Charity

Visitation Spirit

Charity is the love reserved for God

Happy New Year! If there is any resolution worth making, it would be deepening our love of God. This week we are moving into the section of from Saint Francis’ Treatise on the Love of God about what it means to love God. Be sure to watch the video “What Does it Mean to Love God” to help deepen your reflection and give you a new way to embrace his timeless wisdom. (If you prefer to read St. Francis’ original text, this week’s video covers Chapters 13–18, starting with “On The Difference Of Loves.”)

We have a natural desire to love God above all things

The affinity between God and man’s soul

St. Francis says: “As soon as man thinks with even a little attention of the divinity, he feels a certain delightful emotion of the heart, which testifies that God is God of the human heart; and our understanding is never so filled with pleasure as in this thought of the divinity, the smallest knowledge of which, as says the prince of philosophers, is worth more than the greatest knowledge of other things; as the least beam of the sun is more luminous than the greatest of the moon or stars, yea is more luminous than the moon and stars together.”

  1. The word “love” has many different meanings in our society. We may say “I love ice cream” or “I love Saturday mornings” or “I love my spouse.” In your opinion, do these statements really refer to the term “love” as St. Francis de Sales understands it? If not, why?
  2. According to St. Francis de Sales, charity is the love by which we love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole will. This is a very holistic love. How does this love relate to expressions of love such as: “I love ice cream.”; “I love Saturday mornings.”; “Out of all my friends, I love Jennifer the best.”?
  3. In Book 1 chapter 15, St. Francis de Sales says that we have a natural attraction, or affinity, to God based on three areas. What are they?
  4. We have a natural desire to love God above all things, but on our own we cannot love God. What must we receive from God in order to begin to love God?

For Saint Francis’ own words, please read Chapters 13–18, starting with “On The Difference Of Loves.”

Click to watch the above video reflection, “What Does it Mean to Love God“.

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Important Dates of the Visitation Order in January


January 1587: After praying the “Memorare” before the statue of Our Lady of Good Deliverance, St. Francis de Sales is delivered from suffering over a theological question. He is a young student in Paris where theologians debate the question of predestination.

January 10- Feast of St.Leonie Aviat, First Oblate Sister of St. Francis de Sales

January 14, 1914: death of Mother Mary Magdalene Ponnet Founding Superior of the 2nd Monastery of the Visitation in Lyon.

January 23, 1572: Birth of Saint Jeanne de Chantal in Dijon

January 24, 1623: transfer of the body of Saint Francis de Sales from Lyon to Annecy

January 31: Feast of St. John Bosco founder of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

Chatting about: What is Love

Sister Susan Marie (Moderator): New Years Eve Chat 730pm est

Dec 29, 9:33 AM

Sister Susan Marie (Moderator): For St. Francis de Sales, love is a decision, an act of the will: How might this be different from contemporary society’s understanding of love? What are some implications for our spiritual life? How might this impact my relationship with people I don’t like?B. St. Francis de Sales states that love aspires to union. He describes this love using the image of a passionate kiss from the Song of Songs in which the lovers pour their entire being into each other and unite in a passionate union. Is this e

Dec 29, 9:34 AM

Sister Susan Marie (Moderator): Is this example still relevant for people today? Can you think of another example that would be relevant for people today?

C. Suppose a friend confides in you: “I’m having a real problem at work. I work with this woman who really bothers me. I just don’t like her at all. I know I’m supposed to be Christian with her but it is so hard. I just don’t feel like loving her or think she deserves my time. I’d rather just ignore her but she makes it impossible. What should I do?” How would you answer her?

Dec 31, 5:07 PM

Judy (Guest): I hope I can get back in at chat time. There has been a problem with Windows. Will try around 7:15.

