Catholic Exchange

The Spiritual Life

From the ashes of Revolutionary France:
A manual to help you hold fast to Faith in a barbaric, faithless world

Its a major part of our apostolate at Sophia Institute Press to seek out lost classics of Catholic spiritual writing, and to make these treasures available to a new generation of Catholics.

We found this one among the cherished works that French Catholics risked torture and death to keep out of the bonfires of the frenzied Jacobins.

Written by the French priest Jean Nicolas Grou (who died in 1803), The Spiritual Life might seem on the face of it to be an odd choice for the embattled Catholics of France to preserve at the risk of the guillotine. After all, it only gives a few small hints here and there of the great crisis that was engulfing France. Yet preserve it they did.

A closer look at its contents reveals why: its a comprehensive, uncompromising handbook to help Catholics better deal with the obligations and particular problems of the spiritual life. As such, it teaches Catholics what they need to know and to do when all the customary comforts and supports of life have been swept away. Its a call to true believers to do what the angel tells the Church of Sardis in the Book of Revelation: Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.

Indeed, Fr. Grou reminds you right at the beginning of this book that salvation is only won at a great price. He wrote this book for Catholics who were willing to pay that price themselves. His focus is firmly on Christ, whom he maintains should be the model for your own spiritual life -- not just in theory, but in the hard fact of sacrifice and love so great as to pierce your very heart.

Intent on motivating you to strive to become more fully devoted to our Lord, Fr. Grou stresses the absolute necessity of obedience, humility, and other essential virtues. With the practical emphasis of an experienced pastor, hardened by trials, he marks out here a clear path to true Christian transformation.

Our times are not so far removed from the Godless irrationality that swept across France in Fr. Grous day. Thats why we decided to republish The Spiritual Life, and to do so quickly. Its the one guide you need to help you navigate the treacherous spiritual waters of todays world, and through it all, to keep the Faith.

Gain the strength of a faith tried by fire as you learn:

  • What do you ask of God? Five things you should be asking Him for
  • Afraid of the world, and of the suffering thats in store for Christians in our Godless age? Why you must not fear
  • Five things you should be doing every day (and right now) in order to prepare your soul for the trials that are sure to come to you
  • Three words that contain everything you must do in order to be doing the will of God
  • Not sure youre ready to live solely for God? Why youll never find rest or peace in even the greatest pleasures the world can offer
  • The one sure sign of the vanity in your soul that can choke off its proper development
  • Admit it: are you proud of sins youve committed? Why this common fault is so dangerous
  • Are you too weak for hard times?
  • How to strengthen your soul now
  • Spiritual dryness: why God sometimes withdraws His consolations, and what you must do when He does so
  • Do you fear sinning and forfeiting Gods grace? How this very fear may be the Devils entryway into your soul
  • How you can eradicate the ingratitude toward God that creeps into your soul
  • If you died today, would you be perfectly happy with your spiritual state? What you can do now to make sure the answer is yes
  • What God has a right to expect from you: are you measuring up?
  • Much, much more to help you make real progress in the spiritual life!
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