Today, Friday, Janauary 29, 2021, is the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, the Apostle of Charity.
Saint Francis de Sales was filled with the sweetness and gentleness of the Divine Master Himself, Christ the King, and he treated one and all with patience, kindness and unfailing meetings. Although naturally prone to impatience and anger, Saint Francis de Sales learned the path to perfection in his youth and thus became completely self-disciplined. He guarded his tongue at all times, and it was this mortification of his passions that would serve him so very well in his many disputations with the followers of the heretic John Calvin, whose false religious doctrine was little other Talmudism with a slightly Christian gloss that centered around an arbitrary God Who did created men without free wills. According to Calvin, therefore, God had predestined all men to Heaven or to hell, but one of the signs of a man’s predestination to Heaven was material success, which is why Calvinists work hard to achieve such success, which must be displayed before their fellow “believers” as a sign that He is favoring them in this life because He has elected them for salvation. Indeed, our very social life is the result of the Judeo-Calvinistic doctrine of material success as a sign of divine election.
Father Denis Fahey explained this in The Mystical Body of Christ the King in the Modern World:
It was, however, the Calvinistic doctrine on predestination and the signs by which a man's divine election could be recognized, which specially favored the advent of the unlimited competition, unscrupulous underselling and feverish advertising of the present day. In his able work, from which a passage has already been quoted, Professor O'Brien shows that it was in the peculiarly British variety of Calvinism, known as Puritanism, that all the Calvinist doctrines of succession life as a sign of man's predestination, of the respect and veneration due to wealth, had their fullest development.
"When all is said and done, Calvinism remains the real nursing-father of the civic industrial capitalism of the middle classes. . . . Since the aggressively active ethic inspired by the doctrine of predestination urges the elect to the full development of his God-given powers, and offers him this a sign by which he may assure himself of his election, work becomes rational and systematic. In breaking down the motive of ease and enjoyment, asceticism lays the foundation of the tyranny of work over men . . . production for production's sake is declared to be a commandment of religion." (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
Dr. George O’Brien, a contemporary of Father Fahey’s, wrote in a similar vein on the subject of Judeo-Calvinism and the way it shaped the modern world, especially as regards economics and politics:
The thesis we have endeavoured to present in this essay is, that the two great dominating schools of modern economic thought have a common origin. The capitalist school, which, basing its position on the unfettered right of the individual to do what he will with his own, demands the restriction of government interference in economic and social affairs within the narrowest possible limits, and the socialist school, which, basing its position on the complete subordination of the individual to society, demands the socialization of all the means of production, if not all of wealth, face each other today as the only two solutions of the social question; they are bitterly hostile towards each other, and mutually intolerant and each is at the same weakened and provoked by the other. In one respect, and in one respect only, are they identical--they can both be shown to be the result of the Protestant Reformation.
We have seen the direct connection which exists between these modern schools of economic thought and their common ancestor. Capitalism found its roots in the intensely individualistic spirit of Protestantism, in the spread of anti-authoritative ideas from the realm of religion into the realm of political and social thought, and, above all, in the distinctive Calvinist doctrine of a successful and prosperous career being the outward and visible sign by which the regenerated might be known. Socialism, on the other hand, derived encouragement from the violations of established and prescriptive rights of which the Reformation afforded so many examples, from the growth of heretical sects tainted with Communism, and from the overthrow of the orthodox doctrine on original sin, which opened the way to the idea of the perfectibility of man through institutions. But, apart from these direct influences, there were others, indirect, but equally important. Both these great schools of economic thought are characterized by exaggerations and excesses; the one lays too great stress on the importance of the individual, and other on the importance of the community; they are both departures, in opposite directions, from the correct mean of reconciliation and of individual liberty with social solidarity. These excesses and exaggerations are the result of the free play of private judgment unguided by authority, and could not have occurred if Europe had continued to recognize an infallible central authority in ethical affairs.
The science of economics is the science of men's relations with one another in the domain of acquiring and disposing of wealth, and is, therefore, like political science in another sphere, a branch of the science of ethics. In the Middle Ages, man's ethical conduct, like his religious conduct, was under the supervision and guidance of a single authority, which claimed at the same time the right to define and to enforce its teaching. The machinery for enforcing the observance of medieval ethical teaching was of a singularly effective kind; pressure was brought to bear upon the conscience of the individual through the medium of compulsory periodical consultations with a trained moral adviser, who was empowered to enforce obedience to his advice by the most potent spiritual sanctions. In this way, the whole conduct of man in relation to his neighbours was placed under the immediate guidance of the universally received ethical preceptor, and a common standard of action was ensured throughout the Christian world in the all the affairs of life. All economic transactions in particular were subject to the jealous scrutiny of the individual's spiritual director; and such matters as sales, loans, and so on, were considered reprehensible and punishable if not conducted in accordance with the Christian standards of commutative justice.
The whole of this elaborate system for the preservation of justice in the affairs of everyday life was shattered by the Reformation. The right of private judgment, which had first been asserted in matters of faith, rapidly spread into moral matters, and the attack on the dogmatic infallibility of the Church left Europe without an authority to which it could appeal on moral questions. The new Protestant churches were utterly unable to supply this want. The principle of private judgment on which they rested deprived them of any right to be listened to whenever they attempted to dictate moral precepts to their members, and henceforth the moral behaviour of the individual became a matter to be regulated by the promptings of his own conscience, or by such philosophical systems of ethics as he happened to approve. The secular state endeavoured to ensure that dishonesty amounting to actual theft or fraud should be kept in check, but this was a poor and ineffective substitute for the powerful weapon of the confessional. Authority having once broken down, it was but a single step from Protestantism to rationalism; and the way was opened to the development of all sorts of erroneous systems of morality. (Dr. George O’Brien, An Essay OnThe Economic Effects of Protestantism.)
Saint Francis de Sales, of course, desired to teach Calvinists that they did indeed have a free will, and that men must use their free will to seek after eternal treasures and not to seek material wealth as the defining end of their existence that justified the use of whatever means, whether honest or dishonest, to achieve, maintain and increase it. To do this Saint Francis de Sales had to teach them about the glories of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which he offered up with such exquisite perfection as befits one who was not only conformed to the Priesthood and Victimhood of Our Jesus Christ as his priest, but as one who as closely conformed to the sweetness, gentleness and mildness of Our Divine Redeemer as Saint John the Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple, himself.
Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., explained several remarkable incidents that demonstrated Heaven’s favor with the Apostle of Charity who brought hardened sinners to repentance and heretics to the true Faith:
The angelical Bishop Francis of Sales has a right to a distinguished position near the Crib of Jesus, on account of the sweetness of his virtues, the childlike simplicity of his heard, and the humility and tenderness of his love. He comes with the lustre of his glorious conquests upon him—seventy-two thousand heretics converted to the Church by the ardour of his charity; and Order of holy servants of God, which he founded; and countless thousands of souls trained to piety by his prudent and persuasive words and writings.
