Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Saint Francis de Sales NULL

French Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva, Opponent of Calvinism, known for his writings on spiritual direction and spiritual formation including "Introduction to the Devout Life" and "Treatise on the Love of God"

"A judicious silence is always better than truth spoken without charity."

"Having patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly start remedying them - every day begin the task anew."

"We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work."

"Common duties become religious acts when performed with fervor."

"Our actions are our own; their consequences belong to Heaven."

"Our free will can hinder the course of inspiration, and when the favourable gale of god’s grace swells the sails of our soul, it is in our power to refuse consent and thereby hinder the effect of the wind’s favour; but when our spirit sails along and makes it voyage prosperously, it is not we who make the gale of inspiration blow for us, nor we who make our sails swell with it, nor we who give motion to the ship of our heart; but we simply receive the gale, consent to its motion and let our ship sail under it, not hindering it by; our resistance."

"Inspirations prevent us, and even before they are through of make themselves felt; but after we have felt them it is ours either to consent to them, so as to second and follow their attractions, or else to dissent and repulse them. They make themselves felt without us, but they do not make us consent without us."

"The body, too, with yesterday’s excess burden’d and tired shall the pure soul depress."

"If you would fall into any extreme, let it be on the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists rigor, and yields to softness."

"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence."

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them. Everyday begin the task anew."

"The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed but, if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit."

"There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust."

"He prays well who is so absorbed with God that he does not know he is praying."

"An ounce of work is worth many pounds of words."

"Considered in themselves, painful things can never be loved, but considered in the light of their source - as ordained by Providence and the will of God 2- they are infinitely delightful."

"Devotion is really neither more or less than a general inclination and readiness to do that which we know to be acceptable to God. To be truly devout, we must not only do God’s will, but we must do it cheerfully."

"He who prays fervently knows not whether he prays or not, for he is not thinking of prayer which he makes, but of God, to whom he makes it."

"Great works do not always lie in our way, but every moment we may do little ones excellently, that is, with great love."

"Prayer is called mystical, because of the hidden nature of the conversation: God and the individual speak heart to heart, and what passes between them can be shared with no one else."

"Those who entertain an extreme and inordinate dread of being damned, show that they have more need of humility and submission than of understanding."

"Meditation is no other thing than the attentive thought, voluntarily reiterated and entertained in the mind, to excite the will to holy and salutary affections and resolutions."

"What are these virtues of spirit? They are faith, which shows us truths entirely elevated above the senses; hope, which makes us aspire to things invisible; charity, which makes us love not of sense, not of nature, not of self-interest, but with a love pure, solid and unchangeable, having its foundation in God."

"The soul that flows out into God does not die; death is alien to what is submerged in life. The soul is alive, but not to itself. Stars are ever giving light, but they do not shine in the daytime; the sun shines in them, and they are hidden away in the sun’s rays. So it is with the soul; still alive, but now its life is bound up with God; or rather, it is God who lives in it."

"To love our neighbor with a love of charity is to love God in man or man in God and consequently, to love God alone for His own sake and creatures for the love of God."

"We ought to repose on Divine Providence, not only for what concerns temporal things, but much more for what relates to our spiritual life and perfection."

"Love is the abridgment of all theology."

"Considered in themselves, painful things can never be loved, but considered in the light of their source - as ordained by Providence and the will of God - they are infinitely delightful."

"Where is the foolish person who would think in his power to commit more than God could forgive."

"Be patient with everyone, but above all with thyself. I mean, do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage."

"The test of the worth of a preacher is when his congregation [goes] away saying, not “What a beautiful sermon! But “I will do something.”"

"Labor, as well as fasting, serves to mortify and subdue the flesh. Provided the labor you undertake contributes to the glory of God and your own welfare, I would prefer that you should suffer the pain of labor rather than that of fasting."

"The more miserable we know ourselves to be, the more occasions we have to confide in God, since we have nothing in ourselves in which to confide."

"You fear to quit the medleys of the world, where vanity reigns, where avarice tarnishes the most beautiful virtues, where infidelity holds dominion with the sway of a despot, where virtue is trampled under foot and vice carries off the prize of honor."

"The sincerity which is not charitable proceeds from a charity which is not sincere."

"Be who you are and be that well."

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections."

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."

"Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs."

"Those who love to be feared fear to be loved, and they themselves are more afraid than anyone, for whereas other men fear only them, they fear everyone."

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

"A heart full of love loves the commandments and the more difficult it seems, the more sweet and pleasing they become because it pleases the Beloved and gives Him more honor."

"After the action of the imagination, follows the action of the understanding which we call meditation, which is nothing else than one or several considerations made in order to move our affections to God and to divine things, in which meditation is different from study and other thoughts and considerations."

"A quarrel between friends, when made up, adds a new tie to friendship, as ... the callosity formed 'round a broken bone makes it stronger than before. [as experience shows that the callosity formed around a broken bone makes it stronger than before.]"

"A sign that we love truly love God is that we love Him the same in all occasions."

"A good discourse is that from which nothing can be retrenched without cutting into the quick."

"All the good we do, we do for love of God, and the evil we avoid, we avoid for love of God."

"And nothing as tender as true strength."