-St. Francis de Sales
Born in 16th century France, the remarkable backdrop to St. Francis de Sales life must have been the Protestant Reformation, which stormed Europe during his lifetime. After a personal crisis of faith, (a hallmark of so many great Christians from St. Peter and St. Paul onwards to the present day), he decided to dedicate his entire life to God. Francis came to the conclusion that whatever God had in store for him was good, because “God is love”. This faithful devotion to the God of love not only expelled his doubts, but also influenced the rest of his life and his teachings.
He was consecrated bishop of of Geneva in 1602, during which time he gained a reputation as an inspirational preacher and something of an ascetic; in particular, he was known as a friend of the poor; very approachable and of a deeply understanding and compassionate nature. These last qualities come through in his books, the most famous of which was Introduction à la vie dévote (“Introduction to the Devout Life”), which he wrote not as a theological treatise, but rather to help the non-clergy Christian faithful deepen his or her faith and devotion to Christ. (He uses the address “my daughter” in his writings.) His manner of teaching is often referred to as the Way of Divine Love, or the Devout Life, taken from the book he wrote of a similar name: “Introduction to the Devout Life”, added in its entirely here, on his feast-day of 24th January, at: D. H. Ruffle Memorial Library for free download.
Read or download: Introduction to the Devout Life -St. Francis de Sales