Born in 1567 Francis missed the first ravages of the reformation. However, he was still one of the great post reformation fathers. As bishop of Geneva, St Francis was ardent in his preaching and re-converted many people from Calvinism.
However, it is as a spiritual writer that St Francis de Sales comes into his own. His "Introduction to the Devout Life" is the only spiritual classic which was written directly for lay people.
In this book, Francis challenges us to reach the heights of holiness while in the lay state. Controversially for the time, St Francis urges charity rather than penance as the path to holiness.
St Francis also makes clear that attention to the detail of life, charity towards others and simple living in our community bears great fruit and witness to the people.
Later in life he wrote "A Treatise on the Love of God" which is a highly mystical book but is written in a manner to be accessible to lay people. Throughout this work, Francis speaks of how God can be found in the ordinary things.
If we are serious about the Christian or Spiritual life, we would do well to study the Devout Life. Today we could begin by practicing a little charity to those we meet.
We have to start somewhere!
image from www.fransalians.com