Monday, October 06, 2014

A Will No Longer Divided by Francois Fenelon (1651-1715)

This 7th devotion in the book Devotional Classics  is also the 7th devotion in the section of the book titled Preparing for the Spiritual Life.  Fenelon was a prominent member of the court of Louis XIV.  He was a member of the Quietist Movement in France (a movement that emphasized detachment from the things of the world.)  Because of Fenelon's adherence to this doctrine, he was denounced by the Pope (Pope Innocent XII) for "loving God too much and man too little."  The major theme of Fenelon's considerable writing was complete love of God.  This devotion uses excerpts from his Christian Perfection and emphasizes that the spiritual life is the only way to true joy in life.

Fenelon recognizes that those on the outside see only loss in following Christ, but he insists that they miss the great freedoms found there.  He points outs specifically the freedom from a stifling self-absorption, the freedom from a plotting and scheming one-upmanship, and the freedom from the insecure systems of this world.

Fenelon stresses the joy found in following Christ - specifically the joy of a peaceful conscience, the joy of "seeing the light grow in our hearts", and the joy of a growing power to do the right thing.

One quote of interest: "God is so good that he only awaits our desire to overwhelm us with the gift which is himself.  If we feed ourselves with Jesus Christ and his word, we shall be like a vessel in full sail with a fair wind."

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