I remember it being thorough, simple, solid, and encouraging. Wisdom from St. Francis de Sales. I’ve read just enough to be dangerous now. - St. Augustine. From that moment, de Sales exhibited five extraordinary qualities, which have much to teach contemporary Christians: At the time he offered his life to God, Francis had already received his law degree, and his father was still trying to arrange his son’s affairs, securing his appointment as a senator and choosing a noble heiress to become his bride. 5. G iven the growing challenges now facing Christians, a valuable source to turn to, for wisdom and strength, is St. Francis de Sales. Comments are visible to subscribers only. Eventually the local communities relented and allowed de Sales to preach openly—and by one estimate, he brought back 70,000 former Catholics to the Church. In 1923, Pope Pius XI named St. Francis de Sales the patron saint of Catholic writers and the Catholic press because of the tracts and books he wrote. This great saint has captivated me ever since I learned of him a few short years ago. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Instead, he began copying out pamphlets containing Catholic teaching and apologetics and slipping them under the doors of the Calvinists. Father to five; married to one. Saints are anything but boring. Background in journalism, speech-writing, marketing, and PR. In his mind, the baker, teacher, and officer who followed the beatitudes and lived out the cardinal virtues could attain holiness, as much as the monk or cloistered nun. “Since the heart is the source of actions, as the heart is, so they are. He was the firstborn child of Francis and Frances De Boisy. Given the growing challenges now facing Christians, a valuable source to turn to, for wisdom and strength, is St. Francis de Sales. Among his maxims were: “Perseverance is the most desirable gift we can hope for in this life”; and “Enlarge your heart by a frequent protestation that you will never give in.” In his encyclical on Francis, Pius XI marveled at the saint’s poise and determination: As Pius XI indicated, the gentleness and humility of Francis in the face of provocation was legendary, and for this reason many called him “the Gentleman Saint.” He famously said, “The measure of love is to love without measure.” Though he warned against false compassion—so prevalent in our own day—and “did not strip piety of that severity which is in harmony with the Christian manner of life,” as Pius XI wrote, Francis repeatedly warned against rash judgments and losing one’s temper: “the business of finding fault is very easy, and that of doing better very difficult.” “We accuse our neighbor for little, and we excuse ourselves in much.” “He who could take away detraction from the world, would take away from it a great part of its sins and iniquities.” And finally: “Since the goodness of God is so great that one single moment suffices to obtain and receive his grace, what assurance can we have that a man who was a sinner yesterday is so today?”, It’s a fair bet that Francis de Sales would not have been a fan of flame wars on the Internet, or politicians and talk show hosts who verbally burn their opponents at the stake. Liked this post? Take a second to support us on Patreon! He continues to knock. Under his direction, sanctity seemed challenging but achievable. He calls the soul: come, arise my beloved, hurry! You are certainly right when you say that Saints are not boring! Inspiration. His father was forty-four, and his mother fifteen. I would wish that it could be promulgated from every diocese in the world. Saint Francis of Sales, also called Francis De Sales, French Saint François De Sales, (born Aug. 21, 1567, Thorens-Glières, Savoy—died Dec. 28, 1622, Lyon; canonized 1665; feast day January 24), Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva and doctor of the church, who was active in the struggle against Calvinism and cofounded the order of Visitation Nuns. He was born a nobleman and his father intended for him to become a lawyer so that he could take his place as senator in Savoy, France. Some levitated, bilocated, and saw visions of heaven and hell. If you want this website to work, you must enable javascript. Encouragement. While in Italy, he enjoyed getting in sword fights and going to parties. “See the divine lover at the gate. His father was François de Sales, Lord of Boisy, Sales, and Novel. Reciting the “Memorare” on his knees before a statue of Our Lady of Good Deliverance at the parish of Saint-Étienne-des-Grès in Paris, Francis was overcome with feelings of peace and gratitude. During one such meeting, an intense debate arose over predestination, and Francis became convinced of his damnation to hell. "Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering." He is often featured with the Heart of Jesus and a Crown of Thorns. This is the first known example of someone using tracts for religious evangelization (tracts weren’t invented by Baptists!). Several years later I read probably his most famous book, An Introduction to the Devout Life, which is a practical guide for lay people pursuing holiness, whatever their state or station. Become a fan of First Things on Facebook, subscribe to First Things via RSS, and follow First Things on Twitter. Welcome! His father had decided that Francis would become a lawyer and sent him to the finest schools with that goal in mind. Good is to be done, but with suavity. While St. Francis was full of zeal, he didn’t meet with much success. