Maxims

. . . an invitation to wholeness and holiness

The Maxims of the Little Institute, written by Jean-Pierre Médaille, SJ for the first Sisters of Saint Joseph, are 100 short sayings offering guidance for their growth into deepening relationship with God, others, and self. Thus, the Maxims of the Little Institute are an invitation to wholeness and holiness. The timeless wisdom of the Maxims continues to offer a practical spirituality for all women and men who desire to grow in life-giving relationship.

MAXIM-IZE Your Life! We invite you to choose a maxim, perhaps for a day, a week or even a month. You may want to repeat it so that the words become an experience of your heart. You may wish to reflect at the end of the day on where the maxim fit into your life. You may want to pause several times for 30 seconds of silence to return to its wisdom.

We offer you contemporary adaptations of the original Maxims of the Little Institute, as well as the original version along with a commentary.

Simple Maxims 1-100: Contemporary Adaptation

Your call is sublime…become what God dreams for you. —Maxim 1

Seek what pleases God most. —Maxim 2

Humility is truth. Let your sincere love flow from it. —Maxim 3

Let your life be a continuous act of love. —Maxim 4

Unmask the illusions that lure you away from your true self. —Maxim 5

Shed old ways that keep you self-centered. Embrace love. Be love. —Maxim 6

Desire to embrace the whole world with the fire of God’s great dream. —Maxim 7

Let your resolutions draw their strength from your firm trust in God. —Maxim 8

Avoid like the plague the compulsions of the unaware self. —Maxim 9

Forget yourself. Be transparent. It’s so much easier. —Maxim 10

Always speak positively of others and affirm their good qualities. Maxim 11

Endure temporary hardships for the sake of the greater good. —Maxim 12

Risk everything for God’s dream. —Maxim 13

God’s gift of free love supports your life at every moment. Rely on it. —Maxim 14

Listen deeply to subtle nudges of the Holy Spirit; then act on them. —Maxim 15

Fix your heart on God’s dream. Let it guide everything. —Maxim 16

Hold your desires lightly; entrust everything to God. —Maxim 17

Live from the place of one desire—where God and you share the same dream. —Maxim 18

Trust and cherish God’s love threading through all the events of daily life. —Maxim 19

Be serious about God’s will in the present moment. Leave the future to God. —Maxim 20

Let go of the need for affirmation and praise. Let your fidelity be your joy. —Maxim 21

Be satisfied that God alone is aware of your good deeds. —Maxim 22

Love nothing but God and all that God loves. —Maxim 23

Live wholeheartedly—every part of you utterly for God. —Maxim 24

Take joy in the accomplishments of others when they advance God’s dream. —Maxim 25

Seek God’s contentment in everything—nothing else. —Maxim 26

Seek to know the inner, hidden moments of God’s heart. —Maxim 27

Desire that everything about you points to God alone. —Maxim 28

When it is tough to believe, hold fast to wanting to believe. —Maxim 29

When things look bleak, trust God even more. —Maxim 30

In times of trouble, trust firmly that you are an instrument of God’s dream. —Maxim 31

When you feel most lost and alone, yours is a share in the pain of God. —Maxim 32

Desire to fill your daily actions with great love as did God’s dearest friends. —Maxim 33

Take care that God alone be the goal and motive for all that you do. —Maxim 34

God sees, knows, and loves you intimately; live and act from that alone. —Maxim 35

Stay rooted in who you are—one love and called. —Maxim 36

Do the best you can and then let it go. —Maxim 37

Never complain about anyone. —Maxim 38

Make a wholehearted gift of yourself. —Maxim 39

Love only what lasts forever. —Maxim 40

Tend your spirit. Let it resemble the God of Great Love. —Maxim 41

Be patient in your longing for God’s Great love. —Maxim 42

Choose, at least in desire, the humble hidden way. —Maxim 43

Avoid anything that interferes with becoming the one God dreamed you to be. —Maxim 44

When you are with others, blend your serious side with joy, gentleness, and refreshing candor. —Maxim 45

Let the false self and its vanity die out. Be attached to God and God’s dream for you. —Maxim 46

