Suitable Exercises

The ignorance of some is greatly to be pitied, who load themselves with unwise penances and other unsuitable exercises of their devising, putting all their confidence in them, and expecting to become saints by their means. -St. John of the Cross

When a penitent who was somewhat reckless in his speech, asked his director for a hair-shirt, to mortify the flesh, “My son,” said the priest, laying his finger upon his lips, “the best hair-shirt is to watch carefully all that comes out at this door.”

The principal thing upon which we have to turn our attention, that we may mortify it, and eradicate it from our hearts, is the predominant passion; that is, the affection, inclination, vice, or bad habit, which reigns most in us, which makes us its captive, which brings us into greatest danger, and most frequently causes us to fall into grave transgressions. When the king is taken, the battle is won. And until we do this, we shall make no great advance in perfection. -Rodriguez

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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