None shall be crowned who has not fought well.
------- 2 Tim. 2: 5
Taken from the
of the same title by DOM LORENZO SCUPOLI
$14.50 US $23.26 CDN
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: WHAT TO DO WHEN THE WILL IS APPARENTLY OVERPOWERED, AND UNABLE TO RESIST THE SENSUAL APPETITES
IF YOU EVER FEAR that your will should fall before the lower appetite, or other enemies that attempt to overcome it; if you perceive that your courage and determination are failing, hold your ground------do not retreat from the field. You must regard the victory as your own as long as you are not completely overcome.
Just as your will does not need the consent of the lower appetite to make its choice, in the same way the liberty of the will remains intact despite any violence that this interior enemy may use. An absolute dominion has been given us by the Almighty. All the senses, the evil spirits, and the whole created universe banded together cannot diminish the liberty of the will in acting as often, in any manner, and to any end that it desires.
But, if at times temptations press you so hard that your will almost overpowered, seems to lack sufficient strength to resist any longer, do not be disheartened, or throw down your arms. Defend yourself and cry out: "I shall never surrender to you! I shall not submit to you!" Act like a person who, struggling with a stubborn enemy and being unable to pierce him with the point, attacks him with the hilt of the sword. Watch how he tries to break free, to retreat in order to charge with greater strength, and to kill the enemy with one fatal blow!
This teaches you to withdraw frequently into yourself. Recall your insignificance, your inability to accomplish anything. You will then place great confidence in the almighty power of God, so that you will be able, through His grace, to attack and conquer the passions that oppose you. Here you must implore: "My Lord, My God! Jesus! Mary! Do not abandon your soldier! Do not permit me to be conquered by this temptation!"
Whenever the enemy gives you a breathing spell, call up your understanding to reinforce your will. Strengthen it with motives that will raise its courage and give it new life for the fight.
For example, if you are unjustly accused or harmed in some other way, and, in desperation, are tempted to lose all patience, try to check yourself by reflecting on these points:
1. Consider whether you might not deserve the unpleasantness you are undergoing, and whether you have not brought it upon yourself. If you are in any way to blame, it is proper that you patiently endure the agony of the wound which you yourself have occasioned.
2. However, if you are not guilty on this score, glance back at some past offenses for which divine justice has not yet inflicted a punishment, and for which you have not sufficiently expiated by a voluntary penance. When you see that God, in His infinite mercy, instead of a long punishment in purgatory, or even an eternal one in hell, has decreed but an easy and momentary one in this life, accept it, not merely with resignation, but with joyous thanksgiving.
3. If you think, without reason, that your faults are few, that you do a great amount of penance, remember that the road to Heaven is narrow and full of obstacles.
4. Even if you could find another road, a burning love should prevent you from considering it; for the Son of God, and all the saints after Him, took no other road than the thorny path of the Cross.
5. What you should keep in mind at this and all other times is the will of God. He loves you so tenderly that He is delighted with every heroic act of virtue you perform and with the return of your fidelity and courage to His immense love. Remember also that the more unjustly you suffer, and consequently the more grievous your affliction, the greater is your merit in the sight of God. For in the midst of your suffering you adore His judgments, and willingly submit to His divine Providence which draws good from the greatest evil and makes the malice of our enemies subservient to our eternal happiness.