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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

    In Chapter 5 , St Francis wrote on Interior Humility.

    I really love the way Francis writes. Short pithy sentences , full of great Wisdom and Imagery, never loosing site of the message he seeks to get across. A top, top communicator, a superb writer a guy who knew his subject matter back to front and upside down. Another hero of Catholicism.

    What's more someone you can totally totally trust. ..and lets face it they are few on the ground at the moment. Which is why I much, much , much prefer the older spiritual classics like this.

    St Francis touches on what I have found a difficult subject matter here. He says that Humility is simply an acknowledgement of the Truth and we must be open and honest about what Graces the God has given us. As Our Lady did when she said, 'The Almighty has done great things for me!' He uses the example of a mule who bears sacks of gold for a Great Prince and says if a mule stated it carried someone else's gold it would not be any greater for having done so.

    But there is a false humility that tends to deny this. When I got out of prison I was interested in things that were going on in my own spiritual life. I was going into raptures and ecstasies. It was as though I was being lifted up t to heaven. I had to be careful in public with these things especially in Church in case I went totally zonked and people might notice. When I went to my Spiritual Director he said he had only read about these things in books and that he wanted to stop directing me as he felt unworthy and these were coupled with the fact that I was starting to see and hear heavenly things, visions and so on. St Teresa of Avila was my great guide at this point from her book , 'The Interior Mansions' were I discovered I was in the 5th Mansion , The Prayer of Union.

    But this discomfited me quite a lot. How could this have happened in such a short space of time? To me of all people. But Our Lady had promised me that, 'I myself will teach you' (prayer) and with her for a guide I went off like a sky rocket.

    Why God does this is God's buisness. We can;t second guess Him. There is a parable to this effect in scripture which I think we heard the Sunday before lest in the Old Rite Mass.

  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    ...and the Parable of the Talents

  3. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I was reading recently about a Mystic who asked Our Lady the simple question,

    'What is your favorite prayer?'

    To which Mary replied , somewhat to my surprise,

    'O Mary conceived without sin , pray for us who have recourse to thee!'

    But I have been praying a lot about this and here we can see the Huge Interior Humilty of Mary. She does not deny the Prevenient Grace God granted her through the Immaculate Conception but acknowledges them , for she knows what was given to her hands was to be passed to her children.

    For we are given that we might give.


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  4. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Chapter 6

    The Need for A Spiritual Director.

    I was thinking rather sadly last night about how sorry I am that I had not studied this book years ago as it is so brilliant a guide, of how helpful it might have been at certain points in my life. But the answer came back in prayer that nothing is an accident and if it had been time to find it back then I would have found it. That there are no accidents. But still it is such a wonderful map and guide, especially I think for folks that are starting out, for whom it seems to me to be especially useful.

    I love to walk in the Mountains of Mourne. These Mountains were the basis of CS Lewis's Books on Narnia, the Kingdom of Aslan for he lived a child in nearby Belfast as a child. They are about 30 square miles and can be quite treacherous in bad weather and in fact have there very own weather forecast but are stunningly beautiful.

    Many people have died up there. I heard a good true ghost story from a climber many years ago. He was heading upwards from the coast on a very beautiful clear hot day when he saw a young man in t shirt and jeans running round in wide circles waving his arms in the air as though to keep warm. On coming down from the mountain he went into a pub for lunch and mentioned what he had seen to the land lord. This guy pulled on a newspaper clipping with a picture of the young guy he had seen. He had died of exposure two weeks previous, he had gone up the mountains on a beautiful day which had suddenly turned very bad and died of exposure in the mist. This gentleman said that several people had seen him doing what he did and reported this on coming down the mountains..

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  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I have been walking in the Mournes on my own since I was a child and know them quite well; but even so have learned to take precautions. For instance to let someone know when I am going up and when I am coming down. To take good footwear, a compass, a map , a haversack , a flask, some food to check the local weather and so on.. But even so sometimes things have gone wrong. For instance one night I sated in a tent , the weather turned really bad in the dark and my tent got blown away and I was left soaking and freezing. Only I knew the place well I would never have gotten off in the dark.

    So with the Spiritual Life. Most times things go well but sometimes things do not go well and you get left in the Dark. It is these times a Spiritual Gide who knows the mountains of your soul are so necessary.

