Tuesday, 24 March 2015

In what way the Soldier of Christ should take the Field early in the Morning, by Lorenzo Scupoli.

AS soon as you wake, the first thing to be observed by the eyes of your mind, is your position in the field of battle, where you are hemmed in by enemies, and under the absolute necessity of fighting, or perishing for ever.

Within this view represent to yourself, your enemy—the evil inclination which you have sworn to renounce, facing you on the one side, and armed so as to be able to wound and kill you; and, on the right hand, see your victorious Leader, Jesus Christ, with His most holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, and her beloved husband, Joseph, and countless hosts of Angels and Saints, especially St. Michael the Archangel; on the left hand, behold the Devil from beneath, with his followers, ready to kindle the passion in question, and to entice you to yield to it.
Then you shall seem to hear a voice, as of your guardian Angel, saying unto you, "You have today to fight against this enemy and against others too. Let not your heart sink, and do not lose courage; nor yield from fear or on any other account, for our Lord, your Captain, stands beside you, with all His glorious hosts with Him; and He will fight for you against all your enemies, and will not permit them to prevail against you either by force or oppression.
"Only stand firm, and do violence to yourself, and do not shrink from the pain which such a discipline will cost you. Cry unceasingly from the depths of your heart, and call upon the Lord, asking also for the help of the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints, and then you will be certain to gain the victory. If you are weak and inexperienced in the strife, and your enemies appear to be many and powerful, yet much more is the strength which He, Who made and redeemed you, will give you than that which they possess; and beyond all measure and comparison is your God mightier than they, and His Will for your salvation stronger than the will of your enemies for your destruction.

"Fight therefore, and do not spare yourself the pain; for from the toil in overcoming and doing violence to your evil inclinations, and from the suffering which the war against sinful habits necessitates, you shall gain the victory, and win the exceeding great reward, and therewith purchase for yourself the Kingdom of Heaven, and the everlasting union of your soul with God."

Begin the conflict in the Name of the Lord, taking up the armor of distrust of self and trust in God, with prayer and spiritual exercises; with these arms challenge this foe, that is, this inclination, whatever it may be, which, according to the order above laid down, you have resolved to overcome. Do this, now by open resistance, now by deep loathing, or again, by acts of the opposite virtue; wounding it with oft-repeated and deadly blows, in order to please your Lord, Who, with His whole Church Triumphant, is looking on and watching the combat.
I tell you again, that you must not grow weary in the conflict, but must ever bear in mind that it is the bounden duty of all to serve and please God; that the necessity of fighting is absolute, and escape impossible without wounds or death. I tell you, also, that if, as a deserter you were to fly from God, and give yourself to the delights of the world and of the flesh, you would still, in spite of yourself, be forced to labor in the sweat of your brow against many and many a contradiction which would pierce your heart with deadly anguish.

Consider, then, what madness it would be to incur all this toil and pain—which only lead to greater toil and pain with endless death—simply to avoid that which will soon be over, and which would bring us to a life eternal and infinitely blessed in the everlasting enjoyment of our God.

From; The Spiritual Combat; by Lorenzo Scupoli.