Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: The Spiritual Combat: Ch 6. FURTHER ADVICE ON DISTRUST OF ONESELF...
Posted on 05/09/2009 9:31:18 PM PDT by GonzoII
AS ALL OUR STRENGTH for conquering the enemy derives from distrust of self and confidence in God, I think I should give some additional advice, very necessary for obtaining these virtues.
In the first place, everyone must be convinced that neither all natural or acquired abilities, nor all supernatural gifts or perfect knowledge of the Scriptures, nor even whole ages spent in the service of his Creator, can enable him to do the will of God. He cannot perform his duty unless the Hand of the Almighty sustains him as often as any good action is to be done, temptation to be overcome, dangers to be avoided, or crosses to be borne according to the Will of God. This truth must be kept in mind every day, hour, and moment of his life. In this way he will lose all presumption and will never rashly trust in himself.
In order to acquire complete confidence in God, he must firmly believe that He as perfectly capable of conquering a great number of enemies as a few, the strong and experienced as the weak and inexperienced. Consequently, although a soul is overwhelmed by sins, although it has labored in vain to tear away from vice and follow virtue, although it should find its inclination to evil increasing daily instead of diminishing in favor of virtue, yet it must not fail to place its confidence in God; it must not be discouraged or abandon its spiritual works. On the contrary, it must arouse itself to new fervor and redouble its efforts against the enemy.
<>In this kind of battle, the victory will be won by him who has the courage not to throw down his arms or out aside his confidence in God. His assistance is always present for those who fight His battles, though He may sometimes permit them to be wounded. Persevere to the end. Victory depends on this. There is a swift and effective remedy for the wounds of anyone who fights for God's cause and who places his entire trust in Him. When he least expects it, he will see his enemy at his feet.
None shall be crowned who has not fought well.
2 Tim 2:5.
Taken from the book of the same title by DOM LORENZO SCUPOLI
The Spiritual Combat is known as one of the greatest classics in ascetic theology, along with The Imitation of Christ. In both cases the authors are shrouded in mystery. Several 17th century editions were published under the name of the Spanish Benedictine, John of Castanzia. Some writers of the Society of Jesus have ascribed the book to the Jesuit, Achilles Gagliardi, but most critics however consider Fr. Lawrence Scupoli as the author of this famous treatise. The first known edition was published in Venice in 1589 and contained but 24 chapters; later editions appeared with more chapters, so it is possible that the Theatines or another religious order may have been part of the composition. Whatever may be the solution of the problem of the author, doubt of the actual one or ones, can take nothing away from the value and efficacy of this "golden book" as St. Frances de Sales called it. It was "the favorite, the dear book" of this great master of the spiritual life who, for 18 years, carried in a pocket a copy which he had received from Fr. Scupoli in Padua himself. The Saint read some pages of it every day, entrusted to its supernatural and human wisdom, the guidance of his soul, and recommended it to all under his direction. The purpose of the work is to lead the soul to the summit of spiritual perfection, by means of a constant, courageous struggle against our evil nature, which tends to keep us away from that goal.
The author was a genius, the kind that can only be inspired by the grace of God and his book is a Catholic treasure and one of the greatest gifts God could have given any age, but most especially this benighted age which has lost its appreciation for the kind of simplicity necessary for sanctity.
Chapter One: PRELIMINARY WORDS ON PERFECTION
-- THE FOUR THINGS NECESSARY FOR THIS COMBAT
Chapter Two: DISTRUST OF SELF
Chapter Three: OF TRUST IN GOD
Chapter Four: HOW TO DISCOVER WHETHER WE
DISTRUST OURSELVES AND PLACE OUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD
Chapter Five: THE MISTAKE OF CONSIDERING COWARDICE A VIRTUE
Complete title: CHAPTER SIX: FURTHER ADVICE ON HOW TO OBTAIN A DISTRUST OF ONESELF AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD
Thank you GonzoII. As usual :-).