The Happiness Project

Note to Self: Don’t Imitate Saint Aloysius

“Practical experience has now convinced me of this: the concept of holiness which I had formed and applied to myself was mistaken. In every one of my actions, and in the little failings of which I was immediately aware, I used to call to mind the image of some saint whom I had set myself to imitate down to the smallest particular, as a painter makes an exact copy of a picture by Raphael. I used to say to myself: in this case St. Aloysius would have done so and so, or: he would not do this or that. However, it turned out that I was never able to achieve that I thought I could do, and this worried me. The method was wrong. From the saints I must take the substance, not the accidents of their virtues. I am not St. Aloysuis, nor must I seek holiness in his particular way, but according to the requirements of my own nature, my own character, and the different conditions of my life. I must not be the dry, bloodless reproduction of a model, however perfect…If St. Aloysius had been as I am, he would have become holy in a different way.”—Pope John XXIII, Journal of a Soul: The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII , January 16, 1903

A good reminder to keep my the first of my 12 Personal Commandments: Be Gretchen .

* If you haven’t watched my one-minute movie, The Years Are Short , you might enjoy seeing that.