A Year with the Saints – 9 January


Although in entering religion and taking care not to offend God, we may appear to have done everything, ah! how often certain worms remain, which do not allow themselves to be perceived until they have gnawed away our virtues! Such worms are self-love, self-esteem, harsh judgments of others, though in trifles, and a great want of charity towards our neighbor. But if, indeed, by dragging on, we satisfy our obligations, we do not do it with that perfection which God would expect of us. Saint Teresa of Avila

To one of these worms, self-esteem, Monseigneur de Palafox attributed his own relaxation after his conversion and his narrow escape from eternal ruin. “For,” said he, “though I was humble, had I, therefore, a right to believe that I was truly humble? and though I desired and intended to be good, ought I, therefore, to presume that I was truly good? This hidden pride obliged the Divine Goodness to overwhelm me, in order that I might see that I was not good, but bad, weak, miserable, full of pride, sensuality and unfaithfulness, and a prodigal scorner of the gifts of grace.”

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers that two of them had received the gift of beholding mutually the grace which was in the heart of the other. One of them, leaving his cell early one Friday morning, found a monk who was eating at the hour contrary to their custom. He judged him to be in fault, and reproved him. When he returned home, his companion did not see in him the usual sign of grace, and asked him what he had done. But when the other remembered nothing, he added, “Think whether you may not have said some idle word.” Then he remembered his rash judgment, and related what had happened. For this fault they both fasted two whole weeks, at the end of which the usual sign appeared in the brother who had been culpable.

MLA Citation