Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Saint Vincent de Paul

French Priest of the Catholic Church dedicated to serving the poor

"If you must be in a hurry, then let it be according to the old adage, and hasten slowly."

"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."

"A doctor who keeps a person from becoming ill deserves more merit than one who cures him."

"A great good is worth being long desired."

"A man who behaves poorly in a Community will not do well in a parish."

"All of you desire to belong entirely to God, and God also wants all of you to belong to Him"

"Always be quite simple and sincere and ask God to grant me those two virtues."

"An honorable man would never abandon his friend in time of need, especially if they were in a foreign country. Why? For fear of acting like a coward or of being boorish. I repeat, I admire the fact that, those persons have, through human respect, more courage than Christians and priests have, through charity or through their good intentions."

"And what are we doing if we are not doing God's Will?"

"As a rule, the most learned persons do not produce the greatest results. We see that only too often."

"Be acted upon rather than active. In this way, God will do through you alone what all men put together could not do without Him."

"Be convinced that exactness in rising is one of the most important practices in the Company and that as the day begins so the rest of the day continues; give yourselves sincerely to God on going to bed in the evening, asking Him for the strength to overcome yourselves in the morning and to obey His voice without delay."

"A Superior must be firm as to the end and humble and gentle with regard to the means."

"A sick mind cannot be cured by the sheer force of persuasion."

"A truly humble spirit humbles itself as much amid honors as amid insults, acting like the honeybee which makes its honey equally as well from the dew that falls on the wormwood as from that which falls on the rose."

"Bear with him as Our Lord bore with His disciples, who gave Him good reason to complain - at least, some of them did. Yet, He allowed them to remain in His company and tried to bring them around gently."

"But the blessed Bishop of Geneva taught his nuns another kind of prayer, which even the sick can make: to remain peacefully in the presence of God, manifesting our needs to Him with no other mental effort, like a poor person who uncovers his sores and by this means is more effective in inciting passers-by to do him some good than if he wore himself out trying to convince them of his need."

"Cast from your heart the bitterness."

"Charity is the cement which binds Communities to God and persons to one another."

"Charity is the paradise of Communities and the soul of the virtues."

"Divine Providence is never wanting in things undertaken at its command. Even though the whole world should rise up and destroy us, nothing could happen but what is pleasing to God. The less there is of man in affairs, the more there is of God."

"Do not be afraid of undertaking too much of what you can do without coming and going; but fear only the thought of doing more than you are doing and more than God is giving you the means to do."

"Do not overburden yourself with rules of devotion, but persist in doing well those you have, your daily actions, your work; in a word, let everything revolve around doing well what you are doing."

"Do not take on anything beyond your strength, do not be anxious, do not take things too much to heart, go gently, do not work too long or too hard. In a word, unburden yourself of all else except the direction of the house and whatever you can do by way of relaxation."

"Even convicts, with whom I have spent some time, are not won over in any other way. Whenever I happened to speak sharply to them, I spoiled everything; on the contrary, when I praised them for their resignation and sympathized with them in their sufferings; when I told them they were fortunate to have their purgatory in this world, when I kissed their chains, showed compassion for their distress, and expressed sorrow for their misfortune, it was then that they listened to me, gave glory to God, and opened themselves to salvation."

"Even if the whole world should rise up to destroy us, nothing will happen except that God, in whom we have put our hope, will allow."

"Excess in the practice of virtue is no less imperfect than the lack of it."

"Experience has shown us that virtue puts down only shallow roots in those who are there for just a short time"

"Experience teaches that what is feasible at the beginning is sometimes harmful as things go on, or subject to troublesome inconveniences"

"Far from being a bad thing to seek advice, you must, on the contrary, do so when the matter is of any importance, or when we cannot come to a clear decision on our own."

"Far from rejecting such a good man as you, He never even abandons a wicked man who hopes for His mercy."

"Fear not; calm will follow the storm, and perhaps soon."

"Foresight is good when it is subject to the latter, but it becomes excessive when we are in a hurry to avoid something we fear. We rely more on our own efforts than on those of his Providence, and we think we are doing a great deal by anticipating His orders by our own disorder, which causes us to rely on human prudence rather than on his Word."

"Furthermore, the apostolic life does not exclude contemplation but encompasses it and profits by it to know better the eternal truths it must proclaim."

"Give me a man of prayer and he will be capable of everything; he can say with the Apostles: ‘I can do all things in Him who sustains and comforts me.’ The Congregation of the Mission will last as long as the exercise of mental prayer is faithfully carried out in it, because prayer is an impregnable rampart which will shield Missionaries from all sorts of attacks. It is a Mystical arsenal, a Tower of David, which will furnish them with all sorts of arms, not only for the purpose of defense but also of attack."

"Go to the poor: you will find God."

"God allows us to give rise to the practice of two beautiful virtues: perseverance, which leads us to attain the goal, and constancy, which helps us to overcome difficulties."

"God asks that we never do good in one place to make ourselves look important in others but, rather, that we always regard Him directly, immediately, and without intermediary in all our actions and allow ourselves to be guided by His paternal hand."

"God has granted me today a very particular fondness for requesting of Him that same virtue of ever choosing the worst and that which is contrary to my own liking."

"God has great plans for you, directed towards helping you do what Jesus Christ did when He was on earth. This requires you do resist temptation vigorously, with special confidence in the assistance of His Divine Goodness. Courage then, Monsieur. Be faithful to Him, and the Divine Goodness will be favorable to you."

"God has seen fit that, since our services are useful to many persons, everyone approves them, but only when they are carried out in the spirit of Our Lord."

"God is pleased to communicate himself to the simple and humble and to use the smallest and lowliest to make them great and exalted. In a word, it is He Himself who has called and approved them and even inspired their humble manner of living."

"God often delays the conclusion of a holy endeavor so that those involved in it might merit its grace by the length of the work, their patience, and their prayers. This is why I beg you not to grow weary in yours. Although He may delay, He will reveal that it is pleasing to Him, if it is done, nevertheless, in a spirit of resignation regarding the outcome."

"God uproots the vine that He Himself has not planted."

"God's affairs are accomplished gradually and almost imperceptibly and His spirit is neither violent nor tempestuous."

"Good works are often spoiled by moving too quickly. . . . The good which God desires is accomplished almost by itself, without our even thinking of it."

"He also always blesses humble beginnings much more than those accompanied by a lot of show."

"He is greatly honored by the time we take to weigh with mature deliberation matters having to do with his service, as are all those with which we deal."

"His Divine Goodness asks that we never do good in any place to make ourselves look important but that we always consider Him directly, immediately, and without intermediary in all our actions."

"Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying."