Jgs 13:3

… Poor barren one, poor childless one, thou art to conceive, and bear a son.

In Conversation with God:

What I say to you, I say to all; watch. These words are addressed to men of all times… because we men tend towards drowsiness and comfort-seeking… We should be attentive and cheerful like eager people who expect a long-awaited loved one.

Keeping watch is above all a matter of loving. We may have difficulties in keeping our love awake: selfishness, a lack of mortification and temperance always threaten to extinguish the flame that Our Lord lights time and again in our hearts. That is why we need to constantly revive the flame, to shake ourselves out of any repetitive routine, to struggle…

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak…

For whilst you give yourself up to evil, you come to consider yourself good, because you do not take the trouble to look at yourself. You reproach others and do not take stock of yourself. You accuse others and do not examine yourself. You place them before your very eyes and you place yourself behind your back. So when the time comes for me to reckon with you I shall do the opposite; I will turn you around and confront you with yourself. Then you will see yourself and you will weep…

That supernatural mode of conduct is a truly military tactic. You carry on the war – the daily struggles of your interior life – far from the main walls of your fortress. And the enemy meets you there: in your small mortifications, your customary prayer, your methodical work, your plan of life: and only with difficulty will he come close to the easily-scaled battlements of your castle. And if he does come, he arrives exhausted…

That joke, that witty remark held on the tip of your tongue; the cheerful smile for those who annoy you; that silence when you’re unjustly accused; your friendly conversation with people whom you find boring and tactless; the daily effort to overlook one irritating detail or another in the persons who live with you… this, with perseverance, is indeed solid interior mortification…

Our Lord is not recommending childishness, but innocence and simplicity… A child is devoid of even the slightest feeling of self-sufficiency. It is in constant need of its parents, and knows it. A child is fundamentally a being in need, and this is what a Christian should be before his Father God, a being in total need. A child lives fully in the present and nothing more. The adult’s less admirable predisposition is to look restlessly to the future, ignoring the here and now, the present moment, which ought to be lived to the full…

To become like children at heart while remaining adults can be costly… To become children we must renounce our pride and self-sufficiency, recognising that we can do nothing by ourselves. We must realise that we need grace and the help of God our Father to find our way and to keep it. To be little, you have to abandon yourself as children do, believe as children believe, beg as children beg. 


Such is the blindness of men that they even glory in their blindness.


… helpless and hungry, lowly, afraid, wrapped in the chill of midwinter comes now among us, born into poverty’s embrace, new life for the world…

ToB #125 ~ Continence Frees One from Inner Tension

Excitement seeks above all to be expressed in the form of sensual and corporeal pleasure. That is, it tends toward the conjugal act which (depending on the natural cycles of fertility) includes the possibility of procreation. Emotion, on the other hand, caused by another human being as a person, even if in its emotive content it is conditioned by the femininity or masculinity of the “other,” does not per se tend toward the conjugal act. But it limits itself to other manifestations of affection, which express the spousal meaning of the body, and which nevertheless do not include its (potentially) procreative meaning.


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