Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
St Francis of Sales
- January 24, 2013
Francis was born into an aristocratic Catholic family in Savoy, a region between France and Switzerland in the 16th century, when the religious differences in Europe had hardened into mutual suspicion and hatred. Francis, though trained in law, gave up a distinguished career and opted to become a priest, much against the wishes of his parents. He was determined to win back to the old faith the Calvinist believers of his region, and over several years with his cousin Louis, also a priest, had the joy of bringing back to the Church thousands of Calvinists. What impressed his peers was the simplicity and friendliness of his style, and the power of his preaching and his writing. Therefore, though just 32 years old, Francis was made bishop of Geneva.
His life as bishop was noted for his pastoral zeal: he preached wherever he went, heard confessions of the ordinary folk, reformed religious communities, instructed the young and old, and held annual meetings for his clergy. Side by side, he carried on a voluminous correspondence, finding time to write those masterpieces of the spiritual life which are treasured even today: An Introduction to the Devout Life, for ordinary people; and a Treatise on the Love of God and Spiritual Conferences, meant for the sisters of the Visitation Order, which he founded in 1610 with St Jane Frances de Chantal. His spirituality has influenced several groups in the Church even today, notably the Salesians.
Francis of Sales was canonized within fifty years of his death in 1622. Subsequently he was declared ‘doctor of the Church’, and ‘patron of Catholic writers’. We can do no better than recall two of his sayings on the art of preaching: “In order to speak well, we need only to love well.” And, “The more you say, the less people will remember.”