    I will list some times in my life when guidance was real God send.

    The time I met the Blessed Virgin, to make sure it was not an illusion.

    The first times going into raptures and ecstasies and entering contemplative prayer.

    In the Night of the Senses (changing over from Meditative to Contemplative Prayer)

    On occasions of direct attack by the devil.

    In the Dark Night of the Soul, especially at its start.

    On being first visited by the holy Souls.

    I could go on. I would say generally walking the mountains of God is fine. Sometimes though it is problematic. Recall when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He asked the Apstles to stay awake with Him. Sometimes we too need someone to stay awake with us too.

    In walking mountains sometimes we need a hand out.

  6. padraig

    padraig New Member

    On Purifying the Soul

    I remember my Spiritual Director Father Bernard used to say to me often,

    'The Spiritual Life is a Marathon, not a sprint, Padraig'

    Well how true that was. I was looking back on my life, even my recent life and am filled with horror at what I see. But on a more positive note at least I can start to see how bad things really are. For most of my life I hadn't a clue I couldn't even se these things. Now I can see I should despair but one benefit of being the lowest of the low, I could not afford to have any kind of opinion of myself in the first place.

    I just have to do what I have always done, to throw myself utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly on the Mercy of God.

    Sigh . But it is very ,very deflating to be shown this total black mess that is my soul, I admit.

    But then again I should not have been inflated with hot air in the first place.

    It reminds me of an onion , peel off one layer of sin and I see more and more layers of sin below.

    Yet God still loves me, even so. How He manages this is so difficult to fathom.

    Thank God for Our Lady, she is such a comfort.

    Some told me one time that when head shrinkers are probing peoples minds into the horrors in their pasts they start screaming right out loud at the top of their voices. Coming face to face with awful truths about myself has felt like this. We are , all of us such liars to ourselves. Me in particular. The truth can hurt so very ,very much.

    But still the truth is an antiseptic and heals.
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  7. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Well Lent is looming. I have decided to do the Stations of the Cross, try to get to the Dine Mercy Devotions at three 'o clock Friday in Church and to pray penitentially a little while before bed with arms outstretched. I love Lent and the whole Liturgical year, such a wake up call.

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  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Chapter 6

    Purification from Mortal Sin.

    I am afraid St Francis leaves me totally floundering here. He recommends two things, General Confession and in Examination of Conscience to write down an account of our sins in order to get a handle of where we have been going off base. I have never, ever done either of these.

    By chance , however I came across just yesterday an account by the Irish singer , Shane Magowan on his Catholic Faith. Shane said his mother was a great Catholic and example and that he himself prays and believes in miracles. However he goes on to point out that he does not go to mass every Sunday and does not go to confession because, ' I don;t do anything bad enough to go to confession':rolleyes:

    I would be the other way round. I try to get to confession every week and as the years role by I grow more and more deeply aware of my sense of sin.

    I think what St Francis warns about here is developing a sense of sin. Something most Catholics have lost.

    It's strange , because Shnae's biggest hit, 'Fairy Tale of New York', seems to me to be all about this sense of sin.


    Shane Magowan

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  9. AED

    AED Powers

    I too am so keenly aware of my sinfulness and I go to Confession every other week but during Lent I will try to go every week. When I was a child it was standard practice to go every Saturday. There were long lines at both confessionals. The pendulum sure did swing in the other direction sadly.
    Sometimes I wonder if I am too hyper aware of my transgressions but then during my hours of Adoration I am overcome with sudden insights into how my sins—even the small ones—increased the sufferings of Christ and I am devastated. So off to Confession I go.
    I just wasn’t this way when I was younger. Every month most of the time but no big deal if I missed. But if I wait a month the memory doesn’t “pull up the file” and I would sort of generalize. Not good.
    I love Lent. I too am hoping to make a good Lent. I pray for it. Usually I am horrible during Lent. Worse than normal. Struggling to just keep the boat afloat. Hmmm.
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  10. sterph

    sterph Archangels

    I made a general confession about five years ago after reading this book. I was really able to overcome some of my deep seated sins afterward because of the graces rendered. And I realized anger was more of my issue than other sins I was focusing on. I highly recommend it.
  11. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think perhaps a greater and greater awareness of our sins is perhaps one of the great signs of progress in the Spiritual Life. Thsi sounds a paradox, but it is true. The soul becomes more critical of self. It is rather like flying closer to the sun, the closer we get the more Light we get to see the spots and a keen realisiation of the sheer holiness of God overtakes us. This produces a certain antiseptic pain ;along with, another paradox a great joy at the purgatorial cleansing. But there is a certain hooror I find and that is of not understanding of how ignorant we have been of these things...and for how long.

