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January 24, 2005

St. Francis de Sales

AS found in the letters of St. Gaspar:

St. Francis de Sales used to say that Paradise is a mountain (I will never tire of repeating it to all) which one scales more easily with broken legs than with whole ones. Happily through many tribulations let us hope to reach the goal of our desires. That same Saint, if I remember correctly, does not indeed want extraordinary spiritual attachments, since sanctification, the Apostle says, consists in doing the divine will: O Christians, the will of God is your sanctification. That spirit is acquired by reading S. Scripture which must be a priest's garden, as St. Charles Borromeo used to observe, and in the words of St. Augustine, it is the letter written by the Omnipotent to his creatures.( letter13, 1811)

To the nun, St. Jane de Chantal, afflicted for 41 years with terrible interior seizures of temptation, of fears of being in God's disfavor, and even of being abandoned by God, de Sales wrote as follows: "You must serve your Savior only with love for his will, with the privation of any consolation, and with a deluge of sadness and fears". He also wrote of her that her heart was like a deaf musician who, no matter how beautifully a thing was sung, that musician was unable to derive any delight. (letter 51, 1813)

St. Francis de Sales, in one of his letters, writes as follows: "Finally, it is always necessary to have courage, and if one were to experience a languid spirit, let us rush to the foot of the Cross, and let us immerse ourselves within those holy odors, those celestial perfumes, and without doubt we will be comforted". Elsewhere, in a letter to a lady, he says. "My daughter, nourish your soul on the spirit of cordial confidence in God; and, to the measure that you see yourself submerged in imperfections and miseries, raise up the more your courage to be hopeful ... preserve a spirit of holy joy. St. Francis de Sales concludes: "It is necessary for humility to be courageous and valiant in the trust that one must have in the goodness of God". (letter 52, 1813)

Let us listen to what St. Francis de Sales says in this regard: "Knowing that Jesus, true God, has loved us to the point of suffering death for us, even death on a cross, is this not the same as having our hearts put under a winepress and feeling its crushing force, squeezing out love with a violence that is as gentle and loving as it is forceful?" Then he adds: "So then why do we not cast ourselves onto Jesus Crucified, to die on the Cross with him who was willing to die out of love for us? We ought to say: I shall cling to him and I shall never abandon him; I will die with him and I shall burn in the flames of his love. One and the same flame will consume this divine Creator and his miserable creature. My Jesus gives all to me and I give my all to him. I shall live and lie on his breast; neither death nor life will ever separate me from him. Oh eternal love, my soul seeks you and chooses you for all eternity. Come, Holy Spirit, inflame our hearts with your love. To love or to die; to die to every other love so as to live in the love of Jesus. Oh Savior of our souls, allow us to chant forever: Hail to Jesus; love Jesus; hail to Jesus whom I love; I love Jesus who lives forever and ever." (letter 57, 1813)

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at January 24, 2005 6:21 AM

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St. Frances' writing is a beautiful example of Precious Blood spirituality. I have made copies to take to the Companions in Alameda this evening. Our agenda is already set; it would have been good for reflection and discussion, but since that isn't possible for tonight, at least my fellow Companions can use it for private meditation and prayer.

Posted by: Peggy Doherty at January 24, 2005 6:00 PM

I have recently been reading St. Francis de Sales book "An Introduction to the Devout Life." What a treasure. His writing is so deep and yet very practical. Thanks for sharing some of his words.

Posted by: Laura at January 25, 2005 5:36 AM

Wow, great stuff! Your Sunday Mass was outstanding,it was so very powerfull!! sorry I did'nt get to thank you. Keep up the great work.....

Posted by: Lizz at January 26, 2005 5:04 PM

i am happy that my patron satint is known and famous in other congregations and well accepted by your spirituality. may st.francis bless all your undertakings.

Fr.Reji osfs, Asia mission

Posted by: Fr.Reji at January 23, 2007 5:17 AM

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