Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 23 February – THE SECOND CONDITION is never to fast through vanity but always through humility.

Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 23 February – Ash Thursday

Blessed is the man who feareth the Lord,
he shall delight exceedingly in His Commandments.

Psalm 111:1

But you, when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not be seen fasting by men …

Matthew 6:17-18.

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor Caritas

THE SECOND CONDITION is never to fast through vanity but always through humility. If our fast is not performed with humility, it will not be pleasing to God. All our ancient Fathers have declared it so but particularly, St Thomas, St Anbrose and the great St Augustine. St Paul, in the epistle which he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor 3) … declares the conditions necessary for disposing ourselves to fast well during Lent. He says this to us: “Lent is approaching. Prepare yourselves to fast with charity, for if your fast is performed without it, it will be vain and useless, since fasting, like all other good works, is not pleasing to God unless it is done in charity and through charity. When you disciopline yourself, when you say long prayers, if you have not charity, all that is nothing. Even though you should work miracles, if you have not charity, they will not profit you at all. Indeed, even if you should suffer martyrdom, without charity, your martyrdom is worth nothing and would not be meritorious in the eys of the Divine Master. For all works, small or great, however good they may be in themselves, are of no value and profit us nothing, if they are not done in charity and through charity,

I say the same now – if your fast is without humility it is worth nothing and cannot be pleasing to the Lord! … Now, according to the Apostle, all that is done without charity is not pleasing to God, so I say, in the same way with this great Saint, that if you fast without humility, your fast is of no value. For if you have not humility you have not charity and if you are without charity, you are also without humility.
It is almost impossible to have charity without being humble and to be humble withou having charity. These two virtues have such an affinity with one another that the one can never be without the other!

But what is this fast through humility?
It is never to fast through vanity.
Now how can one fast through vanity?
… To fast through vanity is to fast through self-will, since this self-will is not without vanity or, at least, not without a temptation to vanity.
And what does it mean to fast through self-will.
It is to fast as one wishes and not as others wish – to fast in the manner which pleases us and not as we are ordered or counselled.

Let each one of us examine our consciences and we will find that all that comes from ourselves, from our own judgement, choice and election, is esteemed and loved far better, than that which comes from another!” – (Excerpt from the Sermon given
for Ash Wednesday on 9 February 1622



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2 thoughts on “Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 23 February – THE SECOND CONDITION is never to fast through vanity but always through humility.

  1. I’m being challenged with this 2nd condition, and perhaps a bit confused. Am I to come up with my own things I wish to do or fast because I willed it? Am I to seek counsel on others what I must do?

    Please shed your insight on this.

    Thank you Ana.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm – it is a bit confusing, dear St Francis is challenging us a little here.
    We are NOT to decide what we should do but fast as Holy Mother Church has fasted for centuries and obey her.
    If we wish to do more (and are not counselled by a Superior i.e. as within an Order, as I believe St Francis was speaking to many of those here) we should seek advice of our Priest.
    But in Condition 1 – St Francis has told us to Fast with our entire body and whole heart and soul. He said – fast with your eyes, your hands, your ears etc etc
    So for myself, with my love of shopping – for Lent I will NOT go to places of temptation and avoid Malls etc. If I have a passion for watching TV – soapies or similar rubbish – I would stop those altogether.
    And so on dear Stacy – does it make sense now?


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