Good Friday Sermon of St. Francis de Sales

The Passion of Our Lord and What it Means

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The Passion of Our Lord and What It Means

Chatting about: Spiritual Significance of Beauty

Referencing St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales shares that we appreciate beauty by knowing and seeing it, rather than by owning it. How does realizing beauty as something greater than ourselves point towards the author of beauty?
With this criteria in mind, how is monastic life beautiful?
For most of history, Churches have always been grand and beautiful. Do modern Churches stir our hearts and souls in the same way? If not, is this a loss to us?

All beauty on earth serves as a window through which we experience God. Beauty is something greater than ourselves which moves us. Is it necessary to religious life? Undoubtedly! To prepare for Sunday’s chat, please read our article, “The Spiritual Importance of Beauty”, as well as “Monastic Beauty.”

The Spiritual Importance of BEAUTY | Visitation Spirit

Sister Susan Marie: The inspiration for this came from an article about the modern idea of beauty but without goodness

Apr 13 2014, 7:27 PM

Al: good idea for a topic

Sister Susan Marie: We need to share the beauty of our lives and keep our hearts pointed to the good

Sister Susan Marie: And the beauty of religious life, and monastic life, is all pervasive I think

Guest8 (guest): I read an article once, that proposed that churches today built with a convention center style of architecture will actually lead people to sin whereas traditional churches point heavenward.

Sister Susan Marie: Very interesting! yes, some modern churches actually look like airport waiting areas

Alt: interesting! I do love the beauty of our Catholic Churches

Guest8 (guest): It was an interesting argument for the necessity of beauty within the church. It also discussed just the beauty of the mass as well.

Sister Susan Marie: Ornateness in a tasteful, spiritual style, leads the heart better to God, for most people

Al: absolutely

Sister Susan Marie: God is the all beautiful and can you image the beauty of heaven? Churches should reflect that

14, 7:32 PM

Sister Susan Marie: One should gasp on entering!

Al: i dont know that it could be captured!

Guest8 (guest): Yes I agree. We need to point people to what is beautiful, good, and true.

Sister Susan Marie: What Church would you point a person to?

Sister Susan Marie: For beauty?

Al: do you mean a specific one?

Sister Susan Marie: Yes if you have one in mind

Sister Susan Marie: Byzantine Catholic churches are outstanding too

Al: i do! It would be St. Lukes here in Rangeley

in the mountains, on the lake and just a simple decor

Sister Susan Marie: So God’s creation surrounding St Luke’s is the setting of beauty for simplicity:

Guest8 (guest): I think there are many that I could point to that are beautiful. Some with beautiful stained glass windows and architecture, but some that are beautiful in their simplicity as well.

Al: yes

God’s creation is breath taking

Sister Susan Marie: I know the Trappists prefer the simplicity in their monasteries, a stark beauty one might say. It helps them concentrate on the one thing necessary, the presence of God

Sister Susan Marie: Exterior beauty can lead to interior beauty, of the soul, the mind and the heart

Sister Susan Marie: Have you found that to be true?

Al: yes so much so

Guest8 (guest): I agree. I been on retreat at a Trappist monastery and find it to be quite stunning.

Al: and Fr. Paul is an artist as well as our cantor Susy

they decorate for the seasons

I feel peaceful inside

Sister Susan Marie: Yes we must include music as a part of beauty which lifts our souls to God

Al We have had people cry during music

you can feel the beauty- do you know what i mean

Sister Susan Marie: I’ve been once to the Trappist Monastery in Gethsemane in KY and chant and interior whiteness of the walls was quite an experience of prayer

Sister Susan Marie: Yes Al the heart is moved

Al: it sounds like it Sister

Guest8 (guest): I agree that exterior beauty can lead one to that interior beauty in the heart. I know when I visit the abbey of Gethsemane as well I just want to drop to my knees in prayer, and in the silence that dwells with God.

