During Advent, I was in a Catholic shop when a small book caught my eye; “Letters to a Wife and Mother”. Without even flicking through it, I bought it, brought it home and started reading…
The book contained the correspondence between a lady (whose name escapes me at the moment), and Fr. Francis. Reading the letters, it felt like St Francis was writing to me;
“Have patience with all things, but first with yourself.” St Francis de Sales, Letters to a Wife and Mother
The letters are as readable today as they were in the late 1500s and early 1600s when he wrote them. St. Francis was know well known for his spiritual direction and wrote over 10,000 letters during his ministry as priest and bishop.
So, when it came to my annual tradition of choosing a patron saint for the year, I felt St. Francis had already adopted me. Since being adopted by St. Francis, I’ve discovered he’s a doctor of the Church and has written many books on the spiritual life. So many, in fact, that he is the patron saint of writers.
I quickly resolved to give up my magazine habit, and instead will spend my magazine budget on books about or by St. Francis (I’m covered for the first four months!). I look forward to a year of exploring Salesian spirituality, with the Salesian saint himself.
While I am no expert, I have discovered some of his sage wisdom during my first few weeks under his wing:
- In some ways, St Francis de Sales’ teachings are a pre-cursor to the Second Vatican Council’s universal call to holiness;
“It is an error… to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman” St Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
- We need to recognise the goodness of God’s will, and learn to submit to it (remembering the goodness of it makes it a bit easier, right?!). Contemplate Jesus on the cross and pray “into thy hands I commend my spirit” for total self-renunciation.
“Delight opens up the heart, just as sorrow closes it.” St Francis de Sales, Finding God’s Will for You
Through taking delight in God, we become conformed to Him and our will is transformed to God’s will.
Happy and blessed feast of St. Francis de Sales!