Advice from St. Francis de Sales: Honey Attracts More than Vinegar

“A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”

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St. Francis de Sales

It is said that although St. Francis de Sales was known for a kindly and gentle temperament, he fought an inner battle with his temper for over 20 years.  He certainly practiced this simple axiom…and thousands of converts were won by his preaching and example.

How have we become so addicted to vinegar as a style for debate and persuasion, ineffective as it is?

We must more vehemently call out haters wielding Bibles in the streets and sweeten our speech with the beauty of love.   As we imitate the mob mentality of anger, sharing reckless rants and posting mocking memes, souls are being lost.

Do we really care?

Let every person calling him or herself Christian attend to the words of a contemporary prophet, singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson in “Come, Lord Jesus”:

Tonight in the line of the merchandise store
While they were packing up my bags
I saw the pictures of the prophets of the picket signs
Screaming, “God hates fags”

And it feels like the church isn’t anything more
Than the second coming of the Pharisees
Scrubbing each other ’til their tombs are white
They chisel epitaphs of piety

Let every Christian attend to the advice of the soul-winner and saint-maker Francis de Sales.

Let us pray that our words may be sweetened with the honey of charity, that our hearts be inflamed with the fire of Christ’s love.

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Reads and Other Seeds

More on St. Francis de Sales, persuasive saint and patron of Catholic writers and journalists, at Cari Donaldson’s “St. Francis de Sales: A Beautiful Life for God.”

See also Dialog in a Divisive Time:  Bishop Barron, Dave Rubin and the Space Between and How to Speak of Easter Hope without Harming the Humble Christ.

 

This post is part of a series (see A Lenten Invitation from a Babbling Brook: Focus on Speech and Silence).  To receive new installments, you’re invited to Follow Sparrowfare.  We’d love to have you join us in sharing the quotes that speak to you.

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