Complete Introduction to the Devout Life

Complete Introduction to the Devout Life


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De Sales' classic has been described as "a masterpiece of psychology, practical morality, and common sense" and, after The Bible and The Imitation of Christ, is the widest read spiritual book of all time. Unlike many others, Devout Life was written specifically for lay persons and it demonstrates a rare sensitivity to the demands of life in a world that is often antagonistic to spirituality. In this first-of-its-kind edition, Fr. John-Julian offers a fresh translation, a most thorough historical introduction, and notes explaining points of language and theology along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612612355
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication date: 06/01/2013
Series: Paraclete Giants
Pages: 444
Sales rank: 664,639
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Father John-Julian, OJN is the founder of the Episcopal contemplative monastic Order of Julian of Norwich. Paraclete has published his previous books The Revelations of Divine Love, The Complete Julian of Norwich, and The Complete Imitation of Christ.


Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction xiii

Notes on the Translation xxvii

Preface Francis De Sales 1

Part 1 Containing Recommendations and Activities Necessary to Guide the Soul-From Her First Longing for the Devout Life to Her Final Firm Resolution to Embrace It

1 A Description of True Sanctity 13

2 The Property and Excellence of Sanctity 15

3 That Sanctity Is Suitable to Every Vocation and Profession 19

4 The Necessity of a Guide to Begin and Make Progress in the Devout Life 21

5 What One Must Begin for the Purifying of the Soul 25

6 Of the First Purification That Is from Mortal Sins 27

7 The Second Purification: That of the Attachment to Sin 29

8 The Way to Bring About This Second Purification 31

9 Meditation 1: Of Creation 33

10 Meditation 2: Of the End for Which We Were Created 35

11 Meditation 3: Of the Gifts of God 37

12 Meditation 4: On Sin 41

13 Meditation 5: Of Death 43

14 Meditation 6: Of Judgment 47

15 Meditation 7: Of Hell 49

16 Meditation 8: On Paradise 51

17 Meditation 9: About the Manner of Selection and Choice of Paradise 55

18 Meditation 10: About the Manner of Election and the Choice That the Soul Makes for a Devout Life 57

19 How One Should Make a General Confession 61

20 An Authentic Declaration to Impress on the Soul the Resolution to Serve God, and to Conclude Its Acts of Penance 63

21 Conclusion of This First Purification 65

22 That It Is Necessary to Purge Oneself of Inclinations One Has to Venial Sins 67

23 That It Is Necessary to Purge the Proclivity for Useless and Dangerous Things 69

24 That It Is Necessary to Purge Oneself of Evil Inclinations 71

Part 2 Containing Various Suggestions For for Raising the Soul to God by Prayer and the Sacraments

