Saturday, January 24, 2015

Instructor of Those Who Live in Town

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Francis de Sales. If there were a list of 'cloistered heart patrons' (and from my point of view, there is), this saint and Doctor of the Church would be (is) at the top.

Although he lived in the 1600s, St. Francis continues to teach much about the 'cloister' in which I'm privileged to find myself.  Francis lived and wrote in an age when intense devotion to Christ was considered appropriate for those in cloisters, but not so much for persons in the world. This gentle bishop taught otherwise, and he has left a rich legacy for those of us who want to live totally for God, whatever our state in life. Letters he wrote to his spiritual directees help direct my own life 400 years later.  

St. Francis de Sales is patron of Catholic writers, patron of the deaf, and founder of the Visitation Order. I continue to ask that he pray for us as well.

I think of him as a very dear friend.

'Almost all those who have hitherto written about devotion have been concerned with instructing persons wholly withdrawn from the world…. My purpose is to instruct those who live in town, within families, or at court, and by their state of life are obliged to live an ordinary life as to outward appearances.'  (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life).  

'It is an error, or rather a heresy, to wish to banish the devout life from the regiment of soldiers, the mechanic’s shop, the court of princes, or the home of married people.' (Introduction to the Devout Life).

'A strong, resolute soul can live in the world without being infected by any of its moods, find sweet springs of piety amid its salty waves, and fly through the flames of earthly lusts without burning the wings of its holy desires for a devout life.  True, this is a difficult task, and therefore I wish that many souls would strive to accomplish it with greater ardor than has hitherto been shown.'  (Introduction to the Devout Life). 

'Always remember… to retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others.  This mental solitude cannot be violated by the many people who surround you since they are not standing around your heart but only around your body.  Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.' (Introduction to the Devout Life).        


  1. The last quote remains one of my very favourites! xx

    1. Mine too, Trish. It might well BE my very favorite.

  2. I read this years ago; this makes me want to read it again. I also like that last quote.


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