A Year with the Saints – 8 January


To be perfect in one’s vocation is nothing else than to perform the duties and offices to which one is obliged, solely for the honor and love of God, referring all to His glory. Whoever works in this manner may be called perfect in his state, a man according to the heart and will of God. Saint Francis de Sales

In the Lives of the Holy Fathers it is narrated of the Abbot Paphnutius, who was highly celebrated for sanctity, that one day he expressed a desire to know from the Lord whether he had any merit in His eyes. He received the reply that he had gained equal merit with a certain nobleman, whose name was given. The Saint immediately visited this gentleman, by whom he was kindly treated and hospitably entertained. When the repast was over, the Abbot begged of his host to tell him what was his manner of life. The Baron excused himself by saying that he did not possess any virtue, but after many entreaties, he said that he was very careful to entertain pilgrims, and provide them with whatever might be necessary for their journey; that he never despised the poor, but helped them in their need as much as he could; that he had justice administered equitably, and always gave honest decisions, never swerving from right through fear or favor; that he never oppressed his subjects; that he allowed anyone to become his tenant, and expected from no one more than what was justly his due; that no one could complain of ever having received harm or damage from his family or cattle; that he had never offended or slandered anyone, but treated all with respect, helped all as far as he was able and endeavored to keep all in peace and harmony. On hearing this the holy Abbot was greatly edified, and understood that true perfection consisted not in great deeds, but in fulfilling our duties. In San Cesario in the province of Lecce there lived in the time of Saint Joseph da Cupertino a nun who had a great reputation for sanctity. One day, when the Saint happened to visit the house of the Marquis of that place, he was asked his opinion of this report in regard to the nun. He answered, “You have a real Saint here among you, who is not known”; and he named a poor widow, of whom not a word had ever been said. The Marquis inquired as to what were her good qualities, and found that she remained always shut up in her poor little home, with some of her daughters, and that they worked constantly to support themselves and were never seen abroad but once a day, which was very early in the morning when they were going to church to hear Mass.

MLA Citation