January 24 is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor. HE has been called “the Gentleman Saint” because of his patience and gentleness.
Fr. Martin Bialas, C.P., writes, “The author who had the most decisive influence on the thinking of Paul of the Cross and one whose works Paul read throughout his life was St. Francis de Sales. Hence it is he who is designated here as Paul’s favourite author. Of Francis’ works, Paul favoured The Treatise on the Love of God. This treatise fascinated him the reason being that the infinite love of God was, for Paul, the fundamental principle and end of of his spiritual life. Some of his contemporaties knew of the affinity between him and St. Francis de Sales, and it was to the “mild bishop of Geneva” that they mostly compared Paul.”
(cf. Martin Bialas, The Mysticism of St. Paul of the Cross, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1990, p. 110)
FROM THE WRITINGS OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
Don’t waste your time dreaming of being someone else. Don’t try to be someone else. Work and pray at being yourself. Be who you are, where you are. Concentrate on the little everyday problems and pains that beset you. Reserve your best efforts, expend your spiritual energy on what is right before you. This is what God asks of you: that you live and respond to his grace in the here and now. To do anything else is a waste of time. Don’t cultivate someone else’s garden. Grow where you are planted. [Set Your Heart Free, The Practical Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, Ave Maria Press, p.53]