Litany of St. Francis de Sales

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
O God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
O God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us
O Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us. *

St. Francis de Sales, *
St. Francis, miracle of the most august Trinity, *
St. Francis, faithful imitator of Jesus Christ, *
St. Francis, attached to the the service of the Blessed Virgin, *
St. Francis, practicing the virtues of the Saints, *
St. Francis, most devote to Jesus crucified, *
St. Francis, august tabernacle of true religion, *
St. Francis, most humble in prosperity, *
St. Francis, most patient in adversity, *
St. Francis, true portrait of the meekness of Christ, *
St. Francis, simple as the dove, *
St. Francis, example of angelic modesty, *
St. Francis, exact observer of evangelic poverty, *
St. Francis, excellent example of the purity of angels, *
St. Francis, ever obedient to the Apostolic See, *
St. Francis, generously despising the world, *
St. Francis, powerful vanquisher of demons, *
St. Francis, invincible triumpher over the flesh, *
St. Francis, inflamed with the love of God, *
St. Francis, abounding in virtues, *
St. Francis, all to all for the salvation of souls, *
St. Francis, most dear to God, and beloved by men, *
St. Francis, unwearied apostle of Geneva and its territory, *
which thou didst so laboriously reunite to the one true Church of God, *
St. Francis, most fervent pastor, ever careful to lead thy flock to the fold of Jesus the Good Shepherd, *
St. Francis, most renowned for thy miracles, *
St. Francis, greatest of all thy miracles, *
St. Francis, patriarch of the Visitation, *
St. Francis, continual martyr to thy love of God, *
St. Francis, father of many Saints, by the holy rules which thou hast left for every state, *
St. Francis, powerful protector to obtain of God that mildness which preserves the peace of the heart, *
St. Francis, amiable patron of those who invoke thee, *

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us, O Lord.

O Blessed Francis, like the fruitful olive-tree in the house of God, radiant in miracles, make us partakers of thy sanctity and of the light which thou enjoyest.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Francis of Sales.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O God, by whose gracious will the Blessed Francis, thy confessor and bishop, became all things unto all men, for the saving of their souls, mercifully grant that, being filled with the sweetness of thy love, we may, through the guidance of his counsels, and by the aid of his merits, attain unto the joys of life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

St. Francis of Sales, Bishop
from the Liturgical Year, 1904

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 heart, 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; an 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 His Church at the very time that heresy was holding her out to the world as a wornout 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 want 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 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, which appeared above the head of St. Martin, when he was offering up the Holy Sacrifice, was interpreted as a sign of his apostolic zeal.

The same thing happened to our Saint, 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 us produced the virginal Branch, whence sprang the divine Flower, on which there rested the Spirit of love. They were singing 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 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 (1 Cant. vi. 8; iv. 7.).

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 not thou be!

A circumstance in our Saint's last illness again suggests to us the relation between himself and the Beloved Disciple. It was on the 27th of December, the Feast of St. John, that Francis, after celebrating Mass, and giving Communion to his dear 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 has 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 of 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 has 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.

St. Francis, then, the ardent lover of our new-born King, is to aid us, like all these other Christmas Saints, to know the charms of the Divine Babe. In his admirable Letters, we find him expressing, with all the freedom of friendly correspondence, the sweetness which used to fill his heart during this holy Season. Let us read a few passages from these confidential papers--they will teach us how to love our Jesus.

Towards the end of the Advent of 1619, he wrote to a Religious of the Visitation, instructing her how to prepare for Christmas. "My very dear Daughter, our sweet Infant Jesus is soon to be born in our remembrance, at the coming Feasts; and since He is born on purpose that He may visit us in the name of His Eternal Father, and is to be visited in His Crib by the Shepherds and the Kings, I look on Him as both the Father and the Child of our Lady of the Visitation.

