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 21st(page 52)

      The Holy Ghost gives us His advice through the words of the prince of the apostles, “Take great care to use your time well and make sure of your vocation through good works.” [cf. 2 Pt 1:10] This warning must make us live in great fear and humility in whatever state we find ourselves, but at the same time we must raise our heart to the Divine Goodness invoking His grace and His help and keeping our affection fixed on Him by means of frequent and fervent ejaculations.

(Sermons 58; O.X., pp 259-260)

      On February 21st, 1598, while for the third time Francis de Sales was preaching the Lenten sermons at Thonon to a crowd of poor people who dared to go secretly to listen to him, he was set upon by a troop of Protestants who wanted to put him in the public prison, according to the custom of the Swiss, “because,” they said, “he was mad and bold enough to have blessed ashes and put them on the foreheads of his followers.” Others wanted to stone him immediately but God looked after him and snatched him from their hands. This did not deter the saint from doing God’s work, which prospered more and more each day with many conversions, despite the opposition of his enemies. He even celebrated Mass each day, either before or after the sermon. And his cousin, his co-worker in the apostolate, Louis de Sales, celebrated Mass as well, and they served each other.1

(A.S. II, p. 537)

Whatever the world considers wonderful is nothing but an illusion, a fantasy or a lie.

1 One of Francis’s brothers was also named Louis; he is referred to throughout this book as Count Louis de Sales or simply as his brother Louis. One of the Latter’s sons, Charles August de Sales, became a priest and bishop and an eventual successor of Francis as bishop of Geneva.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 22nd (page 53)

      Love is the life of our heart. Just as weights give movement to the movable parts of a clock, so love gives to the soul whatever movement it has. All our affections follow our love. According to it, we desire, rejoice, hope, despair, fear, take heart, hate, feel sadness or aversion, grow angry and exult. We see how men who have given their hearts as prey to a base, ignoble love of women desire only what goes with such love. Hence, when divine love reigns in our hearts, like a king it brings into subjection all other loves possessed by the will. It is the saving water of which Our Lord has said,” . . . But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting. [John 4:14]

(T.L.G. Book 11, Ch. 20; O.V. p. 309)

      On February 22nd, 1603, Francis de Sales held the ceremony of ordination in the city of Annecy. All crowded into the church on these occasions to watch his angelic demeanor during the ceremonies. He once confided to his brother Louis that on these occasions he felt a special relationship with the guardian angels of those whom he was ordaining. Many of his ordinands wanted to make a general confession of their entire life to him, or at least a particular review of their conscience, all of which put an extra workload on him. The worldly-wise said that he should not continue this custom, as it was too tiring. “Oh,” replied the saint, “I did not invite them. They came of their own accord. So God wills that the shepherd get to know his sheep and they get to know him.”

(A.S. II, p. 562)

Do you feel the urge to practice some virtue? Pick out a solid one and not something that is showy.


Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales
Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 23rd (page 54)

      When, O Lord, will patience with our neighbor take possession of our hearts? This is the final and most excellent lesson of the teaching of the saints; happy that spirit who fully understands this! We are always anxious that others put up with our miseries, and that they tolerate us; yet the miseries and faults of our neighbor always seem so great and unsupportable!

(Letters 1243; O. XVII, p. 289)

      On February 23rd, 1605, while Francis de Sales was preaching at la Roche, he received a letter from the lord of Hayes, governor of Montangis, who, on Henry IV’s request, asked him to return to France because His Majesty had guaranteed him the benefices of his kingdom as well as cardinal’s hat. The lord of Hayes spoke to him as a friend, knight and courtier, pointing out to him the wretchedness of the place where he was now laboring. The saint showed these letters to his closest confidant, his brother Louis de Sales, and said to him, “The human thoughtfulness of our friends is to be admired, but,by the grace of God, I am in no way tempted, as I am happy to be where the Lord wants me and where His hand has placed me. It is true, la Roche is a small castle, but it is good enough for me, worthless as I am. If I were a good worker there would be enough for me to do, as I am rather useless. Every day I can face up to the enemies of the Church, being, as I am, on the frontier of their Babylon.” With these sentiments he graciously thanked the king and his friends for their goodwill and remained to cultivate his vineyard. He remarked humbly about the whole matter, “I was born thirty-eight years ago, and about thirty years ago I began my studies in this city. Does it no seem to be a sufficient honor for me to be seated here as a doctor, teaching about the kingdom of God!”

