de Sales, 1567-1622. Doctor of Authors and the Catholic Press, Feast
This Doctor of the Church has a message for us
today that is perhaps more relevant than all the other doctors.
Although he lived many years ago, his contributions to the church
are as timely today as it was in St Francis’ time. In two specific
areas, namely obedience and temptations, he is a wise master. All of
us have experienced temptations and feelings of depression and
emotional ‘downs’. Therefore, nearly everyone can relate to this
sensitive human being and saint.
Obeying authority and our
own conscience challenges us. It challenged Jesus too. To submit to
the will of God isn’t always easy even when we know that it is God’s
will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked three times to be
delivered from the cross. And throughout his life, he knew that was
God’s will for him. Listen to what St Francis says about obedience.
Jesus mounted the cross and died on it through obedience. A single
tear could have redeemed human nature. Nevertheless, he did not
redeem us with just a single tear but with many, many labors and
pain, with all his precious blood outpoured. The pain that he felt
through his envisonment of seeing his mother suffer was definitely
more agonizing than any physical pain he bore.
experience depression or temptation, perhaps reading and imploring
Francis can help us. If we feel like giving up on life, alone, or
are ‘down’ frequently, we might petition him. He can certainly
associate and vicariously commiserate with us in both of these
common troubled areas. His temptations lasted many years and they
were constant. Scripture tells us that the life of humankind is a
temptation through The book of Job and many of the 72 other books in the Old Testament, to say nothing of the 27 books in the New Testament. The more we turn to God in prayer, reading, or acts of charity or goodwill towared our neigbor, or the more we allow God to
turn to us, the more the Creator turns to us with strength, love, mercy, and
profound peace. The quality of our love-turning is as important as
our quantity, of our love-turning, and perfect love will make both pleasing to God.
Francis is the last of the doctor group in
the category of the Counter Reformation Doctors listed in the
Introduction Section on the sidebar. The saint contributed extensively to the church’s
growth and development when heresy was rampant. He unstintingly gave
to all most generously through his spiritual guidance and counsels.
Because of his writings and the distribution of his
pamphlet-literature, explaining true Catholic doctrine, he is the
patron of journalists and the press. He is also the patron of the
deaf. This is an unusual, distinct honor. Apparently Francis
ministered to this group because of God’s will, had hearing
difficulties or both. There are thousands who are deaf or hard of
hearing and this saint can identify and associate with them. He can
feel compassionate for them and nourish them with his superb
counsels and spiritual advice. Our doctor had extraordinary
sensitivity toward nominal disabilities. This included physical and
Journalists will benefit enormously
today if they practice Francis’ advice and counsels. They should
study his style, approach and message to become more sensitive,
effective and credible. Francis was a masterful writer.
doctor’s two famous Christian classics are Introduction to a Devote
Life and Practice of the Love of God. These books have been read by
every generation because of his penetrating insight and guidance.
These two masterpieces are suffused with kindness and delicate
gentleness. Not without reason is Francis referred to as the
Gentleman Saint. One of his famous maxims is that you can catch more
flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrelful of
One would imagine that his exquisite care in the
leading and guiding of people came from his sweet and natural
disposition and personality. Far from it! Francis confessed that he
had to battle with his impatience for over twenty years. What
appeared to be natural was rather grace and supernatural strength
that he drew from prayer and reliance on God.
why Francis is a master of leading others, especially in the
practice of the love of God, is his understanding and experience of
temptations. As a young priest, before he was named a bishop,
Francis suffered from overwhelming temptations to despair. These
assaults lasted longer than he could ever imagine. He admits that it
was only by the power of God through his prayers to God's Mother,
Mary, both, at one of her shrines, and his continual prayers, that
Francis received the grace to endure and overcome these awful
feelings of hopelessness. Francis knew that Mary freed him. His
sermons and writings on the Mother of God reveal a profound depth of
perception, sensitivity and tender love for her and for all of the
children of the church. He writes that Our Lady possessed reason and
memory from her conception, that her soul was united at all times
with Our Lord. One of thousands of Mary's titles is Mother of the
Church. The Vatican II Council reconfirmed this in 1981. She is also
the Mother of Humankind. Francis' sermon books about Mary are
engrossing and astonishing.
