JANUARY 29, 2024 – ST. FRANCIS OF SALES.
- St. Francis de Sales (1622). Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron or Patroness. Patron of Writers, and the Catholic press. (Traditional)
- St. Gildas the wise (570). Abbot or Abbess. (Historical)
FRANCIS was born of noble and pious parents, near Annecy, A.D. 1567, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand career which his father had marked out for him in the service of the State, and became a priest. When the Duke of Savoy had resolved to restore the Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work, and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary and one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation, and danger. Every door and every heart were closed against him, He was rejected with insult and threatened with death. But nothing could daunt or resist him, and ere long the Church burst forth into a second spring. It is stated that he converted 72,000 Calvinists. He was then compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded to the see A.D. 1602. At times the exceeding gentleness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his friends, and one of them said to him, “Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure of the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn.” “Ah,” said the saint, “I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove, that is, gentleness itself. And are you wiser than God?”
In union with St. Jane Frances of Chantal he founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation, which soon spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great see of Paris. He died at Avignon, A.D. 1622.
REFLECTION: “You will catch more flies,” St. Francis used to say, “with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. Were there any thing better or fairer on earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it us; and yet he has given us only two lessons to learn of him-meekness and humility of heart.”
WORD OF THE DAY
MEMORIZATION. The practice of deliberately committing to memory facts and verbal expressions considered useful or necessary for future recall. Since the earliest times the Church has encouraged memorization, e.g., the directives of the American hierarchy: "The special place of memory in the transmission of the faith of the Church throughout the ages, should be valued and exercised, especially in catechetical programs for the young. Opportunities for memorization should be adapted to the level and ability of the child and presented in a gradual fashion. Among these elements of Catholic faith, tradition and practice which, through an early, gradual, flexible, and never slavish process of memorization, could become lessons learned for a lifetime, contributing to an individual’s growth and development in an understanding of the Faith are the following: 1. prayers, such as the Sign of the Cross, the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Act of Contrition; 2. factual information contributing to an appreciation of the place of the Word of God in the Church and the life of the Christian through an awareness and appreciation of: a. the key themes of the history of salvation; b. the major personalities of the Old and New Testaments; c. certain biblical texts expressive of God’s love and care; 3. formulas providing factual information regarding worship, the Church year, and major practices in the devotional life of Christians: a. the parts of the Mass; b. the list of the sacraments; c. the liturgical seasons; d. the holy days of obligation; e. the major feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady; f. the various eucharistic devotions; g. the mysteries of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary; h. the Stations of the Cross; 4. formulas and practices dealing with the moral life of Christians: a. the Commandments; b. the Beatitudes; c. the gifts of the Holy Spirit; d. the theological and moral virtues; e. the precepts of the Church; f. the examination of conscience" (Amendments to the National Catechetical Directory, 1977).
It is assumed that what has been memorized will also be reflected on and, as far as possible, understood. But memorizing is indispensable for any sound pedagogy in the Catholic religion (General Catechetical Directory, 73).Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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