As a new Christian, I eagerly sought anything and everything that might help me understand this new world I was a part of. Like many, I struggled to make sense of the old and the new.
In my “old life,” I had been in charge. In my “new life,” I was supposed to turn everything over to Christ. It was easy to see how monks and nuns did that. But what about me? Married, with two teens, and a home to run…what did I turn over to Christ…and what was left for me to manage?
Thank goodness for St. Francis de Sales. In 1604, he was introduced to a married woman who also needed the help I sought. They began a correspondence regarding the spiritual life. St. Francis assured her that her spirituality could blossom in her married life no less than his own had in his priestly life. His wisdom has been preserved for us today in his book, the Introduction to the Devout Life. I was drawn to this dialogue between St. Francis and this French woman. So much the better that I was her namesake…St. Jane de Chantal.
I bought a copy of the Introduction to the Devout Life and another book, Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal, Letters of Spiritual Direction. Both were treasures of insight, his wisdom no less applicable 400 years later in my life.
How was I then to resist when I learned of the favorite book that Francis de Sales always carried in his coat pocket and that he read every day? He had loved that book. That was all I needed to hear.
In the modern era, printing presses are kept busy putting out the work of thousands of new authors. Focused on each latest book release, what do we have to gain in returning to the pages of Lorenzo Scupoli first published in Venice in 1589?
I set out to answer that question. Join me in the journey.