Perfection in Every State of Life

One might ask: “How can I become holy in the state of life in which I am placed? In the midst of the world, surrounded with perils, oppressed with cares for my family, obliged to work hard, to buy and sell, how can I give my mind to the attainment of Christian perfection?”

Father Frassinetti replies: “Hear what St. Alphonsus says in his Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ: ‘The monk should become holy as a monk, the layman as a layman, the priest as a priest, the married man in a state of marriage, the soldier while following his calling.’ And certainly, since God desires that all should become saints, He will give to all the necessary graces, that they may become holy in whatever state or condition of life they may be placed. Do not these various states of life exist in this world by the disposition of God’s providence?”

“Fear not; only have the will, and in spite of all your family cares and business, yes, in the midst of this world’s inevitable perils, you will attain Christian perfection, according to your state. I have already said that God, according to our needs, gives us His grace; and so true is it that each one, according to his state, may become holy, that St. Francis of Sales disapproves of those who, finding themselves employed in one condition of life, nourish the desire to enter upon another. Listen to his words: ‘I do not approve of those persons who, being attached to any given employment or vocation, persist in desiring any other kind of life not conformable to their office or occupation.’ In confirmation of this truth, we have before us the fact that among the saints who are venerated on our altars there are some of every condition and every state of life.”

Quotations from Joseph Frassinetti, The Consolation of the Devout Soul, trans. Georgiana Lady Chatterton (London: Burns and Oates, 1876).

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