Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales - January
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by 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 from a 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 reflectthe Douay Reims Bible.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 1st  (page 1)
     We must begin the year with Christ and His most holy mother.  So today, with all the affection I can muster, I have recourse to the Son and the mother:  O Jesus, fill our hearts with Thy divine name, so that Thou gentle kindness may influence all our senses and perfume all our actions.  O glorious name which the mouth of the Divine Father pronounced from all eternity, be ever written in our souls.  Since you are our Savior, we will be eternally saved.  Virgin Mary, who among all human creature pronounced this name of salvation for the first time, inspire us to use it profitably, so that all that is in us may rejoice in that salvation which Thy Child brought us.
(Letters 739; O. XV, p. 143)
     Francis de Sales employed the first and last hours of every month and every year for an examination of conscience, to ask pardon for the past and resolve to do better in the future.  In his letters to his spiritual children, he often mentioned this practice and recommended its use.
     On January 1st, 1613, the religious of the Visitation began to recite in common the litanies of the name of Jesus, and the founder instructed them always to write at the top of all their letters the sacred motto, Long Live Jesus (Abbreviated V+ J).
(A.S.I, pp 1-2)
O how beautiful it is to see a person free of every attachment, ready for all sorts of acts of virtue and charity, indifferent to this or that exercise, consolation or tribulation, happy as long as God’s holy will is being done.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 2nd  (page 2)
     Happy are we if we can pronounce with affection the holy name of our Savior, because this will be the watchword that opens the way for us to Heaven; it is the name of our redemption. It makes the angels rejoice; it saves us and makes the devils tremble.  So we must impress it deeply in our hearts and in our minds.  Pronouncing it frequently, blessing it and honoring it in this life, we will be found worthy to sing it eternally with the blessed in Heaven.  Long live Jesus Christ!
(Sermons 52; O. X., p. 163)
     On January 2nd, 1613, Francis de Sales gave his first religious of the Visitation this spiritual exhortation:  “Our life is a warfare; our enemy is always ready to surprise us; he generally centers his attacks against the weakest point of the fortress – our heart.  By observing our frequent falls, he gets to know our evil inclinations and our predominant passion, which we do not bother to overcome because it gives us pleasure and, we believe, does us little harm.  Yet this is where the enemy attacks and overcomes us.  Therefore, we must keep a close watch on our weaknesses.  To give you some help in this spiritual warfare, my dear daughters, I will point out what seem to me the predominant defects we must all overcome.  First, however, I wan to encourage you to fight more vigorously when first attacked and never lose courage to keep on fighting, confident of your final victory.
(A.S. I, p. 28)
       Your efforts must be directed toward overcoming minor temptations:  to anger, suspicion, jealousy, envy, attachment, duplicity, vanity affectation, bad thoughts. 
Only in this way will you obtain strength to overcome more serious temptations.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 3rd (page 3)
     Genuine, living devotion presupposes love of God; it is simply true love of God.  Yet it is not always love as such.  In as much as divine love adorns the soul, it is called grace, which makes us pleasing to the Divine Majesty.  In as much as it strengthens us to do good, it is called charity.  When it has reached a degree of perfection at which it makes us not only do good but also do this good carefully, frequently and promptly, it is called devotion.
(INT. Part I, Ch. 1; O. III, pp. 14-15)
    On January 3rd, 1602, Francis de Sales, already nominated coadjutor to the bishop of Geneva with the title of bishop of Nicopoli, went to Paris to reestablish the Catholic religion in the city of Geneva.  To give his mission an air of greater importance, his friends wanted him to be consecrated and clad in his bishop’s robes before leaving.  But the saint humbly replied, “While God keeps Bishop De Granier with us, I have no intention of changing my position in the Church, nor the color of my clothing.”  And God, who loves the humble, blessed the efforts of the most humble Francis, who, contrary to the expectations of all, obtained from the king most of the things he requested on behalf of the Catholic religion.
