"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

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"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."

The Cure D'Ars

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."

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 VII. Of The Union Of The Soul With Her God, Which Is Perfected In Prayer.

1. How Love Effects The Union Of The Soul With God In Prayer.
2. Of The Various Degrees Of The Holy Union Which Is Made In Prayer.
3. Of The Sovereign Degree Of Union By Suspension And Ravishment.
4. Of Rapture, And Of The First Species Of It.
5. Of The Second Species Of Rapture.
6. Of The Signs Of Good Rapture, And Of The Third Species Of The Same.
7. How Love Is The Life Of The Soul, And Continuation Of The Discourse On The Ecstatic Life.
8. An Admirable Exhortation Of S. Paul To The Ecstatic And Superhuman Life.
9. Of The Supreme Effect Of Affective Love, Which Is The Death Of The Lovers; And First, Of Such As Died In Love.
10. Of Those Who Died By And For Divine Love.
11. How Some Of The Heavenly Lovers Died Also Of Love.
12. Marvellous History Of The Death Of A Gentleman Who Died Of Love On Mount Olivet.
13. That The Most Sacred Virgin Mother Of God Died Of Love For Her Son.
14. That The Glorious Virgin Died By An Extremely Sweet And Tranquil Death.

Book VIII. Of The Love of Confomity, By Which We Unite Our Will To The Will Of God, Signified Unto Us By His Commandments, Counsels And Inspirations.

1. Of The Love Of Conformity Proceeding From Sacred Complacency.
2. Of The Conformity Of Submission Which Proceeds From The Love Of Benevolence.
3. How We Are To Conform Ourselves To That Divine Will, Which Is Called The Signified Will.
4. Of The Conformity Of Our Will To The Will Which God Has To Save Us.
5. Of The Conformity Of Our Will To That Will Of God's Which Is Signified To Us By His Commandments.
6. Of The Conformity Of Our Will To That Will Of God Which Is Signified Unto Us By His Counsels.
7. That The Love Of God's Will Signified In The Commandments Moves Us To The Love Of The Counsels.
8. That The Contempt Of The Evangelical Counsels Is A Great Sin.
9. A Continuation Of The Preceding Discourse. How Every One, While Bound To Love, Is Not Bound To Practise, All The Evangelical Counsels, And Yet How Every One Should Practise What He Is Able.
10. How We Are To Conform Ourselves To God's Will Signified Unto Us By Inspirations, And First, Of The Variety Of The Means By Which God Inspires Us.
11. Of The Union Of Our Will With God's In The Inspirations Which Are Given For The Extraordinary Practice Of Virtues; And Of Perseverance In One's Vocation, The First Mark Of Inspiration.
12. Of The Union Of Man's Will With God's In Those Inspirations Which Are Contrary To Ordinary Laws; And Of Peace And Tranquillity Of Heart, Second Mark Of Inspiration.
13. Third Mark Of Inspiration, Which Is Holy Obedience To The Church And Superiors.
14. A Short Method To Know God's Will.

Book IX. Of The Love Of Submission, Whereby Our Will Is United To God's Good-Pleasure.

1. Of The Union Of Our Will To That Divine Will Which Is Called The Will Of Good-Pleasure.
2. That The Union Of Our Will With The Good-Pleasure Of God Takes Place Principally In Tribulations.
3. Of The Union Of Our Will To The Divine Good-Pleasure In Spiritual Afflictions, By Resignation.
4. Of The Union Of Our Will To The Good-Pleasure Of God By Indifference.
5. That Holy Indifference Extends To All Things.
6. Of The Practice Of Loving Indifference, In Things Belonging To The Service Of God.
7. Of The Indifference Which We Are To Have As To Our Advancement In Virtues.
8. How We Are To Unite Our Will With God's In The Permission Of Sins.
9. How The Purity Of Indifference Is To Be Practised In The Actions Of Sacred Love.
10. Means To Discover When We Change In The Matter Of This Holy Love.
11. Of The Perplexity Of A Heart Which Loves Without Knowing Whether It Pleases The Beloved.
12. How The Soul Amidst These Interior Anguishes Knows Not The Love She Bears To God: And Of The Most Lovefull Death Of The Will.
13. How The Will Being Dead To Itself Lives Entirely In God's Will.
14. An Explanation Of What Has Been Said Touching The Decease Of Our Will.
15. Of The Most Excellent Exercise We Can Make In The Interior And Exterior Troubles Of This Life, After Attaining The Indifference And Death Of The Will.
16. Of The Perfect Stripping Of The Soul Which Is United To God's Will.

