A holy Religious once wrote this resolution: “I will love God for Himself, and for love of Him I will serve those who bear His image. I will give my heart to Him, and my hands to my neighbor, that he may be united to God.”
Among the acts of charity which St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi resolved to perform, was this — that she would reverence and love creatures only because God loves them, and that she would rejoice in the love He bears them, and the perfections He communicates to them.
It was one of the chief maxims of St. Vincent de Paul, not to regard his neighbor according to exterior appearance, but as he was in the sight of God.
One day, some one criticised him [St. Francis de Sales] for showing too much honor to the servant of a nobleman, who had brought him a message. “I do not know how to make these distinctions,” he answered. “All men bear the image and likeness of God, and that furnishes me with a sufficient motive for respecting them.” When he met persons or even animals heavily loaded, he stood aside that they might pass more easily, and never permitted his servants to make them stop or go back.
Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).