'Be who you are and be that well as a witness to the master craftsman who created you.'
At the outset, this encouraging saying is a basic principal of Saint Francis de Sales’ writings. He believes that along with God’s wonderful gift of grace--we can all fulfill these words. His popular common sense spirituality gets its vitality from its implications. For De Sales, Sainthood is open to everyone.
When reading this statement for the first time, we may not be surprised that this affirmation of our humanity comes from this saint. However, some ask: Did Francis de Sales simply mean that all we have to do is be our self now--and then later be honored with sainthood?
How can this be? Don’t we have to do sacrifice, like fasting or do penance and even spend long hours praying to achieve our saintly halo? Not really. Rather, Francis de Sales' “open to all” spirituality, rests on the belief that we can achieve sainthood anywhere, and in any career we choose. It just has to give praise to the God who made us.
Think about it! When we earnestly begin understanding who we are through our gifts, our strengths, or by knowing what makes us laugh and cry, it is then we grasp our vulnerabilities. And we realize we don’t have to hide them. It’s okay to be who we are. They open the doors to holiness, allowing us to become the true person God wants.
DeSales believes that the roots of holiness sprout in the soil of our weaknesses. They make us see we need others for sainthood to blossom in our lives. This reminds me of what my Mother once said: “We start becoming a saint, when we believe we can’t.” I think Francis de Sales would agree with her.
For example, when we give up pleasing others simply to make them like us--we are becoming who we truly are. When we stop believing in the convictions of others just to be accepted, we start becoming who we are meant to be. It is in those moments, when we are standing tall before Jesus that we are on the road to sainthood. And we do this one day at a time.
For De Sales, it’s the character we build in our hearts that shows our true valor. Mindless recited prayers or multiple acts of sacrifice said and done simply to be said and done do not make saints. De Sales wants our actions to flow from our hearts.
Therefore refreshed with the cheerful spiritualityof St Francis de Sales, i.e., “to be who we are and to be that well,” we can walk firmly on our grand pilgrimage of holiness. And this "grand pilgrimage" is done “one step at a time,” filling in our weakness with God’s love and mercy, and doing our “ordinary duties, extraordinarily well."
This blog: livetodaywell.org, offers the reader gentle ways, in which one can “turn small acts of everyday life into great acts of praise to God"--and become "a witness to the master craftsman who created us"-just one day at a time.