Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales - March
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 11th (page 71)

     Often during the day, even while outwardly engaged in conversations and business with others, remember to retire to the solitude of your heart to be with God. This mental solitude cannot be in any way impeded, even if many people stand about you, since they surround, not your heart, but only your body. Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.

(INT. Part II, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 92)

     On March 11th, 1618, Francis de Sales, who was preaching the Lenten sermons on 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 our convernt. All approved of this plan. T|he good president LeBlanc 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.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 12th (page 72)

     Live Humbly, gently and lovingly with your divine Spouse. Do not be worried, but put behind you the memory of your small failings by confessing them. As we fail so often without realizing it, so we also rise again without realizing it. It is said that the just person falls seven times, not that he sees or feels the fall. Even if he falls seven times seven without realizing it, he also rises. Do not be too worried about this, but with frankness and humility say to your confessor what you remember, leaving everything else to the gentle mercy of God. He puts His hand under those who fall without malice, provided they do no harm and do not remain wounded. He raises and heals them so quickly that they do not even realize that they have fallen, because the divine hand has caught them. They fall to realize what has happened because God’s help came so quickly that they did not even have item to notice it.

(Letters 1382; O. XVIII, p. 136)

     On March 12th, 1617, Francis de Sales found himself at Grenoble, busy converting Protestants, comforting Catholics and responding to those who consulted him. He wrote the following lines to Mother Chantal: “This is only a note, my dearest mother, that you receive from me today. God gives me a thousand tasks, not allowing me to engage solely in the one sacred work that He Himself has entrusted to me. I have never seen a people more docile than these or more inclined to piety. The women are especially devout, because here, as elsewhere, men tend to leave to the women the care of the house and prayer. Twelve of the leading, women of the city have become my spiritual daughters and are busy in the foundation here of a house of the Visitation. The bishop and the parliament have no objections. I am in no hurry, even though I greatly desire to open this house, confident that God will be glorified in it. His Providence has provided all that is necessary for this project, yet I feel no urgency to get it going. Let us wait and pray. Humbling ourselves quietly before the Divine Majesty, we can hope for the best.”

(A.S. III, p. 283)

If a person shows a firm and persevering determination to serve God
In his state in life, he gives the best proof that he has a true vocation.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 13th (page 73)

     We have two lives; the first is according to the “old man” with the faults, weaknesses and infirmities inherited from our father Adam. Therefore we live in the sin of Adam, and ours is a mortal life, more like death than life. In the second life we live according to the “new man”; namely, according to the graces, favors and will of the Savior. As a consequence, we live in the redemption, for eternal salvation. This new life is a loving, full and sanctifying one. Everyone who wishes to live according to this new life must pass through the death of the old life, crucifying his flesh with all its evil appetites.

(Letters Book 1, CH. 7; O. V, pp. 31-32)

      On March 13th, 1599, Cannon de Chisse, who was in Rome with our saint visited the catacombs and found him in tears. This caused him to believe that he had got news of the death of Bishop De Granier, To ease his worry, Francis said simply, “No, my dear brother, that is not what is making me cry. Oh dear me! Should you be surprised that I shed some tears for my unworthiness when I pray over the tombs of those who have had the good fortune of shedding their blood for the faith. Oh, how much martyrdom should be desired! But I must humble myself because I do not merit, sinner that I am, the graces of the saints, who are God’s favorites.”

(A.S. III, p. 310)

If you feel the urge to do great things, the first thing is to humble]
and distrust yourself. Then throw yourself in the arms of God,
trusting in Him and His grace! Only in that way will you succeed.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 14th (page 74)

     Do not love anything too much, I beg you, not even virtues, for, by loving them too much we run the risk of losing them. Be what you are and do it well, to honor the Artificer who has made you . . . Be what God wants you to be, provided you belong to Him totally. \Do not try to be what you want to be, contrary to God’s will. Even if we were the most excellent creatures in the world, of what use would this be if we are not living according to the will of God?

