Meditation Ten – The Soul’s Choice of a Devout Life

And so we reach our tenth and final meditation in Chapter XVIII from the “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales in our preparation to make a good and worthy Confession in time for Holy Week.

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Preparation.
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God.2. Humble yourself before Him, and ask His Aid.

Considerations.
1. Once more imagine yourself in an open plain, alone with your guardian Angel, and represent to yourself on the left hand the Devil sitting on a high and mighty throne, surrounded by a vast troop of worldly men, who bow bareheaded before him, doing homage to him by the various sins they commit. Study the countenances of the miserable courtiers of that most abominable king:—some raging with fury, envy and passion, some murderous in their hatred;—others pale and haggard in their craving after wealth, or madly pursuing every vain and profitless pleasure;—others sunk and lost in vile, impure affections. See how all alike are hateful, restless, wild: see how they despise one another, and only pretend to an unreal self-seeking love. Such is the miserable reign of the abhorred Tyrant.
2. On the other hand, behold Jesus Christ Crucified, calling these unhappy wretches to come to Him, and interceding for them with all the Love of His Precious Heart. Behold the company of devout souls and their guardian Angels, contemplate the beauty of this religious Kingdom. What lovelier than the troop of virgin souls, men and women, pure as lilies:—widows in their holy desolation and humility; husbands and wives living in all tender love and mutual cherishing. See how such pious souls know how to combine their exterior and interior duties;—to love the earthly spouse without diminishing their devotion to the Heavenly Bridegroom. Look around—one and all you will see them with loving, holy, gentle countenances listening to the Voice of their Lord, all seeking to enthrone Him more and more within their hearts.
They rejoice, but it is with a peaceful, loving, sober joy; they love, but their love is altogether holy and pure. Such among these devout ones as have sorrows to bear, are not disheartened thereby, and do not grieve overmuch, for their creed2Saviour’s Eye is upon them to comfort them, and they all seek Him only.                         3. Surely you have altogether renounced Satan with his weary miserable troop, by the good resolutions you have made;—but nevertheless you have not yet wholly attained to the King Jesus, or altogether joined His blessed company of devout ones:—you have hovered betwixt the two.
4. The Blessed Virgin, S. Joseph, S. Louis, S. Monica, and hundreds of thousands more who were once like you, living in the world, call upon you and encourage you.
5. The Crucified King Himself calls you by your own name: “Come, O my beloved, come, and let Me crown thee!”

The Choice.
1. O world, O vile company, never will I enlist beneath thy banner; for ever I have forsaken thy flatteries and deceptions. O proud king, monarch of evil, infernal spirit, I renounce thee and all thy hollow pomp, I detest thee and all thy works.
2. And turning to Thee, O Sweet Jesus, King of blessedness and of eternal glory, I cleave to Thee with all the powers of my soul, I adore Thee with all my heart, I choose Thee now and ever for my King, and with inviolable fidelity I would offer my irrevocable service, and submit myself to Thy holy laws and ordinances.
3. O Blessed Virgin Mother of God, you shall be my example, I will follow you with all reverence and respect.
O my good Angel, bring me to this heavenly company, leave me not until I have reached them, with whom I will sing for ever, in testimony of my choice, “Glory be to Jesus, my Lord!”

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3 Responses to Meditation Ten – The Soul’s Choice of a Devout Life

  1. GC says:

    Thank you, CP&S, for these meditations over the last several days before Holy Week, courtesy of St Francis De Sales. I see St de Sales was a little later than Toad’s St de Montaigne, but clearly of better birth and education (no herring merchants in the de Sales line-up as far as can be seen). Our bishop of Geneva was also not strictly French, but a bishop in pre-French Savoy, though he studied in Paris. That could be important.

    Anyway, I’m thankful that I could follow these meditations before retiring each night and they were of great benefit. Spirituality such as this seems rare indeed these days, especially when swamped by the “Francis effect” of the woefully ignorant media and their sucklings. (But one shouldn’t be too harsh, probably. They can’t help it.)

    Many thanks again to CP&S

  2. toadspittle says:

    “I see St de Sales was a little later than Toad’s St de Montaigne, but clearly of better birth and education (no herring merchants in the de Sales line-up as far as can be seen). “

    Good Lord. How very odd.
    Didn’t realise snobbery was one of The Seven Deadly Virtues.
    …Well we all do now.
    Chock full of surprises, is GC.
    …Though I seriously doubt if De Sainted Salesman was of “better education” than Montaigne, who was brought up to speak nothing but Latin, until he was around seven.
    As to which of them was of “better birth,” I. well…depends on what you mean by that very loaded and utterly unchristian phrase.
    …And what has it got to do with our relationship with God, anyway?

    (Hmmm. Does anyone else get the impression GC is going off her head, these days?)

  3. GC says:

    Well, Toad, trust you to pick up the minor details and magnify them to further your own dubious purposes.

    Hmmm. Does anyone else get the impression GC is going off her head, these days?

    Hmmm. You’ll keep for that, Toad, you’ll keep.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not sure how the son of a family of pickled fish-merchants, who had their son learn Latin in order to grasp at a modicum of street credit in the back blocks of France, can possibly match the dignity, refinement and education of a Savoy nobleman, saint, bishop and inspiration of several religious orders is worth discussing.

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