No one knew better the depth of
despair and the way recovery was effective than Francis. No one can
guide others better than the person who is both knowledgeable and
can identify with the one being guided. Francis is a master working
especially with those who are most in need of spiritual directions
and guidance. He understood physical and spiritual conversions and
healing. He spent years trying to control his temper. His well-to-do
family upbringing and natural, French, disposition received in Savoy
didn't exactly prepare him for the virtues he needed. It was a
struggle. His continual prayers for many years finally enabled him
to gain mastery over his self and his impatience.
he received the call to be a priest, his father and family insisted
he keep up the family tradition. He was sent to study law and he
obeyed his parents. He received his doctorate and he struggled
patiently trying to explain to his parents what he felt God wanted
of him. First he patiently completed what his parents wanted of him.
Afterwards, he explained to his parents what God wanted of him.
Through his example of obedience he taught us how to exercise the
virtue of obedience to parents first but obedience to God always.
Francis was a consummate model in the science of love and obedience
to his parents and God.
I am reminded of the boy, Jesus,
when he was found in the Temple. He went back to Nazareth with his
parents and was obedient to them for another eighteen years. Later,
He entered his public life. He was around thirty years old. What is
amazing is that Jesus lived secluded and unknown until his thirtieth
birthday. People were only exposed to him through his active
ministry. His active ministry lasted only three short years. He
spent three years in the public view. He was private to the hilt.
His life was spent, for the most part, like the average person,
working. He labored at his trade and prayed privately, preparing for
his mission. What he accomplished and achieved in those three short
years is extraordinary both from a human and divine aspect.
Added is a section on the boy, 'Jesus, Lost in the Temple' (highlighted in RED) when he was twelve
years old and talking with the doctors. It can be found below:
THE DOCTORS AND ST. MARY
His thirty years of preparation in the carpenter role
with Joseph and Mary ought to send a powerful signal for those
preparing for a public career. Are you anxious to get into the
mainstream of helping others? Wait. No one had a more important
message to share with others. No one would do more for humankind. No
one was more gifted and talented than Jesus. He was wise and
intelligent enough at twelve to get the job done. However, he
exercised obedience and submission, patiently, to God’s plan for
another eighteen years. The lesson is Wait, Wait, Wait. Don't be in a hurry. Pray and ask God to move and direct you.
Francis learned the message of Jesus
well when it came to obedience, patience and submission to the holy
plan of God. Francis waited and waited and waited as Jesus. He was
the model. He trusted his Father entirely.
Is it any wonder
the church places such high esteem on the contemplative life in her
many ministries? This is a tremendously precious calling and we must
embrace the contemplative spirit wherever we live or work. That is
the only way to become Christlike and that is what Francis endorsed.
His writings are especially design for people “in the busy world” to
capture the contemplative spirit of Jesus. Francis would insist on
this matter and anything to the contrary he would consider
The spirit of love is both fervent and gentle. It is
an ardent obedience and not only a submission to authority. It is
tender and touching. It has all the warm qualities of femininity and
all the bold courage of masculinity. The essence of the spirit of
love was clearly stated by the prophet Micah when he wrote that God
wants us to love tenderly. Love is tenderness to the highest degree,
sensitive to a fault and bold to surrender without being afraid of
appearing weak or timid.
Francis had a deep-down feeling of
his own worth. He knew Jesus Christ would have been crucified for
him alone. He was bright and knew, contrary to popular belief, his
feeling of self-acceptance and deserving is not necessarily a legacy
from wise and loving parents, although he had them. History is full
of saints who rose from the gutters and some had parents who were literal monsters, and others that grew
up in loving families. Francis was not outer-directed. He recognized
his own uniqueness and then developed and struggled to maintain the
high standards that Christianity demanded.
He was eager to
promote what true devotion really is and how it is applicable to
anyone at any time, any place in the world. Francis knew what Jesus
and Mary had accomplished for him. He would spend his lifetime in
writing and distributing his pamphlets that would explain the
Catholic faith. From this we can gain and know what true and
authentic love and devotion to God really is. Writers and bishops
have much to learn from him. The press and journalists will be
amazed at his style, elegance and best-selling literature. Francis
was a fascinating artist.
Our saint was greatly involved with
seculars. However, he made time for religious especially the Sisters
of the Visitation and their founder, St JANE FRANCES de CHANTAL.
This particular wife, mother of six, widow and nun is another of the
church’s tremendous leaders having established over fifty convents.
