by St. Peter Julian Eymard

Imprimi Potest, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1940

Cor mundum crea in me, Deus.

Create a clean heart in me, 0 God.
(Ps. 1:12.)


THERE is one virtue without which all others are as nothing, and that is the virtue of habitual charity, the habit of the state of grace. This virtue we absolutely must have if we are to please God and live in Him. The state of grace is necessary that we may have the power of the apostolic as well as of the contemplative life. Without it all graces are like diamonds lost in the mire. Nourishment taken into a sick stomach stifles instead of sustaining life; and do we think we are offering to God a sacrifice of pleasing odor when we proffer Him a noisome corpse? Yet, what else are we if we are not in the state of grace?

The state of grace is necessary in order that God may love us and grant us His grace. Assuredly, God does not love us because of any merit on our part and He has no reason to love our works in so far as they have their source in us. What are we in His sight? And what good can come from a body and soul stained with sin? A little natural good at the most, but nothing supernatural. What God loves in us is His grace, the reflection of His sanctity in hearts that are pure. That is enough to satisfy His gaze. Does not God love a child after its Baptism? Yet it has no acquired virtues. It is pure, however, and in the state of grace. God sees Himself reflected in the grace which adorns its heart and takes pleasure in the perfume of the fragile flower while He awaits its fruits.

In ourselves, too, God loves above all the state of grace, the state of purity we acquired by being washed in the Blood of Jesus. The state of grace is our beauty. It is the reflection of Jesus Christ in His Saints. As the Father sees Himself in His Word, so Jesus sees Himself in their souls. But if the soul is stained with sin, it is impossible for God to be reflected therein. Do you expect Him to be well pleased to look at His Divine Son's executioner? Evil is never lovable. And when we are guilty of sin, God cannot love our state. In His goodness and mercy, He first purifies us, and not till then does He show His love for us; not till then can we bear His gaze. Our first motive, therefore, for guarding the state of grace is that it makes us loved by God and renders us pleasing in His sight.


THEN what of you who come before Jesus so often to kneel in adoration? Do you want Him to see an enemy in you? Make your soul reflect His living image if you would have Him receive you with pleasure. The first thing you should do when you come to adore is to drive the devil away by taking holy water and making an act of contrition. That is only fulfilling the duty of cleanliness to which rich and poor alike are obligated Indeed, if our faith were strong enough, we should not dare enter the church when we have a sin upon our conscience; or, rather, like the publican we should stand far in the rear. ---- "But then we should never enter the church!" ---- Yes, enter, but first cleanse your soul. I find that the sinner who says, "I do not dare go to church and appear before God," has a true sense of what is fitting. He is wrong, of course, in not having recourse to the Sacrament of Penance; but his fear is well-founded.

Habitual charity, or the state of grace, ought to be our most cherished virtue. See what the thought of the Church is in this regard. Although her priest is considered holy because he represents Jesus Christ and because he is about to re-enact the miracles the Savior once performed, the Church makes him pause at the foot of the altar, bow down, and humbly confess his sins. She even obliges him to ask pardon for them, so to speak, of his server, usually only a poor little boy, who answers him: "May Almighty God have mercy on you!" ---- Misereatur tui!

You come to adoration to do the office of the Angels. Be pure like them. He offers an insult who comes to adoration with an impure conscience. Does not the Scripture say: Peccatori autem dixit Deus: Quare tu enarras justitias meas, et assumis testamentum meum per os tuum. 1 ---- "But to the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare My justices, and take My covenant in thy mouth?" Be pure, therefore, if you want to adore. Shall a soul that exhales an odor of death dare to appear before Jesus, Who is so pure? Ah, I pray you not to be so contemptuous of our Lord as to come to adore him when your conscience is laden with sin!

The state of grace! Oh, the devil is deceiving us! We are quick to do little acts of virtue, but we neglect the purity of our conscience! But what is an act of virtue but a fruit? And the tree that bears the fruit depends on its root. Watch, therefore, that the root be sound! The Lord loves the praise that comes out of the mouths of little children because it comes from hearts that are pure.

Let us lay hold on these ideas. Let us be careful to keep ourselves in the state of grace. Remind yourself frequently: "At adoration I am the representative of the Church, of the entire family of Jesus Christ; I am the advocate of the poor and of sinners; I intercede for them. How dare I ask pardon for them if I myself am a sinner?" After all, the Lord hearkens to the prayers of only pure souls in the state of grace. You know the beautiful reply given by the man born blind to the Pharisees, who were trying to prove to him that Jesus Christ was a sinner: "If He be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. ... Now we know that God doth not hear sinners." 2

How do the Saints appease the anger of God if it be not that they are victims in His sight, victims beautified with the purity of His Son, the innocent and spotless High Priest?


