Enduring with Patience everything that befalls us

August 14, 2021 • 4 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 98
By St. Francis de Sales

“Patience is necessary for you, that in doing the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. x. 36).

If our Saviour Himself has declared: “In your patience you shall possess your souls” (Luke, xxi. 19), should it not be a man’s great happiness, Philothea, to possess his soul? and the more perfect our patience, the more absolutely do we possess it.

Let us frequently call to mind that as our Lord has saved us by patient suffering, so we also ought to work out our salvation by sufferings and afflictions; enduring injuries and contradictions with all possible meekness.

Do not limit your patience to such or such kind of injuries and afflictions, but extend it to all such as it shall please God to send you.

Some are unwilling to suffer any tribulations, but such as are honourable; for example, to be wounded in battle, to be a prisoner of war, to be persecuted for religion, or to be impoverished by some lawsuit determined in their favour.

Now, these people do not love the tribulation, but the honour which accompanies it; whereas, he that is truly patient, suffers tribulations indifferently, whether accompanied by ignominy or honour.

To be despised, found fault with, or accused by wicked men, is pleasant to a man of good heart; but to suffer blame and ill-treatment from the virtuous, or from our friends and relatives, is the test of true patience.

I admire the meekness with which the great St. Charles Borromeo suffered a long time the public censures which a great preacher, of a strictly reformed Order, had uttered against him in the pulpit, more than the patience with which he bore the assaults he had received from many sinful people.

For just as the stinging of bees is far more painful than that of flies, so the evils we suffer from good men are much more insupportable than what we suffer from others; and yet it often happens that two good men, having each of them the best intentions, through a diversity of opinion, cause great persecutions and contradictions to each other.

Be patient, not only with respect to the subject of the afflictions which may befall you, but also with regard to its accessaries or accidental circumstances.

Many would be content to encounter evils, provided they might not be incommoded by them.

I am not vexed, says one, at being poor, if it had not disabled me from serving my friends, from giving my children proper education, or from living as honourably as I could wish.

It would give me no concern, says another, were it not that the world would think it happened through my own fault.

Another would be content to bear a scandal patiently, provided no one would believe the detractor.

Others are willing to suffer some part of the evil, but not the whole: they do not fret on account of their sickness, but on account of the want of money to get themselves cured, or because they are so troublesome to those about them.

Now I say, Philothea, we must not only bear sickness with patience, but also be content to suffer sickness in the manner, place, and time that God pleases; and so of other tribulations.

When any evil befalls you, apply such remedies as may be in your power, and agreeable to the will of God; for to act otherwise would be to tempt Divine Providence.

Having done this, wait with resignation for what it may please God to send; should the remedies overcome the evil, return Him thanks with humility; but if, on the contrary, the evil should overcome the remedies, bless Him with patience.

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