Freedom is abandonment to God's love, pope says

March 14, 2011

St. Francis de Sales

Pope Benedict said that those seeking "true liberty" should follow the example of a 16th-century French saint who urged the faithful to give themselves up completely to God's love.

At his weekly general audience at the Vatican March 2, the pope said St. Francis de Sales believed and wrote that "divine love is the reason for all things."

His views are still relevant today, the pope said.

"In an era like the one we are living, that seeks liberty even with violence and trouble, we can't help but see the relevance of the words of this great master of spirituality and peace."

The pope explained that St. Francis, who lived from 1567 to 1622, had grown up in a cultured family in France and had received an education in both civil and canonical law.

He felt he had a vocation but suffered a deep spiritual crisis before taking his vows and committing himself completely to God, the pope said.

Pope Benedict quoted the saint's writings, in which he said, "Whatever you have decided for me, Lord, I will always love you as my hope and my salvation."