The Maxims of Perfection
Wisdom Sayings of Jean-Pierre Medaille SJ


Over three centuries ago, a young Jesuit priest, very enlightened in the interior life, wrote these pearls of wisdom under the inspiration of the Spirit of Love, for all persons who aspire to holiness of life in the midst of the world.

The Maxims of Perfection by Jean-Pierre Medaille proclaim the ageless teachings of Christ in a literary form popular to 17th Century France. Quickly, after its first publication in 1657, this spiritual document rose to public acclaim. Many savoured its wisdom, profited from its practice and grew spiritually mature under its carefully balanced guidance. Then, it seemed to rest dormant and hidden for several years... its spirit kept alive primarily within the Sisters of St. Joseph, his spiritual daughters. As this new millennium dawns upon us, the Spirit of God is awakening the richness and uniqueness of this spiritual treasure in a resurging cry that comes to us from the laity: "Sisters, give this book to the public again."

This contemporary presentation of the original Maxims of Perfection invites us not only to read Jean-Pierre's marvellous collection of wisdom sayings, but to see and feel them, to let them enter our innermost beings "where the divine Goodness can enlighten us, teach us, and help us to live them."

The Maxims of Perfection have a hidden quality, a mystical dimension. We must go beyond the words and enter into the heart of the mystery, which no language can ever convey. This presentation style can lure us to touch our own mystical depths.... and rest there in silent pondering, lifted into a transcendence beyond any particular culture, age or race.

The Maxims of Perfection also have a visible quality, an active dimension. They call us and challenge us to live the words, to put "flesh and bones" on them... to let Love love through us in the concrete reality of our daily lives. The simple down-to-earth quality of the texts translates for us how we can live the spirituality of Medaille in our present life vocation.

The Maxims of Perfection speak directly to us. They require very little explanation. What they do call forth from us is a spirit of discipleship, that is a willingness to listen, to learn, to be converted! They have their own strength in their short, direct, honest and simple form. The sacred words of this mystic have the power to purify, the power to transform and the power to give "life" to our inner spirit.

You are invited to come and sit down in quiet leisure from time to time with this warm and loving pastor. Dialogue with this mystic, listen to our beloved Jean-Pierre speak with you. Read slowly his inspired wisdom sayings and let one phrase, one word, please you, attract you, challenge you, invite you, move you to 'the something more..."

Come into the presence of Love and let Love love through you....

The Maxims of Perfection, translated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, Canada 1985.


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.

Today: Praying and Living These "Maxims of Perfection"

"Read and re-read often each maxim slowly and peacefully, with "profound attention, weighing even the little words which express special meaning."

Consider the meaning of each Maxim, penetrate its depths. Jean-Pierre's words have been carefully selected to shed new light on some Gospel truth?

Internalize each Maxim. What is its meaning for me personally? Reflect on how I am practicing its teaching? How do I desire to practice it in the future?

Externalize each Maxim. How am I being drawn to live more fully this maxim in my present life circumstance? To hold fast my desire to live these maxims in my daily life, I will look at the holy men and women who have lived them in the past and /or are living them now and I will challenge myself: "With God's grace, can I not do likewise?"

Contemplate each Maxim frequently. Spend some time in quiet, affective prayer, listening to the Spirit-within-you, who will enlighten your mind and heart, teach you a wisdom that transcends the senses and moves you to live in these truths in all your relationships.

Chapter 1:
The End which souls who aspire to high virtue ought to propose to themselves

Maxim 1:1
Have always before your eyes
the sublime end of your Christian commitment.
See your particular vocation and the attraction of divine grace
which draws you gently but firmly
to the practice of great virtue.
Do nothing that might distance you from
or make you undeserving of the graces
with which the divine Goodness
has been favouring you, perhaps for some time
and with little effect.

Maxim 1:2
Let it be the general principle of your life to be perfect
as your heavenly Father is perfect,
that is, to embrace courageously
in all things what tends to the greater glory of God,
what is most agreeable in his eyes
and what is most conformable to his will.

Maxim 1:3
Love God and what may be called divine.
Belong wholly to God
by a complete abandonment of yourself to his providence.
Be entirely for God by a pure and selfless love,
entirely in God by constant attention to his presence,
entirely according to God by perfect conformity of your will and your life
to the loving decrees of his divine will.

Maxim 1:4
See often the greatness of your soul in God
and its nothingness in itself.
Let the sight of your weakness and nothingness unceasingly humble
and confound you.
Let your greatness in God bring you to desire nothing
but what is great,
to practise virtue in its most perfect acts
and to make the least action great by a great love of God
and a purity and nobility of intention
of which we shall speak further in these Maxims.

Maxim 1:5
In this greatness of heart, consider as very little
whatever you are able to do or suffer for God.
For indeed before God everything is as nothing
and however great our service of God may be
it is always very lowly and very little
in comparison to what God infinitely deserves.

