May 1
What greater honor or grace, what more real and perfect happiness can we desire, than that of being loved by God? Yet our hearts allow themselves to be carried away by their caprices and go from creature to creature, just as if they were going from house to house, to see if they can find lodgings and discover real satisfaction. All in vain! God, Who has reserved the human heart for Himself, has forbidden all creatures to give our hearts genuine satisfaction and contentment, so that we are forced to return to Our Lord. And even if we return to Him more by force than by love, God does not refuse to restore us to His grace, to give us back the place we had previously enjoyed, and to caress us without inflicting any reproaches. (Sermons 46; O. X, pp. 45-46)

May 2
As the day breaks we see more clearly in a mirror the spots and stains of our faces. In the same way, as the inward light of the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences, we see more clearly and distinctly the sins, inclinations and imperfections that keep us from reaching true devotion. The same light that enables us to see such defects and imperfections inflames us with a desire to cleanse and purify ourselves of them. (INT. Part I, Ch. 22; O. III, pp. 62-63)

May 3
Let us consider for a moment if lively faith in the cross of Mount Calvary is firmly rooted in our intellect. Faith was indeed implanted there in baptism, but has a sort of idol been fabricated there by our imagination? Let us see if in our memory, where hope has been planted, we have replaced it with an image of some beautiful goddess; if in our will, where God has planted charity, we have introduced vanity and the love of earthly things. In imitation of Saint Helena, we should uproot these cursed figures to reerect the cross, saying with the apostle, "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Gal 6:14] (Sermons 18; O. IX, p. 179)

May 4
Whoever does not fear death is a fool. He runs a great risk of being lost forever, because the place to which we go after death is eternal. We will be saved or damned for eternity. The great servants of the Lord were very much aware of this and feared this terribly important event ... yet all the same they joyfully desired and sought it, confident of the outcome. (Sermons 62; O. X, p. 318)

May 5
After this conversion, the repentant Augustine humbly used to say, "O Lord ... you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving." [Ps 116:16-17] Take note, I beg you, how the heart of the saint was full of gratitude toward God. Certainly one of the most serious sins that people commit is forgetting the graces which they have received. This defect has its roots in the failure in the first place to acknowledge the debt contracted with Divine Goodness for all His graces and benefits. When this ingratitude resides in the intellect, it is truly bad and dangerous because it passes on to the will and becomes such a vice that it makes a person completely forgetful of the debt of gratitude he or she owes to God. This is the greatest of all evils and one of the major impediments to grace. (Sermons 33; O. IX, pp. 329, 334)

May 6
Meditate more and more upon the wounds of our Savior; you will find there an immense treasure-house from which you can draw. How vain and unworthy is that heart which fixes its abode anywhere else, or which selects any place but the cross in which to build its nest. No, nothing else is really worthy of our love. We owe everything to that kind Savior Who has given Himself for us without reserve. (Letters 330; O. XIII, p. 147)

May 7
Be patient, not only as regards severe afflictions that come your way, but also regarding accidental circumstances that cause annoyance. For example, we must be patient in sickness, but we must also accept its attending circumstances of place and time and its accompanying difficulties. The same must be said about other tribulations. (INT. Part III, Ch. 3; O. III, p. 135)

May 8
Let us love one another from the bottom of our hearts. To inspire us to have this holy love, we have a powerful motive. Our Lord poured out His blood on the cross, to the last drop. He wished, as it were, to make a sacred chalice which would hold, unite, bind and bring together all the members of His Church; namely, all Christians. He willed their union to be so strong that no division among them would ever be possible. (Spiritual Treatises IV; O. VI, p. 65)

May 9
We belong to God in all things and without reserve, without any exception whatsoever. Our only motivation should be the honor of being entire His. If we have in our hearts one single fiber that is not His and that does not belong to Him, Oh God! We should be prepared to rip it out. Let us be at peace, and let us say (looking only at the cross), "Yes, if we were to be aware that even a tiny portion of our hearts was without the seal of the Crucified, we would not want to keep it for a single instant." (Letters 358; O. XIII, pp. 200-201)

May 10
The words with which the Lord exhorts us to take up His cross and follow Him [cf. Lk 9:23] must be understood in this sense. We must cheerfully receive all the crosses that are given to us, even the slightest and the most insignificant. In this way we can understand the value of small crosses. (Sermons 2; O. IX, p. 19)

May 11
A person loses nothing by living generously, nobly, courteously and with a royal, just and reasonable heart. Philothea, resolve to examine your heart often to see if it is as disposed toward your neighbor as you would like his to be toward you, were you in his place. This is the touchstone of true reason. (INT. Part III, Ch. 36; O. III, p. 259)

