Thought for the Day – 24 January – The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity)
St Alphonsus de Liguori (1696-1787) on St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
When one Doctor of the Church talks about another, you know it’s going to be good:
“Great was the faith of St Francis de Sales. Such was his delight when he thought of the beauty and excellence of Faith, that he was heard to exclaim, “Oh my God, the beauty of our holy Faith appears to be so delightful that I could die for love for it and it seems to me that I ought to enclose this precious gift which God has bestowed upon me, in a heart full of the sweetest perfumes of devotion.” Hence he was never satisfied with giving God thanks for having blessed him with the favour of being born a child of the True Church: “O bountiful God,” said he, “great indeed are the favours by which Thou hast bound me to Thee’ but how shall I ever sufficiently thank Thee for having enlightened me with the true Faith?” And he declared that, although he constantly had so much to do with heretics, he had never once doubted in the least of the truth of his Faith. They who love God never doubt in matters of Faith, it is only those who do not live according to the dictates of their Faith who doubt of its Truths.”
[I think this is very true. And I have read a great many Saints who commented on the converse of this: Liguori himself, Aquinas and Jerome, all stated that public heresy is almost always driven by some sin, some lust or greed or pride that separates one from Grace – at least it’s fullness – and leads to souls developing a loathing for the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church. Thus, they apostatise in order to rationalise or justify, in their minds, their private (or even public) sin].
“Great also was the Hope of St Francis. He was always firmly convinced that God continually watches over our welfare and hence he was always calm and intrepid in the midst of the greatest dangers. In the very dangers which threatened his designs for the glory of God, he never lost confidence. And this he always endeavoured to instill into others. On one occasion he is related to have said to a timid soul: “Do you desire to belong entirely to God? Why, then, do you fear on account of your weakness? Do you hope in God? And shall he who hopes in God be ever confounded? Be not afraid of your fears.” He who loves God much, confides much in Him. Love always cuts off fear.
Holy Saint, since thou art now in Heaven loving Jesus face to Face, obtain for me the Grace to love Him, as thou didst love Him in thy lifetime.”