Dec 31, 7:27 PM

Lisa C: hi Carroll V

Dec 31, 7:28 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Hi

Dec 31, 7:32 PM

Lisa C: Hi Dawn

Dec 31, 7:32 PM

Dawn (Guest): Hi Lisa! Judy! and quest Carroll V

Dec 31, 7:33 PM

Dawn (Guest): are you all staying warm back there, I hear very cold

Dec 31, 7:33 PM

Lisa C: too cold

Dec 31, 7:33 PM

Dawn (Guest): burr...just thinking of it

Dec 31, 7:35 PM

Dawn (Guest): I hope you have good heat and mittens and coats if you do need to go out

 

Dec 31, 7:38 PM

Ruth (Guest): System wasn’t working – at least at my end. I thought I was the only one here, and after signing in with my name, I was listed only as “me.

Dec 31, 7:39 PM

Dawn (Guest): is it corrected now?

Dec 31, 7:39 PM

Amy Cochran: hello

Dec 31, 7:39 PM

Ruth (Guest): Glad I’m not alone. Greetings. Lisa, Dawn and – a new chatter? Caroll V.

Dec 31, 7:40 PM

Lisa C: hi Amy

Dec 31, 7:40 PM

Ruth (Guest): appears to be. Than ks.

Dec 31, 7:40 PM

Dawn (Guest): Hi Amy

Dec 31, 7:40 PM

Ruth (Guest): Hi Amy, welcome.

Dec 31, 7:40 PM

Amy Cochran: hello, it’s pretty bitter out there yikes

Dec 31, 7:42 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Hi- I am a bit slow typing... I’ve been following the chat archives for a couple of years... happy to be “with you” tonight

Dec 31, 7:42 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, indeed. 13 degrees F and going down!

Dec 31, 7:43 PM

Ruth (Guest): Welcome Carroll V.

Dec 31, 7:43 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Thank you.

Dec 31, 7:43 PM

Dawn (Guest): Happy you are joining in Carroll

Dec 31, 7:44 PM

Ruth (Guest): So, somebody does actually read those postings besides us.

Dec 31, 7:44 PM

Dawn (Guest): Did Sr Susan need to step away or busy this evening?

Dec 31, 7:44 PM

Carroll V (Guest): They have been SUCH a blessing... as is the whole website.

Dec 31, 7:45 PM

Dawn (Guest): Ruth, I spent an evening reading back , way back. I did not know chat began so long ago haha

Dec 31, 7:45 PM

Ruth (Guest): I think Sr. Susan has not been here yet tonight. She posted the questions a couple of days ago.

Dec 31, 7:45 PM

Dawn (Guest): oh, thank you

Dec 31, 7:46 PM

Ruth (Guest): How far back does it go, Dawn.

Dec 31, 7:46 PM

Ruth (Guest): I was just this evening trying to figure it out.

Dec 31, 7:47 PM

Amy Cochran: i can’t find the question. what does it relate to?

Dec 31, 7:47 PM

Dawn (Guest): ah! 2013 maybe before 2011...would need to look again. I do not remember how I was guided here...

Dec 31, 7:48 PM

Ruth (Guest): I remember chatting in a motel room near NYC on a laptop on the bed when I was in the City getting all the pre-op testing for my TKA – that wound up being cancelled while I was on the gerney , ready to be rolled into the OR. That must’ve been Jan 2015 and I’d been with the group at least a few sessions by then.

Dec 31, 7:49 PM

Dawn (Guest): Amy, there is a video Sr Susan posted for tonight...click on New Years Eve chat what is love, on the right

Dec 31, 7:50 PM

Ruth (Guest): Interesting Dawn. Thank you Carroll.

Dec 31, 7:51 PM

Amy Cochran: ok

Dec 31, 7:51 PM

Dawn (Guest): some chat dialog disappeared, maybe to cold!

Dec 31, 7:51 PM

Ruth (Guest): I watched it a while back. Not sure how this is going to work out. What do you think of the speaker/and SFdS listing women under men and close to the animals?

