Sayings

 

 Sayings of Light and Love

Prologue

O my God and my delight, for your love I have also desired to give my soul to composing these sayings of light and love concerning you. Since, although I can express them in words, I do not have the works and virtues they imply (which is what pleases you, O my Lord, more than the words and wisdom they contain), may others, perhaps stirred by them, go forward in your service and love-in which I am wanting. I will thereby find consolation, that these sayings be an occasion for your finding in others the things that I lack.

Lord, you love discretion, you love light, you love love; these three you love above the other operations of the soul. Hence these will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, of light for the way, and of love in the wayfaring. May there be nothing of worldly rhetoric in them or the long-winded and dry eloquence of weak and artificial human wisdom, which never pleases you. Let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love that do indeed please you, removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error-poor souls who think they are right in what concerns the following of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, imitating his life, actions, and virtues, and the form of his nakedness and purity of spirit. Father of mercies, come to our aid, for without you, Lord, we can do nothing.

• 1. The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more.

• 2. O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you?

• 3.Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit.

• 4. It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience.

• 5. He who wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide, will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens.

• 6. A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time.

• 7. The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master, is like a lone burning coal; it will grow colder rather than hotter.

• 8. He who falls alone remains alone in his fall, and he values his soul little since he entrusts it to himself alone.

• 9. If you do not fear falling alone, how do you presume that you will rise up alone? Consider how much more can be accomplished by two together than by one alone.

• 10. He who falls while heavily laden will find it difficult to rise under the burden.

• 11. The blind man who falls will not get up alone in his blindness, and if he does, he will take the wrong road.

• 12. God desires the least degree of purity of conscience in you more than all the works you can perform.

• 13. God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering Him.

• 14. God values in you an inclination to aridity and suffering for love of Him more than all possible consolations, spiritual visions, and meditations.

• 15. Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for. For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?

• 16. O sweetest love of God, so little known, he who has found its veins is at rest!

• 17. Since a double measure of bitterness must follow the doing of your own will, do not do it even though you remain in single bitterness.

• 18. The soul that carries within itself the least appetite for worldly things bears more unseemliness and impurity in its journey to God than if it were troubled by all the hideous and annoying temptations and darknesses describable; for, so long as it does not consent to these, a soul thus tempted can approach God confidently, by doing the will of His majesty, Who proclaims: Come to Me all you who labor and are heavily burdened and I will refresh you. [Mt. 11:28]

• 19. The person who in aridity and trial submits to the dictates of his reason is more pleasing to God than he who does everything with consolation, yet fails in this submission.

• 20. God is more pleased by one work, however small, done secretly, without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with desire that men know of them. The person who works for God with purest love not only cares nothing about whether men see him, but does not even seek that God Himself know of them. Such a person would not cease to render God the same services, with the same joy and purity of love, even if God were never to know of them.

• 21. He who does a pure and whole work for God merits a whole kingdom.

• 22. A bird caught in birdlime has a two fold task: it must free itself and cleanse itself. And he who satisfies his appetite suffers in a twofold way: he must detach himself and, after being detached, cleanse himself of what has clung to him.

• 23. He who does not allow his appetites to carry him away will soar in his spirit as swiftly as the bird that lacks no feathers.

• 24. The fly that clings to honey hinders its flights, and the soul that allows itself attachment to spiritual sweetness hinders its own liberty and contemplation.

• 25. Withdraw from creatures if you desire to preserve, clear and simple in your soul, the image of God. Empty your spirit and withdraw far from them and you will walk in divine lights, for God is not like creatures.

• 26. The very pure spirit does not meddle with exterior attachments or human respect, but it communes inwardly with God, alone and in solitude as to all forms, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.

• 27. A soul enkindled with love is a gentle, meek, humble, and patient soul.

• 28. A soul that is hard because of its self-love grows harder. O good Jesus, if You do not soften it, it will ever continue in its natural hardness.

• 29. He who loses an opportunity is like the man who lets a bird fly from his hand, for he will never recover it.

• 30. I didn’t know You, my Lord, because I still desired to know and relish things.

• 31. Well and good if all things change, Lord God, provided we are rooted in You.

• 32. One thought alone of man is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.

• 33. For the insensible, what you do not feel; for the sensible, the senses; and for the spirit of God, thought.

• 34. Reflect that your guardian angel does not always move your desire for an action, but he does always enlighten your reason. Hence, in order to practice virtue do not wait until you feel like it, for your reason and intellect are sufficient.

• 35. Man’s appetite when fixed on something else leaves no room for the angel to move it.

• 36. My spirit has become dry because it forgets to feed on You.

• 37. What you most seek and desire you will not find by this way of yours, nor through high contemplation, but in much humility and submission of heart.

• 38. Do not tire yourself, for you will not enter into the savor and sweetness of spirit if you do not apply yourself to the mortification of this that you desire.

• 39. Reflect that the most delicate flower loses its fragrance and withers fastest; therefore guard yourself against seeking to walk in a spirit of delight, for you will not be constant. Choose rather for yourself a robust spirit, detached from everything, and you will discover abundant peace and sweetness, for savory and durable fruit is gathered in a cold and dry climate.

• 40. Bear in mind that your flesh is weak and that no worldly thing can comfort or strengthen your spirit, for what is born of the world is world and what is born of the flesh is flesh. The good spirit is born only of the Spirit of God, Who communicates himself neither through the world nor through the flesh.

