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'Intoduction to The Devout Life'; St Francis De Sales

Discussion in 'Books, movies, links, websites.' started by padraig, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I woke up last night praying last night and remembered I had not made any New Year Resolutions !!:eek: So I tossed and turned and came up with the idea of reading and commenting on some great spiritual classics, especially ones I have never read before and commenting on them through the year.

    The one I came up with first was , ' Introduction to The Devout Life' , by St Francis De Sales which some commentators have called the greatest Book of its kind ever written and the most popular. Please chime in as I read and comment you can read it online here in PDF.


    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    St Teresa of Avila once commented that there are three great graces of prayer.

    1 The Graces of prayer itself

    2. The Grace to understand prayer.

    3. The grace to explain prayer and teach it to others.

    Saint Francis De Sales possessed these three graces in superabundance. He not only understood prayer but had lived a lifetime of prayer himself so many in the spiritual life. There is a wonderful quote from his the life of his spiritual daughter St Jane Francis Chantal.
    St Jane was a Baroness and young widow who had a conversion experience and took to prayer. St Francis became her spiritual director. One of St Jane's servants comments that ,

    'Before she met Fr Francis we in her household were constantly praying together now that Fr Francis directs her she hardly seems to pray at all!':):):D

    In other words she had changed from a life of intense piety which inflicted itself on others she had integrated her prayer seamlessly inot her ordinary everyday activities.

    Prayer had become so much a part of her life that it had become her life itself.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  3. sterph

    sterph Principalities

    I love this book. Maybe I will re-read parts of it this month.
    Shae likes this.
  4. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I would love to have met and talked to him, he seemed a truly magical saint.

  5. sterph

    sterph Principalities

    He was amiable and everyone would comment on his pleasing manner. He told the truth charitably, corrected people lovingly. I am thankful he wrote this book. Most books of this kind before him were directed toward the religious and not the laity. I am sure I would hang on his every word. He is so wonderful it is true.
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  6. padraig

    padraig New Member

    He is a saint of saints, in other words many, many saints followed the path he laid out and became saints them selves, the three main ones I think of are St Jane Chantal, St Phillip Neri, and St John Bosco.

    What do these saints have in common?

    Well I would call St Phillip the laughing saint.

    St John Bosco the smiling saint.

    and St Jane the sweet saint...

    ..which kinda says all that needs said of this particular spirituality..

    it is just so very, very attractive...

    I have a kinda different path... to be on my own in lonely places, in the Desert, fighting demons , very solitary;but as someone who is Irish I just love all this...:)

    It's very, very sweet.. in a good sense. Very human

    Naturally they have a Great Devotion to the Sacred Heart

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  7. sunburst

    sunburst Archangels

    Thank you for posting this Padraig as this is a confirmation to a prayer in seeking guidance from this great Saint! (y)
    Shae, padraig and sterph like this.
  8. Praetorian

    Praetorian Powers

    I just had a thought. I don't know if it would work or not or if people were interested, but would it be a good idea to have a "book group" thread? Maybe pick a classic work that is easily available online for everybody in PDF form and read it one chapter a week or something like that? Then discuss it during the week, post videos, lectures, etc? Just an idea...
    jackzokay, Shae, Carol55 and 2 others like this.
  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Well I hope this is kind of what will go on here through the year, if it works out. But I hope others will chip in , I know that people have read this book several times down the years and have made it central to their spiritual life so I am sure are much better informed than myself.:):)
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I watched some of the Interview from EWTN with Fr Mitch Pacwa (who is very good) and one thing he said I took to heart he said the translation from the original old French of the word, 'Devotion ' might be better phrased 'Holy'. So we get a better title to the Book, 'Introduction to the Life of Holiness' . I like this better , much better, I thought the word 'Devotion ' sound a little twee to me. :)

    But here we have a blue print from a Doctor of the Church , someone described as having , 'Stupendous' intellect and learning. A spiritual Father of many saints. Someone who had experience of Directing thousands o f Souls in his own life time. A very, very fine writer. Plus an all round super nice guy. Placing before us a blue print or plan as to how we might become saints. This in a book which has been flying off the shelves since it was first printed four or five centuries ago.

    Well what could be better I am really looking forward to reading this. :)

    St Francis De Sales pray for us.

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  11. AED

    AED Powers

    I really like this idea.
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  12. Mario

    Mario Powers

    As do I. After all, my youngest daughter went to DeSales University in Pennsylvania!:)

    Safe in the Refuge of the Immaculate Heart!
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  13. padraig

    padraig New Member


    I feel as if , when reading this preface that the author has travelled in a time machine. it is after all first published way back in 1609 and talks of holiness being the Universal call of all mankind ; that we are all called to be saints . Yet it was not until November 1964 that Lumen Gentium was published echoing this.

    Chapter V – The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church

    39. The Church is believed to be indefectibly holy. Through Christ the Church is sanctified, and so everyone who belongs to the Church and who is cared for by the Church is called to a universal holiness.

