the graces which are profitable to our souls: he hears us immediately, because he is anxious for our welfare. “Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel.” (Ps. cxx. 4.) When we pray for temporal favours, St. Bernard says that God”will give what we ask, or something more useful.” He will grant us the grace which we desire, whenever it is profitable to our souls; or he will give us a more useful grace, such as the grace to resign ourselves to the divine will, and to suffer with patience our tribulations, which shall merit a great increase of glory in Heaven.

[Act of sorrow and amendment, prayer to Jesus and Mary.]

Mary Our Help in Battle

Mary is the distinguished and bright shining Star,lifted up above this great broad sea,gleaming with its merits,giving light by her example.

If you’re caught in between storms and tempests,tossed about in the flood of this world,instead of walking on dry land,keep your eyes fixed on the glow of this Star,unless you want to perish,overwhelmed by the tempest!

If the winds of temptations surge,if you run aground on the shoals of troubles,look to this Star,call upon Mary!If you’re tossed by the winds of pride or ambition or destruction or jealousy,look to this Star,call upon Mary!

If anger or greed or the allurements of the flesh dash against the boat of your mind,look to Mary!And if your troubled by the enormity of your sins,ashamed by the foulness of your conscience,terrified by the horror of Judgement Day,so that you begin to be swallowed up in the pit of sadness,the abyss of despair —think of Mary!

In dangers,in straits,in perplexity,think of Mary,call upon Mary.Let her name be always in your mouth and in your heart.And if you would ask for and obtain the help of her prayers,don’t forget the example of how she lived.

If you follow her,you won’t go astray.If you pray to her,you won’t despair.If you think of her,you won’t be lost.If you cling to her,you won’t fall.If she protects you,you won’t fear.If she’s your guide,you won’t grow weary.If she’s favorable to you,you’ll reach your goal.

~St.Bernard of Clairvaux

God Chastises The Good When They Do Not Fight Against Evil

I came across this the other night and thought how providential that I had read it because it seems to be so fitting for the times we are living in!There are only two choices:we must fight on Gods side or we die!There is so much confusion in the church today and many times we cannot even trust our own magisterium so we must really study and know our faith.If there is any doubt the saints who have gone before us have left us counsels to guide us to what is the truth.

The following is an excerpt from the speech St. Bernard addressed to the Catholic knights assembled in Vezelay in Burgundy, France, regarding the Second Crusade convoked by Pope Eugenius III on December 1, 1145.
“You know that we are living in a time of chastisement and destruction…. The laws of the land and the laws of Religion no longer have the strength to maintain the customs and stop the triumph of the evil ones. The devil of heresy is seated on the throne of truth. God has cursed His sanctuary. 

All you who hear me, make haste to calm the wrath of Heaven! Leave off imploring His goodness with futile lamentations or mortifying yourself with disciplines, but rather take up your invincible shields. The clamor of arms, the dangers, difficulties and fatigues of war, these are the penances that God imposes on you. Go to make reparation for your faults with victories against the infidels, and let the liberation of the Holy Places be the noble reward of your repentance. 

If someone were to come and announce that the enemy had just entered your cities, stolen away your wives and children, and desecrated your churches, who would not immediately rush to take up arms? Well, all these evils and others still worse have fallen on the family of Jesus Christ, which is also yours. It was dispersed by the sword of pagans; barbarians destroyed the house of God and divided His inheritance. What else must take place for you to repair so many evils and avenge so many outrages?

Will you let the infidels contemplate in peace the destruction and looting they have done in the house of the Christian people? Think of how their triumph will be the cause of inconsolable sorrow for all centuries and an eternal shame for the generation that permitted it. 

Yes, the living God has charged me with telling you that He will chastise all those who do not defend Him against His enemies. All of you, then, to arms! Let a holy ire animate you to combat, and let these words of the Prophet resound throughout the world: Cursed be he who does not bloody his sword! 

