Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lucia The temptation of taking on too much

Last night my brother sent me the following piece of advice from the book: Finding God's Will for You by St Francis de Sales:
“The enemy often tries to make us attempt and start many projects so that we will be overwhelmed with too many tasks, and therefore, achieve nothing and leave everything unfinished. Sometimes he even suggests the wish to undertake some excellent work that he forsees we will never accomplish. This is to distract us from the prosecution of some less excellent work that we would have easily completed. He does not care how many...beginnings we make, provided nothing is finished...But with Christians, it is not so much the beginning as the end that counts."

It's very timely advice as I am prone to trying to take on too much. Fortunately this year every time I've tried, I've become very sick and have had to reduce back down to my core responsibilities.

Looks like St Francis de Sales was a converter of Calvinists! How interesting.
Then Francis had a bad idea -- at least that's what everyone else thought. This was during the time of the Protestant reformation and just over the mountains from where Francis lived was Switzerland -- Calvinist territory. Francis decided that he should lead an expedition to convert the 60,000 Calvinists back to Catholicism. But by the time he left his expedition consisted of himself and his cousin. His father refused to give him any aid for this crazy plan and the diocese was too poor to support him.

For three years, he trudged through the countryside, had doors slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him. In the bitter winters, his feet froze so badly they bled as he tramped through the snow. He slept in haylofts if he could, but once he slept in a tree to avoid wolves. He tied himself to a branch to keep from falling out and was so frozen the next morning he had to be cut down. And after three years, his cousin had left him alone and he had not made one convert.

Francis' unusual patience kept him working. No one would listen to him, no one would even open their door. So Francis found a way to get under the door. He wrote out his sermons, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors. This is the first record we have of religious tracts being used to communicate with people.


St Francis is now the patron saint of journalists, maybe because he appears to have been the first ever journalist. Thankfully we don't have to write everything out by hand anymore!

Related Link: St. Francis de Sales ~ Catholic Online

2 comment(s):

KG said...

Very timely advice--I find myself swamped with projects and not enough time to deal with them all.
The problem is, I start one, hit a roadblock and rather than do nothing, make a start where possible on another.

Beverly said...

My problem is not that I am starting too many projects but that I am responsible for too many projects due to going to school full time, working, and having several responsibilities at my church. Nonetheless, I feel overwhelmed and inadequate at times because I don't feel like I have the time to give quality service to my many commitments. I also feel like I am somehow letting God down because I believe that God's power and my faith should bring me through. It is good to hear that God is not concerned how we start but how we finish. If we just keep our focus on doing the will of God then we should not be frustrated and feeling inadequate as long as we are giving it our best to persevere until the end.

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