A couple of days from the Feast of Divine Mercy appears apropos for writing a couple of reviews on spiritual books, which I distinguish from theological works by their focus on devotion rather than discerning doctrinal truths. Don’t forget to obtain a plenary indulgence this Sunday! (It’s not often that I get a chance to link back to the third post I ever wrote.) After all, the more mercy we receive from God the more our confidence in God and generosity to others grows. The less mercy we obtain, the less time we spend in prayer and the fewer our occasions of receiving the sacraments–especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the less confidence we place in God. I have come across a few people who claim that they cannot enter a Church lest it burn down! I know that they jested, but it does reveal a lack of confidence if nothing else! Instead of being struck dumbfounded on these occasions, would that I had told them that their sins were the only things which would burn up upon entering a Church!
But, the spirit of confidence in God’s mercy imbues both St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s How to Converse with God and St. Francis de Sales’ The Art of Loving God. De Sales wrote during the Counter-Reformation, while de Liguori wrote during the 18th century; but, de Liguori’s works have the savor of the Counter-Reformation, especially Prayer: the Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection. Unlike the aforementioned book and St. Francis’ masterpiece, A Treatise on the Love of God, the two books in question are both very short. De Liguori’s book is the size of a Lenten devotional one might pick up from church. De Sales’ The Art of Loving God fits easily into a jacket pocket.