St. Francis de Sales

“To live according to the spirit is to love according to the spirit.”

Today is the feastday of this very great saint – a bishop, a prolific writer and Doctor of the Church; patron of writers and communicators.

In this age where we are all of us communicating instantly, non-stop, and probably more than we ought, he is a good saint to keep in mind.

If you have not read Pat Gohn’s reasons for keeping St. Francis on her fridge door, go check it out. His message of hope, which she shares, there, is a refreshing reminder that “hope” is a word that actually has meaning.

Do not look forward in fear
to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope
as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cared for you today
will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering,
Or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace
And put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

For World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI notes:

The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith! . . . Through the intercession of their patron Saint Francis de Sales, I pray that God may grant communications workers the capacity always to carry out their work conscientiously and professionally.

Fr. John P. Mack has posted an excerpt from de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its color, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state. Therefore, in what situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.

Related: Social Networking; a qualified blessing

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://shirtofflame.blogspot.com Heather King

    Elizabeth, I do not know HOW you cull through all the mountains of stuff that you must in order to bring so much to our attention!

    I love that Francis De Sales brings to our attention that we all have different vocations, according to our situations, stations in life, etc. I often berate myself for not being Mother Teresa or Dorothy Day, but as a friend pointed out to me recently, if we’re too busy thinking we should be someone else, we never get to be truly ourselves…that sounds so…small! So…hidden!…so…HUMBLE!….

  • Anne

    “Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life…” How often I have fallen back on those wise words in the past. Thank you for posting them for us.

    My husband has been out of work since the end of September, but, thanks be to God, he starts a new job next week. It requires a move and is a lower salary than he’d been making, but as he says, it has much more potential than being unemployed.

    When I start thinking about packing, moving, selling the house, saying goodbye to good friends and a life I’ve built in this town; I do tend to look forward in fear. I know I’ll be repeating this prayer to myself a LOT in the next few months!


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