January 24, 2015

Francis de Sales

January 24, 2015:  St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor

  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Christ passed through the tabernacle not made by hands,... (1st reading); "Clap your hands" (psalm)
  • 'Blood drop' pin: ...entering once for all, not with goat blood but his own (1st reading)
  • 'Horns' tie:  "A blare of trumpets for the Lord" (psalm)
  • 'Fleur de lis' pin (as crown):  God is king of all the earth (psalm)
  • 'Question mark' tie pin:  "He's out of his mind" (gospel)
  • White and green in shirt:  white for St. Francis de Sales, green for Ordinary Time

For week of prayer for Christian unity
Pope Francis
At consecrated life/Christian unity conference:  Conditions at the core of the search for Christian unity:
  • Conversion of heart, including forgiving and asking for forgiveness
  • Prayer:  religious praying for unity are like an invisible monastery
  • Holiness of daily life:  the more we put our search for unity into practice in our relations with others, the more we'll model our lives on the Gospel message.

Communicating the Family (WCD 2015 message), conclusion (miss the beginning?):  Families with children with disabilities teach us about communication:  limitations can be reasons to close in on self, but with family love they can be incentives to openness and communication, and they can help schools and parishes be more welcoming and inclusive.
In a world where people curse and gossip, families teach us to understand communication as a blessing.  Where there's hatred, violence, prejudice, or resentment, only blessing, visiting, and accepting breaks the spiral of evil and shows goodness is possible.
Modern media can help and hinder family communication:  hinder if they become ways to avoid listening, evade physical contact, or fill moments of silence (without silence, words are empty); help if they enable sharing stories, contacting friends, thanking people, seeking forgiveness, or opening doors to new encounters.  The more we appreciate that encountering others is vital, the more wisely we'll use technology rather than let it dominate us.  Parents are the primary educators, but the Christian community must help them teach children how to live in a media environment while respecting human dignity and serving the common good.
The challenge is to learn how to talk to one another, not just generate and consume information, a tendency media encourages.  Information is important but not enough; things can get simplified, viewpoints pitted against one another, and people invited to take sides instead of seeing the whole.  In the family, a "communicating community," we learn to communicate in an experience of closeness; we get help and celebrate life; it's a rich human resource.  Media can present it as a problem, institution in crisis, or model to accept or reject, defend or attack, rather than a living reality where we learn to communicate in love received and returned.  Relating our experiences means realizing our lives are bound together, our voices are many, and each is unique.  Families can witness to the beauty and richness of relationships.  With patience and trust, work to build a better future.
    "He's out of his mind"
  • Heb 9:2-3, 11-14  When Christ came as high priest, he passed through the tabernacle, entered the sanctuary with his own Blood, and obtained our redemption.  If goat blood can cleanse the defiled, how much more will Christ's Blood cleanse us from dead works to worship God.

  • Ps 47:2-3, 6-9  "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  Shout to God with gladness, for the Lord is king of all the earth.

  • Mk 3:20-21  As Jesus came with his disciples into the house, the crowd gathered.  His relatives tried to seize him:  "He's out of his mind"
St. Francis de Sales
  • Creighton:  Francis de Sales is noted for gentleness and humility in mending relationships within the Church.  He lived simply and austerely, sharing with the poor.  With St. Jane Frances, he founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, where gentleness and humility are also stressed.  Other orders were founded based on his spirituality.   He gave spiritual direction to laypeople.
  • Passionist:  Francis de Sales was a very good preacher, but he had trouble getting into the church because of the crowds.  A great writer, he's patron of the printed word.  Busy as he was, he prayed:  "Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy.  Then a full hour is needed."   "Turn your eyes on God in meditation, and your whole soul will be filled with God.  Begin prayer in God's presence."  "Retire into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged, and talk to God."
  • Universalis:  St. Francis de Sales studied law, and was ordained priest despite his father's opposition.  He preached so effectively that many Calvinists returned to Catholicism.  After being made bishop, he reformed the diocese, preached, and gave spiritual guidance, teaching that everyone can attain a devout life:  “Religious devotion perfects”; to be more holy, be more yourself.  “To preach effectively, preach with love.”
    • One Bread One Body:  "Insane to the insane":  Jesus' followers will also be called "out of our minds."  It's an honor to be considered insane by an insane world.  Our reaction should be love and joy.
    • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus' relatives thought he was throwing away the security of carpentry and family to become an itinerant preacher.  When we follow Jesus, we can expect opposition, but it's hardest when it comes from those close to us.  May I follow even when opposed.

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