The phrases of Saint Luigi Gonzaga that have survived to the present day celebrate his divine greatness and summarise the cardinal principles to which he devoted his entire life. The call to total dedication to God, charity and purity recurs constantly in the phrases taken from his writings as a timeless testimony to the example of virtue offered by the patron saint of youth.
First principle, you are made for God, and you must walk towards him who created, redeemed, and called you: from this you deduce that you must abstain not only from any evil work, but also from any indifferent and idle work; on the contrary, you must see to it that all your activities, internal or external, are virtuous, in order to always walk towards God.
By the assistance of your guardian Angel, you owe him honour, devotion and reverence, guarding yourself from doing things that you would not do in the presence of any man your superior.
Many are the virtues that please the holy Angels and that they wish to see in our souls: sobriety, chastity, voluntary poverty, fervent prayers; but above all union, peace and fraternal charity.
Says the Lord, unless we become like children we shall not enter heaven. Therefore, if we want to be saved, it is better for us to have the qualities of children: they are simple and without guile or deceit; they are pure in mind and body; they esteem neither honour nor dishonour; they do not offend others, and do not take revenge for offences received; they do not quarrel, but yield to all; finally, they willingly submit to those who are superior to them. These are Christian virtues, which Christ himself practised and urged us to imitate when he said: 'Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart'. In these two virtues are contained all the others
All gifts must return to God. As the waters, which if they do not return to the sea and stop, stagnate and rot, so it is with the gifts of God, health, strength, wit, eloquence... The apostle says: "Be of those who put the Word into practice and not just hearers. It is not enough to be hearers.
The God who calls me is love. How can I curb this love, when the whole world would be too small to do so?
How great must be the joys of Heaven, if only to speak of them down here one feels such joy!
"(...) The lesser a man becomes than others, the greater he will be, for the more humble one is, the more like and nearer he is to Christ, who is above all."
"(...) Let us freely and readily offer to him what is his, and the more willingly the more dear to us is the thing taken away."
"What God does is all well and good: if He takes away what He had previously given us, He does so to place it safely in an inviolable place."
"I confess that I am lost and bewildered if I consider the divine Goodness, a sea without shores and without bottom: by such small and brief labours He calls me to an eternal peace; from Heaven He invites me and calls me to that Supreme Good which I have so negligently sought.
Let us offer Him freely and readily what is His, and all the more willingly the more dear to us is the thing taken away.
What God does is all well and good: if he takes away from us what he had previously given us, he does so in order to secure it in an inviolable place".
"Christ the Lord, out of the great love he bears us his creatures, has willed that we should make a special memorial of certain Saints, that they might be our protectors; they might succour us in our spiritual and material needs and give us occasion to imitate their virtues.
Desiring some virtue, we must have recourse to the Saints: thus, wanting to obtain strength from God, we must ask the Martyrs; wanting Penance, the Confessors; for humility, we must have special recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, as the most outstanding among creatures excellent in this virtue.
From Heaven, those who have been signalled in one virtue more than in another, promote and help in the acquisition of that virtue, those who strive most to obtain it, and, therefore, we commend ourselves to their intercession".
"O Holy Mary my Lady, in your blessed faith, in your singular protection and in your mercy, today, every day and at the hour of my death, to you I commend my soul and my body. Every hope and every consolation of mine, every misery and anguish, my life and my death I entrust to thee, that through thy holy intercession and by thy merits, all my works may be directed and disposed, according to the will of thy Divine Son. So be it".
I will endlessly sing the Lord's graces.
I invoke upon you, my lady, the gift of the Holy Spirit and endless consolations. When they brought me your letter, they found me still in this region of the dead. But let us take heart and aim our aspirations towards heaven, where we shall praise God eternal in the land of the living. For my part, I have long wished to find myself there, and sincerely hoped to leave for it even before now. Charity consists, as St Paul says, in 'rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep'.
Therefore, most illustrious mother, you must rejoice greatly because, through you, God shows me true happiness and frees me from the fear of losing him. I will confide to you, O most illustrious lady, that in meditating on the divine goodness, a sea without depths and without boundaries, my mind goes astray. I cannot comprehend how the Lord looks upon my small and brief labour and rewards me with eternal rest and from heaven invites me to that happiness which I have so far negligently sought and offers me, who have shed very few tears for it, that treasure which is the crowning glory of great labours and tears.
O most illustrious lady, beware of offending the infinite divine goodness by weeping as dead one who lives in the sight of God and who by his intercession can meet your needs much more than in this life. The separation will not be long. We shall see each other again in heaven and together united with the author of our salvation we shall enjoy immortal joys, praising him with all the capacity of our soul and singing his graces without end. He takes away from us what he had previously given us only to place it in a safer and more inviolable place and to adorn us with those goods that we ourselves would choose.
I have said these things only to obey my ardent wish that you, O most illustrious lady, and the whole family, should consider my departure as a joyful event. And you continue to assist me with your motherly blessing as I am at sea towards the harbour of all my hopes. I have preferred to write to you because nothing remains for me with which to manifest to you more clearly the love and respect that, as a son, I owe to my mother.