Summary of Christian Perfection

I. Passion of Jesus Christ

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the shortest way to perfection.

The life of Christ was but a continuous cross.

God confers a great honor on us when He calls us to walk the same path as His only Son.

If you correspond to the designs of God, He will make a saint of you.

Be generous, and remember that we ought to walk in the footsteps of Jesus crucified.

The servant of God who is not crucified with Jesus Christ, what is he?

He is unworthy of divine contemplation who has not fought and conquered some great temptation.

God has suffered much for me; ought I not suffer something for Him?

II. The Eucharist

Holy Communion is the most efficacious means of uniting the soul to God.

The best preparation for the divine banquet is to keep ourselves well purified, and to watch over our tongue, which is the first member that touches the sacred Host.

On the day that we receive Holy Communion we should endeavor to keep our hearts as living tabernacles of our eucharistic Jesus, and then visit Him often with acts of adoration, love, and gratitude; this is what divine love will teach us.

When a prince sends one of his ministers to a distant country, he provides him with all that is necessary for safely reaching his destination: the Lord, my God and my Father, has given me, as my viaticum, His only Son.

III. Prayer

Prayer is the sure way that leads to holiness.

Alas! we easily enter on the road to perdition when we neglect prayer. The prayer which humbles the soul, which inflames her with love and excites her to the practice of virtue, is never subject to illusion.

In prayer the soul is united to God through love.

He who, on account of the duties of his state of life, cannot devote much time to prayer, need not be troubled; the exact fulfillment of his duties, with a pure intention, having only God in view, is an excellent prayer.

IV. The Presence of God

By habitually thinking of the presence of God, we succeed in praying twenty-four hours a day.

The continual remembrance of the presence of God engenders in the soul a divine state.

V. Sin

How can we sin with the cross of Jesus before our eyes!

VI. Faith

Walk in faith.

The true way of holiness is the way of faith. He who walks in pure faith abandons himself into the hands of God, as a child in its mother's arms.

VII. Hope

Hope is obligatory. I must, then, hope for my salvation.

When our sins frighten us, and we fear lest we should be damned, let us think of the merits of Jesus crucified, and hope will reanimate our spirit.

Let us firmly trust that, through the infinite merits of Christ's Passion and the dolors of Mary, we shall forever sing the mercies of the Most High.

VIII. Charity towards God

The love of God is a jealous love. One atom of irregular affection for creatures suffices to ruin everything.

He who would become a great saint must labor that God alone may live in him. He will have attained this end when he performs all his actions for the love of God, in union with those of Christ, Who is our way, our truth, and our life. The heart of the true servant of God ought to be an altar whereon is daily offered the gold of charity, the incense of continual and humble prayer, and the myrrh of incessant mortification.

In hell, never to see God, ever to be deprived of God! Oh, what a dreadful necessity to hate Him eternally Who has loved us from all eternity!

Ever keep the fire of charity burning on the altar of your heart.

IX. Charity towards Our Neighbor

He who considers, in the light of faith and in the Heart of our divine Redeemer, the priceless value of souls, spares neither labor, nor suffering, nor perils, to aid and succor them in their spiritual needs.

Let your heart be full of compassion for the poor, and lovingly assist them, because the name of Jesus is engraven on their countenance.

When you have not the means of helping your neighbor, recommend him fervently to God, Whose sovereign dominion holds all creatures in His hand.

Counsels gently given heal every wound, but given with asperity only serve to aggravate it ten-fold.

Be gentle in your actions; speak with a peaceful mind and in a calm tone, and you will succeed better.

Poverty is good, but charity is better.

X. Poverty

Poverty, so much abhorred by the world, is a precious pearl, and in the sight of God contains all wealth.

Oh, what happiness we find in a community life! A precious treasure is enclosed in a community life.

My crucified Jesus, I protest that I desire not the things of the earth; for Thou alone suffice for me, Thou alone, my God and my All!

XI. Chastity

In order to preserve holy purity it is necessary to love it much, to distrust one's self, to be cautious with all - in a word, it is necessary to fear and to fly.

To him who loves holy purity conversations with persons of the opposite sex always appear long and fatiguing, however short they be.

Prayer, pious reading, the frequenting of the sacraments, and, especially, the shunning of idleness, are the guardians of holy purity.