Dec 31, 7:51 PM

Ruth (Guest): Just now Dawn?

Dec 31, 7:52 PM

Dawn (Guest): yes, but its ok. chat is showing as we chat

Dec 31, 7:53 PM

Ruth (Guest): Amy, The whole series is Treatise on Love, St. Francis de Sales. Tonight, LOVE is a DECISION, not a feeling.

Dec 31, 7:53 PM

Dawn (Guest): I will need to listen again with those questions in mind Ruth

Dec 31, 7:54 PM

Ruth (Guest): Maybe that’s why in some cultures marriages can be arranged by parents – sometimes even without the couple meeting one another – and they usually work out pretty well.

Dec 31, 7:54 PM

Dawn (Guest): good example

Dec 31, 7:55 PM

Lisa C: Parents probably know more about marriage and what type of person is good for their child.

Dec 31, 7:56 PM

Ruth (Guest): I used to print the selection and questions, but I have a new printer now, not yet set up.

Dec 31, 7:58 PM

Lisa C: From StFdS saying that there are 3 types of love sensual, rational, and spiritual, and that the sensual love takes away from the ability to apply oneself to the others, I can see why marriage is not allowed for priests

Dec 31, 7:58 PM

Ruth (Guest): Even in our “culture, at least until recently, the potential husband would ask the potential wife’s father/parents for permission to date and/or to marry the woman he loves. And the father/parents/brother or uncle if the parents were deceased would “give away” the bride.

Dec 31, 7:59 PM

Lisa C: Posting the questions:

Dec 31, 8:00 PM

Lisa C: A. For St. Francis de Sales, love is a decision, an act of the will:

How might this be different from contemporary society’s understanding of love?
What are some implications for our spiritual life?
How might this impact my relationship with people I don’t like?

Dec 31, 8:00 PM

Ruth (Guest): Lisa, that’s true, but I think – though who am I to make any claims to know anything about it – it all depends.

Dec 31, 8:00 PM

Lisa C: B. St. Francis de Sales states that love aspires to union. He describes this love using the image of a passionate kiss from the Song of Songs in which the lovers pour their entire being into each other and unite in a passionate union. Is this example still relevant for people today? Can you think of another example that would be relevant for people today?

Dec 31, 8:00 PM

Lisa C: C. Suppose a friend confides in you: “I’m having a real problem at work. I work with this woman who really bothers me. I just don’t like her at all. I know I’m supposed to be Christian with her but it is so hard. I just don’t feel like loving her or think she deserves my time. I’d rather just ignore her but she makes it impossible. What should I do?” How would you answer her?

Dec 31, 8:01 PM

Lisa C: D. Beyond St. Francis. The priest in the video discusses the three distinct types of love, which came from Greek thought. But he explains how today we understand that we love as a total person. This thought was developed by Pope St. John Paul II and his Theology of the Body, in which sexual love is superseded by the the total gift of self. How does this improve our understanding of what love is?

Dec 31, 8:02 PM

Lisa C: Married people have to focus too much on the marriage and family to be fully available for the church

Dec 31, 8:02 PM

Dawn (Guest): on B...I believe this is a timeless expression of true love,, as one, in union with God

Dec 31, 8:02 PM

Lisa C: Plus a priest cannot be married to a woman and to God

Dec 31, 8:03 PM

Ruth (Guest): Good work Lisa. I’d reread that earlier, but didn’t remember as much.

Dec 31, 8:04 PM

Dawn (Guest): I read today, the home the family is the small domestic church

Dec 31, 8:06 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, Dawn. In the practicing Jewish household that is very clear. One 12 year old Catholic girl after spending a long weekend with a Jewish friend in her home, came home and said to her parents: Now I know what the difference is between being Jewish and being Catholic.

Dec 31, 8:06 PM

Dawn (Guest): C. I would give friend a copy of St Therese book, she was a very good example of struggling with another person but overcoming personal feelings by doing God’s will.

