St Francis de Sales

Hebrews 9:15,24-28; Psalm 97:1-6 (LXX); Mark 3:22-30


O sing to the Lord a new song, 
  for he has done marvelous things; 
His right hand and his holy arm 
  have gotten him victory.


He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
  to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory
  of our God.                   (Ps 97.1, 3)

.  .  .



The reading from Hebrews and the passage from Mark’s gospel point differently to the same proof of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to God’s people: Jesus, the Christ. The evidence that God continues to remember his steadfast love and faithfulness to us is in the lives of saints like Francis de Sales. The biography Universalis offers is brief, but makes the point perfectly: 


St Francis de Sales was born near Annécy, in Savoy, studied the law, and was ordained to the priesthood despite the opposition of his father. His first mission was to re-evangelize the people of his home district (the Chablais), who had gone over to Calvinism. Always in danger of his life from hostile Calvinists, he preached with such effectiveness that after four years most of the people had returned to the Church. He was then appointed bishop of Geneva, and spent the rest of his life reforming and reorganising the diocese, and in caring for the souls of his people by preaching and spiritual guidance.

  St Francis taught that we can all attain a devout and spiritual life, whatever our position in society: holiness is not reserved for monks and hermits alone. His wrote that “religious devotion does not destroy: it perfects,” and his spiritual counsel is dedicated to making people more holy by making them more themselves. In his preaching against Calvinism he was driven by love rather than a desire to win: so much so, that it was a Calvinist minister who said “if we honoured anyone as a saint, I know of no-one since the days of the Apostles more worthy of it than this man.”
  St Francis is the patron saint of writers and journalists, who would do well to imitate his love and his moderation: as he said, “whoever wants to preach effectively must preach with love.”










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