Thought for the Day – 24 January – “To Philotea – You and Me”
The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church:
Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity) ‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’
Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Francis de Sales Wednesday, 2 March 2011
To Philotea, the ideal person to whom he dedicated his Introduction to a Devout Life (1607), Francis de Sales addressed an invitation that might well have seemed revolutionary at the time. It is the invitation to belong completely to God, while living to the full, her presence in the world and the tasks proper to her state. “My intention is to teach those who are living in towns, in the conjugal state, at court” (Preface to The Introduction to a Devout Life).
The Document with which Pope Leo xiii, more than two centuries later, was to proclaim him a Doctor of the Church, would insist on this expansion of the call to perfection, to holiness.
It says: “[true piety] shone its light everywhere and gained entrance to the thrones of kings, the tents of generals, the courts of judges, custom houses, workshops and even the huts of herdsmen” (cf. Brief, Dives in Misericordia, 16 November 1877).
Thus came into being the appeal to lay people and the care for the consecration of temporal things and for the sanctification of daily life on which the Second Vatican Council and the spirituality of our time were to insist.
The ideal of a reconciled humanity was expressed in the harmony between prayer and action in the world, between the search for perfection and the secular condition, with the help of God’s grace that permeates the human being and, without destroying him, purifies him, raising him to divine heights.
Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January
Day Nine – 24 January
The key to conversion? Keeping our focus on the Cross of Jesus Christ, for “the human heart is converted by looking upon (the Crucified) whom our sins have pierced” (CCC 1432 cf. Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10)
LET US PRAY:
Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
Help me to cling to Christ Crucified
help me to fully participate at every SACRIFICE of the Holy Mass
help me to understand, that this IS He
who showed us the way
gave us the light to follow it in Holy Mother Church
who is His bride and shows us the only truth.
May every circumstance of my life be an occasion
to change my way of thinking,
to renounce self-will and
to surrender myself to the wisdom and tenderness of Jesus Christ
who is acting to make me His saint.
Pray that I may love God’s will and providence for me.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
(mention your request)
3rd Day – 24 January – Loyalty to the Church and to the Pope
O Saint John Bosco,
you nurtured a filial love for the Church and the Pope
and you courageously spoke and wrote in their defense.
Pray for us that, inspired by your example,
we may be faithful sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church
and may likewise,
love and honour the Holy Father
as the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.
Through your intercession
may God grant me the following grace
……………………………….[mention your request].
so that together with others
I may assist in bringing all around me
especially the young to the love of the Church, amen.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory to the Father…
St John Bosco Pray for us!
Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity)
‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’
“Man is the perfection of the Universe. The spirit is the perfection of man. Love is the perfection of the spirit and charity that of love. Therefore, the love of God is the end, the perfection of the Universe.”
“We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.”
“In the royal galley of divine Love, there is no galley slave – all rowers are volunteers.”
“Nothing makes us so prosperous in this world, as to give alms.”
“Perfection of life, is the perfection of love. For love, is the life of the soul.”
“Let us run to Mary and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms, with a perfect confidence.”
“Consider all the past as nothing and say, like David, ‘Now I begin to love my God.'”
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Thursday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Gospel Mark 3:7–12 and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity) ‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’
“…a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him.”…Mark 3:8
REFLECTION – “Why did the multitude come? What did they need? Whether this multitude went to Jesus out of “need” or because “some were curious”, the true reason is seen in the fact that this crowd was drawn by the Father, it was the Father that drew the crowd to Jesus. We read in the Gospel that ‘Jesus was moved, because He saw these people as sheep without a shepherd’. Therefore, the Father, through the Holy Spirit, draws people to Jesus.
The impure spirits try to impede; they wage war on us. Someone might object – Father, I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass…. But I never have these temptations, thank God! “No! Pray, because you are on the wrong path! because a Christian life without temptations is not Christian – it is ideological, it is gnostic but it is not Christian. When the Father draws people to Jesus, there is another who draws in the opposite way and wages war within you! Thus Saint Paul speaks of Christian life as a struggle – a struggle every day to win.
Therefore, all Christians must make this examination of conscience and ask themselves: “Do I feel this struggle in my heart?” This conflict between comfort or service to others, between having a little fun or praying and adoring the Father, between one thing and the other? Do I feel the will to do good, or is there something that stops me, turns me into an ascetic? And also, do I believe that my life moves Jesus’ heart? If I don’t believe this, I must pray a lot to believe it, so that He may grant me this grace. And we ask the Lord to make us Christians who know how to discern what is happening in our hearts and to choose well the path, through which the Father draws us to Jesus.”..Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 19 January 2017
PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the master of spirituality, St Francis de Sales, help us and protect us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 24 January – The Memorial of St Francis de Sales CO, OM, OFM (Cap) (1567-1622) – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity) – ‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’
I Will Love You Lord By St Francis de Sales
“Whatever happens, Lord,
You who hold
all things in Your hand
and whose ways
are justice and truth,
whatever You have ordained for me…
You who are ever a just judge
and a merciful Father,
I will love You Lord….