"Come, then, load Him with your caresses; join all our Sisters in giving Him a warm welcome of hospitality; sing to Him the sweetest carols you can find; and above all, adore Him very earnestly and very sweetly, and, with Him, adore His poverty, His humility, His obedience, and His meekness, as did His most holy Mother and St. Joseph. Take one of His divine tears, which is the dew of heaven, and put it on your heart, that so you may never admit any other sadness there, than the sadness which will gladden this sweet Infant. And when you recommend your own soul to Him, recommend mine also, for you know its devotedness to yours.

"I beg of you to remember me affectionately to the dear Sisters, whom I look upon as simple shepherdesses keeping watch over their flocks, that is, their affections, and who, being warned by the Angel, are going to pay their homage to the Divine Babe, and offer him, as an earnest of their eternal loyalty, the fairest of their lambs, which is their love, unreserved and undivided."

On Christmas Eve, filled by anticipation with the joy of the sacred Night which is to give the world its Redeemer, Francis writes to St. Jane Frances de Chantal, and thus invites her to profit by the visit of the Divine Infant.

"May the sweet Infant of Bethlehem ever be your happiness and your love, my very dear Mother. Oh! the loveliness of this Little Child! I imagine I see Solomon on his ivory throne, all beautifully gilded and carved, which, as the Scripture tells us, had no equal in all the kingdoms of the earth, neither was there any king that could be compared, for glory and magnificence, with the king that sat upon it. And yet, I would a hundred times rather see the dear Jesus in his Crib, than all the kings of the world on their thrones.

"But, when I see him on the lap or in the arms of His Blessed Mother, He seems to me to be more magnificent on this Throne, not only than Solomon ever was on his of ivory, but than He himself on any throne that the heavens could provide him with; for though the heavens surpass Mary in outward grandeur, yet she surpasses them in invisible perfections. Oh! may the great St. Joseph give us some of the consolation that filled his soul; may the Blessed Mother lend us something of her own love, and the Infant Jesus mercifully pour into our hearts of the infinite abundance of His merits!

"I beseech you to keep close to this Divine Babe, and rest near Him as lovingly as you can--He will love you in return, even should your heart feel no tenderness or devotion. What sense had the poor ox and the ass?--and yet He refuses not to let them breathe warmly upon Him. And think you He will refuse the aspirations of our poor hearts, which, though just at present they feel no devotion, yet are sincerely and loyally His, and are ever offering themselves to be the faithful servants of His own divine self, and of His Holy Mother, and of His dear protector Joseph!"

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal

The sacred night is over, and has brought Peace to men of good will:--Francis again writes to the same Saint, and thus betrays to her the joy he has received from the contemplation of the great Mystery.

"Oh! the sweetness of this Night! The Church has been singing these words--honey has dropped from the heavens. I thought to myself, that the Angels, not only come down on our earth to sing their admirable Gloria in excelsis, but to gaze also on this sweet Babe, this Honey of heaven resting on two beautiful Lilies, for sometimes He is in Mary's arms, and sometimes it is Joseph that caresses him.

"What will you say of my having the ambition to think that our two Angel Guardians were of the grand choir of blessed Spirits that sang the sweet hymn on this Night? I said to myself--oh! happy we, if they would deign to sing once more their heavenly hymn, and our hearts could hear it! I besought it of them, that so there might be glory in the highest heavens, and peace to hearts of good will.

"Returning home from celebrating these sacred mysteries, I rest awhile in thus sending you my Happy Christmas! for I dare say that the poor Shepherds took some little rest, after they had adored the Babe announced to them by the Angels. And as I thought of their sleep on that night, I said to myself: How sweetly must they not have slept, dreaming of the sacred melody wherewith the Angels told them the glad tidings, and of the dear Child and the Mother they had been to see!"

We will close our quotations by the following passage of another of his Letters, to St. Jane Frances de Chantal, in which he speaks of the Most Holy Name of "Jesus" which the Divine Child of Mary received at His Circumcision.

