Joel P. Bembo
“What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.” Saint Francis de Sales is the wise person who not only wrote these words but lived them in the midst of the chaos of his own time. I was immediately caught from the first time I heard stories about him; what else might he have to say to me? I felt an inner force that this saint can point my life in a new and better direction.
I first met St. Francis de Sales in his book, Introduction to the Devout Life. In this book St. Francis clearly stated that all Christians struggle to discern God’s call on their life, but God does call all to live a Christ-centered life. He did attempt to help Christians discern what it means to be a child of God in a secular world. According to him, we can glorify God in our daily basis, and be a living testimony to other people with the abounding grace and love of the Creator.
All of us are surrounded with temptations. We are prone to illusions that lead us to sin. With this situation what we need is spiritual food that can prevent us from falling into our own illusions. Illusions that are traps designed by the devil to make us the instrument of spiritual fallacies and if that happened we are getting away to the safe road of compassion and humility.
St. Francis and his writings reach out to an experience directly to the heart of his readers and to all believers. Like when he said, the measure of love is to love without measure. Definitely, this is a good model everyone should learn. We all have our own biases. It is a challenge, then, to overcome our own selfishness. He, a man of prayer and good deeds, encourages us to follow the footsteps of the Savior. That is the way of love and that love is selfless love.
I once asked these questions: how can I master my anger? How will I stand in times of troubles? The immediate answer of St. Francis would be, when you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time. Rather than reacting forcefully in the moment, we can effect more lasting change if we respond with patience and kindness, never allowing the challenges we face to disturb our inner peace. St Francis also added that we should never be in a hurry; we must do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. We should not lose our inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if our whole world seems upset.
There is a piece of the story about him struggling with anger. In his youth days he was hotheaded, but in adulthood, he was known for his incredible patience and calm spirit—a direct result of prayer. When he recognized that his short temper was holding him back and drawing his attention away from God, he prayed for inner peace and made efforts to hold back his anger. As a result, he learned the value of maintaining inner peace in all things.
Francis de Sales has been, for me, a friend who has withstood the test of time. His faith in the providence of God and his strong and tender love for others call out to me to discover how peaceful I can be when my heart is safe and strong with the Lord.Francis de Sales has been, for me, a friend who has withstood the test of time. His faith in the providence of God and his strong and tender love for others call out to me to discover how peaceful I can be when my heart is safe and strong with the Lord.
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
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