A Year with the Saints – 5 May


At times a single word is sufficient to cool a person who is burning with anger; and, on the other hand, a single word may be capable of desolating a soul, and infusing into it a bitterness which may be most hurtful. – Saint Vincent de Paul

One day when Saint Macarius was traveling with a disciple in Nitria, the disciple went a little in advance of him, and then met an idol priest who was hurrying along with a heavy stick on his shoulders. “Where are you going, demon?” he called out. Upon this, the priest laid down his wood, ran upon him, and gave him so many blows that he left him for dead. Then he picked the wood up again, and went on his way in haste. Soon after, Macarius met him and saluted him with the words, “God save you, toiler!” “You have done well,” he replied, “to salute me civilly.” “I saw you were fatigued,” continued the Saint, “and that you were running without regard to your health, and I saluted you, that by stopping, you might get a little rest.” “By this I know that you are a true servant of God,” replied the idolator, and throwing himself at the Saint’s feet, he said that he would never leave him, until he had invested him with the habit of a monk.

Three monks, being on a journey, lost their road, and so were obliged to pass through a field of grain, which they consequently injured. A peasant, seeing this, began to reproach them and call them false monks. Then the oldest told his companions not to reply, and when he came near the man, he said to him, “My son, you have said well.” And as he continued to insult them, he added: “You tell the truth, my son; for if we were true monks, we should not have done you this harm. Now, pardon us for the love of God, for we know that we have done wrong.” At these words, the rustic, amazed at such great meekness, threw himself at their feet, asked for pardon, and then for the habit, and went away with them.

Saint Francis de Sales always spoke with so much sweetness and mildness, that with two or three words he often restored the most troubled hearts to tranquillity.

MLA Citation