It is vanity to desire a long life, while you care so little for a virtuous life.
Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what does knowledge avail without the fear of God?
When the Day of Judgment comes, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how well we have lived.
If you cannot make yourself as you would like to be, how can you expect to have others according to your liking? We want others to be perfect; and yet we do not correct our own defects.
You ought so to regulate yourself in all your actions and thoughts, as if today you were to die.
What does it avail to live long, if we amend so little?
Christ was willing to suffer and to be despised; and do you dare complain when treated likewise? Christ had enemies and slanderers; and do you wish to have all men as friends and benefactors?
Whence will your patience be crowned, if you meet with no adversity?
You are not holier because you are praised, nor are you worse because you are blamed.
For man looks into your face, but God looks into your heart. Man sees your works, but God sees your intentions.
If you regard the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem to you small or cheap; for that cannot be small which is given by the highest Giver.
Jesus has now many lovers of His heavenly kingdom; but few bearers of His cross. He finds many companions at His table; but few at His fasts. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the chalice of His Passion.
Had there been anything better and more profitable for the salvation of mankind than suffering, Christ would surely have shown it by word and example. For He clearly exhorts the disciples who followed Him, and all those who wish to follow Him, to carry the cross, and says: ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’
So then, when all has been carefully read and minutely examined, let the final conclusion be: ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’