A Year with the Saints – 4 January


I hear nothing talked of but perfection; yet I see it practiced only by few. Everyone forms his own ideal of it. Some place it in simplicity of attire; some in austerity; some in almsgiving; some in frequent reception of the Sacraments; this one, in prayer; that one, in passive contemplation; and another, in the gifts called gratuitous. But, by a general mistake, they take the effects for the cause, and the means for the end. For my part, I know of no other perfection than loving God with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. Whoever imagines any other kind of perfection deceives himself, for the whole accumulation of virtues without this is but a heap of stones. And if we do not immediately and perfectly enjoy this treasure of holy love, the fault is in us. We are too slow and ungenerous with God, and do not give ourselves up entirely to Him, as the Saints did. Saint Francis de Sales

Who does not see that the perfection of this Saint must have been of a true and very sublime character, when his love for God and his neighbor was so great and so pure? The same may be said also of Saint Vincent de Paul and many, others. Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi was truly admirable in both of these points. As we shall hereafter see, she was so much inflamed with the love of God that she could not bear the excessive ardor of this Divine fire, and was obliged to cool her glowing bosom with linen cloths soaked in water; and she carried the love of her neighbor so far as to desire and procure others’ good in preference to her own.

MLA Citation