An Introduction to the Devout Life
Publisher: TAN Books
Publication Date: 1994-07-01
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Addressed as a personal letter to Philothea, the lover of God which genuinely represents the reader the book covers: our first desire to lead a devout life to our full resolution to do so, how we should approach God in prayer and the Sacraments, the practice of 16 important virtues, remedies against ordinary temptations, and becoming confirmed in our practice of devotion. St. Francis says, Devotion is spiritual agility and vivacity, by means of which charity works in us, or we in her, with love and readiness; and as charity leads us to obey and fulfill all God s Commandments, so devotion leads us to obey them with promptitude and diligence. (p. 3)
An Introduction to the Devout Life is a book to be read with pencil in hand. It is a book to be read again and again. It is a book to make your guide for the rest of your life. It goes to the heart of becoming good. Its aim is to help you be rid of sin and even the inclinations to sin. Alone, its 10 brief meditations in Part I will orient you toward God for the rest of your life. No one will come away without being profoundly impressed and without being motivated to enter upon the devout life . . . which leads ultimately to God and to Heaven.
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St. Francis de Sales is a doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, who was active in the struggle against Calvinism and co-founded the order of Visitation Nuns. He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, particularly the Introduction to the Devout Life and the Treatise on the Love of God. In addition to his spiritual works, his writings include controversies against Calvinists, letters, sermons, and documents on diocesan administration.
St. Francis de Sales provides a wonderful guide for all newcomers to the spiritual life. His use of metaphor to explain concepts is top tier. I highly enjoyed the book and intend to refer back to it in the future.
I have not read this from cover to cover. However, this was my main spiritual reading for about a year. What I would do is look in the index and go to chapters that dealt with whatever I was going through. His counsel on dealing with anxiety I remember to have been especially good.
So, in short, even if you don't want to read it all, this is a great one to keep on your shelf. You never know when you might need sound advice on a specific topic.