To have a Christian love for our neighbors is to love God in them, or them in God; it is to cherish God alone for his own sake, and his creatures for love of him. When we look upon our neighbors, created in the image and likeness of God, should we not say to each other: "Look at these people he has made—–are they not like their Maker?" Should we not be drawn irresistibly toward them, embrace them, and be moved to tears for love of them? Should we not call down upon them a hundred thousand blessings? And why? For love of them? No indeed, since we cannot be sure whether, of themselves, they are worthy of love or hate. Then why? For love of God, who created them in his own image and likeness, and so capable of sharing in his goodness, grace, and glory; for love of God, I say, unto whom they exist, from whom they exist, through whom they exist, in whom they exist, for whom they exist, and whom they resemble in a very special manner.
This is why divine love not only repeatedly commands us to love our neighbors, but also itself produces this love and pours it out into our hearts, since they bear its own image and likeness; for just as we are the image of God, so our holy love for one another is the true image of our heavenly love for God.
(Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God II, Book 10, 11.)
After obtaining a law degree, Francis became bishop of Geneva in 1593, worked zealously to bring the people of Chablais from Calvinism to Catholicism. Together with his friend Saint Jane Frances de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation.
ST AUGUSTINE: My Weight Is My Love
Gravity keeps everything in its own place. Fire climbs up, while a stone goes down. Elements that are not in their own place are restless until they find it. This applies also to us. My weight is my love; wherever I go, I am driven by it. By the love of God we catch fire ourselves and, by moving up, find our place and our rest.
-- Confessions 13, 9
Prayer. Come, Lord, into my soul, which you have prepared for your own reception by inspiring in me a longing for your goodness.
-- Confessions 13, 1
ST FRANCIS DE SALES: [and because it is his feast day, a threefer]
α) During the course of the day, recall as often as possible that you are in God's presence. Consider what God does and what you are doing. You will see His eyes turned toward you and constantly fixed on you with incomparable love. Then you will say to Him, "O God, why do I not look always at You, just as You always look at me? Why do You think so often of me, O Lord, and why do I think so seldom of You?" Where are we, O my soul? God is our true place, and where are we?
(INT. Part II, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 92)
β) Remember this well: we are sometimes so busy being good angels that we neglect to be good men and women.
γ) God looks at the intention of the heart rather than the gifts He is offered.
(The Spirit of St. François de Sales, XV, 9)
TO the quietest human being, seated in the quietest house, there will sometimes come a sudden and unmeaning hunger for the possibilities or impossibilities of things; he will abruptly wonder whether the teapot may not suddenly begin to pour out honey or sea-water, the clock to point to all hours of the day at once, the candle to burn green or crimson, the door to open upon a lake or a potato-field instead of a London street. Upon anyone who feels this nameless anarchism there rests for the time being the spirit of pantomime. Of the clown who cuts the policeman in two it may be said (with no darker meaning) that he realizes one of our visions.