PERFECTION 6

The trouble with us is that we want to serve God in our own way and not in His, and according to our own will, not His. When He permits that we be ill, we want to be well; when He wills that we serve Him in sufferings, we desire to serve Him with works; when He wants us to exercise charity, we want to exercise humility; when He wants resignation from us, we want devotion, piety or some other virtue. And this, not because the things we want are more pleasing to Him, but because they give us greater satisfaction. This, undoubtedly, is the greatest impediment to our perfection  because if we want to become saints according to our will we will never become saints. In order really to become a saint it is best to do so according to God's will. – St. Francis de Sales

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi well understood the great importance of this truth. With it as a sure guide, she submitted her will to that of God in such a manner that she was always happy, no matter what happened. She never desired anything contrary to the will of God. To ask God any graces for herself or for others with insistence was deemed by her a great defect; she said it was better to ask for graces with simple prayers and that she gloried and took pleasure in doing God's will rather than her own. Furthermore, she even desired to acquire the degree of sanctity God wanted of her rather than the degree she might want. Hence she wrote this resolution: "I will to offer myself to God, to want all and only that perfection which He wishes me to acquire and in the way and time He wishes and in no other way." Once, while confiding to one of her Sisters she said: "The good that does not come to me by way of the will of God, does not seem good, and I would prefer not to have any gift but that of leaving all my will and desires in God, rather than to have a gift which I desire or will."

The worst thing that can befall persons who have good will is to want to be what they cannot be and not want to be what they necessarily must be. They conceive desires to do great things, which perhaps will never be expected of them; in the meantime, they neglect the little things which God puts into their hands. There are thousands of acts of virtue as, for example, to bear little troubles and the imperfections of our neighbors; to suffer a biting word or some little injustice; to repress a harsh word; to mortify a little attachment or curiosity; to refrain from giving a bit of news; to excuse an indiscretion; to be condescending toward others in little things – these are for everyone, so why not practice them? Very seldom do we have the opportunity to gain large "sums", but we can daily earn little ones. And with the intelligent handling of these little "earnings", there are many who become rich. Oh, how many merits we would earn and what great saints we would become if we were to take advantage of every occasion that our vocation offers us! – St. Francis de Sales

Inflamed with the great desire of martyrdom, St. Philip Neri resolved to go to preach the Faith in India. But upon learning, through a revelation, that God wished his India to be in Rome, there he remained and led such a virtuous life that he became a great saint.

In just five years of religious life, St. John Berchmans attained a high degree of perfection. What did he do? Nothing exceptional. He did his best to be faithful and exact in all his duties, never neglecting any means which, with the help of grace, could help him to acquire this perfection.

In the life of a young Jesuit seminarian we read that one morning when he was about to go out for a game with his companions, a priest asked him to give up the game and go to serve his Mass. The seminarian did so. Years later, when that seminarian was ordained, he went to preach the Faith to the infidels and had the grace of dying a martyr. Then it was revealed that it was because of that mortification of not going out to play with the others but of remaining in to serve Mass, that he received such a great reward.

I would like to persuade spiritual persons that the way to perfection does not consist of many methods nor much thinking, but in denying oneself in everything for the love of Jesus Christ. If this exercise is lacking, all the other modes of walking in the spiritual way lead astray, even though the person should have reached a high degree of contemplation and communication with God. – St. John of the Cross

One day Blessed Angela of Foligno had an ecstasy during which she saw Our Lord caressing some of His servants, but some He caressed more than others. Desiring to know the reason for this diversity of treatment, she asked Our Lord and He answered: "I call all to Me, but not everyone wishes to come, because the way is covered with thorns. Those who do follow Me, I invite to My table and to drink of My cup. But because my foods are distasteful to the senses and My chalice is full of bitterness, not everyone cares to satiate himself with those things with which I nourished Myself while  on earth. Of course, those who are most faithful to Me are dearest to Me and are My favorites." Upon hearing this, Blessed Angela was filled with such an ardent desire for suffering and self-denial that upon encountering great difficulties she enjoyed as much consolation as a worldly person would enjoy in his favorite pastime.

All the science of the saints my be reduced to two things: to work and to suffer. He who best does these two things, becomes a greater saint. – St. Francis de Sales

We find in the lives of the holy Fathers of the Church, that St. Dorotheus thus led his disciple, St. Dosetheus, in the work of his sanctification. He kept his disciple constantly busy, especially in those things contrary to his will. Hence, if St. Dorotheus saw him with something in his hands, even though necessary for what he was doing, such as a knife, book or other similar objects, he would immediately take it from him. If he asked news bout something, even about something good, he was sent away without a reply. Thus, in all his desires, St. Dorotheus sought to deny him and St. Dosetheus promptly obeyed in all things and suffered all in silence. In this way he reached a high degree of perfection within the short period of five years.



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