Dear Friends in Christ,
This week, January 24th, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the church. As a priest, then the bishop, of Annecy he worked tirelessly to bring people back to the Catholic faith in the wake of the spread of Calvinism. Along the way, he managed to offer sound spiritual direction to many men and women (summarized in Introduction to the Devout Life, which has never gone out of print), found a religious congregation together with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (the Visitation Nuns), and even became a well-known figure in the French court. Known as the “gentleman saint,” Saint Francis de Sales had a lively faith and creative zeal which attracted so many. He is a model for us all. I pray that each of us takes the opportunity to delve more into his life and writings. One of his famous sayings that I find myself coming back to often was his advice given in a letter to the Visitation Community: “ask for nothing and refuse nothing.” Wouldn’t following this eminently practical and deeply Christ-like advice alleviate so many problems in our world, our families, and ourselves?
Live, Jesus, forever in our hearts! Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us!
–Father Eric Banecker