If God calls you to defend Him, it is not because His hand has become any less powerful: … Rather, God looks down at the children of man and wants to offer them the path of mercy; His goodness is giving you the day of forgiveness. He chose you as the instrument of His revenge. He wants to be indebted to you for the destruction of His enemies and the triumph of His justice. Yes, the Omnipotent God calls you to make reparation for your sins by defending His glory and His name. 

Christians warriors, these are combats worthy of you, combats that will attract the blessings of earth and Heaven, in which death itself will be for you but another triumph. Illustrious knights, remember the examples of your ancestors who conquered Jerusalem and whose names were inscribed in the Book of Life. Put on the Cross … which will earn you the conquest of the celestial kingdom.”

(História da Cruzadas, Joseph-Francois Michaud, 

Editora das Américas, vol, 2, book 6, p. 234)

St.Bernard on gossiping 


Look at that clever calumniator! He begins by fetching a deep sigh, he affects to be humble, and puts on a modest look, and with a voice choking with sobs tries to gloss over the slander which is on the tip of his tongue. One would fancy that he expressly assumed a calm and easy demeanor; for when he speaks against his brother, it is in a tender and compassionate tone. I am really hurt, says he, to find that our brother has fallen into such a sin; you all know how much I love him, and how often I have tried to correct him. It is not today that I have noticed his failing; for I should always be on my guard to speak of others, but others have spoken of it too. It would be in vain to disguise the fact; it is only too true, and with tears in my eyes I tell it to you. This poor unfortunate brother has talent, but it must be confessed that he is very guilty, and however great may be our friendship for him, it is impossible to excuse him.

~Saint Bernard of Clairvaux from a sermon~

Twelve Rules to Living a Eucharistic Life ~St.Peter Julian Eymard 

First Rule

In the morning, when you wake, go in spirit to the foot of the Tabernacle where during the night, Jesus remained out of love for each one of us.

Make an offering of your day to this gentle Savior, ask him to bless you, to preserve you from all sin and to give you his love.

Second Rule

When beginning your morning prayer, place yourself in spirit before the Tabernacle.

Ask Jesus who is there praying for you, to present your petitions to God the Father, and under his gaze tell, him of your plans for the day, asking him to bless them.


Third Rule

If at all possible, attend Mass every morning. The days when this is impossible choose a moment — preferably after morning prayers — to be present in spirit at the Holy Sacrifice. Go in spirit before the Tabernacle and place yourself in the Heart of Jesus.

Unite yourself to the Masses which are being offered up at that moment — since there is not a minute of the day or night that the Holy Sacrifice is not being offered in some part of the world — and offer Jesus to the Heavenly Father, as a Victim, begging him to pardon in his name, all sinners, particularly yourself, and ask him to enkindle his love in all hearts to increase the number of Saints.

Fourth Rule

Never begin any work or occupation of any kind, never perform any action, nor go out mornings, afternoons or evenings, without having first gone in thought to the Tabernacle, to ask Jesus for his blessings.

Fifth Rule

Before and after your midday and evening meals, withdraw for a moment and kneel down. At least never omit to go at these times in thought, to greet Jesus, whose presence is so much forgotten by so many of our Catholic people. Recall to your mind the thoughts, which have come to you at his feet.

Sixth Rule

Send a loving thought towards the Tabernacle several times a day — for example, when the clock strikes. Tell him how much you wish to love him, ask him to help you, and say the “O Sacrament,” etc. or “Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.”


Seventh Rule

Form the habit of a daily visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament even if it should have to be when you are on your way to work, so that at the hour of death, Jesus will in his turn visit you. If time permits, profit by this visit to put in practice the directions of Rule Nine.

If it should happen that you cannot make your usual visit to the Blessed Sacrament, make a spiritual visit before retiring and remain a few minutes in Adoration thinking of him who is in the Tabernacle only because of his great love for you.

Eighth Rule

When you begin your night prayers, place yourself (as in the morning) in spirit before the Tabernacle. Ask Jesus to help you pray; and then under his gaze, humbly examine your conscience. Think that it is Jesus himself who recalls to your memory what you have done during the day.

