The Business of Life

Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

As long as we are alive in this world, we must deal with the necessities, duties, and business of this life. St. Francis de Sales gives some thoughts on how to make the best of it and how to keep earthly life and eternal life in perspective:

“We must descend to earth to regulate the necessities of this life, but in all things our heart should relish only the dew of God’s pleasure, and refer all to the praise of God.”

“Do not be vexed at the annoyances which come from the complexity of business; believe me, true virtue is not nourished in exterior repose any more than good fish in stagnant water.”

“When you encounter things which give you trouble, remember that the saints cheerfully did greater and more troublesome tasks, and encourage yourself by their example.”

“Take no trouble on account of what the world thinks of you; despise its good opinion and its contempt, and let it say what it will of good or evil.” Why? “Men look at the exterior, God looks at the heart; if He sees the lowliness of your heart He will give us great graces.”

“Complain as little as possible of injuries, for it rarely happens that one complains without sin, since our self-love exaggerates in our eyes and hearts the wrongs we have received.”

“Let our Lord turn us to the left or to the right, and send us in a hundred directions. He never abandons us but to get closer possession of us; He never leaves us but to guard us better; He never struggles with us but to enter our souls and bless us.”

“We advance through stormy weather, and under a dark and cloudy sky. It is a better time for travellers than if the sun poured its ardent heat upon us. Courage!”

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

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