Love comes first, the pope said in a letter to St. Francis de Sales

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The most important question a Christian can ask when making life decisions is “where to find the greatest love,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter marking in the 400th year of St. Francis de Sales, a doctor of the church.

Considering the legacy of St. Francis, who was born in France in 1567 and died in 1622, Pope Francis said that he believed that the “simplicity and his far-reaching vision speak to us,” especially seeing the real thing. – the life struggles of ordinary people and the trial of faith in love.

It is called the letter of the pope “It’s all about love” and was released by the Vatican Dec. 28, the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Francis de Sales, who is the bishop of Geneva, Switzerland, the founder of the Visitation Sisters and a prolific writer, including the documents he pours down. the doors of people’s houses.

In a widely quoted letter from the books of St. Francis, “Treatise on the Love of God” and “Introduction to the Devout Life,” but from his own teaching, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said to the saint. there are many things to teach the church today.

“We are threatened to be a church outside and independent of all worldly things, while we live in this world, sharing the lives of people and traveling with them by listening and acceptance,” the pope wrote. “That is what Francis de Sales did when he saw the events of his times with the help of God’s love.”

“Today he commands us to put aside unnecessary anxiety about ourselves, about our houses and the opinion of society about us, and think about the real needs and hopes of our people,” said the pope.

Returning in 1602 to Paris, where he had previously studied, St.

“This is not the first time he has met strong Christians, but this time things are different,” the pope said. “Paris was not the city destroyed by religious wars that he had seen during the years of his education, or the violent battles that he had seen in Chablais,” a region on the border of France and Switzerland .

“He encountered something unexpected: a flood of saints, true saints, many and everywhere,” according to St. “Men and women of culture, professors of the Sorbonne, civil authorities, kings and queens, servants and maids, religious men and women. The whole world is thirsty to God in different ways.”

The holy bishop has developed a new approach to spiritual leadership, the pope said. “It’s a way of doing things that avoids being rude and really appreciates the dignity and gifts of a religious soul, despite its weaknesses.”

As the second Vatican Council taught 350 years later, the pope wrote, St.

And, he said, the saint knows that the call is generous, poured out with love.

“At the same time, this grace does not make us. It leads us to see the love of God before us, and his first gift is in our acceptance of that love,” wrote the pope. “Therefore it is the responsibility of each person to meet his own achievement, spreading his wings with confidence before the wind of God.”

“Greater than any kind of unnecessary rigidity or self-restraint,” wrote Pope Francis, St. to receive.

St. John Paul II, he said to St. Francis de Sales is the “Doctor of Divine Love,” not because he wrote about God’s love, but because “he was a perfect witness to that love.”

“His writings are not locked behind a desk, far from the concerns of ordinary people,” said Pope Francis. “His teachings are the product of a great understanding of knowledge.”

“To live in the middle of the world city while nurturing the inner life, to combine the desire for perfection with every situation of life, and to find an inner peace that does not separate us from the world but teach us how to live in it. and to respect, but to keep a proper distance from it – this is the opinion of Francis de Sales, and these are valuable lessons for the men and women in our own time,” wrote the pope.