Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales - March
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saintby Salesiana Publishers
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales
THE TITLE: Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales (changed from the Italian Buon Giorno . . . Teachings and Examples from the Life of Saint Francis de Sales). This replaced
the previous title and subtitle: Saint Francis de Sales in Teachings and Example . . . A sacred Diary Extracted from His Life and Works by the Vistandines of Rome. This title was
taken from the first edition (Ferrari, Rome, 1953).
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE: Every page contains a thought from the works of Saint Francis de Sales and a brief account of some event of his life which took place on that date.
The first taken from the Oeuvres d'Annecy with an indication of volume and page and then the work form which the passage has been taken (e.g. Sermons, Treatises, Letters). As
far as the two major woks are concerned, the book or part and chapter have been added, for further clarification. This will allow the reader to refer to the passages for personal
consultation or greater understanding. The anecdotes have been taken from the work Anne Sainte, with an indication of both volume and page. Because of the brevity of the
selections chosen, we have added a maxim taken froma book by an anonymous author, Massime di S. Francesco di Sales (Salesian Press, Milan, 1929).
TEXT AND FORMAT: The Italian revision of the book made necessary the rereading of the selections chosen and a comparison with the original French. Every effort has been made
to keep the gentle tone of Saint Francis de Sales.
A.S. Annee Sainte des Religieuse de la Visitation Sainte Marie, (12 vol. ed.)
D.S. Diario Sacre extracted from his life and works, compiled by the Visitandines of Rome. (Ed. Ferrari, Rome 1953)
INT. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
Hamon P. Hamon, Vie de St. Francois de Sales, (2 vol., Paris 1854)
O. Oeuvres de St. Francois de Sales, publiees par lessouis des Religieuses de la Visitation du Premier Monastere d'Annecy (26 vol. , Annecy 1892-1932)
SOL. Francis de Sales, Meditazioni per la Solitudine
T.L.G. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God
Please note: If you buy the book, the bible quotes are not from the Douay Reims, in putting these meditations online for The Catacombs, I have changed the Bible Quotes to reflect the Douay Reims Bible.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
March 1st (page 61)
     The obligations that we have toward the Eternal Father for creation, we have likewise toward Jesus Christ, Who, by the redemption, has acquired every right of sovereignty over all redeemed creatures. Let us, therefore, exclaim and say to Jesus, “Yes, my God and my King, reign over my soul, my heart and my will; possess all my faculties and submit them entirely to the scepter of obedience.”
(Meditations for Solitude, p. 50)
     On March 1st, 1610, Francis de Sales lost his virtuous mother, Francoise de Sionnaz de Boisy. In her final days she was assisted by her saintly so, who was both her confessor and her bishop. He gave her the last blessing just as she breathed forth her soul to God, and then he had the strength to close her eyes and her mouth. “After that,” he wrote, “my heart got the better of me and I cried for such a good mother more than I had ever done since I became a man of the church; but, thanks be to God, there was no bitterness of heart. It was a quiet pouring forth of my grief, although very deeply felt, while I repeated the words of David, “But I am like a deaf man, hearing not, like a dumb man who opens not his mouth.” [Ps 38:14} Without this strength I would certainly have lamented loudly under such a blow, although it seemed to me that I would not have dared to resent her death, nor show discontent for the blows of the fatherly hand of God, Who by His grace had taught me to love her tenderly right from my youth.”
(A.S. III, p. 2)
Since Christ accepted death with love and held it up before us to be loved,
I cannot begrudge the death of anyone, so long as he or she dies in the grace
Of His most holy death.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 2nd (page 62)

      Recall to mind how long it is since you began to sin; note how greatly sins have multiplied in your heart since that first beginning, and how every day you have increased them against God, yourself and your neighbor by deed, word, desire and thought. Consider your evil inclinations, and how often you have given way to them. By these two points you will discover that your sins are more numerous than the sands of the sea. Cast yourself at the feet of the Lord and say to Him, “Lord, with the help of your grace, I will never again abandon myself to sin.”

