Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Saturday, 17 March 2018

What can St Francis de Sales teach us?


Alice von Hildebrand wrote an interesting reflection in 2015, which, with the crisis in the Church showing no signs of abetting, is even more pertinent nearly three years later. As this tragic crisis unfolds, the temptations to heresy and schism will increase. 


von Hildebrand wrote:

If anyone came to me with the following request: what is the book on spiritual life that you would recommend not only for beginners, but also for people who have already taken their first steps? Without a moment’s hesitation, I would say; Saint Francis of Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, a book published in the XVII century which, I believe, never was out of print. 
There is a profound reason for it: not only is it classical, (above time and fashion), but it has a value for people of the most varied backgrounds. It is like bread: it will never be outdated. This great saint’s message is couched in such gracious terms that he combines depth of thought, and gentle charm.
One typical temptation of beginners in spiritual life, is to feed their soul on mystical literature, such as the Dark Night of the Soul of St. John of the Cross. Its very title attracts a large number of beginners convinced that they know by personal experience what this great saint and mystic is referring to. Being spiritually immature, they easily fall prey to an exaltation that favors dangerous illusions. St. Francis of Sales’ book combines profound spiritual wisdom, with what I shall term “holy sobriety”. Such spiritual food prevents one from falling into the very many illusions which are traps set by the devil to make many people endorse spiritual fallacies and leave the safe road of humility.
All I intend to do in this brief essay is to meditate on one chapter in Book 3, which, in my personal life, I have found to be a gold mine of insights. It refers to our attitude toward the faults and sins of others -- a topic of crucial importance because all of us have to deal with it, and very few are aware of  only valid Christian response. Any sin calls for tears because first and foremost, it is an offense of God. Had men not sinned, Christ would not have been crucified. This should be our primary concern.
Read the full essay here. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI, it was AV Hildebrand that made sure i rec'd a notarized copy of the testimony from a couple who listened to Bella Dodd speak and admit placing over a thousand Communists into our seminaries. Alice included a sticky note which said ONLY communist party homosexuals took on the assignment.She also said she answered to four or five Cardinals in the Vatican who were her Communist party bosses.That was in 1939 and allegedly ArchBish Fulton J Sheen told her not to reveal their names. Okay ,I guess he did bot want to calumnize or slander either, BUT just maybe he could have spared us Vatican 2 and all the heartbreak and loss of sould that have followed.