Pope Francis

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The practice of Humility - 59

Against your interior opposition, remain firm against the difficulties you will experience in putting into practice what I have taught you.  Do not say, as the disciples did: “This is a hard teaching.  Who can accept it?” (Jn 6:61).  I assure you that the initial bitterness will soon turn into indescribable sweetness and heavenly consolations. Perseverance in these exercises will free you from anxiety of spirit; it will instill in your heart so much peace and tranquillity that you will have a foretaste of that eternal pleasure prepared by God in heaven for his faithful servants. If out of cowardice you stop using the means necessary to become humble, you will always feel oppressed, restless, unbearable to yourself and perhaps also to others, and what is worse, you will run the risk of being eternally lost.  At least, the door of perfection will be closed to you, since there is no door to enter it, other than humility. Arm yourself with holy daring so that no one will dishearten you. Look above and see Jesus Christ, laden with the Cross, teaching you the way of humility and patience; the way already trodden by many saints now reigning with him in heaven. Hear how he is urging you to follow his road and that of the true imitators of his virtues. See how the holy angels desire your salvation; notice how they implore you to take the narrow path, the only safe one, the only one leading to heaven, to those vacant seats of eternal glory emptied because of the pride of the rebellious angels. Don’t you hear the blessed proclaim throughout paradise that the way of humiliations and suffering is the only way to be happy in heaven?  See how they rejoice and congratulate you for those first desires you conceived to imitate them; hear how they beg you not to lose heart. Arm yourself with strength and courage to start this great work without delay.  Remember your baptismal oaths, and tremble at the thought of violating the sanctity of the promises you then made to God. These are Christ’s words:  “The kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent are taking it” (cf. Mt 11:12). Blessed are you one thousand times if, convinced of this, you resolve to practice humility in order to deserve the eternal happiness of paradise.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

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