How to purify ourselves from love of sin

September 26, 2021 • 2 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 15
By St. Francis de Sales


The means to arrive at this second Purification.

Now the first means and foundation of this second purification is a lively and strong apprehension of the great injury sin does us, which causes us to enter into a deep and lively contrition.

For as contrition (so it be true, be it ever so little, especially being joined with the virtue of the sacraments), cleanses us sufficiently from sin, so when it is great and fervent, it cleanses us from all affections which depend upon sin.

A weak hatred makes us loathe and avoid the company of him we hate; but if it be mortal and violent hatred, we not only fly and abhor him, but we detest the conversation even of his friends and kindred; yea, we hate his very picture, and whatsoever belongs to him.

So, when the penitent hates his sin, but only with a light, though true contrition, he resolves indeed to sin no more; but when he abhors it with a powerful and vigorous contrition, he then not only detests the sin, but all the affections, tendencies, and occasions of it.

We must then, Philothea, increase our contrition and repentance, as much as possible, to the end that it may extend to the least and remotest consequences of sin.

St. Mary Magdalen, in her conversion, so utterly lost the contentment and pleasure she had found in sin, that she never more thought of it. And David protested not only that he abhorred sin, but also all the ways and paths of it.

In this point consists the renewing of the soul, which the same prophet compares to the growing young of an eagle.

Now, to gain this apprehension and contrition, you must diligently employ yourself in these following meditations, which, being well practised, will, by the help of God’s grace, root out from your heart all sin with its principal affections: and indeed it is to this end that I have framed them.

You shall use them in order, as I have placed them, taking but one for each day, and that, if possible, in the morning, which is the most proper time for all spiritual exercises, to the end that you may think and meditate on them during the day.

But if you are not yet accustomed to meditation observe that which will be said in the Second Part.

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