"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."

St Philip Neri

* * *

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."

Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."

St Philip Neri

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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

Book XII. Containing Certain Counsels For The Progress Of The Soul In Holy Love.

Ch 13. That Mount Calvary Is The Academy Of Love.


And at last, as our conclusion, - the death and passion of Our Lord is the sweetest and most constraining motive that can animate our hearts in this mortal life: and it is the very truth, that mystical bees make their most excellent honey within the wounds of this Lion of the tribe of Judah, slain, rent and torn upon the Mount of Calvary.

And the children of the cross glory in their admirable problem, which the world understands not: Out of death, the eater of all, has come forth the meat of our consolation; and out of death, strong above all, has come forth the sweetness of the honey of our love.(1) O Jesus, my Saviour, how love-worthy is thy death, since it is the sovereign effect of thy love!

So, in the glory of heaven above, next to the Divine goodness known and considered in itself, Our Saviour's death shall most powerfully ravish the blessed spirits in the loving of God. As a sign whereof, in the Transfiguration, where we have a glimpse of heaven, Moses and Elias talked with Our Saviour of the Excess(2) which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. But of what excess, if not of that excess of love by which life was forced from the lover, to be bestowed on the well-beloved? So that in the eternal canticle I imagine to myself that this joyous exclamation will be repeated every moment:

Live, Jesus live, whose death doth prove,
The might supreme of heavenly love.

Theotimus, Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. All love that takes not its beginning from Our Saviour's Passion is frivolous and dangerous. Unhappy is death without the love of the Saviour, unhappy is love without the death of the Saviour! Love and death are so mingled in the Passion of Our Saviour that we cannot have the one in our heart without the other. Upon Calvary one cannot have life without love, nor love without the death of Our Redeemer. But, except there, all is either eternal death or eternal love: and all Christian wisdom consists in choosing rightly; and to assist you in that, I have made this treatise, my Theotimus.

During this mortal life we must choose eternal love or eternal death, there is no middle choice.

O eternal love, my soul desires and makes choice of thee eternally! Ah! come, Holy Spirit and inflame our hearts with thy love! To love or to die! To die and to love! To die to all other love in order to live to Jesus's love, that we may not die eternally, but that, living in thy eternal love, O Saviour of our souls we may eternally sing: Vive Jesus! I love Jesus. Live Jesus whom I love! I love Jesus, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

May these things, Theotimus, which by the grace and help of charity have been written to your charity, so take root in your heart that this charity may find in you the fruit of good works, not the leaves of praises. Amen. Blessed be God! And thus I close this whole treatise in the words with which S. Augustine ended an admirable sermon on charity, which he made before an illustrious assembly.



THE END.
 

 
 
1. Judges xvi. 14.
2. Excessum, Luke ix. 31.