December 28, 2007


1. Humility is born not only from the acknowledgement of one's imperfections both natural and willed, but also from the acknowledgement of divine excellence, so that the soul humbles itself to embrace any lowliness.

2. Humility is born from both prudence and justice. Therefore, a blind or unjust man cannot be humble.

One isn’t humble if he knows and condemns himself as a sinner but does not abandon sin.

4. Since the first fruit of humility is spiritual science, the one who is not enlightened by this science is not humble.

5. The more a person humbles himself and has a low esteem of himself the closer he comes to God.

6. He who does not care to know things out of curiosity, as noble and desirable as they might be, but is happy to remain uninformed gets closer to humility.

7. Humility of beginners has poor sight, so that they see only coarse things. The humility of those advanced has clear sight. The humility of the perfect is like the Sun, and although they look through fog, they see clearly all things both ugly and beautiful.

8. In the midst of any insult, damage, or sin truly humble person places himself at the bottom.

9. The humble regrets not finding a place as humble as his lowliness, which is the lowest of any inferior thing.

10. The humble who is not deserted by others as much as he deservers to be is sorry for not finding a chastiser that is able and willing to chastise him. The truly humble one feels that he deserves abandonment.

11. A truly humble person is ashamed to ask God for help, but does not know how to despair. On the other hand, he does not dare to raise his eyes to heaven while he rejoices over his own confusion.

A truly humble person is far from falling, because there is no place lower than his from where he could fall.

13. The humble possesses a plant which bears the fruit of every virtue. The roots are in the lowest place of the world while the branches and fruits are in Paradise.

14. The humble one is justified by God, nonetheless, he condemns himself justly. Though, well aware of God’s gifts he is confused by them. He is also aware of his own faults and he weeps for his own defects.

15. The truly humble person does not care about honors or shame, because, like the dead, he lives outside these extremes.

The eyes of a truly humble person are like a source of continuous tears. The more he washes himself the uglier he perceives himself to be.

17. Humility always aspires for greater things and with full power achieves them. Just as it is peculiar of the humble person to despise himself, so it is peculiar for humility to exalt him.

18. The truly humble person does not know how to make excuses for himself or to give an accountability for himself. He joyfully supports everything and rejoices only in suffering.

19. Often the humble one is judged as crazy because he acts against what is common among people. He is also considered conceited because he talks of sublime things.

Everyone praises humility in others, but only a few desire it in themselves because they do not know how great it is. Thus perfection of this virtue can only be understood by those who possess it.

21. Just as the absence of pain is a sign of good health, so the absence of complaints is a sign of humility. The one who complains and accuses others wants to exult himself.

Because humility, which on the outside appears more than what it is inside, is a danger for himself and others, the humble does not know how to laugh, or cheat with his companions instead he knows how to cry in public.

23. The hypocrite who humbles himself with maliciousness has only the shadow of humility, hence he is worst than a proud person who is open.

24. Some lose heart by their own deception, others because basically they have a mean character. Therefore, they are not called humble by the humbled.

25. The truly humble person is the only one who can heal a proud person capable of being healed.

26. Only Christ is truly humble. All others drink from the stream of His humility.

27. Humility is taught by holy men, by the Angels, the Scriptures, but first of all by Christ. He says, learn from me how to be humble and meek of heart.

28. No one can excuse himself if he does not learn humility from an imperfection teacher, since Christ always preaches humility from his Cross, as if from a pulpit.

29. Our humility, in comparison with the one of Christ, does not deserve to be called humility.

30. Our humility is born from the awareness of our own misery. However, Christ’s was born from the knowledge of his nobility. He wanted to be humbled from where he could justly be glorified. Here we see the excellence of this virtue, which has been able to exalt the Most High and adorn the Most Beautiful.

31. Our humility willingly embraces justice as a punishment for one's defects. Christ's humility used violence toward justice and against nature itself.

32. Christ, the sinless one, in his innocence wanted to embrace all our sins and our punished. In no other way could they have been wiped out. We, full of sin, even if we endured every penalty, could never have satisfied the debt.

33. Christ's humility was preceded, accompanied and followed by his highness, but our humility can only be exalted after itself.

34. The greatest height of Christ is his humility, and our exaltation comes only from Him.

35. Our humility would be worthless if Christ's humility would not accept it, because our justices without God’s grace are like the linen of a woman in menstruation. Where would our height be if not based in the greatest cowardice and misery?

36. Christ's humility in its origin, in its way, and in its effects is contrary to ours. It cannot be understood by the wise of the world because earthly reason does not understand how the most high could be exalted with the lowest.

37. The one who does not know his illness cannot be humble. Without humility he can never be perfect and, since he is imperfect, he will always be bashful and in doubt.

38. If, through experience, you want to know your own cowardice, be aware of all the wretchedness of the soul and of the body. Then, you will know your nothingness.

39. Be aware that on your own you can do nothing, and that any good of yours comes from God. Therefore, why don't you voluntarily humble yourself in front of Him? Like it or not, it is convenient to humble yourself.