God gave him to the Church at the very time that heresy was holding her out to the world as a worn-out system, that had no influence over men’s minds. He raised up this true minister of the Gospel in the very country where the harsh doctrines of Calvin were most in vogue, that the ardent charity of Francis might counteract the sad influence of that heresy. If you want heretics to be convinced of their errors, said the learned Cardinal du Perron, you may send them to me; but if you them to be converted, send them to the Bishop of Geneva.
Francis of Sales was sent, then, as a living image of Jesus, opening his arms and calling sinners to repentance, the victims of heresy to truth, the just to perfection, and all men to confidence and love. The Holy Spirit had rested on him with all of his divine power and sweetness. A few days back we were meditating on the Baptism of Jesus, and how the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the shape of a dove. There is an incident in the life of Francis which reminds us of this great Mystery. He was singing Mass on Whit Sunday at Annecy. A dove, which had been let into the Cathedral, after flying for a long time round the building, at length came into the sanctuary, and rested on the Saint’s head. The people could not but be impressed with this circumstance which they looked on as an appropriate symbol of Francis’ loving spirit; just as the globe of fire above the head of St. Martin, when he was offering up the Holy Sacrifice was interpreted as a sign of his apostolical zeal.
The same thing happened to our Saint on another occasion. It was the Feast on another occasion. It was the Feast of our Lady’s Nativity, and Francis was officiating at Vespers in the Collegiate Church at Annecy. He was seated on a Throne, the carving of which represented the Tree of Jesse, which the prophet Isaias tells s produced the virginal Branch, whence sprang the divine Flower, on which there rested there rested theSpirit of love. They were signing the psalms of the feast, when a dove flew into the Church, through an aperture in one of the windows of the choir, on the epistle side of the Altar. It flew about for some moments, and then lighted first on the Bishop’s shoulder, then on his knee, where it was caught by one of the assistants. When the Vespers were over the Saint mounted the pulpit, and ingeniously turned the incident that had occurred into an illustration which he had hoped would distract the people from himself—he spoke to them of Mary, who, being full of the grace of the Holy Spirit, is called the Dove that is all fair, in whom there is no blemish.
If we were asked which of the Disciples of our Lord was the model on which this admirable Prelate formed his character, we should mention, without any hesitation, the Beloved Disciple, John. Francis of Sales is, like him, the Apostle of charity; and the simplicity of the great Evangelist caressing an innocent bird is reflected with perfection in the heart of the Bishop of Geneva. A mere look from John, a single word of his, used to draw men to the love of Jesus; and the contemporaries of Francis were wont to say: ‘If the Bishop of Geneva is so amiable, what, O Lord, must thou be!’
A circumstance in our Saint’s last illness suggests to us the relation between himself and the Beloved Disciple. It was on the 27th of December, the Feast of St. John, the Francis after celebrating Mass, and giving Communion to his Daughters of the Visitation, felt the first approach of the sickness which was to cause his death. As soon as it was known, the consternation was general; but the Saint had already his whole conversation in heaven, and on the following day, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, his soul took its flight to its Creator, and the candour and simplicity of his spirit made him a worthy companion of those dear little ones in Bethlehem.
But on neither of these two days could the Church place his feast, as they were already devoted to the memory of St. John and the Holy Innocents; but she ordered it to be kept during the forty days consecrated to the Birth of our Lord, and this 29th of January is the day fixed for it. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Christmas Book II, Volume 3, pp. 434-436.)
The Divine Liturgy contains Holy Mother Church’s account of the unbelievably productive life for the kingdom of Heaven that was lived by the Apostle of Charity, Saint Francis de Sales:
Francis was born of godly and noble parents, in the town of Sales, from which his family take their name of de Sales, (upon the 21st day of August, in the year of our Lord 1567.) In his childish years his staid and godly demeanour gave promise of his future sanctity. He received a liberal education as he grew up, and afterwards studied Philosophy and Theology at Paris. In order to the complete furnishing of his mind, he took the degree of Doctor of Laws, both Civil and Ecclesiastical, at Padua, with much distinction. He had already bound himself with a vow of perpetual virginity at Paris, and he renewed the same in the Holy House of Loreto. From this path of virtue, neither the temptations of the devil nor the allurements of the world ever induced him.
He refused to be made Counsellor of the Parliament of Chambery, for which his family had obtained for him patents from the Duke of Savoy, and determined to become a clergyman. He was appointed to the Provostship of the Church of Geneva, and, being shortly afterwards ordained Priest, discharged so admirably the duties of his position, that he was sent by Granier, his Bishop, to preach the word of God in Chablais, and other places in the outskirts of the diocese, where the inhabitants had embraced the heresy of Calvin. He joyfully undertook this mission, in which he suffered much, being often hunted by the Protestants to murder him, and assailed by many calumnies and plots. Amid all these dangers and struggles his constancy remained invincible, and under the blessing and care of God he is said to have recalled seventy-two thousand of these heretics to the Faith of Christ's Universal Church, among whom were many distinguished by rank and learning.
After the death of Bishop Granier, who had procured his appointment as Coadjutor, he was consecrated Bishop, upon the 3rd day of December, 1602. In that office he was truly a burning and a shining light, showing all around a bright example of godliness, zeal for the discipline of the Church, ardent love of peace, tenderness to the poor, and, indeed, of all graces. For the greater ornament of God's worship he established a new Order of Nuns, which is named from the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. These nuns follow the Rule of St Austin, but Francis added thereto several additional constitutions distinguished by wisdom, prudence, and tenderness. He enlightened the Church by writings full of heavenly teaching, and pointing out a safe and simple road to Christian perfection. In the 55th year of his age, while on his way from France to Annecy, after saying mass at Lyons on the Feast of St John the Evangelist, he was seized with fatal illness, and on the next day passed from earth to heaven, in the year of our Lord 1622. His body was carried to Annecy and honourably buried in the Church of the nuns of the Visitation, where it soon began to be distinguished for miracles. The truth of these having been proved, the Supreme Pontiff, Alexander VI L, enrolled his name among those of the Saints, and appointed for his Feast-day the 29th of January. And the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IX., on the advice of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church. (Matins, January 29, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.)
