IX - CHRISTIAN LIFE

Posted by on 10 September 2016

FAITH

 Theological or supernatural virtues

1 - What is the virginity of the spirit? Pure faith, solid hope, sincere charity (Io. ev. tr. 13, 12)

2 - Brethren, let us believe full of admiration, let as obey while believing, let us hope in the fulfilment of the promises while obeying (s. 376, 1)

3 - Persevere in faith, rejoice in hope and, burning with charity, sing (s. 260/C, 7)

4 - We must always practise works of mercy, have sentiments of charity, religious piety, perfect chastity, modest sobriety in every time and place. Shall I ever be able to mention all the virtues? They are like the army of a general who is inside your mind. The Lord Jesus uses them as His ministers. And only the one who commands and the one who receives the commands know who commands inside (Io. ep. tr. 8, 1)

   FAITH

 1 - We must believe without uncertainties, firmly and with perseverance (Io. ev. tr. 106, 6) - Whoever wants to talk about things in which he does not believe is like one who wants to pour out something with which he has not been filled (s. suppl. 9, 1)

 2 - All those who worship honour, not all who honour worship (c. s. arian. 23, 19) - Nobody can believe without a religious sense of faith (Gn. litt. 5, 4, 7)

 3 - One thing is to believe in Christ, another is to believe that He is the Christ (s. 144, 2, 2) - Whoever receives the gift of believing in Christ is attracted to Christ (c. ep. pel. 1, 3, 6)

 4 - Christ was leading the simple through faith, you are leading them through reason (util. cred. 14, 32)

 5 - Believing belongs to faith, acting belongs to love (en. Ps. 31, II, 5)

 6 - We must honour God with the kind of worship that is called “latria” in Greek, both in liturgical rites and in one’s conscience. All together and each one of us are His temples, since He deems it worth to be present in the unity of a community as well as in every one’s soul. When our heart is with Him, it becomes His altar (civ. 10, 1)

 7 - If I consider the number of those who declare themselves atheists and the crowd of the wicked, I conclude that all such people affirm or practically sustain that God does not exist. Now, all those who think that God may like man’s evil deeds, do not consider Him really as God. If God is just, He cannot like injustice. If you believe that He likes iniquity, you deny that He is God. Be far from them both with your heart and with your life (en. Ps. 52, 2)

 8 - Superstition is a pestilential alliance between men and demons, a deal of unbelieving and deceitful friendship made between them (doctr. chr. 2, 23, 36)

 9 - A mustard seed is small, and nothing seems more insignificant than it; but, if you taste it, nothing is spicier: ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…‘. The meaning of it is the great ardour and the intimate strength of faith within the Church (s. 246, 3)

 10 - In matter of religion two kinds of people deserve praise: those who have already found, who must be considered also the happiest, and those who are seeking with the greatest ardour and uppermost uprightness (util. cred. 11, 25)

 11 - Who cannot see that thinking precedes believing? Nobody believes anything unless he has first thought that he must believe it. On the other side, to believe is nothing else than to think while giving one’s assent. Faith, if it is not an object of thought, is not faith (praed. sanct. 2, 5)

 12 - You must not understand in order to believe, but you must believe first in order to understand. What is needed is faith: understanding is the reward of it (s. 229/G, 4) - Understand in order to believe, believe in order to understand (s. 43, 9)

 13 - Faith purifies the heart and ensures that one’s eyes be opened and more and more clear. This, of course, does not happen by man’s natural resources, but by God’s help and as His gift (en. Ps. 118, s. 18, 3)

 14 - It is unlikely that someone who believes well would live badly. Believe with all your hearts, not waveringly or hesitatingly, not while adducing human ideas as proofs against faith itself (s. 49, 2)

 15 - The beginning of a good life, to which, as a reward, eternal life must be given, is upright faith, which consists in believing what you cannot see yet, being your reward to see what you now believe (s. 43, 1)

 a)    Revelation

 God’s word

1 - The speaking of God, antecedent and superior to all His works, is the immutable reason of His work: it has no noisy and passing sound, but an energy eternally abiding and acting in time. When we hear with the inner ears something of this divine speech, we approximate to the angels. For either the unchangeable Truth speaks directly to the mind of the rational creature in some ineffable way, or speaks through a changeable creature (civ. 16, 6, 1)

2 - God’s word is absolute, clear and frank. It says that those who live badly do not belong to the kingdom of God (bapt. 4, 18, 25)

3 - The Lord will utter over the earth a brief but exhaustive Word (s. suppl. 10, 11)

4 - One thing is to create through the Word, another is to be created by it; but the one who utters the Word has the Word and, therefore, created through the Word; and, if He created through the Word, He has not created the Word (s. 380, 3)

5 - Great men love brevity in words while the little ones, who are less intelligent, like long speeches (s. suppl. 11, 3)

6 - May the furrows be made first, and then may they be irrigated. May the hardness of our hearts be opened by the ploughshare of God’s word (en. Ps. 64, 15)

7 - God speaks in many ways from outside man through a document, a fact, a creature, a prophet, an angel. What does speaking mean unless expressing one’s will? God, furthermore, speaks interiorly: within the soul and in various ways: through dreams and ecstasies. Nobody can recognize what God wants, unless -so to say- the silent shout of truth interiorly resounds. God, finally, speaks in the conscience of the good and of the evil (s. 12, 4)

