With the fast coming 400th anniversary of Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) in two years time – 2022, we may see a growing movement of Don Bosco’s Salesian Family to explore their Saint Patron. The overall feeling in many provinces is that the young Salesians don’t know much about St. Francis de Sales. There are two new young missionaries ready to enter Mongolia – one read the ‘Philothea’ (=Lover of God) – Introduction to the Devout Life – of Saint Francis de Sales already 10 times, but the other young missionary (both practical trainees) never heard even about this book! What marvel!
When we enter the first Church at Valdocco built by Don Bosco, dedicated to Saint Francis de Sales (1852) we are welcome by many of St Francis paintingsWhen we observe the Coat of Arms of our Salesian Society, we can’t miss on the left side the figure of Francis de Sales as writer – journalist.When we enter any Don Bosco bookshop in recent times, we are welcome by many new publications about St Francis de Sales and Don Bosco.
For the Feast of today just a simple test: Do you the five parts of the Christian classic – ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’?You may download the English version or see this tiny book in your own language (https://www.bosco.link/resources/24961).We pray, that some of the EAO local Churches may get the first translation of ‘Philothea’ as fitting gift for the 400th death anniversary of St Francis in 2022.
The “Introduction to the Devout Life” is composed of five parts or “books”, each pertaining to a stage in the Christian’s spiritual journey.
- Part I: Attaining a Firm Resolution to the Devout Life (=loving God)
- Part II: Prayer and the Sacraments
- Part III: The Practice of Virtue (patience, meekness, humility, obedience, chastity, and poverty)
- Part IV: Some Ordinary Temptations and how to overcome temptations
- Part V: Renewing and Confirming the Soul in Devotion
Simple structure, right? Actually according Saint Francis de Sales any Christian believer, disciple of Jesus can live a holy life, regardless the age, character, vocation or status in the society. Take the ‘Lover of God’ (Philothea) in your hands as the best way of celebrating the Feast of our Saint Patron!