Tag Archives: St Francis de Sales

Saint Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales“Ask for nothing, refuse nothing,” Saint Francis de Sales, 1567-1622.

Saint Francis de Sales, tireless teacher, bishop and Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

Why not read some of his classic texts:

– “Introduction to the Devout Life” –> http://ow.ly/HS4vq
– “Treatise on the Love of God” –> http://ow.ly/HS4zQ
– “The Catholic Controversy” –> http://ow.ly/HS4Cb

A blessed feast day  to all Visitation Sisters and all members of the extended Salesian family!

Fasting was instituted by Our Lord

Yesterday for Ash Wednesday, I proposed that we listen to the words of Saint John Chrysostom on the subject of fasting. Perhaps a more modern person, Saint Francis de Sales, is in order for fasting as a key discipline of Lent. De Sales preached the following. Thanks to Dom Hugh for bringing this excerpt to light which bears a little reflection form us all:

To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it happens that it profits some and not others, because it is not undertaken by all in the same manner… We know very well that it is not enough to fast exteriorly if we do not also fast interiorly and if we do not accompany the fast of the body with that of the spirit

We must fast with our whole heart, that is to say, willingly, wholeheartedly, universally and entirely. If I recount to you St. Bernard’s words regarding fasting, you will know not only why it is instituted but also how it ought to be kept.

He says that fasting was instituted by Our Lord as a remedy for our mouth, for our gourmandizing, and for our gluttony. Since sin entered the world through the mouth, the mouth must do penance by being deprived of foods prohibited and forbidden by the Church, abstaining from them for the space of forty days. But this glorious saint adds that, as it is not our mouth alone which has sinned, but also all our other senses, our fast must be general and entire, that is, all the members of our body must fast. For if we have offended God through the eyes, through the ears, through the tongue, and through our other senses, why should we not make them fast as well? And not only must we make the bodily senses fast, but also the soul’s powers and passions — yes, even the understanding, the memory, and the will, since we have sinned through both body and spirit.

Ash Wednesday, 1622

Introduction to the Devout Life –De Sales lasting legacy

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Good books are one thing. Books considered “classic,” that is, those books that can withstand the test of time are not only an excellent resource but a true companion for one’s journey. No doubt, our human and spiritual needs mature over time, but a classic continues to give insight and guidance. Wisdom collected from a true living experience is hard to underestimate. The Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and Doctor of the Church, is one such book. It is not to be missed by any person wanting to know the Christian life better, and how to live it coherently. The book is about the universal call to holiness.

The Introduction to the Devout Life was an instant success from the moment it rolled off the printing press. In the Saint’s own time the book was revised a few times.

If you ask yourself: What do I need to do be better Christian? How do I live my life with all its complexities and remain faith to the Gospel and the Church? Do I have to be a priest, sister or brother to be a good Christian?  How does one live a Christ-centered life? Then this book is for you.

“The writings of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are a bright light in the Church, pointing out to souls an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life” (Breviarium Romanum, 29 January, lect. VI).

Pope speaks on the World Communications Day: Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization

Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization 

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As we draw near to
World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections
concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its
importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially
necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two
aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to
be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between
people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive,
communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or
because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they
complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning.

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Saint Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales in prayer.jpgO God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of charity in the service of our neighbor.

Charity and meekness are hallmarks of today’s saint who was a terrific bishop and is a Doctor of  the Church. Without charity how can one truly be a disciple of Christ?
Among many things, Saint Francis de Sales was a co-founder of the Order of the Visitation with Saint Jane De Chantal. 
Let us follow his witness and good example.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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