8 - Every divine word is salutary for those who understand it correctly, but dangerous for those who want to bend it to their own perversity (en. Ps. 48, s. 1, 1)

9 - The Word of the Lord gives honour even to the grass, and not an ephemeral honour: it gives immortality also to the body (s. 124, 1)

10 - Keep hold of the Word; for it is for your sake that the Word took up the grass. Christ: the incarnated Word (s. 289, 3)

11 - God speaks in secret: He speaks in the hearts of many; the sound is great in the great silence of the heart, when He says with a loud voice: ‘I am your salvation’ (en. Ps. 38, 20)

12 - Everything passes, but let us not be afraid: the word of the Lord endures forever (s. 301, 11, 9)

13 - Jesus’s acts are words (Io. ev. tr. 25, 2)

14 - The Lord Jesus was not having any difficulty in expressing Himself in words, because He was the Word (s. 103, 2, 3)

15 - There are many ways by which God speaks to us. It can be by means of a book of the Scripture, a star in the sky, a prophet, an angel, a drawing of lots; interiorly He speaks within the soul or conscience. Nobody can recognize what God wants, unless -so to say- the silent shout of truth interiorly resounds (s. 12, 4)

16 - Talk about Christ anywhere you can, with anyone you can, in all possible ways. What is demanded of you is faith, not eloquence (s. 260/E, 2)

17 - The word of God is your opponent, inasmuch as it commands things contrary to those you do (s. 9, 3)

18 - In the heavenly life there will be no teacher of the word, but the Word will be the teacher (s. 179, 7)

 19 - When we shall have come to You, these many things that we speak, and yet come short, will cease; and You, as One, will remain all in all. And we shall say one thing without end, in praising You in one, ourselves also made one in You (trin. 15, 28, 51)

 20 - What great preaching! How greatly the nourishment is being gushed from the heart of the Lord! (s. 119, 2)

 Sacred Scripture

1 - In the Scripture you can find both things: commands are given and prayers are uttered; whatever is commanded is asked in prayer (s. suppl. 30, 14)

2 - It gives information only about things that may have been useful not only for the knowledge of the created things, but also for the prefiguration of the future ones (Gn. litt. 5, 8, 23)

3 - The only thing Scripture commands is charity; the only thing it finds fault with is greediness. In such a way it shapes man’s behaviour (doctr. chr. 3, 10, 15)

4 - A man speaks more or less wisely according to his progress in the knowledge of the Scriptures (doctr. chr. 4, 5, 7)

5 - While the authors of the Scriptures paid attention particularly to the contents, the secular authors pay attention almost exclusively to words (c. Adim. 11)

 6 - In regard to figurative expressions, a rule such as the following will be observed: to carefully turn over in our minds and consider what we read until an interpretation is found that refers to the kingdom of love. If, when taken literally, it already gives a meaning of this kind, the expression is not to be considered figurative (doctr. chr. 3, 15, 23)

 7 - God, in His ineffable mercy, did not disdain to play with us -in a certain way- like with children, through parables and similitudes, curing, in this way, our inner eyes with this sort of mud (vera rel. 50, 98)

 8 - When Scripture is read we must recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit, perceive its prophetic content, reject the slavery of the flesh, keep the understanding that is proper to a free man (c. Adim. 15, 3)

 9 - These heavens, that is, these sacred Books, have been written by God’s fingers, since they have been composed under the action of the Holy Spirit, who operates in the saints and in whom is God’s compassion (en. Ps. 8, 8)

 10 - The firmament is the divine Scripture, the luminaries in the firmament are the understanding of the Scriptures, the lights in the sky are the meanings to be found in the Scriptures (s. 229/S, 1)

 11 - In God’s Word every thing that properly cannot be referred to the honesty of behaviour and to the truth of the faith, must be understood in a figurative way (doctr. chr. 3, 10, 14)

 12 - No one can be so foolish or senseless as to assert that numbers are put in the Scriptures for no purpose at all and that there are no mystical reasons why they are mentioned there. Against reason there will never be good discernment, against the Scriptures there will never be a Christian sense of faith, against the Church there will never be a sense of peace (trin. 4, 6, 10)

 13 - Scripture speaks in such a way as to ridicule the proud by means of its sublimity, to frighten the scholars by means of its profundity, to nourish the great souls by means of its truth and the little ones by means of its affability (Gn. litt. 5, 3, 6)

 14 - The books of the Scripture have been written in such a way that those who hate them cannot know them, while those who know them cannot but love them (mor. 1, 25, 46)

 15 - Honour the Scripture of God and the word of God, even if it is still closed. In your godliness defer your understanding. Do not accuse the Scripture arrogantly either of obscurity or of a kind of perversity. Nothing is perverse in Scripture. Something in it is obscure, not so that its understanding may be denied to you, but in order for you to be trained in understanding. Be meek before the things God is hiding from you (en. Ps. 146, 12)

 16 - We read all the Scripture: let us believe it all! (s. 266, 4)

 Old and New Testament

1 - In the Old Testament there are not only narrations of past events, but also predictions of future ones. Behind all this there is the work of the one and same Spirit (en. Ps. 113, s. 1, 1)

2 - In the Scriptures is called ‘testament’ not only an act that becomes valid with the death of the testator, but every pact and agreement (en. Ps. 82, 6)

3 - Both Testaments repeat the holy truth in full agreement (ep. 55, 16, 29)

4 - God’s word is a double-edged sword because it wounds with both Testaments (en. Ps. 58, s. 1, 16)