Many hope one day that this heroic woman might be declared a Doctor of the Church with a subtitle of the Doctor of
Mothers and Visitational Evangelization because of her intense struggles especially in the area of her
faith for the church. I can not think of Jane without thinking of
Francis and vice-versa. Both expressed tenderness and gentleness
extraordinarily. Both hearts remain incorrupt and listed in Joan
Carrol Cruz's writings listed in the Doctoral Sources/Links on the homepage sidebar.
against women in history and today is repulsive and ignorant. It is
so scandalous and shocking that it reeks with horror. Consider that women
perform two-thirds of the world’s work but receive one-tenth of its
income. They own less than one-hundredth of its property. There is
so much to do for global solidarity for women. St Jane had a
remarkable devotion to St Joseph and her charity to others was
utterly unmatched. She inspired Francis to write his famous treatise
about the Love of God.
Many books about the Visitation Order and
its gift to the church are superb and inspiring. The outstanding
patron of charity, the illustrative, St Vincent de Paul, and his participation in that Order, can be seen in the link listed on the sidebar:
Introduction to Doctors, under the section Saints and Doctors - Highlighted in RED.
Sts Vincent and St Francis said of Jane:
“She was full of faith, yet, all her life had
been tormented by thoughts against it.” We can absolutely state
those who suffer from bizarre, abominable, depressing, evil or
hostile thoughts ought to pray to saints Francis and Jane Frances
who will lovingly intercede for them. This holy pair can identify
with anyone who is plagued with mental and emotional distressing
moods, impressions, temptations, depression and dejection.
Francis aimed to help all. He was a most intelligent, gifted and
wise doctor of the soul who fully grasped the authentic nature of
genuine sanctity. He wrote that many have lost perfection in the
desert that had preserved it in the world. This was a paraphrase
from one of his masterpieces: The Introduction to the Devout
Worry and anxiety can be dominant traits or weakness
for us. Most of us experience or are guilty of chronic worry or
anxiety. The current generation suffers from extraordinary worry or
anxiety. Why? It is our world, the pace of life, the timetables and
deadlines we have caused or imposed upon ourselves. We produce much
stress to meet our goals and objectives. In fact, a previous best seller,
entitled, Stress Without Distress, is an excellent book because it
helps us to understand our feelings, emotions and factors that cause
havoc with our mind and body.
We are anxious creatures to a
fault and many of us worry needlessly. Some of us thrive on
pressure. It drives us and motivates us. We believe that we have to
be active to achieve. However, we must remember that the life of
Jesus and Francis has a very important lesson for all. Sometimes we
must wait as they did for the opportune time.
us that there are no annoyances so troublesome as when we are
occupied with trifles. We worry over the littlest, and often,
insignificant issues because of our natural tendency. Francis would
advise us to overcome one's nature by pleading for God's higher,
supernatural gifts. All of the masters of the spiritual life assure
us that the bigger the problem, temptation, trial, cross or
hardship, the greater the graces and gifts that God bestows. If we
trip or fall spiritually and it is unintentional and not deliberate,
it really doesn’t matter. However, we need to get up again.
Discouragement is the dinosaur of the spiritual life because
we get ‘down’ when we fall so frequently. The great spiritual
masters as Francis tell us: "It is the bounce that counts". In the
spiritual life and those who are aiming to be like Jesus, perhaps
discouragement is the most deteriorating and destructive happening.
We give up our goals, our dreams and our vocation when we lose
heart. Since union with God can be compared to climbing a mountain,
we need to be prepared for a long, arduous journey that requires
courage and constancy. Only prayer, love, courage, friendship and
God can pick us up when we are down. God’s help and support is
always available but we must believe and carry out our duties and
responsibilities daily. Serving God isn’t always easy. However,
charity enables and empowers us to bear it gracefully.
themes of self-esteem and self-image are identifiable qualities that
Francis mastered but only after long years of struggle. These
precious values are talked about, promoted and encouraged by
outstanding motivational speakers and teachers, but especially the saints and doctors.
Many psychologists and
dynamic, motivational writers as Wayne Dyer and Denis Waitley are exciting
speakers and have powerful messages. Denis’ books on the subject of
winning are powerful, inspiring and life-fulfilling. The Nightingale
Conant Corp. in Niles, Illinois supply many of his tapes among many
famous and successful writers for our edification, learning and
education. Wayne’s books lift us to new heights and beyond.
