PERFECTION 4

Humility and charity are the two main parts of the spiritual edifice. One is the lowest and the other the highest and all the others depend on them. Hence, we must keep ourselves well founded in these two, because the preservation of the entire edifice depends on the foundation and the roof. – St. Francis de Sales

There never was and there never will be a saint without these two very necessary virtues; in fact, there have been some who, to our eyes, seem to have excelled in these virtues in a special way. One of these was St. Francis of Paula who, for his great humility, not content to be looked upon as the least among all men, willed that his Religious Congregation be given that same title.

Set yourselves seriously to work for the acquisition of virtue; otherwise your spiritual growth will be stunted. Neither should you think that you have acquired a virtue if you have not been tried by its opposite and have not had the occasion to faithfully practice it. Therefore, you should never flee the occasions to practice it, but rather desire them, seek them and willingly embrace them. – St. Teresa of Avila

St. Vincent de Paul was not satisfied, as many are, to know an love virtues; he tried his best to exercise them. His maxim was that fatigue and patience are the best means to acquire virtues and plant them in our heart, because the virtues acquired without fatigue and trials also can be lost easily, while those acquired by combatting storms of temptations and practiced in spite of difficulties and repugnance of nature will take deep roots in one's heart.

Never let pass a single occasion of merit from which you can gain some spiritual profit as, for example, some harsh little word someone might say, an obedience asked of you against your will, a chance to humiliate yourself, to practice charity, meekness and patience. All these occasions are profitable to you and you yourself should look for them. And you should go to sleep quite content on the day you have had more occasions of merit, jus as the businessman does when he has had the opportunity of realizing a profit, for on that day business went well for him. – St. Ignatius of Loyola

As we read in the life of St. John Berchmans, this was one of his principal maxims. He did his utmost not to let slip any occasion of merit for himself, no matter how small. Hence he went about seeking such occasions, and when some came through someone's indiscretion, he embrace them all with courage and joy of heart, without considering the indiscretion and little virtue of the others, but solely attending to his own humility.



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