5 - The Old Testament: nothing is wiser, more virtuous or more religious (util. cred. 6, 13)

6 - It is called Old because it was revealed before and has to do with the old man; it is called New because it was revealed after and has to do with the new man. Man must pass from the state of being old to the state of being new (c. ep. pel. 3, 4, 13)

7 - In the Old Testament the New is hidden, in the New Testament the Old is manifested (cat. rud. 4, 8)

8 - Both in the Old and in the New Testament both mercy and severity are recommended (c. Adim. 17, 5)

9 - Fear belongs rather to the Old Testament, love to the New, although also in the Old the New is hidden and in the New the Old is manifested (qu. Hept. 2, 73)

10 - See the harmony of both Testaments, by which it is clear what the manner of life in our conduct should be, and to what all things should be referred: love, the salvation of the soul and the way to happiness (mor. 1, 18, 34)

11 - Christ is the end of all the realities of the Old Testament and in Him they have been fulfilled. In spite of this He, in whom everything was coming to fulfilment and was becoming manifest, continued to speak in parables, until the time when His Passion tore the veil and everything hidden was revealed (qu. Mt. 15)

12 - Narrate to me, O Christ, the New Testament. Make me blessed through your law. And you too narrate it, aware that you are not deprived of Christ’s presence (s. 25, 8)

13 - Not all those who are called Christians reach Christ, but only those for whom the veil, which covers the reading of the Old Testament, is removed. Once the veil is removed through the New, they understand both the Old and the New (c. adv. leg. 2, 7, 29)

14 - Agree with your adversary while you are on the way with him. You have made the word of God your adversary (en. Ps. 128, 4)

15 - May this be the beginning of your agreement with the word of God: start to hate yourself as you are; in this way you will start to love God as He is (s. 9, 9)

b) Sacraments

 1 - Adam deserved to receive his wife Eve while he was sleeping, and that wife was made for him out of his own rib; from Christ, sleeping on the cross, the Church was to be born, for it was from His side, pierced with the spear, that the sacraments of the Church flowed forth. It is the weakness of Christ that makes us strong (Io. ev. tr. 15, 8)

 2 - All sacraments, without the charity of the unity of Christ, are received not for our salvation, but for our condemnation (c. litt. Pet. 3, 40, 46)

 3 - Sacraments are realities in which we must pay more attention not to what they are, but to what they manifest. If we understand their meaning, it will be clear to us that they point to one, and just one, divine reality (c. Max. 2, 26, 10)

 4 - Sacraments take their names from the similarity with the sacred realities of which they are signs. In this manner the sacrament of the body of Christ is, in a way, the body of Christ; the sacrament of the blood of Christ is the blood of Christ; the sacrament of the faith (baptism) is the faith itself (ep. 98, 9)

 5 - In the celebration of sacraments we make use of very few things, such as water, wheat, wine and oil. This is a kind of eloquent teaching apt to raise the affections of the disciples from visible things to invisible ones, from corporeal to spiritual and from temporal realities to eternal ones (ep. 55, 7, 13)

 6 - The form of the sacrament is given through baptism (water), the form of the justice through the Gospel (the Word of God): one of them without the other cannot lead to the Kingdom of heaven (c. litt. Pet. 3, 56, 68)

 7 - A sacrament is a visible Word (Io. ev. tr. 80, 3)

 Baptism

1 - In the baptism of Jesus the Trinity most manifestly appears: the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Spirit in the dove (Io. ev. tr. 6, 5)

2 - Peter may baptize, but is Christ who baptizes; Paul may baptize, but is Christ who baptizes; Judas may baptize, still is Christ who baptizes (Io. ev. tr. 6, 7)

3 - The sin of origin is remitted through baptism together with the evil that may have possibly been done, as if it had not been done. But concupiscence, that is, the attraction to evil, remains as an obstacle in our fight to do good. It will be taken away completely when man will be in the incorruption of eternal life  (nupt. et conc. 1, 25, 28)

4 -  The Church gives birth to all through baptism, either within, in her own womb, or outside, from the seed of Christ, her Bridegroom (bapt. 1, 15, 23)

5 - There is one Church which alone is called Catholic; and whatever she has of her own in these communions that are separate from her, it is in virtue of what is her own in each of them that she, not they, has the power of generation. For is it not their separation that generates, but what they have retained of the Church; and if they lose this too, they cannot generate any longer. It is therefore the Church that generates in all the communions in which sacraments are retained, from which any such birth can anywhere proceed, although not all whom she generates belong to her unity, which shall save those who persevere to the end (bapt. 1, 10, 14) - In the Catholic Church there is baptism, and only there it can be received legitimately (bapt. 1, 3, 4)

6 - The truth of the sacrament is to be distinguished from the error of a person who believes in a wrong way, although both may be found in the same man. And, therefore, if anyone who finds himself in any error has been baptized with the true sacrament, when he is restored to the unity of the Church, a true baptism cannot take the place of a true baptism, as a true faith takes the place of a false one, because a thing cannot take the place of itself, since it cannot even give place. Heretics join, therefore, the Catholic Church so that their evils may be removed, not so that whatever good they have from God may be repeated (bapt. 4, 15, 22)

7 - The baptism remains in a baptized person when he is separated from the Church, while certainly the baptism which is in him becomes separated together with him. And therefore not all who retain the baptism retain the Church, just as not all who retain the Church retain eternal life. Or if we say that only those who observe the commandments of God retain the Church, we already concede that there are many who retain baptism and do not retain the Church (bapt. 5, 16, 20)