Many of us can remember some of our favorite motivators or
spiritual authors who enlightened us. Norman Vince Peale wrote The
Power of Positive Thinking many years ago and remains a classic. It still motivates people
today. Billy Graham with his bible preaching or Bishop Fulton Sheen’s TV
series Life is Worth Living whose reruns are aired now on EWTN has turned many people to God. For some,
fiction, non fiction, sci-fi or scientific writers touch us
profoundly and help us with new meaning, motivation and dignity.
Many of us have favorite writers or speakers. Father John Corapi is imbued with God's Spirit and his messages are powerful and unforgettable. Many writers in the sales arena have
helped us along our life’s journey. Most of us have experienced
difficulty, ignorance and need constant uplifting.
of my favorite business writers is Og Mandino who overcame much
difficulty especially in the area of chemical addictions. Anyone
with chemical dependency, stress, mental depression or interior
conflict, from any source, needs help and others to guide them. Og’s
books are uplifting, challenging and uniquely
St Francis de Sales is a superlative guide to
help us find the writers and professionals to enlighten us. By
turning to him in prayer we will surely gain his guidance. He is our
special patron. In Catholic circles, as Fra Angelico is the patron
of artists, so is St Francis the patron of journalists. Hopefully,
by praying to him, we will discover not only ourselves but also the
God within us. Francis went to great pains living by example and in
explaining in his writings how sanctity is not for the chosen few
but for all the laity, clergy and religious. He is a marvelous
spiritual director for the press, journalists and those who care to
write, know and experience the truth, especially the truth of
sensitive love and sharing.
As we live the 21st century, it
is patently clear that human nature is tremendously addictive. We
are frequently attached to sex, nicotine and alcohol to mention but
three. But there are other subtle chains that imprison us such as
friendships and spiritual addictions. What could be classified as a
spiritual addiction? Read St Francis to explore and discover what a
real master of the spiritual has to say.
The Doctors of the
Church give us concrete answers. They are holy seers. In today’s
world we are omnivorous readers and writers. With the explosion of
the computer market, we may be reading more from our computers. Yet,
many of us have not explored all the Doctors of the Church. Perhaps we
need to read or reread their works to gain insight and wisdom from
their counsels as we live out our life and aim to better it from the
wisdom of their writings and works. Their writings give us clear guidelines and
advice as a tender mother who is always gentle, kind, sensitive and
loving toward her children. We need to learn, live and imitate the
holy and wise doctors.
If there is any one doctor that needs
to be read, it is the gentleman saint, St Francis. House of
Representatives and Senators frequently address their members as
gentleman or gentlewoman from the state of ‘so and so’. Knowledge of
Francis is especially apropos for statesmanship, government
officials and those who have a tendency to use choice words or have
to conduct major addressing, announcements or public speaking.
Listen to this subtle master, humble servant and kind bishop.
The press and the media have important roles in society
today. That is all the more reason for them to discover, explore and
read about the doctor who is the patron and model of both the
secular and religious press. Journalists, writers and the press need
inspiration to present ideas, concepts and truth in a manner that are
not only accurate and complete but are also decent, honorable and
just. There is so much camouflage, slander and lies today. We have
coined new words and expression such as ‘true lies’.
penetrates us because we leave ourselves open to, innuendo, false
interpretation and incorrect logic. We trap ourselves by our faulty
reasoning because we think unchristian or too critically. Our
intellect has been tainted and we think we have great reasoning
powers. We forget that each angel is a total, superior intelligence
and some failed to use God’s graces to aid their extraordinary
reasoning powers to cause ejection from paradise. Some will say that
this is only theory and speculation. These dubious types wallow in
their pride explaining their personal opinion.
been ejected from "Eden" but not irretrievably or irreparably as the
angels. Our intellect has been tainted since Adam's fall because of our
pride. We reason inaccurately and need spiritual light to seek and
see truth, innocence and clarity. We have besmirched ourselves with
our independence of mind and our snappy judgment to say nothing of
our paltry comprehension of facts.
What would our gentleman
doctor say about our quick judgments?
“Rash judgment beget
uneasiness, contempt of neighbor, pride, self-satisfaction, and many
other extremely bad effects. Slander, the true plague of society,
holds first place among them. I wish that I had a burning coal taken
from the holy altar to purify men’s lips so that their iniquities
might be removed and their sins washed away, as did the seraphim who
purified Isaiah’s mouth. The man who could free the world of slander
would free it of a large share of its sins and iniquity.”
considered slander a form of murder.
