Northern Illinois University Press


Claude La Colombière Sermons

Volume I: Christian Conduct

William P. O'Brien

“O'Brien's introduction bears all the marks of first-rate scholarship and his translation of the sermons is intelligent, smooth and lucid.” -Harvey D. Egan, SJ, Boston College

“O’Brien makes superb use of the French critical edition of the texts, as well as the primary and secondary sources requisite for such a translation. He stays close to the French for the English translation, but uses sound judgment suiting the text to the contemporary English reader.” —Journal of Jesuit Studies

This important volume presents for the first time English-language translations of 12 sermons by French Jesuit Claude La Colombière (1641-82). Canonized in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, Claude was a 17th-century Jesuit priest who authenticated the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90) and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. Like St. Francis of Assisi, Claude had been a man of privilege and a literary figure with a reputation as a master of Christian eloquence. He died at the age of 41 from a lung disease contracted while on mission in London.

Each sermon in this collection addresses a different issue under the general theme of Christian conduct. Together these sermons present notions central to Claude's preaching and attitude, above all the ideas of habituation and confidence in God.

Preaching during Claude's lifetime developed under a variety of influences, most notably the thematic sermons of the late medieval period and the humanistic retrieval of classical letters during the Renaissance. Claude worked within and helped to create the stylistic conventions of the day by drawing on scripture and the Church Fathers in an attempt to convert his listeners. Taking a hybrid approach to his craft, he brought a balanced use of rhetorical art into the pulpit so as to please, instruct, and move his audience, thereby promoting the development of French classicism in the second half of the 17th century.

In his commentary on the sermons, William O'Brien examines the dynamic vision of the human person that emerges from Claude's preaching and considers what this might mean for readers of today. Thus, while offering a historical-literary study of his pulpit oratory, the work locates itself in the contemporary quest for a new unity between the theoretical and the practical in Christianity. What results is a book with a unique appeal. General readers interested in their own spiritual growth, as well as scholars and students of religious history, theology, and French literature will find the book a valuable resource.

Feb. (2014) 240pp.
978-0-87580-472-9
cloth $35.00 s

William P. O'Brien, SJ, is assistant professor of Christian spirituality in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gérard Ferreyrolles
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1—On the Flight from the World
2—One Should Serve Only One Master
3—On Care for Salvation
4—On Mortal Sin
5—On Venial Sin
6—On Conscience
7—On the Relapse
8—On the Vicious Habit
9—On Confession
10—On the Mercy of God toward the Sinner
11—On Submission to the Will of God
12—On Confidence in God
Abbreviations
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index of Scriptural Passages
Index of Proper Names
General Index

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ISBN: 9780875804729
cloth $35.00