Josemaría Escrivá Obras
139

I could continue pointing out a multitude of details (I have just mentioned those that came immediately to mind) which you can take advantage of during the course of the day to come closer to God and to your neighbour. But here let me emphasise that, in giving you these examples, I am not in any way disparaging great penances. On the contrary, they may prove to be very good and holy, and even necessary, when Our Lord leads you by that road, always assuming that they have been approved by the person who directs your soul. But I warn you that great penances are also compatible with great falls, which are brought about by pride. On the other hand, if you continually wish to please God in the little battles that go on inside you — a smile, for example, when you don't feel like smiling; and I assure you that a smile is sometimes more difficult than an hour's worth of cilice — then there is little room left for pride, or for the ridiculous notion of thinking we are great heroes. Instead, we will see ourselves as a little child, who is hardly able to offer even the merest trifles to his father, but who then sees them received most joyfully.

So, does a Christian have to be mortified always? Yes, but for love. For this treasure of our vocation 'we carry it in vessels of clay, to show that the abundance of the power is God's and not ours. In all things we suffer tribulation, but we are not distressed; we are sore pressed, but we are not destitute; we endure persecution, but we are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we do not perish; always bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame.'

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