(INT. Part I, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 41)

    On March 2nd, 1592, while Francis de Sales was studying at Padua, he was sent by his father to pay his respects to Bishop Claude De Granier, bishop of Geneva. Here was a prelate of the highest caliber. Like the ancient fathers in his religious way of living, he was beloved both to God and man; living only for the good of the diocese, he did all he could to restore the original splendor of ecclesiastical discipline. Bishop Claude received the young Sales with fatherly goodness, feeling himself, as he said afterwards, supernaturally drawn by a particular affection for him. The bishop asked about Francis’s studies in jurisprudence and Theology and marveled at the young man’s answers. He was so impressed that he asked Francis to assist at a competition for a vacant curacy that was to take place on that day. There was a long discussion among the examiners concerning a proposed question, so the bishop asked Francis to give his opinion. At first he tried very politely to decline, but then, urged on by the bishop, he summarized the whole discussion with rare ability. He distinguished the various points and then gave such precise solutions to each one that everyone was amazed that so young a person could plumb the depths of theological questions. After Francis had left, the bishop said to the others gathered there, “Well, what do you think of this young man? He will be a great personage, a pillar of the Church, and my successor to this See!” These were no idle words, but were spoken under supernatural illumination. Francis’s parents wanted him to have an important position in the world; there was no indication at that time that he would one day become a bishop.

(Hamon, Vol. I, pp. 84-85)
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 3rd (page 63)

    We must accommodate our heart to the condition of life in which we are, because life goes quickly and we are mortal, and death follows no set rules. It chooses here and there, without any pattern of selection and without method, taking the good and the bad, the young and the old. Happy are those who live in continual, vigilant watch!

(Letters 132; O. XVIII, p. 25)

    On March 3rd, 1604, Francis de Sales began preaching the Lenten sermons at Dijon. He went there, not simply because he had received many invitations to do so, but also in the interests of the diocese, a part of which depended on the parliament of Bourgogne. The saint outlined the reasons for this trip in a letter written to Pope Paul V; other motives had been suggested, and he was being gravely calumniated. Referring to this, he said later, “Our Congregation of the Visitation is the fruit of our Lenten sermons at Dijon. On that trip I was not able to view matters in their natural light. I foresaw another success so advantageous for souls that I preferred to expose myself to public opinion and trust in the goodwill of the well-disposed, rather than try to sidestep the calumny of the embittered. I hope that the future will vindicate the past, so that my course of action will ultimately be seen in proper perspective.”

(A.S. III, p. 54)

When you are blamed for something for which you are not responsible, speak
Up calmly in your own defense. If this is not successful, do not try to do anything
More, but be satisfied with recourse to humility and silence.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
March 4th (page 64)

What the bees on the thyme; they find a very bitter juice, but, by sucking it, convert it into honey. O worldly people! At times devout souls encounter great bitterness in their works of mortification, but by performing them they change them into something most sweet and delicious. Because they martyrs were devout men and women, fire, flame, wheel and sword seemed to be flowers and perfume to them. If devotion can sweeten the most cruel torments and even death itself, what must it do for virtuous actions?

(INT. Part 1, Ch. 2; O. III, p. 117)

In March, 1615, Father de la Riocere was in Annecy for the Lenten sermons. Francis de Sales told him of his interest in the cause of canonization of Prince Amadeo, duke of Savoy, his sovereign, saying that the Church would find it a great means of resisting the present evils, to exalt after their death those who had lived holy lives. Consequently, he wrote to Pope Paul V, to the cardinals of the Congregation of Rites and to several other people who might be able to help him in this holy enterprise. This saint, who worked so hard for the glorification of another saint, did not even suspect that God would one day inspire many others to procure for him precisely what he was trying to do now for his sovereign.

(A.S. III, p. 77)

In our duties we must always calmly and with composure, performing them as
Promptly as possible and as well as we can. With precipitation, instead, our tasks
Will be poorly done or not done at all.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 5th (page 65)

     Do not limit your patience to putting up with only some kinds of injuries or afflictions, but accept all those which God sends you or lets happen to you. There are some who want to put up with only honorable afflictions, such as being wounded at war, persecuted for the faith or the like. These people love tribulations only because of the honor that goes with them.

