Father Frassinetti offers this advice to those who desire moral perfection: “Do not allow this your desire to be chilled by the pernicious thought that you have perhaps more than once before endeavoured to tread in the path of Christian perfection and have not succeeded, and that consequently you would not succeed now were you to begin again.”
“If you did not succeed on former occasions it was only because you had not the will to succeed. God, having given you a longing for Christian perfection, would also have given you the grace to acquire it; for He never does what is useless, and it would be useless to implant in us a good desire, and not give us the necessary grace to bring it into effect. He knows that without the assistance of His grace all our good desires would be vain; therefore He cannot give us a good desire without also giving us the grace to enable us to put it into execution.”
“Try now to desire success resolutely, profit by the grace now given you, and this time you will not fail.” St. Teresa of Avila tells us that “the Lord never ceases to favour our legitimate desires, so that we may be enabled to put them into execution.” St. Alphonsus insists that “even if you should fall into errors a thousand times a day while endeavouring to attain Christian perfection, you must not let yourself be cast down and discouraged, but rise up again another thousand times, praying for help and resolving to fall no more. Want of confidence would be your ruin; confidence, on the other hand, firm and unchangeable confidence, will infallibly save you, and will enable you to reach the desired perfection.”
Father Frassinetti adds: “Certain people with small and feeble hearts, who live in perpetual anxiety, and, when they commit a fault, at once give themselves up almost to despair, do they not wrong the goodness of God? Let us be humble, let us repent when we fail; but let us not be cast down, let us never be confounded by our failures.”
Quotations from Joseph Frassinetti, The Consolation of the Devout Soul, trans. Georgiana Lady Chatterton (London: Burns and Oates, 1876).