8 - One baptism, one Spirit, one Church. In each person we must acknowledge what he already has, and to each person we must give what he has not. It is true that all who go out from us are not of us, but not all who are with us are of us. God gives the sacrament of grace even through the hands of wicked men, but the grace itself only by Himself or through His saints. And therefore He gives remission of sins either by Himself or through the apostolic ministry (bapt. 5, 21, 29)

9 - We destroy the faithlessness of the deserters (heretics or schismatics), but we do not destroy the character of the emperor (Christ) (c. litt. Pet. 2, 108, 247)

10 - I rectify in you what is yours, I acknowledge what is Christ’s (un. bapt. 2, 3)

11 - Christ's unity speaks to you. Come, know peace, return to the intimacy of the dove. You have been baptized outside; produce fruit, and you’ll return to the ark (the Church) (Io. ev. tr. 6, 21)

12 - In baptized children the sacrament of regeneration comes first; if they keep a Christian piety, the conversion of the heart will follow as well, the mystery of which has preceded in the body (bapt. 4, 24, 31)

13 - The water of the sacrament is one thing, another is the water which signifies the Spirit of God. The water of the sacrament is visible, the water of the Spirit invisible. That water washes the body and signifies what is done in the soul; by the Spirit the soul itself is cleansed and fed (Io. ep. tr. 6, 11)

14 - In baptism we have to consider not who gives, but what he gives; not who receives, but what he receives; not who has, but what he has (bapt. 4, 10, 16)

15 - In a way do not be like children, in another way be like them (cons. ev. 2, 30, 72)

16 - Children must be baptized, seeing that, although they are not sinners, they are not righteous too because of the presence of the original sin (pecc. mer. 1, 19, 24)

17 - Mother Church uses for them the heart and mouth of a mother, so that they may be imbued with the sacred mysteries, seeing that they cannot yet believe with their own heart unto righteousness, nor with their own mouth confess unto salvation (pecc. mer. 1, 25, 38)

18 - The concupiscence, which is innate in man, is not removed all at once, so as to exist in him no longer, but only so that it might not be prejudicial to a man at his death (pecc. mer. 1, 39, 70)

19 - Let Jesus be ‘Jesus’ (which means ‘saviour’) also for the children (nupt. et conc. 2, 35, 60)

20 - Where is the faith of children from? From their parents’ faith, in the same way as they have been begotten in their parents’ sin (s. 294, 19, 17)

21 - If we are taught to help orphans, much more we should take pains in behalf of those children who, though under the protection of their parents, will still be left more destitute and miserable than orphans, should Christ’s grace be denied to them, which they are unable to demand for themselves (pecc. mer. 3, 13, 22)

22 - Children proclaim their faith not in words, but in the truth itself of their innocence (gest. Pel. 2, 4)

Confirmation

1 - The name ‘Christ’ comes from the Greek word ‘chrisma’ and means ‘anointing’. Nor were kings and priests anointed in any other place, save in that kingdom where Christ was prophesied. God, then, was anointed by God; with what oil was He anointed, unless with a spiritual one? The invisible oil is in the sacrament, that is, within. God was anointed for us and sent to us. Christ was God and was man, but He was man in such a way as to be God, He was God in such a way as not to disdain to be man. God then is man, and it was for this reason that God was anointed, because God was man, and became Christ (en. Ps. 44, 19)

 The gifts of the Holy Spirit

1 - The Holy Spirit is presented to us through His seven good gifts. To them you must oppose a contrary set of seven evils: the spirit of foolishness and of error, of temerity and of cowardice, of ignorance and of impiety, of pride. But there are also seven even worse spirits: hypocrisy, which is the pretense of wisdom, the pretense of truth, the pretense of counsel, the pretense of fortitude, the pretense of knowledge, the pretense of piety, the pretense of the fear of the Lord (s. 72/A, 2)

2 - It is a great gift, granted to few, to transcend all that can be measured in order to contemplate the Measure without measure; to transcend all that can be numbered in order to contemplate the Number without number; to transcend all that can be weighed in order to contemplate the Weight without weight (Gn. litt. 4, 3, 7)

3 - To men gifts are given by measure, and concord among them makes one body. The members of a body have different functions, nevertheless the soul that moves them all is one; so are also the gifts of the believers varied, distributed to them as to members, to each according to his proper measure. But Christ, who gives the Spirit, receives not by measure (Io. ev. tr. 14, 10)

4 - Christ Himself both gave from heaven and received on earth. For many gifts, which are proper to each, are divided in common to all the members of Christ by the Gift, which is the Holy Spirit (trin. 15, 19, 34)

5 - Isaiah, recommending the seven famous gifts of the Spirit to us, after starting from wisdom reaches the fear of God, as if he were coming down from above, in order to teach us how to go up. We must go up from the fear of God to wisdom, not by taking pride in anything, but by making progress. The path of the humble starts from the valley of tears: ‘He disposed his ascents in his heart from the valley of tears’ (Ps. 83:6). The valley is the symbol of humility, from which the heart ascends toward the place of tranquillity and of eternal peace, where the incorruptible wisdom is. In this way we can ascend from the valley of tears to the mountain of peace (s. 347, 2)

Wisdom

1 - Wisdom is enjoyed contemplation of the eternity of truth; we need to acquire it in order to deserve eternal life (vera rel. 3, 3)