(Letters 289; O. XIII, p. 53)

      On March 14th, 1599, Francis de Sales presented to Pope Clement VIII various memoranda for the systematization of the Catholic Faith in the Chablais and for the reestablishment of the same faith in the provinces of Ternier and Gaillard. Although be omitted nothing that could contribute to this matter and did not fail to recommend himself to people who had influence with the Holy Father, he was, all the same, more often to found at the altars and tombs of the martyrs buried in the Vatican. One day he graciously said to a person who was complaining about delays in conducting business with the Roman authorities, “I find this delay not so much a result of the wise deliberations of Rome but as a sign of Divine Providence, so that visitors may be given a chance to leisurely visit the holy places and to recommend their affairs to God and His martyrs.”

(A.S. III, p. 339)

If we spend our time in prayer in a poor and careless manner,
We are robbing time from God.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 15th (page 75)

     We should approach holy prayer and simply to do our duty and give witness to our fidelity. If it pleases His Divine Majesty to speak to us and aid us by His holy inspirations and interior consolations, it is certainly a great honor and the sweetest of delights. But if it does not please God to give us this grace, ignoring us as if He did not see us or as if we were not in His presence, we must not leave on that account but remain there devotedly and peacefully. The Lord will infallibly be pleased with our patience and note our diligence and perseverance, so that when we come before Him again He will favor us with His consolations and enable us to taste the delights of deep prayer.

(INT. Part II, Ch. 9; O. III, p. 87)

     On March 15th, 1599, Canon de Chisse had a special audience with the pope and passed on to him the request of his uncle, Bishop De Granier, Bishop of Geneva, to have Francis de Sales appointed his coadjutor with right of succession. On this occasion, the uncle and the nephew gave an admirable proof of their virtue and the esteem they had for our saint, who was their favorite. We need to realize that Cannon of Chisse possessed all the qualities necessary for this office himself, being a man of virtue, learned , a very able preacher, already vicar general of the diocese and longstanding member of the Cathedral Chapter. But these considerations did not influence either uncle or nephew in any way. They both worked hard to procure this dignity for the great Francis de Sales, in view of the tremendous good he had done in the diocese since he had been appointed a parish priest.

(A.S. III, 363)

It is easier to flee from the vice contrary to chastity than to cure it.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 16th (page 76)

     Our intellect is ordinarily full of ideas, opinions and considerations suggested by self-love. This is the root of many conflicts within the soul, putting before us all sorts of reasons dictated by human prudence to justify our pretensions. People who make use of this false prudence, instead of enlightening their intellect, obscure it. They reject advice given to them and let those reasons prevail in their minds which support their own opinions, even wrong ones. Make use of the virtue of prudence because it is good, but make good use of it. Employ it only rarely, with simplicity, and solely for the glory of God.

(Sermon 30; O. IX, pp. 297-298)

     On March 16th, 1614, while Francis de Sales was baptizing a baby in the chapel of the castle of Annecy, a shining light was seen reflecting from the water and surrounding the holy bishop. The usual bonnet that he held in his hands to put on the baby’s head was carried away by an unexpected gust of wind, and after traveling several times around the chapel returned to the prelate’s hand. Then, not being able to restrain the divine fire with which he was burning, he spoke to those present of the marvelous effects of baptism, telling them that what they had seen was a visible sign to confirm them in their faith. This fact is related by Father Armand, a Jesuit, who was a layman at the time.

(A.S. III, p. 385)

It is sufficient to accept the evils that come to us from
time to time without awaiting them in fear.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 17th (page 77)

     A will resigned to God’s will should have no other desire but to simply live out that Divine Will. As a person who is traveling on a ship does not move along by his own efforts but lets himself be carried along by the ship, so likewise a heart that is embarked on the divine good pleasure should have no other will but that of permitting itself to be led by God’s will. In such a case, the heart no longer says, “. . . but yet not my will, but thine be done.” [Lk 22:42] for there is no will to renounce. It simply says, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” [Lk 23:46]

(T.L.G. Book 9, Ch. 13; O.V, pp. 150-151)

     On March 17th, 1614, Emperor Matthias I wrote to Francis de Sales. He showed his great esteem for him, asking him for his prayers, and, as a prince of the Holy Roman Empire, invited him to attend the Diet of Ratisbon (February 1st, 1615), called to draw up appropriate measures to drive the Turks out of the kingdom of Hungary. He also expressed the desire to receive instructions and advice as to how to save his own soul. The saint modestly replied that he would be delighted to accept His Majesty’s invitation, but the state to which the Protestants had reduced him left him no other means to help except that of prayer.

