The sign of the cross is the most terrible weapon against the devil. Thus the Church wishes not only that we have it continually in front of our minds to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ, but also that we should make it at every juncture ourselves: when we go to bed, when we awaken during the night, when we get up, when we begin any action, and, above all, when we are tempted.
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Put a good bunch of grapes under the winepress, and a delicious juice will come out. Under the winepress of the cross, our soul produces a juice that feeds and strengthens us. When we haven't got any crosses, we are dry. If we carry them with resignation, what happiness, what sweetness we feel!
Envy, my children, follows pride; whoever is envious is proud. See, envy comes to us from Hell; the devils having sinned through pride, sinned also through envy, envying our glory, our happiness. Why do we envy the happiness and the goods of others? Because we are proud; we should like to be the sole possessors of talents, riches, of the esteem and love of all the world! We hate our equals, because they are our equals; our inferiors, from the fear that they may equal us; our superiors, because they are above us.
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My little children, your hearts, are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.
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On the Way of the Cross, you see, my children, only the first step is painful. Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses. . . We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken; for, whatever we do, the cross holds us tight - we cannot escape from it. What, then, have we to lose? Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven?
Yes, my dear children, everything is good and precious in God's sight when we act from the motives of religion and of charity because Jesus Christ tells us that a glass of water would not go unrewarded. You see, therefore, my children, that although we may be quite poor, we can still easily give alms.
A pure soul is like a fine pearl. As long as it is hidden in the shell, at the bottom of the sea, no one thinks of admiring it. But if you bring it into the sunshine, this pearl will shine and attract all eyes. Thus the pure soul, which is hidden from the eyes of the world, will one day shine before the Angels in the sunshine of eternity.
We put pride into everything like salt. We like to see that our good works are known. If our virtues are seen, we are pleased; if our faults are perceived, we are sad. I remark that in a great many people; if one says anything to them, it disturbs them, it annoys them. The saints were not like that - they were vexed if their virtues were known, and pleased that their imperfections should be seen.
Others will give away large alms in order to be considered charitable people. Should they not give these out of their own wages, which so often they squander on trifles? If this has happened to you, do not forget that you are obliged to pay back to the person concerned all that you gave to the poor without the knowledge or consent of your employers. Then again, there is the one who has been entrusted by his employer with the supervision of the staff, or of workmen, who gives out wine and all sorts of other things to them if they ask him.
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