    On the same day in 1619, Francis de Sales preached in the Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris for the feast of Saint Genevieve with so much unction and eloquence that, at the end of the sermon, all said that he had brought Saint Genevieve back to life.  The whole parish could now understand the respect and devotion they should have for their holy patron.
(A.S. I, p. 39)
I have been directing souls for twenty-five years, and experience has taught me the untold efficacy of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  It protects, fortifies and encourages.  In a word, it divinizes our spirit every time that we receive it with true faith, with purity and with devotion.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 4th  (page 4)
     The bee has no other remedy for its sickness by to expose itself to the rays of the sun, expecting heat and healing from its splendor.  Let us all place ourselves before the Crucified and say to Him:  O splendid Sun of our hearts, Thy will revive us with the rays of Thy goodness.  Here we are almost dead before Thee; we will not move from here until Thy heat brings us back to life.
(Letters 904; O. XVI, p. 50)
     January 4th, 1598 stands out in the life of Francis de Sales for a marvelous recovery at the hands of the Lord.  In the preceding December, the saint, at that time fully taken up with the mission of the Chablais, had to go to Annecy on urgent business. He found the city in the throes of an epidemic and set about serving and assisting the victims with all the zeal he could muster.  He visited them day and night; he served them with his own hands, consoled them and prepared them for a happy death.  His own health, however, already affected by his previous labors, could no longer stand the strain.  On January 4th he caught the plague, and in a few hours was at death’s door.  When this news spread, the whole city was in consternation, no one more so than Bishop De Granier, who was preaching in a nearby town.  In heartfelt dismay he turned to the Lord, begging Him with tears not to deprive him of such a wonderful co-worker.  The prayer was heard; he recovery of the saint was so sudden that everyone called it a miracle.  Francis himself was amazed and did not hesitate to affirm that through the prayers of the bishop he had been snatched from the gates of death.
(Hamon, Vol. 1, p. 174)
      Twenty years later, on January 4th, 1618, Francis de Sales gave the religious of the Visitation an outstanding conference on the flight into Egypt and spoke with great eloquence of the constancy which, in imitation of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, must be characteristic of their lives.
(A.S. I, p. 56)
It is a great evil to fail to do good.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 5th (page 5)
     When Holy Scripture mentions a good, mild, innocent person totally dedicated to God, it says:  “This was the son or daughter of the year.”  Well, if in the past we have not corresponded to the love of this sweet Savior with an inseparable union of our affections with the Divine Will, from now on we should determine to act in such a way that at the end of this new year we will also be called “children of the year.”
(Letters 1589; O. XIX, p. 97)
     On January 5th, 1618, Francis de Sales gave the religious habit of the Visitation to two novices, Sister Marie Louise Barfelly and Sister Frances of Greve.  Sister Frances often asserted that during this sacred ceremony the saint seemed to be like an angel.  She said that she had only to recall that event to renew the feeling of fervor she had experienced on that occasion.
(A.S. I, p. 79)
     The Holy Ghost directs us personally by His inspirations.
     That great fear that leads to scruples is not a bad things for the person who is just distancing himself or herself from sin; it can even be an indication of purity of conscience.  However, it is not to be approved of in those who have, for some time, acquired the love of God, that love which drives out fear.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 6th (page 6)
     . . . Let us come close to the crib.  If you love riches, you will find the gold that the kings brought; if you are looking for the smoke of honors, you will find that I the incense; and if you take delight in the delicacies of the senses, you will find the delicate perfume of myrrh that pervades the stable.  Be rich in love for his adorable Savior, respectful in the familiarity with which you relate to Him, and delight in the joy of experiencing in your soul so many inspirations and affections because you belong exclusively to Him. 
