Today is (nowadays) the Feast of S. Jane-Frances de Chantal : so instead of the reliquary going away, I merely have to swap S. Clare for S. Jane Frances . . . who actually shares her capsa with S. Francis de Sales, which I suppose is entirely appropriate.
I actually rather like the two of them : not least because of the immense friendship – indeed love – between them. I’ve mentioned recently the question of ‘particular friendships’, and the concerns that some have about them : but S. Jane Frances and S. Francis (as also Bl. Jordan of Saxony and Bl. Diana d’Andalo) show that there can be much merit, much grace, in such deep and particular friendships . . . as long as they never lose sight of the people of God outside them, for whose benefit they exist.
Deep friendships can be dangerous, even destructive . . . if we allow them to consume us, to take us over, and to blind us to God’s will for us and His world. At the same time, if we recognize in them a metaphor of God’s love for us, and see them as a channel by which we can share our love for Him with the rest of His children, then they can be great and precious gifts.
Today, then, let us rejoice in the friendship of S. Jane Frances and S. Francis, and try to ensure that our own friendships, like theirs, become a vehicle by which others are carried to God.