San Francesco di Sales

Oggi, il valore di una vita è direttamente proporzionale alla sua capacità di produrre ricchezza. Vali quanto più produci. Non per niente alcune fasi della vita sono a rischio, embrioni, anziani, malati terminali: non producono ricchezza.

Per Dio la vita ha, invece, un altro valore, che va ben al di là della produzione. Non è tanto importante quanto possiamo raccogliere, ma quanto, nelle nostre giornate, avremo seminato in amore. Il raccolto potrebbe anche non venire durante la nostra vita, ma favorire altre generazioni.

Un esempio ci viene dalla vita di un grande santo che abbiamo ricordato in gennaio, San Francesco di Sales, che visse in un contesto difficile per la Chiesa di quegli anni, la Riforma protestante.

Appartenente a una nobile famiglia, nacque il 21 agosto 1567 in Savoia, nel castello di Sales presso Thorens. Seguito dalla mamma e poi alla scuola dei Gesuiti crebbe dando ordine alla sua vita spirituale, ma a 16 anni entrò in una profonda crisi. La discussione, molto accesa a quei tempi, sulla predestinazione l’aveva convinto di essere destinato all’inferno e questo lo portò ad ammalarsi. Ne uscì solo affidandosi alla Madonna e confidando in Dio e nel suo amore, senza chiedere più nulla.

Risolti i dubbi di fede riprese gli studi, prima in giurisprudenza e poi diventando sacerdote. Fu inviato missionario nei paese protestanti, ma i risultati furono scarsi. Solo molti anni dopo arrivarono le prime conversioni, nonostante il suo metodo fosse sempre molto delicato e dialogante. Alla mancanza di ascolto, supplì con l’appendere ai muri dei foglietti con su scritte le sue prediche. Anche per questo è ritenuto il patrono dei giornalisti.

La sua maggior intuizione fu di insegnare alla gente comune la via della santità, proponendo varie forme di santità con il nome di devozione. Devozione che va esercitata in modo diverso a seconda della propria condizione. Famosa sarà la sua opera Filotea, introduzione alla vita devota.

La testimonianza di vita e di predicazione di Francesco attraversò il tempo della sua esistenza, portando frutti nei secoli a venire. Vescovo e dottore della Chiesa, morì il 28 dicembre 1622 e venne canonizzato appena trent’anni dopo la sua morte.

San Vincenzo de Paoli, il gigante della carità, divenne suo figlio spirituale e lo definì “la copia più vera di Gesù in terra”, influenzando a sua volta un grande santo sociale dell’800, San Giuseppe Cottolengo.

Un altro santo sociale, che ricordiamo, sempre a gennaio, pochi giorni dopo, diede il nome alla sua congregazione riferendosi proprio a San Francesco di Sales, i salesiani: San Giovanni Bosco. La sua mitezza e bontà avevano colpito Giovanni Bosco nel periodo dei suoi studi e l’aveva convinto a dedicargli l’opera dei giovani mettendola sotto la sua protezione.

Nella società del tutto e subito, Dio ha un pensiero differente.

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