The Maxims of Perfection
Wisdom Sayings of Jean-Pierre Medaille SJ


Over three centuries ago, a young Jesuit priest, very enlightened in the interior life, wrote these pearls of wisdom under the inspiration of the Spirit of Love, for all persons who aspire to holiness of life in the midst of the world.

The Maxims of Perfection by Jean-Pierre Medaille proclaim the ageless teachings of Christ in a literary form popular to 17th Century France. Quickly, after its first publication in 1657, this spiritual document rose to public acclaim. Many savoured its wisdom, profited from its practice and grew spiritually mature under its carefully balanced guidance. Then, it seemed to rest dormant and hidden for several years... its spirit kept alive primarily within the Sisters of St. Joseph, his spiritual daughters. As this new millennium dawns upon us, the Spirit of God is awakening the richness and uniqueness of this spiritual treasure in a resurging cry that comes to us from the laity: "Sisters, give this book to the public again."

This contemporary presentation of the original Maxims of Perfection invites us not only to read Jean-Pierre's marvellous collection of wisdom sayings, but to see and feel them, to let them enter our innermost beings "where the divine Goodness can enlighten us, teach us, and help us to live them."

The Maxims of Perfection have a hidden quality, a mystical dimension. We must go beyond the words and enter into the heart of the mystery, which no language can ever convey. This presentation style can lure us to touch our own mystical depths.... and rest there in silent pondering, lifted into a transcendence beyond any particular culture, age or race.

The Maxims of Perfection also have a visible quality, an active dimension. They call us and challenge us to live the words, to put "flesh and bones" on them... to let Love love through us in the concrete reality of our daily lives. The simple down-to-earth quality of the texts translates for us how we can live the spirituality of Medaille in our present life vocation.

The Maxims of Perfection speak directly to us. They require very little explanation. What they do call forth from us is a spirit of discipleship, that is a willingness to listen, to learn, to be converted! They have their own strength in their short, direct, honest and simple form. The sacred words of this mystic have the power to purify, the power to transform and the power to give "life" to our inner spirit.

You are invited to come and sit down in quiet leisure from time to time with this warm and loving pastor. Dialogue with this mystic, listen to our beloved Jean-Pierre speak with you. Read slowly his inspired wisdom sayings and let one phrase, one word, please you, attract you, challenge you, invite you, move you to 'the something more..."

Come into the presence of Love and let Love love through you....

The Maxims of Perfection, translated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, Canada 1985.