Today is the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo.
Here is a thought-provoking excerpt from one of his sermons:
I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One priest may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish to be chaste and to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer, the avoidance of evil discussions and harmful and dangerous friendships. Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into church to pray the office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the office or for Mass? How did he prepare? What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?
Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time, and so give God more pleasing worship? Listen, and I will tell you. If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out. Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold. In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can. Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.
He’s speaking to priests – but could he not be speaking to everyone? This reading speaks for itself. If we wish to advance in our spiritual lives, we must use the suitable means. Let’s stop and think today about where we’re going and how we are getting there.
St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
[If all goes as planned, I’ll be going to the church photographed above later today, where the heart of St. Charles Borromeo is kept, and will remember in prayer all who read this.]