January 24, 2010
3rd Sunday of ordinary time
He was teaching them
The middle ages got so used to the idea that the perfect Christian was a monk, a nun, a male of female hermit. Self-flogging, hair-cloth, and strict fasting are the testimony to that.
And then St. Francis de Sales showed up; a cultural man, simply elegant; well educated, speaking French perfectly, writing excellent books – his leading book “Philothea” breaking all records of popularity. Full of smiles, open, participating in public discussions with Calvinists. During these discussions he did not cast excommunications on his adversaries, but he was kindly explaining the essence of the Gospel. Additionally he said that praying is not rattling off texts learned by heart or read from books, but that it is a mystical experience; uniting with God. He explained that one does not necessarily need to join a monastery to become a saint. A lay man who fulfills his calling as a father or a mother, a wife, a husband, child or an employee is also on the path to sainthood.