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 NINE: ANOTHER METHOD TO PREVENT DECEPTION OF THE UNDERSTANDING
CURIOSITY IS ANOTHER vice from which the mind must be free. If we indulge in vain, frivolous, or sinful dreams, our minds will become incapable of choosing the proper mortification of our disorderly affections.
All earthly things, except those absolutely necessary, must die through our complete disregard for them, even though they are not wrong in themselves. We must control our minds and not permit them to wander aimlessly about. Our minds must become insensible to mundane projects, to gossip, to the feverish search for news. Our indifference to the affairs of this world must give them a dream-like quality.
The same holds true for Heavenly things. We must be discreet and humble. Our greatest ambition must be to see the crucified Christ always before us, His life and death, what efforts He demands of us.
Seek nothing beyond this. It will please the Divine Master. His real friends ask only for those things that will enable them to fulfill His commissions. Any other desire, any other quest, is but self-love, spiritual pride, an encirclement by the devil.
Such a disciplined conduct is well fortified against the assaults of the devil. When this skilled opponent sees the fervor of persons beginning spiritual exercises and the fixed resolution of their wills, he insinuates his subtleties into their understanding. A breakthrough here permits him to push his way to the will. He is then the master of both these faculties.
As a feint, he inflates their imagination in moments of prayer, suggesting elevated sentiments. He works particularly on those who are curious and discerning by nature, who are subject to self-conceit and are fond of their own schemes. His aim, of course, is to amuse them with idle dreams and the sensible pleasure they afford so that, drugged with a false sense of appreciation of God, they may forget to cleanse their hearts, to examine themselves, and to practice mortification. In this way they become inflated with pride, and they idolize their own understanding.
Having become accustomed to consult no one but themselves, they finally are persuaded that they no longer need the advice or assistance of others.
It is a deadly, an almost incurable disease. It is much more difficult to remedy pride of the understanding than that of the heart. As soon as pride of the heart is discovered by the intelligence, it can be removed by a voluntary submission to proper authorities. But if a persons imagines, and persists in maintaining, that he is wiser than his superiors, how will his deception be shattered?
How will he discover his error? To whose judgment will he submit so long as he considers himself wiser than the rest of the world?
If the understanding, the searchlight of the soul, which alone can discover and rectify the vanity of the heart, is itself blinded and swollen with pride, who is able to cure it?
If the light changes to darkness, if the leader is treacherous, what will happen to the rest?
Be on guard, therefore, against such a fatal attack. Never let it overwhelm your minds.
We must train ourselves to conform to the judgment of others. Without carrying our notions of spirituality too high, let us become enamored with the folly and simplicity recommended so highly by the Apostle; then shall we surpass Solomon himself in wisdom.