(INT. Part III, Ch. 3; O. III, p. 134)

     On March 5th, 1604, Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal saw each other for the first time with their bodily eyes. They recognized each other because they had already seen each other with the eyes of the soul supernaturally illumined. Francis, having accepted the invitation to preach the Lenten sermons at Dijon, wanted to prepare himself with a spiritual retreat. During this time, God filled his heart with graces and favors. This is when he first conceived the idea of the Institute for the Visitation and saw in spirit the great saint who was to be its foundress. For her part, the saintly baroness de Chantal, now a widow, was asking God for a guide who could direct her, and the Lord showed her in a vision a bishop who would be of tremendous help to her soul. The holy foundress never forgot this date – March 5th, 1604 – and every year devoutly commemorated this event, deeply grateful for all the help she had received from her holy spiritual director.

(A.S. III, p. 97)

All rules have an exception. There is only one that has not: “Nothing contrary to God’s will.”
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 6th (page 66)

    Do not get upset about the dryness and coldness you are suffering; be consoled in the depths of your heart, remembering the words of our Lord, “Blessed are [3] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. [Mt 5:3-6] How happy you should be to serve God in the desert, without manna and without water, consoled only by the fact that He is guiding you and you are suffering for Him.

[3] "The poor in spirit": That is, the humble; and they whose spirit is not set upon riches.
(Letters 1986; O. XXI, p. 25)

    On March 6th, 1615, Francis de Sales went to stay for a few days with his family. He had learned that the duke of Savoy was very upset with him and his brothers because of false reports made by enemies who were endeavoring to lower the duke’s esteem for the saint. Consequently, Francis wrote to President Favre, “I spent some days at Sales, and when I was called back here at holy time of Lent, I discovered that some calumnies were circulating about me and my brothers. I would only laugh these off, except that I know that they have upset our sovereign. This hurts me very much because I have so often enjoyed the benefits of your kindness. But . . . is it possible that our prince has once again believed false reports which he has already, at other times, found to be mere fabrications? It has always been wrong to hate one’s neighbor, but here if seems it is wrong to love me. The collaterals, who are above reproach, have been reprimanded very severely only because they love me with a love due to me in my position. Certainly, my dear brother, I am proud of being loved by you, but God knows that I would not wish you to suffer abuse because of that love. There will come a day when loving me will no longer be an occasion of reproof for anyone.” All today see that this prophecy has been verified. It is a great advantage to have loved our saint and to have been loved by him, and there is no one today who would not glory to place himself or herself under the protection of Francis de Sales.

(A.S. III, p. 128)

If unjustly accused, bear witness to the truth quietly and calmly.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 7th (page 67)

     How dangerous sin is, be it ever so small and slight! See that you do not loiter by the wayside but always keep on walking straight ahead. During this mortal life it is impossible to remain long in one state, and the person who does not go ahead tends to slip back. Keep on the watch against venial sin, since, neglecting the help of grace even once, we leave ourselves open to commit the same sin again; and with the multiplication of venial sins we dispose ourselves to commit mortal sins.

(Sermons 58; O. X. p. 259)

     On March 7th, 1593, the twenty-six year old Francis de Sales, through the intervention of his friends, who took all the necessary steps without his being aware of the fact, was promoted by Rome to the dignity of provost of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Geneva. On this same day in 1601, the saint, already nominated bishop of Nicopoli, and coadjutor with the right of succession to the bishopric of Geneva, began the preaching of his first Lenten sermons at Annecy, a service he performed on three different occasions.

     Francis de Sales had a great love for Saint Thomas Aquinas and preached about him on his feast day every year. Francis generally took this theme from the words of the Gospel, “Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me..” [John 7:16]

(A.S. III, p. 150)

Why are you in such a hurry? Go about your work slowly and peacefully,
Doing one thing at a time. In this way you will make good progress.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 8th (page 68)

     There is no need to get upset if we find that we are not on equally friendly terms with everyone, provide we love our neighbor cordially, with real affection, as the Lord has commanded us, preferring the other person always and in everything above ourselves, according to the order of holy charity, and never refusing to do anything we can for him or her. We must be prepared to do everything for our neighbor except damn ourselves!