Dec 31, 8:06 PM

Ruth (Guest): For the Jewish people, everything important happens at home. For the Catholic everything important happens in Church.

Dec 31, 8:07 PM

Dawn (Guest): good example Ruth, Greek also is family centered

Dec 31, 8:08 PM

Ruth (Guest): IS a priest “married” to God? I understand that he is an “other Christ” at least as far as his role as celebrant at Mass and as Confessor is concerned.

Dec 31, 8:08 PM

Carol Ann: Happy New Year Everyone!

Dec 31, 8:08 PM

Lisa C: Hi Carol Ann

Dec 31, 8:08 PM

Dawn (Guest): Hi Carol Ann!

Dec 31, 8:09 PM

Carol Ann: So sorry I am tardy. Lots of goings on out here as it is still late afternoon

Dec 31, 8:09 PM

Ruth (Guest): Dawn, that reminds me of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I don’t see many movies but that was one that I did and I enjoyed.

Dec 31, 8:10 PM

Dawn (Guest): haha the movie, this is what I was thinking of !

Dec 31, 8:10 PM

Ruth (Guest): Hello Carol Ann, Happy New Year to you, too. And Happy

Dec 31, 8:10 PM

Ruth (Guest): Solemnity of Mary, The Mother of God/ and World Peace Day – Jan 1

Dec 31, 8:11 PM

Carol Ann: So many wonderful feasts during the Octave

Dec 31, 8:12 PM

Ruth (Guest): Dawn, I think a lot of Italian families are similar. I knew very well an Italian – Irish couple, even went to some of their family gatherings.

Dec 31, 8:12 PM

Lisa C: Yes, Italian families are totally family oriented

Dec 31, 8:12 PM

Ruth (Guest): It seems to me that Jan 1 used to be the Feast of the Circumcision.

Dec 31, 8:13 PM

Ruth (Guest): And New Year’s Eve was Sylvester all day long.

Dec 31, 8:14 PM

Dawn (Guest): umm The Anglican Church celebrates the circumcision tomorrow. The priest and his wife are lovely people and invited me to Mass tomorrow. speaking of priests being married the first time I visited their church, after Mass, Fr came down into the pews and gave his wife a passionate kiss! I did not know what to think, and this was before I returned to Catholic Church. sorry...Im on my own conversation lol!

Dec 31, 8:14 PM

Dawn (Guest): Ah, you just it Ruth. Anglican does celebrate a High Mass Jan 1 for circumcision

Dec 31, 8:14 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Sylvester?

Dec 31, 8:15 PM

Ruth (Guest): No, Dawn, you are with us. It’s just hard through this medium. We are still going to have to get together – face-to-face – someday.

Dec 31, 8:16 PM

Dawn (Guest): I agree Ruth <3

Dec 31, 8:17 PM

Dawn (Guest): What is Sylvester, I second that

Dec 31, 8:17 PM

Ruth (Guest): Can we still scroll back to the questions as you’ve restated them?

Dec 31, 8:17 PM

Carol Ann: I remember Sylvester and never understood why he was dropped

Dec 31, 8:18 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Oh, you mean it used to be the memorial for St. Sylvester?

Dec 31, 8:19 PM

Carol Ann: I remember it from when i was little, though it’s been years since I’ve seen it on a calendar

Dec 31, 8:19 PM

Ruth (Guest): Still is. But in Germany that was “BIG” , less so here.

Dec 31, 8:20 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Ah... thanks Carol Ann and Ruth

Dec 31, 8:27 PM

Lisa C: God bless all of you, happy and holy new year to all of you

Dec 31, 8:27 PM

Ruth (Guest): I’ve just gone back to the summary of questions you re-posted Lisa. I think JPII, St. JPII, got it right. We love as a total person.

Dec 31, 8:28 PM

Carol Ann: Wishing you all a happy, joyous new year!

