Common Actions Done Well

Endeavor not to appear singular, but to be so. This is done by leading, in all respects, the common life, doing all things that are enjoined, but with exactness in the time, place, and manner prescribed. We must do common things not in a common manner, but in a manner more sublime and perfect than that in which they are commonly done. This is to appear externally like all the rest, and to be interiorly singular, which is a great virtue and a treasure of merit. -St. Bernard

When St. Bernard was assisting one night at Matins, he saw some angels who were carefully noting down the merit of each of the monks. The merit of those who were praying with much fervor, they set down in golden characters; of those with less fervor, in silver characters; of those with good-will, but without affection, in ink; of those with sloth and drowsiness, in water; but as to those who were in mortal sin or voluntarily distracted, they wrote nothing, but, standing motionless, they lamented their blindness.

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

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