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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TO THE PREVIOUS ADMONITIONS, I must add, that in order to attain solid piety, dauntless courage and a resolute will are absolutely indispensable where innumerable difficulties and contradictions are to be encountered. Also necessary is a particular fondness for the virtue, which arises from the frequent reflection that it pleases God, is admirable in itself, and is important to man. Furthermore, it is in virtue that all Christian perfection begins and ends.

It will be most important to resolve every morning upon a strict compliance to the virtue's dictates throughout the day, frequently examining how such resolutions have been put in practice. This formula is directed to the cultivation of that virtue which is the object of our immediate pursuit, and of which we are most in need. To this virtue must be referred all reflections drawn from the examples of the Saints, and our meditations on the life and death of our Savior, which will be of infinite service in this spiritual warfare.
Let us accustom ourselves to the practice of both exterior and interior virtues that we may find the same ease and satisfaction in virtue that we find in obeying the tendencies of our corrupt nature. The acts most contrary to these corrupt tendencies are the most conducive to the establishment of habitual virtue in our souls.

Certain portions of Sacred Scripture, attentively pronounced or reverently considered, are similarly of great efficacy. Consequently, we should be familiar with those texts corresponding to the virtue in question, and employ them frequently, particularly when beset by the predominant opposite passion.

Those, for instance, who strive to attain mildness and patience may repeat these or similar passages:

"Bear patiently the wrath of God which comes upon you in punishment for your sins." Baruch 4: 25.
"The patience of the poor shall not perish, or be deprived of its reward."
Psalms 9: 19.
"The patient man is better than the valiant; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh cities." Proverbs 16: 32.
"By your patience you will win your souls." Luke 21: 19.
"With patience run to the fight set before us." Hebrews 12: 1.

These or similar aspirations may be used. O My God, when shall I be armed with patience as a shield against the weapons of my enemy? When shall I so love Thee as to receive with joy all the afflictions Thou shalt be pleased to send? O life of my soul, shall I never begin to live for Thy glory alone, perfectly resigned to all sufferings? O how happy should I be, if in the fiery trial of tribulation, I burn with a desire of being consumed for Thy service.

Let such prayers be offered frequently, as our devotion suggests, and our progress in virtue requires. They are called ejaculations, which like darts of fire directed to Heaven, lift our hearts heavenwards to the divine Goodness, when accompanied by two qualities which serve as wings: the one quality, a conviction of the delight God takes in seeing us labor for the cultivation of virtues; the other, an earnest desire of excelling in all virtue, for the sole motive of pleasing Him.


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