Introduction to the Devout Life Essay

Submitted By megchatham
Words: 696
Pages: 3

During the early 1600s, St. Francis de Sales began to serve as an active counsel for people for spiritual advice. In the midst of this arduous time of de Sales life, he responded to numerous letters and envisaged a useful application that would assist individuals in all walks of life leading to his writing of the Introduction to the Devout Life. This life manual continues to be highly regarded in today’s society, but many question the feasibility of the devout life de Sales advocates for ordinary people. However, he addresses two such objections reiterating both the importance and viability of this life. The first objection that society poses is that the guide is so structured and task-laden that only those that dedicate their time only to devotion can succeed. De Sales prepares the reader of this worldly assumption that “all these counsels and practices are so numerous, that anybody who tries to heed them can pay no attention to anything else (p.240, Ch. XVII).” Since before the time the book was written, the audience encompassed those who had many everyday duties. He alleviates much of this confusion on practicing as a devout by emphasizing that these practices need only be done when the occasion arises. In the following, he refers to the civil codes (commandments) that are applied only when an applicable situation occurs.
If all these exercises were to be performed every day they would undoubtedly fill up all our time, but it is only necessary to use them according to time and place as they are wanted. What a quantity of laws there are in our civil codes and digests! But they are only called into use from time to time, as circumstances arise, not every day. (p.240) He then refers to examples of individuals who were industrious yet successfully strived for the spiritual life. He mentioned that King David, a Biblical figure known both for his inexcusable weaknesses and his destiny after God’s own heart, was “involved in a multiplicity of complicated affairs (p.240).” Additionally, the king followed more religious duties towards devotion than de Sales proposed in the guide. He further details the reader on the life of St. Louis, who he esteems as being an unmatchable monarch throughout time. The leader ruled his country with persistence alongside listening to two daily masses, confessing, and meditating. He also practiced spiritual acts of service such as visiting hospitals and supporting the well-being of other’s.
De Sales himself was a man with countless responsibilities. According to the preface by Cardinal Archbishop Edward Egan, de Sales was ordained a priest in 1593 and consecrated Bishop of Geneva in 1602. During this time, he visited each of…