Fulfilling Duties

To be perfect in one’s vocation, is nothing else than to perform the duties and offices to which one is obliged, solely for the honor and love of God, referring all to His glory. Whoever works in this manner, may be called perfect in his state, a man according to the heart and will of God. -St. Francis de Sales

In the Lives of the Holy Fathers, it is narrated of the Abbot Paphnutius, who was highly celebrated for sanctity, that, one day, he expressed a desire to know from the Lord whether he had any merit in His eyes. He received the reply that he had gained equal merit with a certain nobleman, whose name was given. The Saint immediately visited this gentleman, by whom he was kindly treated and hospitably entertained. When the repast was over, the Abbot begged of his host to tell him what was his manner of life. The Baron excused himself by saying that he did not possess any virtue, but after many entreaties, he said that he was very careful to entertain pilgrims, and provide them with whatever might be necessary for their journey; that he never despised the poor, but helped them in their need as much as he could; that he had justice administered equitably, and always gave honest decisions, never swerving from right through fear or favor; that he never oppressed his subjects; that he allowed any one to become his tenant, and expected from no one more than what was justly his due; that no one could complain of ever having received harm or damage from his family or cattle; that he had never offended or slandered any one, but treated all with respect, helped all as far as he was able, and endeavored to keep all in peace and harmony. On hearing this, the holy Abbot was greatly edified, and understood that true perfection consisted not in great deeds, but in fulfilling our duties.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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