A Year with the Saints – 23 May


Be very mild and very gracious in the midst of your exterior occupations, for everyone expects this good example from you. Saint Francis de Sales

It is said of this Saint that amid all his activity he preserved a countenance mild, tranquil, and peaceful, and that he was never known to lose the least jot of his cheerfulness and serenity, in whatever business he was engaged.

The same is said of Saint Vincent de Paul. He never lost his tranquillity of mind in the midst of affairs, however numerous or troublesome they might be. And it was wonderful to see how he received all persons with the same serenity of countenance and satisfied their demands, whatever their rank might be, with great courtesy and without ever giving a sign of weariness or vexation at their importunity.

It is related of the Abbot David that for a period of forty-five years, which he passed in the monastery, he was never seen in a passion nor showing any sign of perturbation; but in whatever he was engaged, his countenance bore a look of imperturbable serenity and tranquillity, as if he were an Angel among men. He must, notwithstanding, have been often placed in trying positions, as he was Superior over 150 monks, some of whom could not have failed to be troublesome and unmanageable, and he must also have had many difficult business affairs to conduct. This trait of his character is reported by Theodoret, who says that he not only heard of it from others, but observed it himself in the course of a week’s visit.

The process of canonization of Saint Thomas Aquinas states that he was never seen angry or even disturbed, but that at all times and in all occupations he retained serenity and cheerfulness of countenance to such a degree that those connected with him experienced consolation and a certain spiritual joy by merely looking at him.

Saint Athanasius writes of Saint Anthony that he always appeared so joyful that every day seemed like Easter with him, and that a stranger coming to see him could pick him out from a multitude of monks by the gladness and benignity which shone upon his countenance. And the same writer adds that this joy was occasioned by the great hope which he had of Paradise; for he had his mind always fixed on the eternal things above, of which he could not think without rejoicing.

MLA Citation