Jan 22, 2017

Sunday with the Saints: St Francis de Sales and St Paul

Image result for st francis de sales          Image result for the conversion of saint paul feast day
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)                                              St Paul the Apostle (c 5-67)

We have two favorite "power house" saints with feast days this week...Saint Francis de Sales on 24 January and the Conversion of Saint Paul on 25 January.  I had a very difficult time trying to decide which saint to discuss, then through my studying, it occurred to me that the stories of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Paul have similar elements.  

Both were very intelligent.  Both were dedicated to God and to doing his will, however misguided at first.  
St Francis de Sales followed his father's plan for him to be a lawyer and go into politics, while St Paul was a Jewish zealot in the time Christ who persecuted Christians.  

Both men had an intense conversion experience.  St Francis was cast from his horse three times in one day, and each time his sword and scabbard formed a cross on the ground.  (Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us in "threes.")  In this case, St Francis heard the call and knew that he was not living his life according to God's plan.  He defied he earthly father and was ordained a priest.  For a time, he traveled from place to place in Calvinist territory, preaching the truths of the Catholic faith and writing and distributing tracts when no one would listen.  He is credited with converting 40,000 souls to the Catholic faith.  Sound familiar?  

St Paul also fell from his horse and had a dramatic conversion experience.  He changed his life and became a great apostle for Christ, converting people, starting churches, and writing letters.  

God will call us to himself...He may even use drastic measures to get our attention.  As we do His will and embrace the special cross He has for each of us, many great and wonderful things happen.  Christ shines in and through us.  We speak the truths of our rich and beautiful faith, and others are converted to Christ.

I'll leave you with several beautiful prayers written by Saint Francis de Sales.

The Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales

Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in his arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
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 imagination.

An Act of Abandonment
O my God, I thank you and I praise
you for accomplishing your holy
and all-lovable will without any regard for mine.
With my whole heart,
in spite of my heart,
do I receive this cross I feared so much!

It is the cross of Your choice,
the cross of Your love.
I venerate it;
nor for anything in the world
would I wish that it had not come,
since You willed it.

I keep it with gratitude and with joy,
as I do everything that comes from Your hand;
and I shall strive to carry it without letting it drag,
with all the respect
and all the affection which Your works deserve.

Direction of Intention
My God, I give you this day. 
I offer you, now, all of the good that I shall do 
and I promise to accept, for love of you, 
all of the difficulty that I shall meet. 
Help me to conduct myself during this day
in a manner pleasing to you. 

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