40. If you are tempted and your mind is forced to go through awful imaginings, remember that God allows this so that you learn humility.

41. If man had perfect knowledge of himself, he would be above any temptation. He has to come to know himself, through temptations.

42. Just as pride is the mother of blindness of the mind, so humility generates a holy hate of oneself.

43. If it was possible to find the humble sinner and the proud just, God would prefer the first to the second.

44. The just person who does not know his infirmity well has sown his goods in sterile ground and so will have a poor harvest.

45. The higher a person is in virtues, even more, through humility he must be inferior. Otherwise, he will plunge from the highest to the lowest of places.

46. Humility gives rise to discretion, discretion to vision and vision to foresight. The truly humble person has the foresight of his fall and resurrection and does not despair but, moment by moment, has more confidence.

47. Since he is poor and ill, the one who has fallen in any defect can rise again only through patience and humility.

December 15, 2007


1. Prayer is the elevation of the mind to God. However, one who does not elevate the mind does not pray but stammers and falls asleep. Can you imagine that any such prayer would have much value?

2. The one who, in prayer, thinks about himself and other things is distracted. He has not obtained any fruit and has not yet tasted the virtue of prayer.

3. Prayer is a bond [of love] through which the loved soul unites itself to the beloved Christ, unaware of itself or anyone else.

4. If you want to pray well, first detach yourself from things of the world, purify yourself from your passions which deprive the soul of trust in prayer, then pre­pare yourself for prayer through meditation.

5. The prayer through which we honor God is good, but the breath of life which God prays within us is much better.

6. The aspiration prayer is not known to the Demon. It is useful and as praiseworthy as a long prayer.

7. Often a truly prayerful person will approach Christ to ascertain his own state as being pleasing or dis­pleasing to Him.

8. Usually the beloved does not deny anything from his loved one except, perhaps, unless it allows him more abundant graces. Hence, our petition must be placed in the hands of Christ; in this way it will have better success than if done according to our will.

9. Our petition is just and dis­creet when it is entrusted to­tally in the hands of our beloved Christ.

10. If one would honestly know himself, how could he petition God for any reward?

11. What good thing could God deny us, when He is the One who invites and spurs us to ask?

12. In an effort to obtain what you pray for, adapt yourself to your petition because you will not obtain humility if you avoid humiliations.

13. Prayer consists in the spirit present in your heart. So, do not use lack of understanding writ­ten prayer as an excuse for not praying.

14. A supplication takes place when the praying soul appears malevolent towards God, like Moses, without any consider­ation for self or for convenience.

15. When God induces the soul to supplication, first He lowers it through perfect humility, then He raises it with the hope for obtaining what is desired.

16. If the imperfect petitioner is not granted his prayer, he complains against God, even if it is to his detriment if that be granted.

17. Some, in their petitions, say, “Lord, grant me what you would grant to yourself if you were in me and I in you.” They should be aware that this is dangerously presumptuous and self-centered.

18. Some people think to pray, saying, “I absolutely want this, and I want it now.” This is very displeasing to God.

19. The one who receives more than he asks is afraid of suffo­cating by the abundance of the gifts, just as the body chokes on the abundance of food.

20. It can be assumed then that a person must go beyond the vari­ous ways of prayer and dwell in continuous thanksgiving.

21. It is not a surprise that St. Dominic always had his prayers answered, since he always thanked God.

22. Older and experienced people sometimes ebb from their prayers, petitions, and supplications to pass to a more noble exercise because when the soul feels its prayers are always granted, the petition diminishes, but the experience of heavenly graces increases.

23. The one who has reached this level recognizes the antici­pated divine favors, yet he does not thank God less in his abun­dance than in his want, or less when He grants them than when He denies them.

24. The most pleasing thanksgiv­ing to God, either for the thing granted or for the thing denied, occurs when one has intensely acknowl­edged what he has been granted.

25. God usually grants this grace to His beloved who understand that they have been granted more by the denied favor than by the granted one. The one who
has reached this level knows the divine goodness and providence in himself.

26. When bad things happen, the soul gains more by thanking God than by making constant re­course to good petitions.

27. The one who complains for not receiving, or wants to tell God how to grant, or is disturbed by some doubts, or feels his pe­titions are not always answered, does not deserve to reach this perfect state.

28. If you desire to reach this perfect level of prayer, then you must obtain the breaking of your will, either on your own or through others. Then abandon yourself completely and joyfully to the will of God, respectfully trusting His great gen­erosity.

29. If you want to reach this level, you must have perfect victory over every passion and over your very self.

30. If through perfect humility will you be able to objec­tively know yourself, then you will be able to reach this level.

JUNE - Patience

Introduction to the teachings of St. Anthony Zaccaria


Fr. Anthony M. Gentili, CRSP
Fr. John M. Scalese, CRSP

"With patience we could bear abundant fruits of charity.”
(Sr VII, 143).

