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,

however repugnant.

To conquer oneself:

such was the favourite exhortation

of Saint Francis Xavier;

‘Vince teipsum’,

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.


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