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Catholic Review of: Roses Among Thorns

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Author:  St. Francis De Sales

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This item received 5 stars overall. (07/18/2014)

Orthodoxy: Completely orthodox.
Reading Level: Easy

 Stuart DunnBy Stuart Dunn (AL) - See all my reviews


Roses Among Thorns

Evaluator Comments

Roses Among Thorns is the second book from St. Francis de Sales that has been recently released by Sophia Institute Press. The first was The Sign of the Cross. In this 100ish page book, the reader will find a series of 60 reflections drawn from the personal letters of St. Francis de Sales. Each reflection is 1-3 pages long, making this a quick read that you could tackle in a couple of hours. However, just because one can read a book in a few hours doesn't mean one should.


The premise of this book, as the title suggests, is that we Christians are supposed to be the roses among the thorns (the world). That phrase is repeated several times in his letter, along with other nature metaphors. It was hard to pick a favorite reflection of the 60 in this book, but the one that spoke to me at this point in my life was the sixteenth, "Facing Temptations." In this two page meditation St. Francis de Sales says, "Your temptations have returned, and although you have not said a word of consent to them, still they oppress you. You do not consent to them, and that is good, but you fear them too much. They would not be able to harm you if you did not fear them." He then uses an analogy of bees landing on his face, and instead of shooing them away, he left them alone (at the beekeeper's advice) and was not stung. For most sinners, especially ones who had habitual sins, St. Francis de Sales, encourages people to not be afraid of the temptation that will always be there, but to stand strong with God's help and resist the sin!


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I have enough thick and deep books that look great on the shelf, but sometimes go over my head. It was nice to read a small book that still packed a punch. I know I will reference this again many times in the future, so it will have a special place on the bookshelf next to my bed. If you decide to buy this book, which I highly recommend, then take the time to read it slowly and let the wisdom permeate your mind. I wouldn't read more than one reflection a day. It will take you two months this way, but you'll feel richer doing so.

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