    40. It is clear that Jesus Christ taught His disciples to be holy in all factions of their life and condition. He sent the of Holy Spirit upon all men that he might move them inwardly to love God with their whole heart, and their whole soul, with all their mind, and all their strength. Because we all sin and in many different ways, we require God’s mercy continually, and must ask God “Forgive us our debts”. Followers of Christ must use their strength, conform themselves, devote themselves to this call to holiness, and will surely grow an abundant harvest of good.

    41. Holiness is one; it has no subjective qualification, and is the same for every man. Therefore every person must walk according to his own personal gifts and path of living in order to devote their lives to works of mercy and charity. Those who are called to the priesthood are expected to exercise this duty perfectly through the sacrament of Orders. Priests must follow the numerous examples laid before them in history. Deacons, though they are of a lesser rank, are likewise called to be holy, free from vice, and to be personifications of goodness and friends of God. Married couples, called to this unique vocation, are to follow the path of love, sustaining one another, imbuing their offspring with wisdom and love. Those who are widows or single, are also called to the path of love, and to give themselves in this unique vocation to better themselves in their labors. Those who are suffering poverty, infirmity, or sickness, are called in a very special way to serve God, and to serve with God, united in suffering for the salvation of the world.

    42. Living a life of love is God’s will for us. In order to do this we must participate in the Eucharist, the sacred action of the Liturgy, prayer, self-abnegation, brotherly love, and the emanation of the virtues in our lives. The Church, above all actions of a man can perform, considers martyrdom to be the highest gift and fullest proof of love of. So few are presented the opportunity, and charity and to stand as Christ before men united with Him in suffering for the sake of the Gospel. One precious gift that one can also give in holiness to the Church is that of their virginity and the celibate state. Due to the undivided heart of these who are blessed by this gift, they are able to perform the works within the Church more freely. Therefore, all the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  14. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I was idly curious to see where St Francis wrote this tremendous book, Annecy; France.

    Well it's just drop dead gorgeous, the, ' Venice of the Alps', blessed, blessed saint.

    Carol55 likes this.
  15. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I am sorry I have not been posting on this thread for a while but I have just finished the decorating; well most of , having hung the last roll of paper and hung the curtains last night:):) I feel like I have moved out of my appartment and into a luxury hotel:):) How nice

    I found myself praying yesterday to St Joseph for help and was annoyed with myself for not having asked his help before. Then I was reminded that prayer transcends and St Joe was there at my shoulder all the time. :):) Which is why it all went so very well although I am usually so useless at such practical work It reminds me of a story of Padre Pio who mentioned he was praying for his grandparents. One of the fathers said,

    'Surely Padre Pio you meant the souls of your grandparents as they are both dead?'

    To which Padre Pio replied that, no, he prayed for his grandparents because while they lived they experienced very great poverty and God , being Lord of Time could help them.

    I have often pray for my grandmother for the exact same reason.

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  16. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Chapter One is very beautiful indeed. Here the saint talks about those who choose to follow the Path of Holiness as being like birds that choose to fly, each with its own wings. Some doves, some Eagles each taking to the air, in flight.

    This reminded me of Scripture...and of a song.

    Isaiah 40:31

    but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

  17. padraig

    padraig New Member

    But oh! Mystery of God, most of the little birds here below refuse to fly but stay below ,grubbing for worms on the patch below while others launch themselves into the sky with the Wings of Eagles. Mystery of Grace!!

    The Hand of God, the Winds of the Spirit, carry them off to the skies.

    sunburst likes this.
  18. padraig

    padraig New Member

    But Saint Francis mentions a very curious thing . Some people who appear on the surface to be very pious and good Christians on the surface can be quite the opposite in practise.

    A curious thing happened to me yesterday right after mass. I had just got up from my pew getting ready to leave the Church when a lady I had not met for several years passed me by . She shot me such a venomous look of hate and anger that it took me quite back. I remembered the last time I met her was aslo in a Church several years ago when she actually shouted in my face in a rage. Now I hardly know this woman. I have only met her a few time sin my life and have no clue whatsoever what I have done to offend her, it is honestly a Great Mystery to me. But Jesus said when we bring our gifts the altar and remember we have a grievance with someone to leave the gifts and be reconciled. For if we do not forgive we cannot be forgiven.

    I think this is a constant of the Spiritual Life that we always have to go back every day to check our own spiritual life to see what is true and what is false piety.

    That not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord...', will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

  19. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Chapter Two

    I remember a few years after my conversion one of my brothers accused me of being a , 'Religious Fanatic'. :D:D Of course in a human sense, the way of the world he is quite right. I pray non stop and think of God all the time. My entire life flows from and too Christ. So I though what my brother said was a great compliment and I loved it.

    I kind of look at it like this; if there is no God having anything to do with any kind of religion is totally cray...

    ..on the other hand if there is a God we must give Him 1000% It's all or nothing; as St Paul said;

    SgCatholic likes this.
  20. padraig

    padraig New Member

    St Francis De Sales comments that from the outside looking in the Christian Life looks like madness. We fast, we do penance we give huge time to Church and charitable activities. Our life seems wasting away avoiding the pleasures others consider normal.

    Francis used a lovely example in this. He compares us to the bees who collect pollen from the bitter heather yet turn it into honey.

    So we devote ourselves to Christ and in return we collect the honey of Great Joy.



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