Francis de Sales

SAINTS: Francis de Sales — From Lawyer To Spiritual Guide, by Greg Friedman

March 22, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20; Matthew 5:17-19 When we think of Moses, we often think of the Ten Commandments, the laws that God gave to Israel.  Today’s First Reading offers an address by Moses to the people, in which he encourages them to observe the Law and thus witness to the nations of the greatness of their God. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is portrayed as the “new Moses,” as he teaches the Torah, the Law of Moses, in the Sermon on the Mount but expands it in light of the kingdom.  Jesus offers ways in which the Law is to be enfleshed in love and mercy, even beyond what Moses taught. Saint Francis de Sales was marked by his family for a legal career, following [...]

PRAYER: The Necessity Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

July 6, 2015

From Introduction to the Devout Life One Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love – nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections.  It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul’s imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion. Two But especially I commend earnest mental prayer to you, more particularly such as bears upon the Life and Passion of our Lord.  If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be molded on His.  He [...]

SPIRITUAL FORMATION: What True Devotion Is by Francis de Sales

May 15, 2015

From Introduction to the Devout Life You aim at a devout life, dear child, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God’s Divine Majesty.  But seeing that the small errors people are wont to commit in the beginning of any undertaking are apt to wax greater as they advance, and to become irreparable at last, it is most important that you should thoroughly understand wherein lies the grace of true devotion; and that because while there undoubtedly is such a true devotion, there are also many spurious and idle semblances thereof; and unless you know which is real, you may mistake, and waste your energy in pursuing an empty, profitless shadow.  Arelius was wont to paint all his pictures with the [...]

PRAYER: Ten Meditations, by Francis de Sales

July 28, 2014

From Introduction to the Devout Life (A modern rewriting, making these meditations easier to read and understand, can be found at the website for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.) The whole Earth is laid waste with desolation, because there is no one that thinks in his heart. (Jeremiah 12:2) The First Meditation On our creation Preparation 1.  Place yourself in the presence of God.  Beseech him to inspire [...]

SERMON: The Heart Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

March 24, 2013

I still have to point out the distinction that exists in prayer, whether mental or vocal prayer.  In prayer we go to God in two ways, both of which have been recommended to – namely, sometimes we pray directly to God, and at other times indirectly, as when we say the anthems of our lady, the Salve Regina and others.  When we pray directly we exercise the filial confidence which is founded upon faith, hope, and charity; when we pray indirectly and through the intercession of another, we practice the holy humility which springs from self-knowledge.  When we go directly to God we proclaim his goodness and mercy, in which we place all our confidence; but when we pray indirectly, that is, when we implore the assistance of our lady, of the [...]

SERMON: The Kinds Of Prayer, by Francis de Sales

March 17, 2013

We have shown that the end of prayer is our union with God, and that all who are on the way to salvation can and ought to pray.  But there remained to us a difficulty in our last exhortation, namely, whether sinners can be heard.  For do you not see that the man born blind who is mentioned in the Gospel (John 9:31), and whose sight our Lord restored, said to those who questioned him that God does not hear sinners?  But let him say it, for he was still speaking as a blind man. We must realize that there are three kinds of sinners: impenitent sinners, penitent sinners, and justified sinners.  Now, it is an assured fact that impenitent sinners are not heard at all, seeing that they wish to wallow in their sins; moreover, their prayers are [...]

SERMON: The Spirit Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

March 10, 2013

We have not to speak of the efficient cause of prayer.  It is necessary for us to know, then, who can and who ought to pray.  The question would soon be decided were we to say that all can pray and that all ought to do so.  But in order the better to satisfy the mind, we shall treat this subject at greater length. In the first place we must realize that God cannot pray at all, since prayer is a petition which is made by grace and requires that we know that we are in need of something, for we are not accustomed to ask for that which we already possess.  Well, God can ask for nothing through grace, but rather, he does everything by divine authority.  Moreover, he cannot have need of anything, since he possesses everything.  It is [...]