K (guest): God made us humans with senses and I think it is easier to allow Him to speak to our hearts when we are touched with beauty, be it music, architecture or nature.

Sister Susan Marie: Extraordinary silence there!

Guest8 (guest): Yes there is. I feel so at home when I am there.

Alt: I think everything about our Catholic faith evokes emotion. the incense, the music the priest lifting the host

Guest8 (guest): There is such depth in the silence.

Apr 13 2014, 7:42 PM

Al: and of course the fact that our Lord is present!

Guest8 (guest): Absolutely! Even in his suffering there is beauty.

Al: especially moving during this holy week

Sister Susan Marie: Yes this week is filled with movement, processions, and beauty even as we contemplate His great suffering for us

Guest8 (guest): As I experience Holy Week, I am profoundly amazed at his suffering that my Lord, the Lover of my soul, has gone to such great lengths to do this for even me.

Guest8 (guest): It is such a profound love and it is so beautiful.

Sister Susan Marie: Thank you- that is so profoundly stated

Guest8 (guest): Yet I must admit that I sometimes have a hard time thinking that I ever deserve such love.

Alt: true guest

: and I hardly thank Him

K (guest): When we experience beauty, it changes us because it is an encounter with He who is goodness, truth and beauty. M

Alice Lewis-Eckardt: like when we see a newborn baby- innocence and beauty

Sister Susan Marie: Yes K, well expressed point, we change for the better. so called beauty without goodness or truth may change us for the worse

Sister Susan Marie: And certainly the love of the Lord changes us for the better

K (guest): And when we experience beauty with other people we can grow together in our love for Him and for each other.

Al: love that K

Guest8 (guest): I agree K

Sister Susan Marie: The encouragement we give one another or the different facets of His beauty that we uniquely see and then share- that is the Body of Christ

Sister Susan Marie: I like that K- we ponder and contemplate together, as it were:

K (guest): I tend toward thinking that beauty is always orderly, but maybe I am wrong.

Apr 13 2014, 7:54 PM

Sister Susan Marie: I think St Francis de Sales emphasizes order in beauty

Sister Susan Marie: He said He said, “Union in distinction makes order; order produces agreement; and proportion and agreement, in complete and finished things, make beauty.

K(guest): I see the meticulous movements in the liturgy and it is beautiful.

Sister Susan Marie: And perhaps K that is what some people see in the Tridentine Liturgy

Sister Susan Marie: Those meticulous movements that the priest does

K(guest): Yes, I love the Latin Mass.

Sister Susan Marie: The beauty of holiness!

Sister Susan Marie: The most beautiful Liturgies happen when the priest is holy- you do feel then heaven is there

K(guest): And in music, when the pitch matches perfectly or there is perfect harmony, the overtones actually create more harmony. Wow the wonder of sound.

Sister Susan Marie: There is UNITY

Apr 13 2014, 8:00 PM

Am: Gregorian chants, because of their beauty and mystery, are hot now

Guest8 (guest): I think the mass allows us to see the beauty of the cross and the suffering. It takes the torment of the cross and transforms it into an image that saves the world.

Guest8 (guest): Beyond the ugliness is the supreme expression of His love for the world.

K (guest): The terms “wonder”, “awe” and “beauty” go together. Yes Gregorian chant is a source of beauty that young people are embracing. Hello Sister Mary Roberta.

Sister Susan Marie: Love profound love of Jesus, takes the horrid and makes it beautiful

Guest8 (guest): Yes there is beauty in unity. That is why the communion of the saints is so important in the life of the church.

Ca: Unity/communio of hearts & minds

Am: Monastics don’t “own” anything to speak of

Apr 13 2014, 8:06 PM

Ca: W/God & each other (?)

Mary Roberta Viano: But also beauty in the diversity of symbols: from the Bishop of Lincoln, NE, Bishop James Conley: “The Church calls us to contemplate symbols – the waving palms, the washed feet, the Easter fire – and their meaning as signs pointing to a more profound reality.”

