Thursday, January 24, 2013


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.


By Saint Francis De Sales


Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, 
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

HEB 7:25—8:6

Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this:
we have such a high priest,
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices;
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest,
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17

R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”

R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.

R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”

R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

MK 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.


January 24

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder’s place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35 he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman.... 
It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world. ”

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. 
Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the fountain of wisdom.


Where true love is dwelling, God is dwelling there:
Love’s own loving Presence love does ever share.
Love of Christ has made us out of many one;
In our midst is dwelling God’s eternal Son.
Give him joyful welcome, love him and revere:
Cherish one another with a love sincere.

Psalm 43 (44)
In time of defeat

It was you who saved us, Lord:
we will praise your name without ceasing.

Our own ears have heard, O God,
and our fathers have proclaimed it to us,
what you did in their days, the days of old:
how with your own hand you swept aside the nations
and put us in their place,
struck them down to make room for us.
It was not by their own swords that our fathers took over the land,
it was not their own strength that gave them victory;
but your hand and your strength,
the light of your face,
for you were pleased in them.
You are my God and my king,
who take care for the safety of Jacob.
Through you we cast down your enemies;
in your name we crushed those who rose against us.
I will not put my hopes in my bow,
my sword will not bring me to safety;
for it was you who saved us from our afflictions,
you who set confusion among those who hated us.
We will glory in the Lord all the day,
and proclaim your name for all ages.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

It was you who saved us, Lord:
we will praise your name without ceasing.

Psalm 43 (44)

Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

But now, God, you have spurned us and confounded us,
so that we must go into battle without you.
You have put us to flight in the sight of our enemies,
and those who hate us plunder us at will.
You have handed us over like sheep sold for food,
you have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for no money,
not even profiting by the exchange.
You have made us the laughing-stock of our neighbours,
mocked and derided by those who surround us.
The nations have made us a by-word,
the peoples toss their heads in scorn.
All the day I am ashamed,
I blush with shame
as they reproach me and revile me,
my enemies and my persecutors.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

Psalm 43 (44)

Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

All this happened to us,
but not because we had forgotten you.
We were not disloyal to your covenant;
our hearts did not turn away;
our steps did not wander from your path;
and yet you brought us low,
with horrors all about us:
you overwhelmed us in the shadows of death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
if we had spread out our hands before an alien god —
would God not have known?
He knows what is hidden in our hearts.
It is for your sake that we face death all the day,
that we are reckoned as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord, why do you sleep?
Rise up, do not always reject us.
Why do you turn away your face?
How can you forget our poverty and our tribulation?
Our souls are crushed into the dust,
our bodies dragged down to the earth.
Rise up, Lord, and help us.
In your mercy, redeem us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

Lord, to whom shall we go?
– You have the words of eternal life.

Deuteronomy 9:7-21,25-29

The sin of the people and Moses' intercession

These are the words that Moses spoke beyond Jordan to the whole of Israel:

Remember; never forget how you provoked the Lord your God in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt you have been rebels against the Lord. At Horeb you provoked the Lord, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. I had gone up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord was making with you. I stayed forty days and forty nights on the mountain, eating no bread, drinking no water. The Lord gave me the two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God, and all the words on them that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the Assembly. At the end of the forty days and forty nights, after he had given me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant, the Lord said to me, “Leave this place, go down quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have broken faith. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves an idol of cast metal.” Then the Lord said to me, “I have seen this people, and what a headstrong people they are! Let me destroy them, 
and wipe out their name from under heaven, and make out of you a nation mightier and greater than they.”

So I went down the mountain again and it was blazing with fire, and in my hands were the two tablets of the covenant. And I looked and there you were, you had been sinning against the Lord your God. You had made yourself a calf of cast metal; you had been quick to leave the way the Lord marked out for you. I seized the two tablets and with my two hands threw them down and broke them before your eyes. Then I fell prostrate before the Lord; as before, I passed forty days and forty nights eating no bread and drinking no water, for all the sin you had committed in doing what was displeasing to the Lord, thus arousing his anger. For I was afraid of this anger, of the fury which so roused the Lord against you that he was ready to destroy you. And once more the Lord heard my prayer. The Lord was enraged with Aaron too and was ready to destroy him, and I pleaded for Aaron also. That work of sin, the calf you had made, I took and burned and broke to pieces, 
and grinding it to fine dust I threw its dust into the stream that comes down from the mountain.

So I fell prostrate before the Lord and lay there these forty days and forty nights, for the Lord had said he would destroy you. And I pleaded with the Lord. My Lord, I said, do not destroy your people, your heritage whom in your greatness you have redeemed, whom you have brought out of Egypt with your mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; take no notice of this people’s stubbornness, their wickedness, and their sin, so that it may not be said in the land from which you brought us, “the Lord was not able to bring them to the land he promised them. It was because he hated them that he brought them out, to die in the wilderness.” 
But they are your people and your heritage whom you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.


Moses pleaded with the Lord his God.
Lord, he said, why vent your anger against this people of yours?
Let the storm of your anger pass;
remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
to whom you swore to give a land flowing with milk and honey.
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

The Lord said to Moses,
‘You have won my favour. You alone do I know above all others.’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

From The Introduction to the Devout Life 
by Saint Francis de Sales, bishop

Devotion must be practised in different ways

When God the Creator made all things, he commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; he has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, 
his station and his calling.

I say that devotion must be practised in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbour. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, 
anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, 
it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its colour, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince becomes more faithful, 
and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, 
there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.


Be friends with one another, and kind,
forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.
Try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble of heart.
Try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Let us pray.

Grant, Lord, that in the service of our fellow-men
we may always reflect your own gentleness and love,
and so imitate Saint Francis de Sales,
whom you made all things to all men for the saving of souls.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.