I hear nothing talked of but perfection, yet I see it practised only by few. Every one forms his own ideal of it. Some place it in simplicity of attire; some, in austerity; some, in almsgiving; some, in frequent reception of the Sacraments; this one, in prayer; that one, in passive contemplation; and another, in the gifts called gratuitous. But, by a general mistake, they take the effects for the cause, and the means for the end. For my part, I know of no other perfection than loving God with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. Whoever imagines any other kind of perfection, deceives himself, for the whole accumulation of virtues without this, is but a heap of stones. And if we do not immediately and perfectly enjoy this treasure of holy love, the fault is in us. We are too slow and ungenerous with God, and do not give ourselves up entirely to Him, as the Saints did. -St. Francis de Sales
Father Peter Faber, a companion of St. Ignatius, and highly esteemed by St. Francis de Sales, often dwelt on the thought that God greatly desires our advancement. And so he endeavored to grow constantly, and not to let a day pass without some progress in virtue, so that he gradually rose to great perfection and a high reputation for sanctity.
St. Pacomius and St. Anthony, by studying the virtues of others, stimulated themselves to attain similar excellence.
Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).