Cast from your hearts idle thoughts, unworthy affections, bad intentions, violent actions, useless sadness, self-centered love and individual feelings.

Before the eyes of God be fearful of such thoughts, which you would blush to carry into action before human eyes.

Each of you should strive to have a heart that is like a garden abloom with trees of virtues, like a storeroom filled with the perfumes of holy affections, like a flower giving off a heavenly dew, like a box enclosing within it a marvellous treasure, like a fountain always flowing with streams of devotion, like a mirror depicting the image of God.

O happy heart which shows itself to be a throne on which God may sit, a chamber in which

God may rest, a seal on which the likeness of God is impressed, a cellar filled with God’s own vintage, a book in which God’s memories are written, gold which God moulds to any form.

Each of you should strive again and again to have a heart dedicated to God, discerning in its thoughts, wary in temptation, free of anger, separated from judgments, pining with longing for eternity, wounded with love, shining in intellect, careful in works, raised up by contemplation, concerned about the good, cut to pieces by sorrow for sin, holy in its manner of life, guarded by fear, adorned with grace.

Finally, brothers, let us strive most eagerly to turn away from sin with our whole heart by avoiding faults; let us turn to the Lord with our whole heart by doing penance.

Let us seek the Lord with our whole heart by begging pardon; let us cling to the Lord with our whole heart loving God above all things; let us serve the Lord with our whole heart with our praise; with our whole heart let us follow the path of the Lord by our pursuit.

We really owe all this to the Lord who gives our heart countless gifts.

The Lord illumines our hearts with wisdom, governs them with goodness, feeds them with delights, draws them with beauty, changes them with power, makes them one with love, allures them with promises, teaches them with harsh blows, shakes them with threats, and softens them with blessings.

Our most delightful God looks into our hearts by proving them, speaks by informing them, touches by stirring them, visits in consoling them, gives life by justifying them, and opens them by shedding light on them.

For all these gifts it behoves us to thank God tirelessly.

Humbert of Romans (c.1200-1277): From the letter On Regular Observance, from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers, feast of St Martin de Porres.