US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Lent Day 10: St. Francis de Sales

During Lent, create time for your heart to remain alone in the presence of God.

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Saint Francis de Sales: Divine solitude
Always remember to retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others. This mental solitude cannot be violated by the many people who surround you, since they are not standing around your heart but only around your body. Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.

Such was the exercise King David practiced amid his many occupations, and he testifies to it countless times in the psalms, as when he says, “O Lord, I am always with you”; “I see the Lord always before me”; “I have lifted my eyes to you, O my God, who dwells in heaven”; “My eyes are ever toward God.” Indeed, our tasks are seldom so important as to keep us from withdrawing our hearts from them from time to time in order to retire into this divine solitude. (Introduction to the Devout Life, Doubleday)

Reflection questions

1. Where do you go to be alone with God?

2. How can you make more time in your life to focus on your relationship with God?

3. Take time today to practice some kind of contemplative prayer, whether it be reading the psalms, sitting and listening to music, or just resting in the presence of Christ. Is this a regular part of your prayer life? How does this wordless prayer make you feel? Bored? Fulfilled? Stressed?

Saint Francis de Sales (15671622) was bishop of Geneva and one of the originators of lay spirituality.