Ninth Rule

The Most Important Of All

1. Go and place yourself at least in spirit, before the Tabernacle under the gaze of Jesus.

2. Read over one of the questions, which you will find following this Rule.

3. Pause and reflect for a moment, and think of what your answer will be.

4. Then looking with the eyes of your soul at Jesus who knows your thoughts, say to him:

“Lord, make me understand, make me see, speak to my soul. Speak Lord and thy servant shall hear.”

Ask the God of the Eucharist to speak to your mind and heart, even as he did to those who came to him when he was on earth, and be careful to keep in your mind the question that formed the subject of your meditation, asking Jesus to fill and penetrate your soul with it.

Tenth Rule

If during the day, some trial or trouble should come to you, go at once in spirit to the Tabernacle and confide it to Jesus. In contradictions speak to him at once, asking him to make you patient. If you should happen to be alone, go in spirit to keep him company. He is so often, abandoned by us, in his Tabernacle. Your own isolation will then seem to you less painful. If you are suffering go and rest your tired head on his Heart, and tell him your trials.

Eleventh Rule

In your thoughts, accustom yourself to stay as constantly as possible under the gaze of Jesus — under this grace, this all-powerful virtue, which comes from the Tabernacle.

Show him your soul, and with you the souls of all dear to you. As the Jews of old brought their sick to him to be healed, so will you go to him, being content to offer him from time to time the following fervent supplication:

“Lord, you know my desires, Lord, heal my soul! Lord, make me see! Lord, make me love you”

Twelfth Rule

Work without ceasing to realize in your thoughts the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Give him your first thought, your first glance when you enter the church. Let him be the center of all that takes place there, prayers or ceremonies, sermons or instructions.

Let all your prayers pass through his lips for he is present in the Sacred Host. Place in his Heart all your good thoughts and wishes. Learn to adore him in his Eucharist that you may know how to adore him in Heaven. Perform all your pious exercises under his gaze, for he is watching you from the Tabernacle. Under his gaze receive the Sacrament of Penance. Have but one desire, to approach the Holy Table daily and strive with all your might to realize your desire. May the Eucharistic God become daily more and more your best Confidant and your most intimate Friend. Pray, work and live in him, by him, with him, in order to live with him for all eternity.

50 Maxims for Attaining Perfection by St.Alphonsus Liguori


50 Maxims for Attaining Perfection by St.Alphonsus Liguori 

1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.

3. Often to meditate on his Passion.

4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.

5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.

6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.

7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross.

8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.

9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.

10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ.

11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.

12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him.

13. To desire and to endeavour that all should love Jesus Christ.

14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.

15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.

16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.

17. To honour Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,

19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love.

20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a wilful venial sin.

27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, ‘Thus it pleases Jesus Christ.

22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.

23. To pray as much as possible.

24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.

25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.

26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.

27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.

28. Not to complain in sickness.

29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.

30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].

37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.

32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.

33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.

34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.

35. To do good to those who do evil.

36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.

37. To help your neighbour as much as you can.

38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.

39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.

40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.

41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.

42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.

43. To like the lowest employment.

44. To like the poorest things.

45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.

46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.

47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.

48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.

49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, ‘My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine.

An Examination of the Soul’s Condition~St.Francis de Sales

 

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1. What is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin? Are you firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And have you kept that resolution from the time you first made it? Therein lies the foundation of the spiritual life.

2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of God? Are they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good digestion and healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away from that which is bad.

3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help committing some such occasionally; but are there none to which you have any special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and clinging?

4. With respect to spiritual exercises—do you like and value them? or do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or least disposed, hearing or reading God’s Word, meditating upon it, calling upon God, Confession, preparing for Communion and communicating, controlling your inclinations, etc.? What of all these is most repugnant to you? And if you find that your heart is not disposed to any of these things, examine into the cause, find out whence the disinclination comes.

