On the Go with St. Vincent de Paul
What a happiness for a poor miserable creature to do something to please God!
I beg our Lord who labored all His life, to pardon us for our loss of time. I entreat Him to grant us the grace to sanctify ourselves by our labor.
When God commanded us to love (totally), He does not mean that our heart and soul will always experience that love in a sensible manner. That does not always depend on us; it is a favor He dispenses to whom He pleases; but He means that by an act of the will all our actions may be done for His love.
If you discharge faithfully the duties of your vocation, be assured that you love God and with greater perfection than those who, although they feel within themselves great sentiments of the love of God, do not do what you do.
God is so jealous of our poor, weak hearts, that He wishes them to belong entirely to Him and to Him alone; and His desire that we should love him is so great that He makes it an express command.
The means to acquire the love of God are to desire it with our whole heart, and to ask for it with earnestness and perseverance in our prayer. If we wish to advance in divine love, we should make frequent acts of it; for the more we exercise ourselves in any thing, the more perfectly will we practice it.
The soul who, through her ardent desire to please God, profits by every opportunity to procure His honor and glory, may justly be considered to love God.
Let us approach this sacred fire (Holy Communion) to be thereby first inflamed ourselves, so that we may afterwards enkindle it in others by our charity and good example.
Among the blessings which flow from a good Communion, the most excellent is to be made one and the same with God. Who would neglect so great a blessing?
A sign that we have communicated worthily is when we become truly and intimately united with God, endeavoring to correct our defects, and trying every means in our power to become like unto Him by the practice of virtue.
To take that which belongs to another can easily be repaired, but to deprive our neighbor of his reputation - all is lost.
It is with the humble and simple that God loves to dwell, and He communicates more freely with them than with the learned. It is to these souls that God is pleased to impart His most vivid lights, His most excellent gifts and graces.
Prayer is an elevation of the heart to God. By prayer, the soul goes forth, as it were, from herself in order to go and seek God in Himself. It is an intimate union of the soul with God.
It is by means of prayer that the soul that is blind recovers her sight; that was deaf to the voice of God, becomes attentive to His holy inspirations; that considered the yoke of the Lord, that is the things of salvation, as too heavy and insupportable, being weighed down with the load of her evil inclinations, becomes vigorous, full of courage and fervor.
How important is the exercise of prayer, and what advantages may we not derive from it, since the Son of God has so much recommended it and has Himself given the example of it.
To prepare ourselves well for (receiving the Holy Spirit), it is necessary to live in great union and perfect concord; to root out all inordinate affections, to labor to acquire humility and interior peace, because the Holy Spirit, being a God of peace, dwells only in the abode of peace.
Keep yourself constantly in the presence of God. This Divine Presence is most necessary for you; it will greatly assist you in attaining perfection.
The devil uses all his endeavors to prevent you from making your meditation because he knows well, that he will be master of your mind the whole day if he succeed in being the first to fill it with frivolous thoughts. Therefore, as far as possible, make your meditation before going out.
You do not make your meditation to have elevated thoughts, to have raptures and ecstasies; but you make it in order to render yourself more perfect, to become truly Christian.
In all the works of God, whether of nature or of grace, there is order. If we are not also regular and orderly in all that we do, we need not expect to do any thing well.
One heroic act of virtue sometimes gives courage and strength to a soul to perform a thousand acts.
A sincere person, one who is candid and open, cannot be deceived by the enemy of his salvation.
Our humble origin does not prevent us from uniting ourselves to the Son of God. Being infinite greatness Himself, He has no need of us, yet He seeks the humble and simple, and when He finds them, O! with what delight does He fix His dwelling within them!
It would be doing very little to carry soup and remedies to the sick, if we did not do it for the love of God and with a desire to please Him.
The sense of hearing is also a dangerous window by which what is said to us sometimes enters so forcibly into our hearts as to occasion a thousand disorders. Guard it well; charity is frequently in danger through the agency of this sense.
Could there be anything greater than to be the only Son of God! Could a man be more exalted than to have been descended from royal blood! On the other hand, could there be anything more humiliating according to the world than His birth and His manner of life?
If we have any love for God, or any desire to advance in virtue, we would gladly bear with the imperfections of our neighbor.
The father gave this entertainment and kind reception to his (prodigal) son on account of his misery and want. He was more worthy of compassion than the other son, who wanted nothing because he acted more wisely than his brother and has always remained with his father.
It is to perform the office of the devil to envy those who succeed better than we do; for it is only the devil, and those who possess his spirit, who experience vexation and sadness at the good which others do. May God preserve you from such a misfortune!
What sweetness and consolation does not a soul experience who loves to be concealed from the eyes of men, contented to be known to God alone.
Selected from Spiritual Conferences for the Daughters of Charity, Part 1,
by St. Vincent de Paul. Mount Saint Vincent on the Hudson, NY; 1880.
(Reprinted by Fessinger Publishing).