In the path of perfection,
as we must be detached from everything,
so we must apply ourselves
above all to detachment from self,
that is to say,
from our own will.
When we have succeeded in conquering ourselves,
we triumph easily over everything else,
To conquer oneself:
such was the favourite exhortation
of Saint Francis Xavier;
he used to say to everyone.
And Jesus Christ
did not say otherwise:
‘If anyone wishes to come after me,
let him deny himself.’
To renounce ourselves
and never to do our own will –
that is all we have to do to become saints.
‘Do not be led by your evil desires’,
says the Book of Ecclesiasticus.
Thus the greatest favour we can receive from God,
says St Francis of Assisi,
is the grace to conquer ourselves
by renouncing our own will.