It was just five years after issuing Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928, to condemn the nascent false ecumenism that was seducing many Catholic “scholars” and consecrated religious that Pope Pius XI issued Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, January 26, 1933, the third centenary of the death of Saint Francis de Sales to explain that our Saint was a model of Charity and kindness, to be sure, was but that he was also a great foe of heresy, especially the prevailing heresy of his day, Protestantism, which is directly responsible for the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King:
The circumstances surrounding the mission of St. Francis to La Chablais are well known to you, Venerable Brothers, for when, towards the close of 1593, as we learn from history, the Duke of Savoy concluded a truce with the inhabitants of Berne and Geneva, nothing was thought more important in order to reconcile the population to the Church than to send them zealous and learned preachers who, by the persuasive force of their eloquence, would slowly but surely win back these people to their allegiance to the Faith.
The first missionary sent deserted the held of battle, either because he despaired of converting these heretics or because he feared them. But St. Francis de Sales who, as We have pointed out, had already offered himself for missionary work to the Bishop of Geneva, started on foot in September, 1594, without food or money, and accompanied by no one except a cousin of his, to take up this work. It was only after long and repeated fasts and prayers to God, by Whose aid alone he expected his mission to be successful, that he attempted to enter the country of the heretics. They, however, would not listen to his sermons. He sought then to refute their erroneous doctrines by means of loose leaflets which he wrote in the intervals between his sermons. These leaflets were distributed about in great quantities and passed from hand to hand with the object of having them find their way into the possession of the heretics.
This work of spreading about leaflets, however, gradually decreased and ceased altogether when the people of these parts in large numbers began to attend his sermons. These leaflets, written by the hand of the holy Doctor himself, were lost for a time after his death. Later, they were found and collected in a volume and presented to Our Predecessor, Alexander VII, who had the happiness, after the customary process of canonization, of ascribing St. Francis first among the blessed, and later among the saints.
In his "Controversies", although the holy Doctor made large use of the polemical literature of the past, he exhibits nevertheless a controversial method quite peculiarly his own. In the first place, he proves that no authority can be said to exist in the Church of Christ unless it had been bestowed on her by an authoritative mandate, which mandate the ministers of heretical beliefs in no way can be said to possess. After having pointed out the errors of these latter concerning the nature of the Church, he outlines the notes of the true Church and proves that they are not to be found in the reformed churches, but in the Catholic Church alone. He also explains in a sound manner the Rule of Faith and demonstrates that it is broken by heretics, while on the other hand it is kept in its entirety by Catholics. In conclusion, he discusses several special topics, but only those leaflets which treat of the Sacraments and of Purgatory are not extant. In truth, the many explanations of doctrine and the arguments which he has marshaled in orderly array, are worthy of all praise. With these arguments, to which must be added a subtle and polished irony that characterizes his controversial manner, he easily met his adversaries and defeated all their lies and fallacies.
Although at times his language appears to be somewhat strong, nevertheless, as even his opponents admitted, his writings always breathe a spirit of charity which was ever the controlling motive in every controversy in which he engaged. This is so true that even when he reproached these erring children for their apostasy from the Catholic Church, it is evident that he had no other purpose in mind than to open wide the gates by which they might return to the Faith. In the "Controversies" one readily perceives that same broad-mindedness and magnanimity of soul which permeate the books he wrote with the purpose of promoting piety. Finally, his style is so elegant, so polished, so impressive that the heretical ministers were accustomed to warn their followers against being deceived and won over by the flatteries of the missionary from Geneva. (Pope Pius XI, Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, January 26, 1933.)
It is a supreme act of true Charity for souls to seek their conversion to the true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. The whole of social order depends upon the conversion of men to the true Faith, which must be followed up by their own continuous conversion on a daily basis away from sin as they attempt to cooperate with the graces won for them by the shedding of every single drop of Our Blessed Lord Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flows into their hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to scale the heights of personal sanctity. There would be no talk of blasphemy or of other evils or of the perverse notions of the "god" of "civil liberty" if men took the Catholic Faith seriously and worked to build up the Kingship of Christ the King in their own souls as the signal means by which that same Kingship could be realized in their relations with men in civil society. Saint Francis de Sales realized this. Why don't we?
The following excerpt from The Catholic Controversy demonstrates that Saint Francis de Sales was willing to do two things that the conciliar “popes,” including Jorge Mario Bergoglio, have refused to do—and, quite indeed, castigate in the strongest terms: to defend the truths of the Catholic Faith to non-Catholics and to seek their conversion to the true Church:
Here are the words of the holy Council of Trent speaking of Christian and Evangelical truth: “(The holy Synod). Considering that this truth and discipline are contained in written books, and in unwritten Traditions which, being received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the same Apostles at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and being delivered as it were from hand to hand, have come down to us, following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and honours with an equal affectionate piety and reverence, all the books as well of the Old as of the New Testament, since the one God is the author of both, and also these Traditions, as it were orally dictated by Christ of the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by perpetual succession.” This is truly a decree worthy of an assembly which could say: It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us; for there is scarcely a word of it which does not strike home against our adversaries, and which does not take their weapons from their grasp. For what does it henceforth serve them to exclaim: In vain do they serve me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men (Matt. XV. 9); You have made void the commandment of God for your tradition. (ibid. 6). Not attending to Jewish fables (Tit. I. 1 4);Zealous for the traditions of my fathers (Gal. I. 14); Beware lest any man impose upon you by philosophy and vain fallacy, according to the traditions of men (Col. ii. 8); Redeemed from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers (I Pet. I. 18) ? All this is not to the purpose, since the council clearly protests that the traditions it receives are neither traditions nor commandments of men, but those “which, being received by the Apostle from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the same Apostles, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and being delivered as it were from the hand to hand, have come down to us. They are then the word of God, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, not of men; and here you will see almost all your ministers stick, making mighty harangues to show that human tradition is not to be put in comparison with the Scriptures. But of what use is all this save to beguile the hearers? – for we never said it was.
In a similar way they bring against us what S. Paul said to his good Timothy: (2 Tim. Iii. 16, 17.) All Scripture divinely inspired is profitable to teach, to reporved, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto every good work. Who are they angry with? This is to force a quarrel.(Querelle d' Allemand.) Who denies the most excellent profitableness of the Scriptures, except the Hugenots who take away as good for nothing some of its finest pieces? The Scriptures, are indeed most useful, and it is no little favour which God has done us to preserve them for us through so many persecutions; but the utility of Scriptures does not make holy Traditions useless, any more than the use of one eye, of one leg, of one ear, of one hand, makes the other useless. The Council says; it “receives and honours with an equal affectionate piety and reverence all the books as well of the Old as of the New Testament, and also these Traditions,” It would be a fine way of reasoning – faith profits, therefore works are good for nothing! Similiarly, – Many other things also did Jesus, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name (John xx. 30, 31): therefore that is nothing to believe except this! – excellent consequences! We well know that whatever is written is written for our edification (Rom. xv. 4), but shall this hinder the Apostles from preaching? These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God: but that is not enough; for how shall they believe without a preacher (ibid. x. 14)? The Scriptures are given for our salvation, but not the Scriptures alone; Traditions also have their place. Birds have a right wing to fly with; is the left wing therefore of no use? The one does not move without the other. I leave on one side the exact answers: for Saint John is speaking only of the miracles which he had to record, of which he considers he has given enough to prove the divinity of the Son of God.
