Had your teaching not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
1 Italian patriot and writer, Silvio Pellico (Saluzzo 1789 - Turin 1854) is known above all for the story of his political imprisonment under the Austrian Empire, described in the book Le mie prigioni, which is considered a noble testimony of faith and of Christian forgiveness.
2 Reference is to Alonso (not Alfonso) Rodriguez, a Spanish Jesuit, a writer of Ascetics (Valladolid 1538 - Seville 1616). For many years, he taught Moral Theology at the Monterrey College, then for thirty years he was the master of novices and rector of Montilla. The work that made him famous was the Ejercicio de perfección y virtudes cristianas, in three volumes, published in Seville in 1609. He was highly esteemed by many founders of religious institutes, among whom Don Alberione.
3 Diego Álvarez de Paz (Toledo 1560 - Potosí 1620) was one of the principal authors of spirituality of the Society of Jesus. A missionary in Peru and a professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Sacred Scriptures, he owes his renown for his three volumes of Spiritual Theology: De exterminatione mali et promotione boni (1613), De inquisitione pacis seu studio orationis (1617), De vita spirituali eiusque perfectione (1618).
4 The practice of loving Jesus Christ. It is a work by St. Alphonsus de' Liguori, written in 1768, “for the use of souls who desire to assure their eternal salvation and to walk in the paths to perfection,” and considered by the saint as “the most devout and useful of all my works.” It had at least 516 editions, cf. Bibliotheca Sanctorum I, p. 853.
5 De imitatione Christi, [The Imitation of Christ] is a book attributed to Thomas a' Kempis (cf. note 5 on p. 226).
6 Cf. Diario spirituale. Scelta di detti e fatti di santi e di altre persone di singolare virtù [Spiritual Diary, A selection of sayings and facts by saints and other persons of singular virtue]. Pia Società San Paolo, Roma-Alba 1927 (reprint Bari 1956-1957). The book was anonymously published in Naples in 1775; two centuries later the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité (item Journal spirituel, Paris 1974), attributes its authorship to the Barnabite B. Canale, Milan 1749. - The saying of 1 January is by St. Francis de Sales: “Consider that your entire past is nothing and say with David: now I begin to love my God.”
7 Teotimo or Trattato dell'amor di Dio [Treatise on the love of God], published in Lyon in 1616, can be considered as the masterpiece of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Its principal sources are: the Bible, above all the Psalms, Job, Jeremiah, the Canticle of Canticles and the letters of St. Paul; St. Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Catherine of Genoa, Teresa of Avila. The aim is made clear in the preface: “I have not thought of any other than to simply and naturally represent the story of the birth, progress, decadence, operations, traits, advantages, and excellence of divine love... The purpose of the treatise is to help the devout soul, so that it can advance in its aim.” The treatise was written in a special manner for the Sisters of the Visitation and for souls of the contemplative life.
8* Pio VI writes to Msgr. Martini, a famous translator of the Holy Bible: “You think very excellently if you judge as something necessary that Christians be greatly stirred to read the Holy Gospel; because these are the most bountiful sources from where access for every believer must be open and easy, in order to draw from them holiness of morals and of doctrine.”
[Msgr. Antonio Martini (Prato 1720 - Florence 1809), graduated in Letters in Pisa, was archbishop of Florence. Upon invitation of Card. Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze he dedicated himself to the Italian version and the commentary of the Vulgata, in conformity with the norm of Pope Benedict XIV (brief of 13 June 1757), according to which the translation of the Bible into modern language is allowed as long us it is equipped with notes drawn from the holy Fathers and from learned Catholic Authors. The Bible of Msgr. Martini (Naples 1771-1781) was approved through a papal brief of Pius VI dated 17 March 1778.]
9 A heresy that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ as Son of God. It was condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325. Arius, a priest of Alexandria, died in the year 336; the Arian controversy, however, occupied a large part of the IV century and was crucial for the explicitation and development of the Christian doctrine.