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The Aim of Francis de Sales

Dear friends in Christ,

As we begin our Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotion and celebrate the Feast of
Saint Francis de Sales this Tuesday, we would do well to read Totum Amoris Est, the
Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis on the 400 th Anniversary of the death of Saint
Francis de Sales. I include here an excerpt from that letter, in the hope that it may
inspire us during these days of prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Pope
Francis writes:

Here we begin to see the popular dimension of devotion, which is present from the very
first words of the Introduction to the Devout Life: “Almost all those who have treated of
devotion have sought to instruct persons living apart from the world, or at least they
have taught a kind of devotion that leads to such isolation. I intend to offer my
teachings to those who live in cities, in families, at court and who, by virtue of their
state in life, are obliged to live in the midst of others”. Those who think that devotion is
restricted to some quiet and secluded setting are greatly mistaken. Devotion is meant
for everyone, in every situation, and each of us can practice it in accordance with our
own vocation. As Saint Paul VI wrote on the fourth centenary of the birth of Francis de
Sales, “Holiness is not the prerogative of any one group, but an urgent summons
addressed to every Christian: ‘Friend, come up higher’ ( Lk 14:10). All of us are called to
ascend the mountain of God, albeit not each by the same path. ‘Devotion must be
practiced differently by the gentleman, the craftsman, the chamberlain, the prince, the
widow, the young woman, the wife. Moreover, the practice of devotion must be adapted
to the abilities, affairs and duties of each’”.  To live in the midst of the secular city while
nurturing the interior life, to combine the desire for perfection with every state of life,
and to discover an interior peace that does not separate us from the world but teaches
us how to live in it and to appreciate it, but also to maintain a proper detachment from
it. That was the aim of Francis de Sales, and it remains a valuable lesson for men and
women in our own time.

May God be Blessed! Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us!
–Father Eric Banecker