A Year with the Saints – 17 March


The ignorance of some is greatly to be pitied, who load themselves with unwise penances and other unsuitable exercises of their devising, putting all their confidence in them, and expecting to become saints by their means. If they would put half of this labor upon mortifying their appetites and passions, they would gain more in a month than by all their other exercises in many years. – Saint John of the Cross

We read of Saint Ignatius that by means of continual mortification he had arrived at such a point that he seemed to be a man without passions; and if it was sometimes desirable to bring them into action, they appeared like so many modest slaves who dared not move of themselves, nor farther than reason, their absolute mistress, ordered them to go.

A Genoese lady, on account of the desire she had to listen to the contract for her marriage made by her father, left the world and became a nun and a Saint.

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi impressed this, above all things, upon the minds of the novices, when she was their mistress. And so, when she saw one too much inclined to pray, she sent her to sleep or to perform some active labor. Upon another who was inclined to exterior works, she imposed prayer or some other interior work. To whoever wished for many penances and mortifications, she gave one Pater and Ave. To whoever felt repugnance for them, she prescribed severe mortifications and humiliations. Among other instances, she made one of the novices throw into the fire a little book of spiritual exercises, which she had written with her own hand, and to which she showed attachment. And thus, the Saint constantly accustomed her novices to subject their inclinations, and, at the same time, their judgment and their will.

MLA Citation