A Year with the Saints – 3 March

Entry

It should be our principal business to conquer ourselves, and, from day to day, to go on increasing in strength and perfection. Above all, however, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, jealousies, envy, deceitfulness, vanity, attachments, and evil thoughts. For in this way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones. Saint Francis de Sales

A certain physiognomist, looking at Socrates, pronounced him to be inclined to dishonesty, gluttony, drunkenness, and many other vices. His disciples, being angry at this, wished to lay violent hands on the man who had spoken so ill of their master. But Socrates said: “Be calm, for he has told the truth. I should have been just such a man as he describes, if I had not given myself to mortification.”

When an old monk was asked how he could bear the noise of some shepherd boys near him, he answered: “I was at first inclined to say something to them; but I thought better of it, and said to myself, ‘If I cannot endure so little as this, how shall I endure greater trials, when they come to me?'”

Saint Francis Xavier acted in the same way on occasion, and said that we must not deceive ourselves; for whoever does not conquer himself in trifles, will not be able to do so in greater matters.

MLA Citation