Maxim 1:6
In order to strengthen your desire to become holy,
and to continue in the practice of the most excellent virtues,
contemplate often the greatness of God.
There you will find such an immensity of perfection,
such merits and motives for serving God perfectly,
that the least slackening or tepidity in God's holy service
will pain you deeply,
and the difficulties and contradictions you encounter
in the practice of a high degree of piety
will never weary you.
This is the end which you ought to propose to yourself
as the goal of your life and these are the general rules
which will help you to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Chapter 2:
Means to Arrive at This End

Maxim 2:1
Begin by a complete purifying of your heart and of your conscience.
Atone for the sins of your past life by penance and tears.
Uproot any bad habits
and overcome them generously by contrary habits.
Rid yourself of the least faults and willful imperfections,
and even avoid any occasion that gives you
reasonable fear of falling into sin.
Until a heart is completely purified
it cannot receive those great communications of grace
necessary for the practice of great virtue.

Maxim 2:2
Detach yourself from all earthly affections.
Empty your heart of them so completely
that no created thing can hold it back.
A heart that is empty of everything is at the same time
filled with God.

Maxim 2:3
Work at tempering all of your passions.
Keep struggling with them until you have made them
completely submissive to reason
and to the light of grace.

Maxim 2:4
Strip yourself of the old self so that
you can put on the new.
In order to live in the perfection of this Maxim,
die to all self-love
and to every movement of the heart
that comes from a wounded nature resistant to the grace of the Holy Spirit.
When you have died to nature and to the old self,
live the life of Christ Jesus, putting on his humility,
gentleness, simplicity and all his other virtues.
Then you can say with Saint Paul:
"I live; no, not I; it is Christ who lives in me."

Maxim 2:5
With this life transformed into Christ Jesus,
love what the world hates;
hate what the world loves.
Empty yourself entirely of the spirit of the world
and be filled with Christ Jesus
and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Maxim 2:6
In order to live more fully the life of the Saviour Jesus,
be, at least in desire,
the poorest person in the world,
the most gentle and kind,
the most humble and patient.
In a word,
excel in the practice of every virtue
of which he has left us an example in his holy life and
especially in his death.

Maxim 2:7
Living and dying in him,
with him, and through him,
make your own
the holy intentions of this divine Saviour,
that is, the glory of God and
the salvation and sanctification of all humankind;
in a word,
the whole purpose for which he chose
to live and die.

Maxim 2:8
In the same spirit of the Saviour Jesus,
lead a life hidden in God, in order to practise in him
great interior acts of adoration, admiration, glorification,
reverence and love and to draw from there the spirit of great virtue
mentioned in the preceding chapter.
To this truth we can be led only by grace
and by the imitation of Jesus
who is truly our way, our truth and our life.

Chapter 3:
Maxims of Humility

Maxim 3:1
Empty yourself
in honour of the Incarnate Word
who emptied himself with such love
for your sake
and in this self-emptying,
profess the most sincere and profound humility
known to you.

Maxim 3:2
In order to become humble
remember that you are nothing,
illusion and sin:
nothing, in your being;
sin, in the offenses you have so often committed and commit daily;
illusion, in the esteem people have for you and your actions.

The latter are surely illusions since
they have more the appearance of good
than the reality, and
are often praised by others
when in fact they deserve blame.

Maxim 3:3
As a result of this knowledge,
humble yourself, abase yourself,
empty yourself constantly before God and before others.
Believe yourself undeserving of any kind of good
and deserving of all kinds of evil.
Fear the judgments of God
which are very different from human judgments.
Have a great repugnance for the praise and esteem of others.
Love contempt and seek after it.
Accept the truth that great souls
find a precious treasure of grace and consolation
in occasions of humiliation
when they accept them as they should.
In the same way you bless God
with perfect joy of spirit when it happens that
you are overlooked, held in contempt,
contradicted or little esteemed by the world.
These are the sentiments of humility by which the saints lived
and which you should make your own,
knowing their virtue to have been incomparably
greater than yours,
and that in contrast to their outstanding holiness
your life is full of imperfections.

Maxim 3:4
In all your undertakings,
base the strength of your decisions and
your hope of success
on a complete lack of confidence in yourself
together with complete confidence in God alone.
Practise these acts especially
at the beginning of an enterprise.
In order to combine prudence with true humility,
even though you should expect everything from God
in what you undertake,
be as diligent in carrying out your undertakings
as if everything depended on your efforts alone
and God had entrusted their success entirely
to your vigilance and your efforts.

Maxim 3:5
Never speak of yourself, either well or ill,
unless there is some real necessity.
In this case, try to express what you have to say
with moderation and discretion,
so that you will not say anything out of place
or prompted by vanity.

Maxim 3:6
Do not have a high opinion of yourself
or of what you do.
Be convinced that if you really knew yourself
and the imperfections present in everything you do,
you would have great contempt for yourself and
great difficulty in putting up with yourself.

Maxim 3:7
Never find fault with anyone
but yourself.
Always acknowledge your own faults and
excuse others.

Maxim 3:8
At the conclusion of your good works,
in order not to lose their fruit and
to merit the grace of persevering in them,
shun with horror any complacency
you might take in them.
Give all the glory to God and
to our Saviour Jesus who by his death
has become the principle and, as it were,
the soul of your supernatural life
and your good actions.

Maxim 3:9
Moreover, when you have succeeded in these same actions,
be convinced that your meager fidelity to grace and
the sins you committed while performing them
have probably caused their progress
to be much less than God had reason to expect from your part in them.

Maxim 3:10
Believe that in the course of your life
you do nothing except impede
the adorable designs of God's grace
and lessen its fruits and effectiveness.

