This is why such a soul experiences excessive sadness and despair soon as signs of its own lack of integrity show up, with the consequence that it immediately feels unacceptable to God.  That’s why a sick soul is always hiding the truth from itself, the mechanism for which is endless self-justification. And why the correction of such a soul is always taken as rejection.
On Helping Souls That Are Being Tried
Do not lose your serenity on account of those who are being tried.  Pray for them; offer the sufferings of My Passion and some acts of self-denial, some self-imposed sufferings for them.”
Jesus to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity
When souls are being tried, what they need from you is deeper love of Me—so that, through you, I may give them the grace they need.  So you see, you need your serenity even more at such times.  Do not try to buy peace for souls by losing your own!  Offer up your act of self-denial at such times, so that the soul who is suffering may get the grace to accept in joy what she cannot change—through your free offering of love.  You will see more and more how you are all instruments in the communication of My Love, for one another as for yourselves.  The more you will understand that, the more you will love one another.
On Feeling Unloved
Only the realization that I love you now, I, Jesus, who know all your misery, all your sins, the failure of your whole life, only the knowledge that I Who know how underserving you are of anyone‘s love, yet love you nevertheless with the Love of God Himself, can take away the pain and anxiety of feeling unloved by so many persons, and not undeservedly.
 The Age of St. Bernard’s is not like Ours.
St. Bernard, commenting on the Canticle (Song of Songs)

"Or perhaps, drawn away and seduced by his own concupiscence, he is still being dangerously tempted. Such a soul as this does not need a Bridegroom but a Physician, and for this reason receives, not kisses or caresses, surely, but only remedies for wounds in oil and ointments."

Yes, Bernard, in your time this was true — for the time had not yet come to force men willy-nilly from the highways and byways to the wedding feast. Men were still strong and able to overcome concupiscence with a help of the Physician less than the Kiss of His Mouth, less than the embrace of His intimacy. But now we are as children, impatient as we are weak, and needing, therefore, to be fondled and kissed by the Mother and her spouse, by Mary and Jesus.  0 Bernard, those of your age, who could help yourselves, needed the Physician only to supply the ointments of which you speak. But we need the Kiss of this Bridegroom who condescends to the weakness of little ones, like this little one who is too weak to help himself and therefore cries out:
"Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for thy breasts are better than wine.  For my justification now is not that I am healed by the ointments of the Physician, but that I am in the arms of His Mother, that it is her purity that makes me worthy of His embrace, not my virtue."
If Something Is Painful
It seems I always assume that if something is painful, it is evil and to be avoided. Then, when I am suffering, I begin to think, and I do not rest until I have discovered some truth which I hope will remove the pain. But I do not think I do this only because I want to avoid suffering: it is rather that I look upon suffering as a sign that I am wrong somehow, that God is displeased with me, and therefore something in me must be changed.

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On St. Paul's Words in Romans 3: 9-17 (continued)

So that if you do not see that all the good you do comes from Jesus, then the good you do is your justification under the Law, and it is to you that Paul speaks in telling you that, in yourself, you are under sin.  If you think you are just in yourself, then Paul tells you that there is not any man just.  If you pride yourself on your understanding, then he tells you that there is none that understands.  If you pride yourself on your good will, then Paul’s words tell you that your will is not good, because there is none that seeks after God.  If you are in peace, as you think, because of your good works, then he tells you that all men have gone astray, that their lives are useless and vain, that there is none that does good, there is not so much as one.

Then if you would see what you really are in yourself, having seen that what you thought you were you are not, then again, let Paul tell you:  Your throat is an open sepulchre because the stench of corruption emerges from your mouth. Why? Because with that mouth the abundance of your heart speaks.  And what does it speak?  Your heart speaks the stench of self-love.  And because you are so in love with your own goodness, the goodness of others would be only a threat to your own divinity, and so Paul likens your mouth to that of a poisonous snake which hides the venom of detraction of others.  

For not loving God Who alone is the universal Good which all may share in peace and joy, you rejoice in your own private good which is therefore threatened by the good of others. And therefore, your mouth is filled with poison to destroy the good name of others which necessarily threaten your own. And because God Who loves you nevertheless continues to pursue you with His Spirit of Truth, to show you your corruption in order that you might turn to Him, you cannot understand His Goodness because you are so blinded that you can only understand your own goodness; and therefore, believing yourself cursed by a God Who is Love, you curse Him in your heart, in the bitterness of your heart, and therefore, this same cursing is on your lips, and not only of God, but of all those who, as God's instruments, teach you wittingly or unwittingly your corruption. And therefore, your feet which are the instruments of your will are quick to shed blood, to murder those whose sacrifice is acceptable, or at least appears so to your eyes. Therefore, yours is the way of murderers who cannot know the way of peace since in their hearts all goodness is ordered to their own goodness. And because the fear of God would perhaps turn you from these evil works, you have turned from the fear of God and have convinced yourself of your innocence. And thus what fear of God may still lurk within you is buried far from your eyes, that you may not see it.
Do you understand the answer to your question how Paul's words could possibly apply to a nice person like me?
Here it is briefly:  If you would know in what you delight, whether in Jesus’s justification of you, or in your own justification of yourself, then ask yourself now whether you see yourself as Paul has described those who are under the law. If you see yourself as he describes, then the Spirit of Jesus is your justification:  But if you do not see yourself as he describes, then you are blinded by your spirit, and what Paul says is true of you — only because there is no fear of God before your eyes, you cannot see what you are. Because you would save your life, you are losing it.