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The Power of the Family over Our Actions

One of the favorite tenets of Liberalism is the notion that each man can make - or remake himself exactly as he chooses.  In fact, we are all deeply influenced by our family habits, customs and past deeds. This is what the great St. Francis de Sales reminds us in the funeral sermon he gave for Philip Emmanuel of Lorena, Duke of Mercoeur, in 1602:

St. Francis de Sales

I deem it opportune to speak of your family line, even though it seems to many of us – who do not belong to the nobility – that we alone are responsible for our actions. In truth, the family has much to do with us and exercises a great power over plans, and even over our own actions – be it through the affinity of passions that we often inherit from our ancestors, be it through the memory we conserve of their deeds, or be it through the good and more appealing nourishment of soul that we receive from it.

(Oeuvres de St. François de Sales, Evêque de Genève et docteur de l'église,
Annecy: J. Niérat, 1896, t. VII, Sermons, vol. 1, p. 413)

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Posted March 21, 2009

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