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

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

February 11th (page 42)

       The sacred spouse in the Canticle of Canticles says that His bride has ravished His heart with one of her eyes and one of her tresses. [cf. Sg 4:9] Of all the outer parts of the human body, none is nobler in structure or activity than the eye and none of less value than the hair. Hence the sacred Spouse implies that He is pleased to accept the great deeds of devout persons, but that their least and lowest deeds are also acceptable to Him, and that to serve Him as He wishes we must take great care to serve Him well both in great, lofty matters and in small, unimportant things. With love we can capture His heart by the one just as well as by the other.

(INT. Part III, Ch. 35; O. III, p. 254)

        On February 11th, 1607, on the indulgence of the Franciscan Tertiaries to which he belonged, our saint preached at Annecy in the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. The best part of the admirable sermon was these two words, vinculum charitatis. Referring to the cord of Saint Francis, he pictured Christ as bound, Saint Peter in chains, Saint Paul bound for the love of Christ; and he gave similar examples of many other saints. Then he went on to speak of the triple cord of the world, of ourselves and of Christ, noting that we would never be free of our chains while we lived. This will only happen in eternity, when the liberty of the children of God will be complete.

(A.S. II, p. 297)

I would prefer to do this; I would prefer to do that; I would be better off here or there!
This is a temptation. Let God dispose of us as He wills. He knows better than we do what is best for us.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 12th
(page 43)

    We know that there are several ways of obeying. Some people, for example, esteem this virtue and willingly speak about it. Talk is not enough, however; we must come to practice it as occasions present themselves. Others want to obey, but in things that are not difficult or contrary to their inclinations. The Lord is not pleased with is kind of obedience, but wants us to obey in difficult things as well as in easy ones, and to be constant in our obedience.

(Sermons 85; O. X, p. 387)

      On February 12th, 1613, while Francis de Sales was preaching in the Church of Saint Dominic in Annecy, he taught his listeners the use of spiritual communion, which is made with a holy desire to unite ourselves to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and, all inflamed with zeal, he repeated several times during his discourse, “Ah, how I desire to live for Jesus and His glory; I prefer this more than anything else in the world!” After the sermon he received the abjuration of eleven Protestants whom he had previously instructed in the faith. A famous sinner was also converted on that day and made such a show of public sorrow for his past scandals that all were greatly edified. Returning home, the holy bishop was surrounded by his friends, who said that he must have been happier with the conversion of that one sinner that with the abjuration of the eleven Protestants, because he was a distinguished person and his conversion was so much talked about. Francis smiled at this innocent banter, said nothing, for a while and then remarked to those around him, “After He had called Matthew, who was a public sinner, Our Lord Jesus Christ went to a banquet. So now let us go to table in the name of Jesus Christ.” During the lunch he spoke of the conversion of sinners. The twelve converts were at table with the others, and the saint did not try to hide his joy nor his feelings in this matter, assuing them that the conversion of one single Protestant gave him more pleasure than that of several Catholics.

(A.S. II, p. 31)
God is merciful and has promised forgiveness to all who ask for it with a contrite and humble heart.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 13th
(page 44)

Pearls conceived and nourished by wind or thunder claps are mere crust, devoid of substance. So also when virtues and fine qualities are conceived and nurtured by pride and vanity, they are without substance or solidity, having merely the appearance of good. Honors, dignities and rank are like saffron, which thrives best and grows most plentifully when trodden under foot.

(INT. Part III, Ch. 4; O. III, p. 141)

In 1619, Francis de Sales preached at Saint Andrew’s of the Arts in Paris, where he had also preached during the previous Advent. Here, with the help of divine grace, Governor de La Fere was converted. The Huguenot minister Dumoulin had refused to enter into a debate with Francis, as the illustrious convert had desired. It was this that persuaded de La Fere of the ignorance and bad faith of the minister, who did not dare to defend his doctrine or to enter into a contest as his opponent had suggested.

(A.S. II, p. 336)

I am not very interested in becoming wise if I am not becoming holy at the same time.

Make an effort to have great liberty of spirit, so that even when you are disturbed
at our practices of piety you may accept this with good grace. Then you will not
be prone to complain or put on a long face.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 14th
(page 45)

      Devotion is simply that spiritual agility and vivacity by which charity works in us or by aid of which we work quietly and lovingly. Just as it is the function of charity to enable us to observe all God’s commandments in general and without exception, so it is the part of devotion to enable us to observe them more quickly and diligently. Hence a person who does not observe all God’s commandments cannot be held to be either good or devout. To be good one must have charity, and to be devout, in addition to charity one must have great ardor and readiness in performing charitable actions.

(INT. Part I, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 15)

      On February 14th, 1619, Francis de Sales visited the prisons of Paris to rescue from desperation and eternal perdition a priest of the diocese of Chartres, who feared his impending, death more than his crimes. This poor creature was converted, to the great edification of all. While Francis was busy with this work of charity and zeal, Bishop Camus went to tell him that he was wasting his time in that prison when he was expected at court. “Ah, my dearest brother,” he replied, “I pay homage at the court of this poor prodigal son, and I will be more than delighted if I can lead him back to his father.”

