A Year with the Saints – 15 July


The dissatisfaction we often feel when we have passed a great part of the day without being retired and absorbed in God, though we have been employed in works of obedience or charity, proceeds from a very subtle self-love, which disguises and hides itself. For it is a wish on our part to please ourselves rather than God. Saint Teresa of Avila

When we consider how many and how important were the occupations of Saint Vincent de Paul, on account of his office of Superior General of his Congregation, the position of counsellor which he was constrained to accept in the court, the continual works of charity in which he voluntarily engaged, the numbers of people who resorted to him – some for advice, some for direction, some for help and relief – so that he was constantly engaged, continually absorbed, and almost overwhelmed by these various avocations – it seems that he could have had no time to think of himself, and we wonder how he found any, as he did, to perform his ordinary exercises of piety.

And yet, we do not read that he ever complained of not being able to remain retired and absorbed in God, although he certainly desired it as much as anyone. Nor can any reason be assigned for this, except that all his care was to please God, and not himself.

Father Alvarez, once finding himself overwhelmed with a multitude of occupations, complained lovingly to God that he had no time to converse with Him intimately. Then he heard this reply in his heart: “Let it be enough for thee that I make use of thy work, though I do not keep thee with Me.” With this he remained happy and contented.

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