Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1612), bishop, Doctor of the Church. Known as the “gentleman,” Saint Francis lived a life of patience, humility, Christian meekness, and love. Through his example, and his prolific writing, he reinforced the role of faith and love in every day life—not only for the clergy, but for the faithful as well.
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."
“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly
“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.”
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”
“If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”
“Reputation is rarely proportioned to virtue.”
“While I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things.”
“Have patience to walk with short steps until you have wings to fly.”
"If we say a little it is easy to add, but having said too much it is hard to withdraw and never can it be done so quickly as to hinder the harm of our success. "
"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."
"Always be as gentle as you can, and remember that more flies are caught with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar."
“Nothing makes us so prosperous in this world as to give alms.”
“It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially.”
“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
“Salvation is shown to faith, it is prepared for hope, but it is given only to charity. Faith points out the way to the land of promise as a pillar of fire hope feeds us with its manna of sweetness, but charity actually introduces us into the Promised Land.”
“Oh what remorse we shall feel at the end of our lives, when we look back upon the great number of instructions and examples afforded by God and the Saints for our perfection, and so carelessly received by us! If this end were to come to you today, how would you be pleased with the life you have led this year?”
“We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.”
“In the royal galley of divine Love, there is no galley slave: all rowers are volunteers.”
“We are not drawn to God by iron chains, but by sweet attractions and holy inspirations.”
“Perfection of life is the perfection of love. For love is the life of the soul.”
“By giving yourself to God, you not only receive Himself in exchange, but eternal life as well.”
“Man is the perfection of the Universe.
The spirit is the perfection of man.
Love is the perfection of the spirit, and charity that of love.
Therefore, the love of God is the end, the perfection of the Universe.”
“There are many who say to the Lord, “I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve,” but there are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it happens in conformity with Divine Providence, as well afflictions as consolations, contempt and reproaches as honor and glory.”
“One of the principle effects of holy abandonment in God is evenness of spirits in the various accidents of this life, which is certainly a point of great perfection, and very pleasing to God. The way to maintain it is in imitation of the pilots, to look continually at the Pole Star, that is, the Divine Will, in order to be constantly in conformity with it. For it is this will which, with infinite wisdom rightly distributes prosperity and adversity, health and sickness, riches and poverty, honor and contempt, knowledge and ignorance, and all that happens in this life. On the other hand, if we regard creatures without this relation to God, we cannot prevent our feelings and disposition from changing, according to the variety of accidents which occur.”
“Some torment themselves in seeking means to discover the art of loving God, and do not know - poor creatures - that there is no art or means of loving Him but to love those who love Him - that is, to begin to practice those thing which are pleasing to Him.”
“Our business is to love what would have done. He wills our vocation as it is. Let us love that and not trifle away our time hankering after other people’s vocations.”
“Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made of it.”
“All of us can attain to Christian virtue and holiness, no matter in what condition of life we live and no matter what our life work may be.”
“An action of small value performed with much love of God is far more excellent than one of a higher virtue, done with less love of God.”
“The highest degree of meekness consists in seeing, serving, honoring, and treating amiably, on occasion, those who are not to our taste, and who show themselves unfriendly, ungrateful, and troublesome to us.”
“Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you.”
“To be pleased at correction and reproofs shows that one loves the virtues which are contrary to those faults for which he is corrected and reproved. And, therefore, it is a great sign of advancement in perfection.”
“How displeasing to God are rash judgments! The judgments of the children of men are rash because they usurp the office of Our Lord, the just Judge. They are rash because the principal malice of sin depends on the intention and the counsel of the heart, and these are hidden things not known to human judges. They are rash because every person has things that could be judged, and, indeed, on which one should judge oneself. On the cross our Savior could not entirely excuse the sin of those who crucified him, but he extenuated the malice by pleading their ignorance. When we cannot excuse a sin, let us at least make it worthy of compassion by attributing the most favorable cause we can to it, such as ignorance or weakness. We can never pass judgment on our neighbor.”
“As often as you can during the day, recall your mind to the presence of God…. Consider what God is doing, what you are doing. You will always find God’s eyes fixed on you in unchangeable love. Our hearts should each day seek a resting-place on Calvary or near our Lord, in order to retire there to rest from worldly cares and to find strength against temptation. Remember frequently to retire into the solitude of your heart, even while you are externally occupied in business or society. This mental solitude need not be hindered even though many people may be around you, for they surround your body not your heart, which should remain alone in the presence of God. As David said, “My eyes are ever looking at the Lord.” We are rarely so taken up in our exchanges with others as to be unable from time to time to move our hearts into solitude with God.”
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."