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.