A Year with the Saints – 10 May


Whoever has direction of souls should deal with them as God and the Angels do, with admonitions, suggestions, entreaties and “with all patience and doctrine.” He must knock at the door of the heart like the Spouse, and try gently to open it: if he succeeds, he must introduce salvation with gladness; but if a refusal comes, he should bear it patiently. It is thus that Our Lord acts. Though He is Master of all hearts, He bears with our long resistance to His lights and our many rebellions against His inspirations; and even if He be forced to withdraw from those who will not walk in His way, He does not cease to renew His inspirations and invitations. Our guardian Angels, too, exactly imitate His conduct in this; for they guide, rule, and help as far as they can, those whom God has committed to their charge, and when they see them remaining obstinate, they do not therefore abandon them, nor experience either grief or vexation, nor lose their blessedness in any degree. Now, what better models than these can we desire for our own conduct? – Saint Francis de Sales

These surely were the models that this Saint proposed to himself. With weak souls in particular, such as beginners or those who have made but little progress in the spiritual life, he said we ought to copy Jacob, who suited his steps to those of his little sons, and even to the tender lambs.

Saint Vincent de Paul also behaved with great suavity and patience to all whom he directed, and especially to scrupulous persons, bearing with their weaknesses and listening to them with unalterable sweetness. He treated in the same way those that were fastidious and hard to please, saying that they ought to be guided with the greatest kindness, as their infirmities of spirit were worthy of even more compassion than bodily ones.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal pursued the same course. Writing to a Superioress of her Order, she says: “The older I grow, the more I feel the necessity of meekness to win and retain hearts, to the end that they may be faithful to the duty they owe to God. Whatever I have tried to do for the benefit of those who have had recourse to me to guide their souls has been done by means of a mild and humble charity, and without any authority but that of a heartfelt entreaty.”

MLA Citation