A Year with the Saints – 25 August


The third hindrance is anxiety and solicitude. Be diligent and accurate in all the affairs of which you have charge; but, if possible, do not let them cause you anxiety and vexation; that is, do not manage them with disquiet, solicitude, and eagerness. Do not worry in attending to them, for worry disturbs the reason, and hinders us from doing well even what does not trouble us. But great affairs do not disturb us so much as a great number of little ones; therefore, receive these also with calmness, and try to attend to them in order, one after another, without perturbation. Thus, you will gain great merit by them, for the time spent peacefully is doubtless most usefully employed. – Saint Francis de Sales

This Saint passed many hours with poor people who occupied him about things of little account. When it was said to him that it was not well for him to lose so much time on trifles, he answered: “What do you think I ought to do? These things appear great to them, and they desire sympathy as much as if the case were really so. God knows well that I desire no greater employment, and that every occupation is indifferent to me, if only it regards His service. While I am engaged in this work, small as it is, I am not obliged to do any other. And is it not a sufficiently important employment to do the will of God?” To encourage one of his penitents to this practice, he wrote to her thus: “Whoever can preserve interior sweetness in a multiplicity of business, may be called perfect. Though few can be found even in the Orders who have arrived at this degree of felicity, yet there are some, and there have been some in every age. We must aspire to this high standard.”

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal faithfully followed this advice by doing everything with the greatest attention – but without any anxiety and without ever losing peace of heart – and so, all she did succeeded well; and she spoke of this freely to her daughters. To one of them she said one day: “Believe me, my dear daughter, I deeply love our poor Congregation, but without anxiety – without which, love ordinarily is not wont to live. But mine, which is not ordinary, lives without it.” And to another who had sought from her a remedy for the constant perplexities she experienced in her employments, she wrote: “The origin of your trouble and perplexity comes from nothing but the anxiety you feel in seeking the good you aim at, and your want of patience and submission to the will of Him who alone can give it to you. So, if you desire your work to be better and less burdensome, you must correct this anxiety and solicitude, striving to work with fidelity, but, at the same time, with calmness and spiritual sweetness.”

MLA Citation