May 12
A truly loving heart loves God's good pleasure, not only in consolations but also in afflictions, trials and crosses. In fact, in such cases it even loves more. Love does just this; it makes the lover ready to suffer for the beloved. (T.L.G. Book 3, Ch. 2; O. V, p. 113)

May 13
We must set our hearts firmly in God and never withdraw them, because God alone is our peace, our consolation and our glory! What can we expect if we do not unite ourselves to our dear Savior? We are indeed fortunate to be able to graft our hearts onto that of the Savior. He is united to the divinity, the sacred root of the tree of which we are the branches. "Yes, dear Jesus, do with my heart according to Your own pleasure! I do not want to have any further rights over it. I donate, consecrate and sacrifice it forever to You." (Letters 1492; O. XVIII, pp. 320-321)

May 14
How unfortunate are those who fall from the tops of high mountains! When they fall from these heights, the poor creatures roll and roll without stopping, right to the bottom of the precipice. The same thing happens to those who fall spiritually because they do not persevere in the service of God! It is a strange thing. After a good beginning and perhaps persevering for thirty or forty years in the service of God, just as they reach old age, when it is time to harvest the fruits of their labors, they tumble into the abyss of sin. How inscrutable are the divine judgments! No one must presume on his own ability to persevere or rely on his good works, as if he had nothing to fear. (Sermons 65; O. X, p. 375)

May 15
Mental prayer is no less useful to us or less pleasing to God when we suffer many distractions. As a matter of fact, it could be more useful than if we had many consolations, because it means harder work for us. It suffices that we faithfully try to drive away the distractions, not allowing our spirit to dwell on them willingly. The same can be said of the difficulties we meet from day to day in keeping our spirit recollected in God and in heavenly things. In all this we need patience. We must never grow tired, doing everything for the love of God. (Spiritual Treatises IX; O. VI, p. 14)

May 16
It is right and fitting that redeemed people should live no longer for themselves but solely for Him Who died for them! A noble soul constantly focuses its thoughts, affections and aspirations on eternity. Whatever is not eternal, whatever is not infinite is valueless to it. We should raise ourselves above all vain pleasures, our eyes fixed on eternal riches. (Letters 992; O. XVI, p. 213)

May 17
Our Lord dedicated His divine life to instructing us how to be saved and how to be acceptable to Him. Not only did He suffer for us even unto death on the cross, but He also sustained countless persecutions from those very people for who He suffered. He wants us to imitate Him in this: by carrying our cross, by suffering for one another, even by giving our life for those who want to take ours. He wants us to be always ready to put up with our neighbor, not only in pleasurable circumstances but even when the going is rough. Like Him, we must resist all that can weaken the ardor of our love for our neighbor. Persecution must not daunt us. (Sermons 59; O. X, pp. 275-276)

May 18
If worldly people ask you why you receive Communion, tell them that it is to learn to love God, be purified from your imperfections, delivered from misery, comforted in affliction and supported in weakness. Tell them that two classes of people should communicate frequently: the perfect, because being well-disposed they would be very much to blame if they did not approach the source and fountain of perfection; and the imperfect, so that they rightly strive for perfection; the strong, lest they become weak, and the weak, that they may become strong; the sick, that they may be restored to health, and the healthy, lest they fall sick. (INT. Part II, Ch. 21; O. III, p. 122)

May 19
Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were supernatural children in that their mothers, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel, were sterile by nature but conceived them by God's good grace. It is for this reason that these three men were made to be masters over their own brothers. In like manner, sacred love is a miraculous child, since the human will cannot conceive it unless it is infused into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As something supernatural, it must preside and rule over all our affections, yes, even over intellect and will. (T.L.G Book 1, Ch. 6; O. IV, pp. 38-39)

May 20
We must learn what God wants of us, and having learned it, we must try to carry it out, if not generously, at least cheerfully. That is not all. Even if we were destined to look after pigs all our lives, or do the most menial and lowly things in the world, we should love the will of God and the obligations it imposes upon us. No matter what state God places us in, the goal of perfection is the same. This is the goal toward which we all must aim, and whoever comes closest to that goal is the most victorious. (Letters 277; O. XIII, pp. 20-21)

May 21
When we have to suffer some little misfortunes, we often do the opposite of what the Divine Master has taught us. We complain and feel sorry for ourselves, telling everyone our troubles in the most minute details. We think that our trouble is insupportable, small though it may be, and that the sufferings of others are nothing in comparison with ours. So we become impatient and make a nuisance of ourselves. In a word, it is pitiable to see how poorly we imitate the patience of Jesus Christ. Forgetting His own suffering, He was in no way anxious that people knew about them; it was sufficient for Him that His Heavenly Father knew. (Sermons 29; O. IX, pp. 282-283)