(Spiritual Treatises IV; O. VI, pp. 60-61)

     On March 8th, 1615, Francis de Sales sent to President Favre a letter which he had written to the duke of Savoy to defend his brothers, who had been calumniated to the sovereign, as we have already noted. He asked his friend either to hand it to the duke or keep it, as he thought best after he had read it. As far as we are concerned, we would not be doing right by the devotees of the saint if we did not give you a translation of the letter. Here it is: “My dear sir, I humbly beg Your Excellency to permit me to exercise a freedom that my office allows. Popes, kings and princes often receive reports and accusations for appropriate judgment; they pass them on to their senators and councils. Having heard all parties, they then are able to ascertain if the petitions and reports are justified. Princes cannot dispense themselves from following this procedure and are even obliged to do so under pain of eternal damnation. Your Excellency has received accusations against my brothers, you did well to listen to them, provided you did so with your ears only. But if you believed them, then as your most humble and faithful subject and also your most affectionate pastor, I must say – and I know that you will pardon me – that you have offended God. You will be obliged to repent, even if the accusations are true, because nothing disadvantageous to one’s neighbor should be believed until all parties concerned have had a chance to speak. Believe me, dear sir, anyone who says anything contrary to this is betraying his soul. In fact, even if the accusers are worthy of belief, they must not be believed until those accused are allowed to defend themselves. . .” The saint added several arguments for the defense of the innocent in such forceful terms that, if in a thousand ways he seemed to be the mildest of prelates, in this he showed himself to be the stout defender of the oppressed.

(A.S. III, p. 187)
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 9th (page 69)

      Do no pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will.

(Letters 280; O, XIII, p. 53)

     Francis de Sales had a very special devotion to Saint Frances of Rome, honored by the Church on this day. The celebrated Monastery of the Oblates of Tor de’ Specchi, founded by that saint, was one of the holy places he visited with devotion on his two trips to Rome. He advised married couples to read her life, and when the occasion presented itself he did not miss the opportunity of praising her in his sermons. It was her humble and mortified life, by means of which this illustrious woman climbed to such heights of sanctity, that appealed to the tender piety of our saint. As can be seen from the first and oldest memoirs of the Order of the Visitation, Francis presented this saint as a model for his daughters and wanted to call them the Oblates of the Most Holy Virgin. But since the name of oblates was not then common in France – he did not want to use a new title – he gave up the idea, explaining in a note to the holy mother Chantal: “Yes, my daughter, without too much show we will change the title of oblates because it displeases so many people. However, we will never change the plan and eternal vow to be always the most humble servants of the mother of God. Renew this promise at Holy Communion, as I will do during my Holy Mass. Ah! . . . It is twelve years today since I had the grace of celebrating Mass in the monastery of this holy Roman widow, with an ardent desire to be devoted to her all my life. She is certainly our holy patron, and so she must be our model. She loved her little Baptist as you your Clese-Benigne, but she entrusted him entirely to the protection of the Divine Will, which made him a blessed son. I hope the same thing happens to my dearest mother.”

(A.S. III, p. 205)

The peace of God be ever in our hearts.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

March 10th (page 70)

      The greatest fault we commit in our prayers, in our occupations and in our setbacks is the lack of confidence in God. This is the reason why we fail to receive from the Divine Goodness the help we desire and ask for.

(Sermons 56; O.X, p. 225)

       On March 10th, 1615, Francis de Sales, who was preaching the Lenten sermons at Grenoble, made the final arrangements for the foundation of the Convent of the Visitation in that city. Previously the saint had made a thorough examination of the vocations of several young ladies who were assigned at the beginning of the year to the convent at Annecy. There they received the habit, made their novitiate and helped the professed who were stationed there. When the last details were finalized, the saint wrote about them to the venerable foundress: “Finally, my dear daughter, we have completed arrangements with the good ladies to set up out convent. All approved of this plan. The good president Le Blanc has an ardent desire for this, and I have a very fond hope that God will bless his intentions. As for us, let us be happy and humble before Him, and let our littleness add to His glory. I pray you, my dearest daughter, to prepare our little “bees” to fly forth at the first favorable occasion and start working in the new hive, for which Heaven has prepared plentiful dew.”

(A.S. III, p. 259)

No matter how much you acquire, you will never be really
Satisfied unless you are prepared to live with the bare necessities.

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