(A.S. II, p. 363)

Little people, who seem insignificant, have as much need to be heard and
Helped in their affairs as the great people in theirs.

If you realize that you have been unable to correct mistaken ideas in a
conversation and you cannot change them, you must not keep the attention
focused on the matter under discussion, but pass on to another subject.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 15th (page 46)

      Our miseries and weaknesses must not scare us, because the Lord has seen much greater ones. His mercy does not reject the miserable but gives them His grace and raises them from the depths of baseness and abjection to His throne of glory. I would like to have a good hammer to blunt the keen desire of your spirit to progress in virtue. So often have I told you that, in the spiritual life, we must walk in a very simple way. If you do well, thank and praise God; if you do something wrong, make an act of humility! I know quite well that you do not want to do the wrong thing on purpose, so consider the wrong things you do as the means to keep you humble.

(Letters 912; O. VI, p. 68)

      Once – on a February 15th – Francis de Sales sent Mother Chantal a letter, inviting her to rejoice with him because all the leading ladies of Annecy were go given over to piety that, invited to a ball at carnival time, they did not dare to go without his permission. “Dear me”, the saint often said, “Carnival is a sad time for me because I see the number of Sunday Communions go down.” To make reparation for the disorders of the carnival, the saint ordered exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the three final days. He himself preached on this occasion with so much unction and success that all social activities were stopped. People gave up all sorts of invitations to listen to him.

(A.S. II, p. 384)

Many people fail to make any progress because they do not sincerely uncover
Their predominant fault, the true root cause of their failings.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 16th (page 47)

     Let us try sincerely, humbly and devoutly to acquire those little virtues our Savior has proposed as the goal of our care and labor. These are meekness, patience, mortification, humility, obedience, poverty, chastity, tenderness towards our neighbor, bearing with others’ imperfections, diligence and holy fervor. Let us gladly leave the lofty virtues to lofty souls; we do not desire so high a rank in God’s service, and we should be more than happy to serve Him in His kitchen or to be His lackeys, porters or chamberlains. While blessing God for the eminence of others, let us keep to our lower but simpler way. It is less distinguished but better suited to our littleness. If we conduct ourselves with humility and good faith, God will raise us up to heights that are surely great.

(INT. Part III, Ch. 2; O. III, p. 132)

     In 1606, Francis de Sales preached the Lenten sermons in the city of Chambery with great success. The bishop of Grenoble, the diocese in which he was working at that time, willingly gave him full faculties so that the saint was kept very busy preaching, teaching, catechism, administering confirmation and conferring Holy Orders. Besides this he visited the prison to help and console the prisoners. In the hospitals he prepared the sick for a happy death or helped them to turn their sickness into an occasion of merit. He also settled many disputes. One trouble -maker criticized all that the saint did, telling him that he was doing as much work at Chambery as at Annecy. Did he perhaps pretend to be the bishop of Grenoble? The saint laughingly replied, “You are making a gratuitous assumption, but, in any case, the diocese of Grenoble is, just as is mine, a small portion of the inheritance of Jesus Christ, Who is the one and only supreme Father in the whole family.”

(A.S. II, p. 405)

The care of souls is as a burden of sweet cinnamon, which by its
Invigorating scent revives those who bear it.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sale

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

February 17th (page 48)

      Take for yourself the maxim of the apostle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. [Galatians 6:14] Put Jesus crucified in your heart, and all the crosses of this world will seem to be roses. Those who have felt the punctures of the crown of thorns of the Savior Who is our Head will in no way feel any other wounds.

(Letters 1420; O. XVIII, p. 221)

      On February 18th, 1617, while Francis de Sales was preaching the Lenten sermons at Grenoble, the Protestant ministers got together their “big guns” to oppose the man of God. Some friends of the saint informed him of this, telling him that one of those ministers had a powerful voice with poison on his tongue. “Good,” the saint replied, “that is made to order for me. God will draw His glory from my confusion.” He was then told, “Do you really want to expose your sacred person to ridicule?” “ Jesus Christ exposed His own divine person,” he replied, “and was saturated with opprobrium. I hope, with the help of His grace, to be ready to suffer more insults than these gentlemen can heap on me. If God gives me this grace, we will have the joy of making several major conversions.” During the dispute the saint maintained his usual modest demeanor, letting that charlatan do all the talking without interrupting him, not even with one single word. But he vomited forth his poison without order or reason in such a way that all the listeners were indignant. Seeing this, the holy prelate broke his silence and refuted all the false propositions of the minister with so much fire and wisdom that the opponent remained confused. At every word, however, he interrupted this holy man, who immediately kept silent when his opponent wanted to speak and gently took up the argument again when his adversary stopped speaking. This made Councillor De Santerean say that everything in that man spoke to God, even his silence. Someone remarked to Francis that he gave too much time to that brash minister. He replied, “Oh, dear me! It is about all you can do on these occasions when there is no sense or reason in the debate. IT is good that we realize this about our opponents, and show that it is not our intention to humiliate or beat them but only to convince and convert them.”

