Introduction to the Sinner’s Guide
4 min • Digitized on February 4, 2022
The author of the following work holds a high place among the spiritual writers of the Church. Living in an age of saints and doctors, Ven. Louis of Granada occupies a remarkable position among those who, during the sixteenth century, illumined the Church, particularly in Spain, by their sanctity and learning.
Though he has not been canonized, his memory is in benediction, for he died with a reputation for undoubted holiness, and time has confirmed the judgment of his contemporaries.
The esteem in which he was held by Pope Gregory XIII. and St. Charles Borromeo is well known to readers of their lives. The letter addressed to him by this Pontiff, which is published with this edition, shows how Gregory appreciated his genius and piety, and what a value he placed on his services to the Church. St. Charles used his works almost exclusively for preaching. Pope Sixtus V. offered him a cardinal’s hat, but he refused it, as well as the archbishopric of Braga, the primatial see of Portugal. St. Francis de Sales was also a devoted student of his works, and highly recommended them to others.
Among his numerous writings the “Sinner’s Guide” is one of the most practical. For more than three hundred years it has been the means of enlightening many souls and leading them in the path of true justice. It has been translated into almost every European language, besides the Chinese and Persian. When naming the work the author doubtless bore in mind the declaration of St. John, that we have all sinned; for the book is suitable for all, whether sinners or just. The method he follows is comprehensive, embracing the entire scope of the spiritual life, at least as far as it is attained by ordinary Christians. A special merit of the “Sinner’s Guide” is the copious use the author makes of Sacred Scripture and the Fathers. He constantly supports his teaching by these invincible authorities.
For publishing a work of this kind no apology is made. The need of good books was never greater than at present. Not only youth, but old age untaught by experience, rush madly into the excesses of sensational or infidel reading and vile story-papers, which deprive them of all relish for pious or solid reading, and finally undermine the very foundations of their virtue and faith. As an aid in remedying so great an evil we publish the “Sinner’s Guide,” confident that of its kind nothing superior to it has been written since its author first gave it to the world. It is true that for many years it has been before the English public. But the translation was by no means satisfactory. The present edition is a new translation, carefully revised, rearranged, and, where it seemed opportune, also abridged. No essential changes, however, have been made, for it has been our desire to give the venerable author’s meaning in its substantial fulness. We trust, then, that the work will be widely circulated solely for its intrinsic merits and for the good it will accomplish.
Convent of St. Vincent Ferrer,
New York, Nov. 9, 1883.
Feast of All Saints of the Dominican Order.