(A.S. II, p. 576)

If you have a chance to do some good work, say little about it but work hard at it.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 24th (page 55)

      All of us will die on a day we do not know at present, but how happy we will be if we die with our hearts! Indeed, we must always keep Him there, making our spiritual exercises in His company and offering Him our desires, resolutions and protests. It is a thousand times better to die with the Lord than to live without Him. If we live happily and courageously in His company, there is no reason to be terrified by death. I do not say we should have no fear, but that we should not be too disturbed by it. If the death of the Savior is propitious for us, our own death will be a happy one. For this reason we should often think of His holy death, and love His cross and His passion. 

(Letters 439; O. XIII. P. 382)

      On February 24th, 1605, Francis de Sales informed all the parish priests close to la Roche that when he was preaching the Lenten sermons he would discuss cases of conscience with them on every Monday and Thursday at a convenient hour. On those days there were so many priests in the city to be instructed by their holy bishop that it seemed that a synod was being held twice a week. He opened the conference by proposing the matter to be treated, after which everyone was free to present his difficulties, doubts and opinions. To make the conference still more useful, at the end of the Monday meeting he announced the subject for Thursday, and on Thursday that for the following Monday. To sum up, this holy man worked so hard to cultivate his vineyard that he could repeat with the Savior. “What could I have done for you that I have not done?”

(A.S. II, p. 618)
He who does not see his neighbor in relation to God runs the risk of not loving
him or her with purity and constancy.


Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 25th (page 56)

      It is difficult thing to have an exact idea of one’s goal, but it is likewise true that all of us must perfectly pinpoint the virtue we are aiming to acquire. However, if we cannot do this, we must not lose courage or get upset; we must get as close to the goal as possible, because even the saints did not succeed in doing any more than that. Only Our Lord and the virgin most holy fully succeeded.

(Spiritual Conferences IV; O. VI, pp. 59-60)

      On February 25th, 1605, Francis de Sales preached at la Roche. He used his free time to visit the sick in the town every Tuesday and Friday, to bring them some consolation and instruct them how best to utilize their sickness. It was on one of those charitable visits that the holy prelate met a deaf and dumb man named Martin. This poor creature had a good disposition, an angelic appearance and a certain veneration for the holy bishop; in spite of his disabilities, he did not miss any of the sermons. No one paid much attention to him, but the holy prelate noticed him. One day, taking him by the hand, he led him up to the front and pointed out his charity and zeal to the congregation. With infinite patience and with recourse to God, he instructed him by means of signs and taught him how to pray with his heart. Francis himself wanted to be the confessor for this poor deaf mute, and from then on he had him stay at his home. Before his own death, he asked that his brother and successor, Bishop John Francis de Sales, would continue to care for Martin.

(A.S. II, p. 646)

Never believe the praises of people. At the very best, what they say is flattery,
even if they do not recognize it as such.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 26th (page 57)

He who goes to Holy Communion according to the spirit of the Divine Spouse annihilates himself and says to the Lord, “Annihilate me, O Lord, and convert me into Yourself!” There is nothing in this world over which we have more control than food which we consume flor our conservation. Well, Jesus Christ attained this excess of love: He made Himself our food! But what dow e have to do to make full use of what He has done? Let Him possess us, let Him masticate us, let Him eat us and dispose us to do exactly what He wants.

(Letters 1529; O. XVIII, p. 400)

Let us admire the humility of Francis de Sales, who, while he was preaching the Lenten sermons of Rumilly in 1608, wrote to Madame Chantal, who was still in the world. He said that he preached there just as willingly as he would at Paris, and added, “I am overjoyed and greatly heartened to see these simple people coming in great numbers to listen to me with such devotion, humility and simplicity. That could almost be called a grace, because it keeps me free from the dangers of flattery and vanity.”

(A.S. II, p. 572)

What remorse of conscience we will suffer at the hour of death when we realize
All the means of grace God has made available to us! We could have become
Perfect, yet we missed out on so much! This will be our greatest source of worry
At that last moment!


Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 27th(page 58)

Birds have nests in trees and stags have thickets where they can find shelter when the need arises. Deer know where to take cover, either to hide or to enjoy some cool shade during the summer. So also our hearts should each day choose some place, either on Mount Calvary or within Our Lord’s wounds, or in some other place near Him, as a retreat where they can retire at various times to refresh and restore themselves during their exteriors occupations. There, as in a stronghold, they can defend themselves against temptation. Blessed will be the soul that can truly say to Our Lorad, “Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly.” [cf. Ps 45:2]

(INT. Part 2, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 92)

On February 27, 1618, while Francis de Sales was about to mount the pulpit to begin the second series of Lenten sermons for the parliament of Grenoble, a distinguished lawyer, a friend of his, warned him that certain people, jealous of his reputations, had spoken badly of him, saying that he was fool-hardy to preach two successive series of Lenten sermons in such a famous city as Grenoble. The Protestants, on the other hand, were delighted by his decision because they felt that by repeating his sermons he would make a fool of himself. With his usual gentleness, the holy man replied, “Both are right to some extent, and I can see that they are men because they reason like men. If I had decided to preach to show off, I would have something to fear. But by the grace of God I neither wish, seek nor desire anything but that Christ be glorified and all know that our God is an inexhaustible font!” Right from the very beginning, that Lent was blessed by God with the conversion of quite a number of people and with a marvelous increase of devotion among the faithful. Subsequently, the leading ladies of the city made the decision to set up at Grenoble the fourth convent of the institute founded by the saint.

(A.S. II, p. 710)

It is deceiving oneself to long for martyrdom and yet be unwilling
To suffer the slight crosses of daily life as a Christian should.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 28th (page 59)

      Deepen day by day the resolution to serve God devotedly, to attend to His will and to be entirely His. Reserve nothing for yourself or for the world. Embrace with sincerity the holy designs of God, whatever they are. Never deceive yourself that you have realized purity of heart unless you are entirely, freely and joyfully subject to God’s holy will in all things, even the most repugnant. Therefore, do not consider so much what you do but the One Who commands you to do them. He will further His own glory and our perfection, even in those things that seem to us lowly and imperfect.

(Letters 282; O. XIII, pp. 38-39)

      On February 28, 1607, as Francis de Sales was beginning the second Lenten sermons in his beloved city of Annecy, he went from the altar to the pulpit and told the people that every day he celebrated Mass before preaching, “so that”, he explained, “my words might be steeped in the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, offered in sacrifice for the sins of the people.” In this way he hoped to inculcate more fear of the devil and to communicate more fire and light to souls by enlightening them and helping them to follow the Divine Will. Whenever the saint di not preach during Lent at Annecy, he would attend the services and go to the altar when the preacher mounted the pulpit, “to supplicate”, he said, “the Sun of Justice to shine fully on the evangelical seed cast by the preacher over the souls of the listeners.”

(A.S. II, p. 761)

To be a servant of God consists in being charitable to our neighbor, in being
Determined to follow God’s will, in confiding in Him with simplicity and
Humility, and in putting up with our own imperfections.


Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

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

February 29th (page 60)

      Let us always bless the feet of the Savior and say to Him, “My heart, O Lord, protests my fidelity and my eyes seek Thy face.” Let us keep our eyes on Jesus Christ to contemplate Him, our mouth employed to praise Him, our whole heart intent on nothing less than to please Him without limits.

(Letters 1155; O. XVIII, p. 128)

      A great admirer of the works of our saint once said, “In the life of this great bishop there were no leap years; i.e. a day missed every four years. He always walked in the ways of God at the same pace, without slowing down. It is truly incredible, seeing that he lived for only fifty-six years, that he did so many marvelous things. It could be said that his whole life was a collection of admirable and inimitable actions.”

(A.S. II, p. 784)

Be, as far as possible, even-tempered, and so indicate your stable resolution
to love God unreservedly.
God wants to see us faithful in the small matters that He entrusts to us.
This is far superior to our burning desire to do big things, which seldom come our way.

If you are interested in downloading the whole month February, I have inserted the .PDF file to allow you to do that.

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