True devotion does not reject God’s gifts and graces

August 20, 2021 • 2 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 108
By St. Francis de Sales

Many say that they leave mental prayer to those that are perfect; that, for their part, they are unworthy to use it.

Others protest they dare not communicate often, because they do not find themselves sufficiently pure.

Others fear they should bring disgrace upon devotion if they meddled with it by reason of their great misery and frailty.

Others refuse to employ their talents in the service of God and their neighbour, saying, they know their own weakness, and fear they should become proud if they proved instruments of any good; and that, in giving light to others, they would consume themselves in the flames of vanity.

All this is nothing but an artificial spirit of humility, false and malicious, whereby they tacitly and subtly seek to find fault with the things of God; or, at the best, to conceal love of their own opinion, humour, and sloth, under the veil of humility.

“Ask thou a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or to the height above” said the prophet Isaias to unhappy Achaz; and he answered: “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.”

Oh, the wicked man! He would seem to bear an extreme reverence to God, and he excuses himself under the colour of humility, from aspiring to that grace which Divine Goodness offers him; but does he see that when God desires to give us his graces, it is pride to refuse them? that the gifts of God oblige us to receive them; and that it is humility to obey and to comply as far as we can with his desires?

Now, the desire of God is that we should be perfect, uniting ourselves to Him, and imitating Him as nearly as we possibly can.

The proud man, who trusts in himself, has just reason not to attempt anything: but he that is humble is so much the more courageous, according as he acknowledges his own inability; and the more wretched he esteems himself, the more confident he becomes, because he places his whole trust in God, who delights to display his omnipotence in our weakness, and to elevate his mercy upon our misery.

We may, then, humbly and devoutly presume to undertake all that may be judged proper for our advancement by those who guide our souls.

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