A Treatise on Perfection: Saintly Counsel on Obtaining Salvation

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“Could there be anyone who does not realize just how perilous it is to give one’s loyalty to this passing and inconstant world—which, sooner or later, casts down all those whom it raises up, and eventually takes away all that it gives?”

—Cardinal Richelieu

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu (1585–1642), was a prelate of great sanctity, learning and wisdom, and an ardent devotee of the Mother of God. He lived in a profoundly turbulent era, when all of Europe (including France) was shaken by religious and political unrest. This man of God and servant of the people labored tirelessly to ensure the flourishing of the Catholic Church and the Kingdom of France, both of which he loved dearly.

Cardinal Richelieu, who was a close friend of Pope Urban VIII and a key proponent of the reforms of the Council of Trent, was also an extremely popular spiritual author in his day. His timeless but long-forgotten masterpiece the Treatise on Perfection, presented here in English for the first time, overflows with wise insights and helpful guidance for nourishing a fruitful and sustainable spiritual life, particularly for those who are trying to balance prayer and devotion with complex and demanding secular responsibilities (as he himself did so successfully.) Cardinal Richelieu believed that the humble and diligent fulfillment of one’s proper and legitimate duties in society is the single most important moral responsibility of the Christian, and also often the most effective form of prayer.

This work also outlines the nine tortures of hell according to Saint Augustine, the joys of heaven, distractions at prayer, twenty spiritual counsels, and much more. Here is a book that will stir your heart to love God above everything by cultivating piety, virtue, and moderation in whatever state of life you are called to. Here is a book that pulls wisdom from some of the greatest saints to help you become a saint.

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis
Fr. Robert Nixon

2 Reviews

  • 5
    Treatise on Perfection

    Posted by booksaprilreads on Mar 30th 2024

    If you are Catholic, you should read this book. Honestly, I believe and Christian will benefit from reading this book. While not all will be familiar with the rules and practices referred to in this book, it is overflowing with wisdom for this journey here on earth while we await eternity. This small, but mighty, treatise offers suggestions on how to balance devotion to the Faith and prayer while living in a world constantly vying for our attention. The twenty spiritual counsels at the back will be something I refer to often. Cardinal Richelieu is full of encouragement, full of ways you can persevere in the search for sanctity, amidst daily demands, distraction and dryness in prayer. I learned so much from this book and truly felt reassured. As someone who often feels like I must be the most distracted person in the room, I was reminded of the importance of perseverance and the many fruits that come from our walk on this earth. These thoughts are just the tip of all that I received by reading this work. I look forward to reading it again and again to find new gems missed the first time. Thank you to TAN Books for the copy of this book. All views are my honest opinion.

  • 5
    Brilliant in its simplicity

    Posted by MrsB08 on Mar 25th 2024

    I think this is my favorite book of spiritual reading to date. My previous knowledge of this holy cardinal came from Dumas book (sadly). I think this is my favorite book of spiritual reading to date. It is quite short, but packed with spiritual wisdom. I will be reading and pondering this one often. Thank you Tan for making this available!