1. Character

2. Guidance

3. Prayer

4. Holy purity

5. Heart

6. Mortification

7. Presence of God

8. Supernatural life

9. Study

10. Your holiness

11. Love of God

12. Charity

13. Cheerfulness

14. Perseverance


Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate their meaning. They are things that I whisper in your ear, as a friend, as a brother, as a father. We shall speak intimately; and God will be listening to us. I am going to tell you nothing new. I shall only stir your memory so that some thought may arise and strike you: and so your life will improve and you will set out along the way of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will become a soul of worth.

How will I progress in my inner life? What good is it for me to sit and read what someone else has written about God, if it won't tell me anything new? Maybe I don't need to hear anything new: maybe it's enough for someone to remind me that God is waiting for me, that He loves me, and that if I turn to Him and try to be a better Christian, life will make more sense, because I'll discover its meaning. What really matters is letting myself be guided by Him. Quieting all the noises in and outside of myself and listening to Him... He calls me in the silence, and He's waiting for me to come close to Him.

1. Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.

"I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled," Jesus tells us... May the fire burn with my desire to be near You, Lord! May the fire of your love burn. 

Every day, we meet people who You put on our path so we can help each other. Some are there because they need something only we can give them, while others are there to care for and love us. What we can be sure of is that many great things depend on how we act. Help me to see You in each person!

2. How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ.

Many people find it hard to believe that there are good people in the Church: the bad examples make so much noise. What's the point of being a Christian if it doesn't make me better? If people know that I'm a Christian and I want to follow Jesus Christ, what do they see in my words and actions? Am I striving to be better? Today, Jesus, I'm coming to ask You to make my greatest desire in life for others to see You through me. I want to learn how to be another Christ for others, and carry your Love to everyone.

4. Don't say: 'That's the way I'm made... it's my character.' It's your lack of character: Be a man.

"That's just how I am," "such is life"... Sometimes it seems like my first reaction, whatever's easiest, and what seems to come out naturally is the right option, and I can't change it. If someone doesn't like it or is hurt by it, well, tough luck. But sometimes I think I want to change, to be better. I want more character.

5. Get used to saying no.

It's hard to choose what is good. There are so many things I don't want to miss out on... (Even though, later on, I discover that some of them weren't that important.) I want to say yes to the good things, the ones that truly matter, and for that "yes" to help me to get rid of everything else. Sometimes we think it doesn't matter if we give in over little things, but Jesus is waiting for us in those little things. I want to let go of anything that separates me from Him, even if I have to struggle to overcome them every single day.

6. Turn your back on the tempter when he whispers in your ear: 'Why make life difficult for yourself?'

"Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths," Pope Francis reminded us at WYD in Krakow, encouraging us to leave our comfortable sofas. It's very pleasant to relax on a couch, especially when you're on holiday! But we young people want to change the world... And we can do it, if we get up off the couch.

7. Get rid of that 'small-town' outlook. Enlarge your heart till it becomes universal, 'catholic'.

Nowadays we can travel the world from a screen, talk to people in different countries in real time, etc. There are so many ways to open our minds, but so many people stay in their own heads, leaving problems unsolved and conflicts escalating... Lord, help me to grow, to soar high with You, and not to stay in my selfishness. "Don't flutter about like a hen, when you can soar to the heights of an eagle," Saint Josemaría says.

30. You are too calculating. Don't tell me you are young. Youth gives all it can: it gives itself without reserve.

That sounds too good to be true, but I want to be like that. I want to be able to give myself completely for my friends, family, and causes that really matter. My God, help me not to calculate. Make me generous!

Go back to the top


57. Get to know the holy Spirit, the great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification. Don't forget that you are God's temple. The Advocate is in the centre of your soul: listen to him and be docile to his inspirations.

How I supposed to hear the Holy Spirit? I can't even hear my own thoughts, or others'. The Lord always speaks to me in silence. He whispers. I need to know how to listen to Him sincerely, calmly. I need to open my heart and be willing to hear whatever He wants to tell me, because, although his words sometimes seem difficult, He always tell me things meant to increase my happiness.

60. Without an architect you wouldn't build a good house for your life on earth. How then, without a Director, can you hope to build the palace of your sanctification for your eternity in heaven?

I don't think much about death. I hope it's far away. When I do think about it, I see it as the end of the game, when everything ends: game over. Eternal life? I'd love that. With You, Lord, I can already start building the life I want to have, which will endure after death.