When they adduce these words: – You shall not add to the word that I speak to you, neither shall you take away from it (Deut. iv. 2); But though we or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you beside that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema (Gal. I. 8); they say nothing against the Council, which expressly declares that this Gospel teaching consists not only in the Scriptures, but also in Traditions; the Scripture then is the Gospel, but it is not the whole Gospel, for Traditions form the other part. He then who shall teach against what the Apostles have taught, let him be accursed; but the Apostles have taught by writing and by Tradition, and the whole is the Gospel.
And if you closely consider how the Council compared Traditions with the Scriptures you will see that it does not receive a Traditions contrary to Scriptures: for it receives Tradition and Scripture with equal honour, because both the one and the other are most sweet pure streams, which spring from one same mouth of our Lord, as from a living fountain of wisdom, and therefore cannot be contrary, but are of the same taste and quality; and uniting together happily water this tree of Christianity which shall give its fruit in due season.
We call then Apostolic Tradition the doctrine whether it regard faith or morals, which our Lord has taught with his own moth or by the mouth of the Apostles, which without having been written in the Canonical books have been preserved till our times passing from hand to hand by continual succession of the Church. In a word, it is the Word of the living God, witnessed not on paper but on the heart (The learned Antony Possevin, contra Chytaum, remarks that the Christian doctrine is not called Eugraphium [good witings], but Evangelium [good tidings]. And there is not merely Tradition of ceremonies and of a certain exterior order which is arbitrary and of mere propriety, but as the holy Council says, of doctrine, which belongs to faith itself and to morals; – though as regards Traditions of morals there are some which lay us under a most strict obligation, and others which are only proposed to us by way of counsel and becomingness; and the non-observance of these latter does not make us guilty, provided that they are approved and esteemed as holy, and are not despised. (Saint Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy, Article II, “That the Church of the Pretenders Have Violated the Apostolic Traditions, The Second Rule of Our Faith, Chapter I: What Is Understood by Apostolic Traditions.)
Obviously, this is not what Jorge Mario Bergoglio believes. Although he phrases the matter a little differently than either Karol Josef Wojtyla/John Paul II or Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, the Argentine Apostate believes that Martin Luther “rediscovered” Our Lord by means of relying upon Sacred Scripture, not Apostolic or Sacred Tradition, which Luther and Calvin both rejected outright.
Saint Francis de Sales, however, went to great lengths to explain the Protestants had violated the very Scriptures that they claim are the sole source of Divine Revelation, and he risked his live to convince them of this fact.
Margaret Trouncer related Saint Francis de Sales’s unsuccessful effort to win the conversion of John Calvin’s direct successor as the so-called “Arch Minister of Geneva,” Theodore de Beze in 1597. He feared for his life—and with very good reason given the Calvinist hatred of Catholics and the true Faith, but his lack of success with de Beze, who never abjured his errors despite counseling a woman just a short time before he is own death in 1605 that the “the faith of the Catholic church was the best,” made possible his meeting a woman, Jacqueline Coste, who would become the first lay Sister of the Order of the Visitation that he founded with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal.
Here is the account from Margaret Trouncer’s The Gentleman Saint:
Since the death of his mater Calvin in 1564, Theodore de Beze dominated Geneva. Soon he would be eighty, and he was going deaf. Francois knew how important it was to convert him because of the influence this would have on other Calvinists. So, in spite of great danger of going to Geneva, he doffed his cassock, dressed as a lay gentleman and rode to Geneva to call on Arch Minister La Faye who was de Beze’s lieutenant. Here they were now, these two champions; La Faye fifty-six, Francois twenty-nine, and they argued for three hours. La Faye finished by losing his temper and the argument came to an end.
Clement VIII had the conversion of heretics very much at heart. He often prayed for them and more often his thoughts turned to Theodore de Beze, Arch Minister of Geneva, now very near the grave. He thought of this Frenchman who had been born of a Catholic. His house still exists near the celebrated Abbey of Vezelay in Burgundy. He had been influenced in his studies by a German Lutheran professor. When he went to Geneva to become an intimate of Calvin’s and after Calvin’s death, he president over the destines of the reformed church.
We don’t think of de Beze very much in modern times, but at that time, 1596, his renown was universal. He was almost adored by Protestants. The people of Geneva gave intellectual supremacy to this white-haired, venerable-looking man. The Pope heard rumours that Theodore de Beze, ‘bowing under the weight of years, was feeling remorse for having abandoned the Catholic church’. What pastor could he find who would rescue the stray sheep as night was drawing near? Instantly the Pope thought of Francois de Sales.
Now since his unsuccessful encounter with La Faye, it was more dangerous than ever for Francois to go to Geneva. However, arming himself with courage, and having studied the question a great deal, again dressed as a layman alone, he crossed the Lake of Geneva in a boat. He entered Geneva and reached the Rue des Chanoines where Theodore de Beze lived. He knocked at the door and asked if he could go in, and pay his respects. Unfortunately de Beze had company and it was too dangerous for Francois to make himself known.
Several times during that winter of 157 he tried again, in fact that he even crossed the lake during violent storms. Mere de Chaugy tells us the was “prepared to die every time he entered Geneva’. One must realize that in those days no one could reside in Geneva without being an openly declared Protestant. In fact, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, orders were given to the police to watch out for strangers passing by, and to spy on the servants employed in hostelries. On Easter Tuesday, April the 8th, 1597, Francois decided to make another attempt to see de Beze. This time he decided not to go alone, so he was escorted by his servant Georges Rolland and his cousin Canon Louis de Sales. As he knew that he could not say Mass, for de Beze was filled with an incomprehensible hatred for the Mass, Francois carried on his heart his little silver pyx containing consecrated Hosts. One can understand then why these travelers did not speak to one another more than necessary.
They stayed at the Ecu de France in the Rue de Rhome. (We will have occasion to come back to this important hostelry for therein he found one of his most remarkable daughters.) Having spent a part of the night in prayer, the following morning, a little before nine o’clock, taking his cousin Louis with him, Francois set off secretly to de Beze’s lodging. Going between tall old houses, through tortuous streets which climbed towards the old cathedral, they reached the house where Calvin had breathed his last, the house in which Theodore de Beze now lived. This was a most memorable meeting and we are told about in detail by Charles Auguste de Dales. Francois was to write the Pope about it, saying that at the end of the interview, “I understood that I encountered a heart of stone. . . . I wish to say a heart grown old in evil At along at they found Theodore de Beze alone in his great hall, walking up and down. He wore a starched ruff around his neck, and had a thick moustache and a long white beard. His appearance was grave but not arrogant.
