"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."

Thomas á Kempis

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"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."

St Philip Neri

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"Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) -  Bishop and Doctor of the Universal Church

 

INTRODUCTION TO A DEVOUT LIFE (cont)

 

by St Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church

PART V. Containing counsels and practices for renewing and confirming the soul in devotion (cont)
 

14. The Eternal Love of God for us.


Consider the Eternal Love God has borne you, in that, even before our Lord Jesus Christ became Man and suffered on the Cross for you, His Divine Majesty designed your existence and loved you.

When did He begin to love you?

When He began to be God, and that was never, for He ever was, without beginning and without end. Even so He always loved you from eternity, and therefore He made ready all the graces and gifts with which He has endowed you. He says by His prophet, "I have loved thee" (and it is YOU that He means) "with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (1) And amid these drawings of His Love He led you to make these resolutions to serve Him.

What must resolutions be which God has foreseen, pondered, dwelt upon from all eternity? how dear and precious to us! Surely we should be ready to suffer anything whatsoever rather than let go one particle of the same.

The whole world is not worth one soul, and the soul is worth but little without its good resolutions.
 

 
 
 

15. General Affections which should result from these Considerations, and Conclusion of the Exercise.

   
O PRECIOUS resolutions! ye are as the lovely tree of life planted by God's Own Hand in the midst of my heart, a tree which my Saviour has watered with His Blood.

Rather would I die a thousand deaths than suffer any blast of wind to root you up--neither vanity, nor pleasure, nor wealth, nor sorrows shall ever overthrow my intentions.

Lord, Thou hast planted and nurtured this tree in Thy Bosom, but how many souls there are which have not been thus favoured, how can I ever sufficiently acknowledge Thy Mercy?

Blessed and holy resolutions, if I do but keep you, you will keep me! if you live in my soul, my soul will live in you. Live ever, then, ye resolutions, which have an eternity of your own in God's Mercy, live ever in me, and may I never forsake you.

Next, you must particularise the necessary means for maintaining your good resolutions, determining to use them diligently,--such as frequency in prayer, in Sacraments, in good works; the amendment of the faults you have already discovered, cutting off occasions of sin, and following out carefully all the advice given you with this view.

Then, take breath as it were in a renewed profession of your resolutions, and, as though you held your heart in your hands,--dedicate, consecrate, sacrifice, immolate it to God, vowing never to recall it, but leave it for ever in His Right Hand of Majesty, prepared everywhere and in all things to obey His Commands.

Ask God to renew your will, to bless your renewed resolutions and to strengthen them.

While your heart is thus roused and excited, hasten to your spiritual father, accuse yourself of any faults which you have discovered since you made your general confession, and receive absolution as you did at the first.

Make your protest and sign it in his presence, and then lose no time in uniting your renewed heart to its Creator and Saviour, in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.


 

   
 
   
 
1. Jer. xxxi. 3.