"A constant beginning and beginning again"
"Spiritual life is - and I repeat this again and again, on purpose - a constant beginning and beginning again. Beginning again? Yes. Every time you make an act of contrition - and you should make many every day - you begin again, because you offer a new love to God." (St. Josemaría, The Forge, 384)
Since our first conscious decision really to follow the teaching of Christ, we have no doubt made good progress along the way of faithfulness to his word. And yet isn’t it true that there is still much to be done? Isn’t it true, particularly, that there is still so much pride in us? We need, most probably, to change again, to be more loyal and humble, so that we become less selfish and let Christ grow in us, for "He must become more and more, I must become less and less." ...
Conversion is the task of a moment; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The divine seed of charity, which God has sown in our souls, wants to grow, to express itself in action, to yield results which continually coincide with what God wants. Therefore, we must be ready to begin again, to find again - in new situations - the light and the stimulus of our first conversion. And that is why we must prepare with a deep examination of conscience, asking our Lord for his help, so that we'll know him and ourselves better. If we want to be converted again, there’s no other way. (Christ is Passing By, 58)
Whenever I preach beside the crib, I try to see Christ our Lord as a child wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on straw in a manger. Even though he is only a child, unable to speak, I see him as a master and a teacher. I need to look at him in this way, because I must learn from him. And to learn from him, you must try to know his life - reading the Gospel and meditating on the scenes of the new testament - in order to understand the divine meaning of his life on earth.
In our own life we must reproduce Christ’s life. We need to come to know him by reading and meditating on Scripture, and by praying, as we are doing now in front of the crib. We must learn the lessons which Jesus teaches us, even when he is just a newly born child, from the very moment he opens his eyes on this blessed land of men.
The fact that Jesus grew up and lived just like us shows us that human existence and all the ordinary activity of men have a divine meaning. No matter how much we may have reflected on all this, we should always be surprised when we think of the thirty years of obscurity which made up the greater part of Jesus' life among men. He lived in obscurity, but, for us, that period is full of light. It illuminates our days and fills them with meaning, for we are ordinary Christians who lead an ordinary life, just like millions of other people all over the world. (Christ is Passing By, 14)
Personal experience shows, and you have often heard me tell you so, to warn you against discouragement, that our interior life consists in beginning again and again each day; and you know in your hearts, as I do in mine, that the struggle is never ending. You will have noticed too, when making your examination of conscience just as I do (excuse these personal references, but even as I am speaking to you I am going over the needs of my own soul with Our Lord) that you often experience little setbacks, which at times perhaps may seem to you enormous, revealing as they do an evident lack of love, of self-surrender to God, of a spirit of sacrifice, of refinement. Well, strengthen your yearning for reparation, with a sincere act of contrition, but please do not lose your peace of mind. (Friends of God, 13)
Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lords hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the twenty-four hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of Gods Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step. (Friends of God, 214)