The Tranquility of the Humble

St Clare by Simone Martini

Saint Clare once said: “If I should see myself honored by all the world, it would not arouse in me the slightest vanity; and if I should see myself contemned and despised by all the world, I should not feel the least perturbation.”

St. Constantius, when he had taken minor orders, served in a church near Ancona, where he lived so much apart from the world, that he had a wide-spread reputation for sanctity, and people came from different countries to see him. Among others, came a peasant, and inquired for him. The Saint was standing upon a ladder, trimming the lamps; but as he was of a small and delicate figure, the peasant, on looking at him, was sorry that he had made the journey, as it seemed to him, for nothing, and ridiculing him in his heart, said to himself, but aloud: “I supposed this would be a great man; but for anything that I can see, he has not even the shape of a man.” Constantius, hearing this, instantly left the lamp, and coming down with great haste and gladness, ran up to the rustic and embraced him, saying, “You, alone, out of so many, have your eyes open and have been able to recognize me as I am.”

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

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