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Labouring Faithfully for the Kingdom

  • SAINT ANTHONY ZACCARIA

My very dear and honourable brothers:


GuercinoProdigalMay God, the changeless One, ever ready to do whatever is good, save you and make you steadfast and determined in all your undertakings and desires according to my deepest expectations.

It is quite true, my very dear friends, that God has made man's spirit unstable and changeable in order that man would not abide in evildoing, and also that, once in possession of the good, he would not stop short, but would step up from one good to a higher one, and to a loftier one still.  Thus, advancing from virtue to virtue, he might reach the summit of perfection.  In all truth, this weed of irresoluteness grows where divine light is lacking because the Holy Spirit quickly reaches the core of things rather than stop at the surface; man, instead, because he does not fathom the heart of things, is unable to decide what to do.  [The remedy for this] consists in lifting up one's mind to God and imploring the gift of counsel.  Let me explain: when something unforeseen and sudden presents itself, demanding that a choice be made, we lift up our minds to God asking him to inspire us as to what we should do.  Thus, following the Holy Spirit's inspiration, we shall not be mistaken.  Therefore when a man has something important to do, he must think it over and over and, as it were, ruminate upon it; but after such serious reflection and after having sought proper advice, he should not delay executing his project; for the primary requirement in God's ways is expeditiousness and diligence.  That's why the prophet Micah says, this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.

Take courage, stand up now and come along with me, for I mean we should root out these pernicious plants if perchance they are present in your souls; but if they are not, do come and help me, as they are rooted in my heart, so that I may uproot them and imitate our Saviour, who by his obedience unto death stood up against irresoluteness and, to avoid being negligent, ran towards the cross regardless of its shame.  And if you can now offer me no other aid, help me at least with your prayers.  I can assure you that only my love for you has impelled me to write these few lines to you.  Let us run like madmen not only towards God but also towards our neighbours, who alone can be the ­recipients of what we cannot give to God, since he has no need of our goods.

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Acknowledgement

zaccariaSaint Anthony Zaccaria. From "Letter 2 of St. Anthony Zaccaria to Mr. Ferrari & Mr. Morigia, Cremona, 4 January 1531."

Reprinted under fair use. Image credit: Guercino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Author

Saint Anthony Zaccaria († 1539) was an Italian priest who promoted devotion to the Passion. He was the founder of the Clerics Regular of Saint Paul (the Barnabites). 

Copyright © 1531 Barnabites
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