A Year with the Saints – 13 January

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The greatest fault among those who have a good will is that they wish to be something they cannot be, and do not wish to be what they necessarily must be. They conceive desires to do great things for which, perhaps, no opportunity may ever come to them, and meantime neglect the small which the Lord puts into their hands. There are a thousand little acts of virtue, such as bearing with the importunities and imperfections of our neighbors, not resenting an unpleasant word or a trifling injury, restraining an emotion of anger, mortifying some little affection, some ill-regulated desire to speak or to listen, excusing an indiscretion, or yielding to another in trifles. These are things to be done by all; why not practice them? The occasions for great gains come but rarely, but of little gains many can be made each day; and by managing these little gains with judgment, there are some who grow rich. Oh, how holy and rich in merits we should make ourselves, if we but knew how to profit by the opportunities which our vocation supplies to us! Yes, yes, let us apply ourselves to follow well the path which is close before us, and to do well on the first opportunity, without occupying ourselves with thoughts of the last, and thus we shall make good progress. Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Philip Neri, enkindled with a desire of martyrdom, had resolved to go to preach the Faith in India. But when God informed him, by revelation, that his India must be in Rome, he employed himself there, and by leading a life full of virtuous actions he became a great Saint.

Saint John Berchmans, in only five years of religious life, certainly reached a lofty perfection. Now, how did he accomplish it? By nothing except striving to be faithful to do exactly all those things which he knew to be right and possible for him, in the way of not neglecting any part of perfection, which, with the aid of grace, he might be able to acquire.

Saint Gertrude, feeling very weak one day, decided to make an effort to say Matins. When she had finished the First Nocturn, another sick sister came to ask her to say the Office with her; and she immediately went back to the beginning. That same morning she had a vision in which she saw her soul adorned with jewels of great value, and the Lord said to her that by the act of charity which she had performed for His love, she had merited this ornament in which the jewels equaled in number the words she had repeated.

We read of a young Jesuit student that, one morning in vacation, when he was just starting for a walk with some of his companions, he was requested by one of the Fathers to wait half an hour and serve Mass, which he did. When he had become more advanced in knowledge and age, he went to preach the Faith among the infidels, and there was found worthy to obtain the glory of Martyrdom. Then it was revealed to him that so great a grace had been given him by God in reward for the little mortification which he accepted in serving Mass.

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