Enduring Earthly Struggles

Christ Carrying the Cross by El Greco

No human life is without its struggles. St. Francis de Sales offers these reflections and practical advice on the subject:

“Rest is reserved for heaven; on earth we must always struggle between hope and fear, on condition that hope be ever the stronger when we consider the almighty power of Him who helps us.”

“Say frequently, in the midst of your contradictions and sufferings: This is the path to heaven; I behold the gate, and I am sure that the storms will not prevent my reaching it.”

“Consider for whom you labour, and those who strive to trouble you shall labour in vain.”

“Think frequently of Jesus crucified; consider Him covered with wounds, filled with sadness, despoiled of everything, loaded with maledictions. Then you will acknowledge that your sufferings can in no way compare with his, and that never shall you endure anything in the least degree approaching what He suffered for you.”

“Nothing gives us profound tranquillity in this world but to frequently look upon our Lord in all his sufferings. In comparison with all that He endured, we shall see that we are wrong to call the little accidents which we encounter afflictions, and that we do not need patience for things so trifling, since a little modesty would suffice to make us bear well all that happens to us.”

“In what way shall we show our love for Him who suffered so much for us, if not by patiently enduring aversions, repugnances, and struggles?”

“Believe me,” pleads St. Francis, “God loves souls shaken by storms, provided they receive all from his hands and valiantly strive to remain faithful.”

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

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