(A.S. III, p. 146)

Some people are so proud of what they have done that they commit a type of idolatry.
Everything they do takes on the form of an idol.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 18th (page 78)

     Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year. Enrich yourselves with these treasures, which nobody can take away from you and which cannot be destroyed. I am accustomed to say that we will not spend Lent well unless we are determined to make the most of it. Let us, therefore, spend this Lent as if it were our last, and we will make it well. Listen to the sermons, because holy words are pearls; they are ships of infinite mercy – the true ocean of the East.

(Letters 329; O. XIII, p. 144)

     Francis de Sales had such a great devotion to Saint Joseph that he fasted on bread and water on the vigil of his feast. He desired that this great saint should be the protector of the entire Order of the Visitation and the particular patron of the first convent of Annecy, even directing the religious to make this feast the most solemn of the year. Once, to console the holy foundress, he wrote her these lines full of gentleness: “I beg that this great saint, who so often caressed. May he help you come closer to God, filling you with an abundance of peace.”

(A.S. III, p. 446)

There is no saint who has not walked the path of alliction.
This thought consoles us when we are asked to suffer.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 19th (page 79)

     Thinking of the grandeur of Saint Joseph, consider the words, “Extend Thy mercy to them that know Thee, and Thy justice to them that are right in heart.” [(cf. Ps 36:11] I would like to say a few words about this saint whom we love so much because he has cultivated love in every heart. My God, how good and upright this great saint must have been if the Lord gave him the lofty privilege of being entrusted with His mother and His Son! With these two responsibilities, he could have been envied by the angels. Could anyone in all heaven possess any greater privilege than this? Who is there among the angels who could be compared with the queen of angels? And who can compare with the Son of God Himself? Yet Saint Joseph was closer to them than anyone else.

(Letters 671; O. XV, p. 33)

In the early morning of March 19th, 1614, the feast of Saint Joseph, Francis de Sales sent this not to Mother Chantal: “My dear daughter, here are the litanies of the glorious father of our life and of our love. I wanted to send them to you written in my own hand, but, as you know, I am not own master. Nevertheless, I have taken the time to look them over, correct them and put in the necessary accents, so that our daughter of Chantal can more easily sing them without making mistakes.” Wherever he was on the feast of Saint Joseph, Francis de Sales always preached about him. He was never at a loss for words in speaking of the spirit and heart of Saint Joseph. “Nothing excites me so much,” he used to say, “as the title of foster father of Jesus Christ.”

(A.S. III, p. 473)

Spiritual consolations are good; He who gives them to us is wonderful.
But the fact that we receive them should not be the reason for being good.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

March 20th (page 80)

     To receive Holy Communion every week we must be free of mortal sin and have no affection for venial sin. We should also have a great desire to go to Communion. To go to Communion everyday it is necessary, in addition, that we have overcome most of our evil inclinations and that we have consulted our spiritual director.

(INT. Part II, Ch. 20; O. III, p. 118)

     Around March 20th, 1599, Francis de Sales, who was in Rome at the time, was advised to prepare himself for the examination for promotion to the episcopacy at a public consistory and in the presence of Pope Clement VIII. Fully convinced of his own total unworthiness, the saint shed many tears when he thought of the dignity he was going to be asked to assume. Therefore, he prayed with great fervor to the Madonna, that she would obtain from her Divine Son the grace that he should be struck dumb in the presence of the pope if there were any likelihood that he would turn out to be a bad bishop.

(A.S. III, p. 503)

Whatever does not have eternity for its goal is nothing but vanity.
In times of serious illness we should ask of our soul only submission and
Acceptance. This is enough to unite our will with the divine pleasure.

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