Our reactions are
sometimes fogged, dimmed and askew due to our human fragility,
weakness and lack of discernment. We often think we possess
integrity, honesty and goodwill but our rationale is biased,
prejudiced and self motivated. We are frequently 'blind as a bat'
through our passions, feelings, affections and the selfish, narrow
way we perceive.
Civility is most need today. Authority in
the family, church, government and society has been seriously
diminished and lessened. Many of us have lost respect for authority.
We question it constantly due to lies, falsehoods, untruths and
disregard for the truth.
The spirit of gentleness is always
needed especially in debate, hearings and trials. The Spirit of
Jesus is God's gentleness. He was the gentle Jew. He always revealed His spirit
of docility, kindness, tenderness and obedience to authority. This
was true even when the authority was corrupt or in error. Jesus
obeyed all types of authority.
Jesus and Francis can also
teach us a lot about the virtue of gentleness, tenderness and
kindness. They expressed a most sensitive area with an endearing and
almost feminine characteristic. Many men think of these virtues in a
different light and application and often adhere to more of a
‘macho’ quality rather than a ‘softer’ approach.
The idea of
a ‘gentle’ man sounds like a contradiction. When we say the word
gentleman the sound is more acceptable and we express it that way as
an expression of courtesy. We get different feelings how a word
looks on paper and how it is expressed and heard. However, the
reality is the same. ‘Gentle’ man sounds like an oxymoron. It sounds
too feminine and most men want to appear masculine. This brings up
the whole questions, to some, of the homosexuality issue that we hear and read
about in the newspaper and witness into today’s life styles and
behavior. The recent trend is "same-sex" marriage.
The press has reported that the number of voluntary
departures or exits from the Armed Forces based upon homosexuality
issues has increased. This is in spite of the new policy: "Don’t
ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue." This is another way of saying: keep
your mouth shut! Today, more people are proud of expressing their
sincere feelings about whom they think they are when it comes to
sexual preferences or identification. They feel that they want to be
honest. They say ‘I do not want to live a lie’. Francis warns us
regarding feelings that they often betray us. We should not rely or
depend only on our feelings. Depend on your intellect first. It is
true that feelings can sometimes be right. How do we know? We say
that God has given us our genes. However, God also gives us grace.
Genes are natural. Grace is supernatural. They sometimes work
together but often they do not. Pray that you make the right choice
using both intellect and feelings. Remember, however, that feelings
can betray us. Genes can give us a correct picture of the body but
only grace dwells in the soul.
Evil and the forces of evil
are deceptive, cunning, crafty and destructive. However, grace is
unselfish, sacrificial, sharing and trusting.
Gentleness is a
very attractive virtue. Most people love gentle people. It doesn’t
matter if they are male or female. Gentle people have a unique way
of attracting people. The attraction has nothing to do with the
person or their sex. It has to do with their virtue. Virtue has
extraordinary power beyond the senses and the sex of the individual.
Why? God is perfect Virtue.
Some of us have never felt
hostile to gays, homosexuals, lesbians, and transvestites. Some men
and women are attractive to the same sex. So what? The attraction in
itself is not bad or immoral. Let’s face it, some people of the same
sex are attracted to each other and that is life. However, we need
not do all the things that attract us because some of these are
fatal attractions. We need to check our feelings and control them
according to our consciences, our goals and our faith. The church
has always stated clearly her position on the difference between
homosexual and lesbian acts and their orientation
Francis had to ‘reign in’ or check his feelings
when it came to feelings of hopelessness. Feelings of despair,
disappointments, regrets and mood swings are always with us. Trials,
test and temptations of life challenge all of us. We can be sure
that Jesus was tempted by hardships, sex, human appetite and power
more than the gospels stated. Scripture mentions his temptations
only before his public ministry. However, it wouldn’t make any sense
if he had them before his public ministry, when alone in the desert,
and didn’t have them when he was face to face with real, live
situations and with people. The later situations were more alive,
active and immediate to his senses.
St Francis is a marvelous
person and excellent resource to read in order to guide us and
channel one’s orientation in temptations especially the sexual and
feeling areas. He was a supersensitive, caring person who put aside
his feelings despite the fact that these feelings plagued him all of
his life. He ministered to all equally, fairly and gently. We can
not act according to our feelings even though they are God-given.
