Christ: My child, some people have Me on their lips, but not in their hearts. Some express their devotion to Me with prayer books; some with holy pictures; and some with holy images or external signs. Now all of these things are good, but they are no proof of true devotion to Me. They are only a means to help men practice devotion. These holy objects are useless if they do not influence your daily thoughts, words and actions.
True devotion to Me is not a mere feeling, nor is it a passing emotion. it is an act of respect and loyalty to Me. Genuine devotion consists of a personal attachment of your will to Mine. It is a sincere intention to please Me in all things, a disregard of self i n doing whatever I desire of you. It draws you close to Me, not only in your thoughts and desires, but also in your daily actions.
As one practices such devotion, greater graces shall I give to you. Your mind will rise more easily to heavenly thoughts. Your heart will strive more constantly after greater virtues. You will advance daily in true perfection, thinking, speaking, and acting more like Me. My loyal followers gradually learn to get along with less and less of this world’s good things. One feels an urge to devote more time to good works and to prayer. One finds that time spent with Me is all too short, and one years for a more perfect union with Me.
Think: Though I may use books, pictures, and religious articles, I must never think that these automatically make me holier. They are external helps to holiness. They can help me come closer to God by reminding me of His presence and by instilling in me a greater desire to please Him. If, however, these external objects do not affect my daily activities, I may as well not have them. Wearing a crucifix or a cross will not save a man who refuses to be patient with his daily trials. So too my devotions at home can never take the place of Sunday Mass. The standard of true devotion was set by Jesus Himself: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” How am I living the commandments of Christ? That is the sure gauge of my devotion to Him. Will I be foolish enough to think that I please God simply because I say a certain number of prayers daily, or use certain religious articles, or even go to church daily? Doing these things is only half of my spiritual life. The other half consists in showing goodness and unselfishness in my dealings with people. One half without the other is incomplete, and therefore unsatisfactory.
Pray: Jesus, I want my daily life to be a fulfillment of all that you teach me through books, prayers and other religious materials. I desire to live what You tell me through Church, through sacraments, and through my own interior life. My kindness, patience, generosity, and unselfishness in my daily life will prove that I use religious articles because I love You and not for selfish or superstitious reasons. I want to use these articles to improve my daily loyalty to Your holy Will. I will use them as a visible form of loyalty to You so that I may remind others of You. Let me never separate my interior life from my exterior dealings with people. Amen.
The above is excerpted from one of my favorite books–titled My Daily Bread, a pocket sized publication from 1954, given to my paternal Grandmother in 1975 and given to me in 1993 by my devoted parents, Ronald and Barbara Michieli. I use this book quite often; finding a quiet corner to curl up in and connect with Our Divine Creator.
To learn more about writing icons in contemplative prayer, please join us for the 6 day iconography workshop taught by Master Iconographer and Founder of the Prosopon School for Iconology — Vladislav Andrejev. May 18–23, 2020. Please see registration form under the link titled “Workshops and Events” or visit www.prosoponschool.org