The Teaching [Wisdom] of the Saints
by a Parish Priest
The Catholic Church, the Teacher of Mankind
4. CHASTITY; THE SERVICE OF GOD
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.
The pure soul is a beautiful rose, and the Three Divine Persons descend from Heaven to inhale its fragrance. -----St. Cure d'Ars.
Like a beautiful white dove rising from the midst of the waters, and coming to shake her wings over the earth, the Holy Spirit issues from the infinite ocean of the Divine perfections, and hovers over pure souls, to pour into them the balm of love. The Holy Spirit reposes in a pure soul as in a bed of roses. There comes forth from a soul in which the Holy Spirit resides a sweet odor, like that of the vine when it is in flower. -----St. Cure d'Ars.
Chastity is the lily of virtues, and makes men almost equal to Angels. Everything is beautiful in accordance with its purity. Now the purity of man is chastity, which is called honesty, and the observance of it, honor and also integrity; and its contrary is called corruption; in short, it has this peculiar excellence above the other virtues, that it preserves both soul and body fair and unspotted. -----St. Francis of Sales.
What is more comely than chastity, which makes one generated from impure seed pure; an enemy, a friend; and a man, an Angel? There is a difference, indeed, between a chaste man and an Angel, but in happiness, not in virtue; the Angel's chastity is more happy; but man's is more proved. -----St. Bernard.
Chastity, or cleanness of heart, holds a glorious and distinguished place among the virtues, because she, alone, enables man to see God; hence Truth itself said, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." -----St. Augustine.
There is no remedy so powerful against the heat of concupiscence as the remembrance of our Saviour's Passion. In all my difficulties I never found anything so efficacious as the wounds of Christ: In them I sleep secure; from them I derive new life. -----St. Augustine.
If you desire to be chaste, be retired, be modest, be mortified. -----St. Leonard of Port Maurice.
Humility is the safeguard of chastity. In the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than not fearing the danger. For my part, when I find a man secure of himself and without fear, I give him up for lost. I am less alarmed for one who is tempted and who resists by avoiding the occasions, than for one who is not tempted and is not careful to avoid occasions. When a person puts himself in an occasion, saying, I shall not fall, it is an almost infallible sign that he will fall, and with great injury to his soul. -----St. Philip.
I tremble when I think of so many great men, who after their virtues had placed them among the stars, and almost fixed their habitation in Heaven, have miserably fallen into most grievous sins and died impenitent. We have seen, Lord, the great lights of Thy Church fall from Heaven, being pulled from thence by the infernal dragon; and, on the contrary, some that lay, as it were grovelling on the ground, have been wonderfully elevated all at once by Thy almighty hand. -----St. Augustine.
Your good resolutions must not make you proud, but humble and diffident; you carry a large sum of gold about you, take care not to meet any highwaymen. In this life there is nothing certain: we are in a continual warfare, and, therefore, ought to be on our guard day and night. We sail in a tempestuous sea that threatens us on every side, and in a poor leaky vessel: the devil, who aims at nothing less than our destruction, never ceases to increase the storm, to overwhelm us thereby, if he can; hence it was that the Apostle gave this precaution, even to the virtuous: "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. x.12) -----St. Jerome, Epistle to St. Eustochium.
Some complain that mankind will fail if so many are consecrated virgins. I desire to know who ever wanted a wife and could not find one? The killing of an adulterer, the pursuing or waging war against a ravisher, are the consequences of marriage. The number of people is greatest where virginity is most esteemed. Enquire how many virgins are consecrated every year at Alexandria, all over the East and in Africa, where there are more virgins than men in the country. -----St. Ambrose.
ON THE SERVICE OF GOD
When nothing diverts my thoughts from God, my heart swims in an excess of overflowing joy, in so much that I often forget my food and all earthly things; but it is an affliction to live amid the distraction of worldly conversation. -----St. Paul Hermit.
The true way to advance in virtue and give satisfaction is a holy cheerfulness. The cheerful are much easier to guide in the spiritual life than the melancholy. Excessive sadness seldom springs from any other source than pride. -----St. Philip.
Let the whole face wear an air of cheerfulness rather than that of sorrow, or any other disorderly affection; and if anyone be disposed to gloominess and melancholy, he must strive by much virtue and docility to suppress and banish it, and study so much the more to show a pious cheerfulness. -----St. Ignatius.
Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; wherefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits. -----St. Philip Neri.
The soul of one who serves God always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, is always in her palace of jubilation, ever singing with fresh ardor and fresh pleasure a new song of joy and love. -----St. John of the Cross.
What a great right Jesus Christ has to our service, for the benefits with which He has loaded us! and how dear have these benefits cost Him! When He purposed to act according to His love, He seems, if we may so speak, to have forgotten He was God. -----St. Ignatius.
Some negligence in serving a man might perhaps be excused, but in the service of God it ought not, at any price, to be endured. -----St. Ignatius.
One act performed in dryness of spirit is worth more than several done in great sensible fervor. -----St. Francis of Sales.
How many courtiers there are, who go into the presence of the King, a hundred times, not to speak to him, or to listen to him, but merely to be seen by him and to show by their assiduity that they are his servants. When, then, you come into the presence of Our Lord speak to Him, if you can; if you cannot, because you are spiritually hoarse, stay nevertheless, and make Him a reverence. -----St. Francis of Sales.
We are made for this, that we may be good, and serve our Maker; when we act against His precepts, we act against Nature. -----St. Paulinus.
The service of God is not a burden, but an honor: so far from branding us with the mark of slavery, it wipes it away. -----St. Peter Chrysologus.
This is man's glory, to persevere and abide in the service of God. -----St. Irenaeus.
He is the Creator, thou art the creature; thou art the servant, He is the Lord; He is the Maker, thou art the vessel: therefore, to Him thou owest all thou hast, from whom thou hast received all, thy Sovereign Lord, Who made thee, and made thee well. -----St. Bernard.
To love God is to reign; he who desires to reign, let him adhere and be subject to God, the one Lord of all things; that soul is most free which is ruled by Him alone. -----St. Augustine.
There is no higher dignity than to serve Christ. -----St. Ambrose.
O man! thou art pleased to have a faithful servant and yet thou wilt not be faithful to God: thou who hast a servant, remember that thou too hast a Lord. -----St. Augustine.
Every creature, whether it will or not, is subject to the one God and Lord; but a warning is given to us, to serve the Lord with our whole will, because the just man serves Him willingly, but the unjust serves Him as a slave. -----St. Augustine.
God can never command anything that is impossible, because He is just, nor will He damn any man for what he could not avoid, because He is merciful. -----St. Augustine.
God does not command impossibilities, but when He commands anything, He admonishes thee to do what thou canst do, and to ask for what thou canst not do, and He helps thee to do it. Strengthen me, O Lord, that I may be able; give what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt. -----St. Augustine.