A Year with the Saints – 18 February


I pray you, do not make much account of certain trifles which some call wrongs and grievances; for we seem to manufacture these things out of straws, like children, with our points of honor. A truly humble person never believes that he can be wronged in anything. Truly, we ought to be ashamed to resent whatever is said or done against us; for it is the greatest shame in the world to see that our Creator bears so many insults from His creatures, and that we resent even a little word that is contradictory. Let contemplative souls, in particular, take notice that if they do not find themselves quite resolved to pardon any injury or affront which may be inflicted upon them, they cannot trust much to their prayer. For the soul which God truly unites to Himself by so lofty a method of prayer, feels none of these things, and no longer cares whether she is esteemed or not, or whether she is spoken well of or ill; nay rather honors and repose give her more pain than dishonor and trials. Saint Teresa of Avila

If Saint Francis de Sales saw that his friends showed displeasure at the malignity of those who spoke ill of him, he would say to them: “Have I ever given you authority to show resentment in my place? Let them talk! This is a cross of words, a tribulation of wind, the memory of which dies out with the blaze! He must be very delicate, that cannot bear the buzzing of a fly. Would it be well for us to pretend to be blameless? Who knows if these people do not see my faults better than I myself do, and if they are not the ones who truly love me? Often we call a thing evil-speaking, because it is not to our taste. What injury is it if one has a bad opinion of us, since we ought to have the same of ourselves?”

The venerable Maria Crucifixa showed extreme pleasure when she saw herself little regarded or esteemed. Therefore the nuns, to accommodate themselves to her disposition, usually treated her with disrespect, and made little account of her, calling her awkward, stupid, and ignorant. So, when they wished to lead her into spiritual conversation, by which their fervor was greatly increased, they said to her: “Come now, Sister Maria Crucifixa, bring out some of your blunders; let us hear your nonsense.” Then believing that she was truly to serve as the butt of their jesting, she would readily begin to speak. But it was still necessary that they should appear to disregard what she was saying by seeming inattentive, and whispering together now and then while she was speaking; otherwise, she would stop. And, for the same reason, they could none of them recommend themselves to her prayers, because this seemed to her a proof that they considered her fit to intercede for them with God. So, in order to obtain her prayers, they would tell her that she was known to be such a miserable creature that the others were obliged to recommend her to God, and therefore, not to be ungrateful, she ought to do as much for them.

MLA Citation