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On having the Cross of Jesus in our hearts

3 min • Digitized on February 22, 2022

#Example #Exhortation #Love #Passion

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 186
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley


It was one day reported very seriously to Blessed Francis as though it were some misdemeanor, that one of his penitents who was accustomed to wear on her breast a rich diamond ornament, had had the diamonds made up into a cross which she wore in the same manner as before, and that this was a cause of scandal to certain persons.

Ah! (he cried,) how true it is that the Cross is an occasion of scandal to some, and of edification to others! I do not know who advised this lady to do what she has done, but for my part I am much edified, and only wish that all the gew-gaws and trinkets worn by women could be altered in the same holy manner. That would indeed be to make vessels of the Tabernacle out of their mirrors. [Exod. xxxviii. 8.]

Among his letters I came across lately and with much pleasure, one which I think must have been written to this very lady. In it he says:

When I last had the pleasure of seeing you, dear madam, you were wearing outwardly on your heart a cross; love it fervently, I beseech you. It is all gold if you look at it with loving eyes. On one side it is true that you see the Beloved of your heart, dead, crucified amid nails and thorns; but on the other side you will find a cluster of precious stones ready to adorn the crown of glory which awaits you, if only, meanwhile, you wear lovingly the crown of thorns with your King who willed to suffer so much that He might enter into His joy.

To a lady advanced in years and distinguished by her piety, who was living in my diocese, and whom, out of reverence and affection, he used to call his mother, he wrote as follows, when the infirmities of old age were pressing heavily upon her:

I see very plainly that you must from henceforth accustom yourself to the maladies and infirmities which declining years bring with them. Ah, dear Lord! What happiness for a soul dedicated to God, to be much tried by suffering, before quitting this life!

My dearest mother, how can we learn the lesson of generous and fervent love save amid thorns, crosses, languor, and faintness, and more especially when these sufferings are prolonged and lingering.

Our dear Saviour showed us the measure of His boundless love by that of His labours, and of His sufferings. Show, my dear mother, your love to the Bridegroom of your heart on the bed of pain; for it was on that bed that He fashioned your heart, even before it came into existence, He beholding it as yet only in His divine plan.

Ah! this Divine Saviour has reckoned up all your pains, all your sorrows, and has paid with His Precious Blood for all the patience and the love which you need in order rightly to direct your labours to His glory and to your own salvation. Content yourself with calmly desiring to be all that God wills you to be.

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