Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva

24 January -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Francis de Sales was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva at the time John Calvin was working so assiduously to reform the Church in that city. Born in 1567 in the castle at Sales in Savoy, he was educated in Paris and Padua first as a legal advocate and then as a priest. His preaching against Calvinism began in 1593 to win back the Chablais to Roman Catholicism. He moved to Geneva in 1599 as Bishop-Coadjutor and became the diocesan in 1602, continuing his mission. In his preaching and writings, particularly his book Introduction to the Devout Life, he concentrated on putting prayer and meditation within the reach of all Christians. He died at Lyons on 28 December 1622 and his body was translated to Annecy on this day in 1623.

Collect

Holy God,
who called your bishop Francis de Sales
to bring many to Christ through his devout life
and to renew your Church with patience and understanding:
grant that we may, by word and example,
reflect your gentleness and love to all we meet;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the Book of Proverbs.

Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 3. 13-18

Responsorial Psalm

RThe heavens declare your glory, O God,
[and the firmament shows forth your handiwork].
The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent. R

The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes. R

The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures for ever;
the judgements of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold,
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb. R         From Psalm 19

A reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him" -- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Corinthians 2. 1-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 3. 17-21

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Francis de Sales
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.