Maxim 3:11
Desire that others be well thought of,
and be pleased when they are preferred to you
in everything.

Maxim 3:12
Be pleased that others are more intelligent
and more talented than you,
more virtuous and more favoured with supernatural graces,
if this should be God's will.
On the one hand,
consider yourself unworthy of these graces
and on the other hand,
adore God's designs and place all your satisfaction
in the accomplishment of God's good pleasure.

Maxim 3:13
Conceal as far as you can
the little grace that God sees fit to give you.
Reveal it only to your spiritual director,
candidly, simply and humbly.
On the contrary,
make known when occasions arise
what will make others look down on you.
But do this with discretion,
and without offending against prudence, obedience or charity.

Maxim 3:14
However pure your views and intentions may appear,
be persuaded that you seek yourself
in some recess of your self-love.
Nature is always intermingled with the workings of grace,
and indeed, there are few virtues
that are wholly free of self-love.

Maxim 3:15
Continue the good works you have begun
until they are near completion,
and then,
if you can do so, let them be finished
by somebody else who will have the credit for them
in the eyes of others.
Then you will have greater glory in heaven.

Maxim 3:16
When it happens that you have a foretaste
of the sweetness of sensible grace and tender consolation,
remember that this grace is loaned to you
rather than given, that it belongs less to you
than to the Saviour Jesus from whose merits it comes,
and that he can take it from you
whenever he pleases
without any injustice to you,
especially if you become unworthy of it.
Remember that although by his divine plan he can deprive you of his friendship
only as a result of sin on your part,
he is not obliged to communicate himself
so generously.
When he does, the lavishness of his divine mercy should overwhelm you
as you realize how undeserving you are
and how continually you misuse his boundless gifts.

Chapter 4:
Maxims on Purity of Intention

Maxim 4:1
Have God alone before your eyes,
God's good pleasure,
God's glory, and
make no account of anything else.

Maxim 4:2
Seek no praise or recompense in this life
for your good works, and you will receive
a greater reward in eternity.
O how greatly
does empty praise and reward
for our actions in this life
lessen their merit in the next.

Maxim 4:3
Let your good works be hidden in time,
that they may appear only in eternity
or be known by God alone and
never by others
if this is God's will.
If you act in the spirit of this Maxim,
your love will be more pleasing in God's sight
and your intention more pure and detached.
This is what you should seek.

Maxim 4:4
Rejoice that God is glorified
no matter who promotes his glory.
It is the mistake of some zealous persons
to want to do everything themselves
or through their associates, and
to be unable to tolerate that others succeed
in their undertakings and in the care they take
to make God known and loved.

Maxim 4:5
Take care in all your undertakings
that God is the beginning and the end,
and that in carrying them out
you never go against God's will.
As to the results,
be completely indifferent as to whether you succeed or not
and desire only that God's will be accomplished in all things.
You must recognize and love this will of God
just as much when your praiseworthy projects
are frustrated or fail as when they advance and succeed.

Maxim 4:6
In all your works, be on your guard
against seeking the satisfaction and consolation
that accompanies the efforts of those who work
for the advancement of God's glory
and the salvation of the neighbour.
Desire only that God be glorified
and that others be instructed
and brought to salvation and perfection.
Do not stop to look for the satisfaction and pleasure
that comes from seeing one's work succeed.

Maxim 4:7
In everything you do,
seek only to please God,
and make no account of anything else.
In practising this Maxim, remember
in times of sickness, desolation,
persecution, and similar trials throughout life,
to desire only what is pleasing to God
and not to be concerned about your own interests.
I conclude these instructions
about purity of intention
by recommending that you be nothing to yourself
but entirely given to God and to others,
entirely for God and according to God.
If you always act
in the spirit of these sentiments,
they will render all your intentions perfectly pure.

Chapter 5:
Maxims of Patience

Maxim 5:1
Live with the saints close to the cross,
and die to pleasure.
At the same time you will live for God
and die entirely to yourself.

Maxim 5:2
Sufferings accepted well
are like the wood
which serves to kindle the fire of love.
To the extent that you endure faithfully
and make good use of your crosses, you will see
the sacred fire of love grow in your heart.
Souls who have this great love
are usually led through great sufferings.
Grasp this truth and profit from it.
A great fire cannot keep burning unless someone continues to throw wood on it.
Likewise, to sustain a great love of God throughout life
it is necessary to endure great sufferings.

Maxim 5:3
Jesus Christ
has ennobled and divinized suffering
in his own person.
Since his death, human suffering,
ennobled and divinized by him,
ennobles and divinizes
those who make good use of it.

Maxim 5: 4
The real proof of love
is to endure much for those one loves.
Endure much for God
and you will show clearly that you love God very much.
If you are unwilling to suffer anything
for God, it is a sign
that you do not love God.

Maxim 5:5
Love sufferings that are pure,
that is sufferings that contain nothing but suffering
and are devoid of all interior or exterior consolation.
These are most like the cross of Jesus Christ,
Especially like the sufferings of his passion.

Maxim 5:6
If it happens that you are abandoned by others
and even by God,
through the withdrawal of sensible grace,
remember the abandonment of Jesus on the cross
and willingly embrace your cross
in consideration of his.

