Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Patron and Our Aim

                  There was a young man living in France in the latter half of the sixteenth century named Francis. His father was a rich lawyer and, naturally, expected his eldest son to become one as well, so he sent Francis off to the current equivalent of Harvard law-school. Francis, however, had a Dead Poets Society style experience and decided that he’d much rather become a priest. So he quit his job as a lawyer, rejected the stuffy society chick his dad had picked out for him, and entered the seminary. His father tried to intervene, but fortunately Francis had the very cool (and presumably Robin-Williams-esque) Bishop of Geneva on his side, who managed to convince Francis Sr. to give in.
                  Not content with his cushy office in the Diocese of Geneva, Francis decided to go off and evangelize the region of Le Chablais AKA Huguenot central. Ever see the movie The Warriors? It’s basically like that, except there was only Francis and his cousin, they were unarmed, and they went there on purpose to evangelize (also, the villain here was Calvin, not Luther). 
"Catholics! Come out and plaaaaayyy!"
                  After camping out in the winter, hiding from wolves, and a couple of assassination attempts, Francis’s cousin said “screw this!” and left. Francis himself, meanwhile, was having trouble getting his message across since people kept slamming their doors in his face:
                  “I’d like to talk to you about the Eucharist-” *SLAM*
                  “Historically speaking, the Papacy-“ *SLAM*
                  “Wolves tasted my blood and I think they want more-“ *SLAM*
                  So, unwilling to give up, Francis took to writing out his sermons, copying them by hand, and slipping them under people’s doors. In this way, he slowly evangelized the entire region and, eventually, brought a large chunk of the population (read: a couple thousand) back into the Catholic Church, all while pioneering the first crude form of blogging. That is why today Saint Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers, journalists, and (presumably) bloggers.
                  He’s also our patron saint here at the Catholic Nerd. See, Francis was famous for more than just an insane determination to evangelize; he also championed the uniqueness of each individual. After his adventures in Huguenot-and-wolf land, he came back and succeeded sixteenth-century Robin Williams as Bishop of Geneva, in which capacity he set about writing books on how anyone from any walk of life could become a saint. He wrote about how you can still have fun and be yourself while serving God. “Be who you are,” he said. “And be that well.”
                  Here at the Catholic Nerd, we seek to become the best possible versions of ourselves. We intend to integrate our particular interests, talents, and experiences into the life of Christ. We constantly seek improvement in our personal, spiritual, and professional lives. We eagerly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as handed on through the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops. And we seek to baptize the culture around us by our words, works, and examples.
                  St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
                  Vive Christus Rex!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the extra info about Francis's early life. I like the tie-in with the Dead Poet's Society, though I know nothing of The Warriors.

The Sojourner said...

Note to self: Don't try to drink water while reading things like " “Wolves tasted my blood and I think they want more-“ *SLAM*"

Also, thanks for inspiring me to actually go check out books by St. Francis like I've been meaning to for years.

Post a Comment