5. With respect to God Himself—does your heart delight in thinking of God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? “I remembered Thine everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received comfort,” says David. Do you feel a certain readiness to love Him, and a definite inclination to enjoy His Love? Do you take pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity, the Goodness, the Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the occupations and vanities of this world, does the thought of God come across you as a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield yourself up to it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him? There are souls that do so.

6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon as she sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered she may be with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of circumstances, her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once from all else to think upon him she loves. So it is with souls which really love God, however engrossed they may be; when the thought of Him is brought before them, they forget all else for joy at feeling. His Dear Presence nigh, and this is a very good sign.

7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man—how does your heart draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey, but wasps hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw all their joy from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding sweet Love, but those who are careless find their pleasure in worldly vanities.

8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian Angel—do you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their guardianship? Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures, their memories?

9. As to your tongue—how do you speak of God? Do you take pleasure in speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms and hymns?

10. As to actions—have you God’s visible glory at heart, and do you delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who love God will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you conscious of having ever given up anything you liked, or of renouncing anything for God’s Sake? for it is a good sign when we deprive ourselves of something we care for on behalf of those we love. What have you ever given up for the Love of God?

St.Anthony preaches to the fish 


From “The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi,” 1476 

Christ, the blessed one, was pleased to show forth the great sanctity of his most faithful servant St Anthony, and how men ought devoutly to listen to his preaching, be means of creatures without reason. On one occasion, amongst others, he made use of fish to reprove the folly of faithless heretics: even as we read in the Old Testament that in ancient times he reproved the ignorance of Balaam by the mouth of an ass. 

St Anthony being at one time at Rimini, where there were a great number of heretics, and wishing to lead them by the light of faith into the way of truth, preached to them for several days, and reasoned with them on the faith of Christ and on the Holy Scriptures. They not only resisted his words, but were hardened and obstinate, refusing to listen to him. 

At last St Anthony, inspired by God, went down to the sea-shore, where the river runs into the sea, and having placed himself on a bank between the river and the sea, he began to speak to the fishes as if the Lord had sent him to preach to them, and said: “Listen to the word of God, O ye fishes of the sea and of the river, seeing that the faithless heretics refuse to do so.” 

No sooner had he spoken these words than suddenly so great a multitude of fishes, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood, that never before had so many been seen in the sea or the river. All kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony’s face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest. 

When they had placed themselves in this order, St Anthony began to preach to them most solemnly, saying: “My brothers the fishes, you are bound, as much as is in your power, to return thanks to your Creator, who has given you so noble an element for your dwelling; for you have at your choice both sweet water and salt; you have many places of refuge from the tempest; you have likewise a pure and transparent element for your nourishment. God, your bountiful and kind Creator, when he made you, ordered you to increase and multiply, and gave you his blessing. In the universal deluge, all other creatures perished; you alone did God preserve from all harm. He has given you fins to enable you to go where you will. To you was it granted, according to the commandment of God, to keep the prophet Jonas, and after three days to throw him safe and sound on dry land. You it was who gave the tribute-money to our Saviour Jesus Christ, when, through his poverty, he had not wherewith to pay. By a singular mystery you were the nourishment of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, before and after his resurrection. Because of all these things you are bound to praise and bless the Lord, who has given you blessings so many and so much greater than to other creatures.” 

At these words the fish began to open their mouths, and bow their heads, endeavouring as much as was in their power to express their reverence and show forth their praise. 

St Anthony, seeing the reverence of the fish towards their Creator, rejoiced greatly in spirit, and said with a loud voice: “Blessed be the eternal God; for the fishes of the sea honour him more than men without faith, and animals without reason listen to his word with greater attention than sinful heretics.” 

And whilst St Anthony was preaching, the number of fishes increased, and none of them left the place that he had chosen. And the people of the city hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it. With them also came the heretics of whom we have spoken above, who, seeing so wonderful and manifest a miracle, were touched in their hearts; and threw themselves at the feet of St Anthony to hear his words. The saint then began to expound to them the Catholic faith. He preached so eloquently, that all those heretics were converted, and returned to the true faith of Christ; the faithful also were filled with joy, and greatly comforted, being strengthened in the faith. 

