Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Monday, September 22, 2003

St. Francis de Sales

Yesterday, I finished reading Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales.

I cannot recommend this work highly enough. Along with Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, outside of the Bible this is the greatest spiritual guide I have read.

Written in the first decade of the 17th Century, this work is still relevant for the modern reader, at least this modern reader. The Introduction is essentially a guide for meditation upon examination of conscience.

The Introduction is a classic of Western spirituality, but I doubt that is it widely read these days in the West. Instead, New Age renditions of Eastern spirituality and self-help books are where most Westerners go for spiritual fulfillment these days.

Why is this so? My guess is that works like the Introduction and the Imitation require spiritual discipline and self-examination. They do not begin with the "I'm OK-You're OK" premise. They are not values-free. They ask us to take up our cross and follow the Lord.