Alt: well i think there is beauty in creation- made by God. And monastic life praises God

Apr 13 2014, 8:07 PM

Guest8 (guest): Monastic life is beautiful in its simplicity. But also as it joins together in communion with the whole church to sing the praises of God in the liturgy of the hours.

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, Al. More from the Bishop: “We are given our senses – and our ability to appreciate beauty – so that we can appreciate the profundity of this Paschal mystery.”

Ca: Yes, praising Creator with fiat to Him

Am: The whole Bible has so many symbols, we can take a lifetime studying it. didn’t Jesus arrive in Jerusalem frm the eastern part of the city?

Car: He always arrives from East!

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, Guest8, the Office is beautiful and meaningful and unifying.

Am: and somewhere in the old testament does mention the messiah will come from the East

Ca: Yes ad orientem

Mary Roberta Viano: He’s the Morning Star, rising in the East.

Am: see how beautiful just one thing from Jesus’s arrival to Jerusalem is, and everything has a meaning

Guest8 (guest): Monastic life is also beautiful in its humility and obedience to the Lord.

Am: In the silence you can hear God

Mary Roberta Viano: I love Song of Songs because it speaks of Our Lord’s overwhelming beauty – and His deep love for us.

Apr 13 2014, 8:12 PM

Guest8 (guest): As we seek to do His will, and trust Him completely with our lives we become more like Him and thus enter into His beauty.

Am: That’s really hard, Guest8. Total surrender to divine providence.

Mary Roberta Viano: To appreciate beauty I have to be still and silent.

Guest8 (guest): Yes I agree Am

K (guest): Silence, the language of God.

Ca: Yes, still small voice in silence

Mary Roberta Viano: That soft breeze that Elijah felt

Am: Me too, Sister. I think our world is too noisy. when we lost power here in the ice storm, it’s amazing you notice the lack of the refrigerator noise, or those little hums

Sister Susan Marie: Yes it is difficult but that will bring us the most beauty and peace since His Will is always the best for us

Al: Am so true!

Am: we always seem to want to run ahead of Jesus.

Apr 13 2014, 8:15 PM

Al: i sometimes like to lose power for that reason

K (guest): Our peace is in His will.

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, Amy. Again the good NE Bishop says: “This Holy Week, consider turning off the TV in your home – and the radio and the social media you consume.”

Al: i will try that!

Ca: Good advice, but tough I do that periodically

Mary Roberta Viano: So, after this chat room, no more computer until Easter Monday!

Al: I am moving to a house out of town with no internet or cell service

Ca: Al more like a hermitage!

Apr 13 2014, 8:17 PM

Guest8 (guest): Good idea Sister Mary Roberta. I wish I could, but I have to go to school and do my homework.

Al: ok Sister Mary Roberta!I will let you know how it goes

Sister Susan Marie: Yes and we will not have chat on Easter of course!

Mary Roberta Viano: That’s why I’m glad we only go online for monastic work – not just to surf.

Guest8 (guest): To truly enter into the silence can be hard.

Sister Susan Marie:

The reason this week’s topic came up was because there are so many who look for beauty in the wrong places and separate it from goodness or even truth. That can happen on many fronts. How do we bring people back to goodness as well as beauty?

Mary Roberta Viano: True, Guest8, but that’s when we consciously hand it over to the Lord.

Ca: God’s goodness truth beauty & love = inseparable

Al: I feel like we are in a materialistic world. if we gave some of that up maybe it would help

K(guest): By living it ourselves.

Guest8 (guest): Definitely Kim! By trying to model it for others.

Ca: Imitation of Jesus

K (guest): Allowing them to want what we have.

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, inseparable, Ca – until we get hung up on the beautiful.

Guest8 (guest): And modeling the joy that it brings to our lives.

Ki(guest): Yes, with joy Guest 8!

