Stations of the Cross With Introduction to the Devout Life

INTRODUCTION (from the Introduction to the Devout Life)

Leader: Philothea, I especially counsel you to practice mental prayer, the prayer of the heart, and particularly that which centers on the life and passion of our Lord. By turning your eyes on him in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with him. You will learn his ways and form your actions after the pattern of his. He is "the light of the world" and therefore it is in him and by him and for him that we must be instructed and enlightened.

All: Lord Jesus, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. Help us, that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we might be filled with your light and show to all, through our words and deeds, that you live and continue to walk the face of the earth in and through us. Amen.

First Station: Jesus Receives the Sentence of Death

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you ...

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Leader: (from the Treatise on the Love of God, 12:12)

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A Rosary for Salesians

Leader:

Let us place ourselves in the presence of God

  • the God who is present in all things and in all places in creation (pause);
  • God who is especially present in our heart and in the very center of our spirit (pause);
  • God, in His humanity, who looks down upon His children from heaven, especially those at prayer (pause);
  • and God who is truly present but unseen standing next to us (pause).

All: 
My God, by the sign of your cross, deliver me from my enemies.

Leader:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the God, the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

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The Memorare - Traditional

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who, fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thine intercession was left unaided. 

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. 

Memorare-1604 attributed to St. Francis de Sales 

Hail, most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God. You are my Mother and my Queen. Hence, I beg you to accept me as your son and servant since I want you alone to be my Mother and Mistress. I beg you, my good, gracious and gentle Mother, to bring me comfort in all my anguishes and tribulations of body and soul. 

Remember, most gracious Virgin, that you are my Mother and that I am your son, that you are very powerful and I, a poor, vile and feeble creature. Hence, I beg you, my Mother, to govern and defend me in all my ways and actions, for, alas! I am a poor needy beggar much in need of your holy protection. Most Holy Virgin, my gracious Mother, preserve and free my body and soul from evils and dangers, and grant me a share in your possessions and virtues, especially in your holy humility, excellent purity, and fervent love.   

Do not tell me, gracious Virgin, that you cannot, for your beloved Son granted you all power, in Heaven as on Earth. Do not tell me that you ought not, for you are the common Mother of all men and women and especially mine. If you could not, I would excuse you, saying: "It is true that she is my Mother and loves me as her son, but the poor woman has neither wealth nor power." If you were not my Mother, I would wait patiently, saying: "She is rich enough to assist me, but, alas! since she is not my Mother, she does not love me." 

Then, most gracious Virgin, since you are my Mother and you are powerful, how can I excuse you if you do not bring me comforts and grant me your help and assistance? You see, my Mother, that you are compelled to grant me all that I am asking you.

May you be exalted above Heaven and Earth, glorious Virgin and my most Holy Mother Mary, and, for the honor and glory of your Son, accept me as your child, without regard for my miseries and sins. Deliver my soul and body from all evil, and give me a share in all your virtues, especially humility. Grant me all the gifts, favors, and graces that are pleasing to the Most Holy Trinity ... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. AMEN.

What Is Salesian Spirituality?

Salesian Spirituality is a practical everyday spirituality for living in the modern world as learned, lived and shared by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) and St. Jane de Chantal (1572-1641), spiritual friends. Salesian spirituality gives expression to a way to journey in the spiritual life as we embrace the duties of our state in response to the universal call to holiness - in the words of St. Francis de Sales to "bloom where you are planted." It's a "spirituality of the heart," as relevant today as in the time of St. Francis de Sales himself, an all-embracing, down-to-earth spirituality for everyone.

St. Francis de SalesThe essence of the spirituality can be found in the "Introduction to the Devout Life," a book written by St. Francis de Sales at the beginning of the 17th century. The book, often referred to as a spiritual classic, contains the collective wisdom of the first sixteen centuries of the Christian experience and is divided into five parts: (1) instructions and exercises needed to lead the soul from its first desire for the devout life until brought to a full resolution to embrace it; (2) various instructions for elevating the soul to God through prayer and the sacraments; (3) instructions on the practice of virtue; (4) necessary councils against frequent temptations; (5) exercises and instructions for renewing the soul and confirming it in devotion.

St. Francis de Sales wrote another spiritual classic, "Treatise on the Love of God." It is comprised of twelve books written for individuals more advanced in the spiritual life and addresses topics such as the human tendency to love God, meditation and prayer, an explanation of the history of divine love, the difference between benevolent and complacent love, and affective and effective love.  The "Treatise on the Love of God" focuses on: the fundamentals of Francis' science of love of God and the application of these basic principles. Francis' spirituality is found in numerous other writings including many of his sermons and letters.

The context for the "Rule of Life," which is followed by many Daughters and Sons of St. Francis can be found in Romans 13:10, "Love is the fulfillment of the law."  Salesians commit themselves to living according to the Spirit of Jesus and living the Gospel in the Church and in the world, as disciples of St. Francis de Sales and with Mary, the mother of the Church.

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The "Real" Story on St. Francis de Sales

By Thomas F. Dailey, O.S.F.S., S.T.D. (used with permission)

Francis de Sales (1567-1622), the Bishop of Geneva whom Pope Paul VI called "one of the greatest figures of the Church and of history." His rich and holy life, the twenty-six volumes of his writings we have preserved, the 400-old tradition of Salesian spirituality that is the subject of this issue - admittedly, this is a story not so easily condensed! Nevertheless, it is a story worth telling, and this paper begins to do so by gathering together some lesser-known tidbits of his life, anecdotes that I believe will make him more "real" to believers today. Not that the numerous hagiographies are "false," but I think a more realistic story can be told that may give him more relevance to you and me. To this end, I would like to introduce this saint by focusing on five aspects of his remarkable life: student, priest, bishop, founder, spiritual director.

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