“There undoubtedly is such a true devotion [that leads to salvation], there are also many spurious and idle semblances thereof [false ways]; and unless you know which is real, you may mistake, and waste your energy in pursuing an empty, profitless shadow” (St. Francis de Sales).
St. Francis de Sales has many wonderful books written with easy to understand guidance to Eternal Life. They can guide the souls craving for holiness correctly to Life. His works are considered to be one of the easier of the saints works to understand and in general they are written for the laity (non-consecrated religious person). However many people run into problems with his work because they enter into his instruction without having a strong conviction to change. His works don’t deliver much “fear of the Lord” to inspire us to persevere when struggles come along like St. Alphonosus or St. Anthony Mary Claret, and other saints do. Therefore, to begin reading St. Francis de Sales wonderful guidance one needs to gain much fear of the Lord or his works would just wind up being read for entertainment or misunderstood and not being utilized as life changing instruction that it is meant to be.
St. Francis wrote his books for souls who are already strongly convicted to strive to become saints and understand the consequence of sin, who already want to wholeheartedly surrender everything for the love of God but simply don’t know how or want to gain more incite to the Way. His books are reletively easy, but they aren’t easy enough for the true novice to religious life as they jump into much sacrifice and prayer right away using terminology many don’t understand. Sadly, there aren’t any books by saints, that I have found, which to lead souls from the first call or for souls who have been pursing holiness but on the wrong path, with little progress and need much correction. Lifting Our Values has done our best to create a resource “Out of Darkness into Light” that will repair the wrongful paths we have been lead to travel on and give us the proper foundation we need to have the grace to be able to successfully live St. Francis de Sales instruction. Some, who already have an established religious life, can even use both books together as much of his style and order of change in “Introduction to the Devout Life” parallels to the guidance in “Out of Darkness into Light.” Nonetheless, after the correct foundation has to be established and firm reason to change before anyone can pick up St. Francis de Sales spiritual direction or any saints books, and continue to grow in holiness towards salvation.
The following are just some of the 16 books he has published:
- Introduction to the Devout Life (pdf)
- Treatise on the Love of God (pdf)
- Discerning God’s Will
- Letters from St. Francis
- Letters on Eternity
- Letters on Prayer and Joy among Difficulties
(e-book links are complements of goodcatholicbooks.org)