27 August 2012

More devotions from the sisters

This year the world marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council. The person who was inspired to call the Council, Pope John XXIII, became a much beloved "father" to millions throughout the world. When I read the JOURNAL OF A SOUL, published in 1964, a year after his death, I learned something I have never forgotten: his great love for Saint Francis de Sales, speaking of him in a number of entries as "my Saint Francis de Sales." The following is an entry from January 29, 1903, when he was a seminarian:
Today was a perfect feast; I spent it in the company of St. Francis de Sales, my gentlest of saints. What a magnificent figure of a man, priest and Bishop! I love to let my thoughts dwell on him, on his goodness and on his teaching. I have read his life so many times! His counsels are so acceptable to my heart. By the light of his example I feel more inclined towards humility, gentleness and calm. My life, so the Lord tells me, must be a perfect copy of that of St. Francis de Sales if I wish it to bear good fruits. Nothing extraordinary in me or in my behavior, except my way of doing ordinary things: 'all ordinary things but done in no ordinary way.' A great, a burning love for Jesus Christ and his Church: unalterable serenity of mind, wonderful gentleness with my fellow men, that is all.

O my loving saint, as I kneel before you at this moment, there is so much I could say to you! I love you tenderly and I will always remember you and look to you for help. O St. Francis, I can say no more; you can see into my heart, give me what I need to become like you.
 Sister Joanne Gonter, VHM

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