Quotes & Themes – Freedom


Blessed are the hearts which can bend; they shall never be broken. (The Spirit of St. François de Sales, VII, 1)

The mind must be persuaded, it cannot be constrained. (The Spirit of St. François de Sales, XX, 4)

We must do all by love, and nothing by force. We must love obedience rather than fear disobedience. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

Constraint is a certain want of liberty by which the soul is overwhelmed with either disgust or anger, when it cannot do what it has planned, though still able to do better. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

A horse that is shackled or tethered cannot run. (Letters to Persons in Religion, I, 4)

Liberty of spirit is a detachment of the Christian heart from all things to follow the known will of God. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

I leave you the spirit of liberty—not that which excludes obedience, for that is the liberty of the flesh; but that which excludes constraint, scruple and worry. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

Our minds must not be kept always on the stretch. (Spiritual Conferences, 4[1])

Have a holy liberty of spirit about the means of perfection. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 5)

A soul which has true liberty of spirit will leave its exercises with an equal coun­tenance, and a heart gracious toward the importunate person who has inconven­ienced her. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

One must not be so devoted to even the most pious practices as to be unable to break into them. (The Spirit of St. François de Sales, VIII, 11)

We have only to take care not to use a superfluous attention when we seek out the will of God in all the particular de­tails of small, ordinary and trifling ac­tions. (Letters to Persons in Religion, V, 2)

There is no annoyance so great as the annoyance which is composed of many trifling, but continuous worries. (Letters to Persons in Religion, IV, 32)

I do not approve that your will should be anticipated by firm resolutions, but only by sweet attractions. (Letters to Persons in the World, III, 11)

You were never told not to think about your advancement, but that you were not to think about it anxiously. (Spiritual Conferences, 12)

Let your superior part bear the dis­order of the inferior. (Letters to Persons in the World, II, 17)

Do not be so anxiously solicitous for Him, for He told Martha that He was better pleased that there should be no solicitude, not even in doing good. (Letters to Persons in Religion, III, 11)

We must not be unjust and require from ourselves what is not in ourselves. (Letters to Persons in the World, II, 17)

The good which is true fears not to be lessened by the increase of other true goods. (Letters to Persons in Religion, III, 25)

Once charity is ours, free will wears the wedding garment. We can keep it on by doing good, or take it off by sinning, just as we please. (Treatise on the Love of God, Book 4, Chapter 1)

We have the liberty to do good or evil, but to choose evil is not to use but to abuse liberty. Let us renounce such misguided liberty and subject our free will forever to the rule of heavenly love. (Treatise on the Love of God, Book 1, Chapter 17)

If our souls should ever will to use their liberty against our resolutions to serve God eternally and without reserve, let us generously sacrifice this free will and make it die to itself so that it may live in God (Treatise on the Love of God, Book 1, Chapter 17)

O free will of my heart, how good a thing it will be for you to be bound and laid upon the cross of your divine Saviour! How desirable a thing will it be for you to die to yourself so as to burn forever as a holocaust to the Lord! Our free will is never so free as when it is a slave to God’s will, just as it is never so servile as when it serves our own will. It never has so much life as when it dies to itself, and never so much death as when it lives to itself. (Treatise on the Love of God, Book 12, Chapter 10)

Let this be the general rule of your obedience written in capital letters DO EVERYTHING FOR LOVE, AND NOTHING THROUGH FORCE. LOVE OBEDIENCE MORE THAN YOU FEAR DISOBEDIENCE. I want you to have the spirit of Liberty. (Letters to Persons in the World, Letter to Madame de Chantal)

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The North American Salesian Network (NASN) is an organization of both lay and religious groups that live the Salesian teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. NASN facilitates the sharing of Salesian resources, educational services, vocational efforts, and a variety of resources, bringing this optimistic, joy-filled spirituality to people throughout the world.

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