Zaccaria considers patience as one of the virtues that must be roused in the heart of man, especially the religious. The Master will have to be the first to have it, since how could he be able to "inculcate Patience in the disciples, if he were given to angry outbursts?" (Cs XII, 175). On his part the visitor will not limit himself to encourage patience, but will introduce "in the soul the reason and the causes ... for example: man has to be patient, because he deserves to suffer more than he already suffers, since he was the cause of Christ's death" (Cs XIX, 204).

The way to acquire patience, as all other virtues, is to adapt oneself to what one is asking: ‘Do you want patience? Desire tribulations and pains, because Patience is not given without tribulations and pains" (Cs X, 170). To be endowed with patience is one of the requirements for the admission of postulants: "If you find out that they complain, or are lukewarm or impatient, or do similar things do not admit them" (Cs XI, 173). Patience, in fact, in its double meaning as ability to suffer and to know how to be patient in the midst of the inevitable trials, is an indispensable virtue for the follower of Christ, and moreover it is through it that "abundant fruits of charity" (Sr VII, 143) are obtained.

Famous Sayings on PATIENCE

June 1
Patience proceeds from the strength of the soul through which we bear adverse things. Patience, however, may come with some imperfections of vainglory and of other passions.
June 2
Patience that is founded on fear, or on human respect, or on worldly convenience, or on one's inability to prove oneself, produces little fruit. This kind is not patience but suffering.
June 3
No one can approach God without the calm endurance of many tribulations.
June 4
True patience begins when one resolves to remain patient for the sake of Christ. Patience needed for salvation, without which one cannot see God, endures all adversities without complaining or grumbling. One can fall into the pit of sin without the virtue of patience.
June 5
He who is deprived of true patience, and who does not care to obtain it, will always suffer, and will suffer against his will.
June 6
If you want to avoid impatience, don't say like the others that it is enough for you not to complain, but instead embrace patience greatly, which is a necessary virtue that will help you draw joy from pain.
June 7
One who has acquired patience has already avoided impatience, and is far from falling into it. He has already acquired his reward.
June 8
God does not reward equally those who are patient because they willed it and those who are patient because it was only necessary for them to do so. It is great foolishness not to gain this reward. It will indeed be a great damage and loss.
June 9
Wrong love for oneself takes away the good that patience brings. If you truly love yourself, do not deprive yourself of such good.
June 10
If it were not for voluntary suffering, the root of our reward would have ceased. Because God does not reward the lazy and the negligent, but the fervent whose patience makes the difference. June 11
Many ask God for patience but are unwilling to suffer when they meet adversity; thus, they ask in vain. They stay imperfect because patience cannot be found without suffering.
June 12
There are those who want to suffer only for a certain period of time, and those who want to suffer according to their wish. God reproves both. If you truly want to embrace patience, leave yourself to God's judgment and will.
June 13
Through tribulation, many have come to know themselves, have learned to pray, and have overcome their negligence.
June 14
Patience is praised by all, but embraced with desire by few.
June 15
Patience tries those who belong to God; its trial makes their virtue known; and this virtue induces hope. Hope is connected with love.
June 16
Remember that corporal discipline is of little value; it is the desire of the spirit that vivifies man. June 17
It is a childish game not to leave voluntarily what we have been continually compelled to abandon contrary to our will.
June 18
Till now we have written the beginning of patience. The means of patience is silence and the abstinence from work, though the heart rather moves against our will.
June 19
A truly patient person is generous and superior to all things. He who gets away from adversity because of fear is a coward, and he degrades himself, for bearing adversity is indeed proper to great souls.
June 20
What seems difficult and impossible to the worldly is easy and light to the strong and spiritual. For to the latter, the world is dead, and so with joy they bear everything that God gives.
June 21
Those who are truly patient and are willing to suffer for Christ gains confidence in God, while those who are afraid and who refuse to suffer for Christ do not gain such confidence.
June 22
Just as when the sun appears, darkness is dispersed, so the willingness to suffer for Christ eliminates vice.
June 23
Only he who endures tribulation with joy can control his thoughts, which can be a source of all malice.
June 24
The work of patience is perfect because it makes every virtue perfect.
June 25
The fruit of patience is peace of mind. One cannot obtain this fruit if he refuses to suffer for Christ.
June 26
He who possesses the gift of patience embraces charity, which does not render evil for evil but rather render good for evil.
June 27
The more the soul of a patient person endures, the more steadfast in suffering it becomes.
June 28
Only he who truly recognizes God's providence over his life and who experiences God in his heart as his Protector can willingly bear the tempest blow of adversities.
June 29
He who lives solely for God will not worry about anything that may happen in the world.
June 30
Only a truly lover of the Cross can become immortal.


Introduction to the teachings of
St. Anthony Zaccaria

Fr. Anthony M. Gentili, CRSP
Fr. John M. Scalese, CRSP

"I am not surprised if you do not yet understand
the meaning of …contemplation" (Sermon III).

