Thursday before Pentecost.

On Simplicity and Sincerity of Heart as the Chief Requisite for the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.


My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

On Simplicity and Sincerity of Heart as the Chief Requisite for the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.

Recall to mind, my soul, the pleasing scene described in the Gospel, when our Lord placed a little child in the midst of the disciples, and proposed that little one, whose charm lay in the simplicity and sincerity of his heart, as a model for the imitation of His apostles. And as it pleased our Lord, so nothing pleases the Holy Spirit more than childlike simplicity and candor; hence it would be another and a serious obstacle to the reception of the graces of Pentecost, were you to celebrate that feast with a deceitful, dissimulating heart, a secretive, reticent spirit.

1st. Consider that Holy Scripture tells us that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” (Prov. xii. 22.) And Sirach the Wise Man declares: “A lie is a foul blot in a man.” “A thief is better than a man that is always lying, but both of them shall inherit destruction.” (Ecclus. xx. 26, 27.) From these passages of Holy Scripture you see, my soul, how repugnant to the Holy Spirit – for He it is who speaks by the mouth of the wise men of the Old Testament – is lying and all that is included in it; doubledealing, cunning, dissimulation, for that is acting a lie continually; you see how intensely He hates everything that is opposed to simplicity and uprightness of heart. A soul in which these two virtues are lacking resembles a broken mirror from which the grace and the light of the Holy Spirit can only be reflected in a distorted manner. The Apostle tells us that the Church, the bride of the Holy Spirit, must be stainless, “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Eph. v. 27); accordingly, it follows that you, who are a spiritual church, a mystic temple of the Holy Ghost, must likewise be without stain, that your soul must be free from spots and wrinkles, that all about her must be smooth and even like the polished surface of a mirror, for then the sunbeams of grace, the light of the Holy Spirit, will be most perfectly and beautifully reflected in it.

2d. Consider that in the world the evils most opposed to simplicity and uprightness, i.e., duplicity and concealment, are so common, that the words of the prophet Osee may be fitly reechoed in the present day: “There is no truth in the land.” (Osee iv. 1.) Everywhere lying, false hood, deceit and guile have got the upper hand; the words of the lips are at variance with the feelings of the heart, and he who in speech and behavior appears your friend is in reality your enemy. On account of all this St. John declares that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. How necessary, how all-important it is for you, who as a Priest, as a Religious have forsworn the world, to guard yourself carefully against this vice which is so prevalent in the world, otherwise in spite of your renunciation of the world you would not be in a state to receive the Holy Spirit. Nay more, you would be doubly incapable of receiving Him, since you would be an arrant hypocrite, hiding a worldly heart, a heart, that is, full of craftiness and cunning, beneath a habit which proclaims you a stranger to the ways of thc world. Examine yourself therefore; ascertain whether you possess the virtue of simplicity which gives itself out for what it is, whether you have the sincere heart of a Nathanael, without guile or artifice, for upon this it depends whether you receive in greater or less measure the graces of the approaching feast, when the celestial Dove, descending from above, loves to alight in hearts that are innocent, guileless, dovelike.

3d. Consider of what vast importance it is for ordinary Christians, and pre-eminently for members of a Religious Order, to cherish mutual candor and uprightness of soul, and how much mischief on the other hand is caused by underhand dealing, a want of candor and outspokenness. Frank, guileless, candid natures are like children easily contented and they are beloved by all. Brethren who are of a suspicious, sly, secretive disposition cannot live at peace with themselves or with others. St. Dorotheus says: “Some persons are in the habit of assigning one reason or another for the falling away of every Religious who is not faithful to his vocation. This one, they say, was obliged to leave the monastery on account of the delicacy of his health, and so on; but I say the real cause was that when the temptation first assailed him he kept it to himself and did not manifest his inmost heart to any one.” Learn hence to walk before God in simplicity and sincerity of heart, to be open with His representative, your Superior or the director of your conscience; towards your Brethren or Sisters be also frank and straightforward, without how ever at the same time forgetting the counsel given you in that inestimable little book: “Discover not thy heart to every man. Have charity towards all, but familiarity is not expedient.” (Imit. B. i. ch. 8.)


My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ

(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)

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