Part 1 – Chapter 9 of the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
This is a Discerning Hearts recording read by Correy Webb
CHAPTER IX. FIRST MEDITATION.
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God.
2. Ask Him to inspire your heart.
1. Consider that but a few years since you were not born into the world, and your soul was as yet non-existent. Where were you then, O my soul? The world was already old, and yet of you there was no sign.
2. God brought you out of this nothingness, in order to make you what you are, not because He had any need of you, but solely out of His Goodness. Consider the being which God has given you; for it is the foremost being of this visible world, adapted to live eternally, and to be perfectly united to God’s Divine Majesty.
Affections and Resolutions.
1. Humble yourself utterly before God, saying with the Psalmist, O Lord, I am nothing in respect of You—what am I, that You should remember me? O my soul, you were yet lost in that abyss of nothingness, if God had not called you forth, and what of you in such a case?
2. Give God thanks. O Great and Good Creator, what do I not owe You, Who didst take me from out that nothingness, by Your Mercy to make me what I am? How can I ever do enough worthily to praise Your Holy Name, and render due thanks to Your Goodness?
3. Confess your own shame. But alas, O my Creator, so far from uniting myself to You by a loving service, I have rebelled against You through my unruly affections, departing from You, and giving myself up to sin, and ignoring Your Goodness, as though You had not created me.
4. Prostrate yourself before God. O my soul, know that the Lord He is thy God, it is He that has made you, and not you yourself. O God, I am the work of Your Hands; henceforth I will not seek to rest in myself, who am nought. Wherein have you to glory, who are but dust and ashes? how can you, very nothing, exalt yourself? In order to my own humiliation, I will do such and such a thing,—I will endure such contempt:—I will alter my ways and henceforth follow my Creator, and realise that I am honoured by His calling me to the being He has given; I will employ it solely to obey His Will, by means of the teaching He has given me, of which I will inquire more through my spiritual Father.
1. Thank God. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and praise His Holy Name with all thy being, because His Goodness called me forth from nothingness, and His Mercy created me.
2. Offer. O my God, I offer You with all my heart the being You have given me, I dedicate and consecrate it to You.
3. Pray. O God, strengthen me in these affections and resolutions. Dear Lord, I commend me, and all those I love, to Your neverfailing Mercy.
OUR FATHER, etc.
At the end of your meditation linger a while, and gather, so to say, a little spiritual bouquet from the thoughts you have dwelt upon, the sweet perfume which may refresh you through the day.