Is moderation in all things bad advice

Third letter of St. John of God

Introduction As John is dying, he writes a moving letter to the Duchess of Sesa, which he can no longer complete. This document is a kind of "spiritual testament" and testifies to his faith as well as his clairvoyance for the essentials in life.

In the letter, the dying person speaks of his “three spiritual weapons” and explains in detail what it means to believe, hope and serve one's neighbor. He writes that three things are primarily owed to God, namely love, service, and reverence. With this in mind, he invites you to do three things: pray, work and take care of the “maintenance of the body”.

It is also important to think of three things: the hour of one's own death, the torments of hell and the Beatitudes. The “Testament” of John of God ends with the words: “Above all ... always have love; she is the mother of all virtues. "

Letter text 1. May this letter be given to the humble and generous Doña Maria de los Cobos y Mendoza, wife of the noble and virtuous Don Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, Duke of Sesa, my brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin Mary. God be preferred to all things in this world. Amen, Jesus.

Greetings from God, my sister in Jesus Christ, good Duchess of Sesa, and also to all who are with you and whom God deserves his greeting. Amen, Jesus.

3. The great love I have always felt for you, both for you and for your humble husband, the good Duke, obliges me not to forget you because of the many that I owe and owe you to me With your alms and your love you have always stood by and helped me in my worries and needs to help the poor of this St. To preserve and clothe the house of God and many others who do not live in this house.

You have always done this very well as good noblemen and fighters of Jesus Christ.

All of this obliges me to write this letter to you, dear Duchess, for I do not know whether I shall be able to see or speak to you more often. In my place, let it be Jesus Christ who looks at you and speaks to you.

4. So great is the pain my illness causes me that I can hardly speak and I don't even know whether I will finish these lines.

It would mean a lot to me to see you. Therefore, if it is His will, ask the Lord to restore me to the health He knows I need to save me and to repent for my sins. If He likes to restore my health to me, I would like to visit you and bring the girls you asked me to bring with me.

My sister in Jesus Christ, I intended to spend Christmas with you, but Jesus Christ did better than I deserve.

5. O good duchess! Jesus Christ reward you in heaven for the alms and great love that you have always shown me, and he will bring you back the good Duke, your humble and generous husband, and give you rich blessings, as I hope in Jesus Christ. And always remember what I said to you one day in Cabra (Córdoba): “Put all your trust in Jesus Christ alone, you will receive consolation from him, even if you now suffer hardship in the present; because ultimately all these hardships will only help to greater consolation and salvation for your soul if you take them upon yourself for Jesus' sake. "

6. O good Duke, O good Duchess, be blessed, you and your descendants. Since I cannot see you, I bless you from here, although I am an unworthy sinner.

God, who created you and keeps you alive, also grant you grace for your salvation. Amen, Jesus.

May the blessing of God the Father, the love of the Son and the grace of the Holy Spirit always be with you, with everyone and also with me. Amen, Jesus. May you always be comforted by Jesus Christ and experience his protection, because for his sake you helped me and saved me from trouble, my sister in Jesus Christ, good and humble Duchess.

7. If it pleases Christ to take me away from this present life, I leave and order that when my companion Angulo comes, who has auditioned at court and whom I recommend to you, for he and his wife are in great poverty to bring you my spiritual weapons. There are three letters made of gold thread, which are colored on the edge. I've kept her since I came to battle with the world. Keep them safe with this cross, to present them to the good duke when God sends him home with gifts.

8. They are made of colored silk fabric so that you can always see the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he shed for the whole human race; and his most sacred passion. There is no higher kind of contemplation than that in the Passion, and whoever this St. Worship suffering will not be lost with Christ's help.