(Letters 1033; O. XVI, p. 291)
     On the Feast of the Epiphany, 1619, Francis de Sales, preaching in Paris at the Church of St. Maturinus, took as the theme of his discourse the majesty of the growing Church.  Because the feast of the Epiphany urged him to express his tender devotion to the Church, he called it the day of vocation, the day of offering, of light, of love.  It was his desire that every Communion be for the faithful a day of Epiphany.  “In fact,” he said, after we have received Holy Communion, we are obliged to present our homage to our King, renewing our oath of fidelity to Him.”
(A.S. I, p. 115)
     Perseverance is one of the virtues that keeps us in serene submission to the will of God.
     A certain type of interior feeling of boredom that often comes as a result of long suffering is a very dangerous enemy.  It must be combatted and defeated courageously.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 7th (page 7)
     On our journey through life we do not wish to meet any difficulties or contradictions.  We want constant consolations, no periods of dryness, no unpleasant times; health without sickness, repose without work, and peace without disturbance!  But can’t you see our folly when we want to have something we cannot have?  Unallayed good is found only in paradise, as in hell is found nothing but evil.  The great Chrysostom says:  “O man, you who get all upset when things do not always go your way, are you not ashamed when you ponder that what you want was not to be found even in the family of Our Lord? . . .  Consider, I beg you, the events, the contradictions, and all the things that happened.  The angel of the Lord said in a dream to Saint Joseph, And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him.” [Mt 2:13] This, indeed, was a moment of great sorrow for the Virgin Mary and for good Saint Joseph.”
(Spiritual Discourses III; O, VI, pp. 32, 38)
     Francis de Sales, then working on the Chablais mission, was greatly afflicted because, despite all his hard work, he had made so few conversions.  The ministers and the Protestant authorities forbade the people to go to his talks, even threatening them with death.  On January 7th, 1598, while he was celebrating Mass, he was inspired by God to compose and secretly distribute among the families some pamphlets containing teachings of our holy religion and a refutation of the principal errors of the Protestants.  Thus “Catholic doctrine, which they could not receive through their ears, would enter the souls of these poor people through their eyes.”  This literary campaign, a “last resort” of his untiring zeal, met with remarkable success.
(A.S. I, p. 146)
     No one could have foreseen, in those far-off days, the splendid future of this first apostolate of the press!
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 8th  (page 8)
     Consider how uncertain is the day of your death.  My soul, one day you will leave this body.  When will it be?  In winter or in summer?  In the city or in the country?  By day or at night?  Suddenly or after due preparation?  From sickness or by accident?  Will you have time to make your confession or not?  Will you be assisted by your confessor and spiritual director?  Unfortunately, you know nothing whatever about all this.  Only one thing is certain:  we will die – and sooner than we think.
(INT. Part I, Ch. 13; O. XII, p. 359)
     In his pamphlets, the holy apostle of the Chablais – by the weight of his arguments and with that Catholic sense that instinctively draws souls toward the fullness of truth – dealt with papal infallibility, among other topics.  Having pointed out that the Church cannot remain continually gathered together in Council, and so, therefore, to solve difficulties, there was no better solution than to appeal to the head of the apostolic college, he added:  “All this happened, not only with Saint Peter but also with his successors; since the cause still remains, the effect also remains valid!  The Church, in fact, always needs an infallible guide to whom people may refer, a foundation that the gates of hell cannot batter down, a shepherd that cannot lead his sheep astray.  The successors of Saint Peter have all these privileges which pertain, not to the person but to the public dignity and office.”  The precious manuscript of these pamphlets, which today constitutes the treasured volume of the Controversies of the holy doctor, were found after his death in the castle of La Thuille and presented to Pope Alexander VII by Bishop Charles de Sales.  In 1870, while the Vatican Council was discussing the matter of papal infallibility, Cardinal Mermillot obtained this manuscript form the Chigi Library and had the appropriate page photographed.  And so these lines in a humble pamphlet secretly distributed in January of 1598 were studied by the Council Fathers after a lapse of 275 years.
