Vive Jesus!

I was cleaning out some old desk drawers last week, in a not completely successful attempt to feel more organized. But the project ended up being a blessing: amid papers and notes and holy cards and lots of other stuff, I discovered an old, tattered booklet that had been gifted to me way back in high school by one of my teachers, Father Nick Waseline, an Oblate of Saint Francis de Sales. He wrote on the inside cover, “May his wisdom guide you and give you daily peace!” The wisdom was that of Saint Francis de Sales. It was a pamphlet of his quotes.

I remember actually reading the material as an anxious high school student who was trying to discover who he was and who was constantly under self-induced pressure to get straight “A”s in school. I found his words very consoling. I mean reading “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly,” was great advice for an insecure teenager! As was the very similar line, “Be who you are and be that well.” Those words are still helpful to me, and to many.

Francis de Sales, the gentle saint, encouraged his readers to live calmly, in the moment, simply trusting in God, doing what is ours to do and “living Jesus” (“vive Jesus”).

With all the tensions our world presently faces, from in house political fighting to wars in Ukraine, Gaza and Sudan; with the busy pace of life for so many and the seemingly constant state of anxiety in which so many live, I really appreciated being drawn back into “his wisdom.”

For instance:

*Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

Deep sigh. Doesn’t that ring true? And yet how easy it is to let ourselves lose inner peace! Good to have his gentle admonishment to turn to.

Then there is this:

*Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others and talk to God.

How good to remember that even in the midst of activities, we can go inward and talk with God, or be with God or simply remember that God dwells within us—even during a meeting, doing dishes, driving, always! 

*Have patience with all things. But first of all, with yourself.

*True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.

And then there is my favorite—worth copying and putting on your refrigerator or mirror:

*Do not look forward to the trials and crosses of this life with dread and fear.

 Rather, look to them with full confidence that as they arise, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them.

He has guided and guard you thus far in life.

Do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all trials.

Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow.

The same Eternal Father who cares for you today will take good care of you tomorrow and every day of your life.

Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace, then, and put aside all useless thoughts, vain dreads and anxious imaginations.

I’m so glad I found this pamphlet and I’m so grateful Father Waseline gave it to me so many years ago. I remember turning to Saint Francis’ words again and again. And always those words grounded me anew and gave me peace. Finding this pamphlet will encourage me to take up his words again.

It’s funny: I use to love to tease Father Waseline for being a “liberal.” He’d smile and laugh and move along. When he signed my graduation yearbook, he wrote: Congratulations Murphy! And let’s see who the liberal is in 10 years!

Ah, looks like the wisdom of Saint Francis de Sales rubbed off on Father Nick.

Vive Jesus!

Father Liam

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