Happy Feast Day, my fellow writers! Today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists. There is a great lesson to be learned in the story of St. Francis’ life. He lived during the time of the Protestant Reformation when so many were leaving the Catholic Church for the new Christian religions being formed. Francis desired more than anything to bring these folks back to the Church, and to convert many others as well. He tried desperately to bring about conversion by preaching and knocking on doors. Several doors were slammed in his face; many people insulted him; and he was even pelted with rocks. After praying for discernment, Francis decided to go about things in a different way. He began writing leaflets about the Catholic faith, and inserting them through the crack in the bottom of the front doors of houses all throughout the towns where he traveled. People were so inspired by his writing, that when all was said and done, it is reported that Francis helped to bring about the conversion of over 40,000 people in his ministry.
The lesson: Francis’ gift was not preaching. When he tried to go about things his way, he failed miserably. It was only after praying for discernment that he was able to discover how God wanted him to use his personal gift – writing – to bring others to Christ. It was through his writing that he touched many hearts. Francis had given God permission to use him in the way that the Lord saw fit. Then, and only then was Francis successful.
What gifts and talents has God-given to you that He wants you to use to further His Kingdom? Pray for discernment, and listen to the advice of St. Francis de Sales:
“Go courageously to do whatever you are called to do. Go simply. If you have any fears, say to your soul: ‘The Lord will provide for us.’ If your weakness troubles you, cast yourselves on God, and trust in Him. The apostles were mostly unlearned fishermen, but God gave them learning enough for the work they had to do. Trust in Him, depend on His providence; fear nothing.”