Preface to The Maxims of Perfection

Christian soul, chosen by God to live the perfection of the Gospel in religious life or in the world, read the following Maxims attentively, meditate on them frequently and I hope through Divine Goodness that they will enlighten you, let you know in what great virtue consists, and help you to practise it.

Read and re-read them often with profound attention, weighing even their least words. There are very few words that do not have their own special meaning and that do not shed new light on truths which they explain.

Take them sometimes for the subject of your ordinary meditations, and when you have weighed and penetrated the meaning of each one, reflect on yourself to see how you have practised its teaching, and how you wish to practise it in the future.

To arouse a desire to take up these exercises, look at the multitude of saints who have lived in the past and are still living in the practice of the virtue they teach. Then you can say, "What? Can I not do what these have done? Can I not imitate their holiness and follow their example of a perfect life?"

You can be sure, dear Reader, that if you use them in this way, the truths in these Maxims will purify your heart, free it from attachment to creatures, enable it to perceive great virtue and provide help for its practice.

In a word, they will fill you with Jesus Christ by stripping you of self in order to be clothed with him, and in the fullness of the Divine Spirit they will establish you in the possession of perfect peace, crown you with merit and lead you to the happiness of the glory of eternity. This is the good I wish for you with all my heart.