THIS being so, what have we to do? We must love the state of grace above everything else and fear nothing so much as occasions of sin. We carry our treasure in such fragile vessels! We must unceasingly watch and be on our guard. Mary trembled before an Angel! We must exercise every possible means to preserve the purity of our soul. We must be ever-vigilant sentinels. Let us keep watch over our senses. In the midst of our cities, so full of evil today, we ought to cover our eyes with our two hands lest death enter by those windows of the soul. We ought to say continually: "My God, I place my soul in Thy keeping." The air of cities is tainted. Sin rules there, and people glory in their servitude to it. It is a stifling air that is breathed there; one is more tempted; there are mists of sin which one breathes in spite of oneself. Let us therefore be more watchful over ourselves.

And let the soul which has received greater graces watch the more! Let the one that has received a gift of inner prayer fear more than others! No one is so sensitive to the cold as a person who is used to a warm climate. Likewise, a soul that lives by God, in the company of the Angels and the Saints, needs to be more alert and vigilant when it is out in the world. That is why we sometimes see devout souls fall so low. They received Communion, prayed fervently, and nevertheless they fell into sin. Ah, yes! They were not watchful enough. Like cherished children within the family circle, they had no thought that roaring lions prowled without. The Saints were more vigilant than anyone else, because they were aware that they were more richly endowed and they knew better their own vulnerability. Yes, the more graces one has, the greater danger one runs; the more one is loved, the more one must fear.

You possess a great treasure, and the devil knows its value. It is well worth the trouble he will have in taking it from you. Very often it is only the affair of a moment.
But how is that possible? The man who was so holy had too much confidence in himself, became proud of his graces, presumed too much on his lofty state, and he fell. Do you imagine that because God loves you especially and lavishes His graces upon you, you love Him just as much in return and deserve His love? Do you think you have a right to it? No, no; often those children who are most deeply loved are the ones who love least. Do not trust, therefore, to the holiness of your religious habits, of your calling. It was in Heaven that the Angels fell!

We are inclined to look only at the honor of serving God, the splendor it reflects upon us, and our superiority over those of lower station. Let us instead fix our eyes for a while on our own misery! Great graces presuppose great weakness. Since God surrounds you with so much care, with so many barriers, you must be very frail. That thought will keep you on guard against yourself.

Let us be watchful therefore and not trust to our holiness. Take heed that white is more easily soiled than any color; the least spot shows on it and tarnishes it. Remember, this white of ours is only a borrowed purity; we borrow it from Jesus Christ. Let us take care not to soil it!

You are more favored by God; fear more. Do you think because God loves you, Satan loves you, too? He sees you striving to take the place lost by the Cherubim and Seraphim and is jealous.

Besides, he is attacking you in order to do an evil turn to our Lord. ---- "I cannot overthrow Thee," he seems to say to Jesus; "but I shall at any rate shatter these living ciboria which contain Thee!" He avenges himself on us for his powerlessness against the Savior Who conquered him. Do you not know that he who would attain holiness brings upon himself violent struggles and temptations? And, in the midst of these furious assaults loosed upon you, you say: "But I never used to be tempted like this!" True; in those days the devil had no fear of you. So do not be frightened at seeing your temptations increased when you are more fervent in God's service. If we could glory in anything, it would be in this, that since the devil attacks us, we are worth the trouble.

Then let us be pure; Jesus Christ wills it. Let us labor to make our heavenly garment ever whiter and whiter. Oh, let us have faith! Let us remember Whom we serve! It is an evidence of the weakness of our faith that we lack delicacy in the presence of our Lord. Let us reproach ourselves again and again on that account. Let us become pure, and let delicacy, that fair flower of faith and love, grow in our heart and rule all our intercourse with Jesus Christ. He loves pure hearts; His delight is to be among the lilies; and the secret of His royal favor is purity of heart guarded with fidelity. Qui diligit cordis munditiam, ... habebit amicum regem. 3 ---- "He that loveth cleanness of heart shall have the King for his Friend." 

1. Ps. 49:16.
2. John 9:35 and 31.
3. Prov. 22:11.