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Saint Francis De Sales, A Model Of Persistence

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622), a bishop and doctor (a noted teacher) of the Church. Francis was known for his voluminous preaching and writing, which occurred during a time of great opposition to the Catholic Faith. His dedicated efforts helped heal the wounds brought about by the Protestant Reformation. Many times during his sermons, people would walk out of the Church until almost no one remained. Francis was unaffected and continued to preach as if nothing happened. Eventually, with the help of God, his persistence paid off and many people returned to the Catholic Faith.

Francis was always able to see the good in people, even if they disagreed with him. He saw everyone as a child of God and treated everyone with respect. In this way, he was very effective as an evangelist, while also fulfilling the command of Christ to “love one another” (Jn 13:34). Because he was so kind to everyone, people were willing to listen to what he had to say about Catholic teaching.

Today’s Catholics face many of the same challenges as St. Francis de Sales. We are criticized for our beliefs on abortion, artificial birth control, embryonic stem cell research, premarital sex, Confession, etc. The teachings of the Catholic Church often conflict with the desires of our culture. Looking at the example of St. Francis, we should never tire of teaching the truths of the Faith. We should also remember to imitate his charity and treat everyone with the respect worthy of a “child of God”. Jesus needs each of us to be His voice in the world. If we persevere, our words may one day have the effect of bringing someone closer to Him.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

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