A Year with the Saints – 12 March


Our profit does not depend so much upon mortifying ourselves, as upon knowing how to mortify ourselves; that is, upon knowing how to choose the best mortifications, which are those most repugnant to our natural inclinations. Some are inclined to disciplines and fasts, and though they be difficult things, they embrace them with fervor, and practice them gladly and easily, on account of this leaning which they have toward them. But then they will be so sensitive in regard to reputation and honor, that the least ridicule, disapproval, or slight is sufficient to throw them into a state of impatience and perturbation and to give rise to such complaints as show an equal want of peace and reason. These are the mortifications which they ought to embrace with the greatest readiness, if they wish to make progress. – Saint Francis de Sales

The venerable Monseigneur de Palafox understood this doctrine well, for he said that the reason why he had never advanced in virtue was that he had never taken special pains to avoid all that was most conformed to his inclinations. Whoever, then, perceives in himself any disposition to contradict, for example, or to rely on his own judgment, and is not very attentive to combat, and to keep at a distance from all that can entice or subject him to it, will not only fail to go forward, but will go backward, and perhaps so far backward as to arrive at his own ruin. A religious who was a priest, having been chosen as assistant to the cook, experienced the greatest repugnance and temptations in regard to this charge. To conquer himself, he made a vow before a crucifix to remain in this office all his life, if the Superiors should be willing. Through this and similar victories he arrived at such perfection as to be able to say that he believed no work could be offered to him, however repugnant to the senses, that he could not do, by the help of God, with perfect ease.

MLA Citation