A Year with the Saints – 30 December


To acquire perfection in general and all the virtues in particular, even to attaining union with God, it is necessary to set before ourselves an example which may serve as a guide for all our actions and all our progress. Now, it is certain that we can find no safer or grander example than that which God Himself has offered us in the person of His Divine Son, and happy is he who shall make the best copy of it. This, then, should be our book and our mirror, in which we ought to look, whatever circumstances may occur; that is, we should consider in what manner Our Lord behaved in similar cases, and what instruction He has left us in regard to them, and then follow generously His sentiments and example. – Saint Vincent de Paul

It was the constant practice of this Saint to guide himself thus in all affairs, by the example and teaching of the Saviour, which he kept before his eyes as a pattern in every action; so that when he had to make any decision, to give any advice or recommendation, he instantly sought in the life and words of Christ some ground upon which to base it. And so he scarcely ever spoke without bringing in some word or action of the Son of God, which he would introduce in a wonderfully apposite manner. But if he could think of nothing which had any bearing upon the point, he would meditate a little before acting, and say to himself, “How would Christ speak or act in this case?” and then immediately did what he thought the Lord would have done.

In the Chronicles of Saint Francis we are told that one of his Religious had a vision in which he saw a path thickly set with briars, and at the opening of it stood Saint Francis with many of his followers. In their midst was Jesus Christ, Who said to them, “This is the way we must go,” and He immediately began to advance into it. The Religious were alarmed, and considered the undertaking too difficult; but the Saint encouraged them, saying that it should be enough for them to walk in the footprints of the Lord. He then set the example, and they all followed with much ease.

MLA Citation