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[Reading] ➶ The Art of Loving God: Simple Virtues for the Christian Life By Francis de Sales – Cravenjobs.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The Art of Loving God: Simple Virtues for the Christian Life

  1. says:

    When asked for the greatest commandment Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30.

    St. Francis de Sales, a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, was brilliant enough to be simple and he believed (rightly) that sanctity was/is for everyone, so he set out to teach the ordinary people of his day (1567-1622) how to be holy, i.e., how to love God.

    The Art to Loving God is not one of the saint’s well-known books (An Introduction to the Devout Life, A Treatise Of The Love Of God) but a compilation of talks he gave to the nuns of the Visitation convent in Annecy in the Savoy. They took notes on his talks and immediately distributed them among all the houses of the order as precious gems. An ‘art’ is ‘the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination’. Can there be an art to loving God? It would seem so.

    My first wish would be that everyone would read this little book—and it is little. Only 143 pages, short easy chapters with blank pages after some chapters. Simple words, concepts, a delightful read.

    Even so, I suspect many won’t for very good reasons, so here are the pearls of the pearls, a summary of each chapter, even combining some chapters. Don’t underestimate any of these tips.

    1.) Have confidence in God’s mercy; the throne of His mercy is our misery. Therefore the greater our misery, the greater should be our confidence!
    2.) Embrace His Will which includes His commandments, counsels, inspirations, and the guidance of spiritual directors. Self-renunciation is the virtue of virtues.
    3.) Practice humility but not false humility, i.e., value the gifts God gives and don’t doubt your ability to carry out your duties.
    4.) Be obedient, patient, and attentive to God.
    5.) Know and practice the three kinds of modesty: interior, exterior and modesty of speech.
    6.) Accept reproofs without bitterness.
    7.) Simply love Him and love Him simply. Don’t expect to find a ready-made way to perfection or love of God. Will to love Him. Be prudent, not cunning. Remain always calm. Learn to banish care from your soul.
    8.) Continue to make good resolutions and don’t let failures discourage you. The saints failed too!
    9.) Remain untroubled by outward opinion.
    10.) Abandon yourself wholly to God. Do not seek special privileges or crosses. Desire nothing; refuse nothing.

    Technically I have finished this book but I don’t think I will ever be finished with it. As I’ll never completely master the advice.

  2. says:

    "Desire nothing & Refuse nothing."

    Perennial favorite.

  3. says:

    This is an overpowering book written by St Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the church and patron saint of writers. He is known as the apostle of ‘little virtues’. This book is based on a series of talks St Francis gave to the Visitation convent he founded in Annecy in the Savoy in the early 1600s. It contains a series of chapters on various virtues. When I started it I was overwhelmed by the extent to which St Francis wanted us to submit to God and Christ. However, by the end of the book I found myself wanting to learn more and follow more the instructions St Francis gave to achieve perfection in God, in Christ. He said that there is no art to loving God because there is nothing to love but God. St Francis compresses the essence of his talks in that one phrase. He is telling us that there is no fancy or overthought way to God. It is simple. It is just to love . He ranges over God’s mercy, humility, modesty, patience, love, abandonment, prudence and obedience amongst other virtues. He gives powerful instructions to reach God. Underlying the book is the sense that a life of a slow doing rather than thinking is the way forward. We should operate out of our higher mind rather than the lower mind which is filled with doubts and negativity. St Francis writes in a clear and poetic way presenting us with a spirituality that captures the heart. Perhaps we in the 21st century have become too soft and live in a fastfood culture. We want our spirituality handed to us now. Do we have the patience and humility of early believers? Of the saints? This book shines with that. It ends with us being asked to desire nothing and refuse nothing but to suffer and receive with perfect indifference all that the Providence of God may allow to happen to us. What he suggests isn’t easy but it feels right. I recommend this book for those who want to take up their cross and follow the hard road. To walk slowly toward perfection in Christ through the observation of virtues.

  4. says:

    This book comprises of spiritual conferences which St. Francis delivered to the nuns of the Visitation convent in France. "Not all of us are called to do great things for the love of God and our neighbor, but we can all do little things each day with greater fidelity and love."

    "Humility is nothing else than the recognition that we are absolute nothingness, and it keeps us constant in this estimation of ourselves."

    "Love God simply and be untroubled by public opinion."

    "They should abandon and submit their whole soul, their actions, and their successes to the good pleasure of God, by love of perfect and entire confidence, relying wholly on the mercy and care of that eternal love which Divine Providence has for them."

  5. says:

    One of the best books on spiritual disciplines.

  6. says:

    Beautiful read with profound reflections on the simplest of things.

  7. says:

    St. Francis de Sales talks to the Visitation convent in Annecy in the Savoy. Great little sermons on loving God and neighbor throught the little things of everyday life.

    This particular edition has omitted points that pertain to the sisters and has edited it to read for the lay person. I'd probally like to read it in it's whole someday.

  8. says:

    I wanted this to be more profound for me than it was at this time. Still, there were invaluable nuggets of wisdom. I'm sure if I pick this up again another time, something else will hit me in another way for a different time.

  9. says:

    Gave me so many great insights on the spiritual life! I just read a section each morning, a page or so, and taking it slow like that was great, because there's so much content to think about!

  10. says:

    With accessible language, St. Francis de Sales offers simple advice for growing closer to God. The short sections make this a great companion for Adoration or daily prayer. Those who are intimidated by the intensive works of other saints will find this a good place to start.

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