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Half an hour of meditation is essential except when you are very busy. Then an hour is necessary

François de Sale

Half an hour of meditation is essential except when you are very busy. Then an hour is necessary. François de Sales

François de Sales, born on 21 August 1567 at the Château de Sales near Thorens-Glières in Savoy and died on 28 December 1622 in Lyon, was a Savoyard Catholic priest. Appointed bishop of Geneva, he was never able to take possession of his seat, which had become the “Rome of the Calvinists”, and remained in residence in Annecy. Proclaimed saint and Doctor of the Church, he is liturgically commemorated on January 24th.

In the western sense of the term, meditation means “Reflection that deepens a subject, matures a project.” It is in this sense that it should be understood from the mouth of Francis de Sales, since the oriental conception of the word meditation arrived only late in the West. Nevertheless, this quotation can be analysed by encompassing both conceptions.

Reflection precedes action, and it could even be argued that one clear idea is worth 10 confused actions. Trouble or even chaos is perhaps what characterises our lives when we have not taken the time to step back. To meditate is to take stock of one’s existence and one’s projects. It means creating space and respite where one would be tempted to fill it with noise and agitation. One always wishes to be active at the expense of a certain efficiency. Without thinking, an action is only a caricature of itself. It must be given depth. To do this, reflection allows us to do things consciously, so that action becomes intelligent or even enlightened.

Meditation in its oriental sense is a kind of daily cleansing to clarify our mind so that it functions better and is not affected by illness. Meditation is like brushing one’s teeth, it is a hygienic habit for oneself and others. The clearer our mind is, the better our choices will be and the better our relationship with others will be.

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