Today the Institute celebrates the external solemnity of Saint Francis de Sales. This great Saint, who so loved Christmastide, entered Heaven on the Feast of the Holy Innocents just over 399 years ago. As we draw close to the conclusion of the Christmas season I would like to post this correspondence from the saint to another saint, Saint Jane Francis Fremiot de Chantal. Writing to her just after Christmas Midnight Mass, he encourages her, and us by imitation, to draw near and stay near the Babe of Bethlehem:
“Oh! The sweetness of this night! The Church has been singing these words – honey has dropped from the heavens. I thought to myself, that the Angels not only come down on our earth to sing their admirable Gloria in excelsis, but to gaze also on this sweet Babe, this Honey of heaven resting on two beautiful Lilies, for sometimes he is in Mary’s arms, and sometimes it is Joseph that caresses him.
“What will you say of my having the ambition to think that our two Angel Guardians were of the grand choir of blessed Spirits that sang the sweet hymn on this night? I said to myself: Oh! happy we, if they would deign to sing once more their heavenly hymn, and our hearts could hear it! I besought it of them, that so there might be glory in the highest heavens, and peace to hearts of good will.
“Returning home from celebrating these sacred mysteries, I rest awhile in thus sending you my Happy Christmas! for I dare say that the poor Shepherds took some little rest, after they had adored the Babe announced to them by the Angels. And as I thought of their sleep on that night, I said to myself: How sweetly must not have slept, dreaming of the sacred melody wherewith the Angels told them the glad tidings, and of the dear Child and the Mother they had been to see!“
Dear Readers, I wish you a blessed feast day filled with the joy of Christmas and the love of St. Francis de Sales.