St. Francis de Sales
Over the last few years I have been reading more and more by and about St. Francis de Sales. This volume the third in this series of collected sermons focuses on Lend. These specific sermons in this collection were given in the year 1622. This series was originally published in 1987 and the eBook editions were released in 2015.
The topics for these specific sermons are:
4. Eternal Happiness
5. Election and Reprobation
6. Mutual Charity
7. Proper Conduct in Illness
8. God's Spiritual Providence
9. Proper Fear of Death
10. Hearing the Word of God
11. Humility and Obedience
12. The Passion of our Lord and What It Means
These sermons were compiled from the Saints working notes, tests. And this collection highlights the Saints dedication as a Bishop to preach. We see his preaching style, and the sound presentation of theological truths. As a Bishop St. Francis de Sales preached 20 series over lent, and those in this collection were given to cloistered religious. But any reader today will see their value and how applicable they are to the life of any Christian. And this collection was taken from and translated from the Annecy edition of his sermons volume X.
In the introduction Rev. John A. Abruzzese, S.T.D. states: "The Lenten sermons which follow, translated by the Visitation Sisters and edited by Fr. Lewis Fiorelli, O.S.F.S., were obviously meant to be heard, not read. Therefore, a great part of St. Francis' "heart to heart" preaching which made them so effective is undeniably and regrettably lacking. However, the fact that these sermons result from the loving efforts of persons intimately living St. Francis de Sales' spirit, as his spiritual sons and daughters, can be perceived as something issuing from his own heart. If it were not for their labor of love, very few indeed would have even this opportunity of experiencing the personal charism of the saint." SO I took his words to heard and worked through this book twice. The first time I read through the book. The second time I used text to speech in the Kindle application to listen to the sermons. When reading the sermons there was an immediate impact, but when I took time and listened to the same sermon, I found it even more impactful. A few of the sermons I went back and listened to a second time after about a week because of the impact it had on me.
A few quotes from the sermon on Fasting as samples of some of what you will encounter in this book.
"To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it happens that it profits some and not others, because it is not undertaken by all in the same manner."
"The first condition is that we must fast with our whole heart, that is to say, willingly, whole-heartedly, universally and entirely."
"It is thus reasonable that, in order to make our fast complete and meritorious, it should be universal, that is to say, practiced in both body and spirit. This is the first condition to be observed in order to fast well. The second condition is never to fast through vanity but always through humility."
This book was a wonderful read. It challenged me personally and I know it will do the same for you. I am thankful for having read and to be slowly applying the lessons from this Saint and Doctor of the church. And I look forward to the other three volumes in this series. I highly recommend this book and the series of 4.
Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!
Books by Saint Francis de Sales:
Introduction to the Devout Life
The Sign of the Cross
The Art of Loving God
Roses Among Thorns
Finding God's Will for You
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales:
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Prayer
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Our Lady
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Advent and Christmas