Putting Up with Ourselves
I' am trying very hard to lead a good life but I find it very difficult.
I made some resolutions, but I don't seem to be able to live up to them all the time.
I get annoyed so easily. This worries me as I feel I'm not getting very far. Will you help me?
M de la Flechere.
Dear Mrs de la Flechere,
Your first letter to me was most encouraging – a good start to our correspondence about the spiritual life. Together we shall aim at developing God's kingdom in our hearts. May He inspire me to give you the advice you need!
You can't be mistress of your soul straightaway or have it firmly under your control at the very outset. Be satisfied with occasionally slightly gaining the upper hand in dealing with your unruly nature.
We have to put up with other people; first of all, however, we must put up with ourselves and patiently accept our imperfection. Are we bent on reaching the state of interior peace without experiencing the normal trials and setbacks?
Try to begin each day in a tranquil frame of mind, your soul at peace. Keep on coming back to it all through the day; keep on starting afresh. Don't be upset if you happen to get annoyed. Don't worry about it; calmly humbling yourself before God, try to recapture your peace of soul.
‘I have made a mistake', tell yourself, I must be more careful now and act gently in the future.' Always do this no matter how often you fall.
When you are at peace inside, don't miss the chance of being as calm and gentle as you can, however small the opportunities. Our Lord has told us that he who is faithful over little things will have great things committed to his charge.
Above all never lose heart. God, I'm sure, will take you by the hand. If he lets you stumble occasionally it is only to show to you that you could never keep your feet at without His support, and to make you grasp his hand more tightly.
God be with you; may you always be completely His. I am in Him.
Your very devoted servant,
FRANCIS DE SALES
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6