Maxim 5:7
To suffer as you ought,
desire to do so with the holy attitudes and patience
of the Saviour Jesus.
To suffer in this way constitutes the perfection
of Christian patience:
  • without complaining, finding fault or letting your suffering be seen;
  • without asking for relief except when it is necessary and so as not to displease God;
  • without letting yourself be overcome by interior sadness or exterior worry;
  • without growing weary of suffering, and with the desire to suffer more if such is God's good pleasure;
  • with thanksgiving, joy and contentment, and with the realization that whatever you may endure is nothing compared to the pain you have merited by your sins, and with what Jesus endured for you.

Maxim 5:8
When you are overwhelmed by great afflictions,
keep your heart from longing for death
even though you may think you desire it
only if it is God's will.
Let it be enough for you to be crucified with Jesus
as much as and in the way it please God,
and to die on your cross at the hour in which Providence
will have accomplished in you,
for you, and through you,
all that it was destined to do,
both in the course of your life
and in the time and manner of your death.
That will be when, by a happy "Consummatum est",
pronounced in imitation of the Saviour Jesus
and if possible in his spirit,
you will joyfully return your soul
into the hands of your heavenly Father.
You will then go to possess God's glory and to enjoy
an eternal reward in heaven, in proportion to
the nature, merit, and number of your works.
In addition to accepting the crosses that come to you,
seek others voluntarily by the practice of mortification.
This must be prudent with regard to mortification of the body, but it can never be too great when it has to do with
mortification of the passions, of inordinate affections,
and of other inclinations of nature
which need to be constantly mortified
if you are to be able to live the life of the spirit.


Chapter 6:
Maxims of Obedience and Fidelity to Grace

Maxim 6:1
Be obedient to your superiors
"as to the Lord and not to humans."
These words of Saint Paul, rightly understood,
will bring you in a short time
to the perfection of obedience.

Maxim 6:2
To understand this Maxim better,
believe the truth that Providence
directs subjects through their superiors,
and by this guidance, brings them
to follow along the sure way
predestined for them.

Maxim 6:3
Convinced of this, you will obey without difficulty,
and you will not presume or oppose the orders
of those who take God's place on earth
and who command in his name,
lest you go aside from the path of your salvation.

Maxim 6:4
When you are given a command, obey faithfully,
joyfully and simply, and if possible
without the slightest thought of reluctance or refusal
and without interjecting a single word between the command and its execution.

Maxim 6:5
Be particularly diligent in carrying out commands
given by your superior or pertaining to your duties,
especially if they affect the good of the body
to which you belong or the welfare of the neighbour.
Notice how often
we put off doing the latter in order to do other things
that are less in the line of duty and more in accord
with our own inclinations and petty interests.

Maxim 6:6
If you are in religious life,
live content with the work
which obedience has assigned to you.
Carefully apply your mind and heart to it
without the slightest thought of change
until obedience appoints otherwise.

Maxim 6:7
Do not inquire what your superiors
have in mind for you.
Await their decisions with serenity and patience
as coming from the hand of God.
Desire that they be made known to you
only at the time God has appointed, and
do not be unduly eager to know them sooner.

Maxim 6:8
Obey faithfully the inspirations of grace.
There are few persons who give it full obedience.
Often they respond reluctantly
or negligently,
seldom accomplishing fully
the good God inspires them to do.

Maxim 6:9
Never go ahead of grace
through imprudent eagerness
but await its moment in peace,
and when it comes to you,
follow it with great gentleness and courage.
Once you have obeyed,
take care lest complacency rob you
of the fruit of your obedience.

Maxim 6:10
In order to come more surely to this fidelity,
weigh carefully the truth
that resistance to grace, no matter how slight,
is an amazing hindrance to God's blessing
both on our own spiritual progress,
and on our good works
which are directed to the promotion of God's glory
and the good of the neighbour.
What is strange is that a single act of infidelity to grace
has given a beginning to the eternal reprobation of many.
Let us be in fear and awe lest such a misfortune befall us.

Maxim 6:11
think of the losses that acts of infidelity to grace
have caused you.
If they were known to you, you would die of shame
and be unable to go on living for a moment.
Avoid such losses in the future
and make better use of the Holy Spirit's favours.

Maxim 6:12
The true motto of a person whom God deigns to use
for his glory or to whom God imparts his loving benediction
should be, in the words of Saint Paul:
"It is by God's grace that I am what I am",
in those of Saint Teresa, quoting the royal prophet:
"I will sing forever the mercies of the Lord."

Chapter 7:
Maxims of Peace of Heart

Maxim 7:1
Live in peace and inner tranquility.
Show this by acting without rush
or too great eagerness.
Suffer what you have to suffer peacefully,
in perfect tranquility of spirit in God,

Maxim 7:2
In order to acquire this peace and serenity of spirit,
  • live in perfect purity of heart;
  • do not cling to anything created;
  • struggle constantly to calm the unruly impulses of your passions;
  • live without desire, without fixed plans, wholly surrendered to God and to the guidance of your superiors.


Maxim 7:3
No matter what disagreeable things happen to you,
Never see them as obstacles
but as profitable and necessary
to your daily life.
If you consider them as effects of the tender and loving
providence of God, your Father,
you will love them tenderly and
accept them willingly.

