Transforming the Mundane Into the Meritorious

St Gall

Father Frassinetti shows how occupations belonging to one’s particular state of life are not impediments to, but rather, can greatly assist in, the attainment of moral perfection.

He writes: “Are the employments belonging to each state of life bad in themselves? Certainly not. Of course I am not supposing that you are engaged in sinful trades. Your occupations are in themselves indifferent, either business or study or manual labour; or perhaps you live on your income, and employ yourself in superintending the proper cultivation of your estates and the proper regulation of your rents, etc. These occupations are not in themselves holy; but neither are they bad. . . . Occupations and labours indifferent in themselves, when they are undertaken and carried on in and for the love of God, directed and offered up for His glory, become holy and meritorious.”

“You fancy that you lose time on the way to Paradise by attending your trade and keeping your accounts, by your daily labour or by regulating your family affairs. Certainly you may lose time in these and similar occupations, if you undertake them merely to gain human ends, without having any regard to the glory of God. But if, on the contrary, all your occupations are offered up to God from to time (it will be the best way to offer them daily), with the intention of doing all things for His glory, do they not at once become sanctified by that good intention, and most useful as a means to increase your love of God, and make you more deserving of Paradise? In this way will they not aid you in your progress towards Christian perfection?”

“All your works, and all the employments of your condition in life, may be made to help you most exceedingly for the good of your souls, for your growth in the love of God, and for your progress in Christian perfection.”

“If we would but do all for the love of God! If we would but direct all our actions to His glory! Then even those things which in themselves are, so to speak, but mud and stones, would be transformed into gold, into jewels of eternal life.”

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

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