The Passion and the Practices of a Christian Life

I am going to give you some spiritual advice, that you may advance, every day, in the love of God.

In the first place, observe with perfect exactitude the holy law of God. Have a filial fear of God, so worthy of love, Who has created and redeemed us.

Know that the more tenderly a son loves his father, the more he fears to offend him. This holy fear will be a curb which will prevent you from committing sin. Love God with an ardent love; place in Him a childlike confidence; let all your words, all your actions, your pains, your sighs, and your tears, be a holocaust offered to His holy love.

To preserve this love, frequent the sacraments. Do not approach the altar but to inflame your soul more and more with divine love.

I say nothing to you of preparation; you will do your best, I think; remember that to receive Holy Communion is to perform the holiest action.

Often go to the church to adore the Blessed Sacrament, and visit with fervent piety the altar of the Blessed Virgin.

Do not pass one day without devoting a half hour, or at least a quarter of an hour, to meditation on the sorrowful Passion of your Saviour. Have a continual remembrance of the agonies of your crucified Love, and know that the greatest saints, who now, in heaven, triumph in holy love, arrived at perfection in this way.

Cultivate a tender devotion to the dolors of Mary, to her Immaculate Conception, to your guardian angel, to your patron saints, and the holy apostles.

Often say ejaculatory prayers, but always with your whole heart. I will point out some to you: "Ah! my God, would that I never offended Thee! Ah! my Sovereign Good, wound, wound my heart with Thy holy love! He that loves Thee not, O my God! knows Thee not! When will my soul be filled with Thy divine charity!"

In your pains and trials say: "May Thy holy will be done, O my God! Welcome, ye afflictions! Beloved sufferings, I press you to my heart! Ah! dear hand of my God, I bless Thee! Blessed be the holy rod that strikes me with so much love! Ah! tender Father, it is good for me to be humbled!"

You can make these ejaculations while walking or working, and even when in company with others; for though you be externally engaged with others, your heart is free, and through your heart you can benefit your soul, even in the midst of the most serious occupations.

Every day read a pious book, and avoid bad company as you would Satan. Obey with the greatest exactitude. Obedience is a celestial pearl. Jesus Himself, through obedience, laid down His most holy life on the hard wood of the cross. Charitably compassionate the poor. Be just to all. Humble yourself before everybody, for the love of God.

Finally, I pray you, remember always the holy commandment of love that Christ gave to His disciples before going to death: "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34) Ah, what sweet language! Remember that you will never please God if you do not love one another. Let there never be any dissension among you, and if an angry word should escape you, become gentle immediately, be silent, and do not allow anger to control your heart.

I place you in the sacred wounds of Jesus, under the protection of Our Lady of Sorrows; yes, I place you there. I implore the holy Virgin to bathe your heart in her sorrowful tears, that she may impress on it a continual remembrance of the dolorous Passion of her Son, and of her own dolors. I implore her to obtain for you perseverance in divine love, and strength and resignation in suffering. Take, then, for your glorious protectress, Our Lady of Sorrows, and never cease to meditate on the Passion of Christ. May God, in His mercy, bless you! Ask Him to bless me also. Deo Gratias et Mariae semper Virgini!

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