Every Day with Francis de Sales for January
#11
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 15th (page 15)
 
     I am not terribly concerned about living out these brief and passing moments, so long as I can live eternally with my God in glory.  We have already started out on our trip to eternity, and we have taken the first steps; provided our eternity is a happy one, why worry about the passing moments of trial in this life?  These tribulations last three or four days and are to be followed by so much eternal glory and joy!  How is it possible that we are not prepared to put up with them?  . . . Everything that has no bearing on eternity is mere vanity.
 
(A.S., p. 359)
 
     On January 15th, 1591, Francis de Sales, seriously ill at Padua, said to his servant that , as the sone of a family, he could  make only a spiritual testament.  He had already willed his soul to God – he said – and bequeathed his body to the medical students so that his poor body that had been useless during his lifetime could be of some use after his death.  And he added, “I would be very happy if by this means I could put a stop to the disputes that go on over the use, for the study of anatomy, of the bodies of those who suffer capital punishment.”  It pleased the Lord, however, to reward the humility of his servant by disposing the members of the Academy of the Athenaeum to elect him as their patron and build in his honor a magnificent chapel, where his feast is celebrated with all due solemnity every year.
 
(A.S. p. 359)
 
 
God does not measure our perfection by the many things that we do for Him, but by how we do them.
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#12
     
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 16th (page 16)
 
     It is a very fine thing to feel ashamed of oneself when one realizes one’s own imperfections and misery, but his feeling must not drag on lest one lose heart.  It is necessary to raise the heart to God with a holy confidence, founded not in our strength but in God.  We indeed change, but God never does; He always remains equally good and merciful toward us, whether we are weak and imperfect or perfect and strong.  I always say that our misery is the throne of God’s mercy, and so we must realize that the greater our misery, the greater should be our confidence in Him.
 
(Spiritual Discourses II; O. VI, p. 22)
 
 
    On January 16th, 1618, Francis de Sales received, with remarkable calm, a defamatory libel that a lawyer had written against him and his Daughters of the Visitation; it was so insulting that even the most indifferent were moved.  The prelate knew the spirit and the character of that man, who had continued to persecute him for three or four years, but he would allow no one to take any action against him, saying to those who wanted to revenge these attacks, “I have committed this man into God’s hands, so no one must dare to touch him.  I invoke he divine mercy for him every day. . .”
 
(A.S. I, p. 385)
 
 
 
Never pronounce this person to be holier than that one.  Appearances deceive.  It is quite possible that the person who is holiest in God’s eyes is not so judged by the world.
 
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#13
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 17th (page 17)
 
     Considered in themselves, tribulations certainly cannot be loved, but considered in their origin, namely in the Providence of the Divine Will which has brought them about, they are to be loved with an infinite love. Just consider Moses’ staff:  laid on the ground, it was a ferocious serpent; in the hands of Moses it was a wonder-working wand.  In like manner, tribulations in themselves are terrible, but considered as a manifestation of the will of God they are indications of love and delight.  Likewise, love either removes the harshness of the trial or renders it lovable.
 
(T.L.G. Book 3, Ch. 2; O. V, pp. 112-113)
 
 
   On January 17th, Francis de Sales had preached several times a eulogy of Saint Anthony the abbot, chosen by him, along with other saints, as a protector of his interior desert.  “And in this desert,” he used to say, “I want to remain alone with God, while in the midst of men, and all the busyness that surrounds me.  And why should I be distracted by men, when this saintly hermit was not distracted by whole legions of devils who attacked him while at prayer?  It will be our fault if we do not become saints . . . Saint Anthony sanctified himself in the midst of devils, so why cannot I sanctify myself among men, among Christians and souls consecrated to God?”
 
(A.S. I, p. 414)
 
 
     On a certain January 17th, Sister Jean Benigne Gojos, a lay sister of the Visitation, saw in an apparition Saint Francis de Sales in glory.  “His head,” she said, “was surrounded by a blazing light on which were marked the names of his daughters, some like precious stones and others like shining stars.  The brilliance of the most dazzling did not detract anything from the less dazzling.  How perfectly beautiful they seemed, a beauty that was reflected from their good father!  How happy the father appeared, seeing his daughters saved and glorified!  I then saw how his holy wish had been granted when he called them his mantle of honor, his joy and his crown.”
 
(A.S. I, p. 414)
 
 
Even virtues can be loved too much, and with too much love they are lost.
 
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#14
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 18th (page 18)
 
     To persevere in the devout life it is a matter of deciding upon some excellent and generous maxims, with the right intention.  The first I would suggest to you is that of Saint Paul, “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints..” [cf. Romans 8:28] If we agree that God can and does draw good out of evil, will He not do that especially for those who give themselves to Him without reserve?  Even our very sins (from which may God preserve us!) are destined by Providence for the good of those who serve God.  If David had not sinned, he would not have learned his deep sense of humility! . . .
 
