Sayings of the Saints
  • On the World and its Duties
"Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is all man.

THERE ARE still even now, through the mercy of God, many persons who live a
Christian-like life, who keep God's commandments, and who do not willfully fail in
any one of their duties; and if you do not know this, I am not astonished at it, since
Elias thought that he was left alone when God said to him, "I have left me seven
thousand men, that have not bowed their knees to Baal."

This example ought to convince us that there are still some amongst us who keep
themselves unspotted from the world, and who imitate the early Christians.
As for you, my brothers, if you have not as yet reached to that pitch of perfection;
begin at least with the wish to aspire to perfection, cut off all inclination to do evil,
resist the torrent of example, and do not think of doing any good, unless you set to
work in a right and lawful way.
We see that St. John the Baptist at first recommends the publicans and soldiers to
be content with their pay. His zeal would have willingly led him to raise them to a
high degree of perfection; but they not being fit for much, he contented himself with
giving them this simple advice, for fear that, by proposing something higher, they
would not have been able to attain to a lower degree of perfection, much less to
that height of virtue of which they were not capable.

It is thus that in the world there are different degrees of virtue; as among those
who are consecrated to the service of God, in the religious state, there are novices,
others more advanced, and others who reach to an eminent degree of sanctity.

Homily on the Sixth Chapter of St. Matthew