Book X. Of The Commandment Of Loving God Above All Things.

1. Of The Sweetness Of The Commandment Which God Has Given Us Of Loving Him Above All Things.
2. That This Divine Commandment Of Love Tends To Heaven, Yet Is Given To The Faithful In This World.
3. How, While The Whole Heart Is Employed In Sacred Love, Yet One May Love God In Various Ways, And Also Many Other Things Together With Him.
4. Of Two Degrees Of Perfection With Which This Commandment May Be Kept In This Mortal Life.
5. Of Two Other Degrees Of Greater Perfection, By Which We May Love God Above All Things.
6. That The Love Of God Above All Things Is Common To All Lovers.
7. Explanation Of The Preceding Chapter.
8. A Memorable History To Make Clearly Understood In What The Force And Excellence Of Holy Love Consist.
9. A Confirmation Of What Has Been Said By A Noteworthy Comparison.
10. That We Are To Love The Divine Goodness Sovereignly Above Ourselves.
11. How Holy Charity Produces The Love Of Our Neighbour.
12. How Love Produces Zeal.
13. How God Is Jealous Of Us.
14. Of The Zeal Or Jealousy Which We Have For Our Lord.
15. Advice For The Direction Of Holy Zeal.
16. That The Example Of Certain Saints Who Seem To Have Exercised Their Zeal With Anger, Makes Nothing Against The Doctrine Of The Preceding Chapter.
17. How Our Lord Practised All The Most Excellent Acts Of Love.

Book XI. Of The Sovereign Authority Which Sacred Love Holds Over All The Virtues, Actions And Perfections Of The Soul.

1. How Agreeable All Virtues Are To God.
2. That Divine Love Makes The Virtues Immeasurably More Agreeable To God Than They Are Of Their Own Nature.
3. That There Are Some Virtues Which Divine Love Raises To A Higher Degree Of Excellence Than Others.
4. That Divine Love More Excellently Sanctifies The Virtues When They Are Practised By Its Order And Commandment.
5. How Love Spreads Its Excellence Over The Other Virtues, Perfecting Their Particular Excellence.
6. Of The Excellent Value Which Sacred Love Gives To The Actions Which Issue From Itself And To Those Which Proceed From The Other Virtues.
7. That Perfect Virtues Are Never One Without The Other.
8. How Charity Comprehends All The Virtues.
9. That The Virtues Have Their Perfection From Divine Love.
10. A Digression Upon The Imperfection Of The Virtues Of The Pagans.
11. How Human Actions Are Without Worth When They Are Done Without Divine Love.
12. How Holy Love Returning Into The Soul, Brings Back To Life All The Works Which Sin Had Destroyed.
13. How We Are To Reduce All The Exercise Of The Virtues, And All Our Actions To Holy Love.
14. The Practice Of What Has Been Said In The Preceding Chapter.
15. How Charity Contains In It The Gifts Of The Holy Ghost.
16. Of The Loving Fear Of Spouses; A Continuation Of The Same Subject.
17. How Servile Fear Remains Together With Holy Love.
18. How Love Makes Use Of Natural, Servile And Mercenary Fear.
19. How Sacred Love Contains The Twelve Fruits Of The Holy Ghost, Together With The Eight Beatitudes Of The Gospel.
20. How Divine Love Makes Use Of All The Passions And Affections Of The Soul, And Reduces Them To Its Obedience.
21. That Sadness Is Almost Always Useless, Yea Contrary To The Service Of Holy Love.

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

1. That Our Progress In Holy Love Does Not Depend On Our Natural Temperament.
2. That We Are To Have A Continual Desire To Love.
3. That To Have The Desire Of Sacred Love We Are To Cut Off All Other Desires.
4. That Our Lawful Occupations Do Not Hinder Us From Practising Divine Love.
5. A Very Sweet Example On This Subject.
6. That We Are To Employ In The Practice Of Divine Love All The Occasions That Present Themselves.
7. That We Must Take Pains To Do Our Actions Very Perfectly.
8. A General Means For Applying Our Works To God's Service.
9. Of Certain Other Means By Which We May Apply Our Works More Particularly To The Love Of God.
10. An Exhortation To The Sacrifice Which We Are To Make To God Of Our Free-Will.
11. The Motives We Have Of Holy Love.
12. A Most Useful Method Of Employing These Motives.
13. That Mount Calvary Is The Academy Of Love.