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Reason Helps Us to Rise Above
Life’s Instability

by St. Francis de Sales

When God said, “Let us make man to our likeness,” (Gen. 1:26), He thereby bestowed on him reason and the use thereof, so that he would be able to discuss and consider good and evil, distinguish one from the other, and know which things should be chosen and which rejected.

By the use of reason, man can remain firm and constant amid all the various events and accidents of this mortal life. Let the weather be fine or let it rain, let the air be calm or let the wind blow, the wise man pays no attention to it, knowing well that nothing in this life is stable and permanent, and that this is not a place of rest.

In affliction he does not despair but waits for consolation; in sickness he does not torment himself but waits for health, or if he sees that his illness is such that death must follow, he thanks God, hoping for the repose of the immortal life that follows upon this one. If poverty overtakes him he does not distress himself, for he knows very well that riches do not exist in this life without poverty; if he is despised, he knows well that honor here below has no permanence, but is generally followed by dishonor or contempt.

In short, in all kinds of events, in prosperity or adversity, he remains firm, steadfast, and constant in his resolution to aspire and to strain after the enjoyment of eternal blessings.