12. When I consider the brevity of life, I am painfully impressed by the incessant preoccupation placed on material well-being; whereas so little time or significance is given to moral improvement, though nevertheless, this is what is really important to eternity. From the amount of effort we put into our material welfare it would appear that we were dealing with a question of the utmost importance for humanity; when in reality it will be found that in the majority of cases, this same work is nothing other than an attempt to satisfy exaggerated needs and vanities, or is a surrender to excesses. What grief, sorrow and torments you cause yourselves! What sleepless nights, just to increase what is often a more than sufficient wealth! At the height of blindness, it is not infrequent to see those whose immoderate love of wealth and pleasures allows them to be subjected to arduous and tiring work, boasting of the life of sacrifice and merit they lead, as if they were working for others and not for themselves! What fools you are! Do you really believe that the care and effort expended will be taken into consideration when, on the one hand, you are motivated by selfishness, cupidity and pride, while on the other hand you neglect your future and the duties which fraternal solidarity imposes on all who reap the advantages which society has to offer? You have thought only of your physical bodies! Your own well-being and pleasures have been the exclusive object of your selfish solicitude. For the sake of the body that perishes you have despised the Spirit that will live forever. This is why that spoiled and flattered lord becomes your tyrant; it dominates your Spirit, thus making you its slave. Can this possibly be the objective for which God granted you life? - A Protecting Spirit (Krakow, 1861).