In the love and service of God

Here’s a great quote from St. Francis de Sales that speaks to the idea of prophetic attachments. It’s from his Introduction to the Devout Life:

“In the creation God commanded the plants to bring forth their fruit, each one after its kind. Even so, he commands Christians, who are the living plants of his church, to bring forth fruits of devotion – each one according to his kind and vocation. Devotion should be practiced differently, then, by the gentleman, servant, prince, widow, daughter, wife, and the practice of devotion must be accommodated to the strength, work, and duties of each individual. I ask you, Philothes, would it be proper for a bishop to wish to be solitary like the Carthusians? If the married wished to save no more than the poor Capuchins, the artisan in church all day like the religious, and the religious exposed to all sorts of interrruptions for the service of neighbor like the bishop – would not such devotion be ridiculous, disorderly and intolerable? Nevertheless this fault is very common, and the world – which cannot or will not distinguish between true devotion and the indiscretion of those who imagine themselves to be devout – murmurs and blames devotion, which is not reasonable as devotion is not responsible for these disorders.

“No, Philothes, devotion when it is true never spoils anything but rather perfects all things, and when it becomes inconsistent with anyone’s lawful vocation it is, without doubt, false. The care of a family is rendered peaceable thereby, the love of husband and wife more sincere, the service of the prince more faithful. and every kind of occupation more pleasant and agreeable.

“It is an error, no, rather a heresy, to wish to banish the devout life from the army, workshop, courts of princesand households of married folk.” (Devout Life, I,3)

We as laity, as married persons, are called to live a devout life just as are clergy and members of religious communities. No one escapes the universal call to holiness. It’s only in the way we answer the call that we differ. Therefore the little prophets that show up in our daily lives will differ, as will the messages they hold for us.

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