There are very
few men who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves
entirely to His hands, and let themselves be formed by His Grace. A thick and
shapeless tree trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired
as a miracle of sculpture … and would never consent to submit itself to the
chisel of the sculptor who, as St. Augustine says, sees by his genius what he
can make of it. Many people who, we see, now scarcely live as Christians, do
not understand that they could become saints, if they would let themselves be
formed by the grace of God, if they did not ruin His plans by resisting the
work which He wants to do
… In this life a thing is good only in the degree in
which it serves eternal life. And it is evil in that degree in which it makes
us turn aside or away from it. In this way the soul, suffering contradictions
on this earth, enlightened and purified by the eternal dew, builds its nest on
the heights, concentrates all its desires on the search for Christ crucified
since, after being crucified in this life, it will rise to life with Him in the

Saint Ignatius of Loyola to Ascanio Colonna, Rome, April 25, 1543