Malankara World

The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales

By Jean Pierre Camus


On this subject I must relate a charming little instance of our Blessed Father's perfect confidence in God, of which he told me once with his accustomed simplicity, to the great consolation of my soul, and one which I was delighted afterwards to find related in a letter addressed to one of his most intimate friends.

"Yesterday," he said, "wishing to pay a visit to the Archbishop of Vienne, I went on the lake in a little boat, and felt very happy in the thought that my sole protection, besides a thin plank, was Divine Providence. The wind was high, and I was glad, too, to feel entirely under the command of the pilot, who made us all sit perfectly still; and, indeed, I had no wish to stir! Do not, however, my daughter, take these words of mine as proofs of my being very holy. No, they are only little imaginary virtues which I amuse myself by fancying I possess. When it comes to real earnest, I am by no means so brave."

The simplicity of the Saint's thoughts when on the water, and of his way of mentioning them, shows how childlike was his trust in God. It reminds one of the happiness with which St. John leaned upon the Savior's breast. A saying, too, of Saint Teresa which I have read in her life comes to my mind. She declared she was never more absolutely content than when she found herself in some peril which obliged her to have recourse to God; because then it seemed to her that she was clinging more closely to His holy presence, and saying to Him, as did Jacob to the Angel, that she would not let Him go until He had blessed her.

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