• 41. Be attentive to your reason in order to do what it tells you concerning the way to God. It will be more valuable before your God than all the works you perform without this attentiveness and all the spiritual delights you seek.

• 42. Blessed is he who, setting aside his own liking and inclination, considers things according to reason and justice before doing them.

• 43. He who makes use of his reason is like one who eats substantial fruit, and he who is moved by the satisfaction of his will is like one who eats insipid fruit.

• 44. Lord, You return gladly and lovingly to lift up the one who offends You and I do not turn to raise and honor him who annoys me.

• 45. O mighty Lord, if a spark from the empire of Your justice effects so much in the mortal ruler who governs the nations, what will Your all-powerful justice do with the righteous and the sinner?

• 46. If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.

• 47. Lord, my God, You are not a stranger to him who does not estrange himself from You. How do they say that it is You who absent Yourself?

• 48. He has truly mastered all things who is not moved to joy by the satisfaction these things afford nor saddened by their insipidness.

• 49. If you wish to attain holy recollection, you will not do so by receiving but by denying.

• 50. Going everywhere, by God, with You, everywhere things will happen as I desire for You.

• 51. He will be unable to reach perfection who does not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that his natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquillity and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.

• 52. Since God is inaccessible, be careful not to concern yourself with all that your faculties can comprehend and your senses feel, so that you do not become satisfied with less and lose the lightness of soul suitable for going to Him.

• 53. The soul that journeys to God, but does not shake off its cares and quiet its appetites, is like one who drags a cart uphill.

• 54. It is not God’s will that a man be disturbed by anything, or suffer trials, for if he suffers trials in the adversities of the world it is because of his weakness in virtue. The perfect man rejoices in what afflicts the imperfect man.

• 55. The way of life contains very little business and bustling and demands mortification of the will more than knowledge. The less one takes of things and pleasures, the farther one advances along this way.

• 56. Think not that pleasing God lies so much in doing a great deal as in doing it with good will, without possessiveness and human respect.

• 57. At the evening of life, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.

• 58. See that you do not interfere in the affairs of others, nor even allow them to pass through your memory, for perhaps you will be unable to accomplish your own task.

• 59. Do not think that, because the virtues you have in mind do not shine in your neighbor, he will not be precious in God’s sight for something of which you are not thinking.

• 60. Man knows neither how to rejoice properly nor how to grieve properly, for he does not understand the distance between good and evil.

• 61. See that you are not suddenly saddened by the adversities of this world, for you do not know the good they bring, being ordained in the judgments of God for the everlasting joy of the elect.

• 62.Do not rejoice in temporal prosperity, since you do not know if it gives you assurance of eternal life.

• 63. In tribulation, immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.

• 64. In joys and pleasures, immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.

• 65. Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with Him continually, and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.

• 66. You will without labor subject the nations and bring things to serve you if you forget them and yourself as well.

• 67. Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to His good pleasure, and rest in Him.

• 68. Consider that God reigns only in the peaceful and disinterested soul.

• 69. Although you perform many works, if you do not deny your will and submit yourself, losing all solicitude about yourself and your affairs, you will not make progress.

• 70. What does it profit you to give God one thing if He ask of you another? Consider what it is God wants, and then do it. You will as a result better satisfy your heart than with that toward which you yourself are inclined.

• 71. How is it you dare to relax so fearlessly, since you must appear before God to render an account of the least word and thought?

• 72. Reflect that many are called but few chosen and that, if you are not careful, your perdition is more certain than your salvation, especially since the path to eternal life is so narrow.

• 73. Do not rejoice vainly, for you know how many sins you have committed and you do not know how you stand before God, but have fear together with confidence.

• 74. Since, when the hour of reckoning comes, you will be sorry for not having used this time in the service of God, why do you not arrange and use it now as you would wish to have done were you dying?

• 75. If you desire that devotion be born in your spirit and that the love of God and the desire for divine things increase, cleanse your soul of every desire and attachment and ambition in such wise that you have no concern about anything. Just as a sick man is immediately aware of good health once the bad humor has been thrown off and a desire to eat is felt, so will you recover your health, in God, if you cure yourself as was said. Without doing this, you will not advance no matter how much you do.

• 76. If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and serve God truly, do not be content in this that you have left behind (because in that which now concerns you, you may be as impeded as you were before, or even more), but also leave all these other things and attend to one thing alone, which brings all these with it, namely, holy solitude, together with prayer and spiritual and divine reading, and persevere there in forgetfulness of all things. For if these things are not incumbent upon you, you will be more pleasing to God in knowing how to guard and perfect yourself than by gaining all other things together, for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? [Mt. 16.26]PRAYER OF A SOUL TAKEN WITH LOVE

• Lord God, my Beloved, if You remember still my sins in suchwise that you do not do what I beg of You, do your will concerning them, my God, which is what I most desire, and exercise Your goodness and mercy, and You will be known through them. And if it is that you are waiting for my good works so as to hear my prayer through their means, grant them to me, and work them for me, and the sufferings You desire to accept, and let it be done. But if You are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes You wait, my most clement Lord? Why do You delay? For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy which I entreat of You in Your Son, take my mite, since You desire it, and grant me this blessing, since You also desire that. Who can free himself from lowly manners and limitations if You do not lift him to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will a man begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to You, Lord, if You do not raise him with Your hand which made Him? You will not take from me, my God, what You once gave me in Your only son, Jesus Christ, in Whom You gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for You, You will not delay.

• With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart? Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in It and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.

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