SERMON: The Goal Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

March 3, 2013

Saint Bernard – whose ministry is dear to those who have to speak on prayer – in writing to a bishop, advised him that all that was necessary for him was to speak well (meaning to instruct, to discourse); then to do well in giving good example; and finally, to devote himself to prayer.  And we, addressing this to all Christians, shall dwell upon the third point, which is prayer. First, let us remark in passing that, although we condemn certain heretics of our time who hold that prayer is useless, we nevertheless do not hold with other heretics that it alone suffices for our justification.  We say simply that it is so useful and necessary that without it we could not come to any good, seeing that by means of prayer we are shown how to [...]

SPIRITUAL FORMATION: Devotion is Possible in Every Walk of Live by Francis de Sales

February 4, 2013

From An Introduction to the Devout Life At creation God commanded plants to bear fruit, each according to its kind. (Genesis 1:11-12)  In the same way, he commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his church (John 15:5), to produce fruits of devotion, each according to ability and state in life. It must be obvious that devotion ought to be practiced differently by the gentleman, the artist, the employee, the prince, the widow, the celibate, the spouse. That is not all.  Each person ought to adapt the practice of devotion to  his or her strength, duties of state and particular obligations. Do you think, Philothea, that it would be appropriate for a bishop to want to live in solitude like a Carthusian, or for married people to [...]

PRAYER: Difficulty in Prayer, a letter from Francis de Sales

January 24, 2013

Letter to Mademoiselle de Soulfour Mlle de Soulfour, whose father was an acquaintance of Francis de Sales through the “Cercle Acarie,” was a novice in a religious community in Paris at the time Francis wrote her the following letter.  Young, fervent, with high ideals of perfection, she had difficulty in accepting human frailty in herself and in the nuns with whom she lived.  She had confided her disillusionment and uncertainties to Francis and told him of her wish to enter the more strict Carmelite Order. While respecting her youthful idealism and her desire for the absolute, Francis directs the troubled young woman to a more realistic appreciation of her own limitations and the imperfections of others, and to greater trust in [...]

SERMON: The Great Humility Of Saint John The Baptist by Francis de Sales

December 16, 2012

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent, December 13, 1620, concerning pride and ambition as the most powerful temptations, the excellent humility of Saint John the Baptist in renouncing the most dangerous and subtle temptation to pride and ambition, his immediate and succinct denial that he was the messiah, the desire of angels and of all men (even pagans) for the Incarnation, our foolish and untruthful acceptance of honors, Saint John’s humility in skillfully denying even the honored status that rightly belonged to him — without, however, being untruthful; how we should not excuse ourselves of the very faults we accuse ourselves of but confess them straightforwardly, humility’s excellence, affinity with charity, and necessity in [...]

ANGELS: The Angel Of Release, with a tale of my own

January 13, 2012

Acts 12:1 – 16: At that time King Herod caused terrible suffering for some members of the church.  He ordered soldiers to cut off the head of James, the brother of John.  When Herod saw that this pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested during the Festival of Thin Bread.  He put Peter in jail and ordered four squads of soldiers to guard him.  Herod planned to put him on trial in public after the festival.  While Peter was being kept in jail, the church never stopped praying to God for him. The night before Peter was to be put on trial, he was asleep and bound by two chains. A soldier was guarding him on each side, and two other soldiers were guarding the entrance to the jail. Suddenly an angel from the Lord appeared, [...]

PRAYER: An Act of Abandonment by Francis de Sales

January 11, 2012

O my God, I thank you, and I praise you for accomplishing your holy and all-lovable will without any regard for mine.  With my whole heart, in spite of my heart, do I receive this cross I feared so much! It is the cross of your choice, the cross of your love.  I venerate it; not for anything in the world would I wish that it had not come, since you willed it. I keep it with gratitude and with joy, as I do everything that comes from your hand; and I shall strive to carry it without letting it drag, with all the respect and all the affection which your works deserve. [...]