Thursday, January 27, 2011

St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) in his spiritual classic ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ offers a step-by-step procedure for entering into prayer.  First place yourself in the presence of God.  Truly give your entire mind and body to God.  Leave no room for distractions and mindless thoughts.  Secondly, ask God to inspire your heart.  We can never come to a true understanding of ourselves without the assistance of the Holy Spirit.  Thus always open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and trust in His presence.

Third, begin meditating on a particular aspect of the spiritual life.  For instance, upon our sins, failings, or weaknesses.  All sin is motivated by selfish desires.  Therefore, we must discover within ourselves what we are selfishly seeking by committing a sin.  Observe how vain this sin is, by honestly examining how petty the 'good' feelings of sin are in comparison to the bad effects it causes to oneself or to others.  Make a commitment to stop desiring these aspects of sin.  Through this process of identifying the roots of sin and then demonstrating to one’s mind the vanity and futility of sin, the attraction to sin will be weakened.  Finally, through sacramental confession, a true flood of divine grace will enter the soul, offering the indispensable grace of healing, forgiveness and strength to sin no more.  

Fourth, before closing your meditation, St. Francis suggests that a little spiritual bouquet should be given to God.  First of all give thanks to God for the insight and the opportunity to converse with Him.  Secondly, treasure the moments of closeness that you had with your Creator and contemplate his goodness and mercy.  Finally, ask for God’s grace and blessing on your resolution to overcome your sin.

We are always dependent upon the grace of God.  We are never strong enough to save ourselves.  But God asks us to use our talents, our minds, and our time to prepare for our spiritual battles.  It is by doing this that we grow in virtue and holiness.  Then through the grace of God we will be able to weather all of the storms in our life, and one day enter the gates of Heaven.  May our trust always be in Jesus who has brought us victory through His Most Sacred Cross.

St. Francis de Sales – Pray for Us!