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Third Meditation: On the Benefits of God

4 min • Digitized on September 29, 2021

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 21
By St. Francis de Sales


Third Meditation.—On the Benefits of God.


  1. Place yourself in the presence of God.
  2. Beseech Him to inspire you.


  1. Consider the bodily advantages which God has given you: what a perfect body, and what means to maintain it; what health and lawful recreations to entertain it; what friends and assistances. But consider all this with respect to many other persons, much more worthy than yourself, who are destitute of all these blessings: some defective in their bodies, health, and members; others abandoned to the stings of reproaches, contempt, and dishonour; others oppressed with poverty, and God has not suffered you to become so miserable.

  2. Consider the gifts of mind: How many are there in the world stupid, frantic, and mad—and why are not you of this number? God has favoured you. How many are there who have been brought up in coarse habits and extreme ignorance? And by God’s providence you have been educated well and honourably.

  3. Consider the spiritual graces: You are a child of the Catholic Church. God has taught you to know Him even from your youth. How often has He given you his sacraments? How many inspirations, interior illuminations, and reproaches of conscience for your amendment? How frequently has He pardoned you your faults? How often has He delivered you from the occasions of losing your soul, to which you are exposed? And was there not for years given you leisure and opportunity to advance the good of your soul? Consider in particular how good and gracious God has been to you.


  1. Admire the goodness of God: Oh, how good is God to me! Oh, how gracious is He! How rich is thy Heart, O Lord, in mercy, and how liberal in clemency? O my soul, let us publish for ever the many favours He has done us.

  2. Repent of your ingratitude: But what am I, O Lord, that Thou art so mindful of me! Ah, how great is my unworthiness! Alas! I have even trampled thy blessings under foot; I have dishonoured thy graces, converting them into abuse and contempt of thy sovereign goodness. I have opposed the depth of my ingratitude to the height of thy grace and favour.

  3. Stir yourself up to great thankfulness: Well, then, my heart, be now no longer unfaithful, ungrateful, and disloyal to so great a Benefactor. And how shall not my soul henceforth be wholly subject to God, who has wrought so many wonders and favours in me and for me?

Ah! withdraw, then, your body, Philothea, from such-and-such sensualities, and consecrate it to the service of God, who has done so much for it. Apply your soul to know and acknowledge Him by such exercises as shall be requisite for that purpose. Employ diligently the means which the Church affords you to save yourself and love Almighty God. Yes, O my God, I will pray frequently. I will hear your holy word, and put in practice your inspirations and counsels.


  1. Thank God for the knowledge He has now given you of your duty, and for the benefits hitherto received.

  2. Offer Him your heart with all your resolutions.

  3. Pray Him to enable you to practise them faithfully, through the merits of his Son’s death; implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the saints. Pater, Ave, Credo. [Here make a little spiritual nosegay.]

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