On coming into the world and assuming flesh, the Eternal Word prepared the earth by taking flesh from Mary, who was of the earth. And during all His life He went about sowing the various flowers and plants of His sweet words and gentle commandments; for as He said, His yoke is sweet and His burden light [Mt 11:30]. Oh, if only those religious who are so far removed from Him, for having put aside the vows that they have promised, would ponder this, they would [indeed] observe poverty, obedience, and the other promises made!
But the fact is that they contradict the words of Truth, and they argue that His commandments are impossible to keep, because they themselves do not comprehend the sweetness and the gentleness that is found in them. Yet if they would comprehend how light is the burden of God, they would grasp it with supreme desire. For, the burden that God gives us is none other than the observance of His commandments, all of which consist in loving. But those religious make up a burden heavy and insupportable for themselves, because it does not seem to them that they can keep these commandments; and so they exchange loves, for instead of loving God, they love themselves.
These two loves, so contrary to each other — love for God and love for oneself — cannot stand together, since they are as different from one another as ice is from fire. Yet love for God does indeed do in us what fire does to ice, for fire makes the ice dissolve into water; and so, in our case, by opening the door of our heart to love for God, this love dissolves all self-love in us. But we must open the door!
Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi
Letter 8 to Venerable Veronica Laparelli (excerpt)