77. This tying of one's life to a plan, to a timetable, you tell me, is so monotonous! And I answer: there is monotony because there is little Love.

I know that life is more exciting when you're in love. Even everyday things, which used to be boring or monotonous start looking different because of the person I love, who changes everything. Will the same thing happen if I think about God and about how much He loves and cares for me? Will I be able to go to Mass, study, pay attention in class, help at home, etc., with enthusiasm, without falling into routine?

Go back to the top


82. First, prayer; then, atonement; in the third place, very much 'in the third place,' action.

I acknowledge, Lord, that I tend to put more trust in my actions than in my prayer. There's so much to do! And I people to be able to see that I want to do things right, that I'm trying to change and improve. But if I were more aware that You can do everything, and that You can change me and help everyone around me, maybe I'd trust more in prayer. Maybe I'd lean more on your strength than on my own.

88. You seek the company of friends who, with their conversation and affection, with their friendship, make the exile of this world more bearable for you. There is nothing wrong with that, although friends sometimes let you down. But how is it you don't frequent daily with greater intensity the company, the conversation, of the great Friend, who never lets you down?

Jesus, You are the only friend who is unconditionally there, who loves me just as I am…
I've had friends who failed me, and I've failed more times than I want to admit. Lord, let me learn from You. Make me convinced that spending time with You and being Your friend is worthwhile. 

You were always there for Your friends. Help me understand that loving means always forgiving, understanding others, embracing their miseries and understanding their mistakes, turning the other cheek, exposing the wound. Laying my heart down so that others may tread softly. Freely allowing myself to be humiliated, betrayed, or criticized. Being patient. Forgiving and, especially, understanding that I need forgiveness. Being humble, overlooking things, breaking out of my patterns. And never, ever judging.

91. You write: 'To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation.

It sounds odd to start talking to God like I can see Him; it's easier to turn to Him only in difficult moments, when I need something. But a conversation isn't just about asking for things: there are at least two people speaking and listening in a real conversation. When I talk to God, do I speak or listen? I rely on the fact that He knows me, but do I know Him?

94. He has become so small — you see: a Child!—so that you can approach Him with confidence.

This image is so different from the one I sometime have in my head, of a powerful but distant God who could punish me at any moment. My God became a child for me, to make it easier for me to come close to Him.

97. You don't know what to say to our Lord in your prayer. You can't think of anything, and yet you would like to consult him on many things. Look: make some notes during the day of whatever you want to consider in the presence of God. And then take these notes with you to pray.

Jesus, I want my prayer to become more personal every day. I want to talk to you like a friend, to tell you what troubles me, what makes me happy, what fills me, and what's been on my mind throughout the day. All this, Jesus, because, even though You already know everything about me, You love to hear it from me, for me to approach You and tell You about myself like a little child talking to its father.

101. Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful.

Maybe I believe it when things go well, when I pray for something and it seems like a magic formula that makes my wish "comes true." But when I don't get what I want, I usually get disappointed and stop praying. It's hard to persevere thens. Is prayer fruitful when it "doesn't work"? Maybe I still don't understand that the most important fruit is me drawing closer to God, becoming a better child to Him, regardless of the external results. My merits don't matter, and neither do the number of "resolutions" I make when I sit down to pray. What matters is for me to seek You sincerely and affectionately, doing things out of love and not just to fulfill a set of rules that I imagine the Christian life imposes.

107. A saint, without prayer? I don't believe in such sanctity.

Prayer is that fuel that fills our tank. It's like a sponge that gets wet and can then pour water wherever it goes. Prayer is essential to my life because it's the time I spend with You. Sometimes I'm lazy and I don't feel like praying, but help me never to do without it. May I go to pray with the understanding that it's important. If I want to be like You and to lead others to You, I need it like we need to drink water every day.

Go back to the top

Holy Purity

132. Don't show the cowardice of being 'brave': take to your heels!

It's not easy to leave when I know that the environment I'm in doesn't help me live purity and respect for my body and others'. I'd be fooling myself if I said I didn't see it coming, though. Often I know that I'm going somewhere I shouldn't, getting myself into a mess I don't want to be in.

133. The saints were not abnormal beings: cases to be studied by a 'modernistic' doctor. They were — they are — normal: of flesh, like yours. And they won.

They weren't just normal: they were attractive, strong, and passionate... Let people try to tell me that everyone's doing it or that I'm strange. What's strange is not fighting for what I want and know is worthwhile. I want to be braver every day in standing up for You, Lord. Give me the courage to fight for what I want and identify myself with You more closely every day.

