Devout life does not require withdrawal from the world. This was the central insight of Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th-century priest whose Introduction to the Devout Life
has not gone out of print in almost four centuries. Francis served the church at a dangerous time in a dangerous place: during the Reformation, in Calvinist areas of France, when celebrating mass was punishable by death. He was a popular minister and a prolific letter writer whose correspondence was cherished for its clear and direct instruction in the ways of piety. The book collects passages from many of those letters, organized as one message addressed to the allegorical character Philothea (which means "lover of God"). The book includes long sections about prayer, temptation, and how to maintain and renew devotion to God. But it is most distinguished by its discussion of how to live a holy life in the secular world. Each chapter (such as "How to Combine Due Care for a Good Reputation with Humility") is frank, uncannily modern, and precise. --Michael Joseph Gross
From the Inside Flap
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 sevenjteenth 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.