Monthly Archives: January 2021

A Note: St Francis de Sales

I found myself tagged in a note today, from someone I greatly admire. Someone who lent me a merciful ear to listen to me and in kindness offered words to guide me on my parlous journey through discernment. This is the note. Thank you Father John P. Mack. From the note, dated:  January 24, 2011

St Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor, patron of writers and journalists

From The Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales; bishop

                When God the Creator made all things, he commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; he has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station, and his calling.

                I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

                Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; of for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbor. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganized and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfills all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

                The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

                Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its color, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

                It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

                Therefore, in what situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.

–From the Office of Readings, January 24

                Father,

                You gave Francis de Sales the spirit of compassion

                to befriend all people on the way to the salvation.

                By his example, lead us to show your gentle love

                in the service of our fellow men and women.

                Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

                who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

                one God, forever and ever. AMEN.

St Francis de Sales, early modern Roman Catholic bishop and doctor

St Francis de Sales is patron of writers and journalists.

+Live Jesus+

fjm

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Practice The Faith, Not Your Faith

How often do you hear Catholics, or anyone for that matter, use the phrase, “I am living my faith”. Or, this is “my” faith?

What is “my” faith and is it truly aligned to “THE” faith in which I profess?

We hear our Lord say, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” at His calming of the storm at sea. Why do you supposes that is? Now, I suppose its due to their lack of faith. Such is the case with all of us, who live “our” faith, without even looking deeper into what THE faith is. We are drawn away with the changing tides of the world, through living “our” lack of faith, making it up as we go, and lose sight of THE faith that our Lord has given to us.

When we chose to live “our” faith, we are often tempted to, and often do, cast aside Truth for something other than the Truth, because it “sounds” good, rather than is good. We end up falling for anything that soothes our “itching ears“.

During this time of Christian Unity, may we adhere to THE faith and let go of the “presumptions” of what THE faith is. I strongly advise anyone to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what living THE faith is truly, and pray that Catholics come to the realization that living it, and not living what we think is it, truly brings the peace of our Lord. Live it!

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

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Utter Chaos And Total Peace

Do not let our Lord’s gift of peace remain unopened. Do not be afraid.

There is no better time than now, to put away the failed political ideas and the political ideology’s behind them and to put on the armor of Christ. Nothing and no one but our Lord can save us. Turn back to Him and may you find the eternal peace He alone can give. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

His peace within ensures His peace abounds.

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True Epiphany

This morning, in contemplation of my Carmelite Lectio Divina, the closing prayer is a prayer I must share, which truly reduced me to a pool of joyful tears.

Lord, my Father, I have really seen your star, I have opened my eyes to your presence of love and salvation and I have received the light of life. I have contemplated the night changed into light, pain into joy and solitude into communion; yes, all this happened before you, in your Word. You have led me through the desert; you have led me to your house and opened the door for me to enter. There I saw you, your Son Jesus, Savior of my life; there I prayed and adored, I cried and found your smile, I kept silence and learnt to speak. In your house, merciful Father, I have found life once more!

And now I am going back, I have resumed my journey, but the way is not the one I took before and my life is not what it was before. Your Word has left me with a new heart, capable of opening itself to love, to listen, to welcome and become home to so many brothers and sisters whom you have placed in my way. I was not aware, Lord, but you have made me into a child again, you have given birth to me with Jesus. Thank you,
Father, my Father!

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