Monday, April 04, 2011

St. Francis de Sales' Marks of the Spirit of Liberty

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal
Picture source

"I leave you the spirit of liberty: not that which excludes obedience - for this is the liberty of the flesh - but that which excludes constraint, scruple and worry...

...The liberty of which I speak is the liberty of well-beloved children. And what is it? It is a detachment of the Christian heart from all things in order to follow the known will of God...

We ask from God before all things, that H is name may be hallowed, His kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. All this is no other thing than the spirit of liberty. For provided that the name of God is sanctified, that His majesty reigns in you, and that His will is done, than the soul cares for nothing else.

- The first mark of this spirit of liberty: the soul which has this liberty is not attached to consolations, but receives afflictions with all the sweetness that the flesh can permit. I do not say that it does not love and desire consolations, but I say that it does not attach its heart to them.

- The second mark of this spirit of liberty: it does not at all attach its affection to spiritual exercises, so that, if by sickness or other accident it is kept from the, it feels no grief at it. Here also I do not say it does not love them, but I say it is not attached to them...

...The effects of this liberty are a great suavity of soul, a great gentleness and condescension in all that is not sin or danger of sin, a temper sweetly pliable to the acts of every virtue and charity. For example, if you interrupt a soul that is attached tot he exercise of meditation, you will see it leave with annoyance, worried and surprised. A soul that has true liberty will leave its exercise with an equal countenance, and a heart gracious toward the importunate person who has inconvenienced her. For it is all one to her whether she serves God by meditating or serves Him by bearing with her neighbor: both are the will of God, but the bearing with her neighbor is necessary at that time.

The occasions of this liberty are all the things that happen against our inclination, for whoever is not attached to his inclinations is not impatient when they are contradicted.
From a letter St. Francis de Sales wrote to St. Jane de Chantal on temptation and spiritual liberty.

From Thy Will be Done! lovingly written by St. Francis de Sales and published by Sophia Institute Press

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