A Year with the Saints – 17 April

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Kiss frequently the crosses which the Lord sends you, and with all your heart, without regarding of what sort they may be; for the more vile and mean they are, the more they deserve their name. The merit of crosses does not consist in their weight, but in the manner in which they are borne. It may show much greater virtue to bear a cross of straw than a very hard and heavy one, because the light ones are also the most hidden and contemned, and therefore least comfortable to our inclination, which always seeks what is showy. – Saint Francis de Sales

In the many long and painful journeys made by this Saint, he was never heard to complain of cold, or wind, or the heat of the sun or the quality of his food; but he took all things peacefully from the hand of God, and was particularly pleased with the worst and most inconvenient articles – and when he could, he always chose them for himself.

Mention is made in the Chronicles of Saint Dominic of a novice of that Order who died in the monastery of Argentina and who opened his eyes unexpectedly, while the religious were saying the last prayers for his soul, and said: “Listen, dearest Brothers: I am like one who goes to a fair, and buys a great deal for a little money. Behold, I am receiving the Kingdom of Heaven for a few trials, and I do not see how I deserve it.” Having spoken thus, he reposed in the Lord.

Saint John Climacus says that he found in a monastery a young monk who received little penances from the Superior for trifling faults, and haughty and discourteous treatment from almost all the rest. The Saint showed sympathy for him, and wished to console him; but the good youth said: “Father, do not give yourself any trouble. They treat me in this way, not because they have bad dispositions and little charity, but the Lord permits it to exercise me in patience, which is necessary to show whether I am serving God truly. Certainly I have no cause to complain, for even gold is not made perfect without being tried.” Two years after, added the holy Abbot, this youth passed to a better life, saying to his Brothers before he expired: “I render thanks to Jesus Christ and to you, Fathers, and I testify that through having been tried by you to my profit and advancement, I have lived free from the snares of the devil, and now depart in peace.”

In the Lives of the Fathers, a story is told of a holy monk who every night gave his disciple an instruction, and afterwards sent him to rest. Now, one evening while giving it, the old man fell asleep, and the good novice, while waiting for him to awake, was much tempted to impatience and to go away to sleep. He conquered himself, however, seven times, with great earnestness and fervor. At midnight, the old man awoke and dismissed him. While saying his final prayers, the old Father had a vision of an Angel, who showed him a most beautiful throne with seven crowns above it. In answer to his questions, the Angel said that they were for his disciple, who had gained them that night by his victory over seven temptations. When his disciples told him all in the morning, he was struck with wonder to see how bountifully God recompenses all our good actions.

MLA Citation