(Letters 1420; O. XVIII, p. 209)
 
 
     On January 18th, 1619, Francis de Sales renewed a friendship he had formed in 1602 with Andre Duval, dean of the Sorbonne.  These two men went to confession to each other and gave each other advice for spiritual growth.  So highly did they esteem each other that, when speaking about the friendship each would say of the other, “I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire.[cf. Matthew 3:11]  When either of them received the abjuration of a Protestant that they had both instructed, each wanted to give the credit to the other.  This prompted Saint Vincent de Paul to say, “Here is how saints have a fight:  each one humbles himself to exalt his brother!”
 
(A.S. I, p. 436)
 
 
 
When the will does not give its assent, even to the most outrageous temptations, there is certainly no sin.  It is a refinement of Divine Love to allow those who love Him to suffer and do battle without ever realizing how much He loves them.
 
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#15
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 19th (page 19)
 
     Our Lord Jesus Christ died for love of us, so we should, if required, be prepared to die for Him.  Even if we cannot die for love of Him, we can at least live for Him alone.  If we do not live for Him alone, we are really the most treacherous and ungrateful of creatures.  Then is it true that the Divine Redeemer died for us? . . . Yes, He died nailed to the cross to give us life.  Those die who do not imitate Him, since there is neither death nor resurrection apart from the One on the cross.
 
(Sermons 65; O. X., p. 364)
 
 
 
     At the beginning of 1601, Francis de Sales was called to Sales by his venerable father, who was seriously ill.  From there he wrote to Bishop Claude De Granier on January 19th:  “I am here an will remain here as a duty to assist my father who, day by day, advances quickly toward eternal life.  If God does not come to his aid very shortly, with the entire household we will be deprived of the consolation that we have always had of the presence of a good father.”  During, the sufferings of his final illness, it was a tremendous consolation for Baron Boisy to be assisted by his saintly son.  For him, Francis was more than a son; you could almost say that he considered him like a father, both because of the priestly character with which he was invested and because of his many virtues.  Baron Boisy made a general confession of his entire life and received Holy Communion form Francis’s hands. He never tired of giving thanks for the holy and kind attention afforded him, saying hundreds and thousands of times how fortunate he was to have given life to such a son.
 
(A.S. I, p. 471)
 
 
There is no one living who has a heart more tender and affectionate than mine, or feels parting more keenly.  Still, I realize more and more the nothingness of this world and this present life, so that I never turn to God with a stronger sense of love than when He has permitted some misfortune to fall upon me.
 
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#16
      
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 20th (page 20)
 
     State openly that you desire to be devout. I do not say that you should assert that you are devout but that you desire to be devout.  Do not be ashamed to practice the ordinary, necessary actions that bring us to the love of God.  Acknowledge frankly that you are trying to meditate, that you would rather die than commit a mortal sin, that you are resolved to frequent the sacraments and to follow your director’s advice.  This candid confession of our desire to serve God and to consecrate ourselves entirely to His love is most acceptable to His Divine Majesty.
 
(INT. V., Ch. 18; O. III, p. 365)
 
 
      Francis de Sales had a very special veneration for Saint Sebastien, patron of the chapel of the castle of Sales.  He generally preached there on January 20th. Once, referring to the arrows which are the insignia of Saint Sebastian, he said “The bishop’s cross must be like the insignia of his saint, who is represented with piercing arrows all over his body, to announce to all that he is a servant of Jesus Christ.”  Animated by this sentiment, instead of the cape and scapular, he prescribed for his Daughters of the Visitation that they should bear on their breasts a silver cross on which were the names of Jesus and Mary – “so that,” as he wrote to Mother Chantal, “everybody will know that our daughters belong to Jesus Christ crucified.”
 
(A.S. I, p. 502)
 
 
It is a major element of our perfection to put up with our imperfections.
 
The more real and perfect our trust in God, the more Divine Providence will shine forth on us.
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#17
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 21st  (page 21)
 
     Take note:  the great Agent of mercy converts our miseries into graces, turning the poison of our sins into a healing antidote for our souls.  Tell me, then, what grace will do to heal our afflictions, soften our crosses and persecutions that we have to suffer. Therefore, when some misfortune strikes, of whatever nature it may be, be assured hat, if we love the Lord with all our hearts, all will be converted into good; and later, though you cannot understand where this good comes from, be sure that it will most certainly happen.
 
(Letters 1420; O. XVIII, pp. 209-210)
 
 
 
     At the beginning of 1592, we find our saint proceeding on a journey of devotion and culture that finally ended in his courses at the Athenaeum of Padua.  As Francis passed through the principal cities and sanctuaries of Italy, God worked miracles in preserving the life of our future apostle.  This trip left in his soul the most pleasant impression and dearest memories.
 
