PERFECTION 3

A true sign that one loves the virtue he is striving to acquire is to appreciate the corrections and admonitions received for the defects committed against this virtue. This is a great indication of advancing toward perfection.
– St. Francis de Sales
Once a monk went to visit the Abbot Serapione. The abbot requested that before doing anything else they pray together; but the monk refused, stating that he was a sinner and unworthy to wear the habit. Whereupon, the abbots said: "My brother, if you wish to become perfect remain in your cell to work and do not talk too much, for to go about here and there is not good for you." At these words the monk become greatly disturbed. Seeing this, the abbot added: "What is this, my brother? Until now you said you were a great sinner and not worthy to be alive. And now because I admonished you with charity, telling you what you needed, you become indignant? It seems to me that your humility is not real. If you really want to be humble, learn to receive admonition humbly." At these words, the monk repented and left, greatly edified.
When St. Peter was corrected by St. Paul, he did not become indignant nor angry because he was superior to St. Paul; neither did he despise Paul because he had been a persecutor of the Church. He took the correction well.
It is related that whenever St. Ambrose would receive a correction for some fault, he would thank the person correcting him as though he had received a great benefit. We are told that whenever a certain Cistercian monk received a correction, he would recite an Our Father for the admonisher.
St. John Berchmans always desired to be corrected in public for his defects, and whenever this happened, he was very happy.
When one is truly advancing towards perfection, he feels within himself a constant urge to progress and improve. Because the more grace of enlightenment he receives, the more he realizes how much he is still lacking in virtue and good works. On the other hand, if he does realize that he is doing a little good, he feels it is very imperfect and does not give it much credit. Hence he continuously works for perfection without slacking in pace.
– St. Lawrence Justinian

St. Fulgentius loved perfection so much that no matter how much he worked for it, it always seemed so little and always he desired to be more perfect.

Daily St. Ignatius of Loyola would compare his victories with those of the previous day, and thus he advanced daily, always with a greater desire for progress so as to reach the height of perfection which Our Lord desired of him.

St. James the Apostle is highly praised because daily he advanced in the service of God.
The two feet with which one walks towards perfection are mortification and the love of God. The first is the left foot, the latter is the right.

St. Francis of Assisi rose to great heights of perfection with these two means. He led such an austere and rigorous life that when he was dying he had to apologize to his body for mistreating it so much. Because of his love of God, he acquired not only for himself but also for his Order the beautiful title of "seraphic".

When St. Francis de Sales wanted to prepare someone to live a truly Christian life and to abandon his worldly ways, he seldom spoke of exterior things, such as the hair, dress or some such thing. Rather, he spoke only to the heart and of the heart. He knew that once this fortress is overcome, all the rest will surrender and that when true love of God takes possession of the heart, all those things which are not of God will lose importance.



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