Meditations by De La Salle
In listening to the meditations by Saint John Baptist de la Salle, it is necessary to place what he wrote in context. While that is not common today as we look back at people who lived in completely different times, the meditations of De La Salle still hold value for us today if we can place them in the proper context.
As the introduction to De La Salle’s Meditations for the Time of Retreat, France at the time was in the grips of Jansenism, or the oft recurring heresy of pitting flesh against spirit. This led to a particularly negative world view, particularly in the very impossible task of in any way pleasing God, so great was our sinfulness.
And yet, when we consider our time today, a little exposure to the Last Judgement in serious terms is not such a bad thing. It can seem to some today that the whole notion of sin and evil is old fashioned. And so gaining some sense of accountability for our sinful actions and coupling that with the generous outpouring of the mercy of God is not such a bad thing.
The Meditations of De La Salle hold a harsh view of the human. And yet, in dealing with the poor children whose education was made possible by De La Salle and the brothers he attracted, we see his kindness. And it is not such a bad thing that we get aroused out of our complacency, and the Mediations of De La Salle certainly do that.