More from Fénelon

Excerpts from Talking with God by François Fénelon:

“How rare it is to find a soul still enough to hear God speak! The slightest murmur of our vain desires, or of a love fixed upon self, confounds all the words of the Spirit of God. We hear well enough that he is speaking and that he is asking for something, but we cannot distinguish what is said, and often we are glad enough that we cannot. The least reserve, the slightest act rooted in self-consideration, the most imperceptible fear of hearing too clearly what God demands interferes with the still, small voice.” p.56

“Little faults become great and even monstrous in our eyes, to the extent that we increase in the pure light of God. Just as the rising sun reveals the true size of objects which were seen dimly during the night, the increase of inward light will show our imperfections to be far greater and more deadly in their roots than we had thought them. We witness, in addition, a host of faults of whose existence we had not the slightest suspicion. We find the weaknesses necessary to deprive us of all confidence in our own strength.” p.70

“God never makes us aware of our weakness except to give us his strength.” p.72

In a chapter emphasizing the importance of faithfulness in small things: “The greatest danger of all is this: by neglecting small matters, our soul becomes accustomed to unfaithfulness. We grieve the Holy Spirit. We revert to ourselves. We begin to think it a small thing to be lacking towards God. On the other hand, true love can see nothing as small; everything that can either please or displease God seems to be great.” p.75

 If you are new to Fénelon, as I am, you’re in for a quiet treat in his writings. Born in France in 1651, Fénelon was a priest, political thinker, theologian, writer, missionary, and advisor to royalty. He ended his life as the Archbishop of Cambrai.


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