On the Feast of St. Francis deSales

In honor of today’s Feast of St. Francis deSales, here is a short excerpt from Live Today Well, the spiritual book I’m reading about his teachings:

The Doctor of the Church makes a distinction between different kinds of devotion. As there are different vocations or states in life to which we are called, so there are differences in what holiness means foe each of us. This distinction has two important implications.
On the one hand, it renders the devout life very flexible. It recognizes that the practice of holiness must be adapted to different occupations and situations, according to different times and places, and in fulfillment of different duties and responsibilities. On the other hand, the adaptability of the devout life does not mean that holiness is purely relative, that each person can decide what it means and how to live it….For Francis deSales, the real test of a good life is whether our devotion is in keeping with our state in life and whether it enriches who we are in that vocation. (25-26)

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Let us be what we are and be that well. (St. Francis deSales)

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New Year’s Reading (on the Spiritual Side)

I’ve always got at least one novel going, but there’s a huge pile of nonfiction awaiting my attention.

Here’s what I’m reading as the year begins.

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The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion will be with me as I start each day. I’ve been reading it since the summer, and its wonderfully-varied reflections fit just right into a busy schedule.

There’s even a book club on Facebook!

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I’m not sure where I heard about this one, but it ended up on my Amazon wish list and I treated myself to it last week. Live Today Well by Fr. Thomas Dailey breaks down the work of St. Francis deSales. I knew I’d chosen well when I discovered in the prologue that deSales was heavily influenced by St. Francis of Assisi.

What are you reading to feed your soul in 2017?

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A Lesson from my Daughter

The other day, during a brief phone conversation with my daughter, I did something no parent should do in the presence of their child.

I compared someone unfavorably to someone else.

And my daughter rightly called me on it.

Ouch.

First of all, there was no need at all to make that comparison. I could have said the positive thing about Person B without bringing Person A into it at all.

But she went on to tell me that she’d been to a blood drive at our church just before leaving for college, and “everybody there was talking down about Person A. And this was at the church! People at church are not supposed to be doing that!”

She’s absolutely right, and she’s right to be bothered that people at a church event were gossiping, and she’s right to be bothered that I was gossiping.

Tiepolo_St-Francis-de-Sales-smSaint Francis deSales taught that the worst sin is judging others or engaging in gossip.

I’m not about to set sins up in some kind of hierarchy, but gossiping does affect 3 people:

  • the person doing the talking
  • the person doing the listening
  • the person being talked about

And honestly, there’s no defense for it. There is just no good reason to speak ill of others.

It sure is tempting sometimes, though, to join in a conversation where someone’s reputation is being bashed.

Get thee behind me, Satan!

What could I do instead?

  • Bring up a good thing about the person being gossiped about
  • Change the subject
  • Just not bring it up in the first place–say the good thing about Person B without bringing Person A into the conversation at all

I hope that in the future I’ll be able to do better:  not to give in to the temptation to gossip and to set a better example for my children.