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Salesian Spirituality:
    The spirituality of St. Francis de Sales is one of the golden leaves in the spiritual tradition of the Church. It is a “Spirituality of the Heart”, a spirituality that is relevant today as it was in the time of Francis de Sales himself.

    Francis de Sales laid emphasis on the fact that God is the origin and end of human. God created us simply because of His goodness, that we may attain everlasting life and thus be united with Him.

    What makes Salesian spirituality most relevant today is the fact that it is so much humane. He declares in the first pages of his Treatise on the Love of God that “All is for love, in love, to love and of love in the Holy Church”. His humanism and deep insights into human nature attract anyone who wants to tread the path of holiness.

    He laid great emphasis on the need to be aware of the presence of God in us. All our activities, both spiritual and worldly, will become holy through the awareness of the presence of God in our lives.

Salient features of Salesian Spirituality:

The Universal Call to Holiness:
    Every human being is called to enter into living, loving and vibrant relationship with God, each according to his or her status of life. The intention of St. Francis de Sales in writing his spiritual masterpiece ‘The Introduction to the Devout Life’ was to introduce to everyone the path to holiness. Holiness is possible in all walks of life, under any circumstances and at all times. Whatever the tasks we have to perform in the world we are all called to be saints.

Devotion must be suited to one’s own status:
    All are called to live a devout life. However, the practice of devotion must be suitable to his or her status.  Devotion is to be practised differently by the workman, the servant, the ruler, the widow, the young girl and the wife. Even more than this, the practice of devotion has to be adapted to the strength, life-situation and duties of each individual.

Integration and Harmony in Pursuit of Holiness:
    If one aspires to be devout, one should integrate prayer and action. For St. Francis de Sales, if one is truly devout, one must harmonize prayer with actions. The easiest way to know whether one is holy is to examine critically whether there is disharmony between one’s religious practices and day-to-day living.  St. Francis de Sales had an integral and holistic approach to spiritual life. In this approach every aspect of spiritual, social, cultural and human life finds harmony, balance and beauty. Gentleness is balanced by firmness, sense of justice by mercy, prudence with simplicity and so forth.

Virtue of humility:
    God can fill only a humble heart with His gifts. Therefore, humility is one of the foundations of an authentic spirituality. True humility consists in acknowledging the gifts of God and being grateful to Him for them. Trust and humility go hand in hand. It is by practising humility that we become humble. St. Francis de Sales says, “Do not strive to destroy pride. Make humility strong by practice.”

Sustaining a spiritual life through prayer:
    It is said, ‘Prayer is the key of the day and the lock of the night’. The focus that St. Francis de Sales gives is not on the definition of prayer because his aim was to help people to grow in God’s love through prayer. For him all the good movements of the will, proper interior disposition and good thoughts are prayers. Through prayer we come to know God’s will in our daily life.

    St. Francis de Sales was a man who could pray at all times and in all places. One can pray in the prison cells or in the chapel, traveling in a bus or walking in the woods and even when one is engaged in doing some serious work. These prayers need not be formal prayers. In any circumstance one can at least think a holy thought, say ejaculatory prayers, become aware of the all-pervading presence of God or at least do what one does with love.

Nurturing an optimistic attitude in life:
    An optimist sees the bright side of life and events whereas a pessimist sees the dark side of the same. St. Francis de Sales is known for his optimism. He builds his optimism on the beliefs that:
a. Human life is a gift of God, a sharing of His goodness;
b. Humans are the image and likeness of God;
c. We are created for eternal happiness;
d. Original sin did not totally corrupt human nature;
e. The Incarnation and Redemption give greater sense of meaning to our lives;
f. God’s supernatural providence takes care of our material and spiritual needs;
g. God gives to all people an abundance of means and chance to become perfect. God’s will is  
    always and infinitely good. It is this fact that gives human enough scope for optimism.

Building up a spiritual life on Little Virtues:
    The little virtues like patience, gentleness and humility are very often neglected by people as just the ordinary. But St. Francis de Sales sees great power in them. They can mould one’s life and make one holier. They also help to build up the religious communities. A kind word spoken, a warm greeting, a little help, a cheerful approach, a patient listening or a gentle look can work miracle in our day to day life. The truth is that we get a lot of opportunities to practice these virtues, while the chances for practicing other so-called great virtues are very rare. One who waits for them, neglecting these little virtues, will meet with disappointment.