Saturday, May 26, 2012

An Introduction of to a Devout Life {Book Review for Tiber River}



St Francis de Sales presenting the 

Philotea to Saint Jane Frances de Chantal,

(Valentin Metzinger 1699 - 1759)
Philothea or An Introduction to the Devout Life has become a book I turn to constantly for spiritual direction as mother and wife. Written by Saint Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church, for Saint Jane Frances de Chantal who was first a mother and later finished her life as a cloistered nun. I find the form of this book applies greatly in my life. You will find this book in my purse, in my diaper bag, next to me in the pew at Mass or with me at Adoration, and even when I curl up with it on my couch. I've read chapters repeatedly, not because the text is difficult but because each time I learn something new or capture a glimpse of something different I had not noticed when I first read it. It really is a classical work of literature that every Catholic family should own. This great book writing by a saint for a saint is a road map of sorts for leading a life devoutly as a Christian. Thought written some 400 years ago, this book is as applicable today as it was when it was first written as God transcends time and so do these "rules" we must live by to love, praise, and worship Him.

Another aspect I also love about this book is that I can read sections of it to my own mother when confiding in me about her spiritual life and it applies to her as well. It is a book that transcends time and also stages of life. St. Francis de Sales's advice is just as applicable today as it was when first written because of his insight on sin, how human beings respond to them (the human psyche), and the temptations we constantly face in our lives. The constant battle of wills and factors we face on a day to day basis, this saint is well aware of and gives you a guide as to how to avoid these near occasions of sin and also how to practically live a devout Christian live in a secular world; in essence he provides a road map to Heaven!
Book Description from Aquinas and More, Catholic Books:Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life has remained a uniquely accessible and relevant treasure of devotion for nearly four hundred years. As Bishop of Geneva in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, Francis de Sales saw to the spiritual needs of everyone from the poorest peasants to court ladies. The desire to be closer to God that he found in people from all levels of society led him to compile these instructions on how to live in Christ. Francis’s compassionate Introduction leads the reader through practical ways of attaining a devout life without renouncing the world and offers prayers and meditations to strengthen devotion in the face of temptation and hardship.
Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de SalesThis remarkable book, originally issued in 1609, has remained a uniquely accessible and relevant treasure of devotion for nearly four hundred years. As Bishop of Geneva in the first quarter of the 17th century, Francis de Sales saw to the spiritual needs of everyone from the poorest peasants to court ladies. The desire to be closer to God that he found in people from all levels of society led him to compile these instructions on how to live in Christ. Francis’s compassionate Introduction leads the reader through practical ways of attaining a devout life without renouncing the world and offers prayers and meditations to strengthen devotion in the face of temptation and hardship.

All in all, this book is an excellent addition to the library of Catholic families, a great guide for mothers young and old and really anyone at any stage of life. He gives you practical and timeless advise for living life in line with Tradition, the Bible, and Church teaching. If you are seeking to live a devout life, and a guide to keep yourself in line while raising little ones, you will enjoy this book as much as I have and love having spiritual advise at your fingertips! I can definitely see myself coming back to this book throughout my journey here on Earth as a companion and guide to reach Heaven!
Prayer to St. Francis De Sales:  "O Glorious St. Francis, model of the interior life, and full of zeal for the salvation of souls! Obtain for me the grace to employ all my faculties, not for my own sanctification alone, but for that of my neighbor also; that continually spreading abroad the sweet odor of Jesus Christ by my words and works, I may attain with thee the blessedness promised to the merciful: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy;" and that I may one day have a share in the glory which thou dost enjoy in paradise with the angels and saints, where those who edify and instruct to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity (Dan. xii. 3).


***I wrote this review of Introduction to the Devout Life for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.***

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