A Faithful Servant of God

St. Francis de Sales gives advice on how to persevere through spiritual trials that are given to us to strengthen our resolve and deepen our devotion to God:

“We are oppressed by a thousand fears, and by the uproar which the devil makes about our heart, suggesting that we are not pleasing to our Master, that our love is useless, yea, even false and vain. . . . It is then we must manifest an invincible fidelity to our Saviour, serving Him purely for love of his will, not only without pleasure, but in the midst of this deluge of sadness, terrors, alarms, and temptations.”

“Do not allow yourself to yield in any way to sadness, which is the enemy to devotion. What, then, should sadden a soul which serves Him who shall be our joy forever?”

St. Francis was surely devoted to God to an exceptional degree, for he declares: “What happiness to serve God in the desert without manna, without water, with no consolation save that of being under His guidance, and suffering for Him!”

“God wishes that, like Job, I should serve Him in the midst of dryness, suffering, and temptation; like St. Paul, that I should serve Him according to his desire. You will see that one day He will do all and even more than you can desire.”

“Cast your thoughts earnestly upon the shoulders of the Saviour, and He will support and strengthen you. When He calls you to a kind of service which is contrary to your taste, your courage should not be less, but rather more than if your taste concurred with his pleasure. . . . Keep your eyes fixed upon the good pleasure of God, and upon Providence.”

In short, “Live humbly before God, amiably with your neighbour, and sweetly with yourself.”

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

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