I thought it might be fun to highlight a Saint of the Week every week. I think it can be very helpful to hear the stories of the faithful who have come before us. We stand in a very long running stream and we can hopefully learn from where our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in the faith have already been. These posts will generally be brief and will typically be pulled from the great resources provided by Mission St. Clare.
This week’s saint is Francis de Sales.
Christians around the world remember the life of Francis de Sales this week on January 24th.
Francis was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1593 and would be appointed the Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva, Switzerland in 1602. Geneva might be familiar to you as the home base for John Calvin’s version of the Reformation. Since Francis de Sales was considered quite a persuasive speaker, he was placed as bishop in this Reformation stronghold to try and persuade the reformers to rejoin the Catholic church. What was unique about Francis’ methods was that they were not extreme. He chose instead to speak with love rather than anger or hate towards those who had left the Catholic church.
“He who preaches with love, preaches effectively.”
Francis de Sales
While some were persuaded to rejoin the Catholic church, of course others were not. However, what seemed consistent was everyone’s respect of Francis because of his attitude of love and service towards the community. He also wrote a lot about prayer and encouraged everyone to faithfully seek the presence of God in their lives. His book, The Introduction to the Devout Life, remains quite popular.
My prayer is that Francis de Sales may inspire us to consistently speak to others with love, even when we we may disagree with them. I pray that we may work to persuade others more with our actions of love than our persuasive words. Also, may our conversations then draw others towards a greater understanding of the presence of God in their lives.