"O my Jesus! fill our hearts with the sacred balm of Thy Holy Name, that so the sweetness of its fragrance may penetrate our senses, and perfume our every action. But, that our hearts may be capable of receiving this sweetness, they must be circumcised:--take, therefore, from them whatever could displease thy divine sight. O glorious Name! named by the heavenly Father from all eternity, be thou for ever written on our souls; that, as Thou, Jesus, art our Saviour, so may our souls be eternally saved. And thou, O Holy Virgin! that wast the first among mortals to pronounce this saving Name, teach us to pronounce it as it behoveth us, that so we may merit the Salvation which thou didst bring into this world!

"My dear Daughter! it was but right that my first letter of this year should be to Jesus and Mary: my second is to you, to wish you a Happy New Year, and exhort you to give your whole heart to God. May we so spend this year, as that it may secure to us the years of eternity! My first word on waking this morning was: Jesus! and I felt as though I would gladly pour out on the face of the whole earth the oil of this sweet Name.

"As long as balm is shut up in a well-sealed vase, no one knows its sweetness, save him who put it there: but, as soon as the vase is opened, and a few drops are sprinkled around, all who are present say: What sweet Balm! Thus it was, my dear Daughter, with our Jesus. He contained within Himself the balm of salvation; but no one knew it until his divine Flesh was laid open by the fortunate wound of that cruel knife--and then people knew him to be the Balm of the world's Salvation, and first Joseph and Mary, then the whole neighbourhood, began to cry out: Jesus! which means Saviour."

Let us now turn to the Office of the Church
for this Feast, and read the life of our Saint.

Francis was born of pious and noble parents, in the town of Sales, from which the family took their name. From his earliest years, he gave pledge of his future sanctity by the innocence and gravity of his conduct. Having been instructed in the liberal sciences during his youth, he was sent early to Paris, that he might study Philosophy and Theology; and in order that his education might be complete, he was sent to Padua, where he took, with much honour, the degree of doctor in both civil and canon law. He visited the sanctuary of Loreto, where he renewed the vow, he had already taken in Paris, of perpetual virginity, in which holy resolution he continued till death, in spite of all the temptations of the devil, and all the allurements of the flesh.

He refused to accept an honourable position in the Senate of Savoy, and entered into the ecclesiastical state. He was ordained Priest, and was made Provost of the Diocese of Geneva, which charge he so laudably fulfilled that Granier, his Bishop, selected him for the arduous undertaking of labouring, by the preaching of God's word, for the conversion of the Calvinists of Chablais and the neighbouring country round about Geneva. This mission he undertook with much joy. He had to suffer the harshest treatment on the part of the heretics, who frequently sought to take away his life, caluminated him, and laid all kinds of plots against him.

But, he showed heroic courage in the midst of all these dangers and persecutions, and by the divine assistance, converted, as it is stated, seventy-two thousand heretics to the catholic faith, among whom were many distinguished by the high position they held in the world and by their learning.

After the death of Granier, who had already made him his Coadjutor, he was made Bishop of Geneva. Then it was that his sanctity showed itself in every direction, by his zeal for ecclesiastical discipline, his love of peace, his charity to the poor, and every virtue. From a desire to give more honour to God, he founded a new Order of Nuns, which he called the Visitation, taking for their Rule that of St. Augustine, to which he added Constitutions of admirable wisdom, and sweetness. He relightened the children of the Church by the works he wrote, which are full of a heavenly wisdom, and point out a path, which is at once safe and easy to christian perfection. In his fifty-fifth year, whilst turning from France to Annecy, he was taken with his last sickness, immediately after having celebrated Mass, on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. On the following day, his soul departed this life for heaven, in the year of our Lord 1622. His body was taken to Annecy, and was buried, with great demonstration of honour, in the Church of the Nuns of the above mentioned Order. Immediately after his death, miracles began to be wrought through his intercession, which being officially authenticated, he was canonised by Pope Alexander the Seventh, and his Feast was appointed to be kept on the twenty-ninth day of January.


