Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: The Spiritual Combat: Ch 30. CONCERNING THE DELUSIONS OF SOME
Posted on 06/06/2009 2:35:43 AM PDT by GonzoII
THE FRUSTRATION of the enemy in his first and second attacks will not discourage him from trying again to bring about your ruin. He would have you unconscious of your actual vices and passions, filling your imagination with visions of a chimerical perfection which he knows you will never attain.
Because of this subtle deception, we receive frequent and dangerous setbacks without giving much thought to means of countering them. Secret pride has seized upon these fanciful desires, mistaking the dream for the reality, and we rest in exalted notions of our own sanctity. Therefore, at the very time when the least contradiction or affront upsets us, we amuse ourselves with grandiose dreams of being ready to suffer the greatest torments or the pains of Purgatory itself for the love of God.
Our deception consists in the tendency of our sensitive nature [serenely comfortable when sufferings are at a distance], boldly to compare itself with those stalwart souls who bear the greatest pains with unwearied patience. To avoid such a snare, we must fight the enemies at hand in a world of reality, rather than achieve meaningless victories in a self-created world of fancy. Then we shall see if our resolutions are cowardly or courageous, imaginary or real, and thus advance to perfection in the footsteps of the Saints.
We need not concern ourselves with those enemies who rarely molest us, unless we have reason to expect an attack from them, in which case we must be fortified with the soldier's resolve to conquer.
But let us not mistake resolutions for victories, even though we have made considerable progress in acts of virtue. True humility should accompany us with the ever-present memory of our weakness, bidding us put our confidence in God alone. Let us beseech Him to be our strength in the battle, our shield in danger, and our protection against presumption and confidence in our own abilities.
<>This is our path to greatness and perfection, a path along which we may find many difficulties for our frail natures that we may thereby be humbled and preserve the little reward our good work has already merited.
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
Chapter Six: FURTHER ADVICE ON HOW TO OBTAIN A DISTRUST OF ONESELF AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD
Chapter Seven: THE RIGHT USE OF OUR FACULTIES. THE UNDERSTANDING MUST FIRST BE FREE OF IGNORANCE AND CURIOSITY
Chapter Eight: AN OBSTACLE TO FORMING A CORRECT JUDGMENT. AN AID TO THE FORMATION OF A CORRECT JUDGMENT
Chapter Nine: ANOTHER METHOD TO PREVENT DECEPTION OF THE UNDERSTANDING
Chapter Ten: THE EXERCISE OF THE WILL. THE END TO WHICH ALL OF OUR ACTIONS, INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR, SHOULD BE DIRECTED
Chapter Eleven: SOME CONSIDERATIONS WHICH WILL INCLINE THE WILL TO SEEK ONLY WHAT IS PLEASING TO GOD
Chapter Twelve: THE OPPOSITION WITHIN MAN'S TWOFOLD NATURE
Chapter Thirteen: HOW WE ARE TO ENCOUNTER SENSUALITY. WHAT THE WILL MUST DO TO ACQUIRE VIRTUOUS HABITS
Chapter Fourteen: WHAT TO DO WHEN THE WILL IS APPARENTLY OVERPOWERED
Chapter Fifteen: FURTHER ADVICE ON HOW TO FIGHT SKILLFULLY. THE ENEMIES WE ARE TO ENGAGE, AND THE COURAGE NECESSARY TO FIGHT THEM
Chapter Sixteen: THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST MUST PREPARE EARLY FOR THE BATTLE
Chapter Seventeen: THE METHOD OF FIGHTING YOUR PASSIONS AND VICES
Chapter Eighteen: HOW TO CURB THE SUDDEN IMPULSES OF YOUR PASSIONS
Chapter Nineteen: HOW WE ARE TO FIGHT AGAINST IMPURITY
Chapter Twenty: HOW TO COMBAT SLOTH
Chapter Twenty One: THE PROPER USE OF OUR SENSES. HOW THEY MAY HELP US TO CONTEMPLATE DIVINE THINGS
Chapter Twenty Two: HOW SENSIBLE THINGS MAY AID US TO MEDITATE ON THE PASSION AND DEATH OF OUR SAVIOR
Chapter Twenty Three: OTHER ADVANTAGEOUS USES OF THE SENSES IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS
Chapter Twenty Four: HOW TO GOVERN ONE'S SPEECH
Chapter Twenty Five: THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST, RESOLVED TO FIGHT AND CONQUER HIS ENEMIES, MUST AVOID, AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, ANYTHING THAT INTRUDES UPON HIS PEACE OF MIND
Chapter Twenty Six WHAT WE ARE TO DO WHEN WOUNDED
Chapters Twenty Seven & Eight: THE METHODS USED BY THE DEVIL TO TEMPT AND SEDUCE
Chapter Twenty Nine: THE EFFORTS OF THE DEVIL TO PREVENT THE CONVERSION OF THOSE WHO, KNOWING THE DISEASED CHARACTER OF THEIR SOULS, DESIRE TO AMEND THEIR LIVES. THE REASON WHY THEIR GOOD INTENTIONS ARE FREQUENTLY INEFFECTUAL
Chapter Thirty: CONCERNING THE DELUSIONS OF SOME WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES ON THE WAY TO PERFECTION
This is made for FR.
Okay, but it can only concern Catholics; "Catholic Caucus"
Ask the mod to change it to a caucus thread.
It already is. I post these threads for spiritual reading. Of course there is no problem with self-criticism.
I don't want these threads to turn into any kind of wrangling between Catholics and Protestants.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.
Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
Oh geez, sorry I missed it!
St. Paul wrote, “the good I would do I do not do and the evil I would not do, I do.” All believers are besieged by the evil one whose deceptions are meant to delude us into thinking that we are not sinners in need of a savior.
Thus the importance of formation and examination of conscience.