St. Francis de Sales on anxiety of mind

From the writings of the early-17th-century French spiritual director and Oratorian St. Francis de Sales, whose feast is celebrated in the traditional calendar on January 29:

Whenever you urgently desire to be delivered from any evil, or to attain some good thing, strive above all else to keep a calm, restful spirit, — steady your judgment and will, and then go quietly and easily after your object, taking all fitting means to attain thereto. By easily I do not mean carelessly, but without eagerness, disquietude or anxiety; otherwise, so far from bringing about what you wish, you will hinder it, and add more and more to your perplexities. “My soul is alway in my hand, yet I do not forget Thy Law” [Ps. cxviii.109], David says. Examine yourself often, at least night and morning, as to whether your soul is “in your hand”; or whether it has been wrested thence by any passionate or anxious emotion. See whether your soul is fully under control, or whether it has not in anywise escaped from beneath your hand, to plunge into some unruly love, hate, envy, lust, fear, vexation, or joy. And if it has so strayed, before all else seek it out, and quietly bring it back to the Presence of God, once more placing all your hopes and affections under the direction of His Holy Will.

— Introduction to the Devout Life

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