Peaceful conqueror of souls! Pontiff beloved of God and man! we venerate thee as the perfect imitator of the sweetness and gentleness of our Jesus. Having learnt of Him to be meek and humble of heart, thou didst, according to His promise, possess the land (1 St. Matth. v. 4). Nothing could resist thee. Heretics, however obstinate; sinners, however hardened; tepid souls, however sluggish;--all yielded to the powerful charm of thy word and example. We love to see thee standing near the Crib of our loving Jesus, and sharing in the glory of John and the Innocents, for thou wast an Apostle like John, and simple like the children of Rachel. Oh! that our hearts might be filled with the spirit of Bethlehem, and learn how sweet is the yoke, and how light the burden of our Emmanuel (St. Matth. xi. 30)!

Pray for us to our Lord, that our charity may be ardent like thine; that the desire of perfection may be ever active within us; that we may gain that introduction to a devout Life which thou hast so admirably taught; that we may have that love of our neighbour, without which we cannot hope to love God; that we may be zealous for the salvation of souls; that we may be patient and forgive injuries, in order that we may love one another, not only in word and in tongue, but, as thy great model says, in deed and in truth? Bless the Church Militant, whose love for thee is as fresh as though thou hadst but just now left her; thou art venerated and loved throughout the whole world.

Hasten the conversion of the followers of Calvin. Thy prayers have already miraculously forwarded the great work, and the Holy Sacrifice has, long since, been publicly offered up in the very City of Geneva. Redouble those prayers, and then, even we may live to see the grand triumph of the Church. Root out too, the last remnants of that Jansenistic heresy, which was beginning to exercise its baneful influence at the close of thy earthly pilgrimage. Remove from us the dangerous maxims and prejudices, which have come down to us from those unhappy times, when this odious sect was at the height of its power.

"Bless with all the affection of thy paternal heart the holy Order thou didst found, and which thou didst offer to Mary under the title of her Visitation. Maintain it in its present edifying fervour; give it increase in number and merit; and do thou thyself direct it, that so thy family may be ever animated by the spirit of its father. Pray, also, for the venerable Episcopate, of which thou art the ornament and model: ask our Lord to bless His Church with Pastors endowed with thy spirit, inflamed with thy zeal, and imitators of thy sanctity. Amen

Novena Prayer to St. Francis De Sales

O great prelate, most blessed saint, model of bishops, the glory of the Church. Thou wast and ever shall be revered on earth as a man according to God's own heart, and a most perfect imitator of our adorable model, Jesus Christ. Thou wast the champion of the Faith whose zeal extirpated heresy; the ardent victim of charity and docile disciple of that heavenly spirit Who spoke by thy pen, and rendered thy inspired doctrine the treasure of the Church. O good and faithful servant, thou hast now entered into the joy of thy Lord; the divine and Holy Object of thy love on earth is now thy reward exceedingly great in heaven. O amiable saint, whose tender, compassionate charity was always the refuge of the miserable, despise not our supplications. Since thy conduct on earth toward all thy fellow-creatures, particularly the weakest, marked thee out, like thy beloved Master, as the friend of sinners, show thyself such to us, by obtaining for us the intentions of this novena.

Receive us, O great Master of solid perfection into the number of those whom thou didst form according to the true spirit of the religious state. Teach us those heavenly virtues which thy blessed life, no less than thy word, so constantly inculcated. Thou wast one of the most humble of men, though gifted with all that could exalt thee before God and the world; O plant in our hearts that root of every virtue, humility. Thou wast an angel of peace, whose presence alone gave consolation to the most afflicted hearts, and whose heavenly meekness succeeded in gaining the most obdurate sinners; obtain, then, for us, also, that peace of God which surpasseth all understanding; a condescending meekness in our conduct toward our neighbor. But principally teach us thy own favorite lesson of perfect conformity to the will of God, that we may repose tranquilly in the arms of His adorable Providence; that we may cast all our solicitude on God, so as "to ask for nothing and to refuse nothing;" at least to ask for nothing more earnestly than the treasure of His divine love, and to refuse nothing so resolutely as the misfortune of consenting to sin. Amen.


