The necessity of a Guide to conduct us on the way of Devotion

September 20, 2021 • 3 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 8
By St. Francis de Sales


The necessity of a Guide to conduct us on the way of Devotion.

Young Tobias, being commanded to go to Rages, answered: “I know not the way.” “Go, then,” replied his father, “and seek some man to conduct thee.”

I say the same to you, Philothea; if you would, in good earnest, walk towards devotion, seek some good man who may guide and conduct you: this is the advice of advices.

Though you search, says the devout Avila, you shall never so assuredly find the will of God as by means of this humble obedience, so much recommended and practised by the ancient saints.

The blessed mother Teresa, seeing the lady Catherine of Cordova perform such great penances, desired much to imitate her, against the advice of her confessor, who had forbidden her. She was much tempted to disobey in that particular; but God said to her: “Daughter, thou art in a good and secure way: thou esteemest much her penances; but I value more thy obedience.”

And hence she so highly esteemed this virtue, that besides the obedience due to her superiors, she vowed a particular one to a man of excellent perfection, obliging herself to follow his direction and conduct, by which she was infinitely comforted, as well as many devout souls before and after her, who, for the more entire resignation of themselves to God, have submitted their will to that of their servants, which St. Catherine of Sienna highly applauds in her dialogues.

The devout princess, St. Elizabeth, submitted herself with an exemplary obedience to Conradus. And one of the advices given by the great St. Louis to his son, a little before his death, was this: “Confess often, choose an able and upright confessor who can instruct thee to do those things which are necessary.”

“A faithful friend,” says the Holy Scripture, “is a strong protection; he that has found him has found a treasure. A faithful friend is a medicine which gives life and immortality; those who fear God find Him.”

These divine words point chiefly, as you may see, at immortality, for which it is principally necessary to have this faithful friend, who by his directions and counsels may watch over our actions, and by this means save us from the ambushes and wiles of our ghostly enemy.

He will be to us a treasure of wisdom in our afflictions, discontents, and relapses; he will serve us as a cordial to refresh and comfort our hearts in spiritual diseases: he will preserve us from evil, and make what is good better: and when any infirmity shall befall us, he will hinder it from being mortal, for he will heal us.

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