May 22
Even though we commit many faults through human weakness, we should not become upset. While detesting the fact that we have offended God, we can still experience a certain joy in humility and a kind of delight in our miseries. In the midst of all the occupations of each day, see to it that you do not become too absorbed in material things. Keep a tight grasp of Christ's hand. Whenever you find yourself with more than you can handle, do not panic, but look to Christ. (Letters 449; O. XIV, pp. 7-8)

May 23
Many aim at perfection, but few reach that goal, because they do not proceed as they should, with perfect confidence in God and total abandonment to His Providence. They are too self-confident and rely too much on their good works. These people get all upset when difficulties arise. Instead, they should remain clam, using all the means that their vocation puts at their disposal. God, under whose direction we have embarked, will see to it that we never lack necessities. Be convinced of this: no matter how much we are in need, we will want for nothing because God is watching over us. He must be our all. (Sermons 61; O. X, p. 202)

May 24
Divine Savior, we come to Your sacred table to nourish ourselves not with bread but with Yourself, true Bread of eternal life. Help us daily to make a good and perfect meal of this divine food. Let us be continually refreshed by the perfume of Your kindness and goodness. May the Holy Spirit fill us with His love. Meanwhile, let us prepare a place for this holy good by emptying our hearts. (Letters 636; O. XIV, p. 375)

May 25
You ask me if God thinks of you, if He looks upon you with love? Yes, God thinks of you, even of the smallest strand of hair on your head; this is an article of faith, and you should have no doubts about it whatsoever. That God also looks upon you with love, you have no reason to doubt. Don't you know that He looks with love even upon the worst and the most horrible sinners in the world? This holds true even though they have no real desire to be converted. Tell me now, have you not the intention of belonging completely to God and of serving Him faithfully? And who is it that gives you this desire and this intention, if not God Himself with His loving care? You do no need to see if you are pleasing to your own heart, but if the heart of God is pleasing to you. Now, if you give the matter some thought, how can you help but love God? (Letters 1402; O. XVIII, p. 170)

May 26
God created us in His own image and likeness. [cf. Gn 1:27] So He wishes us to love in the way that He loves: to love Him for His own sake and to love our neighbor for the love of God. (T.L.G. Book 10; Ch. 11; O. V, p. 204)

May 27
God loves humility so much that He often permits us to be tempted, not to harm us, but just to allow us to grow in humility. Are not the repugnances and the difficulties we find on the road of life nothing but tests of our weakness? We are still children in the way of perfection. The remedy for temptation is not to look to ourselves but to God, allowing Him to have sole care of us. (Sermons 61; O. X, p. 305)

May 28
When your mind is tranquil and without anger, build up in your soul a good supply of meekness and mildness by speaking and acting in the mildest way you can. Remind yourself that the spouse in the Canticle of Canticles not only had honey on her lips and at the end of her tongue [cf Sg 4:11] but also under her tongue; that is, within her breast. There she had not only honey but milk as well. So we must deal kindly with our neighbor by our speech and with our entire being. Polite conversation is not enough; we must practice a gentle charity with members of our own family and with neighbors. Those who appear in public as angels but are devils in their own homes fall greatly in this regard. (INT. Part III, Ch. 8; O. III, p. 165)

May 29
The Lord loves with a tender love those who find their happiness in a total abandonment to His paternal care. They let Divine Providence guide them, without thought to whether this guidance seems useful or profitable to them. These souls who abandon themselves completely can be sure that nothing will ever happen, no misfortune will be permitted by the fatherly and most loving heart of God, without some good or useful effect following. That is on the condition that they have placed all their confidence in the Divine Goodness. (Spiritual Treatises II; O. VI, p. 26)

May 30
Be strong and constant in your resolution to hand over your heart totally and entirely to God, since there is nothing better that you could do; but do not ask for crosses and trials to test your fidelity. Instead of this, await and accept those that God sends you. Your fidelity will be tested in thousands of other ways: in humility, in pleasant manners, in charity, in cordial service, in being affectionate and loving toward your neighbor. May God give you the gifts of patience and fortitude, because you will have the opportunity to make use of them. (Letters 2006; O. XXI, pp. 53-54)

May 31
The most holy virgin "arose quickly, full of concern" [ cf. Lk 1:39] and went to visit Elizabeth to show us the promptness with which we must correspond with divine inspirations. Indeed, when the Holy Spirit touches a soul, He drives out all forms of laziness and tepidity - defects that often give us trouble in our spiritual life. He dearly loves diligence and promptness in all that concerns the execution of the Divine Will. (Sermons 19; O. IX, p. 165)

Used with permission. 
Text taken from the book: "Every Day with SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES"
Edited by Francis J. Klauder, S.D.B. 
Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number 85-72838
ISBN 0-89944-082-7