Go back to the top


153. Go, generously and like a child ask him: 'What can you mean to give me when you ask me for this?'

That's what I'm asking You, Lord. You ask me for something that's hard for me to give (although, deep down, I sense that You're asking because I'll be better off without it) and it feels like I'm going to lose everything. If I don't give it to You, I'll be left with the disappointment of not being generous, but on the other hand, I don't want to give it up. I want to have the "generosity" of asking you for all the many things that you want to give me in return.

160. Tell me: is that... a friendship, or is it a fetter?

I have so many reasons for holding on to these "friendships": maybe we have a good time together, or I'm trying to bring people who are far from God closer to Him... But I also, quietly, almost not wanting to, think of all the reasons for choosing better friends. I want friends who make me better, who lift me up and help me to be myself. They say that you can tell what a person is like by the friends they choose. Lord, do I have good friends? 

Am I a good friend to my friends? Do I give them wings and help them get closer to You?

Go back to the top


173. 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.

"Mortification" sounds like punishment, something painful. Who would have thought that it could simply mean taking care of others? You cared for others on the Cross. You loved the world immensely. I want to lighten your burden in the Passion, Jesus, through my actions and my love for You. That's why I do good things and refrain from doing bad things.

Go back to the top

Presence of God

268. Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving, many times a day. Because he gives you this and that. Because you have been despised. Because you haven't what you need or because you have.

Because he made his Mother so beautiful, his Mother who is also your Mother. Because he created the sun and the moon and this animal and that plant. Because he made that man eloquent and you he left tongue-tied… Thank him for everything, because everything is good.

"All praise is yours, Lord," as St. Francis prayed. Maybe, in order to learn how to give thanks for "everything," I can start by thanking You for all the good things You give me. Then, little by little, I'll start seeing You in everything, even in the things that seem bad. Nothing is really bad if if brings me closer to You.

274. 'Father', said that big fellow, a good student at the university (I wonder what has become of him), 'I was thinking of what you told me — that I'm a son of God! — and I found myself walking along the street, head up, chin out, and a proud feeling inside… a son of God!'

With sure conscience I advised him to encourage that 'pride.'

Give me, Lord, that "pride" that comes from knowing that you are my Father, which leads me to better care for all men, my brothers and sisters.

Go back to the top

Supernatural life

284. Ambition: to be good myself, and to see everyone else better than I.

Phew, that's a tough one: to want everyone else to be better than me? Even when it comes to being a good person, I'm competitive. But, Lord, if that's what You want... May I do your will in everything, may I be who You want me to be, and rejoice to see all the good in others.

288. Enter into the wounds of Christ Crucified. There you will learn to guard your senses, you will have interior life, and you will continually offer to the Father the sufferings of our Lord and those of Mary, in payment of your debts and the debts of all men.

Jesus, I know that You knew my name from the Cross. You were thinking of me then: at the most difficult moment of your life, You were full of love for me, suffering for each of my wounds. You renew me with your own holy wounds.

That's why I want to unite myself to your pain and also be a comfort to your mother, who is also my mother, Mary. I want to heal each of your wounds with my good deeds; I want to make your sacrifice worthwhile. You died for me because You expect something great from me and from each of the people around me, so help me be a witness to You in the middle of the world.

The Cross means hope, because You can do everything. Your Love for us is so great that it makes all things new and makes any pain worthwhile. Teach me to see the Cross through the lens of my desire for holiness, so I can learn to get up and walk again after each fall, like You.

292. Your interior life has to be just that: to begin… and to begin again.

Help me to be humble, and to only look at You, Jesus. I want You to be my starting point whenever I fall, and I don't want to be afraid to come back again and again. To start over.

Help me to see You in every ascent, of course, but also in the descents. Help me to see You even when I don't want to because I've convinced myself that it's easier to do without You. I really want to know that You are by my side and to see how much You love me. I hope I'll finally realize that I can do nothing and that with You I can do everything. I'm the one who wins when I'm beside You, because it doesn't change You. And yet You choose to "need" me, to expect something from me, and to love me.

Go back to the top


335. An hour of study, for a modern apostle, is an hour of prayer.

If I only knew how much I can do with a single moment of prayer! I have so many intentions to pray for. A moment spent studying, and offering my study to You, can be a very powerful prayer.

