Some Words of Wisdom From Petrarch


In a 1373 letter, the Italian Renaissance Poet Petrarch writes to Francisco da Carrara, the lord of Padua, of the importance of making sure “rampaging herds of pigs” do not plague his city, for “the task of restoring Padua to its former noble majesty not so much in large projects as in small details.”

This notion of completing small tasks as the way to perfection is an essential element of the Chinese philosophy Confucianism, but it is also the core of the Christian notion of perfect by fulfillment of one’s “station and its duties” that is encapsulated in the Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux.

We would do well both for temporal tranquility and excellence as well as our eternal beatitude to focus on the completion of the little things in life as stepping stones to the accomplishment of great deeds.


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