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Excerpts from 'Devotional Classics' edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith Francois Fenelon (1651-1715) Introduction to the Author Francois de Salignac de La Mothe Fenelon was a prominent members of the court of Louis XIV, serving as tutor of the duke of Burgundy. A man of high esteem in the church, Fenelon was appointed archbishop of Cambrai in 1695. During this time he became acquainted with Madame Guyon and was greatly influenced by her and others of the Quietist movement in France. (Quietism stressed the importance of complete detachment from the things of this world) Fenelon's defense of Quietism created such a controversy that it led to his denunciation by Pope Innocent XII (for having loved God too much and man too little), and his banishment by Louis XIV to a small church where he became known as an ideal pastor. Excerpts from 'Christian Perfection' 1. A Hundred fold Happiness Christian perfection is not so severe, tiresome and constraining as we think. It asks us to be God's from the bottom of our hearts. And since we thus are God's, everything that we do for Him is easy. Peace of conscience, liberty of heart, the sweetness of abandoning ourselves in the hands of God, the joy of always seeing the light grow in our hearts, finally, freedom from the fears and insatiable desires of the times, multiply a hundred fold the happiness which the true children of God possess in the midst of their crosses, if they are faithful. 2. A will that is no longer divided They sacrifice themselves, but to what they love most. What God asks of us is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature. It is a will pliant in His hands which neither seeks nor rejects anything, which wants without reserve whatever He wants and which never wants under any pretext anything that He does not want. 3. So desirable a state Happy are those who give themselves to God! they are delivered from their passions, from the judgments of others, from their malice, from the tyranny of their sayings from their cold and wretched mocking, from the misfortunes which the world distributes to wealth, from the unfaithfulness and inconsistency of friends, from the wiles and snares of the enemy, from our own weakness, from the misery and brevity of live, from the horrors of profane death and in the end from the eternal condemnation of God. We are delivered from this countless mass of evils because placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find His consolation in faith and consequently hope in the midst of all suffering. 4. Transported with joy Happy are those who throw themselves with bowed heads into the arms of the 'Father of mercies' and the 'God of all consolation'. The more one loves God, the more one is content. the highest perfection, instead of overloading us, makes our yoke lighter. 5. This jealous and dominate love The one commandment suffices to blow away in a moment all the excuses which we could make for having reservations about God. 'Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with all thy strength.' All is n ot too much for God! How then could we believe that we love Him is we cannot resolve to think on His Law and to bend our energy to doing His will? 6. Follow with a brave heart There is only one way to love God: to take not a single step without Him and to follow with a brave heart wherever he leads. God has little patience with those weak souls who say to themselves 'I shall go this far and no farther' IS it up to the creature to make the law for the Creator? What will the King of Kings say to us if we act like cowardly servants? 7. This principal of pure love Nothing is so jealous, so sever and so sensitive as the principal of pure love. It is like the gold which is purified in the crucible. the fire consumes all that is not pure gold. We must also make crucibles of our entire hearts, to purify the divine love. Read: 1 Peter 4:1-6 Reflection 1. What is the one disposition or attitude that Fenelon believes is necessary in order to move from a miserable to a joyful spiritual life? 2. Those who give themselves to God have been delivered from a 'countless mass of evils' according to Fenelon. From what things has God delivered you? 3. The divided souls are those who are weak and timid and who desire to 'stay where they are'. Describe a time in your life when you wanted to stay where you were but God was calling you to move ahead. 4. In the Bible text, Peter reminds his readers of their past. Consider your own past and answer this question 'How is your life different as a result of your faith'? 5. Make the disposition of surrender your chief aim this week. Cultivate the habit of seeking nothing but God in all you do... Do not take a single step without God. 6. Fenelon writes 'God has little patience with those weak souls who say to themselves 'I shall go this far and no farther'. Define your comfort zone this week. Examine the limits of your obedience. Ask yourself why you would only go this far and no farther.

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