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BOOK ONE
THOUGHTS HELPFUL
IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL

Liber Primus
Admonitiones ad Vitam spiritualem utiles.

Chapter 19
THE PRACTICES OF A GOOD RELIGIOUS

THE life of a good religious ought to abound in every virtue so that he is interiorly what to others he appears to be. With good reason there ought to be much more within than appears on the outside, for He who sees within is God, Whom we ought to reverence most highly wherever we are and in Whose sight we ought to walk pure as the angels. Each day we ought to renew our resolutions and arouse ourselves to fervor as though it were the first day of our religious life. We ought to say: "Help me, O Lord God, in my good resolution and in Your holy service. Grant me now, this very day, to begin perfectly, for thus far I have done nothing."

Cap. 19.
De exercitiis boni Religiosi.

1. Vita boni Religiosi omnibus virtutibus pollere debet, ut sit talis interius qualis ab hominibus videtur exterius. Et multo plus debet esse intus, quam quod cernitur foris, quia inspector noster est Deus quem summopere revereri debemus ubicumque fuerimus, et tamquam Angeli in conspectu ejus mundi incedere. Omni die renovare debemus propositum nostrum, et ad fervorem nos excitare, quasi hodie primum ad conversionem venissemus ac dicere: Adjuva me Deus in bono proposito et sancto fervitio tuo, et da mihi nunc hodie perfecte incipere, quia nihil est, quod hactenus feci.

As our intention is, so will be our progress; and he who desires perfection must be very diligent. If the strong-willed man fails frequently, what of the man who makes up his mind seldom or half-heartedly? Many are the ways of failing in our resolutions; even a slight omission of religious practice entails a loss of some kind. Just men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking, for man, indeed, proposes but God disposes, and God's way is not man's.

2. Secundum propositum nostrum est cursus profectus nostri, et multa diligentia opus est bene proficere volenti. Quod si fortiter proponens sæpe deficit, quid faciet ille qui raro aut minus fixe aliquid proponit? Variis tamen modis contingit defertio propositi nostri. Et levis omissio exercitiorum vix sine aliquo dispendio transit. Justorum propositum in gratia potius Dei, quam in propria patientia pendet. In quo et semper confidunt quidquid arripiunt. Nam homo proponit, sed Deus disponit, nec est in homine via ejus.

If a habitual exercise is sometimes omitted out of piety or in the interests of another, it can easily be resumed later. But if it be abandoned carelessly, through weariness or neglect, then the fault is great and will prove hurtful. Much as we try, we still fail too easily in many things. Yet we must always have some fixed purpose, especially against things which beset us the most. Our outward and inward lives alike must be closely watched and well ordered, for both are important to perfection.  

3. Si pietatis causa, aut fraternæ utilitatis proposito, quandoque consuetum omittitur exercitium, facile postea poterit recuperari. Si autem tædio animi, vel negligentia faciliter relinquitur, satis culpabile est et nocivum sentitur. Conemur quantum possumus, adhuc leviter deficiemus in multis. Semper tamen aliquid certi proponendum est, et proponenda sunt illa præcipue quæ amplius nos impediunt. Exteriora nostra et interiora pariter nobis scrutanda sunt, et ordinanda, quia utraque expediunt ad proprium profectum.

If you cannot recollect yourself continuously, do so once a day at least, in the morning or in the evening. In the morning make a resolution and in the evening examine yourself on what you have said this day, what you have done and thought, for in these things perhaps you have often offended God and those about you. Arm yourself like a man against the devil's assaults. Curb your appetite and you will more easily curb every inclination of the flesh. Never be completely unoccupied, but read or write or pray or meditate or do something for the common good. Bodily discipline, however, must be undertaken with discretion and is not to be practiced indiscriminately by everyone.  

4. Si non continue te vales colligere, saltem interdum, et ad minus semel in die, mane videlicet aut vespere. Mane propone, vespere discute mores tuos, qualis hodie fuisti in verbo, opere et cogitatione, quia in his forsan Deum sæpius offendisti ex proximum. Accinge te sicut vir fortis contra diabolicas nequitias, fræna gulam et omnem carnis inclinatinem facilius frænabis. Numquam sis ex toto otiosus, sed aut legens, aut scribens, aut orans, aut meditans, aut aliquid utilitatis pro communi laborans. Corporalia tamen exercitia discrete sunt agenda, nec omnibus æqualiter assumenda.

Devotions not common to all are not to be displayed in public, for such personal things are better performed in private. Furthermore, beware of indifference to community prayer through love of your own devotions. If, however, after doing completely and faithfully all you are bound and commanded to do, you then have leisure, use it as personal piety suggests. Not everyone can have the same devotion. One exactly suits this person, another that. Different exercises, likewise, are suitable for different times, some for feast days and some again for weekdays. In time of temptation we need certain devotions. For days of rest and peace we need others. Some are suitable when we are sad, others when we are joyful in the Lord.   5. Quæ communia non sunt, non sunt foris ostendenda, nam in secreto tutius exercentur privata. Cavendum tamen ne piger sis ad communia, et ad singularia promptior. Sed expletis integre et fideliter debitis, et injunctis, si jam ultra tempus vacat, redde te tibi, prout tua devotio desiderat. Non possunt omnes habere exercitium unum, sed aliud isti, aliud illi magis deservit, et pro temporis congruentia diversa placent exercitia, quia alia in festis, alia in feriatis magis sapiunt diebus, aliis indigemus tempore tentationis, et aliis tempore pacis et quietis. Alia, cum tristamur, libet cogitare, et alia, cum læti in Domino fuerimus.  
About the time of the principal feasts good devotions ought to be renewed and the intercession of the saints more fervently implored. From one feast day to the next we ought to fix our purpose as though we were then to pass from this world and come to the eternal holyday. During holy seasons, finally, we ought to prepare ourselves carefully, to live holier lives, and to observe each rule more strictly, as though we were soon to receive from God the reward of our labors. 6. Circa principalia festa renovanda sunt bona exercitia, et Sanctorum suffragia ferventius imploranda. De festo in festum proponere debemus quasi tunc de sæculo migraturi, et ad æternum festum perventuri. Ideoque sollicite nos præparare debemus in devotis temporibus, et devotius conversari, atque omnem observantiam strictius custodire, tanquam in brevi laboris nostri præmium a Deo percepturi.  
If this end be deferred, let us believe that we are not well prepared and that we are not yet worthy of the great glory that shall in due time be revealed to us. Let us try, meanwhile, to prepare ourselves better for death. "Blessed is the servant," says Christ, "whom his master, when he cometh, shall find watching. Amen I say to you: he shall make him ruler over all his goods."   7. Et si dilatum fuerit, credamus nos minus bene paratos, atque indignos tantæ gloriæ, quæ revelabitur in nobis tempore præfinito et studeamus nos melius ad exitum præparare. Beatus servus ait Evangelista Lucas, quem, cum venerit Dominus, invenerit vigilantem. Amen dico vobis, super omnia bona sua constituet eum.
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