Anthony Mary speaks ex professo of contemplation only in Sermon III dedicated to the sanctification of the feast day, and when he affirms that anger "separates ... from the contemplation of God" (Sermon V, 124).

In regard to this, Zaccaria recalls the classic scheme of the Lectio Divina: "Meditation, my friend, is not enough. It is necessary ... to pray, and, moreover, to contemplate" (Sermon III, 100). In Constitutions XII he refers specifically to the "Reading of Sacred Scriptures," where Lectio Divina, as the idiom itself indicates, starts with the reading of the Bible, which the Founder considers, together with the Eucharist, as one of the "extrinsic" expressions of the conversion to God, which take place especially on holidays. Extrinsic refers to "external" practices, against the interior ones. Meditation, prayer, and contemplation belong to this setting.

A similar distinction is found also in the chapter Anthony Mary dedicates to prayer (Constitutions X), where he speaks of "exterior or vocal prayer" and of "interior prayer," which is expressed in the three grades mentioned above. Zaccaria declares not to be disturbed if his hearers ignore what prayer is and so much more contemplation, since it is easier to limit oneself to meditation only or mental reflection ("meditation is more familiar to man than prayer and contemplation") (Famous Sayings, 17, 4). On the other hand, especially prayer and contemplation are much more tied to affection and intuition, and, more than object of theoretic learning, they are the fruit of direct experience, if they are not practiced - the Saint seems to affirm - they will always be ignored.

It is superfluous, finally, to remember that Zaccaria follows the great model of monastic prayer, although he seems to feel the danger of spiritual practice, still true today, we may say, of reducing Lectio Divina and, more in general, interior prayer only to the meditative moment. This is due also to the existence of a growing difficulty in passing from "exterior" prayer to the meditative and contemplative one. The first is food for the beginners, the second for the advanced (Constitutions X), the third for the perfect. Nor should we forget that "mental meditation" (Constitutions XII) and "the loving prayer" lead by their very nature to contemplation, which is "knowledge of love." Anthony Mary could have taken this directly from Gregory the Great, where he affirms: "Amor ipse notitia" (Homiliae in Evangelia, 27,4).

The Famous Sayings have a voice dedicated to contemplation.

1.Contemplation is a pleasant knowledge of truth, without any rationalization or fatigue.

2. Contemplation goes over one truth after another. At the beginning it is similar to imagination, but in the middle and at the end it is quite different.
3. Just as chastity is an ornament for the body, so the mind adorns itself with the virtue of contemplation.

4. Contemplation is for man a noble activity. There is not a truer and more perfect exercise.

5. The creativity needed to be ready for contemplation is rare. It is not given to lazy people or to children.

6. Philosophical contemplation is imperfect since it is compatible with some filthy passions. However, Christian contemplation wants to exclude any passion and, so, it is most perfect.

7. True contemplation avoids the one who looks for it out of curiosity. It follows and embraces, though, the one who avoids it out of humility.

8. The briefest contemplation of Christian things is more satisfying, more sublime, and clearer than the greatest philosophy.

9. Some Christians contemplate like pure philosophers, but true contemplatives are few. This is because one deceives himself if he tries to contemplate without overcoming the passions.

10. The true Christian contemplative always dwells in the intimacy of his beloved.

11. True Christian contemplation comes very close to rapture or the excess of the mind.

12. Sometimes the contemplative wishes to stop and contemplate over some aspects but, against his will, the Spirit leads him elsewhere.

13. The contemplative gains more in one act of contemplation than in many previous methods.

14. The contemplative of mixed life gains in active life as well as in contemplative life. Indeed, mixed life is more precious than any treasure.

15. A true contemplative sees more in one glimpse than a person of meditation does through a long exercise.

16. Sometimes in contemplation what is united is divided, as when from God one descends to the creatures.

17. Only a contemplative knows and hears the interior harmony produced in the soul by the Holy Spirit. He obeys the various promptings and movements.

18. A contemplative sees clearly in the dark, yet things become murky to him through the greatness of the light.

19. The deeper the heart of a contemplative, the more he can see God dwelling in the dark and unfathomable.

21.The more things the Contemplative person sees and the surer he becomes that he will never be able to cross the whole darkness, the more his desire will grow.

22. A contemplative is always on fire without pain and gets full without trouble. The mind of the contemplative is gently attracted, without violence, by the love of the beloved.

23. Laziness and rest are sweet for the contemplative, but the embrace with his beloved is extremely sweet.

24. The contemplative looks with his left eye at the angelic choirs, Divine Providence, the order of creatures, the divine bounty and other things which can be known through nature.

25. This eye receives light either through meditation done with the natural reflection, through knowledge acquired through human studies, or through Divine inspiration.

26. This contemplation is sweet for the soul although it is not perfect because it is finite and all of it can be described.

27. The right eye, not happy with this light, goes higher and looks into the secret of the Divinity and of the divine substance. This eye contemplates many of the divine attributes and many secrets of the creatures which human knowledge cannot reach.