Maxim 7:4
Do not be involved in too many things at once.
If through obedience or some necessity of your work
you have numerous things to attend to,
never be eager to finish some so that
you can go on to others.
Such haste
  • disturbs peace of heart
  • causes forgetfulness of God's presence;
  • shows clearly that there is much of self mingled with the inspirations of grace.
  • shows also that nature may hinder rather than help the effects that grace would bring about in us and through us.
These would be in greater perfection and without danger to health and devotion
if only we would let grace act with its ordinary gentleness.

Maxim 7:5
Anyone who knows how to let God act in and through him/her
without too much interference on his/her part
does many things in a short time and never loses peace of heart.


Chapter 8:
Maxims of Charity Toward the Neighbour

Maxim 8:1
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Love that person as Jesus Christ loved you.
Love him/her as an adopted child of God
and a member of the Mystical Body
of which Christ is the Head.

Maxim 8:2
In accord with this Maxim
love your Christian brothers and sisters
with a pure and constant love, a burning love
which if needs be spends itself for them
as Jesus Christ spent himself
for us and for his church.

Maxim 8:3
Let your charity toward your neighbour be,
as Saint Paul admonishes,
patient, benevolent, considerate,
without the least trace of bitterness or enmity.
Avoid rash or negative judgments, slander,
any signs of coldness or words or gestures
in any way offensive.
In a word,
let your charity abound in the justice of the Gospel,
and let it fulfill all the demands
of the beautiful maxim of the Saviour:
"Do to others what you would wish others to do to you."
It follows that
what you would not want done to yourself
you do not do to others.

Maxim 8:4
Furthermore, always have a good opinion of others.
Speak well of them.
Excuse and conceal as well as you can
any wrong that you see in them.
Be obliging to everyone and never be discourteous toward anyone

Maxim 8:5
Forgive all injuries,
and to practise the highest perfection
of Christian charity,
bestow cordially the greatest kindness
on those for whom
you feel the greatest repugnance.
Do not be satisfied with using opportunities of serving them
when they present themselves,
but seek out opportunities with care and diligence.
By this you will imitate your heavenly Father more perfectly.

Maxim 8:6
As for harbouring suspicions,
place on all things
the most favourable interpretation.

Maxim 8:7
Always prefer the satisfaction of others to your own,
their will to your will.
When there is no question of offending God
or showing God less honour,
show the greatest affability possible to your neighbour.
If you are having difficulty in giving in to the will of others,
and in overcoming your own reasonable desires
in order to follow their whims,
do not let your struggle be evident
but show rather
a serene and tranquil countenance
as if you found a special pleasure
in what causes you
the greatest pain and displeasure.

Maxim 8:8
Whatever you have to do in service of your neighbour,
do it in the same spirit of devotion and love
as if your were offering these services
to the person of Jesus Christ or to his holy Mother.

Maxim 8:9
When you work for others, do so with an unselfish love
which expects no recompense for its services.
Presume rather that you will be repaid
with ingratitude, as happens often enough.
You will become accustomed, in helping your neighbour,
to look for nothing but the good of serving him/her and
of pleasing God at the same time.

Maxim 8:10
When there is a question of doing several things
at the same time, either at home
or in the community,
and the choice is left to you,
choose for yourself
what is most lowly and difficult
and leave to others what is easiest
and most honourable.

Chapter 9:
Maxims on Love of God

Maxim 9:1
According to the precept of the law,
love God with your whole heart, your whole soul and
all your strength.

Maxim 9:2
Have for God a love that is
-generous, embracing all that love is capable of
and all that a heart can love in God and for God;
- sublime, full of purpose and ardour,
transcending all created beings;
- profound, residing in the centre of your heart
and unable to be uprooted by any created power.

Maxim 9:3
In honour of the Holy Spirit who is all love,
have a love that is pure and unselfish,
the most perfect love possible.

Maxim 9:4
To live according to this Maxim,
let your love for God be unitive; that is,
let it bind you fully and totally to God
through the thoughts of your mind,
the affections of your heart and
the holiness of your words and works.

Maxim 9:5
Let your love be selfless,
leading you to seek the interests of God's glory alone,
even to the point of sacrificing totally your own interests.

Maxim 9:6
Let your love be communicative,
requiring you to give yourself to God without reserve
so that you may say in the words of the Spouse of the Canticle:
"I belong to my Beloved and my Beloved belongs to me."

Maxim 9:7
Let your love be active,
that is, let it keep on loving and impelling your heart
to work for God and for the promotion of God's glory.

Maxim 9:8
Fulfill, then, all the demands of this perfect love
and you will possess at the same time
all the great virtues and will practise them generously
as occasion requires.

Maxim 9:9
In every aspect of your life and in all your actions, if it is for God's glory
and if you are not unworthy, desire to be as pleasing to God
as are the most saintly persons who have ever lived, or are living now,
and who have performed or are performing the same actions as you.
But let this desire
spring from a selfless love which seeks nothing but to please God.

Maxim 9:10
Regret any attention that the world pays to you
or any esteem or affection it has for you.
Believe that the thought and affections of others
when they are bestowed on you,
are badly employed.
Regret the ill use that Christians make of their love
when they bestow it on created things,
and desire, as is just,
that human thoughts and affections like those of the angels,
be of God and for God alone.

