All Will Be Well Done

From Introduction to the Devout Life, III.35 (1609)

The bridegroom of the Canticles says that the bride has ravished his heart with “one of her eyes, one lock of her hair.” In all the human body no part is nobler either in mechanism or activity than the eye, none more unimportant than the hair. And so the Divine Bridegroom makes us to know that he accepts not only the great works of devout people, but every poor and lowly offering too; and that they who would serve him acceptably must give heed not only to lofty and important matters, but to things mean and little, since by both alike we may win his heart and love.

Be ready then, my child, to bear great afflictions for your Lord, even to martyrdom itself; resolve to give up to him all that you hold most precious, if he should require it of you — father, mother, husband, wife, or child; the light of your eyes; your very life; for all such offering your heart should be ready. But so long as God’s providence does not send you these great and heavy afflictions; so long as he does not ask your eyes, at least give him your hair. I mean, take patiently the petty annoyances, the trifling discomforts, the unimportant losses which come upon all of us daily; for by means of these little matters, lovingly and freely accepted, you will give him your whole heart, and win his. I mean the acts of daily forbearance, the headache, or toothache, or heavy cold; the tiresome peculiarities of husband or wife, the broken glass, the loss of a ring, a handkerchief, a glove; the sneer of a neighbor, the effort of going to bed early in order to rise early for prayer or communion, the little shyness some people feel in openly performing religious duties; and be sure that all of these sufferings, small as they are, if accepted lovingly, are most pleasing to God’s goodness, which has promised a whole ocean of happiness to his children in return for one cup of cold water. And, moreover, inasmuch as these occasions are forever arising, they give us a fertile field for gathering in spiritual riches, if only we will use them rightly…

Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily. And our Lord himself has told us that “he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” If you do all in God’s name, all you do will be well done, whether you eat, drink or sleep, whether you amuse yourself or turn the spit, so long as you do all wisely, you will gain greatly as in God’s sight, doing all because he would have you do it.

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was a gifted preacher and writer on the spiritual life, who served for several decades as Bishop of Geneva. Though a talented anti-Protestant controversialist, he was revered for his gentle spirit, which gained the respect of many of his opponents. His Introduction to the Devout Life, a manual for laypeople, is among the finest practical guides to discipleship. His feast day is January 25.


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