28. This eye does not remember what it has seen and after the vision cannot tell. In short, it acts in such a way that it is no longer man at work but God at work with man.

29. If your mind is eager to rise to this vision above the mundane, remember what the Scripture says, “while living, man cannot see me. Therefore, may that soul die the death of the just so it will be able to see its desired God in the newness of life." (Do you need to cite quote?)

30. The soul which has not seen God lives in misery. The soul which, with purity of heart and ardent desire, does not long to see Him will be much more unhappy.

31. The most desirable of all treasures is to reach this state which cannot be achieved in any other way but through mortification.


1. Meditation is a power of the mind which controls any distraction and gathers all thoughts. At the beginning it is burdensome but at the end it leads to abundant fruits.

2. For a distracted person every thought leads to distraction. For the truly meditative person every imagining becomes meditation.

3. Meditation enables discerning the precious from the despicable, and leads one closer to the truth.

4. Meditation is more familiar to man than prayer, contemplation, and rapture.

5. Meditation on virtue is the means to reach prayer and contemplation. Contemplation is the means to reach rapture.

6. A person who meditates seeking advantageous situations, like avoiding adverse things, tribulations and death, will eventually incure these things with even greater misery.

7. Meditation is the beginning of interior preference and of a change in life for the better. It is the opening of the road to knowledge and victory over oneself. It enlightens the mind to discern one’s own thoughts.

8. Sometimes it is better to stop meditating and come back to it later with greater awareness.

9. Many things lead us to meditate such as; the intention to love God, the memory of Christ's life, and of the Saints, the memory of the divine presence, which always and everywhere looks over us, the memory of death and of those things which are after death.

10. Meditation over death is refrain from vices, an incentive toward virtues, a spur for the negligent, and hope for the penitents.

11. Meditation over death is renunciation of any corporal pleasure and of one's own will. It is an assiduous crying which changes the soul for the better. It makes one forget the worries of the world and triumphs over one’s own passions.

12. The profound meditation over death eliminates the fear of it and drives away the sadness of the world. It leads to fulfillment.

13. The one who knows the virtuous aspect of death knows the difference between the fear of it, which comes from nature, and the one that comes from grace.

14. The one who, in any place, at any time or occasion waits patiently for death is good. However, the one who desires it out of humility can be called a saint.

15. As the body dies if deprived of nourishment for a longtime, so the soul dies if deprived of meditation over death and the afterlife.

16. Meditation over death in the beginning is burdensome. Then there is a fertile phase which leads to the scorn of oneself and of the whole world, and finality it is joyful because it aspires freedom and the vision of God.

17. The one who would purposely decide not to die is totally outside the realm of charity, because charity wants to be at the presence of God. stop here

18. The one who desires death to avoid tribulations or because he fears penalty, has not successfully meditated over death, and would gladly run away from this meditation.

19. Many seem to be servants of God, but as they approach death they would like to postpone it. These people clearly did not meditate over death.

20. Although an awareness of the certainty of death is useful, the knowledge of the last day would be harmful to many because it would nourish sin under the hope of the future penance.

21. You would be negligent if, through meditation, you did not make the effort to appreciate that every day might be your last one.


1. The good and holy fervor is, the fire of the Father, the splendor of the Son, and the flame of the Holy Spirit.

2. Because it is His gift, without great fervor no one will ever become great in front of God.

3. Authentic spiritual fervor consists in a vigorous and continuous reform of the mind toward good.

4. Fervor is a stimulus for any perfection, an increase of good will, a confirmation of holy resolutions and stable perseverance.

5. Fervor is in the mind’s eye, through which one concentrates exclusively on the sincere honor of God while dismissing everything else.

6. Fervor leads to the observance of all divine precepts and counsels, not only those which are known but also those which can be surmised.

7. Out of love of God, fervor makes the hate of oneself [one’s self diminish] grow beyond any measure. This is why it exterminates all passions, like a very strong army formation.

8. The Devil saw the formation of the fervent and became afraid at the sight, because he was forced, against his will, to always bring it new crowns.

9. True fervor always grows in prosperity as in adversity. It grows in consolations as in desolations.

10. Fervor does not know any way or measure, since it always believes to have done nothing. It always looks at what has to be done and the more it gains, the more it desires.

11. Fervor wants to know God through the virtues of the heart in order to advance to the order of the Seraphims.

12. The fervent are situated at the highest degree of freedom. They pity those who lack fervor.

13. Fervor leads toward an active, noble and contemplative life, without omitting those things needed for each state.

14. Those who complain because God does not give them fervor, add blasphemy to their lack of proper disposition.

15. Rid yourself of what is contrary to fervor, like distractions of the mind and pleasures of the senses. God will then ignite fervor in you.

16. When fervor becomes perfect it sometimes seems to loosen up, but actually it has not diminished, rather it has transcended into a delightful habit.

