Monday, September 21, 2009

I've been reading a little from St Francois De Sales and I really like the two following paragraphs.

"Everything St. Francois said, even the most casual word, to all his pupils, was aimed, by his extremely subtle approach, at eliminating all traces of fear and anguish. That is why gentleness was his keynote. Scarcely had he spoken to anyone before he knew their temperament and disposition and natural traits. He also had the ability to conform all that he had to say to the capacity and capability of the listener so that everybody, from a simple maid to a Jesuit theologian, from an unassuming widow to an argumentative Calvinist, could understand him. He served one kind of meat to the strong and another to the weak; he used one language for the extrovert, and another to the introvert........

Is not the real challenge of the spiritual guide to know the place where the person he is guiding happens to be - physically, intellectually and spiritually? So many spiritual directors write or speak from a point of view which is rigidly fixed on a particular path which they themselves have traveled. Even though they may be well advanced they frequently speak in light of some condition which they alone have experienced and often without realizing that others are not at their stage, and perhaps not even meant to experience what they have experienced, or might not ever be destined to travel the same way".

I just love the last paragraph! So often I have heard people speak without taking time to listen to the hearer, almost as though they have a one size fits all gospel. Often I recall Jesus asking a question to people that inquired of Him; "do you want to be healed?", "what does the scripture say," are just examples of Christ seeking the underlying issues. We have the gospel presented to us by four authors, each to a different audience; Jews, Romans, Greeks, Gentiles. I think this is further example of changing methods to differing people.

Photo by Tom White


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

This is the first time I read something about Francis de Sales. He seems to be an expert in dealing with human beings. I also did not know that the four versions of the Bible were written for four different people.

I have been buying all my stationery here in Kochi from a shop named Francis de Sales press. But I never realized he is such a great man. Thanks for sharing.

Many, many thanks for telling your friend about my blog.

Have a nice day Fred:)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
I have heard little about Francois De Sales myself, but I too am impressed with his insights. I think he is greatly revered within the Catholic church and I wonder if Mother Teresa read his works, because like you mentioned, she says many things along the same vein and she had that tenderness of spirit I see in his writings.
Regarding the four gospels, now let me see if I can remember this, the gospel of Matthew was written to the Jews who looked to the fathers generational lines for their Messiah, and so Matthew begins with genealogy, Christs greatest sermons are in Matthew, his authority is pronounce more dramatically in this book. Mark was written to the Romans who valued power, and Christs miracles are focused on more in this book. The book of Luke is written to the Greeks who revered logic and philosophy so Christ told more of His parables in Luke. John was written to the gentiles and His far reaching glory and mercy is stressed their. It has been some time since I heard this and I may have some of it backward but it does illustrate how Christ adapts to his hearers.
God bless,