After this St Anthony sent away the fishes, with the blessing of God; and they all departed, rejoicing as they went, and the people returned to the city. But St Anthony remained at Rimini for several days, preaching and reaping much spiritual fruit in the souls of his hearers.

Repent while you still have time~A meditation by St.Leonard of Port Maurice 

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: “Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul.”

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, “Good Jesus, I want to save my soul,” O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!
~Saint Leonard of Port Maurice from a sermon

On the Love of the Three Persons for man~St.Alphonsus Liguori

 TRINITY SUNDAY. – ON THE LOVE OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS FOR MAN.


Going, therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (MATT. xxviii. 19)

ST. LEO has said, that the nature of God is by its essence, goodness itself. ”Deus cujus natura bonitas”Now, goodness naturally diffuses itself. ”Bonum est sui diffusivum.” And by experience we know that men of a good heart are full of love for all, and desire to share with all the goods which they enjoy God being infinite goodness, is all love towards us his creatures. Hence St. John calls him pure love pure charity. “God is charity.” (1 John iv. 8.) And therefore he ardently desires to make us partakers of his own happiness. Faith teaches us how much the Three Divine Persons have done through love to man, and to enrich him with heavenly gifts. In saying to his apostles”Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ” Jesus Christ wished that they should not only instruct the Gentiles in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity but that they should also teach them the love which the adorable Trinity bears to man. I intend to propose this day for your consideration the love shown to us by the Father in our creation; secondly, the love of the Son in our redemption; and thirdly, the love of the Holy Ghost, in our sanctification.

First Point The love shown to us by the Father in our creation.

1. ”I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) My son, says the Lord, I have loved you for eternity, and, through love for you, I have shown mercy to you by drawing you out of nothing. Hence, beloved Christians, of all those who love you, God has been your first lover. Your parents have been the first to love you on this earth; but they have loved you only after they had known you. But, before you had a being, God loved you. Before your father or mother was born, God loved you; yes, even before the creation of the world, he loved you. And how long before creation has God loved you? Perhaps for a thousand years, or for a thousand ages. It is needless to count years or ages; God loved you from eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” As long as he has been God, he has luved you: as long as he has loved himself, he has loved you. The thought of this love made St. Agnes the Virgin exclaim: “I am prevented by another lover.” When creatures asked her heart, she answered: “No: I cannot prefer you to my God. He has been the first to love me; it is then but just that he should hold the first place in my affections. ”


2. Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men whom he could have created in place of you; but he has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you he has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which he has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to him. “Heaven and Earth,” says St. Augustine, ”and all things tell me to love thee. ” When the saint beheld the sun, the stars, the mountains, the sea, the rains, they all appeared to him to speak, and to say: Augustine, love God; for he has created us that you might love him. When the Abbe de Ranee, the founder of La Trappe, looked at the hills, the fountains, or flowers, he said that all these creatures reminded him of the love which God had borne him. St. Teresa used to say, that these creatures reproached her with her ingratitude to God.

Whilst she held a flower or fruit in her hand, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel her heart wounded with divine love, and would say within herself: Then, my God has thought from eternity of creating this flower and this fruit that I might love him.

 
3. Moreover, seeing us condemned to hell, in punishment of our sins, the Eternal Father, through love for us, has sent his Son on the earth to die on the cross, in order to redeem us from hell, and to bring us with himself into Paradise. “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son”(John iii. 16), love, which the apostle calls an excess of love. “For his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, has quickened us together in Christ.” (Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
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4. See also the special love which God has shown you in bringing you into life in a Christian country, and in the bosom of the Catholic or true Church. How many are born among the pagans, among the Jews, among the Mahometans and heretics, and all are lost. Consider that, compared with these, only a few not even the tenth part of the human race have the happiness of being born in a country where the true faith reigns; and, among that small number, he has chosen you. Oh! what an invaluable benefit is the gift of faith! How many millions of souls, among infidels and heretics, are deprived of the sacraments, of sermons, of good example, and of the other helps to salvation which we possess in the true Church. And the Lord resolved to bestow on us all these great graces, without any merit on our part, and even with the foreknowledge of our demerits. For when he thought of creating us and of conferring these favours upon us, he foresaw our sins, and the injuries we would commit against him.

