"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."

St Augustine

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "

St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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St. Francis de Sales  (1567-1622)
 Bishop, Founder of the Visitation and Doctor of the Church


Treatise on the Love of God

by St Francis de Sales


Dedicatory Prayer
About This Book - Dedication
Translator's Introduction

Book I. Containing A Preparation For The Whole Treatise.

1. That for the Beauty of Human Nature God has Given the Government of All the Faculties of the Soul to the Will
2. How the will variously governs the powers of the soul.
3. How the will governs the sensual appetite.
4. That love rules over all the affections, and passions, and even governs the will, although the will has also a dominion over it.
5. Of the Affections of the Will.
6. How the Love of God Has Dominion Over Other Loves.
7. Description of Love in General.
8. What Kind of Affinity (Convenance) It Is Which Excites Love.
9. That Love Tends to Union.
10. That the Union to Which Love Aspires is Spiritual.
11. That There Are Two Portions In The Soul, And How.
12. That in These Two Portions of the Soul There Are Four Different Degrees of Reason.
13. On The Difference Of Loves.
14. That Charity May Be Named Love.
15. Of The Affinity There Is Between God And Man.
16. That We Have A Natural Inclination To Love God Above All Things.
17. That We Have Not Naturally The Power To Love God Above All Things.
18. That The Natural Inclination Which We Have To Love God Is Not Useless.

Book II. The History Of The Generation And Heavenly Birth Of Divine Love.

1. That The Divine Perfections Are Only A Single But Infinite Perfection.
2. That In God There Is But One Only Act, Which Is His Own Divinity.
3. Of The Divine Providence In General.
4. Of The Supernatural Providence Which God Uses Towards Reasonable Creatures.
5. That Heavenly Providence Has Provided Men With A Most Abundant Redemption.
6. Of Certain Special Favours Exercised By The Divine Providence In The Redemption Of Man.
7. How Admirable The Divine Providence Is In The Diversity Of Graces Given To Men.
8. How Much God Desires We Should Love Him.
9. How The Eternal Love Of God Prevents Our Hearts With His Inspirations In Order That We May Love Him.
10. How We Oftentimes Repulse The Inspiration And Refuse To Love God.
11. That It Is No Fault Of The Divine Goodness If We Have Not A Most Excellent Love.
12. That Divine Inspirations Leave Us In Full Liberty To Follow Or Repulse Them
13. Of The First Sentiments Of Love Which Divine Inspirations Cause In The Soul Before She Has Faith.
14. Of The Sentiment Of Divine Love Which Is Had By Faith.
15. Of The Great Sentiment Of Love Which We Receive By Holy Hope.
16. How Love Is Practised In Hope.
17. That The Love Which Is In Hope Is Very Good, Though Imperfect.
18. That Love Is Exercised In Penitence, And First, That There Are Divers Sorts Of Penitence.
19. That Penitence Without Love Is Imperfect.
20. How The Mingling Of Love And Sorrow Takes Place In Contrition.
21. How Our Saviour's Loving Attractions Assist And Accompany Us To Faith And Charity.
22. A Short Description Of Charity.

Book III. Of The Progress And Perfection Of Love.

1. That Holy Love May Be Augmented Still More And More In Every One Of Us.
2. How Easy Our Saviour Has Made The Increase Of Love.
3. How A Soul In Charity Makes Progress In It.
4. Of Holy Perseverance In Sacred Love.
5. That The Happiness Of Dying In Heavenly Charity Is A Special Gift Of God.
6. That We Cannot Attain To Perfect Union With God In This Mortal Life.
7. That The Charity Of Saints In This Mortal Life Equals, Yea Sometimes Surpasses, That Of The Blessed.
8. Of The Incomparable Love Which The Mother Of God, Our Blessed Lady, Had.
9. A Preparation For The Discourse On The Union Of The Blessed With God.
10. That The Preceding Desire Will Much Increase The Union Of The Blessed With God.
11. Of The Union Of The Blessed Spirits With God, In The Vision Of The Divinity.
12. Of The Eternal Union Of The Blessed Spirits With God, In The Vision Of The Eternal Birth Of The Son Of God.
13. Of The Union Of The Blessed With God In The Vision Of The Production Of The Holy Ghost.
14. That The Holy Light Of Glory Will Serve For The Union Of The Blessed Spirits With God.
15. That There Shall Be Different Degrees Of The Union Of The Blessed With God.