1 Of the Necessity of Prayer 77

2 A Short Method of Meditation: The First Step of Preparation: The Presence of God 81

3 The Second Step of Preparation: Concerning Invocation 83

4 The Third Step of Preparation: Concerning the Subject Matter of the Mystery 85

5 The Second Part of Meditation: Concerning Reflections 87

6 The Third Part of Meditation: Concerning Affections and Resolutions 87

7 The Conclusion and Spiritual Souvenir 89

8 Some Useful Advice on the Subject of Meditation 89

9 For the Dryness That May Come in Meditation 93

10 Devotions for the Morning 95

11 Devotions for Evening and Examination of Conscience 97

12 On Spiritual Retreat 99

13 Of Aspirations, Exclamatory Prayer, and Good Thoughts 101

14 Of the Most Holy Mass and the Need to Attend 107

15 Of Other Public and Communal Practices 111

16 How One Should Honor and Invoke the Saints 111

17 How One Should Hear and Read the Word of God 113

18 How One Should Receive Inspirations 115

19 On Holy Confession 119

20 Of Frequent Communion 123

21 How to Receive Communion 129

Part 3 Containing Much Advice Regarding the Practice of the Virtues

1 Of the Choice One Must Make in the Practice of the Virtues 135

2 Continuing the Same Discourse on the Choice of Virtues 141

3 Concerning Patience 145

4 Concerning Outward Humility 151

5 Concerning Inner Humility 155

6 That Humility Makes Us Love Our Own Abasement 161

7 How One Must Conserve a Good Reputation While Practicing Humility 167

8 Of Meekness Toward Our Neighbor and Remedies Against Anger 171

9 On Gentleness Toward Ourselves 177

10 That We Need to Watch Our Affairs with Care and Without Hurry or Worry 179

11 Of Obedience 183

12 Of the Necessity of Chastity 187

13 Advice for Preserving Chastity 191

14 Of the Poverty of Spirit to Be Observed amid Riches 195

15 How One Ought to Practice Poverty, Although Truly Rich 197

16 How to Practice Richness of Spirit in the Midst of Real Poverty 203

17 About Friendship-and First About Bad and Frivolous Ones 205

18 Of Flirtations 207

19 Of True Friendships 213

20 Of the Difference Between True and Vain Friendships 217

21 Advice and Remedies Against Evil Friendships 221

22 Some Further Advice Concerning Friendships 225

23 On the Practice of External Mortification 227

24 Of Society and Solitude 235

25 On Propriety in Dress 239

26 Of Conversation and, First, How We Must Speak of God 241

27 Of Modesty in Words and the Respect Due to Others 243

28 Of Reckless Judgments 245

29 On Slander 251

30 Some Other Advice on Speaking 259

31 Of Pastimes and Recreations and, First, What Are Lawful and Laudable 261

32 Of Prohibited Games 263

33 Of Dances and Other Lawful but Dangerous Pastimes 265

34 When One Can Play or Dance 269

35 How One Must Be Faithful on Great and Small Occasions 269

36 That It Is Necessary to Have a Just and Reasonable Mind 273

37 Of Desires 275

38 Advice for Married People 279

39 The Sanctity of the Marriage Bed 289

40 Advice for Widows 293

41 A Word to Maidens 299

Part 4 Containing Necessary Advice Concerning More Ordinary Temptations

1 That We Must Disregard the Words of This World's Children 305

2 That One Must Have Good Courage 307

3 Of Temptations and the Difference Between Experiencing Them and Consenting to Them 309

4 Two Fitting Examples of the Subject 313

5 Encouragement for the Tempted Soul 317

6 How Temptation and Pleasure May Become Sin 317

7 Remedies for Great Temptations 321

8 That One Ought to Resist Minor Temptations 323

9 How To to Remedy Minor Temptations 325

10 How It Is Necessary to Fortify the Heart Against Temptations 327

11 Of Anxiety 327

12 Of Sadness 331

13 Of Spiritual and Overt Consolations, and How One Must Behave in Them 335

14 Of Spiritual Dryness and Barrenness 343

15 Confirmation and Clarification of What Has Been Called a Notable Example 351

Part 5 Containing Practices and Advice to Renew the Soul and Strengthen It in Devotion

1 That It Is Necessary Each Year to Renew the Good Resolutions by These Practices 359

2 Considerations of the Advantage That God Gives Us by Calling Us to His Service as Set Forth in the Assertion Above 361

3 Examination of Our Soul on Its Progress in the Devout Life 363

4 Examination of the State of the Soul's Relation to God 365

5 Examination of Our State Regarding Ourselves 369

6 Examination of the State of Our Soul Regarding Our Neighbor 371

7 Examination of the Affections of Our Soul 371

8 The Affections Must Be Engaged After Such Assessment 373

9 Considerations Suitable for the Renewal of Good Resolutions 375

10 First Consideration: Of the Excellence of Our Souls 375

11 Second Consideration: On the Excellence of the Virtues 377

12 Third Consideration: On the Example of the Saints 377

13 Fourth Consideration: Of the Love Jesus Christ Has for Us 379

14 Fifth Consideration: God's Eternal Love Toward Us 381

15 General Affections on the Preceding Considerations and the Conclusion of the Exercise 383

16 Of Sentiments That We Should Preserve After This Exercise 385

17 Answer to Two Objections That May Be Made to This Book 385

18 Three Final and Primary Counsels for This Book 387

Notes for the Translator's Introduction 391

Admirers and Critics of Francis De Sales 397

Timeline of Francis De Sales's Life 402

Bibliography 405

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