January 19 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Will of God

Esteem, therefore, and love the will of God in all things, and above all things, and bring yourself with high ardor to accomplishing it. Detest having not done it in the past, and ask pardon of God for it humbly and with faith. Decide to want to do it in every way in the future.

Observe that which could impede the execution of the will of God, or diminish fervor for it, that is: The temptations of the Devil, and human respect; The allurements of the flesh and of worldly goods; The fear of losing some worldly goods; The fear of inconveniencing the body.

Scorn similar impediments. Observe that love must be as strong as death, that it breaks down every obstacle, and that no one tribulation must diminish it. Say with St. Paul: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” etc., rousing oneself to heroic acts like the Saints.

Reflect on how you might think, speak, work, if you would truly love God: “Truly love is never idle, for it is busy with great things, if it is love. If however it refuses to labor, it is not love.”

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January 12 – The Baptism of the Lord: Baptism and Prayer

In the order of divine providence, the more necessary the means to salvation, the more God renders it easy to practice. Thus among the sacraments, there is nothing easier than Baptism; the matter is simply water, the minister any person, and it can be administered at any place, time, or age. So too one can pray in any place, at home, while traveling, in bed, at any time during the day or night, without sublimity of thought or elegance of style. Rather “He hath had regard to the prayer of the humble, and he hath not despised their petition” (Ps 101:18).

It is not necessary to wait for an audience, to seek out mediators, to study expressions. We ourselves are the temple of God. The heart is the altar where prayers reside and are welcome, without this welcoming other influences disturb us and close us off to the Word of God.

January 5 – The Epiphany of the Lord

The soul that loves its own good must throw itself into God, where all goods are found with infinite perfection. Those goods are eternal. They satisfy the heart. They make the soul blessed. Receiving these goods, the soul will save itself by loving. Like the thirsty deer, putting its mouth to the stream, so the soul rises to God. Throw yourself into that sea of goodness, and taste how sweet is the Lord. Give permission to your heart, that with the weight of your love you will let yourself fall into God, and although love might feel cold in its affections, it will strain to express some desires and fiery words to show itself in love with God. If you persevere in those demonstrations, words, and signs of love, and deal with God as a fervent lover, you will find in time that you truly love him. In this exercise if one has patience, even if the fire is not immediately lit, because the heart full of love of the world and of itself is like a green wood that with all the coals lit below, although it burns, it does not immediately light up. First it only makes smoke, then it makes smoke and flame, at last it makes a flame without smoke.

December 29 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph: Letters to Leopoldo Ricasoli

I rejoice highly to know that you are in Jesus full of good will, nor shall I neglect to ask insistently of the Holy Family for you have a holy perseverance in these more special days of blessing and grace; do not neglect in the meanwhile to nourish your piety with the usual daily exercises of prayer, of reading, and of frequenting the holy Sacraments. Thank the Lord for the stillness of your heart, which I hope you have enjoyed for a long time, nor could you choose a more efficacious means to conserve this peace than frequenting the holy Sacraments; add to this also in a stable manner every day a bit of meditation and of spiritual reading; and have no fear that the Lord will accord you all else that you desire. Rest assured that the difficulty of continuing with such a system is more in the apprehension than in the reality. Think that God deserves all effort, nor does he let himself be outdone in generosity.

December 22 – Fourth Sunday of Advent: A Time for Spiritual Joy

Let each of us be stable in all holy spiritual exercises, considering them of great importance. Let us be careful to avoid that tacit disdain for them found when one says it is of no importance if I omit spiritual reading, an examination of conscience, the rosary, holy Mass, etc. Sometimes we omit them in order to deal with other people, other times for some small occupation or because we feel indisposed. Once we become lazy about our spiritual devotions only with great difficulty can God, with all the strength of his dealings with our heart, subject that heart to himself. The demons know that if they do not cut away these locks of hair from the soul, they will never be able to bind this Samson. Hold in great esteem and be glad to value all the tender devotions which help in loving God. The saints made use of these devotions, and esteemed them highly, knowing that as the leaves of a tree protect its principal fruit, so tender motivations nourish solid virtue.

December 15 -Third Sunday of Advent: Spiritual Exercises in Advent

Know well what it is that God desires so as not to labor uselessly, spending one’s self for that which God does not require of us, and which therefore is not pleasing to him. That which God seeks is to uproot pride, to burn away desires for self-advancement, for being esteemed, for gratifying and giving pleasure to men; this hinders God from working in the soul, whence it is necessary to conceive a great hatred for it and make a conscious effort to eradicate it.

Resolve to never omit spiritual reading, the practice of union with God, the exam of this virtue, and the general exam of the day, and to do this every day. Also, if it is possible add a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and go to confession every week.

December 8 – Second Sunday of Advent: Desert Prayer

Let each of us be stable in all holy spiritual exercises, considering them of great importance. Let us be careful to avoid that tacit disdain for them found when one says it is of no importance if I omit spiritual reading, an examination of conscience, the rosary, holy Mass, etc. Sometimes we omit them in order to deal with other people, other times for some small occupation or because we feel indisposed. Once we become lazy about our spiritual devotions only with great difficulty can God, with all the strength
of his dealings with our heart, subject that heart to himself. The demons know that if they do not cut away these locks of hair from the soul, they will never be able to bind this Samson. Hold in great esteem and be glad to value all the tender devotions which help in loving God. The saints made use of these devotions, and esteemed them highly, knowing that as the leaves of a tree protect its principal fruit, so tender motivations nourish solid virtue.

Enter into the way of prayer completely selfless with respect to God, without demanding graces, special illuminations, peaceful repose, revelations, etc. God’s way of proceeding with us is to pour out consolations and graces on the one who does not demand them of him; in this way we profit much, and we have always, in all our exercises, a pure and correct intention of pleasing God in them, whether in time of aridity or in time of
consolation.

When confronted with a variety of temptations, make use of the various passages of sacred scripture to fortify you. Make an express act of faith in the scripture passages, and have a complete trust in the holy, efficacious, omnipotent word of God, following the example of Jesus Christ tempted in the desert.

December 1 – First Sunday of Advent: Advent Exercises
Let each of us be stable in all holy spiritual exercises, considering them of great importance. Let us be careful to avoid that tacit disdain for them found when one says it is of no importance if I omit spiritual reading, an examination of conscience, the rosary, holy Mass, etc. Sometimes we omit them in order to deal with other people, other times for some small occupation or because we feel indisposed. Once we become lazy about our spiritual devotions only with great difficulty can God, with all the strength
of his dealings with our heart, subject that heart to himself. The demons know that if they do not cut away these locks of hair from the soul, they will never be able to bind this Samson. Hold in great esteem and be glad to value all the tender devotions which help in loving God. The saints made use of these devotions, and esteemed them highly, knowing that as the leaves of a tree protect its principal fruit, so tender motivations nourish solid virtue.