God is going to judge each of us not only on what he has given us
but also on how we have shared our lives for others. It is not only
what pleases us that counts in life but what pleases God. That is
the real issue. We need to behave and ensure that our behavior is
not based on preferences, inclinations or feelings only but on what
is proper according to God’s will for us and the dictates of one’s
conscience. We need to guided by a virtuous conscience that has a
solid formation in the practice of faith, hope and
We are not our own. We have been bought at a great
price. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. We
need to believe in him according to our faith, traditions and obey
God’s laws and practices especially in the area of gentleness,
tenderness and kindness as St Francis would advise us. His counsels
recommend for us a sure guide for safety and virtue in any work,
profession or endeavor. Some of his wise counsels are
Introduction to the Devout Life taken from the CCEL link at the end of this section.
Nothing makes us so prosperous in this
world as to give alms.
It is to those who have the most need
of us that we ought to show our love more especially.
run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her
arms with a perfect confidence.
Salvation is shown to faith,
it is prepared for hope, but it is given only to charity. Faith
points out the way to the land of promise as a pillar of fire hope
feeds us with its manna of sweetness, but charity actually
introduces us into the Promised Land.
Oh what remorse we
shall feel at the end of our lives, when we look back upon the great
number of instructions and examples afforded by God and the Saints
for our perfection, and so carelessly received by us! If this end
were to come to you today, how would you be pleased with the life
you have led this year?
We must fear God out of love, not
love Him out of fear.
In the royal galley of divine Love,
there is no galley slave: all rowers are volunteers.
not drawn to God by iron chains, but by sweet attractions and holy
Perfection of life is the perfection of love.
For love is the life of the soul.
By giving yourself to God,
you not only receive Himself in exchange, but eternal life as
Man is the perfection of the Universe. The spirit is
the perfection of man. Love is the perfection of the spirit, and
charity that of love. Therefore, the love of God is the end, the
perfection of the Universe.
There are many who say to the
Lord, "I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve," but there
are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists
in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it
happens in conformity with Divine Providence, as well afflictions
as consolations, contempt and reproaches as honor and
One of the principle effects of holy abandonment in
God is evenness of spirits in the various accidents of this life,
which is certainly a point of great perfection, and very pleasing to
God. The way to maintain it is in imitation of the pilots, to look
continually at the Pole Star, that is, the Divine Will, in order to
be constantly in conformity with it. For it is this will which, with
infinite wisdom rightly distributes prosperity and adversity, health
and sickness, riches and poverty, honor and contempt, knowledge and
ignorance, and all that happens in this life. On the other hand, if
we regard creatures without this relation to God, we cannot prevent
our feelings and disposition from changing, according to the variety
of accidents which occur.
Some torment themselves in seeking
means to discover the art of loving God, and do not know - poor
creatures - that there is no art or means of loving Him but to love
those who love Him - that is, to begin to practice those thing which
are pleasing to Him.
Our business is to love what would have
done. He wills our vocation as it is. Let us love that and not
trifle away our time hankering after other people's
Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command
from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain
forever what we have made of it.
All of us can attain to
Christian virtue and holiness, no matter in what condition of life
we live and no matter what our life work may be.
An action of
small value performed with much love of God is far more excellent
than one of a higher virtue, done with less love of
Blessed are those whose hearts are ever open to God's
inspiration; they will never lack what they need to live good holy
lives, or to perform properly the duties of their state. For just as
God gives each animal through its nature the instincts needed for
its self-preservation, so - if we offer no obstacle to grace - he
gives each of us the inspirations needed for life, activity and
self-preservation on the spiritual level.
When we are at a loss what
to do, when human help fails us in our dilemmas, then God
inspires us. If only we are humbly obedient, he will not let us go
astray. Some plants point their flowers at the sun, turn them with
it as it moves. The sunflower, however, turns not only its flowers,
but its leaves as well. In the same way all God's chosen ones
turn their hearts toward God's will by keeping his commandments. But
those who are utterly filled with charity turn to God's will by more
than mere obedience to his commandments. They also give him their
hearts, follow him in all that he commands, counsels or inspires,
unreservedly, with no exceptions whatsoever.