(A.S. I, p. 529)
 
 
 
The secret of prayer is to follow the divine attractions.
 
     The conduct of business is all the more perfect the closer it resembles the care God has for us.  God works most actively, thinking and providing for all, but without agitation and without losing gentleness and calmness.
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#18
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 22nd  (page 22)
 
     Love has its source in the heart, and we cannot love our neighbor too much or go to excess, provided love continues to reside in the heart.  However, our external demonstrations of love may error get out of control, passing the limits and rules of reason.  The glorious Saint Bernard says that the limit of loving God is loving, God without limits; His love must spread its roots as widely as possible.  And what is said about love of God must also apply to love of our neighbor, so long as the love of God is greater and holds first place in our hearts.
 
(Spiritual Treatises IV; O. VI, pp. 56-57)
 
 
     On January 22nd, 1605, Francis de Sales, recovering from a series of illnesses, was able to dictate the following card to Baroness Chantal, still living in the world:  “Your messenger found me still convalescing from a persistent fever which prevented me from writing this with my own hand, but I greet you with a thousand blessings from the bottom of my heart!  As soon as I have recovered sufficiently and get back my strength, I will find the time to write to you regularly once more on every occasion that presents itself.”
 
(A.S. I, p. 554)
 
 
You should never be so curious as to want to know everything, but, on the other hand, not so neglected as not to know all that concerns your eternal salvation.
 
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#19
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 23rd (page 23)
 
     Receive Holy Communion with courage, peace and humility, in response to the Divine Spouse, Who, in order to unite Himself to us, humbled Himself and so wonderfully abased Himself as to become our very food – we who will soon become a meal for worms . . . He who receives Communion according to the spirit of the Divine Spouse humbles himself and says to the Lord, “Masticate me, digest me, annihilate me, but convert me totally into Thee!”
 
(Letters 1529; O. XVIII, p. 400)
 
 
     On January 23rd, 1572, the holy mother Chantal was born at Dibon.  In 1617, Francis de Sales wrote to her on this day:  “It gave me great pleasure, my dearest daughter, that you reminded me that today is your birthday, for I had forgotten it.  Job expressed as a wish that it would have been better for him to have died on the day of his birth, but my wish is that your birthday, my dearest mother, be among the most blessed for ever and ever.  Yet on these anniversary days of our birth we must humble ourselves, thinking of the nothingness from which we came; at the same time, they should be occasions of encouragement, realizing the goal for which God has given us life.
 
(A.S. I, p. 575)
 
 
     On the same day in 1618, Francis de Sales assisted at the death of Father Philip of Quoex, his confessor, canon at Saint Peter’s in Geneva and prior of Saint Catherine, a man of God comforted by a visit from his guardian angel. Just before breathing his last, this holy man asked his holy penitent to leave the room, and said to those around his bed, “I would be doing wrong if I did not tell you that our bishop resembles Saint John the Baptist for the purity of his life, while he is another Charles [Borromeo] for his humility, poverty and apostolic zeal.”
 
(A.S. I, p. 576)
 
 
Get going! Resolve to die a thousand times rather than love anyone else more than you love God.
 
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#20
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
 
January 24th (page 24)
 
     During the course of the day, recall as often as possible that you are in God’s presence.  Consider what God does and what you are doing.  You will see His eyes turned toward you and constantly fixed on you with incomparable love.  Then you will say to Him, “O God, why do I not look always at Thee, just as Thee always look at me?  Why do Thou think so often of me, O Lord, and why do I think so seldom of Thee?” Where are we, O my soul?  God is our true place, and where are we?
 
(INT. Part II, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 92)
 
 
     On January 24th, the revised calendar commemorates the feast of Saint Francis de Sales because his body was solemnly transferred from Lyons to Annecy on January 24th, 1623.
 
     On this day in January 1604, then the feast of Saint Timothy, Francis de Sales spoke eloquently of the zeal of this bishop for the conversion of the people of Ephesus.  Many people were moved, among them Luisa of Chatel, a native of Normandy.  Educated at court, this lady enjoyed all the privileges that this world esteems.  Her education and her beautiful qualities had nourished a worldly spirit in her, and vanity – so opposed to the Christian spirit – filled her heart.  However, she was so moved by the words of our saint that she threw herself at his feet, expressing a desire to be converted and to give herself to God without reserve.  The holy bishop received her like a lost sheep who had returned from the desert of vanity to the fold of devotion.  She started by putting down in writing his words of advice, and these letters were to form the first draft of that wonderful book entitled, The Introduction to a Devout Life.
 
(A.S. I, p. 603)
 
 
Take this as a general rule:  judge with charity all that you see others doing.  When that is not possible, excuse them and pray for them.
 
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