17. When goodwill and firm resolutions remain steadfast, do not be sad even though fervor seems to be dead. Although the sensible fervor may have failed, it cannot be dead.

18. Fervor starts as a gift from God, is kept through a firm resolution, and must never stop during this life.


Introduction to the teachings of St. Anthony Zaccaria on CHARITY

Fr. Anthony M. Gentili, CRSP
Fr. John M. Scalese, CRSP

God’s love is indeed needed; …,
and its means is the love of neighbor.”

[Sermon IV]

Charity is, first of all, love of God. The theme of the sermon is love. ‘’Love is the only virtue that counts. Ah the other virtues do not count at all without love” (Sermon IV). Here, Zaccaria, using chapter 13 of the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, gives a long list of examples to prove his point. He concludes: “If eloquence has no value, because it proceeds from ‘wise argumentation;’ if science (has no value), because it ‘inflates;’ if faith (has no value) because without works it is dead; if the very works are useless when they do not proceed out of love: it is rather imperative, it is necessary - I tell you - to have this love, which makes you pleasing to God” (Sr IV). These last words reveal the profound reason for the need of charity: without it, man is not pleas­ing to God; it is charity (which, then, is identified with gratia gratum faciens, that is, sanctifying grace) that makes man pleasing to God, and enables him to become the subject of all other virtues.

To further demonstrate the need of charity, Antho­ny Mary speaks about the “way of charity,” which can be followed in two ways. It has been followed from the top to the bottom. “Why did the Son of God come down on earth, if not to bring love? .. Oh, great mercy! Oh, immense love! God has hum­bled Himself so much, so that man could love Him again, and through this love be saved! “ (Sermon IV). But the “way of charity” has to be followed in the other way too, that is, from the bottom to the top. The “straight road to heaven” is “so narrow and difficult” that it, cannot be followed “without delight” without being sustained by love: “It is not possible to go through these difficulties, and to car­ry this burden, without love, since it is love that car­ries the burden.” We can conclude then: “The love of God is indeed needed; without His love we can do nothing; everything relies on it” (Sermon IV).

Love of Our Neighbor
Secondly, charity is love of our neighbor. The love of our neighbor is a sacrament, that is, a sign and an instrument of the love of God: “One and the same helps you to acquire it, to increase it, to aug­ment it, and in addition it shows when it is there. Do you know what it is? It is charity, the love of our neighbor” (Sermon IV). On its part, the love of our neighbor embraces friends and enemies, according to the following rule: “To love friends in Him, and to love enemies because of Him” (Sermon III), an affirmation taken directly from Gregory the Great who says: “Caritas vera est amicum diligere in Deo et inimicum diligere propter Deum” (Homiliae in Evangelia). The love of our neighbor is translated in acts of mercy recalled by the Saint in these terms: “... feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick, free the prisoner. Plan your activities, perform them for love of God, have a right intention, select the best, do the right, and in every thing be motivated by charity” (Sermon III, cf Sermon IV, where he talks about “the final account of Judgment Day”).
Zaccaria dwells a lot in illustrating the need for hu­man mediation in our relationship with God and concludes summing up his thought: “If this, my friend, does not seem enough, we cannot have a true experience except through man, since God is spirit and man body. God usually operates in this way: one man with another. Man has been healed through that very means which got him sick; and, since the passions belong to the body, only through another man he can be freed from them. If all I have said so far fails to convince you that love of God is effected and manifested by love of neighbor, be at least convinced by this, that for this very reason God became man” (Sermon I). Another practical application of this principle is apostolic charity, recalled by Gabuzio (His­toria) in a very moving episode: “One day, after the death of Anthony Mary, Fr. Sore­sina, overcome by laziness, or because he was tired, postponed the confession of a sick person. The following night, before falling asleep, he heard clearly the voice, well known to him of Zaccaria: ‘Sir Battista, my good brother, where is the love taught to us by our Paul? Why did you neglect that soul?’” (Appendix A, in Writings of Saint An­thony Mary Zaccaria, Youngstown, NY, 1998, (unpublished).

Famous Sayings on CHARITY

1. Charity is the love of God by which we are loved by Him so that we might imitate Him and love Him to His honor.

2. Charity seeks only the pure honor of God and the pure contempt of oneself.

3. Charity is a spontaneous and unsurpassed delight of God by which, without despair, one reaches real and perfect abnegation of oneself.

4. Charity is loving God unconditionally with all one’s heart. It is loving Him with all one’s mind, always keeping Him in thought. It is loving Him with all one’s soul, forgoing any sensuality or pleasure; and with all one’s strength, so that even in adversity one never feels burdened.

5. Charity keeps every virtue and discards every vice. Therefore, a vicious person cannot be considered charitable.

6. Charity is an enduring heart that faces moments of joy as well as sorrow. It does not fear suffering; rather, it rejoices in times of difficulty and pain.

7. Charity is purification of the mind. It sees that which is advantageous to God’s honor, profitable to our well-being, and beneficial to the welfare of others.