Maxim 9:11
Love God infinitely above all created things
and see all created beings
as infinitely beneath God.
In this light,
hold created things in slight esteem
and be content to love and possess
God alone.

Maxim 9:12
Love God, not simply in word
or in the experience of sensible devotion,
but love God in deed
and in truth.
Love God with a love
which can say with Saint Paul
"Who can separate me from the love of Christ?
I am sure that neither hunger, nakedness or persecution,
the sword or anything else, can ever separate me from God."

Maxim 9:13
In the exercise of this love,
empty yourself of all forms of human respect and compromise,
however slight.
Make it evident that you are generously dedicated to God's service alone
and that you intend not to tolerate anything contrary to
the respect and worship owed to his sovereign Majesty.

Maxim 9:14
Do not think that you have attained
the perfection of holy love of God
unless this sacred love
has emptied you of every kind of vanity, sensuality, cowardice,
negligence in your pious practices,
worldly attachments and affections.
Only in this way
will you live entirely by the inspirations of grace and
the maxims of the Gospel.
When this love is great, it causes the soul,
even while on earth, to yearn continually for God.

Chapter 10:
Maxims of indifference, abandonment and conformity to God's will

Maxim 10:1
To attain to
the perfection
of these excellent virtues,
desire little in this world and
be not over-eager
for what you may desire.

Maxim 10:2
Learn above all to distrust any desire
that is too eager
and which can disturb your peace of mind and
distract you from duties
which are necessary or are required of you.

Maxim 10:3
Do not ask for anything
or refuse anything unless
after recommending the matter to God
you judge it necessary to do so.
Even in this case,
let it be done by a simple proposal
made in a spirit of complete indifference as to whether
your request is granted or refused.

Maxim 10:4
Never think of the future
except in connection with the present, but
refer all to the Providence of God.

Maxim 10:5
Be disposed to receive with perfect submission,
and with serenity and freedom, anything not contrary to God:
- to be well or ill;
- to be happy or unhappy;
- to be loved or persecuted;
- to do one thing or another;
- to live or die;
in a word, anything that God wishes you to do.

Maxim 10:6
Have only one desire throughout your life:
to be, and to become, what God wants you to be
in nature, in grace, and in glory,
for time and eternity.

Maxim 10:7
To summarize briefly the thought of these six Maxims:
Make once and for all such a sacrifice of your will
that you will no longer let yourself
desire anything other than that God's holy will
be always fulfilled in you and by you.

Maxim 10:8
Acknowledge and tenderly cherish the most holy will of God
in all the events of your life,
no matter how disagreeable
they may be, and
in all the orders of your superiors,
unless something manifestly sinful is commanded.

Maxim 10:9
Finally, be filled with attitudes of
- indifference and resignation to God's will;
- abandonment into God's hands;
- perfect acquiescence in all the dispositions of God's divine providence;
- tender love for these dispositions;
- complete willingness to fulfill all that God desires of you,
doing and accepting constantly,
as best you can,
whatever God wishes and in the way God wishes.
Such acts comprise and express the entire conformity
of your will with the divine will,
and they constitute the perfection of love
and the essence of holiness.

Chapter 11:
Maxims of Zeal

Maxim 11:1
Your zeal will always be in proportion to the love of God
you have in your heart.
If it springs from a great love
then it will be great.

Maxim 11:2
In imitation of persons who are apostolic,
embrace, at least in desire,
the conversion and sanctification of the whole world.
Do this with a generous courage
which, by your compliance with God's good pleasure
and the orders of obedience, and by the practice of humility,
will lead and impel you to wish to do everything,
to undertake and suffer everything in order that
God may be glorified
and the souls which cost his Son so dearly
may be brought to salvation and sanctification.

Maxim 11:3
If your situation or your vocation
does not permit you to work directly
for the promotion of God's glory and the salvation of others,
offer for both these intentions your holy desires,
your prayers, your tears and your penances.
In a word,
apply to them all the works of your whole life
and the suffering and agony of your death.
Unite all these to the holy intentions of the Saviour Jesus
who lived and died for his Father and for us,
and who accomplished, especially on the cross,
the mystery of redemption.

Maxim 11:4
Ponder this truth well:
a holy and exemplary life
is incomparably more beneficial to the neighbour
than fine discourses.
The world is more deeply touched by a saintly example
than by eloquent words.
God blesses the work of his faithful servants
far more than those of sinners and the imperfect.

Maxim 11:5
Just as you ought to be courageous in undertaking
all that God desires of you for his glory
and the good of others,
so also
you must be constant in your undertakings
and never give up,
no matter what opposition you meet, unless there is nothing more you can do.

Maxim 11:6
According to the same Maxim,
continue to the end, gently and thoroughly,
what you have once decided on and have prudently judged
to be for God's greater glory.

Maxim 11:7
To put all this briefly, take as your model in the practice of zeal,
after the Saviour Jesus, the apostle Paul.
From him you will learn
the prudence, sincerity, ardour,
selflessness, constancy and tireless efforts
characteristic of true zeal.
This is the zeal you will try to imitate.

