The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: For Lent

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One of the most profoundly influential and deeply inspirational saints in the last five centuries of the Church, St. Francis de Sales is famous for his personality and writings, which have earned him, respectively, the appellation "The Gentleman Saint" and the designation Doctor of the Church.

De Sales’s tempered and gentle yet firm and determined approach to spiritual direction made him a true pearl of great price in the Church’s spiritual patrimony. No one ever mastered the doctoring of souls quite like this gentle Doctor of the Church—as countless saints formed by his legacy will attest. His Marian devotion and dedication to educating the laity by means of modern communication (at that time, leaflets) placed him ahead of his time, and his erudition combined with his sweetness mark him as a highly unusual man in the story of the Church, particularly during his time.

As a bishop of the Church, St. Francis was emboldened by the charism of preaching the Word of God in a truly apostolic manner. In this volume of The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: For Lent, the Gentle Saint preaches twelve sermons, given during Lent 1622, on key aspects of the Christian life. Chief is St. Francis's treatment of the virtue of mortification: Through fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving, we can learn to resist temptation, avoid losing our souls, live the faith, approach death with a Christian attitude, conduct ourselves properly in illness, and live in mutual charity. In addition, of special interest is the master of meditation's exposition on Our Lord's Passion. Let St. Francis teach you the way to eternal happiness through the toils and labors of Lent, which can be all joy if done for love of God.

St. Francis de Sales
Fr. Lewis Fiorelli
TAN Books
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3 Reviews

  • 5
    Great collection of sermons.

    Posted by Steven McEvoy on Dec 26th 2023

    Over the last few years I have been reading more and more by and about St. Francis de Sales. This volume the third in this series of collected sermons focuses on Lend. These specific sermons in this collection were given in the year 1622. This series was originally published in 1987 and the eBook editions were released in 2015. The topics for these specific sermons are: 1. Fasting 2. Temptation 3. Faith 4. Eternal Happiness 5. Election and Reprobation 6. Mutual Charity 7. Proper Conduct in Illness 8. God's Spiritual Providence 9. Proper Fear of Death 10. Hearing the Word of God 11. Humility and Obedience 12. The Passion of our Lord and What It Means These sermons were compiled from the Saints working notes, tests. And this collection highlights the Saints dedication as a Bishop to preach. We see his preaching style, and the sound presentation of theological truths. As a Bishop St. Francis de Sales preached 20 series over lent, and those in this collection were given to cloistered religious. But any reader today will see their value and how applicable they are to the life of any Christian. And this collection was taken from and translated from the Annecy edition of his sermons volume X. In the introduction Rev. John A. Abruzzese, S.T.D. states: "The Lenten sermons which follow, translated by the Visitation Sisters and edited by Fr. Lewis Fiorelli, O.S.F.S., were obviously meant to be heard, not read. Therefore, a great part of St. Francis' "heart to heart" preaching which made them so effective is undeniably and regrettably lacking. However, the fact that these sermons result from the loving efforts of persons intimately living St. Francis de Sales' spirit, as his spiritual sons and daughters, can be perceived as something issuing from his own heart. If it were not for their labor of love, very few indeed would have even this opportunity of experiencing the personal charism of the saint." SO I took his words to heard and worked through this book twice. The first time I read through the book. The second time I used text to speech in the Kindle application to listen to the sermons. When reading the sermons there was an immediate impact, but when I took time and listened to the same sermon, I found it even more impactful. A few of the sermons I went back and listened to a second time after about a week because of the impact it had on me. A few quotes from the sermon on Fasting as samples of some of what you will encounter in this book. "To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it happens that it profits some and not others, because it is not undertaken by all in the same manner." "The first condition is that we must fast with our whole heart, that is to say, willingly, whole-heartedly, universally and entirely." "It is thus reasonable that, in order to make our fast complete and meritorious, it should be universal, that is to say, practiced in both body and spirit. This is the first condition to be observed in order to fast well. The second condition is never to fast through vanity but always through humility." This book was a wonderful read. It challenged me personally and I know it will do the same for you. I am thankful for having read and to be slowly applying the lessons from this Saint and Doctor of the church. And I look forward to the other three volumes in this series. I highly recommend this book and the series of 4.

  • 5
    Surprisingly Scholarly

    Posted by Boone L. on Jan 24th 2023

    I am delighted to have found this edition of the Lenten sermons St. Francis de Sales to be extremely scholarly in its contents. For example, the index is extraordinarily complete, which shocked me.

  • 5
    Helps with spiritual growth

    Posted by Krystal B. on Oct 26th 2022

    Reading this book has helped me to grow deeper in our faith. It's not a long book so It's perfect for people that don;t have much time but want to learn more or feed their souls. The entire set is great and I highly recommend these books.