Ca: Hung up with superficial/passing aspects of beauty= not good

Joy= from deeper grasp of beauty

Sister Susan Marie: Inner peace is a good sign of beauty that is united with goodness

Al: good Ca!

K (guest): True beauty becomes a part of us, so it last.

Apr 13 2014, 8:25 PM

Ca: Yes, Sister- deep unrest from pursuing the superficial, selfish etc

Mary Roberta Viano: Pope Francis seems very detached from beauty.

Ca: Pope radiates beauty of Christ

Al: yes what a great role model for our Church

Mary Roberta Viano: He wants to “smell like the sheep.”

Guest8 (guest): Yes Sister Susan Marie. “Be still and know.”

Alt: He really does

Mary Roberta Viano: – not very sweet smelling!

Alt: haha

Ca: Hahahaha sheep are def quite stinky

Al: I think he has kissed more people than any pope

Guest8 (guest): Yet there is a beauty in the Holy Father’s humility.

Mary Roberta Viano: – like St. Francis of A. kissing the sick and smelly leper

Ca: How wonderful that he has kissed even the skin diseased man

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, that’s why he’s joyful countenance is on the cover of so many magazines!

Guest8 (guest): And there is beauty in the geniune love and compassion that he has shown.

Apr 13 2014, 8:28 PM

Sister Susan Marie: He insists on a Church capable of “making the heart burn,” of healing every kind of illness and injury, of restoring happiness.

Ca: Now if only the guys @ Rolling Stone would take their fascination a few steps further

Alt: lol

Apr 13 2014, 8:29 PM

Mary Roberta Viano: Yes, that love and compassion are definitely beautiful.

K (guest): Yes Sister Susan, “making the heart burn with love”.

Sister Susan Marie: Yes Carla, that’s the point- to move them to truth and goodness and beauty!

Ca: Yes Sister SM- I think he

Ca: Is having great impact

Al: Another great chat! thank you! Have a happy Easter.

Apr 13 2014, 8:30 PM

Ca: Is having great impact

Ca: Blessed Easter

Mary Roberta Viano: Blessed Holy Week!

Guest8 (guest): Yes many blessings all week to all!

Guest8 (guest): May you experience His beauty this week.

Apr 13 2014, 8:32 PM

Sister Susan Marie: Blessed Holy Week and Easter to all!

Holy Week Meditations of St Francis de Sales


Sunday April 13

“Truly this was the Son of God”

We desire no other joy nor shade than that of the cross, no other drink than the blood which trickles down it, no other food than the fruit of life hanging on the holy cross!

Monday April 14

Consider how great and venerable is this Cross. And what shall we say of the Cross which has been the bed, the seat and the throne of God? With what reverence will the devout soul kiss the Cross, the true royal sceptre of her dear Jesus!

Tuesday April 15

O most holy Cross, honored by the members of my Savior, thou art the royal gate which leads to the temple of holiness, outside of which we shall find none!

Wednesday April 16

O religious soul! place your spirit deep down in the wounds suffered by the Lord on this Cross, and see that vain is the heart that nestles on any other tree!

Thursday April 17 Holy Thursday

I salute thee O holy Cross! standard of salvation, palm tree of life, sword wherewith the devil has been slain, medicine of immortality, defense of the present life, pledge of eternal life, sacred sign of Christians, trophy of King Jesus! O dear and desirable Cross! receive me into thy venerable arms.

Friday April 18 Good Friday

Jesus, my Spouse! by kissing and embracing Thy Cross, Thou did kiss and embrace all our little crosses,so as to make us love them more! O my little crosses! my little troubles, dislikes, humiliations, however small you may be, Jesus has seen you, kissed you and sanctified you, how then, should I not receive you with an open heart?

Saturday April 19 Holy Saturday

O holy lover of the Cross! I pray that after your example, I may love crucifixion of body and heart! O holy cross! remain as a chain of love, and as a sure rampart on my chest.

Source: Meditations from the Writings of St Francis de Sales