A Good Servant of God

These excerpts from the writings of St. Francis de Sales instruct the believer on the proper attitude necessary to be a good servant of God.

“To be a good servant of God is to be charitable to our neighbour, maintaining in the superior will an invincible resolution to do God’s will: to possess great humility and simplicity in confiding one’s self to God; to rise as frequently as one falls; to inure one’s self to humiliations, and to tranquilly bear with others and their defects.”

“Being a good servant of God is not always having consolation and sweetness, nor being always free from aversion and repugnance to good.”

St. Francis remarks: “How many courtiers there are who go into the presence of the king a hundred times, not to speak to him or listen to him, but merely to be seen by him, and to show by this assiduity that they are his servants. When, then, you come into the presence of our Lord, speak to Him if you can; if you cannot, remain and show yourself to Him, and do not be anxious to do any more.”

“In the palaces of princes and kings there are statues which are only meant to gratify the eyes of the king; content yourself with a similar service in the presence of God. He will animate the statue when it pleases Him. Were we to ask the statue if it desired anything it would answer, ‘No; I am where my master placed me, and his pleasure is the sole happiness of my being.'”

“It is a good prayer, and a good method of keeping one’s self in the presence of God, to wait upon his will and good pleasure.”

“As for me,” declares St. Francis, “I think that we keep ourselves in the presence of God even while we sleep, for we go to sleep in his presence and by his will. And when we wake we find that He is beside us, that He has not stirred from us, nor we from Him; therefore we have kept ourselves in his presence, though with closed eyes.”

Quotations from Maxims and Counsels of St. Francis de Sales, trans. Ella McMahon (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1884).

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