25 January 2012

Devotion is Suitable to Every Vocation and Profession

25 JANUARY 2012. Yesterday the Church celebrated the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales. In his famous work, Introduction to the Devout Life, perhaps the greatest spiritual self-help book ever put to print, Saint Francis reminds us that devotion to God is not reserved for the holy, or the ordained, or those separate from the world. It is properly the calling of each of us which is consistent with every vocation and work of humanity. Consider the Saint's words:
When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind;and even so He bids Christians,--the living trees of His Church,--to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation. A different exercise of devotion is required of each--the noble, the artisan, the servant, the prince, the maiden and the wife; and furthermore such practice must be modified according to the strength, the calling, and the duties of each individual. I ask you, my child, would it be fitting that a Bishop should seek to lead the solitary life of a Carthusian? And if the father of a family were as regardless in making provision for the future as a Capucin, if the artisan spent the day in church like a Religious, if the Religious involved himself in all manner of business on his neighbor's behalf as a Bishop is called upon to do, would not such a devotion be ridiculous, ill-regulated, and intolerable? Nevertheless such a mistake is often made, and the world, which cannot or will not discriminate between real devotion and the indiscretion of those who fancy themselves devout, grumbles and finds fault with devotion, which is really nowise concerned in these errors. No indeed, my child, the devotion which is true hinders nothing, but on the contrary it perfects everything; and that which runs counter to the rightful vocation of any one is, you may be sure, a spurious devotion.

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