A Year with the Saints – 20 August


Be careful not to forget God in your occupations, from a belief that in this way you will accomplish more; for if He abandons you, you will not be able to take a step without falling prostrate on the ground. Rather imitate little children, who with one hand cling to their fathers, while with the other they pluck strawberries and mulberries along the hedges. Attend to what you are doing, yet not without raising a glance from time to time to your Heavenly Father, to see whether He is pleased with your plans and to ask His help. In this manner, you will accomplish even the most difficult business better and more easily. See how the Blessed Virgin quietly employed one hand in work, while she was holding upon the other arm Our Infant Lord. – Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi performed her exterior occupations with such abstraction that, as her companions said, it seemed her body only was engaged in them, and her soul was rather where she loved than where she lived. It was observed that at meals in the refectory, at the time when there is usually a pause in the spiritual reading, she showed by her motions that she was absorbed in some devout thought.

We read the same thing of the venerable Father John Leonardi, who in the midst of business seemed so absorbed in God that he appeared, like Saint Paul, to have his “conversation in Heaven.” It is narrated of Saint Rose of Lima that in all her employments she kept her mind uninterruptedly raised to God, so that in reading, embroidering, weaving, conversing with others, providing for the wants of the family or walking in the street – in every action, in all times and places, she was beholding, as in a clear mirror, and lovingly contemplating, the fair countenance of her Beloved. What is more wonderful, this continual presence of God occupied her interior powers with much sweetness, without interfering at all with the exercise of her senses, so that while she was interiorly conversing with God, she was exteriorly conversing with men, answering connectedly, giving advice or orders, planning and executing whatever was necessary, with as much ease and readiness as if she had no other thought in mind. This was a truly a wonderful gift granted to her by the Lord.

It is related of Saint Anthony that while he was making baskets, he used to repeat from time to time the verse, “Have pity on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.”

We read of the venerable Monseigneur de Palafox, that if a doubt occurred to him while writing he would turn to an image of the Infant Jesus and say, “O Lord, what can we say about this?” or again: “O Lord, teach me what I have to say!” or: “O Lord, give me light!” Sometimes, after he had written what he thought suited to the occasion, he offered it to God, saying: “O Lord, let this be for the good of souls. Give Thy spirit to it, O Lord! Give life to these characters, O Life of all created things!” If at times he felt pleased with his reasoning or his expressions, he held the paper near the lamp and said: “My God, is it Thy will that I should burn it? Nothing here is mine. Let every work and every feeling of my own be consumed!” But then he received interior light, which showed him that it would not be well to do so, and he refrained.

MLA Citation