The Quality of Good Works

Be not of those who think perfection consists in undertaking many things, but of those who place it in doing well what little they do. For it is much better to do little and do it well, than to undertake much and do it ill. -St. Francis de Sales

The Lord measures our perfection not by the number and greatness of the works we do for Him, but by our manner of doing them. And this manner is only the love of God with which, and for which, we do them. They are more perfect as they are done with more pure and perfect love, and as they are leas mingled with the thoughts of pleasure or praise in this life or the other. -St. John of the Cross

St. Francis Borgia said that though his sermons often pleased neither himself nor others, through a wrong choice or arrangement of subject, yet they always produced fruit, because he did all he could for his own part, and always purely for God.

The same truth is illustrated by the incident of the two little copper coins which the widow in the Gospel cast into the treasury. Our Lord declared that she had put in more than the others, though perhaps there were some who gave gold or silver pieces. There could be no reason for this, except that she must have given that small amount with more love than the rest, who, as the Lord Himself added, gave out of their superabundance, while she, on account of her poverty, was obliged to subtract the little she gave, from her daily living.

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

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