One of the hardest but one of the most absolutely necessary things is to follow our own particular line of development, side by side with souls who have quite a different one; often one opposed to our own. It is natural for youth to hesitate between an attitude which it fears may be presumptuous and a candid admission of inferiority to everything around it. But this hesitation must cease or we shall never grow up. We must be ourselves and not try to get inside someone else’s skin. David could have done nothing in the armour of Saul; he refused it and ran to fetch his sling and some pebbles from the brook. Ii was with these he slew Goliath, the symbol of the devil as the Holy Fathers taught. Still less must we look for approval and appreciation as a sign that we are on the right path. There are not so many good judges as all that, and the judgement of common opinion is far from being common sense. Good judges are so rare that St François de Sales could declare, ‘It is said that only one in a thousand is a true spiritual director. I say only one in ten thousand!’ We must therefore free ourselves absolutely of this anxious desire to be at one with other souls, however virtuous or wise they may be; just as we must never expect them to see through our eyes. We must follow our own light as though we were alone in the world, save as regards charity to others. In purely private matters, we must never be deflected from our own path.
Henri de Tourville, in Letters of Direction, pages 34-5, translated by Lucy Menzies