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Gueranger and de Sales on the active and passive virtues August 22, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

I read the following yesterday in Dom Prosper Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year in the reading for August 21, Saint Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal.  While the discourse focuses on religious life, it has applicability for lay people, as well.  And even more, I think there is some really valuable guidance on judgment and charity.  Without further ado:St Francis de Sales

If the Kingdom of God is within us, it iis because it is not meat and drink, but justice and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom XIV:17).  To criticize others on their exterior observance, and to neglect the rule in what regards the soul, is to take out a gnat from the cup and to swallow a camel.  Thou breakest thy body with endless labor, thou mortfiest with austerities thy members which are on the earth; and thou dost well. But while thou allowest thyself to judge him who does not so much penance, he perhaps is following the advice of the Apostle: more eager for the better gifts, keeping less of that bodily exercise which is profitable to little, he gives himself up more to that godliness which is profitable to all things.  Which, then, of you two keeps the rule better?  Doubtless he that becomes better thereby.  Now which is the better?  The humber, or the more fatigued?  Learn of 00000Francis-de-Salesme, said Jesus, for I am meek and humble of heart (Saint Matthew XI:29).

Saint Frances de Sales, in his turn, speaking of the diversity of the religious orders, says very well: ‘All religious orders have one spirit common to them all, and each has a spirit peculiar to itself.  The common spirit is the design they all have of aspiring after the perfection of charity; but the peculiar spirit of each is the means of arriving at that perfection of charity – that is to say, at the union of our souls with God, and with our neighbor through the love of God.’  Coming next to the special spirit of the institute he had founded together with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, the Bishop of Geneva declares that it is ‘a spirit of profound humility towards God and of great sweetness towards our neighbor, inasmuch as there is less rigor towards the body, so much the more sweetness must there be in the heart.’  And because ‘this Congregation has been so established that no great severity may prevent the weak and infirm from entering it and given themselves up to the perfection of divine love,” he adds playfully: ‘If there be any sister so generous and courageous as to wish to attain perfection in a quarter of an hour by doing more than the Community does, I would advise her to humble herself and be content to become perfect in three days, following the same course as the rest.  For a great simplicity must always be kept in all things: to walk simply, that is the true way for the Daughters of the Visitation, a way exceedingly pleasing to God and very safe.

………”Do all things without haste, gently as do the angels: follow the guidance of the divine movements, and be supple to Grace; God wills us to be like little children.”

———–End Quote————

“Playful” or not, I think that stricture above about the race going to those who make slow, steady effort of improvement, instead of those who on download (5)occasion make great outbursts of effort and then, as often as not, slip back into older, less edifying modes of existence, is so important.  There are some folks who, on occasion, get a great burst of “spiritual energy,” and throw themselves into some spiritual exercise or practice of mortification, only to give up because it is too tiring, too hard, or too boring.  That is not a very efficacious means of advancing in the spiritual life.  No, many Saints indicate that such advancement in the practice of virtue and growth in adherence to God’s will for us is a practice of steady work at prayer and fasting, self-denial, learning, practice, failure, Confession, re-commitment, etc. on and on throughout our lives.

Ours is a race that does not necessarily go to the swiftest, but to the ones who stay the course, who are around to finish the race.  And as we never know just when our particular race will be over, we must remain constantly vigilant not to fall into sin and error, and to remain perpetually in the state of Grace that will permit our salvation.

I pray you found the above useful!  May God sustain us all in this race of our lives!



1. Baseballmom - August 23, 2014

Slow and steady…. That is the Little Way…very reliable…

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