The Devout Life

There is a Saint that should become familiar to Sober Catholic readers. This is St. Francis DeSales. He wrote a classic text on spiritual development entitled “The Introduction to the Devout Life”. I admit to not having read it (yet) and therefore only know it by its eminent reputation.

An excerpt on this text and St. Francis from “The Catholic Encyclopedia” in the New Advent website:

We may give here a brief résumé of the spiritual teaching contained in these works, of which the Church has said: “The writings of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are a bright light in the Church, pointing out to souls an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life.” (Breviarium Romanum, 29 January, lect. VI.)

There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. “You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did” (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.

St. Francis DeSales‘ feast day is celebrated on January 24th (I know, I’m 2 days late in writing about it, so what else is new).

Additional material can be found here and here

The classic text can be read for free, online here . More modern translations can be found in bookstores.

I’ve included “Daily With DeSales a daily meditation using excerpts from his writings and the “Devout Life” sites in the Catholic Resources for Alcoholics links section in the sidebar.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"