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Lectio Divina and Francis de Sales’s Picturing of the Interconnection of Divine and Human Hearts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter amplifies the understanding of the Salesian word-picture by considering three interrelated facets of Francis de Sales's picturing of the Salesian universe of interconnected hearts: first, the historical context that gave rise to Francis's spiritual vision; second, the meditative-contemplative form of prayer known as lectio divina, which shaped Francis's picturing of his spiritual vision, particularly his image of the heart of Jesus; and, third, the series of word-pictures of the Salesian world of hearts that are a visual exegesis of the foundational scriptural texts from which it is derived. The resultant Salesian world or universe of interconnected hearts, in which primacy is given to the re-forming of human hearts according to the gentle and humble heart of the loving Savior, stands in stark contrast to militant Catholicism, with its view of a vengeful, punitive God and its ethos of violence, religious anxiety, and rigorous penitential asceticism.

Keywords: Christian spiritual traditions; Francis de Sales; lectio divina; militant Catholicism; salesian world of hearts; Savior



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