St. Francis’ Bones and Teaching

The-Basilique-de-la-Visitation-Annecy

Today we mark the 390th anniversary of the burial of St. Francis de Sales in the Visitation chapel in Annecy, France.

Because the French Revolutionaries rampaged all over the country, desecrating the tombs of the saints, St. Francis’ remains had to be hidden. Today would be a good day, then, for us to do an act of penance for those poor, misguided maniacs who, out of twisted hatred for the Christian faith, disturbed the bodies of many saints who slept peacefully, awaiting the Final Day. May God be merciful to all the twisted maniacs who hate the Church.

The Fathers of the First Vatican Council petitioned Pope Pius IX to declare St. Francis a Doctor of the Church, and the Pope gladly complied.

intro-dev-lifeSt. Francis’ Introduction to the Devout Life offers the best advice available to anyone who wants to establish a good spiritual life, in my humble opinion. Here’s a quote:

Especially I commend earnest mental prayer to you, more particularly such as bears upon the Life and Passion of our Lord. If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be molded on His.

He is the Light of the world; therefore in Him, by Him, and for Him we shall be enlightened and illuminated; He is the Tree of Life, beneath the shadow of which we must find rest; He is the Living Fountain of Jacob’s well, wherein we may wash away every stain.

Children learn to speak by hearing their mother talk, and stammering forth their childish sounds in imitation; and so if we cleave to the Savior in meditation, listening to His words, watching His actions and intentions, we shall learn in time, through His Grace, to speak, act and will like Himself.

Believe me, there is no way to God save through this door. Just as the glass of a mirror would give no reflection save for the metal behind it, so neither could we here below contemplate the Godhead, were it not united to the Sacred Humanity of our Savior, Whose Life and Death are the best, sweetest and most profitable subjects that we can possibly select for meditation. It is not without meaning that the Savior calls Himself the Bread come down from Heaven; just as we eat bread with all manner of other food, so we need to meditate and feed upon our Dear Lord in every prayer and action.

Unity, Sap, Fruit

What unites the cosmos?

In all times and circumstances, in all cultures and nations, man seeks a principle of unity for the great, variegated world. The Tao. The World Soul. Jihad for Allah. Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Enlightened self-interest or survival of the fittest. The Force. Facebook. Etc.

But we read in John 15:

Christ cultivates a vine. He works everywhere for the production of fruit.

We believe in the sap of this vine; we do not see it. The sap flows from the wounded side of Christ, from His Heart. His love made the world in the first place, and His love re-makes it. He makes it capable of fruition.

Divine love flows out, to sustain every branch. It runs like an invisible river from heaven to earth. It flows through Christ’s sacraments, and through every means He has given us to receive what He has to give. The Lord works for the growth of fruit. He knows how to do it. The sap of His love flows to fill every branch.

So the sap is the love of Almighty God. But this is not the whole picture. The fruit is also the love of Almighty God.

Love flows as invisible sap through the difficulty and distress of this mortal age of our life. For now, truth, for the most part, lies hidden. Love works quietly and unobtrusively.

But in the life to come, this same love will bud forth as beautiful fruit. What lies hidden now will shine out clearly. Everything we believe in now, we will see.

It’s the same unchanging, omnipotent divine love—the true unifying force. If we say we can see it, or claim to understand it now, then what we see or think we understand—that really isn’t it. The sap is something we believe in. It’s God Himself, making us love like He loves.

In the end, this invisible majestic force will bear fruit. Fruit more beautiful and sweeter than anything we can imagine.