Judgments and Decisions

As to be holy is nothing else than to will what God wills, so to be wise is nothing else than to judge of things as God judges of them. Now, who knows whether thy sentiments be always in conformity with those of God? How many times hast thou discovered thyself to be deceived in thy judgments and decisions? -St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul excelled in this mortification of his own judgment. He was gifted with so much foresight that he was considered one of the most prudent men of his time; yet he always distrusted himself, and in all his affairs had recourse not only to God, but also to men. He would ask their opinion, and follow it rather than his own, as far as justice and charity permitted, even though they had but little talent, or were his inferiors.

When he was asked for advice, after raising his mind for a moment to God, he gave it, not settling things arbitrarily, but explaining his views with modesty, and leaving the person to decide for himself.

If he was urged to decide absolutely, he would say: “It seems to me that it would be well or expedient to do such a thing.”

He was accustomed to say that when an affair had been recommended to God and consulted upon with others, we ought to be firm in what we undertake, and believe that God will not impute it to us for a fault, as we can offer this legitimate excuse: “O Lord, I recommended the affair to Thee, and took the advice of others, which was all that could be done to know Thy will.”

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

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