Dec 31, 8:28 PM

Dawn (Guest): Body Mind Spirit

Dec 31, 8:28 PM

Carol Ann: Yesm we cannot separate the three parts of ourselves, though one can be more dominant than the others

Dec 31, 8:28 PM

Dawn (Guest): Happy New Year Carol Ann , God bless you !

Dec 31, 8:29 PM

Carroll V (Guest): The link to Theology of the Body was meaningful for me, too, Ruth.

Dec 31, 8:30 PM

Ruth (Guest): And that’s why distinguishing sexual love – AS IF it were separate from total gift of self (though, sadly, it has been used this was) doesn’t help me understand what is meant here.

Dec 31, 8:31 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Maybe what is meant is related to the concept of our affections?

Dec 31, 8:33 PM

Carroll V (Guest): ...that what we are focused most on tends to be what we grow to love...

Dec 31, 8:33 PM

Ruth (Guest): In the early 70′s – when there was much talk of the Church possibly allowing priests to marry (and today a some are, in the Orthodox church in union with Rome, and married, Protestant priests who convert to Catholicism) . . . oh, I’ll go into that another time.

Dec 31, 8:33 PM

Carol Ann: yes, and that is why God must be at the center of everything, because no one or nothing else should have primacy

Dec 31, 8:34 PM

Lisa C: Priests who have left the Catholic Church to get married and have become Episcopalian priests have said that it is not ideal at all

Dec 31, 8:34 PM

Dawn (Guest): I read short article from married priest , he mentioned the difficulty. I believe he moved over from anglican

Dec 31, 8:36 PM

Dawn (Guest): to Catholic. it would be difficult! now thinking of St Peter being married, but he left this family is this correct?

Dec 31, 8:36 PM

Ruth (Guest): Yes, that makes sense, Carroll, but for a married couple, their marital love, ideally, assists each to a deeper love of God. Marriage is meant to lead to SANCTITY – of BOTH partners, and even the children.

Dec 31, 8:36 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Absolutely!

Dec 31, 8:38 PM

Carol Ann: this is true, but our Rule says that even in the married life, God is the center of the individual life of each spouse as well as the center of the marriage. Each has the responsibility to grow their relationship with God so that they can grow the relationship with each other (paraphrasing_)

Dec 31, 8:40 PM

Ruth (Guest): I think it has a LOT to do with the VOCATION of the individual. IF a priest is truly called to live celibacy, then he will find it freeing. IF he is “torn” and feels lonely – that can be more an obstacle than having a supportive, loving wife would be.

Dec 31, 8:41 PM

Carroll V (Guest): Duty calls- ... Have a Blessed New Year

Dec 31, 8:41 PM

Ruth (Guest): Interesting, your Rule. What’s it called, Carol Ann. There are single, and married people in your community?

Dec 31, 8:42 PM

Carol Ann: yes, there are both single celibates and married couples

Dec 31, 8:42 PM

Dawn (Guest): Happy New Year Carroll! Hope to see you again G night

Dec 31, 8:42 PM

Ruth (Guest): Every blessing in the New Year to you, too, Carroll! Thanks for signing in this time.

Dec 31, 8:42 PM

Carol Ann: Good night Dawn!

Dec 31, 8:42 PM

Carol Ann: Good to meet you Carroll

Dec 31, 8:45 PM

Dawn (Guest): think Im signing off....Happy New Year to all. stay warm those of you in frigid temps! maybe 2018 the year we shall gather. In my prayers ~ g night

Dec 31, 8:45 PM

Ruth (Guest): Oh my, we’ve gone overtime again. I hardly noticed. Good night Carol Ann, Amy (still here?), Dawn, opps, and Lisa (already signed out); I wish you prayerfully a blessed 2018.

Dec 31, 8:45 PM

Dawn (Guest): Amen.

Jan 1, 9:50 AM

Sister Susan Marie (Moderator): Sorry to have missed chat!