Prayer of St. Francis De Sales

O Blessed Virgin, dear mistress of mine, I salute thee, and revere thee with all my heart. Mother of Mercy, pray for me. Queen of Heaven, I commend my soul to thee. O my tender Mother, obtain that I may be loved by thy Son. Sweet hope with Jesus, sweet refuge of sinners, I throw myself at thy feet. Cause me to experience the effect of the power which thou dost possess with the Holy Trinity, O glorious Virgin Mary! Amen


Prayer in Special Need to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Say not, merciful Virgin, that you cannot help me; for your beloved Son has given you all power in heaven and on earth. Say not that you ought not assist me, for you are the mother of all the poor children of Adam, and mine in particular. Since then, merciful Virgin, you are my mother and you are all-powerful, what excuse can you offer if you do not lend your assistance? See. my mother, see, you are obliged to grant me what I ask, and to yield to my entreaties.

(St. Francis De Sales)


Prayer to St. Francis De Sales

"O Glorious St. Francis, model of the interior life, and full of zeal for the salvation of souls! Obtain for me the grace to employ all my faculties, not for my own sanctification alone, but for that of my neighbor also; that continually spreading abroad the sweet odor of Jesus Christ by my words and works, I may attain with thee the blessedness promised to the merciful: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy;" and that I may one day have a share in the glory which thou dost enjoy in paradise with the angels and saints, where those who edify and instruct to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity (Dan. xii. 3).


Prayer to Obtain the Protection of St. Francis De Sales

"O Great St. Francis, glorious apostle of Jesus Christ, seraph of the earth, who didst breathe but for the glory of God; perfect imitator of thy meek and humble Saviour, and devoted child of the holy Mother of God, deign to receive me among the number of thy special clients; be henceforth my advocate, my counselor, my friend, and my father. Thy prayers, even on earth, were the instruments of innumerable miracles of grace. Oh, vouchsafe to offer one for me, now that their efficacy is so greatly increased in heaven. May my entire conversion now add another to the already countless triumphs of thy charity. Teach me, like thee, to see God in my fellow-creatures; and for His sake to make myself all to all, weeping with them that weep, rejoicing with them that rejoice. May the example of thy wondrous meekness sink into my soul and excite my earnest, persevering efforts to imitate it. Strengthen me, by thy prayers, to pursue the difficult practice of interior mortification, without which I can not hope to possess my soul in peace and patience. Oh, enkindle in my heart one spark of the heavenly fire of charity which glowed in thine! Teach me, like thee, to seek and find my happiness in God, and to feel that it is good to live, to labor, and rejoice in Him alone. Shield me against the many perils which beset my path: watch over my immortal interests, and obtain that my soul may die the death of the just, and my last end be like unto thine. Amen.


The Virtue of Meekness from the Butler's Lives of Saints

Meekness was the favorite virtue of St. Francis de Sales. He once was heard to say that he had spent three years in studying it in the school of Jesus Christ, and that his heart was still far from being satisfied with the progress he had made. If he who was meekness itself, imagined, nevertheless, that he possessed so little of it, what shall we say of those who, upon every trifling occasion, betray the bitterness of their hearts in angry words and impatient gestures. Francis was often tried in this matter, especially when the press of business and the crowds who thronged to him for relief in their various necessities, scarcely allowed him a moment to breathe. He has left us his thought upon this situation, which his extreme affability rendered of very frequent occurrence.

"God," says he, "makes use of such occasions to try whether our souls are sufficiently strengthened to bear every attack. I have myself been sometimes in this difficulty: but I made a covenant with my heart and with my tongue, in order to confine them within the bounds of duty . . . . the man who possesses Christian meekness is affectionate and tender toward everyone; he is disposed to forgive and excuse the frailties of others; the goodness of his appears in a sweet affability that influences his words and actions, and presents every object to his view in the most charitable and pleasing light; he never allows himself to use a harsh phrase, much less any language that is haughty or rude, There is always a gentle serenity in his expression which distinguishes him from those violent characters who with looks full of furry, only know how to say no, or who, when they grant, do it with so bad a grace that they lose all the merit of the favor they confer."


