Monday, April 21, 2014

On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales (Servant Books)

On a Mission: Lessons from St. Francis de Sales begins by describing some of the hardships St. Francis de Sales encountered on his missionary journey to the Chablais region of France. From having to live in a "safe house," to travelling by night in cold weather to perform his priestly duties, to sleeping in a tree with vicious dogs at the base trying to tear him to shreds, St. Francis de Sales did not have an easy job as a priest. Like St. Paul, whom Mr. Madrid mentions later in the book, St. Francis de Sales had a hard life as an apostle for Christ. However, both persevered and continued on their mission. That is one of the recurring themes in this book. No matter how tough it gets, God will give you strength to complete the mission He has given you.

We are then given other examples of apostles for the Lord, including St. John Vianney, St. Francis Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, Frank Sheed, and Pope Francis. )It seems Mr. Madrid is a big fan of the name Francis.) Some lessons for witnessing you will learn from these great men include cultivating humility, finding common ground, never make assumptions, and asking vital questions. He also makes his own personal recommendations for Catholic reading to "get up to speed your knowledge of the Faith." After all, you cannot very well teach or spread the Faith, if you do not understand it yourself. Some of these works include the Bible, the Catechism, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, and Theology for Beginners. There are countless other books he could have mentioned, but I didn't find myself disagreeing with any on his list.

This is a solid book on what it means to be an apostle for Jesus. Not only do you get great lessons on what to do and more importantly, what not to do, you also get concrete examples from some great men of the Faith. I will admit that parts of it came off a bit "Protestant," particularly the story of Sonny in Chapter 2. But perhaps it feels Protestant to me, because witnessing for Jesus is a main tenant of Protestantism, but Catholics never talk about it and shy away from it. Just remember that God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called. And we're all called to be apostles for Jesus. We as Catholics cannot continue to try and excuse ourselves out of the role of witnesses anymore. If you're looking for a down-to-earth guide for being a witness, this is it.

This book was provided to me for free by Franciscan Media. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!