Each According to Its Kind

St Benedict Presents the Olivetan Monks With His Rule by Il Sodoma

Padre Quadrupani teaches that there are many ways to strive for spiritual perfection, as there are many stations in life to which a person applies himself: “Perfection has but one aim and it is the same for all,—to wit, the love of God; but there are divers ways of attaining it.”

This is his advice: “Apply yourself in a particular manner to become perfect in the fulfilment of the duties of your state of life; for on this all perfection and sanctity are grounded.”

The truth of this can be extrapolated by observing the operations of plant and animals. Quadrupani says: “When God created the world He commanded the plants to produce fruit, but each one according to its kind. In like manner our souls are all obliged to produce fruits of holiness, but each according to its kind; that is to say, according to the position in which God has placed us.”

We see this principle illustrated throughout Sacred Scripture. For example: “Elias in the desert and David on the throne had not to become holy by a like process; and Joshua amidst the tumult of arms would have sought in vain to sanctify himself by the same means as Samuel in the peaceful retreat of the Temple.”

Likewise, we see it in post-Apostolic times: “Among the saints themselves we find most striking differences. Saint Benedict was never seen to laugh, whereas Saint Francis de Sales laughed frequently and was always animated, bright and cheerful.”

Quadrupani explains these differences in this way: “The minds, dispositions and characters of men are as varied as their physiognomies; grace perfects them little by little but does not change their nature.” What does this mean for us? “In our endeavors to imitate the ways of such or such a saint for whom we feel a particular attraction, we should not condemn those of the others.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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