A Protestation by St. Francis De Sales

(Recommended by St. Francis of Sales, to be made by the penitent in the presence of his Director, by way of engraving in his soul a firm resolution of serving God. It may be used also in private.)

I, N. N., placed in the presence of the eternal God, and of all the court of heaven, having considered the exceeding mercy of His divine goodness towards me, a most unworthy and wretched creature, whom He hath made out of nothing, preserved, maintained, and delivered from so many dangers, and loaded with so many benefits; but, above all, having considered the incomprehensible sweetness and clemency with which this most good God hath so graciously spared me in my iniquities, so frequently called upon me, inviting me to amend, and so patiently expected my repentance and conversion until this present time, notwithstanding all my ingratitude, disloyalty, and infidelity, whereby deferring my conversion, and despising His graces, I have so unadvisedly offended Him; having, moreover, considered that, upon the day of my holy baptism, I was so happily and holily vowed and dedicated to my God to be his child; and that contrary to the profession then made in my name, I have so many times, so execrably and detestably, profaned and violated all the powers of my soul and senses of my body, applying and employing them against His divine Majesty, at length, returning to myself, prostrate in heart and mind before the throne of the divine justice, I acknowledge, confess, and avow myself lawfully attainted and convicted of high treason against His divine Majesty, and guilty of the death and passion of Jesus Christ, by reason of the sins which I have committed, for which He died, and suffered the torments of the cross; so that I am worthy to be cast away, and condemned forever.

But turning myself towards the throne of the infinite mercy of the same eternal God, having detested, from the bottom of my heart and with all my power, the many transgressions of my past life; I most humbly beg and crave pardon, grace, and mercy, with an entire absolution from my offenses, by virtue of the death and passion of the same Saviour and Redeemer of my soul; on which relying, as on the only foundation of my hope, I confirm again and renew the sacred profession of allegiance made in my behalf to God at my baptism; renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh; abominating their horrible suggestions, vanities, and concupiscences, from all the time of this present life, and for all eternity. And converting myself unto my most gracious and merciful God, I desire, purpose, determine, and resolve irrevocably to serve and love Him now and forever. And to this end I give and consecrate to Him my spirit with all its faculties, my soul with all its powers, my heart with all its affections, and my body with all its senses; protesting against His divine will and sovereign Majesty; to Whom I offer up and sacrifice myself in spirit to be perpetually a loyal, obedient, and faithful creature, without ever unsaying, revoking, or repenting me of this resolution.

But if, alas! by the suggestion of the enemy, or through human frailty, I chance to transgress, in anything whatsoever, this my purpose and resolution, I protest and determine form this very hour, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, to arise again as soon as I shall perceive my fall, and to return anew to the divine mercy, without any delay or protraction whatsoever. This is my will, intention, and resolution, inviolable and irrevocable, which I profess and confirm without reservation or exception, in the same sacred presence of my God, and in sight of the whole triumphant Church, and in the face of the Church militant my mother [who hears this my declaration, in the presence of him who, as her officer, hears me in this action].

May it please Thee, O my eternal God, almighty and gracious Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to confirm me in this my resolution, and to accept this inward sacrifice of my hart, in the odor of sweetness. And as it hath pleased Thee to give me inspiration and will to do this, so grant me power and grace to perform it. O my God, thou art my God, the God of my heart, the God of my soul, and the God of my spirit. So I acknowledge and adore Thee now and forever. Live, O Jesus!


"On the Love of God"  
by St. Francis de Sales

How we often reject God's Inspirations and refuse to love Him.

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Matt. xi. 12)."

