The Consolation of Moral Perfection

St Francis of Assisi by Stefano di Giovanni

Father Frassinetti states that Christian perfection “is in itself the sum and substance of all the good things which form true happiness in this life, and give the most certain hope of beatitude in the life to come. In the first place, the greatest happiness of this mortal life undoubtedly consists in the testimony of a good conscience that does not accuse us of sin. . . . The soul that has not to reproach itself with having deliberately offended against God feels an interior conviction of living for God alone; and this is an ineffable consolation.”

“The more we abhor sin, the more difficult it is for us to fall into sin. Indeed it is impossible for us to fall into sin as long as we abhor it; for sin must be voluntary in those who commit the same in order to be sin; and it cannot be voluntary in us as long as we abhor it. And is not this the greatest consolation to a soul that loves God—to a soul that desires to insure its own salvation?”

“He who despises small failings will, by little and little, fall into great ones. . . . We see that fervent souls who cautiously guard themselves from venial sin, although, now and then, by reason of human frailty they may fall into it, never commit mortal sin; whereas those tepid souls who make light of venial sins, and do not endeavour to avoid them, not only commit a great number, but find themselves easily carried on into mortal sin.”

“A wise prince enriches his subjects with many gratuitous gifts, and by reason of his goodness he often gives even to the unworthy; yet who are they that enjoy the greatest amount of favour but those subjects who are the most loyal, the most faithful, and the most zealous for his honour? Ought we not to believe that in the distribution of His graces He will prefer to give most to those who prize them the most, and who try the hardest to correspond with them?”

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

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