Oct 052011

Less mind, more judgment. With regard to the intellectual faculties, the postulant need not have talents so brilliant as to make him a great mind; but he should have a sound, practical judgment, that is, common sense. “Moins d’esprit, plus de jugement – Less mind, more judgment,” as the French say.

Neither great talents for some certain branches of science, nor piety and the spirit of devotion can make up for deficiency of judgment or common sense. Subjects of medium talents, yet gifted with a sound, practical judgment are generally the best suited for Religious Communities, because they are humble and docile.

“Men of superior talents,” says St Vincent de Paul, “not possessing at the same time an unusual disposition to advance in virtue, are not good for us; for no solid virtue can take root in self-conceited, and self-willed souls.”

In reference to the intellectual faculties of the postulant, St Francis de Sales expresses himself thus: “If I say that, in order to become a religious, one should have a good mind, I do not mean those great geniuses, who are generally vain and self-conceited, and in the world are but receptacles of vanity. Such men do not embrace the religious life to humble themselves, but to govern others, and direct everything according to their own views and inclinations, as if the object of their entrance into religion was to be lecturers in philosophy and theology.”

“These great minds,” says St Jane Frances de Chantal in one of her letters, “when they are not given to devotion, submission and mortification, serve to ruin a whole religious community, nay even a whole religious Order.” “We must pay special attention to these,” says St Francis de Sales, “I do not say they should not be received, but I do say, that we should be very cautious about them; for in time and by God’s grace, they may greatly change; and this will undoubtedly come to pass, if they are faithful in making use of those means which are given them for their cure.


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