The servant announced them, he remembered the name and received if they were men of the world desirous of knowing a celebrity. Indeed, Francois, a nobleman to his finger tips, did not forget any of the usual terms of civility when he greeted Theodore. With a frank and cordial smile he expressed admiration for his learning; he, on his side, quite civilly gave them a good welcome.
Now both the Calvinist and the Catholic priest were amateurs of beautiful language. That was the only mutual territory on which they could meet. Theodore was therefore tempted to show him his books and introduce them to his private room. When he crossed its threshold, one can imagine Francois pressing his pyx to his heart, knowing that the important moment had come. After complimenting him on his library and his work-table, Francois said to him, “Monsieur, the reputation of your doctrine and eloquence has come to my ears; . . . . I hope that you will not refuse me your feelings on the things that I have resolved to propose to you.’
Theodore de Beze was astonished at these words. He bowed his head, for he was seated at his work-table. ‘Monsieur,’ said Francois, ‘I beg you to look at me straight and you will see that I have the appearance of a bare-faced man.’
De Beze raised his eyes and saw that Francois wasn’t trying to provoke an argument, but really wished, in all sincerity, to consult him on the result of his own reflections.
Francois’ question was short and to the point: ‘Monsieur, can one save one’s soul in the Roman church?’
De Beze was surprised, for he wasn’t expecting this question He gazed for some time at a corner of the room, then, feeling the need of collecting his thoughts, he said, ‘Allow me to think a little more deeply before I can satisfy you.’
‘Of course, Monsieur,’ replied Francois de Sales.
Theodore de Beze went into the next room, and one can imagine how ardently Francois prayed. For a whole quarter of an hour, he heard de Beze walking noisily up and down, and then suddenly stopped short in his walk. What was going to happen at the end of that meditation?
At last he reappeared, pale and drawn by the effort of thought. After excusing himself for being so long, he said, ‘Monsieur I want to open my heart to you with the same frankness with which it has pleased you to open yours to me. You have asked me if one can save his soul in the Roman church. Truly, I answer you in the affirmative; it is therefore without doubt and one cannot deny in truth that she is the Mother Church.’
Now Francois said, and this was the master stroke which pulverize de Blaze into a stupor: ‘As it is thus, and that eternal salvation is in the Roman church, why have planted this pretended reform with so many wars, fightings, ruins, seditions murders, destructions of temples and other ills, which are numberless?’
De Beze defended himself by trailing the red herring of the question of faith and works; after listening to his reply, Beze saw that he had to with a very precise intellect, whose questions were absolutely clear and unshakeable, and that he could not slither out of the argument by trailing more red herrings. He flushed, irritated to have been cut short by a young papist. ‘And he allowed himself to say a few words that were unworthy of a philosopher.’ (In fact, when de Blaze lost his temper, he could be quite crude and forget his all former courtesy. He called a Franciscan missionary ‘that most imprudent Capuchin cherub, the most asinine donkey that’s ever come out Hell.’)
Now Francois once again the harvest of controlling his tongue all his life. He realized that the discussion was going to end without results and he only had to emphasize most courteously how his partner had gone wrong. He finally said: “Monsieur, I have not come here to anger you. May God forbid that should happen! . . . But as I see that you are getting very angry, I beg you to excuse me: that will never happen again through my fault and never again will I treat any matter of controversy with you.’ This put de Beze in the wrong, he felt it and replied: ‘One is not always master of one’s impulses,’ and he attributed this incivility to his zeal for religion. Wishing to make some reparation, he begged Francois to come often. Monsieur de Sales would oblige him extremely by granting him this favour.
The interview had lasted three hours, and friends of de Beze in the ante-room were beginning to champ and grow anxious. De Beze was carefully watched, as are all old people from whom one wishes to withdraw certain unpleasing influences. The servants were starting to whisper and the looked most unfriendly to Francoi and his cousin as they left.
On May the 20th, 1597, Clement VIII wrote to Francois insisting that he should again try to bring Theodore de Baze back to the faith of his childhood. So on Thursday the 3rd of July, Francois again called on de Beze, taking with this time a layman, his intimate friend Antoine Favre, who knew Geneva very well and who had been elected President of the Council of the Genevese. The old man received them amiably. He did not hide from Francois his pleasure at seeing him again, and when Francois presented Antoine Favre, de Beze protested that it was a great honour for him to make his acquaintance.
In a corner of the room were some large and ancient tomes covered in dust. With great subtlety Francois asked to know their names. De Beze shook his head and answered that they were books by the Fathers of the Church, of whom he did not think very much. Francois replied gently, ‘And I, sir, I could hardly tell you how much I esteem them.’
He took one, flicked away the dust with his coat, and having opened it, found that it was Saint Augustine! Of course they immediately entered into an argument about free will and predestination. De Beze told him that no man could cooperate effectively with the Holy Spirit. It was the old fatalistic, woeful doctrine of Calvin, which fifty years later Jansen was to use to such ill purpose and with such devastating effect. Oh, this dreadful creed about eternal salvation, in which Calvinists believe that man is pushed towards beatitude or damnation by dominating forces beyond his control! In fact . . . fatalism.
Francois made a brilliant similitude about a clock. “At clock-maker first makes the clock according to the rules of his art; he then sets the hour, he winds it up to start movement; it goes as if by its own will, . . . in the same way when the soul of the sinner has been purged by the Holy Spirit to repentance, to be justified, he must co-operate with grace, the soul goes through all the other degrees of justification.
De Blaze admired this comparison and thought that it greatly explained the difficulty. As Mgr Trochu has said: ‘One notices in Theodore de Beze a nostalgic accent, that of the exile gazing towards his native country.’ After three hours of this, they went back to the ante-chamber where Georges Rolland was waiting for his master. When he gave his testimony at the process, Rolland said: ‘I heard him with my own ears; the heresiarch spoke in grave tones with a serious expression, and he was saying, “As for myself, if I am not on the right road, I pray God every day that in His mercy it will be His pleasure to put me on it again.”.’
It seemed as if light were not lacking in the old man’s soul, but only courage to follow it. As for Francois he was very pessimistic about it all, and wrote to his friend, Antoine Favre . . . ‘I have very little hope at this hour for the salvation of that one; I fear very much that he is a son of death—un fief de la mort.’’
Knowing that if Theodore de Beze returned to the Catholic faith, he would have all his money confiscated and be exiled, the Pope was moved by great pity and, with no intention of buying a conversion, he informed Theodore that he would give him a yearly allowance of 2,000 gold crowns.
What was the outcome of all this? Officially, when he died on the 23rd of October, 1605, aged eighty-six, he still belonged to Calvinism. But there was just one glimmer of hope about the whole thing. A woman who had once served in the household of de Beze, told the Capuchins thirty-seven years after his death, that having asked him several days before his death, what religion she ought to follow, he replied in tears (pressed by the alarms of his conscience and by the force of truth), that ‘the faith of the Catholic church was the best’. But as Monseigneur Trochu has said, this does not prove that he himself had abjured Calvinism.
However, Francois was to have to great priestly consolation in the soul of an inn servant at Geneva—the great Jacqueline Coste, who was to become the first lay sister of the Visitation Order, who worked at the Ecu de France. Though an unlearned soul, she was far from stupid. Before coming there, according to Mere de Chaugy, she had been ‘a simple shepherdess looking after her flock among the most fearful mountains of Savoie, and only came down on Sundays to go to her parish church’. She had come to Geneva to be able to approach the Sacraments oftener. Unfortunately her employers, to whom she was the perfect servant, were rich and fanatical Calvinists. She left them when they persecuted her for her faith, and went to serve in the hostelry of Ecu de France. She thought that in a place in which so many people came and went, she could serve Catholics, particularly priests in hiding.
She had attended public disputations between Francois and one of the leading heretical ministers. Mere de Chaugy tells us that ‘as soon as he cast a first glace on the heavenly face of Francois de Sales, God made her know inwardly that this was his faithful servant, under whose aegis she must place the direction of her soul, and God ordered her to follow his advice to arrive at the perfection of His holy love’.
Now, as we know, on April the 8th, 1597, Francois came to stay at the Ecu de France visiting Beze again, and he had some consecrated Hosts in his little pyx next to his heart. Mere de Chaugy tells us: ‘Good Jacqueline . . . pretending only to go and offer him the ordinary attentions which one gives in hostelries, said to him with a deep sigh: “Alas, Monsieur, for a long time now I’ve been asking Our Lord for the privilege of speaking to you . . . God tells me, constantly, in the bottom of my heart, that is of your charity that I must learn the task which He wants me to do, to serve Him and to save myself” . . . she added “Fear nothing, Monsieur, I am a Catholic by God’s grace.” He who had discernment of spirits knew very soon what kind of soul had been placed in his priestly care. He questioned her, listened to her simple story then heard the general confession of her life. He admired “this beauteous lily among thorns; he confirmed her good heart in the determination to die a thousand times rather than renounce her religion”. Then bringing out his mysterious pyx from his coat, he told her of the sacramental presence of Our Lord in this hostelry bedchamber. Jacqueline knelt down and received Holy Communion, Francois having previously assured her that both their angels would serve them, for it was “the office of the angels to assist round the holy table.”
It was providential that this long conversation, alone with a stranger, was unnoticed by her employers. And so comes into the picture one of the most attractive of the souls helped by the saint, one who was to be of untold se to the infant Visitation Order when it was struggle with the ill health and poverty of its first nuns.
Blessed be those rugged kindly hands which knew only how to serve, to scrub, to sweep, to prepare meals, out of nothing, to hoe and dig so that with the sale of garden produce a few pence could be put into the empty conventual coffer. The first nuns were ladies of title who had been dressed by their maids; they would not have lasted very long without Jacqueline Coste’s hands and her wide smile.
Duc Chares Emmanuel summoned Francois to his court at Turin to tell him about the Chablis mission. Francois crossed the Alps in October, in the snow, and passing the Grand St. Bernard, took refuge in the hospice founded by St. Bernard de Menthon whose chateau he had always gazed at, on the banks of Lake Annecy. When he told the monks that his mother was a great-grand-niece of the founder, they received him as if he were an angel and assured him that ‘God had miraculously preserved his life, seeing that two days before they brought in two frozen bodies for burial’.
When he got to Turin, Francois told Charles Emmanuel that there were in Chablis at least sixteen parishes which needed restoring, out of the fifty-two already in existence, and that he needed an annual revenue of 160 gold pieces for each of the cures. Charles Emmanuel never had any money, he used all he had for his military exploits, so he advised Francois to appeal to the knights of St. Maurice who had taken charge of the church funds which had escaped the pillaging people of Berne, and who now should restore them as they had promised. He, the Duke, being the chief master of this Order of St. Maurice, ordered that this should be done. But he never gave Francois a penny. Then it suddenly occurred to him that Francois had never been financed at all, but had incurred great personal expenses, so he sent him three him hundred crowns to make up for that, but these Francois refused to accept. After this began long troubles with the knights of St. Maurice, who would not give up church property. It was one of the most disillusioning experiences of his life.
He got back to Thonon in time to prepare the despoiled church of St. Hippolyte for Christmas. He was up for three days and nights cleaning it, and at midnight he celebrated Mass with peerless majesty. He preached so movingly that the audience burst into loud sobs, not of grief, but according to the Anne Sainte ‘because of excessive allegresse (joyousness)’. Then he preached about the birth of Our Lord ‘with such great movements of love that he influenced their hearts with a lively burning of celestial love towards the divine Babe’. There were seven or eight hundred people in the church that night, an improvement on the fifteen who had been in Thonon when he first came there.
Soon after Ash Wednesday, he was nearly caught in Thonon by an armed band of heretics who wanted to shut him up in the public prison because, they said, he was mad, having sprinkled heads with ashes on Ash Wednesday. Fortunately, just in time, Francois spied an outside staircase and an open door. He leapt up it crying “In God’s keeping’ and nobody dared to follow him.
Charles Auguste tells us that wherever he preached, he was called ‘the refuge of sinners and the consoler of the afflicted’.
One July Sunday in 1597, he preached in the church about the forgiveness of injuries, and quoted from the Bible the passage of counselling one to offer the other cheek. As he came out of the church, one of the town councilors, Andre Lievre (a suitable name) stopped brusquely in the street and said to him in front of the crowd: “If I gave you a blow now, would you turn the other cheek so that I could give you another?’
‘My friend,’ replied the gentleman priest, ‘I know well what I should do, but I do not know if I would do it.’
Among his flock Francois behaved like any other ordinary French cure. He was at the service of all, both Protestants and Catholics. He was all things to all men: not only a lawyer helping them to bring unhappy lawsuits to an end by giving them legal advice, but remembering what he had learned about medicine in Padua, he told them all about the simples which would cure their bodily ills. He had made a touching list of them in one of his notebooks, for example, a branch of Agnus Castus would prevent a traveller from feeling tired if he carried it! He even could answer their questions on cattle raising, agriculture and gardening. And all this is quite apart from the spiritual advice he gave.
The saint had the energy and seemed to find the time for everything. Charles Auguste tells us that having once disappeared into his bedchamber, he was discovered mending his clothes by a gentleman who was very much astonished. Francis said, “Monsieur, I see nothing against my learning to mend the clothes that I have spoilt.’
Occasionally he received heart-warming hospitality from the de Blonay family on their beautiful estate near Evian. Here again there slips into this story one of the future great nuns of the Visitation Orer, Marie-Aimee, aged six, and the youngest of nine children, who used to come near him and stare at him in deep contemplation as he spoke. Then she would nestle up so him, so that he would speak to her of God and sing holy canticles to her. After, the two of them had very long talks. Occasionally in order to gaze at him more at leisure, Marie-Aimee would hide behind the curtains or the arras, and she often protested that in the person of this holy, angelic man seen an angel in a mortal body. Francois was never to forget the charm of the de Blonay hospitality; Marie-Aimee de Blonay ws to become the tenth nun of the Visitation and the third Superior of the first convent. When he mother died, she was sent to school to the Cistercian nuns of St. Catherine near Annecy; at Christmas 1608, she came down from that high mountain to spend the feast at Annecy. She was going to have some refreshment at Madame de Charmoisy’s and then then Mgr de Sales preach in the Cathedral. She confided in him that she wanted to become a Poor Clare at Evian when she was older.
They spoke for an hour in the room near the chapel, walking up and down, and he rejoiced that he had found another contemplative for the Order he was to found. Then Marie-Aimee noticed two flashing angels following Monsigneur; she must have gone pal with fear, but he told hear without showing any astonishment that God had given him two angels to help him; one to aid Francois de Sales and the other the Bishop of Geneva. Later this charming nun was nicknamed ‘the little dove’ by the saint. She was to work hard in the cause of his beatification.
In a letter of 1613, the saint sent greetings to her ‘whom I will not forget this evening because I will be at her father’s place where I saw her for the first time dressed in white with a straw hat’. (Margaret Trouncer, The Gentleman Saint, published by Hutchinson and Company, London, England, 1963, pp. 97-107.)
One can see that Pope Clement VIII was concerned about winning Theodore de Beze back to the true Church from which he apostatized, a zeal for souls that contrasts greatly with Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s condemnation of Catholics who seek the conversion of Protestants and all other non-Catholics to the bosom of Holy Mother Church. A true pope knew that he had the obligation to seek the conversion of a heretic; an antipope today believes that he has an obligation to condemn those who seek the conversion of non-Catholics. How much clearer can it get.
Indeed, Saint Francis de Sales was dogged in his determination to win souls—and he won 72,000 Calvinists back to the Catholic Church—and was ever ready to disarm all detractors, especially heretics, with his ready wit and angelic intelligence:
One day, preaching at the church of St. Martin, Francis took for his text “Jesus was obedient, even unto the death of the cross.” a Calvinist who was present came to him afterwards and remarked in a pompous manner that the text his discourse was most inopportune. “Monsieur,” retorted Francis readily, and with a slightly sarcastic smile, “it is most opportune for you, since you disobey the Church.” the Calvinist was so struck by this reply that he asked to be instructed in the Faith, and shortly afterwards abjured his errors.
Francis during his stay in Paris put up in the Rue de Thouron at the house of the Maréchal d'Ancre. His old friend, President Favre, was also there; consequently there was a certain amount of splendor about the appointments, and the humble Bishop of Geneva frequently drove in a magnificent carriage, with high-stepping horses and gorgeous flunkeys in attendance.
One day a Huguenot sought him out in his own sanctum, and, without even saying Bon Jour, asked rudely: “Are you the person they call Bishop of Geneva?”
“Monsieur,” replied Francis courteously, “I am so styled.”
“Then I want you to tell me, since everyone says you are a holy and Apostolic man, did the Apostles drive about in carriages?”
“Occasionally,” replied Frances, with a gleam of humor, “when it suited their convenience.”
“I should like you to give me a proof of that. Is it mentioned in the Scriptures?” the Hugenot said sceptically.
“In the Acts of the Apostles it is mentioned,” continued Francis, with a quiet smile, “that St. Philip drove about in the chariot or carriage of the eunuch of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia.”
“But that carriage was not St. Philip's; it belonged to the eunuch.” retorted his interlocutor.
“Just so,” replied Francis, still smiling. “Did I not say so? And I said that when the opportunity presented itself they drove in carriages.”
“But not in gilded embroidered carriages, drawn by splendid horses, and driven by coachmen in such gorgeous liveries that not even the King has a grander equipage. I am shocked at you—you, who are reputed so holy. You are a nice sort of Saint, traveling to Paradise in a coach-and-four!”
“My good friend,” replied the Bishop, “I never had a carriage of my own in all my life. The citizens of Geneva, who keep possession of the property of the See of Geneva, leave me hardly enough to live upon in the plainest manner.”
“Then that splendid carriage is not yours?”
“Certainly not,” replied Francis; “and you may well call it splendid, for it is His Majesty's, and is one of those the King has allotted to us who belong to the suite of the Price of Piedmont and the Cardinal of Savoy. Why, the livery the coachman wears is the King's. Did you not notice that?”
“Well, I am delighted to hear it, and I like you all the better. You are not rich, then?”
“O do not complain of my poverty, since I have enough for the necessaries of life; and even if I suffered from straitened means I should not mind, for did not Our Lord Jesus Christ choose poverty for His lifelong portion? However, my family owes allegiance to the House of Savoy, and so I esteem it an honor to belong to the suite of the Princes of that House, and to be present at the marriage of Prince with a daughter of France.”
The Huguenot was delighted with the gentle dignity of the Bishop of Geneva; but we do not hear that he became a Catholic. (Louise M. Stacpoole-Kenny, Saint Francis de Sales: A Study of the Gentle Saint, Washbourne, Manchester, England, 1960, pp. 271-274.)
Saint Francis was clever as well as meek, but as Pope Pius XI noted in in Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, Saint Francis de Sales's gave a stern warning to those who used cleverness to succeed dishonestly in matters of business and politics:
First of all, you should make known and even explain with all diligence this encyclical both to your clergy and to the people committed to your care. Particularly We are most desirous that you do all in your power to call back the faithful to their duty of practicing the obligations and virtues proper to each one's state in life, since even in our own times the number is very large who never think of eternity and who neglect almost totally the salvation of their souls. Some are so immersed in business that they think of nothing but accumulating riches and, by consequences, the spiritual life ceases to exist for them. Others give themselves up entirely to the satisfaction of their passions and thus fall so low that they, with difficulty if at all, are able to appreciate anything which transcends the life of sense. Finally, there are many who give their every thought to politics, and this to such an extent, that while they are completely devoted to the welfare of the public, they forget altogether one thing, the welfare of their own souls. Because of these facts, Venerable Brothers, do you endeavor, following the example of St. Francis, to instruct thoroughly the faithful in the truth that holiness of life is not the privilege of a select few. All are called by God to a state of sanctity and all are obliged to try to attain it. Teach them, too, that the acquisition of virtue, although it cannot be done without much labor (such labor has its own compensations, the spiritual consolations and joys which always accompany it) it is possible for everyone with the aid of God's grace, which is never denied us.
The meekness of St. Francis should be held up to the faithful in a very special way for their imitation, for this virtue recalls to our minds so well and expresses so truly the kindness of Jesus Christ. It possesses, too, in a remarkable degree the power to bind souls one to another. This virtue, wherever it is practiced among men, tends primarily to settle the differences both public and private which so often separate us. Likewise can we not hope that, through the practice of this virtue which we rightly call the external sign of the inner possession of divine love, there will result perfect peace and concord both in family life and among nations?
If human society were motivated by meekness, would this not become a powerful ally to the apostolate, as it is called, of the clergy and laity which has for its end-purpose the bettering of the world?
You can easily see, therefore, how important it is for the Christian people to turn to the example of holiness given by St. Francis, so that they may be edified thereby and may make his teachings the rule of their own lives. It would be impossible to exaggerate the value of his books and pamphlets, of which We have written, to attain this purpose. These books ought to be distributed as widely as possible among Catholics, for his writings are easy to understand and can be read with great pleasure. They cannot but inspire in the souls of the faithful a love of true and solid piety, a love which the clergy can develop with most happy results if they but learn to assimilate thoroughly the teachings of St. Francis and to imitate the kindly qualities which characterized his preaching. (Pope Pius XI, Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, January 26, 1933.)
Above all else, though, Saint Francis de Sales loved what the Calvinists hated, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which they replaced with an egalitarian “worship” service stripped of ornate decorations or elaborate ceremonies in “churches” that had no statues of saints, which they despised with a diabolical fervor, and that were noted for their barrenness, their sterility, if you will.
"[T]he intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should coincide with the Protestant liturgy.... [T]here was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or at least to correct, or at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense, in the Mass, and I, repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass" (Dec. 19, 1993), Apropos, #17, pp. 8f; quoted in Christian Order, October, 1994. (Jean Guitton, a close friend of Giovanni Montini/Paul VI. The quotation and citations are found in Christopher A. Ferrara and Thomas E. Woods, Jr., The Great Facade, The Remnant Publishing Company, 2002, p. 317.)
Calvinism was beginning to infiltrate Catholic circles as a result of the work of one Father Cornelius Jansen by the time that Saint Francis de Sales died in 1622, and it would be the Calvinist-Jansenist desire for a "simpler" liturgy that animated the corpulent Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII and Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini/Paul VI in their work to "renew" the Catholic liturgy, and that spirit of Calvinist-Jansenism still animates the conciliar revolutionaries, starting with Jorge Mario Bergoglio himself, and their Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service today.
Saint Francis de Sales was known as the Apostle Charity, and so he was. Ah, but the Apostle of Charity knew that nothing was more charitable than to denounce heresy as strongly as possible:
The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is not denied.
It is a work of charity to shout: "Here is the wolf!" when it enters the flock or anywhere else. (Saint Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, part III, chap. 29)
Some believe that it is "uncharitable" to criticize Jorge Mario Bergoglio and his band of apostates, no less to call them the heretics that they are.
Please refer to the passage from Saint Francis de Sales's Introduction to the Devout Life as it is necessary to identify the wolf and to criticize him, yes, even using mockery and scorn as such people are deserving of no respect whatsoever. While we pray for the conversion of the living and the souls of dead, we do not pretend that heresy is anything other than what it is, and we cannot mince words in the defense of Catholic Truth.
We must have the meekness of Saint Francis de Sales and submit to the authority of the constant teaching of the Catholic Church on the necessity of restoring the Catholic City.
We must also imitate the tender devotion that Saint Francis de Sales had for the Mother of God, to whom he consecrated himself at a young age, she who is our model of meekness of humility par excellence. Saint Francis de Sales was totally reliant upon Our Lady's maternal intercession. He relied upon her Heavenly assistance as he wrote these words at the close of An Introduction to the Devout Life:
On the first day of every month renew the resolution given in Part I. after meditation, and make continual protestation of your intention to keep it, saying with David, "I will never forget Thy Commandments, for with them Thou hast quickened me."And whenever you feel any deterioration in your spiritual condition, take out your protest, and prostrating yourself in a humble spirit, renew it heartily, and you will assuredly find great relief.
Make open profession of your desire to be devout; I will not say to be devout, but to desire it; and do not be ashamed of the ordinary, needful actions which lead us on in the Love of God. Acknowledge boldly that you try to meditate, that you would rather die than commit a mortal sin; that you frequent the Sacraments, and follow the advice of your director (although for various reasons it may not be necessary to mention his name). This open confession that you intend to serve God, and that you have devoted yourself deliberately and heartily to His Holy Love, is very acceptable to His Divine Majesty, for He would not have any of us ashamed of Him or of His Cross. Moreover, it cuts at the root of many a hindrance which the world tries to throw in our way, and so to say, commits us to the pursuit of holiness. The philosophers of old used to give themselves out as such, in order to be left unmolested in their philosophic life; and we ought to let it be known that we aim at devotion in order that we may be suffered to live devoutly. And if any one affirms that you can live a devout life without following all these practices and counsels, do not deny it, but answer meekly that your infirmity is great, and needs more help and support than many others may require.
Finally, my beloved child, I entreat you by all that is sacred in heaven and in earth, by your own Baptism, by the breast which Jesus sucked, by the tender Heart with which He loves you, and by the bowels of compassion in which you hope--be steadfast and persevere in this most blessed undertaking to live a devout life. Our days pass away, death is at hand. "The trumpet sounds a recall," says Saint Gregory Nazianzen, "in order that every one may make ready, for Judgment is near." When Saint Symphorian was led to his martyrdom, his mother cried out to him, "My son, my son, remember life eternal, look to Heaven, behold Him Who reigns there; for the brief course of this life will soon be ended." Even so would I say to you: Look to Heaven, and do not lose it for earth; look at Hell, and do not plunge therein for the sake of this passing life; look at Jesus Christ, and do not deny Him for the world's sake; amid if the devout life sometimes seems hard and dull, join in Saint Francis' song,-- "So vast the joys that I await, No earthly travail seemeth great."
Glory be to Jesus, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, now and ever, and to all Eternity. Amen. (Saint Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life.)
In imitation of Saint Francis de Sales, let us pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, recognizing it is only by Heaven's logic, by Heaven's truth, by Heaven's help that we can get to Heaven to enjoy an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise as we behold the Beatific Vision of God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.