30   Liberated by self-discipline

“The greatest fruit of self-sufficiency is freedom.”

Vatican Sayings 77


29   Gratitude and perspective

“The saying ‘Look to the end of a long life’ is ungrateful for good things in the past.”

Vatican Sayings 75


28   The real winner

“In a learned discussion, the one who loses an argument is more the winner in gaining new insight.”

Vatican Sayings 74


27   Some pains are useful for protection

“And the fact that we have had some pains in the body helps us to guard against pains of the same kind.”

Vatican Sayings 73


26   Evaluating our desires

“This question must be brought to bear with regard to all our desires: what will happen to me if the objective of the desire is fulfilled, and what will happen if it is not fulfilled?”

Vatican Sayings 71


25   A good way to reduce anxieties

“Let nothing be done in your life which will make you fearful if it becomes known to a neighbour.”

Vatican Sayings 70


24   Intemperate hunger for variety

“The soul’s ingratitude makes a living being a glutton for endless variety in its way of life.”

Vatican Sayings 69


23   Dissatisfied with sufficiency

“Nothing is enough to a person for whom enough is little.”

Vatican Sayings 68


22   Freedom, abundance and good-will

“A life of freedom cannot bring in a lot of money – because this does not happen easily without subordination to the people or to rulers – but it possesses everything in continuous abundance; and if perhaps there did happen to be a lot of money as well, this could easily be distributed for the good-will of one’s neighbour.”

Vatican Sayings 67


21   Be thoughtful rather than mournful

“Let us sympathize with our friends not with wailing but with thoughtfulness.”

Vatican Sayings 66


20   Within our power

“What one is able to supply for oneself it is pointless to ask for from the gods.”

Vatican Sayings 65


19   Personal well-being not personal promotion

“Praise from others must follow spontaneously, while we attend to curing ourselves.”

Vatican Sayings 64


18   Living thoughtfully and without extravagance

“It is possible to live decently with meagre resources which the unreflecting person finds about as hard as does the person whose life runs to excess through a failure to observe limits.”

Vatican Sayings 63


17   When parents get angry

“If parents are rightly angry with their children, it is surely pointless to retaliate and not to ask for forgiveness. If the anger is not justifiable but quite unreasonable, it is absurd – bearing in mind that unreasonableness generally tends to refusal – not to seek to deflect it by being conciliatory.”

Vatican Sayings 62


16   Harmony is beautiful

“It is a very beautiful sight for those nearby to see the leading family in harmony or making a great effort to achieve this.”

Vatican Sayings 61


15   Simplicity, complexity, simplicity

“We all go from life as we were when just born.”

Vatican Sayings 60


14   Never satisfied

“It is not (as most people say) the stomach that is never satisfied, but an expectation – a false expectation – that an unlimited amount is needed to fill a stomach.”

Vatican Sayings 59


13   Out of the mainstream

“We must release ourselves from the prison of conventional education and political activity.”

Vatican Sayings 58


12   How to get over misfortunes

“The cure for misfortunes lies in gratitude for what has been lost and the realization that it is impossible to undo what has been done.”

Vatican Sayings 55


11   Professors and doctors

“We must not pretend to philosophize, but really philosophize. For we do not need to seem healthy, but to be healthy in reality.”

Vatican Sayings 54


10   Envy is unfair and unjustified

“We should envy no one. For good people do not deserve envious resentment, and as for wicked people, the more they prosper the more they hurt themselves.”

Vatican Sayings 53


9   Hark the herald

“Friendship dances around the inhabited world calling us all at this very time to be awakened to thankfulness.”

Vatican Sayings 52


8   Making life better, becoming happier

“While we are on the journey, we must try to make the later part better than the earlier, and when we come to the end to be in joyful equilibrium.”

Vatican Sayings 48


7   Staying in control whatever happens

“Chance, I have got the better of you, and I have closed off all your ways of entrance; and we will not yield ourselves up to you or any other circumstance. But when the inevitable takes us off, we will spit mightily on life and those who vainly cling to it, and go from life with a beautiful victory song, proclaiming, ‘We have lived well.’”

Vatican Sayings 47


6   Getting rid of bad habits

“Let us completely chase away bad habits as if they were wicked men who have done great harm for a long time.”

Vatican Sayings 46


5   Investigating nature improves the investigator

“The investigation of nature does not produce people who are skilled in grandiose talk or bragging or who display the sort of education greatly prized by the majority, but people who are self-confident and self-sufficient and who focus on their personal well-being, not on how good their circumstances are.”

Vatican Sayings 45


4   The wise person’s treasure

“Compared (with others) in relation to the necessities of life, the wise person knows how to give rather than take, having gained such a great store of self-sufficiency.”

Vatican Sayings 44


3   Love of money is reprehensible

“To love money made unjustly is wicked, and to love money made justly is dishonourable; for to be sordidly tight-fisted, even acting justly, is indecent.”

Vatican Sayings 43


2   Old age as a time of birth and death

“The same time of life is a time both of birth – of the greatest good – and of decease.”

Vatican Sayings 42


1   Talking about what we value most

“While amusing ourselves and philosophizing and carrying out our daily duties and engaging in all other personal activities, we must never cease speaking words of true philosophy.”

Vatican Sayings 41


Headings are linked (or are to be linked) to related blog posts, where comments can be submitted. The translations are open to revision on textual or other grounds. At some points the interpretation is provisional.

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