A Single Word

St Francis de Sales

At times, a single word is sufficient to cool a person who is burning with anger; and, on the other hand, a single word may be capable of desolating a soul, and infusing into it a bitterness which may be most hurtful. -St. Vincent de Paul

Three monks, being on a journey, lost their road, and so were obliged to pass through a field of grain, which they consequently injured. A peasant, seeing this, began to reproach them, and call them false monks. Then the oldest told his companions not to reply, and when he came near the man, he said to him, “My son, you have said well.” And, as he continued to insult them, he added: “You tell the truth, my son; for if we were true monks, we should not have done you this harm. Now, pardon us for the love of God, for we know that we have done wrong.” At these words, the rustic, amazed at such great meekness, threw himself at their feet, asked for pardon, and then for the habit, and went away with them.

As it is not possible, in this pilgrimage of ours, not to meet and become entangled with each other, if we would preserve interior peace, we must possess a great fund of meekness, to oppose to the unexpected assaults of anger. -St. Francis de Sales

At the time of his [King Philip II of Spain] coronation, a soldier, in trying to keep back the crowd with a pole, broke thereby three crystal lamps that were over the throne, so that the oil fell on the rich dresses of the king and queen. “Well,” said the king, “this is a sign that in my reign there will be the unction of peace and abundance.”

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

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