9. Three are the letters, because three are also the virtues that lead us to heaven: The first is faith, out of which we believe and hold to be all that which Mother Church teaches by keeping her commandments and put them to work. The second letter means charity. First of all, we show love to our own souls by repeatedly purifying them in confession and repentance. Finally, love for our brothers and sisters by wishing for them all that we would like to claim for ourselves. The third letter is hope in Jesus Christ alone. Because for the sake of the sufferings and hardships that we endure for his sake in this miserable life, he will give us because of his holy Give eternal glory to passion and his great mercy.

10. These letters are made of gold, because just as gold is such a precious metal and, in order to be valuable, must have luster and color, which is necessary first to have been freed from the earth and dirt and then purified by fire be; it is the same with the soul, which is such a precious commodity. It must be separated from the joys and lusts of this world and in this way remains connected to Jesus Christ alone, in order then to be purified in the fire of charity through hardships, fasts and physical penances. In this way it becomes valuable in Christ's eyes and appears before the divine judgment in a supernatural splendor.

11. The cloth also has four corners that represent the four virtues that accompany the first three. They are: prudence, justice, moderation and strength.

Wisdom teaches us to act wisely and wisely in all things we do or think, taking the advice of elders who know more than we do.

Justice is supposed to mean that our walk is just and that everyone receives what corresponds to him, so that we give to God what is God's and to the world what the world is.

Moderation teaches us to be disciplined and orderly in eating and drinking, in clothing, and in all the other things the human body needs.

Strength tells us to be strong and persistent in the service of God and to show a joyful face in spite of toil, difficulty, and illness, just as we do with welfare and comfort by giving thanks to Jesus Christ for one thing or another.

12. On the back the cloth bears a cross in the style of a windmill wing. Everyone who wants to be saved must wear it according to God's will and with the grace he alone bestows. After all, we all pursue a single goal, everyone goes the path that God has marked out for them, and so some religious, other clerics, other hermits and still others are married, because in every class a person can be saved if he only wants to .

You know all this, dear Duchess, much better than I do, and so it is pointless to speak, since you understand me anyway.

13. We owe God three things: love, service, and reverence. Love: for as the divine Father we must love him above all things in this world; Service: because we must serve him like a lord, and only out of kindness and not out of calculation of the grace which he bestows on those who serve him;

Reverence: because he is Creator, in that we only put his holy name on our lips to give him thanks and to praise his holy name.

14. In these three things, dear Duchess, you must spend your time all the days of your life: in prayer, in work and in the maintenance of the body. In prayer: by giving thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ whenever you rise up in the morning for the graces and goods which he gives you without ceasing; for creating you in his image and likeness and for giving you the grace to be Christians. Would you always like to ask him for mercy, forgive you and finally ask him for the whole world.

At work: if it is of a physical nature, practice some virtue so that we may earn our food, following the example of Jesus Christ, who worked until his death, and because nothing leads to sin as much as idleness. In the preservation of our body: for just as a gamekeeper tends and maintains an animal in order to then use it, so it is proper that we give our body that which is necessary for its strength and for Christ's service.

15. My dearly beloved sister, for the sake of the love of Jesus Christ, I ask you to keep the three things in your memory: the hour of death that no one can escape, the torments of hell and the beatitudes of paradise.

As for the first, always remember how death destroys all the misery of this world and how we end up with a piece of torn and poorly mended cloth.

Second, think of how we are held accountable for so little joys and soon-to-be pastimes' sake and, if we die in a mortal sin, we are thrown into the infernal fire that lasts forever.

And, thirdly, consider the glory and beatitude that Jesus Christ prepared for those who serve him, who have not yet seen an eye or heard an ear, and which has not yet penetrated anyone's heart.

16. My sister in Jesus Christ, let us therefore strive for the love of Christ, and let us not allow ourselves to be defeated by these enemies of ours: the world, the devil and the flesh.

17. Above all, my sister, always have love; she is the mother of all virtues.

My sister, the pain torments me very much and does not allow me to continue writing. I would like to rest a little, because I would like to write you long and in detail, because I do not know whether we will ever meet again in this life. Jesus Christ be with you and all your house etc. ...


Download the three letters to the Duchess of Sesa