CHRIST. My son, My grace is precious, and may not be mingled with worldly concerns and pleasures. Therefore, if you wish to receive it, you must remove every obstacle to grace. Seek out a place apart, and love the solitary life. Do not engage in conversation with men, but instead pour forth devout prayer to God, that you may preserve a humble mind and a dean conscience. Count the whole world as nothing, and place attendance on God before all outward things. For you cannot attend on Me, and at the same time take pleasure in worldly things. Remain detached from acquaintances and friends and independent of this world's consolations. It is for this reason that the blessed Apostle Peter begs all the faithful in Christ to keep themselves as strangers and pilgrims in this world .(I Pet. 2:11)
With what confidence will a man meet death, to whom no worldly affection clings! But a weak soul cannot bear to be thus detached from all things, nor can a worldly-minded man understand the freedom of the spiritual man. (ICor.2:14) Nevertheless, when a man sincerely desires to be spiritual, he must renounce all, both friend and stranger, and must beware of none more than himself. If you can win complete mastery over self, you will easily master all else. To triumph over self is the perfect victory. For whoever so controls himself that his passions are subject to his reason, and his reason wholly subject to Me, is master both of himself and of the world.
If you aspire to reach this height of perfection, you must make a brave beginning. Lay the axe to the roots, (Matt.3:10; Luke 3:9) to cut out and destroy all inordinate and secret love of self, and of any personal and material advantage. From this vice of inordinate self-love spring nearly all those other failings that have to be completely overcome. But as soon as this evil is mastered and subdued, great peace and lasting tranquillity will follow. But few endeavour to die completely to self, and to rise wholly above it; consequently, they remain absorbed in themselves, and quite unable to rise in spirit above self. He who desires to walk with Me in true freedom must mortify all irregular and undisciplined desires, and have no selfish longing for any creature.
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