2 - In knowledge the wise love only truth, in action only peace, in the body only health. After this life whatever they love most in this life will be fulfilled (vera rel. 53, 103)

3 - Wisdom gives spiritual dignity (adn. Iob 19) - The cause of wisdom is not old age but eternity (adn. Iob 34)

4 - The intellectual cognizance of eternal things belongs to wisdom, while the rational cognizance of temporal things to knowledge (trin. 12, 15, 25)

5 - Curiosity only seeks the uncertain knowledge of the created things; wisdom seeks the knowledge of the eternal and unchangeable realities (vera rel. 52, 101) - The curious have earthly thoughts and inquire into spiritual things with earthly eyes (Gn. c. man. 2, 26, 40)

6 - Wisdom cannot find a place where there is no patience (s. 153, 1, 1) - Foolishness is the darkness of the soul (duab. an. 6, 7)

7 - Wisdom befits the peacemakers, in whom all things are now brought into order and no passion is in a state of rebellion against reason, but all things obey the spirit of man, while he himself also obeys God (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

8 - If it is wisdom through which the peacemakers are blessed, inasmuch as they shall be called children of God, let us pray that we may be freed from evil, for that very freedom will make us free, that is, children of God, so that we may cry in the spirit of adoption: ‘Abba, Father’! (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

Understanding

1 - Any man knows himself more certainly than he is known to others, inasmuch as, by inward inspection, he can with certainty see what he is conscious of, what he desires, what he is living for; and it is when these things are likewise laid open to us that he becomes truly known to us (Io. ev. tr. 90, 1)

2 - We have the task to understand the evils that afflict us and from which we wish to be freed. Let us remember that we have been made in God’s image, and the reason of this is that we have intellect. Let us recognize our own honour and let us understand! (en. Ps. 54, 3)

3 - No one, unless he has received the gift of understanding from God, can understand the law and for what purpose it has been established after man’s sin. When a man has searched the law, and searched its deep realities, in which its whole meaning consists, he must indeed love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind; and his neighbour as himself (en. Ps. 118, s. 11, 4)

4 - ‘Grant me understanding, O Lord, so that I may know Your testimonies’; this petition should never be intermitted. For it is not enough to have received understanding and to have learned the testimonies of God, unless we continuously receive it and we continuously drink, in some way, from the fountain of eternal light. The testimonies of God are known better and better the more understanding a man attains (en. Ps. 118, s. 26, 6)

5 - ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain’. Also men have known the thoughts of God, but He shows His intentions to those to whom He has become a friend. Do not underestimate yourselves, brethren: approach the Lord with faith. But who can understand the thoughts of God? Anyone who is placed in the firmament of heaven (en. Ps. 93, 14)

6 - Transcend the body, and understand the soul; transcend also the soul, and understand God. How far are those who think of the flesh from understanding what God is! They would not be able to do it even if they understood the soul. If you dwell in your soul, you are in the midway: if you direct your attention beneath, there is the body; if above, there is God (Io. ev. tr. 20, 11)

7 - Understanding befits the pure in heart, whose eyes are cleansed, so that they may see what no bodily eye has ever seen, nor ear heard, and what has not entered into the heart of man (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11) 

8 - If it is understanding through which the pure in heart are blessed, inasmuch as they shall see God, let us pray not to be led into temptation, lest we should have a double heart by not longing for a single good, to which we may refer all we do, but at the same time pursuing things temporal and eternal (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

Counsel

1 - Our lives are subjected to the restlessness of temptations and scandals, and if any wrongdoing makes its way into us almost by stealth, taking by surprise our human weakness, counsel must not be absent. What counsel? What the Lord says: ‘Forgive, and you will be forgiven’ (s. 347, 3)

2 - This is the counsel of mercy: to cleanse one’s soul, which is violently agitated and disturbs us with low desires, from the filth it has contracted. At this stage one exercises himself diligently in the love of his neighbour, and in this he makes progress (doctr. chr. 2, 7, 11)

3 - Counsel befits the merciful, for this is the only remedy for escaping from so great evils: that we forgive, as we wish to be forgiven; and that we help others as far as we are able, as we ourselves wish to be helped whenever we need (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

4 - If it is counsel through which the merciful are blessed, inasmuch as they shall obtain mercy, let us forgive their debts to our debtors, and let us pray that ours may be forgiven to us (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

5 - If we accept the advice given to us, by which we are commanded or exhorted to give something of what we have to the poor, let us not become proud by giving. If we receive advice, this is more useful to us than to the poor we help. Whoever wants to accept advice wants to get some utility from it, and whoever gives advice wants to be helpful (s. 389, 3)

6 - Everyone must give to others what he has, must give generously the surplus of his possessions to the poor. Whoever has the gift of counsel, on the other hand, must guide his neighbour, must dispel the darkness of doubt with the light of piety (s. 91, 7, 9)

7 - We use to say of someone that he has good flanks if he can avail himself of good advice, if his life is supported by the counsel of good people (en. Ps. 127, 11)

8 - In every bad deed something comes from the cunning of the diabolic adviser, something from the wickedness of the one who assents to evil, something from the justice of the one who punishes: the devil suggests, man consents, God abandons (c. Faust. 21, 9)

Fortitude

1 - Fortitude consists in humility, since all pride is frail. Do not fear the proud (en. Ps. 92, 3)