8.Although charity may come with a reward, he who seeks the reward for selfish motives will go on wanting.

9. Charity continues to stimulate life and energy until it becomes perfect.

10. Charity does not get cold with time, nor does it become lukewarm in tribulation. It does not tire from toil, but returns with greater vigor to the work already started and malicious is full of rancor.

11. Charity becomes inactive and sluggish if it does not do great things.

12. Most of the time under the pretext of charity, the essence of interior chastity is defeated.

13. If you want to know if you have charity in you, understand that it is patient and kind. If you are hard and impatient with others, you are far from charitable.

14. Charity does not know envy or malice. He who is envious and malicious is full of rancor.

15. Charity is neither pompous nor ambitious. Therefore, anyone who always seeks acclaim is deprived of it.

16. Charity does not seek for itself. Selfishness excludes charity.

17. Charity does not get angry. It does not think negatively nor does it judge harshly. Instead, it excuses every fault and overlooks the defects of others.

18. Charity does not rejoice over the misfortunes of others, but delights in their successes and grieves over their sins.

19. Charity bears all ills, believes in every good, hopes in every difficult and naturally impossible thing and, like a solid rock, sustains every burden without faltering.

20. Charity never fails. It continues to grow even if faith and hope have ceased.

21. Many think of loving their neighbor based solely on natural affection and not on charity. This perception does not have any merit.

22. He who regards himself to be charitable must be prepared to suffer for the well-being of others.

23. Charity is no less concerned nor less affable towards an enemy than towards a friend.

24. Charity does not reprove the enemy, but strives to make amends for the wrong he has done. Charity knows no enemy and shows graciousness to all.

25. Charity makes us realize that we need adversaries to whom we are called to practice benevolence and friendliness.

26. Charity naturally warms the heart. At other times, it makes the heart cold, depending on the diversity of emotions.

27. When charity is shown in great abundance, it brings about in man an unusual increase of physical and spiritual strength.

28. Charity makes the face glow and changes its appearance, making it lovable and admirable to behold.

29. Charity casts away every inflicting fear of whatever frightful thing, especially that of hearing God say in His wrath, “I condemn you to eternal punishment.”

30. Charity completely eliminates every feeling of shame or disgrace.

31. Charity does not leave the mind in its usual condition. It breaks any strict mentality. It is far better that our mind follows the impulse and movement of the spirit.

32. Charity brings light that makes itself better known by him who possesses it.

33. He who possesses charity perceives better in an instant what another does not perceive for a long time. With just a glance, he already sees many familiar things.

34. Charity utters words that cannot be understood, or indeed are difficult to grasp.

35. Charity always makes some gestures and movements, or says some words, which may seem foolish to those who are unenlightened.

36. There is nothing so displeasing or deadly that charity might not consider pleasing and enjoyable.

37. Charity continuously perseveres in prayer and does not tire from contemplating. At times while working, it lifts up the spirit to God.

38. Charity overcomes the appetite and loses one’s discernment for food.

39. Charity reflects more clearly and more significantly the wisdom of God and the knowledge of natural things more than all the books of Philosophy.

40. Lastly, charity never grows weary. Its nature can never be completely explained or defined, nor can it be understood in any way. It surpasses all things, because charity is God Himself.


1. Knowledge is spiritual not only because it comes from the spirit or because it deals with spiritual things, but because it renders its possessor spiritual.

2. Spiritual knowledge is a light given only by God which enlightens and warms the mind.

3. Spiritual knowledge enlightens every man willing to come to Christ and to the real virtues. Therefore, those who possess it can judge everything without being judged.

4. Spiritual knowledge is the beloved daughter of the most humble humility and mother of true discretion. Its proper keys are total renunciation, profound humility, pure chastity, steadfastness and unshakeable faith.

5. There are few who possess the above-mentioned things, and who can conclude that many are foolish, since those who try to open this book of doctrine without these keys toil in vain.

6. Spiritual knowledge goes hand in hand with the purity of heart. Without it the heart gets smeared and is full of filthy imaginings.

7. If you want to gain this knowledge do not bother to know or investigate high and curious things.

8. Spiritual knowledge sees many of the hidden things of the alien heart.

9. Spiritual knowledge knows how to speak about spiritual things and how to convince and teach by example. It can be liken to a burning ember in the fire, so in a similar way the listeners are sweetly melted into Christ.

10. Spiritual knowledge does not allow errors to pass without proper punishment.

11. This knowledge eliminates any prudence of the flesh and craftiness of man. It renders one simple as a dove yet wise and prudent like a serpent.

12. Although this knowledge has the external appearance of the letter, which appreciates very little, it surpasses any other knowledge. It confuses the foolish and arrogant philosophers and theologians.

13. The one who wants to gain this knowledge must always aspire for Christ Crucified and love the cross in all tribulations, since this kind of doctrine is not given to those who are fainthearted, lukewarm, negligent, proud, distracted, or to those who are subjected to passions.

