The Sinner's Guide is the most famous work of one of one of the most prominent and exceptional spiritual teachers of the sixteenth century. It has been compared to The Imitation of Christ for its breadth, intensity, and usefulness for devotion and has been translated into Italian, French, German, Polish, Latin, and Greek. Covering what many spiritual writers neglect, Venerable Louis discusses both virtue and vice—how to both do good and avoid evil. Included in this volume are chapters on:
- Eleven motives for practicing virtue
- Twelve privileges of virtue
- Cautions against deferring conversion
- Remedies for the seven deadly sins and others
- Virtues and duties of our state
- And far more!
Venerable Louis stands as a master of the spiritual life throughout the whole Christian tradition. Born in extremely poor circumstances, his mother was widowed when he was five, and the pair subsisted on alms gathered from outside the gate of a Dominican priory. Eventually, Louis became a Dominican himself, and began a career of preaching that resulted, at length, in traveling throughout Spain and Portugal. He attained—despite the humble friar's best efforts—various posts in the Order of Preachers and served at courts of nobles and the queen regent of Portugal. He was offered bishoprics and the cardinalate, but declined all offers. He suffered much in his life, accused by the Spanish Inquisition of heresy unjustly; he was later vindicated by the Council of Trent and the witness of subsequent saints. Indeed, he counts among his readers and recommenders such pillars of sanctity as St. Rose of Lima, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Louise de Marillac, and St. Francis de Sales, who recommended Venerable Louis's works be read as a "second Breviary."
But Venerable Louis's primary mission, quite unusually for his time, was to write and preach for the laity. Indeed, a disapproving observer said Venerable Louis wrote for "wives of carpenters," maybe forgetting who the Blessed Virgin was. Let, then, the words of this venerable Spanish preacher illuminate your heart with the light of Christ, speaking, as it were, straight from the bosom of the Master.
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