We see that the truly wise are those who know how to acquire Divine grace and Heaven. Let us pray the Lord to give us the wisdom of the Saints which He bestows on those who ask it of Him. She gave him the knowledge of holy things.
We see that the truly wise are those who know how to acquire Divine grace and Heaven. Let us pray the Lord to give us the wisdom of the Saints which He bestows on those who ask it of Him. She gave him the knowledge of holy things (Wis. x. 10). Oh, it is a noble science, to know how to love God, and to save our souls, which consists in knowing how to choose the way of eternal salvation and the means of obtaining it. The affair of salvation is, of all affairs, the most necessary. If we should know all things, and not know how to save our souls, it would avail us nothing, and we should be eternally miserable; but, on the other hand, we shall be for ever happy if we know how to love God, even though we should be ignorant of all other things: “Blessed is he who knows Thee, though he be ignorant of all besides,” said St. Augustine. One day Brother Giles said to St. Bonaventure: “Happy art thou, Father Bonaventure, who knowest so many things; and I, poor ignorant man, know nothing; thou canst become more holy than I can.” “Attend to me,” replied the Saint, “if a poor ignorant old woman were to know how to love God more than I do, she would be more holy than I am.” Upon which Brother Giles began to cry aloud: “O poor old woman, poor old woman, listen! listen! If you love God, you can become more holy than Father Bonaventure!”
St. Augustine says: “The ignorant rise up and bear away the Kingdom of Heaven.” How many rude peasants are there who know not how to read, but know how to love God and so save their souls; and how many of the learned ones of this world lose their souls! The former, then, and not the latter, are truly wise. Oh, how truly wise was a St. Paschal, a St. Felix the Capuchin, a St. John of God, although ignorant of all human sciences! How truly wise have those been who, leaving the world, have shut themselves up in cloisters or lived in the desert, like a St. Benedict, a St. Francis of Assisi, or a St. Louis of Toulouse who renounced his throne. How truly wise so many Martyrs and so many Virgins, who renounced the nuptials of the great ones of this world to go and die for Jesus Christ. Even worldlings recognise this truth, and hesitate not to say of such a one who has given himself to God: Blessed is he who is thus truly wise, and saves his soul! In fine, those who leave the good things of this world to give themselves to God are said to be undeceived. What, then, ought those to be called who leave God for worldly goods, but deluded men? My brother, to which of these two classes do you wish to belong?
O Father of Mercies, look upon my misery, and have pity on me! Give me light, and make me sensible of my past folly, in order that I may weep over it, and know Thy infinite goodness, that I may love it. My Jesus, deliver not up to beasts the souls that confess to thee (Ps. lxxiii. 19). Thou hast shed Thy Blood for my sake; do not permit me any longer to be a slave of devils, as I have hitherto been. I repent, O Sovereign Good, of having abandoned Thee. I curse all those moments in which I willingly consented to sin; and I embrace Thy holy will, which desires my good alone. Eternal Father, through the merits of Jesus Christ, give me strength to do all that is pleasing to Thee.
In order that you may make the right choice, St. John Chrysostom advises you, saying: “Let us go to the tombs of the dead!” They are excellent schools for learning the vanity of this world’s perishable riches and the Science of the Saints. Tell me, says Chrysostom, canst thou distinguish them — who has been a prince, who a noble, who a man of letters? “For my part,” the Saint declares, “I see only rottenness, bones, and worms! All is fable, a dream, a shadow!” All the things of this world will ere long come to an end, and vanish like a comedy, a dream, a shadow. But, dear Christian, if you wish to be wise, it is not enough to know the importance of your end; you must adopt the means for obtaining eternal happiness. All men would wish to save their souls and to become saints; but because they do not employ suitable means, they do not become saints, and they lose their souls. We must fly the occasions of sin, frequent the Sacraments, pray, and above all, establish in our hearts these maxims of the Gospel: What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world? (Matt. xvi. 26). He that loveth his life shall lose it (Jo. xii. 25); that is to say, we must even sacrifice life itself to save our souls. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself (Matt. xvi. 24). In order to follow Jesus Christ, we must deny our self-love the gratifications it seeks. Our salvation depends upon doing the Divine will: Life is in his will (Ps. xxix. 6). These and similar maxims must be graven on our hearts.
Let me die, O Lord, rather than any more oppose Thy will. Assist me with Thy grace to place all my love in Thee alone, and to detach my heart from all such affections as do not tend to Thee. I love Thee, O God of my soul, I love Thee above all things; and from Thee I hope for all my good, for pardon, for perseverance in Thy love, and for Paradise, that I may there love Thee in eternity. O Mary, ask these graces for me. Thy Son denies thee nothing. My hope, in thee I confide.