Chapter 12:
Maxims of Hope

Maxim 12:1
In the practice of hope,
confide more in God
when in your trials and difficulties
there is less likelihood of human aid.
However, in your greatest afflictions, dangers, and difficulties,
do not always hope
that God will deliver you, or comfort you, or make your undertakings succeed,
but hope that God will accomplish in you
and by you God's adorable will.
Live content with this thought.

Maxim 12:2
Moreover, in the difficulties and opposition you meet in carrying out your praiseworthy enterprises,
be fortified against human fears
and do not let your heart be overcome by them.
If they are not of God,
you ought to be the first to desire that they be opposed and
that others work to destroy them.
Moreover, if they are not of God, they cannot last,
since the Saviour Jesus has said
that every plant not planted by his Father will be uprooted.

Maxim 12:3
Hope for every good that you expect
from divine mercy
with as much confidence as if you already possessed it.
Base your hope on the goodness of God,
on God's fidelity to his promises,
on the merits of the Saviour Jesus,
and also on your own correspondence with grace.
For God, who made you without your help
will not save you without it.
That is, he will not save you
if you do not profit from his graces
by the good use of your free will.

Chapter 13:
Mixed Maxims

Maxim 13:1
Believe the truths of the Gospel with a stronger faith
the more incomprehensible they are.
Believe them with a living faith
which grasps, as it must,
the inexpressible and awesome mysteries revealed to us.

Maxim 13:2
Prefer to suffer all temporal evils
rather than the least eternal one,
all natural evils rather than the least privation of grace.
According to this Maxim,
which is based entirely on supernatural faith,
embrace the loss of all goods and endure all evils
rather than offend in any way
against the will of God.

Maxim 13:3
As a result of this knowledge,
humble yourself, abase yourself,
empty yourself constantly before God and before others.
Believe yourself undeserving of any kind of good
and deserving of all kinds of evil.
Fear the judgments of God
which are very different from human judgments.
Have a great repugnance for the praise and esteem of others.
Love contempt and seek after it.
Accept the truth that great souls
find a precious treasure of grace and consolation
in occasions of humiliation
when they accept them as they should.
In the same way you bless God
with perfect joy of spirit when it happens that
you are overlooked, held in contempt,
contradicted or little esteemed by the world.
These are the sentiments of humility by which the saints lived
and which you should make your own,
knowing their virtue to have been incomparably
greater than yours,
and that in contrast to their outstanding holiness
your life is full of imperfections.

Maxim 13:4
For the faculties of your soul, desire these perfections:
- for the memory, a total forgetfulness of all that is not God or does not tend to God;
- for the understanding, a simple gaze upon God, seeing God's good pleasure in all things
so that it sees everything in relation to God and nothing apart from God;
- for the will, the sole freedom to go to God, to love God, to depend on God, and
to embrace with joy all the orders of God's divine will.

Maxim 13: 5
To walk securely in the spiritual way,
choose a wise director.
Reveal candidly the depth of your soul,
follow his/her guidance and advice,
and do nothing in any matter of importance
except by his/her direction.

Maxim 13:6
Be watchful, and take care not to be deceived by the angel of darkness
disguised as an angel of light in order to mislead you.
If your conduct is singular, realize that it is not without danger, and always mistrust it.

Maxim 13:7
Love and act
according to reason and duty
and not through caprice
or natural inclination.

Maxim 13:8
Always be reserved in your conversations,
but let this be a cheerful and gracious reserve
in which there is neither too little
nor too much restraint.
Enjoy reasonable relaxation,
at the proper time
and with the right persons.
The bow that is always taut
will not be able to stand the strain
without breaking.

Maxim 13:9
Just as you should love God above all things
all things in God,
so you should have an ardent and tender love for:
- the divinized humanity of the Saviour Jesus
-the holy Virgin, our mother;
-her dear spouse, Saint Joseph, and her holy parents;
- the blessed angels,
and the saints in the order of the love they merit,
their degree of sanctity,
and your particular indebtedness to them.

Maxim 13:10
Hold it as an infallible Maxim,
that a person is not holier
when he/she has fewer faults
and practises virtue more easily,
but rather is more indebted to God's grace.
Grace often makes beginners more fervent in the practice of good works
and less subject to faults
than those who are more advanced.
Nor should you believe that holiness consists
in being endowed with many gifts,
favoured with sensible graces,
and led by extraordinary paths in the ways of virtue.
These may exist in one who has many imperfections
and hidden weaknesses,
and who on many occasions foreseen by God
will let himself/herself be
overcome by temptation.
True holiness consists in something hidden,
known to God alone,
something from which one is far distant
by the very fact of thinking he/she has acquired it.

Maxim 13:11
No matter what virtue you may see in yourself, never lose a genuine fear of God
nor the thought
that his judgments are unfathomable
and very different from human judgments.
Saint Paul was afraid of not being justified,
even though he felt
nothing in his conscience to give him reason for this fear.
He feared lest while he preached to others
he himself might be lost.
Scripture tells us
to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God,
and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Maxim 13:12
Persevere in the way of life you have once chosen,
changing nothing unless a wise director
considers it necessary for your greater perfection
and the correction of your faults.

Maxim 13:13
Note how differently great souls
and lesser ones act.
Then you can avoid the imperfections of the latter
and model yourself on the example of the former.
Great souls do everything in great peace.
They are like the deep and mighty rivers
flowing without noise or haste, coursing along rapidly,
carrying great ships, and enriching many lands and making them fertile.