Second Point. The love which the Son of God has shown to us in our redemption.

 
5. Adam, our first father, sins by eating the forbidden apple, and is condemned to eternal death, along with all his posterity. Seeing the whole human race doomed to perdition, God resolved to send a redeemer to save mankind. Who shall come to accomplish their redemption? Perhaps an angel or a seraph. No; the Son of God, the supreme and true God, equal to the Father, offers himself to come on earth, and there to take human flesh, and to die for the salvation of men. O prodigy of Divine love! Man, says St. Fulgentius, despises God, and separates himself from God, and through love for him, God comes on earth to seek after rebellious man. “Homo Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit: Deus hominem diligens, ad homines venit.” (Serm. in Nativ. Christ.) Since, says St. Augustine, we could not go to the Redeemer, he has deigned to come to us. “Quia ad mediatorem venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dignatus est.” And why has Jesus Christ resolved to come to us? According to the same holy doctor, it is to convince us of his great love for us. ”Christ came, that man might know how much God loves him.”

 
6. Hence the Apostle writes: “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.” (Tit. iii. 5.) In the Greek text, the words are: ”Singularis Dei erga homines apparuit amor :”“The singular love of God towards men appeared.” In explaining this passage, St. Bernard says, that before God appeared on earth in human flesh, men could not arrive at a knowledge of the divine goodness; therefore the Eternal Word took human nature, that, appearing in the form of man, men might know the goodness of God. ”Priusquam apparet humanitas, latebat beniguitas, sed undo tanta agnosci poterat? Venit in came ut, apparante humanitate, cognosceretur benignitas.” (Serm. i., in Eph.) And what greater love and goodness could the Son of God show to us, than to become man and to become a worm like us, in order to save us from, perdition? What astonishment would we not feel, if we saw a prince become a worm to save the worms of his kingdom! And what shall we say at the sight of a God made man like us, to deliver us from eternal death? “The word was made flesh.” (John i. 14.) A God made flesh! if faith did not assure us of it, who could ever believe it? Behold then, as St. Paul says, a God as it were annihilated. ”He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and in habit found as a man. ” (Phil. ii. 7.) By these words the Apostle gives us to understand, that the Son of God, who was filled with the divine majesty and power, humbled himself so as to assume the lowly and impotent condition of human nature, taking the form or nature of a servant, and becoming like men in his external appearance, although, as St. Chrysostom observes, he was not a mere man, but man and God. Hearing a deacon singing the words of St. John, “and the Word was made flesh,” St. Peter of Alcantara fell into ecstasy, and flew through the air to the altar of the most holy sacrament.

7. But this God of love, the Incarnate Word, was not content with becoming flesh for the love of man; but, according to Isaias, he wished to live among us, as the last and lowest, and most afflicted of men. ”There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows.” (Isa. iii. 2, 3.) He was a man of sorrows. Yes; for the life of Jesus Christ was full of sorrows. Virum dolorum. He was a man made on purpose to be tormented with sorrows. From his birth till his death, the life of our Redeemer was all full of sorrows.


8. And because he came on earth to gain our love, as he declared when he said “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled ?” (Luke xii. 49), he wished at the close of his life to give us the strongest marks and proofs of the love which he bears to us. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (John xiii. 1.) Hence he not only humbled himself to death for us, but he also chose to die the most painful and opprobrious of all deaths. “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.) They who were crucified among the Jews, were objects of malediction and reproach to all. “He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree.” (Deut. xxi. 23.) Our Redeemer wished to die the shameful death of the cross, in the midst of a tempest of ignominies and sorrows. “I am come into the depths of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.” (Ps. lxviii. 3.)