     When Pope Pius IX of holy memory published the brief that declared Francis de Sales a Doctor of the Universal Church, he referred to the influence this page had on the dogmatic definition of papal infallibility.1
(Chaubilland, Fribourg, 1923)
1See the apostolic letter of Pope IX, issued on November 16th, 1877, and quoted by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter, Rerum Omnium.  (Acta Apostolicae Sedis,Vol. XV, p. 57.)
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 9th (page 9)
     All that we do must be motivated by love and not force.  We must love to obey rather than fear to disobey.  I leave you the spirit of liberty, not the liberty that excludes obedience, because this would be a liberty that excludes obedience, because this would be a liberty of the flesh, but the true spirit of liberty which includes obedience.  When you have to omit your practices of piety for a just and charitable reason, I want you to make use of this occastion as a kind of obedience; then love will compensate for the spiritual exercises you have missed.
(Letters 234; O. XII, p. 359)
     On January 9th, 1603, Francis de Sales put together a booklet entitled, Twenty-five Articles of Instruction for Confessors, a most useful work and one that has been translated into many languages and printed in various countries.
     In the process of the canonization of this saint, priests and religious of Annecy declared under oath that he charitable prelate instructed them to send to his confessional the poorest and most miserable, so that he could get to know them well and so help them.  He also instructed them to send him anyone afflicted with disgusting and evil-smelling diseases; these had more need of consolation and encouragement, since, as a rule, they were the more abandoned.
(A.S. I, p. 199)
     Be grateful for trials and tribulations, as they force us to have recourse to the heavenly Consoler!  When all is going well, we forget God; only in adversity to we seek Him for comfort.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 10th (page 10)
     We recognize genuine goodness as we do genuine balm.  If balm sinks and stays at the bottom when dropped into water, it is rated the best and most valuable.  So also, in order to know whether a person is truly wise, learned, generous and noble, we must observe whether his abilities tend to humility, modesty and obedience, for in that case they will be truly good.  If they float on the surface and seek to show themselves, they are less genuine insofar as they are showy.
(INT. Part III, Ch. 4; O. III, p. 141)
     On January 10th, 1600, Francis de Sales received the cord and certificate of affiliation of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi.  He never missed an opportunity of joining confraternities, and used to say that even King David recognized their importance and usefulness.  This prompted him to take part in the pious works of those who feared God.  He also used to say that Christians, living according to the laws of grace, should help one another on the road to perfection.  These pious associations are means of union with Christ and should always be held in high esteem.  Even if certain abuses creep in with the passing of time, these associations should not be suppressed but reformed.
(A.S. I, p. 234)
                               The distrust that you have of yourself is a good thing, provided it is founded on confidence in God; but if it makes you feel disturbed and uneasy,
                                                                                                dismiss it completely as the greatest of all temptations.
Every Day with Saint Francis De Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 11th (page 11)
     As soon as you are conscious of being tempted, follow the example of children when they see a wolf or a bear out in the country.  They immediately run to the arms of their father or mother, or at least call to them for help and protection.  In the same way, turn to God and implore His mercy and help.  This is the remedy Our Lord Himself has taught us:  “Watch ye, and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Mk 14:38]
(INT. IV. Ch. 7; O. III, p. 304)
     On January 11th, 1614, Francis de Sales, while praying, was strongly inspired to write his Treatise on the Love of God, as he himself wrote to the holy mother of Chantal:  “There is no longer any repugnance in our heart; there remain only the fear and laziness of the fallen man which must give way to the victorious will of the Lord, Who wills that, cold and icy as I am, I should write of His holy love.  Count this day as the one on which I begin to employ every moment I can snatch from my other duties, and continually invoke on them the love of the Divine Lover!”  While the holy prelate worked on this labor of love, the demons did their very best to confuse his imagination and interrupt him by howls and noises, heard one day, not without some alarm, by Count Louis de Sales.  But the saint calmed him by saying to him with a quiet smile, “Don’t be afraid, my dear brother.  God guards the fort, which shall neither be taken nor stolen.”