He who does not mortify his palate will neither know how to mortify his flesh.

How pure and stainless should be the heart on which is written the most holy name of Jesus!

XII. Obedience

When there is question of obeying, we must bow our head. Let us put ourselves so entirely into the hands of our superiors that they can do with us what they will, provided they enjoin nothing opposed to the divine law. Unless we act thus, we can never taste the sweetness of God's service.

Long, as the stag panting for the waters, to have your will broken, and regard that day as lost on which you have not subjected your will to that of another.

The more obedient you are, the more tranquil and indifferent will you be as to employments that may be assigned to you.

He who is truly obedient will be better disposed and more capable to aid, by his prayers, holy Church and the religious order to which he may belong; for Jesus hears the prayer of those who are obedient.

XIII. Humility

The least grain of pride is sufficient to overturn a mountain of holiness; allow yourself, therefore, to be penetrated by a deep sense of your own misery. Be dead to all that is not God; keep yourself detached from every creature, in perfect interior solitude. All this will be easy to you if you make yourself little, for God loves child-like souls, and teaches them that exalted wisdom which is hidden from the wise of this world.

XIV. The Will of God

Let us desire nothing so much as the good pleasure of God.

As soon as we know the will of God, we ought without delay to follow it.

When our pious undertakings meet with little success, let us not be troubled; when God wills anything to be done for His glory He will not fail to urge on the work until it is accomplished.

XV. Confidence in God

If our salvation depended only on ourselves, we should have much to fear; but as it is in the hands of God, we can tranquilly repose in Him.

He that rises after his falls, with confidence in God and profound humility of heart, will become, in God's hands, a proper instrument for the accomplishment of great things; but he who acts otherwise can never do any good.

Let us never despair of the divine help; we would thereby do a serious injustice to the Father of mercies.

We must watch over ourselves. We must have the most filial confidence in Our Saviour, in our blessed Mother, in the angels and saints; but as for men, we must avoid them: this is the advice of the angel to Saint Arsenius. Have courage; be assured that God will never abandon you, but will always assist you and give you what is needful.

Look at Saint Teresa: obstacles served only to inflame her ardor in the establishment of her monasteries; opposition was to her a presage of the glory that works thus combated give to God.

XVI. Love of Sufferings

The soul is a seed which God sows in the field of the Church; to produce fruits, it must die under the strokes of pains, sorrows, contradictions, and persecutions.

The greater our cross, the greater is our gain; the more deprived suffering is of consolation, the purer is it; the more creatures are against us, the more closely united are we to God.

He who truly loves God regards as little what he suffers for God's sake.

In your trials, have recourse to Mary, and she will remedy them.

Do you know why God subjects you to so many miseries? That He may bestow on you the riches of heaven.

Suffering is brief; joy will be eternal.

Let us fear more to be deprived of sufferings than a miser fears to lose his treasures.

Sufferings are the pearls of Jesus crucified.

It happens sometimes that the lightning rends a mountain and discloses therein a mine of gold. So, also, the thunderbolts of adversity discover a gold-mine in certain souls.

XVII. Detachment from Self

Happy the soul that is detached from self-satisfaction, from her own will, from her own sentiments!

Self-love is a dragon of seven heads; it seeks to insert them, everywhere; hence we must always fear it, and guard ourselves against it.

Esteem what belongs to another, and despise what belongs to yourself.

We must persuade ourselves that we are nothing, that we can do nothing, that we know nothing.

To have nothing, to be able to do nothing, to know nothing! and God will cause to spring from this nothingness the work of His greatest glory.

XVIII. Death

Whenever death inspires me with fear, I dissipate it immediately in the Passion of my Redeemer.

In reality, to die is sweet, rather than. bitter. Death is but the privation of life, which is taken from us by the same God Who gave it.

I accept death willingly. He who is guilty of high treason should die; I am guilty, therefore it is just that I die. After a momentary suffering, divine mercy reserves for you endless joy.

Tell me: what would you fain have done were you to die now? Would you have lived in luxury, which usually leads to grievous sins, and be cast into hell, or would you rather have led a poor life, and wing your flight to heaven?

- text taken from Flowers of the Passion, taken from the letters of Saint Paul of the Cross