Francis de Sales: Charity Gives Life To Our Hearts Wednesday, Sep 1 2010 

Behold…how God, by a progress full of ineffable sweetness, conducts the soul which he makes leave the Egypt of sin, from love to love, as from mansion to mansion, till he has made her enter into the land of promise.

By this I mean into most holy charity, which, to say it in one word, is a friendship, and a disinterested love, for by charity we love God for his own sake, by reason of his most sovereignly amiable goodness.

But this friendship is a true friendship, being reciprocal, for God has loved eternally all who have loved him, do, or shall love him temporally.

[…] He ceases not to do us good, or to give all sorts of testimonies of his most holy affection, having openly revealed unto us all his secrets, as to his confidential friends.

And to crown his holy loving intercourse with us, he has made himself our proper food in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

And as for us, we have freedom to treat with him at all times when we please in holy prayer, having our whole life, movement and being not only with him, but in him and by him.

[…] Charity loves God by a certain esteem and preference of his goodness so high and elevated above all other esteems, that other loves either are not true loves in comparison of this, or if they be true loves, this love is infinitely more than love….

It is not a love which the force of nature either angelic or human can produce, but the Holy Ghost gives it and pours it abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

And as our souls which give life to our bodies, have not their origin from the body but are put in them by the natural providence of God, so charity which gives life to our hearts has not her origin from our hearts, but is poured into them as a heavenly liquor by the supernatural providence of his divine Majesty.

[…] Together with faith and hope, charity makes its abode in the point and summit of the spirit, and, as a queen of majesty, is seated in the will as on her throne, whence she conveys into the soul her delights and sweetnesses, making her thereby all fair, agreeable and amiable to the divine goodness.

So that if the soul be a kingdom of which the Holy Ghost is king, charity is the queen set at his right hand in gilded clothing surrounded with variety (Ps. 44:10)….

And if the soul with the body be a little world, charity is the sun which beautifies all, heats all, and vivifies all.

Francis de Sales (1567-1622): Treatise on the Love of God, 2, 22.

Francis de Sales: This Height of Burning and Re-Uniting the Heart to God Monday, May 3 2010 

We must not therefore think it strange if penitence, according to the Holy Scripture, blots out sin, saves the soul, makes her grateful to God and justifies her, which are effects appertaining to love, and which apparently should only be attributed to love.

For though love itself be not always found in perfect penitence, yet its virtue and properties are always there, having flowed into it by the motive of love whence it springs.

[…] The Holy Ghost casts into our understanding the consideration of the greatness of our sins, in that by them we have offended so sovereign a goodness.

At the same time, our will receives the reflection of this knowledge, and, little by little, repentance grows stronger, with a certain affective heat and desire to return into grace with God.

Finally it grows so strong that…it burns and unites even before the love be fully formed, though love, as a sacred fire, is always at once lighted, at this point.

So that repentance never comes to this height of burning and re-uniting the heart to God, which is her utmost perfection, without finding herself wholly converted into fire and flame of love.

The end of the one gives the other a beginning; or rather, the end of penitence is within the commencement of love.

[…] This loving repentance is ordinarily practised by elevations and raisings of the heart to God, like to those of the ancient penitents:

I am thine, save thou me.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me: for my soul trusteth in thee!

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in even unto my soul!

Make me as one of thy hired servants!

O God be merciful to me a sinner!

Accordingly, it is not without reason that some have said, that prayer justifies.

For the repentant prayer, or the suppliant repentance, raising up the soul to God and re-uniting it to his goodness, without doubt obtains pardon in virtue of the holy love, which gives it the sacred movement.

And therefore we ought all to have very many such spontaneous prayers, made in the sense of a loving repentance and of sighs which seek our reconciliation with God.

For it is by these laying our tribulation before Our Saviour, we may pour out our souls before and within his pitiful heart, which will receive them to mercy.

Francis de Sales (1567-1622): Treatise on the Love of God, 2, 20.

Francis de Sales: Repentance and the Sacred Fire of God’s Love in the Heart Monday, Mar 29 2010 

Among the tribulations and remorse of a lively repentance God often puts in the bottom of our heart the sacred fire of his love.

This love is converted into the water of tears, which by a second change are converted into another and greater fire of love.

Thus, when the famous penitent lover first loved her Saviour, her love was converted into tears, and these tears into an excellent love.

Whence Our Saviour told her that many sins were pardoned her because she had loved much (Lk. 7:47).

And as we see fire turns wine into a certain water which is called almost everywhere aquavitæ (“the water of life”), which so easily takes and augments fire that in many places it is also termed ardent; so the amorous consideration of the Goodness which, while it ought to have been sovereignly loved, has been offended by sin, produces the water of holy penitence.

And from this water the fire of divine love issues, thence properly termed water of life or ardent.

Penitence is indeed a water in its substance, being a true displeasure, a real sorrow and repentance.

Yet is it ardent, in that it contains the virtue and properties of love, as arising from a motive of love, and by this property it gives the life of grace.

So that perfect penitence has two different effects; for in virtue of its sorrow and detestation it separates us from sin and the creature, to which delectation had attached us.

But in virtue of the motive of love, whence it takes its origin, it reconciles us and reunites us to our God, from whom we had separated ourselves by contempt.

So that it at once reclaims us from sin in quality of repentance, and reunites us to God in quality of love.

Francis de Sales (1567-1622): Treatise on the Love of God, 2, 20.

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