2 - Ambition makes pagans strong, divine charity makes Christians strong (c. Iul. imp. 1, 83)

3 - Christian fortitude not only implies doing good, but also tolerating evil (s. 46, 13)

4 - Do not ascribe fortitude to yourselves. The Lord says: If it is your fortitude and not Mine, it is hardness rather than fortitude (en. Ps. 103, s. 4, 14)

5 - Reproach is what the enemy casts in the teeth. Confusion is what gnaws the conscience. Shame is what causes even a noble face to blush because of a false accusation. Christian fortitude opposes all this (en. Ps. 68, s. 2, 4)

6 - Fortitude befits those who hunger and thirst, for they suffer in desiring the joy that comes from things that are truly good, and in seeking to turn away their love from earthly and corporeal things (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

7 - If it is fortitude through which those are blessed who hunger and thirst for justice, inasmuch as they shall be filled, let us pray that our daily bread may be given to us today, by which, supported and sustained, we may be able to reach that most abundant fullness (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

Knowledge

1 - This is the whole great science: man must realize that by himself he is nothing, since everything exists comes from God and exists because of God (en. Ps. 70, s. 1, 1)

2 - God’s knowledge is far unlike our knowledge, since God’s knowledge is the same as His wisdom, and His wisdom is itself His essence or substance. In the wonderful simplicity of that nature it is not one thing to be wise and another to be, but to be wise is the same as to be (trin. 15, 13, 22)

3 - The science of God has charity as a companion and is teacher of humility (en. Ps. 142, 5) - The science of God is to be found within the divine law. The fulfilment of the law is love. Ask your heart, see whether it has love. If there is love there, there is the fulfilment of the law as well; already God dwells in you, you have become the seat of God, you have become a heaven (en. Ps. 98, 3)

4 - It is written: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’. What is understood here is not the earth of the mortals, but of the living. On account of this piety they will deserve to ascend to the degree of science, in virtue of which they not only will know the evilness of their own past sins, for which they have already wept in the first degree of penance, but they will also understand what great the evil is of this condition of mortality of ours far from the Lord, even when secular prosperity can be enjoyed (s. 347, 3)

5 - Knowledge befits those who mourn, who already have found out in the Scriptures by what evils they are held chained, which they ignorantly have desired as though they were good and useful (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

6 - If it is knowledge through which those who mourn are blessed, inasmuch as they shall be comforted, let us pray that His will may be done as in heaven, so on earth, because when the body, which is as it were earth, shall agree in a supreme and complete peace with the soul, which is as it were heaven, we shall not mourn (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

Piety

1 - Piety is true wisdom, the worship of God, which consists essentially in this: that the soul be not ungrateful to Him (spir. et litt. 11, 18) - Piety is man’s wisdom (ench. 1, 2)

2 - The great virtue of piety is peace and unity, since God is one (agon. 30, 32) - What greater strength piety has than the love of unity? (s. 269, 3)

3 - Piety seeks by believing, vanity by contradicting (s. 261, 3) - Piety removes everything impiety loves (s. suppl. 24, 8)

4 - The worst impiety consists in preferring to have a worse idea of God rather than to change oneself into better (c. Sec. 8)

5 - We have learned from the holy and true philosophy of the true piety that what the flesh wants is opposed to the spirit, and what the spirit wants is opposed to the flesh (c. Iul. 4, 14, 72)

6 - Piety befits the meek. A man who inquires piously honours the Holy Scripture and does not censure what he does not yet understand and, for this reason, does not offer resistance; and this is to be meek (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

7 - If it is piety through which the meek are blessed, inasmuch as they shall inherit the earth, let us ask that His kingdom may come both over ourselves, so that we may become meek and not resist Him, and from heaven into earth in the splendour of the Lord's coming, in which we shall rejoice and be praised (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

8 - Open the bosom of piety, accept the gift of happiness (s. 261, 11)

Fear of God

1 - The fear of God befits the humble, of whom the Gospel says: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’, that is, those who are not puffed up, not proud (s. dom. m. 1, 4, 11)

2 -  If it is the fear of God through which the poor in spirit are blessed, inasmuch as theirs is the kingdom of heaven, let us ask that the name of God may be hallowed among men through that holy fear which endures forever (s. dom. m. 2, 11, 38)

3 - If you cannot act well out of the love of justice, at least do it out of the fear of the punishment (s. 156, 13, 14) - Who can doubt that it is better to lead people to the love of God by teaching, rather than to compel them through fear or pain? (ep. 185, 6, 21)

4 - The fear of God -which is pure, and not servile- loves gratuitously and is not afraid of being punished by someone because of whom it trembles; it is rather afraid of being separated from the one whom it loves. It is the Holy Spirit that gives the holy fear of God as a gift (en. Ps. 18, II, 10)

5 - You shall accomplish by means of love what you could not accomplish by means of fear. Whoever, out of fear, does not do evil would like to do it if it were possible (en. Ps. 32, II, s. 1, 6)

6 - Since nobody can take away from us what God gives, let us not be afraid of anyone other than God; whatever causes disorder within us, whatever proud force threatens us, let our hearts not be afraid (en. Ps. 26, II, 5)

7 - May fear be only a pedagogue. May it not remain in you, but rather lead you to love as if to a teacher (s. 349, 7) - Fear leads to love and perfect love casts out fear (s. 348, 3, 4)

