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Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint…

Introduction to the Devout Life (1619)

by Saint Francis de Sales

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  saintmarysaccden | Sep 6, 2013 |
All true and living devotion presupposes the Love of God

This spiritual classic is written not by a monk for monks but by a catholic bishop advising a young wife of an ambassador to live a pious life. Mme. de Charmoisy found it difficult to maintain a devout spirit in the midst of all the glamour of courtly life. So she wrote to Frances de Sales for advise.

Francis de Sales starts with an explanation of what a devout life is. Then follows very practical advise on prayer introducing topics to meditate on and several resolutions. In the third section he describes various virtues and how to pursue them - then there's a section on temptations and how to overcome them. The last part focuses on the conscience and how to maintain a pure heart and a love for God.

I found Francis de Sales very balanced in his understanding of spiritual formation and direction - of course when he gets practical on "worldly" things like card playing, how to dress etc. time and culture has changed in the last 400 years.

What was specially helpful was the section on virtues - when he talks about patience, humility, gentleness, purity, poverty of spirit and the chapters on true and false friendships. These parts I will return to, no doubt. ( )
3 vote ctpress | Jul 25, 2012 |
Where have I been all my life to not discover this book and this discipline. I feel that at age 70 I am starting all over in my spiritual walk.
Just read chapter X on morning prayer - good guide for the day. ( )
  BeardedPapa | Jul 28, 2011 |
This is definitely one of the most inspiring books I've read. Francis De Sales was a spiritual adviser to a lay woman and wrote letters to direction and encouragement to her. When others in the church read them, they urged him to publish a book of spiritual direction that would be applicable to all lay persons, based on the letters he'd already written. The book keeps the letter format, addressing an allegorical character, Philothea ('lover of God').
Francis de Sales does not beat around the bush. His intent is to offer clear, specific advice to lay people on how to live a devout life, as opposed to a life of mediocre attention to God. He spends quite a bit of time talking about how we must recognize our sinfulness and God's ever-abundant greatness. Then, he goes into the daily practice of the devout life, everything from meditative prayer, reading scriptures and inspirational books, and attending mass to forming intentional friendships, responding to irritating people with love, and controlling even our smallest sinful inclinations. This is not just a general inspiration type book - it's very specific, but it's a wonderful reminder that we should consider how every single aspect of our lives should be devoted to God, even the seemingly insignificant ones.
It is written for a Catholic audience, but 90% of it would be just as beneficial to non-Catholic Christians. If you wanted to bypass references to Mary, the Eucharist, Confession, ad the saints, you'd still derive a huge amount of inspiration from this classic devotional text. I'd recommend this to everyone. ( )
  MorganGMac | Sep 23, 2010 |
This is one of the first books I ever read that was 'spiritual' in the real sense of the word, and I am still very fond of it. I love the way St. Francis de Sales writes of the spiritual life with such practicality and gentleness. ( )
  laudemgloriae | Sep 2, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saint Francis de Salesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, Edward M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kepler, Thomas S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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How to live a holy life in the secular world is the focus of this masterpiece of Christian literature by a 16th-century priest. Drawn from the letters of St. Francis de Sales, this enduring spiritual guide offers clear and direct advice about praying, resisting temptation, and maintaining devotion to God.… (more)

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