(A.S. I, p. 257)
If I knew that there was one single spark of affection in my soul that was not of God,
In God and for God, I would annihilate it immediately.
We must never desire evil things, and even good things we must desire only in moderation.
But that one only true Good, God Himself, we must desire supremely.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 12th (page 12)
     There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.  In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out bent parts and repair those worn out.  In like manner, every morning and evening a person who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service by means of certain practices of piety.  At least once a year he must take it apart and examine every piece in detail; that is, every affection and passion, in order to repair whatever defects there may be.
(INT. Part 5, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 340)
     On January 12th, 1595, Francis de Sales, having to celebrate Mass two leagues away from Thonon, was forced to put iron spikes on his boots to prevent them from slipping on the ice.  But this was not enough to cool his burning love for the Sacrifice of the Altar, which he never failed to offer every day.  So as to be able to celebrate Mass or work for the salvation of souls, the saint never allowed himself to be daunted by any difficulty.  Throughout the winters be spent at the Chablais, he often had to cross rivers by crawling on his hands and knees across planks that served as bridges.  At other times, when the weather was bad, he had to go along on his knees, and when conditions were not so adverse, he went with chains tied to his boots, as if he were, in a manner of speaking, a slave of divine love.
(A.S. I, p. 285)
Perfection does not consist of not having friendships, but of having good and holy friendships.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 13th (page 13)
     “For patience is necessary for you; that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise,” says the apostle.  [Hebrews 10:36]  True, for our Savior Himself has declared, “In your patience you shall possess your souls.” [cf. Lk 21:19]  It is our great happiness to possess our own soul, and the more perfect our patience the more completely do we possess our soul. Therefore, it is very necessary that we perfect ourselves in this virtue.
(INT. Part III, Ch. 3; O. III, p. 133)
    On January 13th, 1616, a young nobleman whom Francis de Sales had often rebuked for his disorders gathered some of his like-minded friends under the windows of the bishop’s house and passed the night blowing hunting horns and provoking a pack of dogs to set up a din.  The holy bishop had to use all his authority to stop his brothers from teaching those ruffians a lesson.  To convince them not to do this, he said that those poor devils would be annoyed enough by not knowing whether their din was heard.  He also said he that the future held in store for them a much greater punishment than his brothers could inflict.  And that is how it turned out.  The nobleman, the instigator of this terrible insult, fell seriously ill and was at the point of death; the holy bishop never failed to visit him throughout his sickness.  All of his companions also fell ill, either through pleurisy, rheumatism or toothache.  Not one of them missed out on a punishment from the hands of Him Who reserves to Himself to revenge the insults given to His servants.
(A.S. I, p. 313)
[22] Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. [23] Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets. [Lk 6:22-23]

[Image: San-Francesco-di-Sales-Vescovo-e-Ddottor...Chiesa.jpg]
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
January 14th (page 14)
     We must not voluntarily nourish a desire to continue and persevere in venial sin of any kind.  It would be an extremely foolish thing to wish deliberately to retain in our heart anything so displeasing to God as a will to offend Him.
(INT. Part I, Ch. 22; O. III, p. 63)
     On January 14th, 1619, Francis de Sales was preaching in the Church of the Magdalen in Paris.  In the text of his sermon were the words of Saint Paul: “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” [Philippians 2:8] After the sermon, a Protestant was waiting for him in the sacristy and very arrogantly told him that the theme of his sermon was wrongly developed.  The saint quickly replied, “I was speaking just to you, my dear sir, because I know you are disobedient to the Church.”  That man was so moved by this reply that he began to take instructions and was converted to Catholicism.
(A.S. I, p. 332)
The soul of our heart is the temple of the Spirit.
Women deserve to be helped to mature spiritually because they are more open to spiritual direction and religion than are men.  These, as a general rule, presume that they know a lot and have no need of others’ help.

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