Lent 2022 A Saint a Day for Lent Day 38

Day 38 8th April Francis de Sales

Francis was a 16th century Bishop, author, and spiritual guide. He was born the eldest of six sons into a noble family and enjoyed a very privileged education. In his late teens he underwent a personal crisis which caused him to be physically ill and filled with despair. When his crises was at its peak he prayed before a statue of Our Lady and had a spiritual experience that was to change his life. He became committed to his Christian faith and dedicated to prayer. He went on to be ordained and eventually to serve as a Bishop. His father, who had planned for him a military career, was extremely vexed with the turn of events. He finally relented, but Francis had to sign over his title and right of succession to his younger brother.
Francis de Sales became well known for his gentleness, kindness and patience. He was also a renowned preacher, and was said to hold his listeners spellbound. His motto was, “He who preaches with love, preaches effectively”. Francis was, more than anything, a man of prayer and was well known for the gentle guidance he gave to others on the spiritual journey. He understood both the strengths and weaknesses of humanity; and he understood how important it was to develop the gift of gentleness. He encouraged those who went to him for counsel to be gentle with themselves, and to be gentle with others. A famous quote of his is: “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so gentle as real strength”.
His teaching on gentleness is something that our world today could do well to hear and remember. Francis was well aware that many who went to speak with him were often very harsh on themselves. They would mentally beat themselves up for not being different, for not being better; for not being what they thought they should be. The message of this great saint to us is simple: Be gentle. Be gentle on yourselves. Be gentle with others.
We do not live in a gentle enough world. We live in a world of cut and thrust; we live in a world that demands we show something for our lives; a world that tells us we should push and push ourselves to achieve as much as we possibly can. Time is precious, we are told, don’t waste a minute; aim high, don’t settle for second best; be single minded, and push yourself to the very limits; you can achieve anything you want to achieve.
Francis de Sales knew the consequences of such attitudes and his message is simple: Be gentle. Be gentle to yourselves and others.

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Quotes by Francis de Sales

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.

While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things.

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset.
What is anything in life compared to peace of soul?

Be who you are and be that well.

Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.

God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps;
and like a good father who holds his child by the hand,
He will accommodate His steps to yours
and will be content to go no faster than you.
Why do you worry?

Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way.
Laugh in its face and know that you are in the hands of God.

It is wonderful how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is,
and how much it wins hearts.