If Angels Could Envy

We delight in consolations and shrink from tribulations; yet, the pleasurable is not always beneficial, nor is the distasteful always harmful. St. Francis de Sales encourages his spiritual children to patiently endure tribulations when such things lead to eternal life.

“The love of God does not consist in consolations, otherwise our Lord would not have loved his Father when He was sorrowful unto death, and when He cried, ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ This was the greatest act of love which it is possible to imagine.”

“The saints did not abound so much in sensible sentiments, they worked according to the lights and truths of faith.”

“One act performed in dryness of spirit is worth more than several done in great sensible fervour.”

“The virtues which grow in prosperity are of little value; those which are born in the midst of afflictions are strong and firm. In this life God usually allows his children and faithful servants only the honour of suffering much and carrying their cross after Him.”

“Do not be astonished to find yourself overwhelmed with evil inclinations. God permits them in order to make you humble.”

“We must, then, correct our poor heart gently and quietly, and not add to its trouble by the severity of our reprimands. . . . We must be charitable to our poor soul, and refrain from severity as long as we see that its offences are not deliberate.”

“We are only beggars, and the most miserable among us are the most fortunate, for these God looks upon with greater compassion.”

“If envy could reign in the kingdom of eternal love, the angels would envy the sufferings of God for man, and the sufferings of man for God.”

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

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