Book IV. Of The Decay And Ruin Of Charity.

1. That As Long As We Are In This Mortal Life We May Lose The Love Of God.
2. How The Soul Grows Cold In Holy Love.
3. How We Forsake Divine Love For That Of Creatures.
4. That Heavenly Love Is Lost In A Moment.
5. That The Sole Cause Of The Decay And Cooling Of Charity Is In The Creature's Will.
6. That We Ought To Acknowledge All The Love We Bear To God To Be From God.
7. That We Must Avoid All Curiosity, And Humbly Acquiesce In God's Most Wise Providence.
8. An Exhortation To The Amorous Submission Which We Owe To The Decrees Of Divine Providence.
9. Of A Certain Remainder Of Love That Oftentimes Rests In The Soul That Has Lost Holy Charity.
10. How Dangerous This Imperfect Love Is.
11. A Means To Discern This Imperfect Love.

Book V. Of The Two Principal Exercises Of Holy Love Which Consist In Complacency And Benevolence.

1. Of The Sacred Complacency Of Love; And First Of What It Consists.
2. How By Holy Complacency We Are Made As Little Infants At Our Saviour's Breasts.
3. That Holy Complacency Gives Our Heart To God, And Makes Us Feel A Perpetual Desire In Fruition.
4. Of The Loving Condolence By Which The Complacency Of Love Is Still Better Declared.
5. Of The Condolence And Complacency Of Love In The Passion Of Our Lord.
6. Of The Love Of Benevolence Which We Exercise Towards Our Saviour By Way Of Desire.
7. How The Desire To Exalt And Magnify God Separates Us From Inferior Pleasures, And Makes Us Attentive To The Divine Perfections.
8. How Holy Benevolence Produces The Praise Of The Divine Well-Beloved.
9. How Benevolence Makes Us Call All Creatures To The Praise Of God.
10. How The Desire To Praise God Makes Us Aspire To Heaven.
11. How We Practise The Love Of Benevolence In The Praises Which Our Saviour And His Mother Give To God.
12. Of The Sovereign Praise Which God Gives Unto Himself, And How We Exercise Benevolence In It.

Book VI. Of The Exercises Of Holy Love In Prayer.

1. A Description Of Mystical Theology, Which Is No Other Thing Than Prayer.
2. Of Meditation - The First Degree Of Prayer Or Mystical Theology.
3. A Description Of Contemplation, And Of The First Difference That There Is Between It And Meditation.
4. That Love In This Life Takes Its Origin But Not Its Excellence From The Knowledge Of God.
5. The Second Difference Between Meditation And Contemplation.
6. That Contemplation Is Made Without Labour, Which Is The Third Difference Between It And Meditation.
7. Of The Loving Recollection Of The Soul In Contemplation.
8. Of The Repose Of A Soul Recollected In Her Well-Beloved.
9. How This Sacred Repose Is Practised.
10. Of Various Degrees Of This Repose, And How It Is To Be Preserved.
11. A Continuation Of The Discourse Touching The Various Degrees Of Holy Quiet, And Of An Excellent Abnegation Of Self Which Is Sometimes Practised Therein.
12. Of The Outflowing (escoulement) Or Liquefaction Of The Soul In God
13. Of The Wound Of Love.
14. Of Some Other Means By Which Holy Love Wounds The Heart.
15. Of The Affectionate Languishing Of The Heart Wounded With Love.

Continuation of Contents >>