A Year with the Saints – 13 February


When one is very remarkable for virtue, and truly great before God, and favored and esteemed by Him, yet with all this remains little and vile in his own eyes – here is that humility so grateful to God and so rare among men, which was found most perfect in the Blessed Virgin, who, on hearing herself chosen to be the Mother of God, acknowledged herself to be a servant and handmaiden. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi was an admirable example of this. Though she had arrived at high perfection and sanctity and saw herself enriched by God with extraordinary graces and favors, even to the power of working miracles; yet with all this, she had so low an esteem and so poor an opinion of herself as to astonish those who knew her. Nor was this a matter of pure imagination or of mere words, but true and sincere, and was clearly shown by an ecstasy, in which the Lord showed her the strength and virtue He intended to communicate to her against the fierce temptations she had endured from the devil, and she broke forth with these words: “What confusion for me! that upon the lowest and vilest creature upon earth, as I am, Thou designest to bestow the immensity of the treasures of Thy liberality and mercy!”

It was the same with Saint Vincent de Paul. Though his virtues were known to all, in spite of the contrivances that he used to conceal them, yet to him alone they remained unknown; because, by putting his own baseness continually before his eyes, he cut off the view of them; so that, although he was rich and abounding in virtues and celestial gifts, he always esteemed himself poor, needy, and destitute of all spiritual good. Thence came the title that he usually gave himself: “This poor wretch.”

When Saint Teresa reflected upon the favors she received from God in such great abundance, she humbled herself the more on account of them, saying that the Lord sustained her extreme weakness in this way, and that these supports proved how great was her tendency to fall, as a house is shown to be tottering, by the props set up to hold it.

MLA Citation