Saturday 21 January 2017

Live Well Today - Fr. Thomas Dailey - St. Francis de Sales's Simple Approach to Holiness

Live Well Today:
St. Francis de Sales's Simple Approach to Holiness
ISBN 9781622823017

To be honest I picked up this book based on the title 'Live Today Well', and did not even notice the subtitle 'St. Francis de Sales's Simple Approach to Holiness' until I went to read it. But having read one book by de Sales last year and having two on my reading plan for this year I was very eager when I began the book. For almost 20 years now I have signed off my personal emails with 'Peace and Strength! Yours, learning to be'; I have seen my life purpose as learning to be and to become good at being. Or as Mathew Kelly puts it so often 'to become the best version of myself'; and therefore the title of the book grabbed my attention, but the subtitle fits with my daily goals, each day to be better than the day before, to grow in holiness and God's grace. And this book really lives up to my high expectations. 

The sections in this book are:
Part 1 Salesian Spirituality
The Devout Life
St. Francis's Spiritual Directory
Part 2 Our Daily Routine
Our Daily Routine
On Rising: Starting Your Day Right
On the Day's Preparation: Looking to Be Holy
On the Direction of Intention: The Key to Spiritual Perfection
On Meals: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary
On Work: And Taking Spiritual Repose
On Leisure: Interacting with Others
The Examen: Reviewing Our Daily Progress
On Retiring: Practicing Detachment
Part 3 Sacred Moments
Sacred Moments
Prayer: Communing with the Divine
Living the "Little Virtues"
Confession and the Grace of Reconciliation
Mass and the Grace of Encounter
The Universal Call to Holiness
The Spiritual Directory
Helpful Resources for Living Well

This book begins with an excellent quote: 

Let us be firmly resolved to serve God with our whole heart and life. Beyond that, let us have no care about tomorrow. Let us think only of living today well, and when tomorrow comes, it also will be today and we can think of it then.

- St. Francis de Sales, letter CXC, to Mademoiselle de Soulfour, July 22, 1603

And the book only gets better from there. Father Dailey states: "The seminal insight of the Salesian tradition remains as relevant today as it was in the saint's time - namely, that a life of devotion is a universal human calling, that holiness is possible in all walks of life, that a meaningful and fulfilling existence awaits all those who live well." And the book goes on from there to give real, concrete examples of what this spirituality is, and how to live it out, and through living it out learning to live today well.

This book does an excellent job of giving guidance in living a spiritual life, but balancing that with living in the world and all of our responsibilities. The book is very well written. It is not a complicated theological treatise, it is intended as a simple guide and it meets that goal. There are tricks and tips for the spiritual life. You will learn about overcoming your greatest temptation, yow to make good confessions, yow to manage your time, and different ways to become aware of God's presence. 

This book is an excellent read. It is a great introduction to Salesian spirituality. It was way more than I expected and I was hoping for a lot from this book. Father Thomas writes in a very engaging manner. This is another excellent resource from Sophia Institute Press and I commend it to you if you are serious about growing in your spiritual life!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Saint Francis de Sales:
Introduction to the Devout Life
The Sign of the Cross
The Art of Loving God
Roses Among Thorns
Finding God's Will for You

Sermons of St. Francis de Sales:
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Prayer
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Our Lady
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Advent and Christmas

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