It is the Lord Himself Who says that these men, who were taught the true faith, and had received grace enough to have converted the uttermost heathen, yet persisted in rejecting it, and rebelling against that holy Light. He too has declared that in the Judgment Day the men of Nineve and the Queen of Sheba shall rise up and condemn the Jews; since the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonas, and the Queen of Sheba came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon (Luke xi. 31, 32), while they who heard the Divine Wisdom of One greater than Solomon, who saw His Miracles and received His tangible Gifts, hardened their hearts and resisted His Grace.

They who had least to draw them came to repentance, they to whom most was given resisted; they who least need to learn hasten to the Teacher, they whose need is greatest abide in their foolishness. Nothing can be plainer than this our Lord's teaching, i.e., that the Jews will be condemned as compared with the Ninevites, because with so much favor they showed no love, with so much leading no repentance; while those who had little favor and little leading abounded in love and penitence.

St. Augustine throws great light upon our Lord's teaching in his " City of God (Bk. xii. c. 6-9);" for, although speaking more particularly of the angels, he applies the subject no less to man. Thus in chap, vi. he sets forth two men absolutely equal in all things pertaining to goodness, assaulted by a like temptation, one resisting, the other yielding to the enemy. Then in chap, ix., having proved that all the angels were created in love, and that probably grace and love were alike in all, he asks how it came to pass that some persevered until they attained to glory, while others fell away to condemnation. To which (he replies) there is no answer, save that while some have persevered through God's Grace, in the pure love they received when created, the others fell therefrom by their own self-will.

But if, as St. Thomas has proved, grace was diversely bestowed upon the angels, and the Seraphim received a much higher degree than the lower angels, how was it that among them the chiefest (for so the Fathers held) should have fallen, while a countless multitude of other angels, inferior both in nature and grace, persevered admirably? Whence comes it that Lucifer, so high by nature, exalted yet higher by grace, fell, while less favored angels remained stedfast? Doubtless they who persevered owe their perseverance to God, Who in His Mercy made and kept them good; while Lucifer and his tribe owe their fall, as St. Augustine says, to their own free-will, which forsook the Divine Grace upholding them.

"How art thou fallen, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Isa. xiv. 12)" thou who didst begin "as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Prov. iv. 18)." Grace was not lacking to thee, thou hadst it above all others; but thou wast lacking to grace. God did not withhold His Love from thee, but thou wouldest not co-operate with His Love: He would never have rejected thee, if thou hadst not rejected His kindness. O Loving Lord, Thou never leavest those who leave not Thee; Thou never takest away Thy Gifts save from those who withdraw their hearts from Thee.

We defraud God when we take to ourselves the credit of our salvation, but we offend His Mercy if we say that it has ever failed us. We sin against His liberality if we fail to acknowledge His Gifts; but we blaspheme His Goodness if we deny that it has succored us. Briefly, God speaks clearly and loudly to us all, saying, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help (Hos. xiii. 9)."


Words of Wisdom from St. Francis De Sales

"I will always repeat," says St. Francis de Sales, "that whoever preaches with love preaches sufficiently against heresy, although he may not utter a single word of controversy. During the thirty-three years that I have been in the ministry, I have always remarked that the practical sermons of a priest whose heart is filled with piety and zeal, are like so many burning coals heaped upon the heads of the enemies of our holy faith. Such sermons always edify and conciliate non-Catholics."

"And to say that the Church has failed--what else is it but to say that all our predecessors are damned. Yes, truly; for outside the Church there is no salvation, out of this Ark every one is lost."

"As to decrees on doctrines of faith they are invariable; what is once true is so unto eternity..."

"If in mental prayer we should do nothing else than continually banish distractions and temptations, the meditation is well made."

"The Councils... decide and define some article. If after all this another test has to be tried before their [the Council's] determination is received, will not another also be wanted? Who will not want to apply his test, and whenever will the matter be settled?... And why not a third to know if the second is faithful?--and then a fourth, to test the third? Everything must be done over again, and posterity will never trust antiquity but will go ever turning upside down the holiest articles of faith in the wheel of their understandings...what we say is that when a Council has applied this test, our brains have not now to revise but to believe."

"Thus we do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church..."