"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."

St Philip Neri

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."

St Philip Neri

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "

Thomas á Kempis

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


By St Francis de Sales

Book I. Containing A Preparation For The Whole Treatise.

Ch 4. That love rules over all the affections, and passions, and even governs the will, although the will has also a dominion over it.

Love being the first complacency which we take in good, as we shall presently show, it of course precedes desire; and indeed what other thing do we desire, but that which we love? It precedes delectation, for how could we rejoice in the enjoyment of a thing if we loved it not? It precedes hope, for we hope only for the good which we love: it precedes hatred, for we hate not evil, except for the love we have for good: nor is evil evil but because it is contrary to good. And, Theotimus, it is the same with all the other passions and affections; for they all proceed from love, as from their source and root.

For which cause the other passions and affections, are good or bad, vicious or virtuous, according as the love whence they proceed is good or bad; for love so spreads over them her own qualities, that they seem to be no other than this same love.

S. Augustine reducing all these passions and affections to four, as did also Boetius, Cicero, Virgil, with the greatest part of the ancients:-" Love," says he, "tending to the possession of what it loves, is termed concupiscence or desire; having and possessing it it is called joy; flying that which is contrary to it, it is named fear; but if this really seizes it and it feels it, love is named grief, and consequently these passions are evil if the love be evil, good if it be good. The citizens of the heavenly city fear, desire, grieve, love, and because their love is just, all their affections are also just. Christian doctrine subjects the reason to God that he may guide and help it, and subjects all these passions to the spirit, that it may bridle and moderate them and so convert them to the service of justice and virtue. The right will is good love, the bad will is evil love;"(1) that is to say, in a word, Theotimus, love has such dominion over the will as to make it exactly such as it is itself.

The wife ordinarily changes her condition into that of her husband, becoming noble if he be noble, queen if he be king, duchess if he be duke. The will also changes her condition according to the love she espouses; if this be carnal she becomes carnal, if this be spiritual she is spiritual, and all the affections of desire, joy, hope, fear, grief, as children born of the marriage between love and the will, consequently receive their qualities from love. In short, Theotimus, the will is only moved by her affections, amongst which love, as the primum mobile and first affection, gives motion to all the rest, and causes all the other motions of the soul.

But it does not follow hence that the will does not also rule over love, seeing that the will only loves while willing to love, and that of many loves which present themselves she can apply herself to which she pleases, otherwise there would be no love either forbidden or commanded.

She is then mistress over her loves as a maiden over her suitors, amongst whom she may make election of which she pleases. But as after marriage she loses her liberty and of mistress becomes subject to her husband's power, remaining taken by him whom she took, so the will which at her own pleasure made election of love, after she has chosen one remains subject to it.

And as the wife is always subject to the husband whom she has chosen as long as he lives, and if he die regains her former liberty to marry another, so while a love lives in the will it reigns there, and the will is subject to its movements, but if this love die she can afterwards take another.

And again there is a liberty in the will which the wife has not, and it is that the will can reject her love at her pleasure, by applying her understanding to motives which make it displeasing, and by taking a resolution to change the object.

For thus, to make divine love live and reign in us, we kill selflove, and if we cannot entirely annihilate it at least we weaken it in such a way that though it lives yet it does not reign in us. As, on the contrary, in forsaking divine love we may adhere to that of creatures, which is the infamous adultery with which the Divine lover so often reproaches sinners.

1. De Civ. Dei, xiv. ix.