Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: The Spiritual Combat: Ch 39. THE MANNER IN WHICH WE MAY EXERCISE THE SAME VIRTUE
Posted on 07/05/2009 2:10:03 AM PDT by GonzoII
IN A PRECEDING CHAPTER it was said that application to a particular virtue is preferable to embracing the practice of many at the same time; and it was said that the particular virtue upon which we have concentrated our energies must be cultivated on all occasions. Next to be presented is the manner in which this may be done with great facility.
It is possible that on the same day, perhaps in the same hour, you are reprimanded severely for some action, in itself commendable, that you are maligned in conversation, or refused in a harsh manner some small favor. Perhaps you are unjustly suspected, or employed in a disagreeable affair, or maybe your dinner is spoiled; perhaps you are overwhelmed by illness or some of the far greater evils with which this wretched existence is laden. In such a combination of vexations, there is undoubtedly opportunity for the exercise of several virtues, but according to the foregoing rule, it will be most beneficial to limit your endeavor to that virtue most desired.
If it be patience, you must strive to bear with eager courage those evils which befall you. If it be humility, you must recall in all your sufferings that they are far less than you deserve. If it be obedience, you must resign your will to the will of God Who justly punishes you.
For love of Him submit yourself, not only to rational creatures, but to situations which are the instruments of divine justice. If it be poverty, be content under your affliction, though deprived of the comforts and conveniences of life. If it be charity, exert yourself in forming acts of love of God and neighbor, remembering that when others try your patience, they present to you an opportunity of increasing your merit. And recall that God, in sending or permitting the evils which besiege you, has no other view than your spiritual good.
What has been said concerning the exercise of virtue in various situations has been an attempt to indicate a method of practicing it on a particular occasion, as in sickness or infirmity of body or mind.
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
Chapter Thirty One: CONCERNING THE ARTIFICES EMPLOYED BY THE DEVIL TO MAKE Us FORSAKE THE VIRTUOUS LIFE
Chapter Thirty Two: THE LAST ARTIFICE OF THE DEVIL IN MAKING EVEN THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE AN OCCASION OF SIN
Chapter Thirty Three: SOME IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO MORTIFY THEIR PASSIONS AND ATTAIN THE NECESSARY VIRTUES
Chapter Thirty Four: VIRTUES ARE TO BE ACQUIRED ONE AT A TIME AND BY DEGREES
Chapter Thirty Five: THE MOST PROFITABLE MEANS OF ACQUIRING VIRTUE, AND THE MANNER IN WHICH WE APPLY OURSELVES TO A PARTICULAR VIRTUE FOR A TIME
Chapter Thirty six: THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE REQUIRES CONSTANT APPLICATION
Chapter Thirty Seven: CONCERNING THE NECESSITY OF SEIZING EAGERLY ALL OPPORTUNITIES OF PRACTICING VIRTUE SINCE OUR PROGRESS MUST BE CONSTANT
Chapter Thirty Eight: THE NECESSITY OF ESTEEMING ALL OPPORTUNITIES OF FIGHTING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF VIRTUES-----ESPECIALLY THOSE VIRTUES WHICH PRESENT THE GREATEST DIFFICULTIES
Chapter Thirty Nine: THE MANNER IN WHICH WE MAY EXERCISE THE SAME VIRTUE ON DIFFERENT OCCASIONS