Letter to a brother on the way

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Sant' Antonio Signorelli.jpg

How many greater gifts will come to you
in the truly blessed life that lies before us,
is, I must admit, beyond my capacity to discuss,
nor is it within my power to lay them out before you.
It will suffice only to refer in summary
to the indescribable outcome of this exchange,
for this is what awaits those who have perfectly left the world:
"Things beyond our seeing,
things beyond our hearing,
things beyond our imagining,
all prepared by God for those who love Him."

Therefore, hide this treasure, namely Christ, our God and Lord,
who became both redeemer and ransom for us;
he who both promises and is the reward held out to us;
who is the life of men and endless existence of the angels.

With great care hide this treasure, I say,
in the receptacle of your heart.
With it in your possession cast away all concern
for any thing else in this world.
Take delight in speaking with him in unremitting prayer,
and in this way constantly nourish yourself
at the feast of holy thoughts.

Let him be your food and also your raiment.
But if it should happen that you are also in need
of some tangible convenience,
do not hold back,
but place your trust in the firm promise He made to you
when He said:
"Set your mind on God's kingdom before everything else,
and all the rest will come to you as well."
For if He could satisfy the thirsty throng of Israelites
by commanding water to gush from that dry, metallic rock;
if for long periods of time
He could serve heavenly manna to the hungry;
if He could order vast flocks of quail
to light in the camp of those people who complained of their lot,
would He be unable to provide for the necessities of one little man
who is constantly requesting His assistance?

And for Him who for almost forty years
kept the clothes of that great multitude intact,
would it be difficult to replace your tattered old garments with new ones?
Truly, we of little faith, must urge ourselves to hold fast to Christ,
for fainthearted diffidence makes Christ a pauper,
while full confidence causes Him to be rich and generous
in dispensing His gifts.

Take care to be concerned only with those things that He commands,
and let there be no doubt at all about those that He promises.
Let the tax collector feel safe when the debtor is prompt to pay.
There is no reason to be apprehensive
when He who never lies has given His word.
The creditor can breathe easily
when Truth itself is bound to His promise.

Saint Peter Damian, Letter 165

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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