8 - Fear is the flight of the soul, desire a forward movement of it. When you are glad, your soul is expanded; when you are in trouble, contracted; when you have an earnest desire, your soul moves forward; when you are afraid, your soul flees (Io. ev. tr. 46, 8)

9 - The cause of fear is thinking about losing what we love or not attaining what we desire. Nobody can preserve himself from fear through fear (div. qu. 33)

Eucharist

 1 - The Eucharist is our daily bread: we must receive it as a refection not only of the body, but also of the soul. The proper virtue of this nourishment is to produce unity, so that we, being made Christ’s body and His members, may become what we receive (s. 57, 7, 7)

 2 - The Word, by becoming man, assumed the whole man: soul and body. Since He also suffered for us, He entrusted his body and blood to us in this sacrament, and He has transformed us into it as well. We have become His body and, through His mercy, we are what we receive (s. 229, 1)

 3 - Whoever eats or drinks the body and blood of Christ without respect or with derision, receives it unworthily. Receive it, therefore, while thinking who you are, while having unity in your hearts and keeping your hearts firmly on high (s. 227, 1)

 4 - ‘You are Christ’s body, its members’ (1 Cor. 12:27). If you are the body of Christ, your sacred mystery is placed on the Lord’s table: you receive the mystery that you are. For what you are you answer: ‘Amen’, and, by answering it, you subscribe to it. You hear ‘The body of Christ’, and you reply ‘Amen’. Be a member of the body of Christ, so that your ‘Amen’ may be true! (s. 272, 1)

 5 - Understand and rejoice: unity, truth, piety, love. ‘One bread’: who is this one bread? ‘We, though many, are one body’. Remember that bread does not come from a single grain, but from many… Be what you see; receive what you are. The Lord Christ wanted to show, in this way, that we belong to Him, and He consecrated, on His table, the sacrament of our peace and unity. All who receive the sacrament of unity and fail to keep the bond of peace receive a testimony that condemns them, not a sacrament that benefits them (s. 272, 1)

 6 - Believers know the body of Christ if they do not neglect to be the body of Christ. Let them become the body of Christ, if they want to live of the Spirit of Christ. Do you understand, my brethren, what I say? Mystery of love, symbol of unity, bond of charity! Who wants to live has where to live, has the source of living. Let him get closer, let him believe, so that he may become part of the Body and may be revived. Let him not shrink from the connection with the members, let him not be a rotten member that deserves to be cut off, let him not be a deformed member of which to be ashamed. May he be beautiful, may he be strong, may he be healthy, may he remain united to the body, may he live for God, of God; let him labour on earth now, so that hereafter he may reign in heaven (Io. ev. tr. 26, 13)

 7 -To eat that food and drink that drink means to dwell in Christ and to have Christ dwelling in oneself. All who do not dwell in Christ, and in whom Christ does not dwell, eat and drink judgement against themselves (Io. ev. tr. 26, 18)

 8 - What is it to sit at that table, unless to approach it with humility, while reflecting on the magnitude of the favour received? And what is it to extend one’s hand, unless to be ready to lay down one’s life for the brethren? (Io. ev. tr. 84, 1)

 9 - Let us go and be fed at the great dinner prepared by the Father. Not the rich, who were full of presumption -and the more arrogant, the more desperate-, attended it, but the beggars, the crippled, the lame, the blind. ‘Compel them to come in’, I have prepared a great dinner, a great house; I shall not allow that any seat be left vacant. Crowds have come from the squares and the streets; let heretics and schismatics come from the paths and the hedges. ‘Compel them to come in’: may necessity be found outside, free will inside (s. 112, 8)

 10 - The manna given to the ancient people of God tasted in each man's mouth in the way he desired; it is the same with this sacrament, which subdued the world, in the heart of each Christian (ep. 54, 3, 4)

 11 - O food and bread of angels! Angels are filled by you, are satiated by you, and they are not tired of it; they live of you, are wise in you, are happy because of you (s. 196, 3)

 Penance

 1 - It is the peace of the Church that remits sins, and estrangement from the Church’s peace retains them, not according to the will of men, but according to the will of God and the prayers of the saints who are spiritual, who judge all things, but themselves are judged by no one. For it is the rock of unity that retains and remits. But the peace of this unity exists only in the good, in those who are spiritual, not in the bad, whether they make disturbances outside or are tolerated within the Church (bapt. 3, 18, 23)

 2 - Outside the Church nothing can be either bound or loosed, since there is no one there who can either bind or loose. Only those who have made peace with the dove (the Holy Spirit and the Church) are loosed (bapt. 3, 18, 23)

 3 - Not to have sin means this, not to be guilty of sin. If a man has -for example- committed adultery, he is guilty of adultery until, by the pardon of his sin, his guilt is remitted. If to desist from sinning were the same thing as not to have sins, it would be enough not to sin any longer. Sins may have passed away in their act, but be permanent in their guilt (nupt. et conc. 1, 26, 29)

 4 - Those who repent of their sin give glory to the Lord who forgives (qu. hept. 5, 55)  - Repentance is close to pleasure (c. Iul. 4, 14, 71)

 5 - Someone may say that he does not sin; but no one can be so uncivilized as to dare to say that if one sins, he does not have to repent of it. The right disposition of a man who repents, and a profitable one, is to acknowledge having done evil while being able to do good (duab. an. 14, 22)

 6 - Repentance torments, justice gives peace to one’s conscience, eternal life glorifies (en. Ps. 150, 3)

