St. Peter Julian Eymard
Potest, Nihil Obstat
and Imprimatur, 1940
mundum crea in me, Deus.
Create a clean heart in me, 0 God.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.