6. Pick a virtue you need right now, and practice it. We need different virtues at different stages of our lives. Sometimes we need patience dealing with our senior parents. Other times we need the virtue of listening to friends struggling with a stale relationship. Still other times it’s trust we need to walk with teenagers as they grow and test us. Francis de Calls these “ little virtues’ they are not big and flashy, simply gentle and quiet. De Sales says: “ These virtues are the little, unattractive and inconspicuous virtues, ones to be exercised in our daily lives, in our homes, in our places of employment, with friends and with strangers, any time and all ties-these are the virtues for us.” Conclusion: Look for one small way to improve1
7. Look to faith for answers when all else fails
It’s a wonderful and encouraging remembering that the answer to life’s two basic questions, “Who am I?” And “Where am I going?” is contained in the phrase, “We are all children of God.” To God we all count. No one matters more than anyone else. He created us to succeed and God will do all He can to help us do just that. The big part of all this is us, do we believe this? If we do, then we will proceed on our journey in faith.
De Sales sees it this way: “Having called you to this life, God will strengthen you with grace to do what is required for God’s glory and for your own welfare and happiness, provided you walk in faithful observance.” Conclusion: No one makes it alone.
8.Bury the hatchet about your past. And start over.
In life we don’t always end where we would like. We never won the lottery. We never got the promotion we wanted. We even missed the little cottage with the white picket fence. Our dream just didn’t happen. Yet, we have something, but not that one thing.
When St Jane de Chantal’s widowhood shattered her dreams, Francis de Sales persuaded her to get another dream. “It’s your dream. You can change it for another.” Later St Jane wrote this: “ We strive for that loving union of hearts which brings about a holy peace and the kind of blessings we desire to have in the house of God and His Holy Mother.” Conclusion: Be gentle with everyone especially with yourself.
9. Take time to get some fresh air
We make progress on the road to holiness by getting off the couch. We have to be proactive in life. This means getting up and meeting life where it greets us. Often we have to change our surroundings, getting fresh air or new opinions and different viewpoints
Whatever it takes, we need to breathe in fresh air, do it. Whatever it takes to bring in newness and blow away staleness, do it. Francis de Sales iced fresh air too. He once said: “Don’t despair over our shortcomings. Start over each day. You make spiritual progress by continually beginning again.” Conclusion: Stay open to new ideas
10. Laugh at yourself. It has a healing effect
We need to find more opportunities to laugh, especially at ourselves. Often we take ourselves too seriously, and too many things personally. This happens because we can’t separate who we are from what we do. We need to keep them unconnected.
If we can see humor in any failure or mistake, we can heal more quickly. De Sales offers this sound advice: “if we make a mistake, laugh at yourself and try again. If an action or decision doesn’t seem good and it looks as if you made a mistake, you should not blame yourself, but rather humble yourself and laugh at yourself.” Conclusion: Use humor to amuse, and do it often!
In conclusion, the spirituality of St Francis de Sales encourages each of us to attain holiness and eventual sainthood through the performance of ordinary everyday activities. And it happens within daily living.
I sincerely hope these ten practical hints help you in your pursuit of this same holiness. Please share this blog with a friend or anyone who wants to travel the road to heaven through their present moments.
Remember it is living well each present moment that will get us to that final present moment of entry in eternal life. But we have to do it one moment at a time. It’s quite a journey, but it can be done.
Live today well.