I first became acquainted with Francis nearly 35 years ago. I have been in contact with him and his faith on a daily basis for at least a quarter of a century. The odd part is that Francis died about 332 years before I was born, and while he spoke French, Italian and Latin, he was not conversant in English.
My friend Francis is St. Francis de Sales, a French bishop and doctor of the Catholic Church, who speaks to me through his writings, by the way he lived his life and in his spirituality. I’ll have to admit that some of his writings are way above my head. Even Oblates of St. Francis de Sales have cautioned me not to try to read his entire Treatise on the Love of God straight through. There’s not much chance of that. I would need an interpreter even for the English version and tutor to explain what the interpreter said.
My go-to book is St. Francis’ An Introduction to the Devout Life. In it, he gives practical spiritual advice in terms than anybody can understand. I’m proof of that.
You could fill a year’s worth of this newspaper with his insights and still have much more to print. So, I will just stick to a few.
We are all called to holiness. We are all called to be saints, even if we do not believe in saints. That does not mean we are perfect or all-holy. It just means we try to get a little closer to God each day. We are called to lead balanced spiritual lives. We can go to extremes even when it comes to virtues.
The only thing we cannot do too much is to love God. The more we love Him, the more we love others and the more we become more like saints — like my friend Francis de Sales.
When we grow in God’s love, we grow in holiness.