As Bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) labored untiringly to convert Protestants and to teach and defend our holy Faith. He helped St. Jane Frances de Chantal found the Visitation Nuns. St. Francis de Sales is the patron of the Catholic Press, educators, writers, journalists, and deaf persons.
Along with three main reflections by St. Francis de Sales (in italics), we present several relevant Bible verses, as well as more quotes by him and other saints as well.
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
Our Lord told his followers, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.
“And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world” (St. John Paul II).
“Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases” (St. Rose of Lima).
Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
On the subject of peace, St. Francis de Sales also says:
“Strive to remain in that peace and tranquillity that our Lord has given you. ‘The peace of God,’ says St. Paul, ‘which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:7).
“Do you not see that he says the peace of God ‘passes all understanding’? That is to teach you that you should never trouble yourself to have any sentiment other than that of the peace of God. Now, the peace of God is the peace that proves the resolutions we have taken for God and the path that God has ordained for us.
“Walk firmly in the way in which the providence of God has placed you, without looking either to the right or to the left. That is the way of perfection for you.
“This satisfaction of spirit — even if it be without savor — is worth more than a thousand delightful consolations. If God intends you to face some difficulties, you must receive them from his hand — the hand you have taken hold of — and you must not let go of him until he has brought you to the point of your perfection.
“You will see that God’s providence will accomplish all things according to your intentions, provided they be entirely in conformity with His. What is needed of you is a courage that is a little more vigorous and resolute.”
“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” (St. Gerard Majella).
Confidence in God
It is good to mistrust ourselves, but how would that advantage us were we not to throw all our confidence on God and to wait on His mercy?
If you feel no such confidence, cease not on that account from making these acts and from saying to Our Lord: “Yet, O Lord, though I have no feeling of confidence in You, nevertheless, I know that You are my God, that I am all Yours, and that I have no hope but in Your goodness, so I abandon myself entirely into Your Hands.”
It is always in our power to make these acts; although we have difficulty in performing them, still there is no impossibility. Thus we testify faithfulness to Our Lord.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them” (Saint Francis de Sales).
“Consider all the past as nothing, and say, like David: Now I begin to love my God” (Saint Francis de Sales).
“We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear” (Saint Francis de Sales).