By a Parish Priest
The Catholic Church the Teacher of Mankind
Imprimatur, 1905


Prudence must precede every action which we undertake; for, if prudence be wanting, there is nothing, however good it may seem, which is not turned into evil.
------ St. Basil

The virtue of prudence is indispensably necessary to teach us how to adapt ourselves to the state and disposition of each person with whom we have to do; to make us circumspect in word and action; and to restrain us from all that may be prejudicial to our neighbor. It is the function of prudence to regulate our words and actions. Prudence prompts us to speak with due caution, so as to suit our discourse to the time, place, and subject. It causes us to abstain from such arguments as offend God or our neighbor, as well as those which tend to our own praise, or other evil consequences. It makes us proceed with consideration and with a right intention in action, so that the prudent man does everything in the manner, at the time, and for the end it ought to be done, such end being nothing but God Himself. It teaches us to make choice of the most proper means, and puts us in the most direct and sure way to obtain our last end.

There are two sorts of prudence, the one human, the other Christian. Human, carnal, or worldly prudence is that which has only worldly prosperity in view, and is indifferent about the means, provided it attains its object. Christian prudence takes Eternal Incarnate Wisdom for its guide in every thought, word, and work. It is regulated in every emergency, not by fatuous, glimmering light of its own, or by worldly judgment, but by the maxims of faith.
------ St. Vincent of Paul

It is not good to load ourselves with many spiritual exercises: it is better to undertake a little, and go on with it; for if the devil can persuade us to omit an exercise once, he will easily bring us to omit it a second time, and, more easily still, a third, until all our pious practices will, at last, melt away.
------ St. Philip

Be ye prudent as the serpent; he, on being in danger, exposes his whole body to preserve his head. In the same manner, we must risk everything, should it be necessary, to preserve the love and presence of Our Lord whole and entire within ourselves, for He is our Head, and we are His members. This is the prudence which we are to unite with simplicity.
------ St. Francis of Sales

Christian simplicity is an act of simple charity which makes us have no other view in our actions but the sole desire of pleasing God; this is the one thing necessary. It is a virtue which is inseparable from charity, which looks straight to God, and which can- not suffer any interference from the consideration of creatures: God alone finds place in it.
------ St. Francis of Sales

God in His nature is most simple, and cannot admit of any duplicity. If we then would be conformable to Him, we should endeavor to become by virtue what He is by nature; that is to say, we should be simple in our affections, intentions, actions, and words; we should do what we find to do without artifice or guile, making our exterior conformable to our interior; we should have no other object but God in our actions, and seek to please Him alone in all things.
------ St. Vincent of Paul

The soul that has attained to perfect simplicity loves but one thing, which is God, and has but one personal desire in the gratification of this love, which is to repose in His bosom: there, like a child of love, she fixes her abode; she puts herself, without reserve, under the care of His paternal providence, without any anxiety but what is found in maintaining this confidence.

There is a certain simplicity of heart in which consists the perfection of all perfections. This is when the soul fixes her intention only on God, and retires into herself, in order to attend, with great diligence and simplicity, to the fulfillment of the duties prescribed to her, without turning her mind to desire or to undertake anything else. Craftiness is the accumulation of artifices, intrigues, deceits, and appearances, to mislead the minds of those with whom we converse. This is quite the reverse of simplicity, which requires that the outside should correspond with what is within. There are souls so much engaged in considering what they shall do that they lose the time for action; but in everything respecting our perfection, which consists in the union of the soul with God, little knowledge and much practice is what is demanded. It appears to me that, when asked to point out the road to heaven, we might very rationally reply with those who say that to reach a particular place we must go straight forward and keep moving, putting one foot before the other, and, by that simple operation, we shall soon arrive at the object of our wishes. "Always advance," may be said to those souls so solicitous to attain perfection: "pursue the path of your vocation with simplicity; be more attentive to act than to form desires. This is the shortest way."
------ St. Francis of Sales


An action of small value, performed with much love of God, is far more excellent than one of a higher value, done with less love of God. A cup of cold water given with this great love is meritorious of eternal love.
------ St. Francis of Sales