Be free enough to let others shine. Embrace the humble tasks. —Maxim 47

Pursue God’s glory. Let go of attachment to success in the process. —Maxim 48

Treat everyone with the same care as if you were meeting God. —Maxim 49

Choose to make others happy and do it joyfully. —Maxim 50

Return happiness freely to those who dish out unhappiness. —Maxim 51

Interpret all things from the best possible point of view. —Maxim 52

Let go of judging. Let your heart be free. —Maxim 53

Witness courageously that no one less than God has any power over you. —Maxim 54

Serve others unselfishly with no thought of reward. —Maxim 55

Don’t go along to get along. Live from the Spirit’s promptings. —Maxim 56

Our good works have their roots in divine inspiration. —Maxim 57

We can put obstacles in the path of God’s grace. Be aware. —Maxim 58

Being with God, the dear neighbor and all of creation is one movement. —Maxim 59

Live in and from the flow of gentle love. Let go of driveness. Maxim 60

Seek union with God and let that pure love transform you. —Maxim 61

Be at peace with your path. Embrace change when the Spirit prompts. —Maxim 62

Love can be at work in unfortunate events. Trust love. —Maxim 63

Seek to be kind always to everyone and unkind to no one. —Maxim 64

Honor your responsibilities rather than your whims. —Maxim 65

Expect difficulties and persevere until God shows you it is time to let go. —Maxim 66

Hold fast to the commitments you believe bring glory to God. —Maxim 67

Try not to get caught up in desires that take you away from life’s responsibilities. —Maxim 68

Stay in the present moment. Trust the future to God. —Maxim 69

Trust God’s timing. The future will unfold. —Maxim 70

Live your life with joyful simplicity, content in what is yours to do. —Maxim 71

Whatever befalls you, good or ill, trust God’s Love at work. —Maxim 72

Have only one desire: to be what God longs for you to be. —Maxim 73

Don’t resist Love’s design. Be at peace in the ordinary demands of life. —Maxim 74

Live detached from others’ opinions of you. Rejoice in the gifts of others. —Maxim 75

Choose the lowly way. Avoid boasting. —Maxim 76

Fulfill all that great and true love asks of you. That is everything. —Maxim 77

Treat embarrassment and criticism as opportunities to grow. —Maxim 78

Avoid envy of others’ gifts. Be content in playing your part in Love’s design. —Maxim 79

Don’t focus on measuring your progress. Trust grace at work in you. —Maxim 80

God knows you better than you know yourself. Let God be the judge. —Maxim 81

Your best selfless desires are God’s gift to you. —Maxim 82

Even our best intentions can be tinged with selfishness. —Maxim 83

Wait to be led by grace. Follow it when it comes. —Maxim 84

Work wholeheartedly. Be free to let others complete your work and even take the credit. —Maxim 85

Keep things in perspective: God first and foremost. —Maxim 86

Don’t get caught up in your gifts and talents. You are both frail and glorious. —Maxim 87

The moments of your life are precious. Make the most of each one. —Maxim 88

Do the ordinary good with extraordinary care. —Maxim 89

Bring great love to whatever life presents today, great and small things alike. —Maxim 90

Freely embrace undertakings of great Love when God’s Spirit nudges you. —Maxim 91

God’s holy Love is always at work in us. We never arrive but are always a work in progress. —Maxim 92

Freedom: to remember God, to see God in all things, to choose God’s will. —Maxim 93

Be alert to God’s true promptings. I can be tricked. —Maxim 94

Entrust yourself totally to God’s providence. —Maxim 95

Everything I am and have is gift. Enjoy but don’t cling. —Maxim 96

In face of opposition, let go of fear. —Maxim 97

Suffering touches everyone. Unite yours to God and all who suffer. —Maxim 98

God gives us as much grace as we are willing to accept. —Maxim 99

Everything in balance: heart, humility, detachment, prayer, trust, solitude, love of God and neighbor, a life joyous and free. —Maxim 100

Additional Translation and More…

Maxims of the Little Institute: English translation of the original 17th Century French

Commentary on the Maxims: by Mary Helen Kashuba SSJ

Original Maxims with Related Student Adaptations

maxim cards