 7 - Those who conceive the fear of God and, by their free will, submit themselves to the best Physician in order to be healed are indeed healed by the merciful Creator through the humility of their confession and penance (c. Fel. 2, 8)

 8 - Those men who remember that they are just men understand very easily the utility and extreme importance of the medicine of penance (s. 351, 1, 1)

 9 - Those who repent are already punishing themselves. Start to be pleasing to God by punishing in yourself what displeases God (en. Ps. 58, s. 1, 13)

 10 - All who defend their own sins commit a great iniquity: they defend what God hates. And they put the blame for that on God (en. Ps. 58, s. 1, 14)

 11 - Although you are in the body of Christ, you bring in yourself mortality, in some measure; be just to yourself and in yourself. You are a sinner: make compensation for it. Return into your conscience, impose a punishment to yourself, mortify yourself. In this way you offer a pleasing sacrifice to God (en. Ps. 140, 14)

 Matrimony

 1 - Even in some animals as, for instance, in most birds, there is a certain kind of conjugal agreement, while they combine their skills in nest-building, divide among themselves the periods for brooding their eggs and alternate the labour of feeding their young (nupt. et conc. 1, 4, 5)

 2 - Monogamy is more appropriate to the dignity of marriage, while polygamy was only permitted on account of the need of fecundity (nupt. et conc. 1, 9, 10)

 3 -  What in Christ and in the Church is a great sacrament of spousal love in each married couple is lived in a smaller degree, but even then it is the sacrament of an inseparable union (nupt. et conc. 1, 21, 23)

 4 - Weddings have their honest place among human realities, not in order for men to be born, but in order for them to be born in an orderly way; and so that, like mothers are certain because of the way children are born, fathers may be considered certain too on account of the conjugal faithfulness (c. Iul. imp. 5, 23)

 5 - The conjugal bond will be a firmer one if the covenant between the spouses will be kept, in loving harmony, by the voluntary affections of the souls (nupt. et conc. 1, 11, 12)

 6 - There will be a marriage between us, as one spouse (once we shall have been brought together into unity), with Him, who has delivered us from the pollution of this world by the shedding of His own blood (s. dom. m. 1, 15, 41)

 7 - Even when, by common consent, the spouses maintain their continence, their relation can still remain, and can be called marriage (cons. ev. 2, 1, 2)

 Holy orders

 1 - The name ‘Christ’ comes from the word ‘chrisma’, which means ‘unction’ (‘anointing’). Kings and priests used to be anointed. Christ, on the other hand, has been anointed both as king and as priest. As king He fought for us, as priest He offered Himself for us (en. Ps. 149, 6)

 2 - Not only our head has been anointed, we have been anointed too inasmuch as we are His body. Now, He is king because He governs and leads us, He is priest because He intercedes for us. And there has been only one priest like Him, since He is the sacrificial victim as well. He has offered to God no other sacrifice than Himself, and incorporated us to Himself by making us His members, so that we too might be Christ in Him (en. Ps. 26, II, 2)

 3 - The anointment belongs to all Christians; it is therefore clear that, inasmuch as we are all anointed, we are the body of Christ. In Him we are all both of Christ and Christ (en. Ps. 26, II, 2)

 4 - The spiritual unction is the Holy Spirit Himself, the sacrament of which consists in the visible unction. Of this unction of Christ John says that all who have it know the bad and the good, and they don’t need to be taught, because the unction itself teaches them (Io. ep. tr. 3, 5)

 5 - You are the priest, You the victim; You are the offerer, You the offering. He is the priest who has now entered beyond the veil and, alone among all who have been in the flesh, intercedes for us (en. Ps. 64, 6)

 6 -  If the duties of a bishop or presbyter or deacon are discharged in a perfunctory and flattering manner, nothing can be, in this life and especially in these times, more easy, agreeable and pleasing to men; but nothing, at the same time, more miserable, deplorable and worthy of condemnation in the sight of God. If, on the other hand, in the office of a bishop or presbyter or deacon the orders of our Captain are observed, there is nothing, in this life and especially in these times, more difficult, toilsome and risky; but, in the sight of God, nothing is more blessed (ep. 21, 1)

 7 - Servitude is free in the house of the Lord, where not necessity serves, but love. May love make you a servant, since truth has made you free. Do not serve with discontent! You are a slave of the Lord, you are a freedman of the Lord; do not seek to be emancipated so as to depart from the house of your emancipator (en. Ps. 99, 7)

 Anointing of the sick

 1 - This anointing perfects us spiritually in that life which has been promised to us. We are now anointed in the sacrament and in the sacrament itself there is a prefiguration of what we shall be. We must therefore desire such ineffable future and, at the same time, we must sigh sacramentally, in order to be able to rejoice in that reality which is shown beforehand in the sacrament (en. Ps. 26, II, 2)

 2 - The sacramental effect of the unction (anointing) is the invisible virtue, which is the Holy Spirit. The invisible unction is that charity which, in any man in whom it may be, shall be as a root to him: however burning the sun (of the passions) is, he cannot wither (Io. ep. tr. 3, 12)

 3 - Let Him speak to you within, since no one is there; for even if there is someone at your side, no one is in your heart. Yet someone must be in your heart: let Christ be in your heart, let His unction be in your heart, otherwise your heart will thirst in the wilderness having no fountains to be irrigated. Whenever His inspiration and unction are absent, in vain words make a noise from without (Io. ep. tr. 3, 13)