Every year on the Solemnity of St. Francis de Sales we sing "Happy Feast Day" to our very own Sister Mary de Sales (pictured left, with an icon of St. Francis de Sales behind her.) This is no ordinary rendition of "Happy Feast Day," however, because Sister Mary de Sales adds a little extra twist: in the momentary pause after each line of "Happy Feast Day to you..." she pipes in and sings, "and you and you and you and you and you..." as she points to each of us standing around her.
Today, we thought it might be nice to share a thought from both Sister Mary de Sales and Saint Francis de Sales. If she had to have a favorite quotation from her namesake, Sister is fond of repeating, "A sad saint is a sorry saint!" And, indeed, she is even more fond of living it. Those of us who live with her know that there are few situations which can bring down Sister's spirits. Among the many "hats" that she has worn, she has been our faithful "Sister Mary Maintenance" for many years. Be it a middle-of-the-night fire alarm, a leaky pipe, a falling ceiling, a broken water main, or a flooded basement, Sister Mary de Sales greets every disaster as an opportunity. And when it is over, she smiles and says, "Good show!" Would that we all were so gracious and joyful at life's little -- and not so little -- surprises.
It seems fitting, on this patronal feast, to quote a selection from St. Francis de Sales' treatise from which the name of this blog is derived: Treatise on the Love of God Book XII, chapter XIII.
"Live, Jesus, live, your death upon the tree
Shows all your boundless love for me!
Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. All love that does not take its origin from the Savior's passion is foolish and perilous. Unhappy is death without the Savior's love; unhappy is love without the Savior's death. . . . all is either eternal death or eternal love. All Christian wisdom consists in choosing rightly. . . . . That we may live in your eternal love, O Savior of our Souls, we eternally sing, 'Live Jesus! Jesus, I love! Live, Jesus whom I love! Jesus I love, Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.'"
Our Sister Mary Berchmans likes to remark that the teaching of St. Francis de Sales, as embodied in Salesian Spirituality today is "inspired common sense." We celebrate today a man whose gentleness and kindness won the hearts of many and whose down-to-earth common-sense approach to growing in holiness won heaven many souls. Dieu soit beni.!