Small souls are like small streams.
They make a great deal of noise along the pebbles
but have very little water
and are of little use to the lands they pass through.
Often in times of drought their waters dry up completely.
Here you have the symbol of petty souls
and the true character of their useless haste
in undertaking unimportant and trivial works.
This is the image of their weak virtue.

Chapter 14:
The Good Use of Time

Maxim 14:1
Be concerned
about the good use of time.
It is precious
and its loss is irreparable.

Maxim 14:2
In order to use time well
live not only in the state of grace at all times.
since this is essential
for the profitable use of time,
but live also as far as possible
in the habit and practice of great love.
Consecrate to God all your actions,
ordinary and otherwise,
with a pure and noble intention
of which the principle one should be
to please God and glorify God.

Maxim 14:3
Take care to profit from every opportunity
which presents itself
of practicising great virtue.

Maxim 14:4
Give your full attention
to the actions you perform.
Remove from them
the slightest imperfections,
and try to observe all conditions necessary
to make them perfect.
One action done well
is worth a thousand
done half-heartedly.

Maxim 14:5
On this point,
always remember to give yourself whole-heartedly
to carrying out the present will of God
without being distracted
by concern about the future.
This is an illusion that the devil uses to distract you
from the attention you should give
to present actions
with the result that these are full of imperfections.

Maxim 14:6
Be recollected
in God
do everything
in his presence.

Maxim 14:7
Unite all your actions to the merits of the life and death
of the Saviour Jesus.
Make his intentions yours,
and as St. Paul exhorts us,
perform all your actions in Jesus' name.
Make all your petitions through Jesus,
as the church does.
Hope that all you desire to receive
from divine Goodness may pass through his hands.

Maxim 14:8
We shall develop the two preceding Maxims
a little further
in the light of the Gospel.
Do everything in Jesus, uniting yourself to him
as a branch to the vine.
Does he not say that he is the vine and we are the branches?
Do everything with Jesus,
united to him as the instrument
to its principal cause
or as the hand of the learner to the teacher who guides it.
Do everything through Jesus,
desiring that everything you do
may have its source in him
as its first principle,
so that he may be the soul of your soul,
the life of your life, and
the spirit which animates your every action.

Maxim 14:9
Finally, be clothed
and utterly filled with Jesus,
applying to yourself
his graces, merits, intentions
and all the holiness
of his adorable humility.

Maxim 14:10
Let me conclude these Maxims
on the good use of time.
Act in such a way that,
as St. Paul exhorts us,
your whole life may be hidden with Jesus Christ in God.

That means, do everything in God
and with God,
living an interior life animated
by the sovereign intentions in the mind of God
when he prescribes your actions and helps you,
by his assistance,
to do them well.
Desire that in all things you may be filled,
led, animated as it were, by the Holy Spirit
who is truly the Soul of your souls
since it is from him that they have life,
through grace,
and are as though deified by him.

Oh, if only you knew how to live
in the fullness of the Spirit of Jesus in God,
and in the fullness of the Spirit of God in the Saviour Jesus,
what progress you would make
in every kind of virtue and merit,
for all eternity!


Monthly Prayer: Act of Self-Oblation to the Two Trinities

I will summarize here the principal ideals of the Maxims of great virtue and arrange them in an act of oblation which it will be easy for you to make. Frequently make an act of oblation of yourself to the holy uncreated Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and to the created Trinity of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and to all the saints of Paradise.
Together with this act, declare your firm resolve as follows:

in honour of God the Father, that you will do what you know to be most perfect, what will be for God's greatest glory and what you believe to be most pleasing to God's majesty.

in honour of God the Son, that you will try to imitate his profound self-emptying, emptying yourself entirely of self;

in honour of God the Holy Spirit, that you will free your heart from the love of all created things in order to fill it with the pure and perfect love of God, and do everything in the constant practice of this holy love;

in honour of the Saviour Jesus, that you will strip yourself of the old self to clothe yourself with the new, that is, with Jesus Christ himself, living as far as possible with his life and in the perfect imitation of his virtues.

in honour of the Holy Virgin, who was full of grace and who used that grace so well, that you will be, like her, perfectly faithful to all the graces of the Holy Spirit;

in honour of the glorious Saint Joseph, that you will serve and love Jesus and Mary with all your heart as he served and loved them, and that, when you render a service to others, you will do so in the spirit of humility, gentleness, and charity of this great saint;

in honour of the blessed spirits and the other saints, that you will try to model yourself upon the example of their holy lives, and to do nothing that would belie the pursuit of great virtue.

Declare especially that, like them, you will have a tender, strong and constant affection for:

the tranquil and intimate union of your soul with God;

cordial charity and forbearance toward the neighbour;

deep and selfless humility;

the simplicity, gentleness and moderation of the Gospel;

poverty perfectly stripped of everything;

prudent and generous mortification;

above all the guileless purity of heart

which is the foundation of all these beautiful virtues.

Conclude these devout protestations by reciting a Veni Creator to ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to observe them exactly, and to profit from them in such a way that, after living on earth as the saints did, you may share in their glory, forever and ever.

Amen. Blessed be God!