Presence of God – O God, make me diligent in Your service, diligent and prompt in every duty!
A prudent man is also diligent; he carefully examines and selects the means best suited to his sanctification, and diligently makes use of them. “He hath done all things well,” St. Mark said of Jesus (Mark 7:37). Speaking absolutely, such praise belongs only to Jesus, whose care and diligence in accomplishing the mission He had been given by His heavenly Father, were most perfect and totally free from the smallest defect. Nevertheless, in due proportion, we should be able to say the same of a diligent person; in fact, this should be the program of his life: to do all things well. It is not enough to do good works; we must do them well, that is, not in a half-hearted sort of way, but with care, solicitude, and promptness—in a word, diligently. What distinguishes saints is not so much their great works or the important position they may occupy in the Church, but their perfect diligence in the performance of every duty, even the humblest.
It often happens, for example, that in a group of people who lead the same kind of life, have the same duties, practice the same exercises of piety, austerity, and mortification, and perform the same apostolic works, some will reach a high degree of charity and union with God, while others will lead a mediocre life, the difference depending on the degree of diligence, greater or less, with which each one applies himself to the fulfillment of his duties. Diligence makes the soul attentive and alert in what is good so that all its acts are vivified by charity and accomplished with great exactness in every detail. “He that feareth God neglecteth nothing” (Ecclesiastes 7:18). When this fear is not servile, but the fruit of love which avoids everything that might be displeasing to God, it makes the soul so much the more diligent as it is the more loving.
“O Lord, meditating in Your presence, I understand that the best remedy for carelessness and laxity in performing my duties is charity. I must strive to do everything for love, with the special intention of pleasing You.
“How gracious of You, my God, and how fortunate for me, a poor nothing, to be able to work in order to please You! This thought makes me want to sacrifice everything with joy, O Lord, Your words console me and renew my youth as an eagle’s! Yes, sometimes I succeed better and more surely by repeating to myself: ‘Do this because it is pleasing to God,’ instead of simply saying, ‘It is my duty.’
“O Lord, all I can do is already owed to You, and will always be less than what I should do. Yet Your divine goodness likes to give me the consolation of thinking that I am acting freely and generously when I work diligently in order to please You, not only in carrying out my duties but also in works of supererogation and perfection, in great and important things as well as in small and unimportant ones, for nothing that can be offered to You is negligible.
“O Lord, I wish to show You continually how great are my desires and my love, by performing all my actions with loving diligence. The more generous and liberal I am in serving You, the more will I receive the fruits of Your generosity” (cf. Blessed Marie Thérèse Soubiran).
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Art: Partial restoration of Blessed Maria Teresa de Soubiran [1834-1889], photographer unknown, by 1889, meets public domain criteria, from open source material; Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.