Reading, or re-reading Jane Austen is always a pleasure. I just finished Sense and Sensibility and I started Pride and Prejudice last week-end. There is always a new aspect of the story or a peculiar sentence in the text that I had not noticed in the previous reading that surprises me, makes me ponder or wonder.
This time, the little sentence is utterred by Mr. Darcy at the end of the novel: "I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle." This is a sharp observation of the human heart: too often virtue is held in principle, but fail to be practiced in the daily life at home and at work. How often have I been guilty of this! (I am truly patient with my family, except when I am with them)
This reminds me of the definition given by Saint Francois de Sales of true devotion: "a spiritual activity and liveliness by means of which Divine Love works in us and causes us to work briskly and lovingly; and just as charity leads us to a general practice of all God's commandments, so devotion leads us to practice them readily and diligently."