A Year with the Saints – 29 November


When Raguel saw the young Tobias without knowing him, he exclaimed: “Oh how much this young man resembles my cousin!” And when he heard that he was the son of that cousin, he embraced him warmly, and gave him a thousand benedictions, weeping over him for love. Now, why was this? Not, certainly, on account of his good qualities, for he did not yet know what his disposition was; but because, as he said, “Thou art the son of an excellent man, and resemblest him greatly.” See what love does, when it is true. If we loved God truly, we should do as much for all our neighbors, who are all sons of God, and resemble Him much. – Saint Francis de Sales

This reflection made the Saint show great respect to all.

One day someone criticized him for showing too much honor to the servant of a nobleman, who had brought him a message. “I do not know how to make these distinctions,” he answered. “All men bear the image and likeness of God, and that furnishes me with a sufficient motive for respecting them.” When he met persons or even animals heavily loaded, he stood aside that they might pass more easily, and never permitted his servants to make them stop or go back, saying, “Are they not men like we? And do they not at this moment deserve more consideration than we?”

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi often looked upon the image of God as seen in her Sisters, which excited in her heart great love for them; and when anyone of them seemed to her imperfect and unworthy, she thought perhaps she had some hidden gift which caused God to find pleasure in her.

A holy Religious once wrote this resolution: “I will love God for Himself, and for love of Him 1 will serve those who bear His image. I will give my heart to Him, and my hands to my neighbor, that he may be united to God.”

The Venerable Maria Seraphina di Dio said of herself that she consoled herself under trials, in associating with her neighbors, by the thought that she was beholding in them the image of God, and that therefore she could not do less than treat them with benevolence and cordiality. When Theodosius was extremely provoked and resolved to punish severely the inhabitants of Antioch, who had insulted the statue he had raised to Flacilla, whom he had greatly loved for her rare virtues, Saint Macedonius begged one of his courtiers to say these words to him in his name: “O Emperor, truly you would do right in punishing these insolent men, but I pray you, remember that they are the loving images of God; and if you dare to let loose your rage against the images of the Lord, you may draw down upon yourself His anger. For, if ill-treatment to the image of your dear consort displeased you so much, how can you suppose that God will not be equally displeased with what you may inflict upon His images, so dear to Him that to recast them He had not spared to shed all His blood?” These words, uttered with great simplicity and reported to the emperor, did much to pacify him.

MLA Citation