 
9. ”In this” says St. John, “we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us.” (1 John iii. 16.) And how could God give us a greater proof of his love than hy laying down his life for us? Or, how is it possible for us to behold a God dead on the cross for our sake, and not love him? “For the charity of Christ presseth us.” (2 Cor. v. 14.) By these words St. Paul tells us, that it is not so much what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our salvation, as the love which he has shown in suffering and dying for us, that obliges and compels us to love him. He has, as the same Apostle adds, died for all, that each of us may live no longer for himself, but only for that God who has given his life for the love of us. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 15.) And, to captivate our love, he has, after having given his life for us, left himself for the food of our souls. “Take ye and eat: this is my body.” (Matt. xxvi. 26.) Had not faith taught that he left himself for our food, who could ever believe it? But of the prodigy of divine love manifested in the holy sacrament, I shall speak on the second Sunday after Pentecost Let us pass to a brief consideration of the third point.

Third Point. On the love shown to us by the Holy Ghost in our sanctification.

10. The Eternal Father was not content with giving us his Son Jesus Christ, that he might save us by his death; he has also given us the Holy Ghost, that he may dwell in our souls, and that he may keep them always inflamed with holy love. In spite of all the injuries which he received on earth from men, Jesus Christ, forgetful of their ingratitude, after having ascended into heaven, sent us the Holy Ghost, that, by his holy flames, this divine spirit might kindle in our hearts the fire of divine charity, and sanctify our souls. Hence, when he descended on the apostles, he appeared in the form of tongues of fire. “And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire.” (Acts ii. 3.) Hence the Church prescribes the following prayer: ”We beseech thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may inflame us with that fire which the Lord Jesus Christ sent on the earth, and vehemently wished to be enkindled.” This is the holy fire which inflamed the saints with the desire of doing great things for God, which enabled them to love their most cruel enemies, to seek after contempt, to renounce all the riches and honours of the world, and even to embrace with joy torments and death.


11. The Holy Ghost is that divine bond which unites the Father with the Son; it is he that unites our souls, through love, with God. For, as St. Augustine says, an union with God is the effect of love. “Charity is a virtue which unites us with God.” The chains of the world are chains of death, but the bonds of the Holy Ghost are bonds of eternal life, because they bind us to God, who is our true and only life.

 
12. Let us also remember that all the lights, inspirations, divine calls, all the good acts which we have performed during our life, all our acts of contrition, of confidence in the divine mercy, of love, of resignation, have been the gifts of the Holy Ghost. ”Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.” (Rom. viii. 26.) Thus, it is the Holy Ghost that prays for us; for we know not what we ought to ask, but the Holy Spirit teaches us what we should pray for.

 
13. In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love him through gratitude. “When,” says St. Bernard, ”God loves, he wishes only to be loved. ” It is, then, but just that we love that God who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love. “Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.) Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God. ”She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God.” (Wis. vii. 14.) But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things. “Detach the heart from creatures,” says St. Teresa, “and you shall find God.” In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love. Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the blessed sacrament, to give us his holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth. ”When,” says St. Francis de Sales, ”a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows.” By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, she easily detaches herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say, that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim: ”What, O my Lord, but thee alone, do I desire ?”

 14. ”Love is strong as death.” (Cant. viii. 6.) As no creature can resist death when the hour of dissolution arrives, so there is no difficulty which love, in a soul that loves God, does not overcome. When there is question of pleasing her beloved, love conquers all things: it conquers pains, losses, ignominies. ”Nihil tam durum quod non amoris igne vincatur.” This love made the martyrs, in the midst of torments, racks, and burning gridirons, rejoice, and thank God for enabling them to suffer for him: it made the other saints, when there was no tyrant to torment them, become, as it were, their own executioners, by fasts, disciplines, and penitential austerities. St. Augustine says, that in doing what one loves there is no labour, and if there be, the labour itself is loved. ”In eo quod amatur aut non laboratur, aut ipse labor amatur.”