    It certainly seems that few souls enter heaven directly without some form of Purgatory, however light in some cases it may be.A good example of this is in the life of Blessed Claude De Columbier SJ, the confessor of St Margaret Mary Alocoque. This guy was a real saint, so pure, yet St Margaret Mary reports that after his death he spent a brief purgatory. If souls of this callibre need cleansing, what of us?

    I would say one of the main characteristics of the Modernist/ Progressive heretics currently infesting the Vatican like a swarm of rats is that they seem to have no sense of sinfulness whatsoever.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
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  12. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I will pray and have a good think about this during Lent.:):)
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  13. sunburst

    sunburst Archangels

    Sometimes we have to face the ugly to overcome it. I made my first general confession while on a silent retreat. In order to made a good confession it takes a lot of silence and reflection. One really has to go back to the beginning and work their way up to get the big picture. Often during the course of reflection you may discover why you made certain bad choices which also helps in discovering ones flaws.
    I have learned not to trust myself especially when it comes to emotions as it is so easy to fall.
    I think I need to do the general confession again for all the times I have fallen since, even though I go to regular confession often, but this time with more of a resolve to love my God.
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  14. AED

    AED Powers

    I am constantly amazed at family and acquaintances who have no sense of sin at all. To them I suppose I appear overly correct. I try to explain (husband primarily) that to violate God's commandments even in a small thing is to wound His Love and that I therefore try to be as careful of His feelings as I would be of anyone I truly loved including my husband(!!!) and that when I knowingly or unknowingly violate this Love I must make a sincere act of sorrow even as I do with my husband when I apologize for being heedless or mean or whatever. I think God is an abstract to many people though--sadly. Many years ago I had a powerful spiritual dream. I seemed to be speaking to the Lord and I was filled with great sadness and I said "the closer to a You I get the further away I am!" This is exactly what you just said in your post--flying close to the sun.
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  15. sunburst

    sunburst Archangels

    This is what the priest said to me the last time I went to confession, it is not good to generalize. He said he needed material. I know that is hard because my memory doesn't always serve me well. I have noticed though that after praying for insight over time and seemingly out of the blue, I am reminded of some transgression:notworthy:
    I think it is helpful to write things down. When I did my general confession, I wrote down every sin I could think of and then put it in chronological order, and then in doing so it can also jog the memory.
    I felt a great healing and peace after making that general confession and I think it is very pleasing to Our Lord:love:
    When it comes to spiritual warfare, I think the key is mistrust of oneself and I am learning that ever so slowly, God help me ;)
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  16. AED

    AED Powers

    So so right sunburst. I write things down. I have to. Also I agree about mistrusting ourselves. We don't really know ourselves. Certainly not the way God does. I have made two general confessions in my life. An excellent thing for both humility and grace. The Holy Spirit certainly does bring things to light--suddenly out of the blue sometimes.
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  17. padraig

    padraig New Member

    The Reason why people have lost hte Fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of Wisdom, is that they no longer know Him.

    The reason why they no longer know Him is that they no longer pray.

    ..and since they no longer know the God who Created them and Who is their own Father, they create their own God in their hearts who is simply an idol ,a reflection of themselves. A mirror to the Great Darkness of their own hearts.
  18. padraig

    padraig New Member

  19. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I am so excited and happy about Ash Wednesday coming up. What a wonderful chance for great graces to come on us all. May we all come out of the Desert of Lent at least a little better than we went in . May the Fire of Easter Cleanse us all in holiness.:)

    Marana tha. Come Lord Jesus.

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  20. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I might ask one of the Jesuits up the street about making a General Confession during Lent if I can get up the courage for it. Oh God show me if you wish this from me. I would need God to give me the courage for this.:eek::oops:
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