ONE VICE LEADS TO ANOTHER
‘None can find joy in God if they live in vice.’
‘We are so indulgent with our vices, inasmuch as they are things we like doing, because we attribute them to human nature.’
‘To renounce our vices completely we must avoid any opportunity to commit sin.
‘Anyone who does something bad commits a double sin because he gives in to his own will and then reinforces it by persisting in his pride.
‘The vices follow one another: as soon as one had gone another takes its place.
‘Sometimes little vices ward off bigger ones. But you cannot heal vices with other vices; healing comes rather through the practice of virtues.’
‘Our only enemies are our vices.’
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Sayings 27 (SC77, pp.352ff.)
JOY AN UNEASY BEDFELLOW
Augustine said: "The world's joy is vanity. We long for it to come, but when it has come we fail to hold on to it. Better the sorrow of the one who suffers unjustly than the joy of the one who acts unjustly."
Jerome says: "The wise person curbs the smile on his face by the gravitv of his behaviour. If fortune smiles on you do not brag about it; and if misfortune happens to you do not be discouraged."
Gregory said: "If some joy befalls you in this present life, you need to accept it in such a way as never to forget the judgment to come."
Basil said: "Do not give way to vulgar laughter. Joy is more appropriately registered by a simple smile. Anyone who gives himself up to coarse laughter and immoderate jests does not leave himself room for penitence."
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Wisdom 55 (SC86, pp.142ff.)
ANYTHING A FOOL SAYS IS RUBBISH
Jerome said: "Stupid and tasteless words are not fitting for Christians. Their speech should always be in good taste so as to sound pleasing to the ears of other people.
"Anything a fool says is rubbish, just an empty din."
Gregory said: "Just as the ear does not understand food nor the throat take in words, so the fool does not comprehend the conversation of the wise."
Isidore said: "Nothing is worse than folly, nothing more reprehensible than stupidity, nothing more shameful than ignorance.
"Ignorance is the nurse of the vices, for it does not realise what deserves blame and what does not. The ignorant are easily led astray, and little time passes before the fool falls into vice."
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Sayings 24
THE SEARCH FOR LONG LIFE
Augustine said: "Wicked persons are allowed to go on living so that they may be reformed, or so that by means of their wickedness the virtuous may be put to the test." Jerome said: "The shortness of this life is the penalty for people’s sins. With all your might, hate what the world loves. Be dead to the world and let the world be dead to you. During your life despise what you cannot possess after your death."
Isidore said: "Only in this life can you do good. What is awaiting , you in the future life is not the .opportunity of doing good but the reward of having done it.
"Anyone who reflects on his own life in the light of its end, rather than the passing of the days, perceives how wretched and short it is.
"If you are seeking long life, you ought to be seeking that life through which you come close to Christ, that is, eternal life. That life is real life: this life is only mortal life.
"Ignorance of the end of life causes the individual to die at the moment he was least expecting it. So let all hasten to become free from their own wickedness. As long as we are alive Satan sets us on fire with desire for what is wrong: no sooner are we dead than he hurls us into the torments of hell.
"In this world nothing is long lived, nothing lasts long, everything comes to an end quickly."
Cyprian said: "Time on this earth means nothing to the person who is waiting for eternity."
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Wisdom 80 (SC86, pp.301ff.)
TO RISE YOU MUST GO DOWNWARD
Origen said: "If you are not humble and serene, it is impossible for the grace of the Holy Spirit to dwell in you."
Augustine said: "God humbled himself: human beings should blush to be proud."
Gregory the Great said: "The more humility aims at the depths, the higher it climbs on the path to the summit.
"Humility in listening to the Word of God makes the path ready for the Lord to enter our heart."
Isidore said: "Whoever acquires virtue without humility is throwing dust into the wind."
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Sayings 4 (SC77, pp.102ff.)
RECONCILIATION WITH OUR NEIGHBOURS
Augustine said: "Every individual will receive from God the amount of indulgence he has himself given to his neighbour."
Jerome said: "As God in Christ has forgiven us our sins, so let us also forgive those who sin against us."
Gregory said: "Only the one who has forgiven can see forgiveness."
Isidore said: "In vain do they who neglect being reconciled with their neighbours seek to be reconciled with God."
Caesarius said: "There is no trace of sin remaining in the soul that generously forgives the one who sins against it."
Defensor Grammaticus Book of Sparkling Sayings 4 (SC77, pp.114ff.)
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