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


The love of worldly possessions is a sort of bird-lime, which entangles the soul, and prevents it flying to God.
-------- St. Augustine

Poverty was not found in heaven; it abounded on earth,---but man did not know its value. Therefore the Son of God longed after it, and came down from Heaven to choose it for Himself, to make it precious to us.
-------- St. Bernard

As riches are the instruments of all vices, because they render us capable of putting even our worst desires into execution, so a renunciation of riches is the origin and preserver of virtues.
-------- St. Ambrose

Blessed are the poor in spirit. He is rich in spirit who has riches in his spirit, or his spirit in riches. He is poor in spirit who has neither riches in his spirit, nor his spirit in riches. There is a vast difference between having poison and being poisoned. Apothecaries have almost all kinds of poison for their use, as circumstances may require, but they are not poisoned, because they keep their poisons not in their bodies but in their shops. In like manner you may possess riches without being poisoned by them, provided you have them for use, in your house or in your purse, and not by love in your heart.
-------- St. Francis of Sales

Heaven is promised to other beatitudes as a future reward. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." But to the poor in spirit the Kingdom of Heaven is assigned as a present recompense, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. This is so, because to them who are truly poor in spirit the Lord gives great helps, even in this life.
-------- St. Liguori

The less we have here, the more shall we enjoy in God's Kingdom, where the mansion of each is proportioned to the love with which he shall have imitated Jesus Christ.
-------- St. Teresa

It is not mere poverty, but the love of poverty which is reputed virtue.
-------- St. Bernard

Many religious glory in the name of poverty, but shun the sufferings and humiliations which are attached to it. They glory in the name, but fly from the reality.
-------- St. Vincent Ferrer

Perfection does not consist in not seeing the World, but in not having a taste or relish for it. In a word, the perfection of charity is the perfection of life; for the life of our soul is charity. The primitive Christians lived in the world in body but not in heart, and were nevertheless very perfect.
-------- St. Francis of Sales

Let us not esteem worldly prosperity or adversity as things real or of any moment, but let us live elsewhere, and raise all our attention to Heaven; esteeming sin as the only true evil, and nothing truly good but virtue which unites us to God.
-------- St. Gregory Nazianzen

Every earthly possession is but a sort of garment for the body, and therefore he who hastens to contend with the devil should throw aside these garments, lest he be borne down.
-------- St. Gregory

Poverty should be the badge of religious; and as men of the world distinguish their property by stamping it with their names, so the works of religious should be known to be such by the mark of holy poverty.
-------- St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

We ought to love poverty as a mother, and rejoice at the opportunity of feeling its effects.
-------- St. Ignatius

We must look upon all things of this world as none of ours, and not desire them. This world and that to come are two enemies. We cAnnot therefore be friends to both; but we must resolve which we would forsake and which we would enjoy. And we think that it is better to hate the present things, as little, short-lived, and corruptible; and to love those to come which are truly good and incorruptible. Let us contend with all earnestness, knowing that we are now called to the combat. Let us run in the straight road, the race is incorruptible.
-------- St. Clement


The perfection of a Christian consists in mortifying himself for the love of Christ. Where there is no great mortification, there is no great sanctity.

To mortify one passion, however small, is a greater help in the spiritual life than many abstinences, fasts, and disciplines.
-------- St. Philip

Lament and consider that day as lost in which you have not in some way mortified yourself for the love of God.
-------- St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi

Inordinate love of the flesh is cruelty, because under the appearance of pleasing the body we kill the soul.
-------- St. Bernard

Be assured that the mortification of the senses in seeing, hearing, and speaking is far more profitable than wearing even sharp chains or hair shirts.

It ought to be our principal object to conquer ourselves, and from day to day to go on increasing in spiritual strength and perfection. But, above all, it is necessary that we should study to overcome our little temptations to anger, suspicion, jealousy, envy, duplicity, vanity, foolish attachments, evil thoughts, and so on: for, by so doing, we shall gain strength to resist more violent temptations.
-------- St. Francis of Sales

Beware of too much speaking, for it banish- es from the soul holy thoughts and recollection with God.
-------- St. Dorotheus

They who pay a moderate attention to the mortification of their bodies, and direct their main attention to mortify the will and under- standing, even in matters of the slightest moment, are more to be esteemed than they who give themselves exclusively to corporal penances.
-------- St. Philip

There is great reason to lament the ignorance of some, who burden themselves with indiscreet penances, and with many other disorderly exercises of their own self-will, putting all their confidence in such acts, and believing that they become Saints by means of them. If they would but use half the same diligence in mortifying their unruly appetites and passions, they would make more advancement in a single month than in many whole years with all the other exercises.
-------- St. John of the Cross

A man's chief care ought to be turned within himself: the renunciation of self-will is a greater thing than the raising of the dead to life.
-------- St. Ignatius

While a single passion reigns in our hearts, though all the others should have been extirpated, the soul will never enjoy tranquility.
--------  St. Joseph Calasanctius

A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either command them or be enslaved to them. It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.
-------- St. Dominic

The more you hate and ill-treat your flesh, the greater will be your reward in the next life.
-------- St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Our Saviour has annexed the prize of His love and of eternal glory to the victory we gain over ourselves.

If, in good earnest, you abandon and renounce yourselves, you will find an incomparable sweetness in God's service, and it will be your delight to trample on self-love for the advancing of the kingdom of grace. It is the reward God promises to the conqueror.
-------- St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Prayer without mortification is like a soul without a body, just the same as mortification without prayer is a body without a soul.
-------- St. Francis of Sales

But the practice of mortification must be moderated by the rules of prudence and by the counsel of a wise director, because it may happen and often does happen that the devil urges on a soul to excessive penances in order to tire her and render her unfit for the service of God and the fulfillment of her duties.
-------- Ven. Anna Maria Taigi

The fruits of a good heart which God waters and nourishes with His grace are a total forgetfulness of itself, a great love of humiliations, and an universal joy and satisfaction in everybody's good.
-------- St. Jane Frances de Chantal

The spiritual combat in which we" kill our passions to put on the new man is the most difficult of all the arts. We must never weary of this labor, but fight the holy fight fervently and perseveringly. Jesus Christ came down from heaven to earth to point out the way that leads to true happiness, and the first Christians imitated their Divine Master in all things. They left the world with all its riches and pleasures, in order the more easily to subdue their passions, to tame their sensuality, and to exercise themselves in virtue.
-------- St. Nilus, Abbot

This is self-renunciation---to unlock the chains of this earthly life, which passeth away, and to set one's self free from the business of men, and so to make ourselves fitter and meeter to enter on that path which leadeth to God, and let our reason be more unhampered to gain and to use those things which are far more precious than gold or precious stones.
-------- St. Basil

We must live in this world, as if our spirits were in Heaven and our bodies in the tomb. We must live a dying life and die a living and life-giving death, in the life of our King and sweetest Saviour.
-------- St. Francis of Sales