A Year with the Saints – 20 December


When one seeks to unite himself to God, he should endeavor to discover, by self-examination, whether there is anything which forms a barrier between his soul and God, and whether in anything he seeks himself or turns back to himself. – Blessed Henry Suso

Saint John Berchmans, after examining himself to see whether he had an attachment to anything whatever, found that there was nothing on earth for which he felt or could feel affection. This he expressed in a sentence found among his manuscripts: “To no one, I am moved to of the thing, and I have nothing else to whom he let me be attached.”

A gentleman of very high family who had passed most of his life at court, guiding himself by the maxims of the world, was finally gained over for God by Saint Vincent de Paul and applied himself so earnestly to the pursuit of perfection that he became a model to all. Desiring still to advance, and feeling sure the more he separated himself from creatures, the more he would be united by God, he often examined himself as to whether he had any attachment for relatives, friends, honors, property or comforts, and whenever he discovered anything that was an entanglement to him, he immediately broke or cut it away. One day he made his usual examination while riding on horseback, and could think of nothing for which he specially cared until he finally perceived that he had a fondness for his sword, which had saved his life in many duels. Instantly springing from the horse, he went up to a large stone, upon which he shivered it to pieces. Afterwards he told the incident to Saint Vincent and assured him that this act gave him such complete freedom that he never after felt affection for any perishable thing.

MLA Citation