356. I can't understand how you call yourself a Christian and lead such an idle, useless life. Have you forgotten Christ's life of toil?

Too often, I forget that being a Christian is not just about going to church, fulfilling obligations, and seeming good or charitable. It means living Christ's very life, being like Him, and He worked a lot for others... And worked very well.

Go back to the top

Your holiness

404. You say you've failed! We never fail. You placed your confidence wholly in God. Nor did you neglect any human means.

Convince yourself of this truth: your success — this time, in this — was to fail. — Give thanks to our Lord… and try again!

Sometimes my pride smarts because I know I've done something wrong or haven't finished everything I should have. But Jesus love me because I'm me, period. He loves me no matter what I do or don't do. 

I fail... yes, that's true, because my human weaknesses come into play. Help me, Lord, to find You in those weaknesses. Help me to understand that the only measure of love is to love without measure. As long as I give you my heart, nothing else matters. I don't want to give in to pride when I can't do something, but to have the humility to abandon myself in You.

Go back to the top

Love of God

420. How little a life is to offer to God!

Teach me not to be afraid! Teach me to take up my Cross and want to change for You every minute of my day. Teach me to embrace the Cross, which means surrender and sacrifice.

You give everything, Lord: You give your life, strength, love, and enthusiasm to carry out your dream for me. The least I can do is collaborate with You, letting You form me. That's all You ask. 

It's so easy, but there are so many times when I can't even do that much!

423. My God, I love you, but... oh, teach me to love!

Sometimes I think I already know, and that I'm a good friend, child, or sibling... Until I mess up again, and my pride and selfishness overcome me... Lord, I want to love you and others. I can't do it if You don't teach me. 

Ultimately, loving is the way we live in your image and likeness. For now it's limited, but it's the greatest gift He's ever given us, because Love is God's way of being present in the world.

425. To know that you love me so much, my God, and yet… I haven't lost my mind!

I want this thought, which is a certainty, to be the refuge I turn to in bad times and a treasure that fills me with joy and overflows in my daily life. You love me so much, Lord.

427. Lord: may I have due measure in everything... except in Love.

May Love be my guide whenever I act and the driving force behind everything I do. Sometimes we are afraid of loving. We're afraid of not being loved back. We're afraid of relationships ending or changing or drifting apart. We're afraid of giving everything and not receiving anything but "kicks" that wound our soul. We're afraid of getting hurt or reopening old wounds. Love hurts. 

Love means giving and sacrificing myself, putting the other's happiness above mine. Love doesn't make me invulnerable... But we are what we give, not what we keep for ourselves. Love gives our lives meaning. It means leaving our comfort zone and going out to others. 

We are made for love and to love. And love makes us free, even though it seems mad. It frees us from everything that ties us to earthly things.

Go back to the top


452. Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offence that you can suffer from them is as nothing compared with what God has pardoned you.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us..." You forgive much better than I do: You always forgive me. Let that me the reason for me to forgive from the heart, remembering that I'm always indebted to your love.

460. 'Frater qui adiuvatur a fratre quasi civitas firma. Brother helped by brother is a fortress.' Think for a moment and make up your mind to live the fraternal spirit that I have always asked of you.

One of the saddest things in a group of friends are the arguments, the envies, the comments behind others' backs... How proud I am when I know I can count on others, that our friendship is stronger than all those flaws. With Your help, Lord, may I be a rock on which others can rely.

463. Charity does not consist so much in 'giving' as in 'understanding'. Therefore, seek an excuse for your neighbour — there is always one be found, — if it is your duty to judge.

I know I don't really have the duty to judge, and that when I do, I don't take into account what the other person has in their heart. Make me understanding, Jesus, as You were.

Go back to the top


657. True virtue is not sad or disagreeable, but pleasantly cheerful.

If young people aren't cheerful, who will be? It's not that we have fewer or less important problems, but for us it may be easier to see the virtue of hope. I have God on my side, and I want to be holy... And I'm not going to achieve that by being grumpy, but with a smile.

Go back to the top


999. What is the secret of perseverance? Love. Fall in Love, and you will not leave him.

Blessed Álvaro always added, "Don't leave Him, and you will fall in love."

I want to give You a gift, which I'll need a lot of help to carry out: I want to promise to stay by your side every day, not to let You go, to trust You, and to try to do what You want all the time. I promise to lift my eyes to the Cross when it's difficult, and to think about how little I can give You compared to everything You give me.

Go back to the top