SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES
Sirach, Chapter 2, Verse 15-17
15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words; those who love him keep his ways. 16 Those who fear the Lord seek to please him; those who love him are filled with his law. 17 Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him.
“Perfect love casts out all fear.” Many of us are conscious of our sins and failures. The older we get, the more we become aware that we have not measured up to what God had in mind for us from all eternity. We begin to worry about Judgment Day. Fear. Even when we are younger, if we have a good conscience, we worry over our sins. Remember that God loved us so much that he sent his Son to save us. Remember that Jesus gave his life for each of us personally. Remember that God is not like us: He loves us with an everlasting love. We need to realize this love of God so that it will cast out all fear from our hearts. We must not be presumptive, but we must be appreciative. Remember the musical “Fiddler on the Roof?” When they thought a ghost appeared, they shouted and screamed to drive the ghost away. This is what happens in the gospel: The disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost. They were terrified and cried out: This means that the screamed and shouted in order to drive the ghost away. But Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; it is I!” Jesus is always with us. We may not see him or feel him, but he is always present to help us through the storms of life. Do not be afraid. Perfect love casts out all fear!
Saint Francis de Sales
Let us therefore take the advice of St. Francis and prepare ourselves for every communion.
St. Francis de Sales says that Our Savior can never be seen more amiable and more tender, in all that He has done for us, than in Holy Communion, in which He, so to say, annihilates Himself and becomes food, that He may unite Himself to the hearts and bodies of His faithful. Therefore, the learned Gerson used also to say, that there was no means more efficacious than Holy Communion whereby to enkindle devotion and the holy love of God in our souls. And, indeed, if we speak of doing something agreeable to God, what can a soul do more agreeable to Him than to receive communion?
St. Denis teaches us that love always tends towards perfect union; but how can a soul be more perfectly united with Jesus than in the manner of which He speaks Himself, saying: “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him” (John vi. 57) St. Augustine says that if every day you receive this sacrament, Jesus will be always with you, and that you will always advance in divine love. Again, if there be question of healing our spiritual infirmities, what more certain remedy can we have than Holy Communion, which is called by the sacred Council of Trent a remedy whereby we may be freed from daily faults, and be preserved from mortal sins?
Whence does it come, asks Cardinal Bona, that in so many souls we see so little fruit with such frequent communions, and that they constantly relapse into the same faults?
He replies: The fault is not in the food, but in the disposition of him who receives. Can a man, says Solomon, hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn? (Prov. vi. 27.)
God is a consuming fire. He comes Himself in Holy Communion to enkindle this divine fire; how is it, then, says William of Paris, that we see such a diabolical miracle as that souls should remain cold in divine love, in the midst of such flames?
All comes from the want of proper dispositions, and especially from want of preparation. Fire immediately inflames dry but not green wood; for this latter is not disposed to burn. The saints derived great benefit from their communions because they prepared themselves with great care. St. Aloysius Gonzaga devoted three days to his preparation for Holy Communion, and three days he spent in thanksgiving to his Lord. To prepare well for Holy Communion, a soul should be disposed on two main points: it should be detached from creatures and have a great desire to advance in divine love. In the first place, then, a soul should detach itself from all things, and drive everything from its heart which is not God. He that is washed, saith Jesus, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly (John xiii. 10); which signifies, as St. Bernard explains it, that in order to receive this sacrament with great fruit, we should not only be cleansed from mortal sins, but that our feet also should be washed, that is, be free from earthly affections; for being in contact with the earth they excite a sort of repugnance in God, and soiling the soul prevent the effects of Holy Communion. St. Gertrude asked Our Lord what preparation He required of her for Holy Communion, and He replied I only ask that thou shouldst come empty of thyself to receive. In the second place, it is necessary in Holy Communion to have a great desire to receive Jesus Christ and His holy love. In this sacred banquet, says Gerson, only those who are famishing receive their fill; and the most Blessed Virgin Mary had already said the same thing: He hath filled the hungry with good things (Luke i. 53). As Jesus, writes the venerable Father Avila, only came into this world after He had been much and long desired, so does He only enter a soul which desires Him; for it is not becoming that such food should be given him who has a loathing for it. Our Lord one day said to St. Matilda: No bee flies with such impetuosity to flowers, to suck their honey, as I fly to souls in Holy Communion, driven by the violence of My love. Since, then, Jesus Christ has so great a desire to come into our souls, it is also right that we also should have a great desire to receive Him and His divine love by Holy Communion. St. Francis de Sales teaches us that the principal object which a soul should have in view in communicating should be to advance in the love of God; since He Who for love alone gives Himself to us should be received for love.
Life First 9 Days for Life
9 Days for Life is a "digital pilgrimage" of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person's life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved! #9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter
Intercession: May God’s peace fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.
Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be
Reflection: The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). Families hoping to adopt children and mothers considering placing their children for adoption often face many challenges along the way. We pray that all who are involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in His love today and open our eyes of faith that we may see and rejoice in His love.
Acts of Reparation (Choose one.)
· Do you have a sweet tooth? Or do you prefer salty snacks? Pick your favorite kind of treat, and give it up for the day.
· Make an act of faith, hope, or love (www.usccb.org/faith-hope-love).
· Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.
Be a Foodie at the Key West Food and Wine Festival
Ditch the winter boots and grab your summer flip-flops. Escape the winter cold at this ninth annual foodie festival. Savor fresh Florida Keys seafood, fine wines from around the world, and the laid-back tropical vibe of the island that bears the festival’s name.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.