Chapter 12 of the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
This is a Discerning Hearts recording read by Correy Webb
CHAPTER XII. THIRD MEDITATION.
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God.
2. Ask Him to inspire your heart.
1. Consider how long it is since you first began to commit sin, and how since that first beginning sin has multiplied in your heart; how every day has added to the number of your sins against God, against yourself and against your neighbor, by deed, word, thought and desire.
2. Consider your evil tendencies, and how far you have followed them. These two points will show you that your sins are more in number than the hairs of your head, or the sand on the seashore.
3. Apart from sin, consider your ingratitude towards God, which is in itself a sin enfolding all the others, and adding to their enormity: consider the gifts which God has given you, and which you have turned against the Giver; especially the inspirations you have neglected, and the promptings to good which you have frustrated. Review the many Sacraments you have received and see where are their fruits. Where are the precious jewels wherewith your Heavenly Bridegroom decked you? with what preparation have you received them? Reflect upon the ingratitude with which, while God sought to save you, you have fled from Him and rushed upon destruction.
Affections and Resolutions.
1. Humble yourself in your wretchedness.
O my God, how dare I come before Your Eyes? I am but a corrupt being, a very sink of ingratitude and wickedness. Can it be that I have been so disloyal, that not one sense, not one faculty but has been sullied and stained; —not one day has passed but I have sinned before You? Was this a fitting return for all my Creator’s gifts, for my Redeemer’s Blood?
2. Ask pardon; —throw yourself at the Lord’s Feet as the prodigal son, as the Magdalene, as the woman convicted of adultery. Have mercy, Lord, on me a sinner! O Living Fountain of Mercy, have pity on me, unworthy as I am.
3. Resolve to do better. Lord, with the help of Your Grace I will never again give myself up to sin. I have loved it too well; —henceforth I would hate it and cleave to You. Father of Mercy, I would live and die for You.
4. In order to put away past sin, accuse yourself bravely of it, let there not be one sinful act which you do not bring to light.
5. Resolve to make every effort to tear up the roots of sin from your heart, especially this and that individual sin which troubles you most.
6. In order to do this, resolve steadfastly to follow the advice given you, and never think that you have done enough to atone for your past sin.
1. Thank God for having waited till now for you, and for rousing these good intentions in your heart.
2. Offer Him all your heart to carry them to good effect. 3. Pray that He would strengthen you.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
At the end of your meditation linger a while, and gather, so to say, a little spiritual bouquet from the thoughts you have.