Chapter 18 of the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
This is a Discerning Hearts recording read by Correy Webb
CHAPTER XVIII. TENTH MEDITATION.
How the soul chooses the Devout Life
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God.
2. Humble yourself before Him and ask for His aid.
1. Once more imagine yourself in an open plain, alone with your guardian Angel, and represent to yourself on the left hand the Devil sitting on a high and mighty throne, surrounded by a vast troop of worldly men, who bow bareheaded before him, doing homage to him by the various sins they commit. Study the countenances of the miserable courtiers of that most abominable king: —some raging with fury, envy, and passion, some murderous in their hatred; —others pale and haggard in their craving after wealth, or madly pursuing every vain and profitless pleasure; —others sunk and lost in vile, impure affections. See how all alike are hateful, restless, wild: see how they despise one another, and only pretend to an unreal self-seeking love. Such is the miserable reign of the abhorred Tyrant.
2. On the other hand, behold Jesus Christ Crucified, calling these unhappy wretches to come to Him, and interceding for them with all the Love of His Precious Heart. Behold the company of devout souls and their guardian Angels, contemplate the beauty of this religious Kingdom. What lovelier than the troop of virgin souls, men and women, pure as lilies: —widows in their holy desolation and humility; husbands and wives living in all tender love and mutual cherishing. See how such pious souls know how to combine their exterior and interior duties; —to love the earthly spouse without diminishing their devotion to the Heavenly Bridegroom. Look around—one and all you will see them with loving, holy, gentle countenances listening to the Voice of their Lord, all seeking to enthrone Him more and more within their hearts.
They rejoice, but it is with a peaceful, loving, sober joy; they love, but their love is altogether holy and pure. Such among these devout ones as have sorrows to bear, are not disheartened thereby, and do not grieve overmuch, for their Savior’s Eye is upon them to comfort them, and they all seek Him only.
3. Surely you have altogether renounced Satan with his weary miserable troop, by the good resolutions you have made; —but nevertheless you have not yet wholly attained to the King Jesus, or altogether joined His blessed company of devout ones:—you have hovered between the two.
4. The Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, St. Louis, St. Monica, and hundreds of thousands more who were once like you, living in the world, call upon you and encourage you.
5. The Crucified King Himself calls you by your own name: “Come, O my beloved, come, and let Me crown you!”
1. O world, O vile company, never will I enlist beneath your banner; forever I have forsaken your flatteries and deceptions. O proud king, monarch of evil, infernal spirit, I renounce you and all your hollow pomp, I detest you and all your works.
2. And turning to You, O Sweet Jesus, King of blessedness and of eternal glory, I lay open to You with all the powers of my soul, I adore Thee with all my heart, I choose You now and for forever as my King, and with inviolable fidelity I would offer my irrevocable service and submit myself to Your holy laws and ordinances.
3. O Blessed Virgin Mother of God, you shall be my example, I will follow you with all reverence and respect.
O my good Angel, bring me to this heavenly company, leave me not until I have reached them, with whom I will sing forever, in testimony of my choice, “Glory be to Jesus, my Lord!”