I will love You here,
O my God
and I will always hope
in Your mercy
and will always repeat Your praise….
O Lord Jesus,
You will always be my hope
and my salvation
in the land of the living.
Saint of the Day – 24 January – St Francis de Sales CO, OM, OFM (Cap) (1567-1622) – Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity) – ‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’ and Patronages – against deafness, authors, writers, Catholic press, confessors, deaf people, journalists, teachers, Champdepraz, Aosta, Italy, 8 dioceses, 7 cities, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Salesians of Don Bosco. His motto ‘Non-excidet’ – (No failure).
Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s
Catechesis on St Francis de Sales
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
“God is God of the human heart” (The Treatise on the Love of God, I, XV). These apparently simple words give us an impression of the spirituality of a great teacher of whom I would like to speak to you toda – St Francis de Sales, a Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
Born in 1567, in a French border region, he was the son of the Lord of Boisy, an ancient and noble family of Savoy. His life straddled two centuries, the 16th and 17th and he summed up in himself the best of the teachings and cultural achievements of the century drawing to a close, reconciling the heritage of humanism striving for the Absolute that is proper to mystical currents. He received a very careful education, he undertook higher studies in Paris, where he dedicated himself to theology and at the University of Padua, where he studied jurisprudence, complying with his father’s wishes and graduating brilliantly with degrees in utroque iure, in canon law and in civil law.
In his harmonious youth, reflection on the thought of St Augustine and of St Thomas Aquinas led to a deep crisis. This prompted him to question his own eternal salvation and the predestination of God concerning himself, he suffered as a true spiritual drama the principal theological issues of his time. He prayed intensely but was so fiercely tormented by doubt, that for a few weeks he could barely eat or sleep. At the climax of his trial, he went to the Dominicans’ church in Paris, opened his heart and prayed in these words: “Whatever happens, Lord, You who hold all things in Your hand and whose ways are justice and truth, whatever You have ordained for me… You who are ever a just judge and a merciful Father, I will love You Lord…. I will love You here, O my God and I will always hope in Your mercy and will always repeat Your praise…. O Lord Jesus You will always be my hope and my salvation in the land of the living”(I Proc. Canon., Vol. I, art. 4).
The 20-year-old Francis found peace in the radical and liberating love of God – loving Him without asking anything in return and trusting in divine love, no longer asking what will God do with me – I simply love Him, independently of all that He gives me or does not give me. Thus I find peace and the question of predestination — which was being discussed at that time — was resolved, because he no longer sought what he might receive from God, he simply loved God and abandoned himself to His goodness. And this was to be the secret of his life which would shine out in his main work – the The Treatise on the Love of God.
Overcoming his father’s resistance, Francis followed the Lord’s call and was ordained a priest on 18 December 1593. In 1602, he became Bishop of Geneva, in a period in which the city was the stronghold of Calvinism so that his episcopal see was transferred, “in exile” to Annecy. As the Pastor of a poor and tormented diocese in a mountainous area whose harshness was as well known as its beauty, he wrote: “I found [God] sweet and gentle among our loftiest rugged mountains, where many simple souls love Him and worship Him in all truth and sincerity and mountain goats and chamois leap here and there between the fearful frozen peaks to proclaim His praise” (Letter to Mother de Chantal, October 1606, in Oeuvres, éd. Mackey, t. XIII, p. 223).
Nevertheless the influence of his life and his teaching on Europe in that period and in the following centuries is immense. He was an apostle, preacher, writer, man of action and of prayer dedicated to implanting the ideals of the Council of Trent, he was involved in controversial issues dialogue with the Protestants, experiencing increasingly, over and above the necessary theological confrontation, the effectiveness of personal relationship and of charity, he was charged with diplomatic missions in Europe and with social duties of mediation and reconciliation.
Yet above all St Francis de Sales was a director, from his encounter with a young woman, Madame de Charmoisy, he was to draw the inspiration to write one of the most widely read books of the modern age, The Introduction to a Devout Life. A new religious family was to come into being from his profound spiritual communion with an exceptional figure, St Jane Frances de Chantal -The Foundation of the Visitation, as the Saint wished, was characterised by total consecration to God lived in simplicity and humility, in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well – “I want my Daughters”, he wrote, not to have any other ideal than that of glorifying [Our Lord] with their humility” (Letter to Bishop de Marquemond, June 1615).
He died in 1622, at the age of 55, after a life marked by the hardness of the times and by his apostolic effort.”