14. If you see someone deprived of spiritual knowledge, you should know that he is most likely wrapped up in our defects.

15. A person grows in spiritual knowledge as much as in their growth in true virtues.

16. Though someone might give the impression of possessing this doctrine, his way of life will reveal if this is the truth or a hypocrisy.

17. You who have an obscured heart, and cannot speak about Christ or about virtue, because you are always busy with vain thoughts, and words be aware of God's judgment. The one who is deprived of this knowledge walks in darkness with great danger to his soul.

18. This knowledge has always been rare, and the moment we can hardly find any trace of it.

19. We have to fear more the lack of spiritual knowledge in the faithful, than the affliction of all calamities. The calamities cannot change or corrupt this knowledge, but this knowledge can well mitigate every pain and every torment.

20. Although you possess external knowledge, if you are deprived of this spiritual knowledge with which you could instruct yourself and others, then you are hardly different from the animals.

21. Spiritual knowledge is hidden in various ways in the Scriptures, and can in no way be grasped by those who are simply curious.

22. Often a little old lady is wiser with this knowledge than any theologian learned in the Holy Trinity and other mysteries.

23. Spiritual knowledge has by far preceded the surface of the letter, and indeed it does not need it. As Saint Paul says, the letter kills, while the spirit gives life.

24. Spiritual knowledge does not immediately teach what has been learned through meditation. Rather, it teaches what has been practiced through long experience.

25. Spiritual knowledge is different from the human one, or literature, because it is given only to the pure of heart, while the other is acquired only through study and is found among the impure.

26. Spiritual knowledge renders a quiet man steadfast and prudent, where as human knowledge is found in those who are unstable, restless, and hasty.

27. Spiritual knowledge rejects curiosity, and the fruitless philosophy, which is embraced by the sensual knowledge with great desire.

28. Spiritual knowledge has compassion for the neighbor, the learned one is full of slanderous and derision. In short, the first is prudence and the second is foolishness.

29. Spiritual knowledge wants to be, but not to be noticed, while the learned cares more about being noticed than being, and is happier with a superficial pompous appearance, boasting about himself while criticizing others.

30. Spiritual knowledge requires a perfect and holy teacher. It also requires a disciple who not only wants to learn but wants to put into action what he has learned. At this time, both those who can teach, and those who want to learn are rare.

31. A spiritual teacher must live a pure life, rather than live by sensuality like an animal.

32. If the teacher does not practice what he teaches or teaches contrary to what he practices and the disciple, nonetheless, learns the knowledge of the spirit, the teacher should not be proud of it, because the doctrine does not go of its own power. The teacher cannot instill in the disciple that which he does not posses. It has been the Holy the Spirit acting in this case.

33. The moral doctrine, universal by definition and in its distribution, cannot be called spiritual knowledge but, rather material. To speak, and to dispute about the Angels, God, and the properties of things without a pure life is not spiritual knowledge. In short, the more somebody wants to learn and teach higher, and more subtle things without a purity of life, the more he exposes himself to greater ruin.

INTRODUCTION to The Famous Sayings

The authorship of the famous Detti Notabili (Notable Sayings), a recognized masterpiece of 16th century Italian Spirituality, is a moot question.

A collection of 871 sayings selected from the writings of several authors, it treats of various facets of the spiritual life. It was first published in Venice in 1538. Its editor, a former Barnabite, Giovanni Paolo Folperto, describes it as a series of quotations compiled by the Reverend Father Anthony Mary Zaccaria of Cremona. First Barnabite historians, Mazenta, Tornielli, Gabuzio, did not agree with Folperto.

They rejected Anthony Mary’s alleged authorship as spurious. As a matter of fact, nothing in Barnabite tradition proves Anthony Mary’s alleged authorship as authentic.

On the other hand, it is historically ascertained that, even among Barnabites, a Book of Sayings was attributed to Fra Battista da Crema. In addition, Serafi no Aceti de Fermo, in his works quotes several sayings of Fra Battista, which by and large correspond to the sayings in the Detti Notabili.

It must be remembered, however, that controversial Fra Battista was twice condemned by the Church for Semi-Pelagianism, in 1552 and 1564. Probably, in order to save the Detti Notabili from the same fate, Folperto changed the work’s title and ascribed it to unassailable Anthony Mary.

Afterwards, no one doubted Anthony Mary’s paternity of his work, beginning with the first published history of the Barnabite Order by Father Anacleto Secco (1682). It was only in the 1930’s that Dominican Father Innocenzo Colosio reclaimed Fra Battista’s paternity of Detti Notabili.

However, a compilation such as Detti Notabili hardly fi ts Fra Battista’s modus operandi. He preferred to write treatises. On the other hand, Anthony Mary liked to collect aphorisms. Typically, as we have seen, in his university notebook, he wrote down philosophical quotations.
Some suggest that, after Fra Battista’s death, Anthony Mary extrapolated quotations from his works and arranged them thematically.

However, others hold that, both in style and content, these sayings are entirely original.