YOU aspire to devotion, my dearest Philothea, because, being a Christian, you know it to be a virtue extremely pleasing to the Divine Majesty. But since small faults, committed in the beginning of any undertaking, grow in the progress infinitely greater, and become in the end almost irreparable, you must first know what the virtue of devotion is; for since there is but one true devotion, and many which are false and deceitful, if you cannot distinguish that which is true, you may easily deceive and amuse yourself in following some fantastical and superstitious devotion. Aeterna Press
IT is a great pleasure to introduce to Catholic readers, and to others, this, the fourth, volume of the Rev. Henry Benedict Mackey’s translation of the complete works of St. Francis of Sales. It comprises a very complete selection of the holy Doctor’s Letters to “religious” persons. These letters are characterised not only by that depth, sweetness, and attractiveness which we find in all his utterances, but also by matured and powerful instructions, worthy of so great a spiritual director, on the subject of the religious life of persons consecrated to God. Aeterna Press
THE following Treatise presents, at first sight, considerable difficulties. They do not arise from any defect in the Saint’s mode of expression, but are inherent in his subject and manner of treatment, “going deep down into the roots” of the Love of God. Thus he speaks in his Preface, and continues: “The first four books, and some chapters of the others might doubtless have been omitted without disadvantage to such souls as seek only the practice of holy love. . . . I have been forced to say many things which will appear more obscure than they are. The depths of science are always somewhat hard to sound.” But he tells us that the state of the minds of his age required this deeper treatment; and whatever may be thought as to the best way of presenting modern religious teaching to an age so ignorant, so shallow and so unthinking as is our own with regard to spiritual truths, there can be no question that this masterpiece of the chief doctor of ascetic theology must not be brought down to our level, but that we must raise ourselves towards it. Aeterna Press
At first sight it, may appear unreasonable to say that conferences, or spiritual lectures, delivered within the walls of a single convent, having its own special character, not written by their author, but from memory by his devout hearers, can promise much usefulness beyond the order to which that house belonged, or at most, beyond the sphere of religious life. Now, so far from this being, in our judgment, the case, we consider them practically calculated to do much good beyond the cloister and the chapter-house of monastery or convent. They will be read, we trust with pleasure, and we are sure with profit, by devout persons living in the world, by clergy and laity; the former of whom will find in them invaluable principles and advice for the guidance of consciences, while the latter cannot fail to derive from their study, consolation, encouragement, and direction. Aeterna Press
THERE ARE TWO sorts of unions of the soul with God in this world: the first by grace, which is made in Baptism, or by means of Penance; the second by devotion, and this is made by means of spiritual exercises. The one makes us innocent and the other spiritual. Solomon, considering himself to have given sufficient instruction on the first sort of union in his other books, only teaches the second in the Canticles, in which he supposes the spouse, that is, the devout soul, to be already married to her Divine Beloved, and represents their holy and chaste married loves, practiced by mental prayer, which is simply the consideration of God and Divine things. Aeterna Press
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