Book/page totals

Top 10 Lists

Thursday, July 12, 2007

cover of The Seeking Heart

A collection of letters from the 17th century French priest. The letters are short, usually only a page or two, and always very encouraging. These are real letters written to real people (many of them women) struggling with real spiritual issues. I was amazed at how encouraging Fenelon's words were, and how many times what I read was perfectly appropriate to something I had been going through. (Although I did note in myself a tendency to more easily accept the compliments and encouragements written to others; when there was criticism, I discovered that I was more likely to think it only applied to the original recipient and not to me). Fenelon's letters are thoughtful and beautifully written, and repeatedly encourage the reader to greater simplicity and greater love of God. The book also includes an introductory overview of Fenelon's life, which I found very interesting and impressive, and made me only more intrigued by his letters.

As I read these, I jotted down particular lines or passages that spoke to me-- and I ended up filling two entire pages in the small notebook I carried with me as I read the book. There were times when I could have almost copied down entire letters.

Here are a few of the things I jotted down.

  • Do not add to the cross in your life by becoming so busy that you have no time to sit quietly before God.
  • ... the life of faith is the most penetrating of all deaths. Death is only painful to you when you resist it. ... Self-love fights with all of its strength to live.
  • It is easy to mistake a vivid imagination for true spiritual experience.
  • Agree with Him about all things - even those you cannot understand.
  • Occupy every spare second with God.
  • You will accomplish more by quietly working in the presence of God than by the restless activity that comes from your old nature.
  • It does not take much time to love God, to renew yourself in His presence and to adore Him in the depths of your heart.
  • ... you must let all these attitudes drop like rocks in water.
  • You can die to yourself in the course of everyday life-- you don't need to go out into the desert or on some high mountain to be spiritual.

And, since this is a book reading site, a book related quote (even though I don't know quite what to make of it):

It is not enough to like good books. You must be a good book yourself.

Read over several months, usually reading one entry on my morning commute.

Title:The Seeking Heart
Author:Francois de Fenelon
Date published:1992 (from letters written in late 1600s to early 1700s)
Genre:letters, religious
Number of pages:182
Notes:gift from S. Apostel


Google Search