Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 4 March – The Memorial of St Casimir (1458-1484) Confessor, Prince – Saturday of Ember Week in Lent – Ecclesiasticus Sirach 31:8-11,Luke 12:35-40 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“The just shall flourish like the palm tree,
he shall grow up, like the cedar of Lebanon.”
“Stay dressed for action
and keep your lamps burning … ”
VIGILANT FAITH AND CHARITY
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
“IT WORKS THE SAME WAY with faith as with charity.
We know by the works which charity performs, whether faith is dead or dying. When it produces no good works, we conclude that it is dead and when they are few and sluggish, that, it is dying.
But just as there is a dead faith, there must also be a living one which is its opposite.
It is excellent. Joined and United with charity and vivified by it, it is strong, firm and Constant. It performs many great and good works which deserve the praise: “Oh, how great is your faith! Let all that you desire be done.” …
It is great because of the good works it performs and also because of the many virtues which accompany it and which it governs. … So charity united to faith is not only followed by all the virtues but, as a queen, she commands them and all obey and fight for her and, according to her will. From this, results the multitude of good works, of a living faith.
There is a vigilant faith which, again, depends on its union with charity.
But there is also one which is sluggish, dull and apathetic and, it is the opposite of vigilant faith. It is lax in applying itself to the consideration of the Mysteries of our Religion.
It is completely torpid and, for this reason, it does not penetrate revealed Truths at all. It sees them, to be sure and knows them, because its eyes are not altogether closed.
It is not asleep but it is drowsy or dozing. It resembles weary people who, although their eyes are open, see almost nothing and although they hear talking, they neither know nor understand what is said. Why? Because they are quite overcome with sleepiness. …
But vigilant faith not only performs good works, like living faith, it also penetrates and understands revealed Truths quickly and with great depth and subtlety of perception.
It is active and diligent, in seeking and embracing those things which can increase and strengthen it.
It watches and perceives from afar, all its enemies.
It is always on the alert to discover the good and to avoid evil.
It guards itself against anything which could ruin it.
Vigilant, it walks firmly and easily keeps from falling over precipices.
This vigilant faith is accompanied by the Four Cardinal Virtues: Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance.
It uses them as an Armoured Breastplate to put its enemies to flight, or to remain among them firm, invincible and unshaken.
So great is its strength that it fears nothing because, not only is it strong but also, it is aware of its strength and by Whom it is supported—Truth itself!” (Sermon for Thursday after the First Sunday of Lent, 17 February 1622).
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