My favorite chapter from one of my favorite books!
It is a dangerous error to seek recollection in sadness: it is the spirit of God that produces recollection; sadness is the work of the spirit of darkness.
Do not forget the rule given by Saint Francis de Sales for the discernment of spirits: any thought that troubles and disquiets us cannot come from the God of peace, who makes his dwelling-place only in peaceful souls.
“Yes, my daughter, I now tell you in writing what I before said to you in person, always be as happy as you can in well-doing, for it gives a double value to good works to be well done and to be done cheerfully. And when I say, rejoice in well-doing, I do not mean that if you happen to commit some fault you should on that account abandon yourself to sadness.
For God’s sake, no; for that would be to add defect to defect. But I mean that you should persevere in the wish to do well, that you return to it the moment you realize you have deviated from it, and that by means of this fidelity you live happily in the Lord…. May God be ever in our heart, my daughter…. Live joyfully and be generous, for this is the will of God, whom we love and to whose service we are consecrated.”—Saint Francis de Sales.
It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.
Recreations and amusements are to the life of the soul what seasoning is to our corporal food. Food that is too highly seasoned quickly becomes injurious and sometimes fatal in its effects; that which is not seasoned at all soon becomes unendurable because of its insipidity and unpalatableness.
As to the amount of diversion it is right to take, no absolute measure can be given: the rule is that each person should have as much as is necessary for him. This quantity varies according to the bent of the mind, the nature of the habitual occupations, and the greater or less predisposition to sadness one observes in his disposition.
When you find your heart growing sad, divert yourself without a moment’s delay; make a visit, enter into conversation with those around you, read some amusing book, take a walk, sing, do something, it matters not what, provided you close the door of your heart against this terrible enemy. As the sound of a trumpet gives the signal for a combat, so sad thoughts apprise the devil that a favorable moment has come for him to attack us.
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October – Month of the Holy Rosary…
“Men of Galilee, why stand here looking heavenwards?“
The apostles stood on Olivet, eyes wide open, their gaze turned heavenward, their hearts beating hard. Jesus had just vanished from their sight above the silvery cloud that shimmered in the radiance of His glory. He had come to earth as a helpless Child; now He was returning to His Father’s house as the world’s Redeemer.
The little group on Olivet stood in silent, joyful prayer, their hearts ascending with Him. Heaven was reflected in their eyes – until an Angel’s chiding words brought them hurriedly down to earth.
Nothing succeeds like failure. Christ’s cross was the price of His glorious Ascension. That is why the angel sent the apostles back to the city – to suffer for Christ.
A lesson for me!
“We often live with this illusion. With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change.” –Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace
A BOOK REVIEW
Our family LOVES this book! All of us who are “of age” have read it, and more than once. It is a love story. A love story of one special family’s undying devotion to Christ.
The family story of St. Bernard will inspire you! It is written with an easy-to-read style and once you start, you won’t want to set it down. 🙂
Do you want to get your teenage children to read a great book? Hand them this one!
“He was called the man of his age, the voice of his century. His influence towered above that of his contemporaries, and his sanctity moved God himself.
Men flocked to him–some in wonder, others in curiosity, but all drawn by the magnetism of his spiritual gianthood. Bernard of Clairvaux–who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine?
Undoubtedly, Bernard is the product of God’s grace. But it is hard to say whether this grace is more evident in Bernard himself or in the extraordinary family in which God chose to situate this dynamic personality.
This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. With warmth and realism, Venerable Tescelin, Blesseds Alice, Guy, Gerard, Humbeline, Andrew, Bartholomew, Nivard and St. Bernard step off these pages with the engaging naturalness that atttacks imitation.
Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.”
Father Raymond wrote many extraordinary books and these are some we especially like:
Two of my very favorite books!
LIGHT AND PEACE is a handbook for getting to Heaven a short and practical course in proper Christian living that covers all the important aspects of our religious duties. By far, the most telling feature of this little book is its immense common sense and good advice. LIGHT AND PEACE shows that perfecting one’s self is not a complicated task, but one which requires good, practical thinking and a knowledge of the task at hand in short, Light on the path which is what this book is. Thereafter, the result of one s knowing where he is going spiritually and how best to achieve this end is Peace, that peace which Our Lord promised and which the world cannot give.
We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of head. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.