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
With Imprimatur
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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. 




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