A Year with the Saints – 19 January


Do not let any occasion of gaining merit pass without taking care to draw some spiritual profit from it; as, for example, from a sharp word which someone may say to you; from an act of obedience imposed against your will; from an opportunity which may occur to humble yourself, or to practice charity, sweetness, and patience. All these occasions are gain for you, and you should seek to procure them; and at the close of that day, when the greatest number of them have come to you, you should go to rest most cheerful and pleased, as the merchant does on the day when he has had most chance for making money; for on that day business has prospered with him. Saint Ignatius Loyola

It was one of the principal maxims which Saint John Berchmans kept fixed in his mind, as we read in his Life, to endeavor to gain merit in everything, and not to let any occasion, however small, escape, if it could be profitable to him. For this reason he continually went in search of such occasions, and when they came to him from others he embraced them all with courage and heartfelt joy, without ever remarking the want of discretion and virtue which they betrayed in others, attending only to his own advancement in humility. And so, from whatever he heard or saw, he was always wont to derive some good fruit for himself; and in this way he attained to the condition of a Saint, which was precisely what he desired.

When Saint Matilda was visited by the Lord, accompanied by many Saints, one of them said to her: “Oh, how blessed are you who still live upon earth, on account of the great merit you can acquire!” If a man knew how much he could merit in a day, at the moment he arose in the morning his heart would be filled with joy because the day had appeared in which he could live to his Lord, and, by His grace, increase so greatly His honor and glory and his own merit. This would give him great confidence and strength to do and suffer everything with extreme satisfaction.

We read of Saint Francis Xavier that he was stung with shame and self-reproach when he found that merchants had gone to Japan with their merchandise sooner than he himself with the treasures of the Gospel, to spread the Faith and extend the Kingdom of Heaven.

MLA Citation