The advice in this book are not too numerous in practice

October 29, 2021 • 2 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 282
By St. Francis de Sales


Answer to two objections which may be made to this introduction.

The world perhaps will tell you, Philothea, that these exercises and advices are so numerous, that he who would practise them must apply himself to nothing else.

Alas! Philothea, even should we do nothing else, we should do enough, since we should do all that we ought to do in this world.

But do you not perceive the stratagem of our enemy? If they were all to be necessarily performed every day, they would then indeed be our whole occupation; but it is not requisite to perform them otherwise than in their proper time and place, as occasions may present themselves.

Of the full code of the civil laws, how many ought to be observed? The number must be determined according to circumstances, and no one would contend that all should be practised every day.

David was a king occupied with the most difficult affairs, yet he performed many more exercises than I have prescribed to you.

St. Louis, a prince admirable in war, peace, and the administration of justice, heard two Masses every day, and said vespers and complin with his chaplain; also made his meditations, visited hospitals every Friday, confessed frequently, and wore haircloth; heard sermons frequently, and held very often spiritual conferences: yet with all this he never met a single occasion for promoting the public good, which he did not lay hold of and diligently put in execution; and his court was more splendid and flourishing than it ever had been in the time of his predecessors.

Perform, then, these exercises as have marked out for you, and God will give you sufficient leisure and strength to perform all the rest of your affairs, even though He should make the sun stand still for you, as He did for Josue. We always do enough when God works with us.

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