We make little actions great by performing them with a great desire to please God; the merit of our services consisting, not in the excellency of the works, but in the love which accompanies them.
------ St. Francis of Sales

In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and His glory; direct all you do purely to His honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practise first all that you desire to teach others.
------ St. Bernardine of Siena

He who wishes for anything but Christ does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works, and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing.
------ St. Philip

A man ought never to think he has done any good, or rest contented with any degree of perfection he may have attained, because Christ has given us the type of our perfection in putting before us the perfection of the Eternal Father: "Be ye perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
------ St. Philip

Every creature in the world will raise our hearts to God, if we look upon it with a good eye.
------ St. Felix of Cantalicio

As a master of a family calls together his servants at the close of the day to see how they have fulfilled their various offices, so must the Christian summon before the tribunal of his reason, every day, the sense of his body and all the various faculties and powers of his soul, and ask of them a strict account of the manner in which they have fulfilled their respective functions.
------ St. John Chrysostom

If those things which God commands are only done outwardly, by the hands, and not inwardly, in the heart, no one is so senseless as to think he has fulfilled the commandment.
------ St. Augustine

Let your intentions in the fulfillment of your duties be so pure that you reject from your actions every other object but the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
------ St. Angela of Merci

From the time that we go on with a right and pure intention, seeking not our own interests, but those of Jesus Christ, our adorable Master Himself preserves us because of His infinite goodness.
------ St. Ignatius

It is not on the multiplicity of our actions that our progress in perfection depends, but on the fervor and purity of intention with which we do them. Purity of soul increases the merit of a good action, because it is the end which gives value to the action, and the more pure is that end and intention, the more perfect is the action. What more worthy end can we nave in our actions than the glory of God?
------ St. Francis of Sales

The whole conduct of a Christian proposes to itself only .one end, which is the glory of God; wherefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
------ St. Basil

Let all our study be to have an upright intention, not only in our state of life in general, but also in our actions in particular; proposing nothing else to ourselves than to serve and please God; and this rather through love and gratitude for the benefits we have received, than through fear of punishment, or hope of reward, though these motives are good and ought to be made use of by us.
------ St. Ignatius

O pure and upright intention of the will! Intention so much the more upright and pure, by how much it is purified from any mixture of self-interest! Affection so much the more tender and sweet, by how much it is moved or touched by nothing but what is divine; and to be moved and affected after this manner is to be deified.
------ St. Bernard

Be careful to purify your heart more and more each day. Now, this purity consists in weighing everything in the scales of the Sanctuary, which are only the will of God.

Ah! do not examine whether what you do is much or little, whether it is done well or ill, provided it be not sin, and provided you have an upright intention to do it for God. Do everything as perfectly as you can; but once an action is performed, think no more of it, but rather of what there is to be done.

It seems to me that I see your heart before me like a dial placed in the sun, which never moves while its needle and balance are continually in motion, ever turning toward the beautiful planet; for your heart in like manner remains motionless, while your will is continually turning by means of its good desires toward God.
------ St. Francis of Sales

There have been many persons in the world of old times who had some virtue and did good works; and there are many Christians also at this time, who are virtuous men, and who do great things, but their virtue and good works are utterly useless in the matter of eternal life; because they do not, in them, seek the honor and glory and love of God solely, and above all things.
------ St. John of the Cross

A Christian ought to rejoice, not because of his works and virtuous life, but because his life and acts are such solely for the love of God, and for no other reason whatever. For as works done only for God's honor will have a greater reward of glory, so good works which men do under the influence of other considerations will end in our greater confusion in the sight of God.
------ St. John of the Cross

The Christian, therefore, if he will direct his rejoicing to God in moral goods, must keep in mind that the value of his good works, fasting, almsgiving, penances, and prayers does not depend upon their number and nature, but on the love which moves him to perform them for God; and that they are then most perfect when they are wrought in the most pure and sincere love of God, and with the least regard to our own present and future interests, to joy and sweetness, consolation, and praise.
------ St. John of the Cross