An example of our gentle saint gently slapping me in the face.
The Example of the Saints.
CONSIDER the example of the Saints on all sides, what have they not done in order to love God and lead a devout life?
Call to mind the Martyrs in their invincible firmness, and the tortures they endured in order to maintain their resolutions; remember the matrons and maidens, whiter than lilies in their purity, ruddier than the rose in their love, who at every age, from childhood upward, bore all manner of martyrdom sooner than forsake their resolutions, not only such as concerned their profession of faith, but that of devotion; some dying rather than lose their virginity, others rather than cease their works of mercy to the sick and sorrowful.
Truly the frail sex has set forth no small courage in such ways. Consider all the Saintly Confessors, how heartily they despised the world, and how they stood by their resolutions, taken unreservedly and kept inviolably.
Remember what S. Augustine says of his mother Monica, of her determination to serve God in her married life and in her widowhood; and S. Jerome and his beloved daughter S. Paula amid so many changes and chances.
What may we not achieve with such patterns before our eyes?
They were but what we are, they wrought for the same God, seeking the same graces; why may not we do as much in our own state of life, and according to our several vocations, on behalf of our most cherished resolutions and holy profession of faith?
Introduction to the Devout Life – Saint Francis de Sales