Friday, July 4, 2014

St. Francis de Sales on Zeal and False Zeal

From Chapter XVI in the Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.  I always think of him when I hear someone say, "nice people go to hell."

True zeal is the child of charity as being its ardour; wherefore, like to charity, it ispatient, is kind, envieth not, dealeth not perversely, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, rejoiceth in the truth. The ardour of true zeal resembles that of the huntsman, being diligent, careful, active, industrious, eager in pursuit, but without passion, anger or disquiet, for if the huntsman's work were done in anger, bad temper and vexation, it would not be so much loved and desired. Zeal in like manner has ardours which are extreme, but constant, solid, sweet, industrious, equally agreeable and untiring; whereas on the contrary, false zeal is turbulent, troubled, insolent, arrogant, choleric, transient, equally impetuous and inconstant.

There's a good piece of discernment material when trying to identify sources that will help you to build virtue.

This old work is available online. See the source chapter here.


I just read, this morning, an interview of blogger, Jennifer Fulwiler, by Emily Stimpson of Our Sunday Visitor who discussed her conversion to Catholicism. She was an atheist.  Jennifer has released a book on her conversion through Ignatius Press: Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It

This stood out in the interview as relevant to this post.

OSV: What did you find unhelpful along the way? What sort of things did people say or do that hindered your progress towards the Faith? 
Fulwiler: Anytime someone treated me without love, it pushed me away. At the time, I told myself that my conversion was all about data and seeking the truth, that it wasn’t about emotion. But looking back, I see that wasn’t strictly the case. I’m human, and we all long for the love of Christ, even if we don’t know how to articulate that. When people were trying to correct me or steer me on the right course, but didn’t do it in the spirit of Christ, that set me back. That happened even if what they were saying was true.

It is one thing how we treat people to their faith, but must also keep in mind that we are always "on display," for good or for bad.  When we act without virtue, in person or online, especially when talking about the faith, people see that. It can make Catholicism attractive or ugly.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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