St. Francis of Sales
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
FRANCIS was born of noble and pious parents, near Annecy, 1566, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand career which his father had marked out for him in the service of the state, and became a priest. When the Duke of Savoy had resolved to restore the Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work, and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary and one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation, and danger. Every door and every heart was closed against him. He was rejected with insult and threatened with death. But nothing could daunt or resist him, and ere long the Church burst forth into a second spring. It is stated that he converted 72,000 Calvinists. He was then compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded to the see in 1602. At times the exceeding gentleness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his friends, and one of them said to him, "Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure of the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn." "Ah," said the Saint, "I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove—that is, gentleness itself. And are you wiser than God?" In union with St. Jane Frances of Chantal he founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation, which soon spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great see of Paris. He died at Avignon, 1622.
Reflection. —"You will catch more flies," St. Francis used to say, "with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. Were there anything better or fairer on earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it us; and yet He has given us only two lessons to learn of Him—meekness and humility of heart." you!
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Introit • Ps. 96, 7, 8
Adore God, all you His angels: Sion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Juda rejoiced. Ps. 96, 1. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice: let many islands be glad. Glory be …
O God,Who knowest that we are beset by perils so great as to be unendurable because of our human frailty, grant us health of mind and body, so that by Thine assistance we may conquer the things with which we are afflicted because of our sins. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Rom. 13, 8-10
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans.
[Lessons of obedience to superiors and mutual charity.]
BRETHREN, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. For he that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. For Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law.
Gradual • Ps. 101, 16, 17
The gentiles shall fear Thy name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory. For the Lord hath built up Sion, and He shall be seen in His majesty.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 96, 1. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice: let many islands be glad. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 8, 23-27
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to Matthew.
[Christ cleanses the leper, heals the centurion's servant, Peter's mother-in-law, and many others: he stills the storm at sea, drives the devils out of two men possessed, and suffers them to go into the swine.]
At that time, when Jesus entered into the boat, his disciples followed him: And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish.
And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?
Offertory • Ps. 117, 16, 17
The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.
GRANT us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that this sacrifice offered to Thee, may purge us of all evil and fortify our weak nature. Through our Lord.
Communion • Luke 4, 22
Thy all wondered at these things, which proceeded from the mouth of God.
May Thy gifts, O God, free us from the allurements of earthly things, we ever restore us with heavenly nourishment. Through our Lord.