11 March 2013

The Daring of St. Francis de Sales

Fr. Francois Corrignan was recently appointed by the Vatican as the General Assistant to our worldwide Visitation Order. One book he's written is entitled, THE SPIRITUALITY OF FRANCIS DE SALES: A WAY OF LIFE, published in 1992. Here's an interesting except from it:

"Francis de Sales writes: 'My purpose is to instruct those who live in cities, within families, and at court, and whose situation obliges them to live an ordinary life as far as externals are concerned. But since they are under the assumption that it is altogether impossible for them to do undertake the devout life, these people will often not even consider doing it...'

What gives Francis the daring to extend this invitation to everyone without exception?

His reason is simple but profound: holiness is not something one achieves on one's own. It isn't a matter of sculpting a statue of one's self to be placed in some niche or store window for the admiration of passersby.

Holiness is never the result of human effort. It is not something that one can attain by dint of some training or by using some human means alone. It is not, for example, realized thanks to some exotic gymnastics, or thanks to some program and rhythm of life, or to some asceticism of body and spirit.

Such things are not of course altogether useless, nor are they lacking from one's spiritual journey. Francis de Sales will speak of them. But holiness is the result of something other than human effort, however noble. Holiness is a divine-human adventure: It was God who entered human history and it is He who leads people into His own proper life."

Sr. Mary Roberta Viano, VHM

No comments: