REFLECTION CAPSULE – Jan 24, 2022: Monday

“Seeking the mighty intercession of St Francis de Sales to ‘Seek and Do’ God’s Will at all times and thus to ‘soar high in the skies of sanctity’”

(Based on 2 Sam 5:1-7, 10 and Mk 3:22-30 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year II – Feast of St Francis de Sales)

It was a tense afternoon in the September of the year 1594.

The Bishop of Geneva in France, had convoked a meeting of all his clergy.

There was an urgent need for priests to go to a place named Chablais.

Chablais was a territory in Geneva, which had been under political and religious siege.

Around fifty priests in this place had been banished.
Many churches had been burnt and devastated.

Chablais had become a place of terror for the Catholic Church.

It had became infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

In this horrifying situation, that the Bishop of the place had called for a meeting…
… to ask for volunteers to go to this place and renew the faith.

But none came forward…

None were willing to risk their lives…

It’s at this point, that there came a gentle yet firm voice – “My Lord, if you think that I am capable of it, command me, I am ready!”

The voice was of St Francis de Sales.

His own father considered this decision as “utter madness”

Perhaps, the other priests and clergy would have also felt this decision as a “crazy one”

The risk of being driven out, failing in his undertaking and of becoming a laughing stock of the world was great indeed.

But St Francis de Sales stood firm to His decision.

It was a decision which perhaps defied reasons…

It was a decision which perhaps seemed out of senses…
But this decision was to become the turning point of a spiritual revolution!

St Francis de Sales was convinced, that nothing is greater than “seeking and doing” the Will of God.

He would in fact, later in life, say:
“Do everything calmly and peacefully.
Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His Will joyously.
Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him in word and deed.”

What about our Christian Life?

Is it centred on seeking and doing the Will of God, at every moment, in every situation?

When doing the Will of God becomes the greatest priority of one’s life, that’s when, one is able to live in true authority and integrity.

The Gospel of the Day is an exhibition of how true integrity and authority – resulting from the prioritisation of the Will of God – can work tremendous wonders, conversions of heart and transformations of life…
… and how it can also cause some people to engage in calumny and character-assassination!

The Gospel of the Day begins with the statement that…
… “the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul and by the prince of demons , He casts out the demons” (Mk 3:22)

One of the reasons why the Scribes were irked by the personality of Jesus was because of the tremendous authority that was displayed by Jesus!

Yes, the amazing factor in the ministry of Jesus was His tremendous authority!

The wondrous aspect in the ministry of Jesus was His awesome integrity!

Elsewhere, in the Gospel of St Mark, we read…

The people “were astonished at his teaching, for He taught as one who had authority…” (Mk 1:22)
“… they were all amazed so that they questioned among themselves…. ‘…with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him” ( Mk 1: 27)

This authority and integrity came…
… through His deep union with His Heavenly Father.
… through His faithfulness to the commands of His heavenly Father
… through His undivided devotion to His Heavenly Father

This authority and integrity came because “doing the Will of His Father was the greatest priority of Jesus!”

How authoritative, credible and integral are we in our life…
… as a Christian?
… in the family?
… as a consecrated person?

Authoritative does not mean arrogance…

Credibility does not mean over-confidence…

Integrity does not mean super-importance…

Authority, credibility and integrity in the Lord means…
… being filled with the power and strength of God’s Spirit
… being imbued with a deep passion for the Lord and His Church
… living in humility, an honest lifestyle in accordance to God’s Will and teachings

In the 2nd Book of Samuel, we read how the people of Israel come to David requesting him to be the king.

David accepts their request…
… but also yields himself to the Power of the Lord as he makes a covenant at Hebron, “before the Lord!” (Cf. 2 Sam 5:3).

The result of this dependence on the Lord was that, David grew greater, as the Lord blessed him

“And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.” (2 Sam 5:10)

When David gave the highest priority in seeking and doing God’s Will, he would receive innumerable blessings and graces!

When one ascribes one’s strength and abilities, to the care of the Lord…
… the Lord takes over and gives blessings and favours, in accordance with His Will!

The readings of the Day calls us to check and examine…
… is my prayer life and devotion truly authentic and credible?
… is my preaching and spreading of God’s Word filled with His Holy Spirit?
… is my reception of the Sacraments helping me to make an honest effort to be a true Christian?

Let our prayers become a true raising of hearts to God…

Let the receiving of the Sacraments become an honest transformation for life…

Let the spreading of God’s Word become a credible witness to God’s Kingdom….

With the Psalmist, let us truly experience the Lord telling us: “My Faithfulness and Steadfast Love shall be with him!” (Ps 89:24)

Today as we celebrate the Feast of St Francis de Sales (the Patron Saint of the MSFS – Fransalians)…
…. the Doctor of Love!
… the Gentleman Saint!

We are invited and encouraged to embrace the path of constantly seeking and doing the Will of God!

In His book – The Introduction to the Devout Life (a book recommended for all, especially those in family life) ….

He clearly enunciates simple and practical tips of how one can grow in devotion and holiness…
… by constantly remaining in the presence of God
… by continually doing the Will of God

Undoubtedly, in doing the Will of God, we will have to…
… we will have to face moments of loneliness, ‘cos we will find ourselves, swimming against the currents of the world
… we will have to encounter hardships and rejections, ‘cos we would become a subject of calumny and mockery, as others may oppose us
… we will have to go through situations of darkness, ‘cos we would find it hard to even have clarity in our life of faith

But in all such situations, the Lord assures us, with the 5 magical words: I WILL BE WITH YOU!

This was the conviction that led St Francis de Sales to become a Great Saint…
… treading confidently and optimistically in the Path of Holiness and Sanctity.
He would say:
“In all your affairs, rely wholly on God’s providence, through which alone you must look for success.

Nevertheless, strive quietly on your part to cooperate with its designs…
… Imitate little children who with one hand hold fast to their father while with the other they gather strawberries or blackberries from the hedges.”

Let us seek the mighty intercession of the Gentleman Saint to “Seek and Do” God’s Will at all times and thus “to soar high in the skies of sanctity”

May the following words and quotes of St Francis de Sales inspire and strengthen us:

“Bloom where you are planted”
“Be what you are and be at its best”
“I have made a pact with my tongue… not to speak, when my heart is troubled!”
“A spoonful of honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar”
“Be patient with all things; but first of all, with yourself!”
“Praying daily for half an hour is essential, except when you are busy… in those times, an hour!”

Wish you all a very Happy Feast of St Francis De Sales!

With joy and love, let us proclaim with him, “VIVE JESUS… LIVE JESUS!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross…
… until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect.
Taken up to heaven, She did not lay aside this saving office but by Her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation

Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (CCC # 969)

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