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jim Thorp and Archangel Stomp with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. The hard work of living a Christian life, he taught, comes from within, and not from living in an artificially created Christian town or community. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. He took the teachings of Christ—“Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”—and St Paul—“This is the will of God, your sanctification”—as universal commands. His father was outraged, but Francis’s resolve was not weakened, and God soon rewarded him when the Bishop of Geneva intervened and convinced Francis’s father to allow his son to pursue his religious calling. In other words, it wasn’t a very friendly place for Catholics, especially Catholic priests. He was baptized Francis Bonaventura, after two great Franciscan saints. I tracked down a copy on eBay, and over the past few weeks, finally finished the the introduction and began to read the letters themselves. What do you think of St. Francis de Sales? The more I learn about the approach of the “Gentle Doctor” to prayer and holiness, the more I see God’s providence in my choice of patron. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Chapter 1: Main Events in the Life of Francis de Sales Francis was born on 21 August 1567 in the family castle of Sales, in Thorens in the duchy of upper Savoy. And some were gentleman saints, exemplifying the virtues of manliness in a unique way. He says, for example, that perfection consists more in … Thank you for a beautiful and brief meditation on Saint Francis de Sales. His patience, humility, and above all, gentleness, were his trademarks. I was confirmed as a twenty-something husband and father of two, taking the name of St. Francis as the patron saint of journalist and writers. Now Reading: Change ). He lived a holy life in a very difficult time for the Church—the Reformation. Gentleman Saint: St. Francis de Sales. (This is one of the many reasons he became the patron saint of writers.) While almost always taken from within a larger context, these quotes provide convenient distillations of his rich insights on the love of God, self, others and the created order. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Evil is to be shunned, but peaceably. If there is one subject that consumed Francis daily, and a message he fervently spread, it was eternity. From the outset, let me say I am no expert, nor even a novice, in the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. The blow to his psyche was so great that he underwent a tremendous personal crisis that was to last two years, and only emerged from it after a life-altering experience. This was the era of the Reformation, and Geneva was the headquarters of the Calvinists. Where could we better witness to our fidelity than in the midst of things going wrong?”– St. Francis de Sales, “Humble mildness is the virtue of virtues which Our Lord has recommended to us, and therefore we ought to practice it everywhere and always. Satan crushed beneath Michael's sandal may not seem the most inviting image, but Archangel Stomp is not just fiddles, beer, and raucous dancing. His teachings on humility, confidence, perfection and love are similar to St. Therese of Lisieux, another Doctor of the Church. A blog for Catholic men that seeks to encourage virtue, the pursuit of holiness and the art of true masculinity. What can we learn from his life? He said, “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. I knew a bit about the man, and almost nothing about his teachings. Francis de Sales was born on 21 August 1567 in the Château de Sales into the noble Sales family of the Duchy of Savoy, in what is today Thorens-Glières, Haute-Savoie, France. Heart First: The Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, library at Demontreville while making a silent retreat, Motherland of Mercy, Part 1: St. Maximilian Kolbe, Motherland of Mercy, Part 1 | Archangel Stomp, Motherland of Mercy, Part II: St. Faustina Kowalska | Archangel Stomp, Motherland of Mercy, Part III: Pope St. John Paul II | Archangel Stomp, Journey to the Heart of Love | Archangel Stomp, Book Break: How to Be Holy | Archangel Stomp, Home Away From Home and the Gift of Disillusionment. … In short, this divine Savior forgets nothing to show that his mercies are above all his works, his mercy is greater than his judgement, that his redemption is copious, his love is infinite and, as the Apostle says, he is rich in mercy and so he desires that all should be saved and none perish.” — St. Francis de Sales, “Let us all belong to God…in the midst of so much busyness brought on by the diversity of worldly things. He was banned from preaching and escaped numerous assassination attempts. Aspiring evangelist. He was blunt about the rewards of this world, compared to those of Heaven: “Whoever thinks well on eternity troubles himself little about what happens in these three or four moments of mortal life.” “The shortest life is the best life if it leads to the eternal.” And, “What is not for eternity, can be nothing but vanity.”. ( Log Out /  The counsels of St. Francis de Sales are very wise, simple, practical and encouraging. Of course, how all this relates and leads to the Sacred Heart remains to be seen…, Featured image at the top of the post: Detail of Peinture Eveque 03184 saint François de Sales en extase (Painting Eveque 03184 Saint Francis de Sales in ecstasy), Louis François Félix Musnier, 1700s, photographed by G. Garitan, 7 August 2016, own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons.

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