28 May 2015


Theme Thursday 15

I can't end the blog mini-series on Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales without sampling one of its passages for Theme Thursday. If you've been reading along, you know that this is the sort of meme that was made for St. Francis, who seems to have worked everything in the world into a metaphor.

Well, actually, not quite . . . Believe it or not (and I was shocked), I couldn't find any imagery with Buildings, which you will recall was the theme a couple of weeks ago. St. Francis seems to prefer imagery from nature most of all, so he does have something for the theme from 31 March 2001 . . .

This Week's Theme:

Of course each man may enter into, and remain in, his own sphere without lack of humility, so long as he does it with indifference, and without effort. Just as vessels coming from Peru laden with gold and silver bring also a number of monkeys and parrots which cost nothing and add but little to their freight, so those who aspire to be virtuous may well accept their rightful rank and honours, but always without bestowing much care or thought on them, and without being involved in cares, vexations, disputes, and anxieties in consequence.

There were many passages about animals to choose from. The bees alone were a whole category--LOL! But the above is, hands down, my favourite simile from the entire book. All those worldly honours and prestige that you think are so weighty: well, they're just the chittering monkeys and chattering parrots on a ship that is really meant to carry silver and gold. (This snippet is, of course, from the chapter on external humility, which we discussed in Meeting 118.)

If you're a member of the "Two or Three" Book Club or have read Introduction to the Devout Life in the past, what is your favourite metaphor from the text? =)

Image Source: Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales


Jenny said...

Seriously thinking I need to read this now. The metaphors and similes really get my brain going. Thanks for sharing. I don't always comment but I always read these posts and then think and think.

Enbrethiliel said...


Introduction to the Devout Life has become a classic for good reason! I hope that you get even more out of it than you have from my posts. =)

Paul Stilwell said...

That metaphor really is a great one! I love the simplicity and depth of it.

It seems the Catholic Church doesn't exalt any other animal more than it exalts bees. They will always have a angelic mystery about them that eludes us. Just today I was reading Virgil's Georgic IV and this passage resonated with me:

"Hence it is
With some sweet rapture, that we know not of,
Their little ones they foster, hence with skill
Work out new wax or clinging honey mould."

Enbrethiliel said...


I would have said that birds get pride of place . . . but thinking it over, we see that different birds mean different things. Whereas bees are always bees. =) But I confess I haven't really been paying attention to animals in Church tradition. The first one to come to mind was "Brother Ass" and he's not even an animal! LOL! But the donkey in the Christmas story is quite beloved. I will think some more . . .

Paul Stilwell said...

You may be right about the birds, come to think of it.