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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
24th August 2014

St. Francis de Sales on The Spirit of True Humility and Charity

Holy humility is inseparably joined to peace and joy of heart. I speak here of noble, genuine, fruitful, solid humility, which makes us easy to correct, submissive and prompt to obey.

I implore you to observe careful how those holy anchorites of old in general meeting found no surer mark of heavenly inspiration in a matter so extraordinary as the life of St. Stylites than to see that he was simple, gentle, and tractable under the laws of most holy obedience. God blessed the submission of that great man and gave him the grace to persevere for thirty whole years upon a column more than fifty feet high, after having previously passed seven years on other columns six, twelve, and twenty feet high and having been ten years on a little rocky point in a place called the Mandra. Thus this bird of paradise, living in air and not touching earth, was a spectacle of love for angels and of admiration for men. In obedience, everything is safe; apart from obedience, all is subject to suspicion.

When God sends His inspirations into a man's heart, the first one He gives is that of obedience. Was there ever a clearer and more striking inspiration than that given to the glorious St. Paul? Its chief point was that he should go into the city where he would learn from Ananais's lips what he himself was to do. This Ananias was a very celebrated man and, as St. Dorotheus says, bishop of Damascus. A man who says that he is inspired and then refuses to obey his superiors and follow their advices is an impostor. All prophets and preachers inspired by God have always loved the Church, always adhered to Her doctrine, and always had Her approval. They have never proclaimed anything as forcefully as this truth.

St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, and the other fathers of religious orders turned to the service of souls by an extraordinary inspiration, but they submitted all the more humbly and heartily to the sacred hierarchy of the Church. To sum up, the three best and surest marks of lawful inspiration are perseverance in contrast to inconstancy and levity, peace and gentleness of heart in contrast to disquiet and solicitude, and humble obedience in contrast to obstinacy and extravagance.

Souls caught up in holy love do not merely look toward this divine goodness by their obedience, but do more than that. By the union of all their affections without any reserve or exception whatsoever, they follow the course of that divine sun in all that it commands, counsels, and inspires them to do. In this they can say with the psalmist: "Lord, You have held my right hand, and You have guided me in Your will, and with much glory You have received me. I have become like a horse in Your presence, and I am always with You." - For just as a well-trained horse is managed easily, gently, and properly in all situations by his rider, so also a soul that loves is so pliable under God's will that He does in it all God wishes.

Taken from Finding God's Will for You, by St. Francis De Sales, page 60.