Anxiety is a
temptation in itself and also the source from and by which other
temptations come. Sadness is that mental pain which is caused by the
involuntary evils which affect us. These may be external - such as
poverty, sickness, contempt of others - or they may be internal -
such as ignorance, dryness in prayer, aversion, and temptation
When the soul is conscious of some evil, it is
dissatisfied because of this, and sadness is produced. The soul
wishes to be free from this sadness, and tries to find the means for
If the soul seeks deliverance for the love of God, it
will seek with patience, gentleness, humility, and calmness, waiting
on God's providence rather than relying on its own initiative,
exertion, and diligence. If it seeks from self-love, it is eager and
excited and relying on self rather than God.
comes from an irregulated desire to be delivered from the evil we
experience. Therefore, above all else, calm and compose your mind.
Gently and quietly pursue your aim.
The highest degree of
meekness consists in seeing, serving, honoring, and treating
amiably, on occasion, those who are not to our taste, and who show
themselves unfriendly, ungrateful, and troublesome to
Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them
frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with
The virtue of patience is the one which most assures us
To be pleased at correction and reproofs shows
that one loves the virtues which are contrary to those faults for
which he is corrected and reproved. And, therefore, it is a great
sign of advancement in perfection.
Two mistakes I find common
among spiritual persons. One is that they ordinarily measure their
devotion by the consolations and satisfactions which they experience
in the way of God, so that if these happen to be wanting, they think
they have lost all devotion. No, this is no more than a sensible
devotion. True and substantial devotion does not consist in these
things, but in having a will resolute, active, ready and constant
not to offend God, and to perform all that belongs to His service.
The other mistake is that if it ever happens to them to do anything
with repugnance and weariness, they believe they have no merit in
it. On the other hand, there is then far greater merit; so that a
single ounce of good done thus by a sheer spiritual effort, amidst
darkness and dullness and without interest, is worth more than a
hundred pounds done with great facility and sweetness, since the
former requires a stronger and purer love. And how great so ever may
be the aridities and repugnance of the sensible part of our soul, we
ought never to lose courage, but pursue our way as travelers treat
the barking of dogs.
Our greatest fault is that we wish to
serve God in our way, not in His way- according to our will, not
according to His will. When He wishes us to be sick, we wish to be
well; when He desires us to serve Him by sufferings, we desire to
serve Him by works; when He wishes us to exercise charity, we wish
to exercise humility; when He seeks from us resignation, we wish for
devotion, a spirit of prayer or some other virtue. And this is not
because the things we desire may be more pleasing to Him, but
because they are more to our taste. This is certainly the greatest
obstacle we can raise to our own perfection, for it is beyond doubt
that if we were to wish to be Saints according to our own will, we
shall never be so at all. To be truly a Saint, it is necessary to
be one according to the will of God.
All the science of the
Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And
whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most
The greatest fault among those who have a good will
is that they wish to be something they cannot be, and do not wish to
be what they necessarily must be. They conceive desires to do great
things for which, perhaps, no opportunity may ever come to them, and
meantime neglect the small which the Lord puts into their hands.
There are a thousand little acts of virtue, such as bearing with the
importunities and imperfections of our neighbors, not resenting an
unpleasant word or a trifling injury, restraining an emotion of
anger, mortifying some little affection, some ill-regulated desire
to speak or listen, excusing indiscretion, or yielding to another in
trifles. These things are to be done by all; why not practice them.
The occasions for great gains come but rarely, but of little gains
many can be made each day; and by managing these little gains with
judgement, there are some who grow rich. Oh, how holy and rich in
merits we should make ourselves, if we but knew how to profit by the
opportunities which our vocation supplies to us! Yes, yes, let us
apply ourselves to follow well the path which is close before us,
and to do well on the first opportunity, without occupying ourselves
with thoughts of the last, and thus we shall make good
To be perfect in one's vocation is nothing else
than to perform the duties and offices to which one is obliged,
solely for the honor and love of God, referring to his glory.
Whoever works in this manner may be called perfect in his state,
a man according to the heart and will of God.
The below links relate to St Francis De Sales:
entire Introduction to the Devout life:
St. Francis would endorse all aspects about the Catholic Press:
A fascinating link of St Francis de Sales on the web site from the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio is listed below.
Saint Francis de Sales
learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running,
to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by
++St Francis de Sales++
A perfect gentleman with an incorruptible heart for all.
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.
The Catholic Church and Spiritual Directors and Direction