A Year with the Saints – 16 August


Do not fear that the occupations imposed by obedience will draw you away from union with God; for when they are performed for His glory, they have, instead, great power to unite us closely to Him. For how can those things separate us from God, which unite our will to His? The whole mistake arises from the failure to distinguish between being drawn away from God, and being drawn away from the sweetness found in the interior perception of God. It is true that in occupation this sweetness is not always enjoyed (though it is sometimes in the highest degree); but in depriving ourselves of this for the love of God, we gain instead of losing, while we leave the weak for the strong. While to quit or abandon our work to unite ourselves to God by prayer, reading, or recollection, by solitude and contemplation, would be to withdraw from God and to unite ourselves to ourselves and to our own self-love. Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi performed all her exterior duties with so much spiritual delight, and with so pure an intention for God, that they were no hindrance to her interior retirement and did not distract her in the least from God. And so, on the instant after finishing any of them, she would retire to prayer and be wholly separated from all earthly things and completely wrapt in God. Even in the midst of manual labor and employment she often fell into ecstasies, so that she once said: “It is the same to me whether I am told to go to prayer in the choir, or to any manual work, for I make no difference between them. Nay, were I to say that sometimes I find God more in such work than in prayer, I think I should tell the truth.”

A Franciscan lay brother who was cook, when he had thoroughly performed the work of his charge, used to retire to prayer, in which he enjoyed many heavenly consolations. To enjoy more of these, he asked and obtained from his Superior permission to give up his distracting occupation; then giving himself entirely to prayer, he found in it nothing but aridity and distractions. Seeing his mistake, he returned to his former work, when the lost consolations immediately came back.

MLA Citation