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On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales

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  • Posted September 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    We┬┐re all called Patrick Madrid introduces his new book, On a Mi

    We’re all called
    Patrick Madrid introduces his new book, On a Mission, by describing St. Paul as a “nuisance” whose apostolic zeal irritated others ”because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable... It irritates us.” Paul’s fervor, Madrid writes, was based on a personal encounter with Christ rather than on intellectual, scientific knowledge. All Christians are called to act with this kind of fervor for bringing others to the Church.

    Madrid uses St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) as his primary model, with additional lessons from St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, Pope Francis I, and twentieth century apologist Frank Sheed. From these men, and others, Madrid says he has learned that anyone who is willing can become a channel of God’s grace to others simply by saying “yes” to God and neighbor with a loving heart.

    The first chapter, What an Apostle Looks Like, is devoted to the story of Francis de Sales, who is credited with “re-evangelizing” the people of the Chablais region of France after the Catholic Church had lost influence in favor of John Calvin’s brand of Protestantism. Madrid enumerates the steps de Sales took, the struggles he overcame, and his success in converting nearly 60,000 former Protestants on Calvin’s turf.

    Here, and throughout the book Madrid reiterates the qualities of an “apostolic heart” marked by a wellspring of charity, burning love for Christ and neighbor, and “willingness to live and speak the truth courageously yet humbly in a world that resists the truth,” based on deep knowledge of the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

    He offers a specific program for gaining that knowledge beginning with spending at least 10 minutes daily reading a chapter from the Gospels and three paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He recommends several Internet sites, additional publications, CDs, and Catholic radio programs including his own show Right Here, Right Now.

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