(A.S. II, p. 427)

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 18th(page 49)

      Our Savior has instituted the most august sacrament of the Eucharist, which really contains His flesh and blood, so that whoever eats of it shall live forever. Therefore, whoever turns to it frequently and devoutly builds up his soul’s health in such a way that it is almost impossible for him to be poisoned by evil infection of any kind. We cannot be nourished by this flesh of life and still suffer death within us. Just as the first man and woman dwelling in the earthly paradise might have avoided bodily death by the power of that living fruit which God had planted in it, so also can we avoid spiritual death by virtue of this sacrament of life. Tender fruits such as cherries, apricots and strawberries are subject to decay, yet they are easily preserved for a whole year with sugar or honey. Is there any wonder then, that our heart, no matter how frail and weak, is preserved from the corruption of sin when sweetened by the incorruptibles flesh and blood of the Son of God?

(INT. Part II, Ch. 20; O. III, p. 116)

       On February 18th, 1606, Francis de Sales was preaching the Lenten sermons at Grenoble, and although fully occupied with preaching and hearing confessions, at the urgent request of the bishop of Grenoble he conferred Sacred Orders on ninety-five clerics from various provinces. He prepared them himself and almost all of them made a general confession to him. When President Favre remarked that he was taking on too much and could have sent them to other confessors, the saint gently answered, “Ah, dear brother, if I am going to shear these sheep, it is not right that I should also be the one to give them a prior washing?”

(A.S. II, p. 445)
If you love God, speak about Him as often as possible.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 19th(page 50)

      An interior conversion, a change for the better in one’s life, is an indication of the presence of the Holy Ghost. Saint John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb of his mother; likewise, those who receive the Holy Spirit are transformed. So when you want to know if you have received the Spirit, keep a clear watch on your works; they will answer the question accurately.

(Sermons 47; O. X, p.72)

       On February 19th, 1605, while Francis de Sales was preaching at la Roche, a town in his diocese, a young woman was brought to him from a neighboring province. This unfortunate person was being cruelly tormented by the devil. Her parents were so upset that they had kept her hidden in their house. They could think of no better doctor than the holy bishop, who stayed at la Roche for three more days to pray for her and exorcise her. When she was happily liberated, the saint ordered her to give him her corset, which he burned, having learned by supernatural means that the affliction was attached to that apparel. To keep secret the miracle God had worked through his hands, the saint forbade the parents and the daughter to talk about the sickness or the cure, saying that if would not be in the young woman’s best interests. He also urged the parents to watch over this girl carefully since she would soon be asked to enter into a marriage. This came true. The young girl always remained very grateful to the saintly bishop. Several years after his death she went to Annecy to visit his tomb, and there, after making an offering, told of the grace she had received. “For some time after my liveration, “ she said, “I did not have the courage to wear a corset, but in 1617 I inquired about this by sending a special messenger to the saint, who was then preaching the Lenten sermons at Grenoble. He preplied that I could now wear it without fear, since it was only to give me support and comfort, but that, instead of any other initials, I should write on it the holy names of Jesus and Mary, whom I should always have in my heart.”

(A.S. II, p. 480)

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 20th(page 51)

      “Happy the man who knows to control zeal,” says Saint Ambrose, Saint Bernard adds, “The devil will easily delude you if you neglect knowledge. Therefore, let your zeal be inflamed with charity, adorned with knowledge and established in constancy.” True zeal is the child of charity, since it is its ardor. Therefore, like charity, it is patient and kind. It is without quarreling, without hatred, without envy; it rejoices in the truth. The ardor of true zeal is like the hunter’s: diligent, careful, active, industrious, eager in pursuit, but without passion, anger, bad tempter or vexation. Otherwise, hunting would not be such a popular sport. In like manner, the ardor of zeal must be stable, industrious, untiring and likeable. Completely different is false zeal: it is turbulent, troubled, insolent, arrogant, choleric, impetuous and unstable.

(T.L.G. Book 10, Ch. 16, pp. 189-190)

      On February 20th, 1602, Francis de Sales, who had not yet been consecrated a bishop, commenced the preaching of the Lenten station in Paris in the magnificent place of Louvre, to comply with the request of several princesses, especially the princess of Longueville. His efforts were particularly blessed by God with miraculous conversions, foremost among which was that of the family of Raconis. All the members of this family abjured their false beliefs.

(A.S. II, p. 513)

The human mind is so constituted that it hardens itself against severity, but kindness makes it pliable.

The truly partient person not only does not complain but does not even want to be pitied.


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