Friday, March 5, 2010

From The Spiritual Combat of Don Lorenzo Scupoli, CR

You have to fight the vice of the flesh in a particular manner, different from the others. For this reason, you need to observe three different periods in order to fight in an orderly fashion:

* before temptation
* during temptation
* after temptation

Before temptation, your battle is against those causes that usually cause the temptation.

I tell you anew: fly from this vice, because you are straw. Do not trust in the fact that you have been bathed and are soaked in the water of a good and strong will, resolute and ready rather to die than to give offense to God

Fly from idleness, and stay vigilant and ready with thoughts and activities proper to your state in life.

Never resist your superiors, but obey them promptly, performing your duties readily. Do willingly those activities that humiliate you and go more strongly against your will and natural inclination.

Never make a rash judgment on your neighbor, especially as regards this vice. If he has indeed fallen, have compassion, and do not disdain him; do not sneer, but draw from this fall the fruit of humility and understanding of yourself, knowing that your are dust and nothing more

do not take some vain pleasure in yourself, persuading yourself to be something, and that your enemies will no longer make war on you.

At the hour in which the temptations to carnal pleasure abandon you, I would not want you to base your meditation on the points proposed by many books to remedy this temptation. For example, they suggest that you consider the vileness of this vice, its insatiability, its molestations, the hardships that follow it, the dangers and the loss of goods, of life, of honor and of such things. This is not always a sure means of conquering temptation; indeed it can bring one to damnation: if in fact the intellect drives these thoughts away along one path, along the other it offers occasion and danger of taking pleasure and giving consent to the pleasure. For this reason, the true remedy is to fly completely, not only from these, but also from everything that represents them, even if it be their opposite. For this reason your meditation, oriented to this end, should focus on the the suffering of Christ Crucified.

When the time of temptation has passed, what you ought to do is keep your mind far from those little things that brought you to temptation, even though you seem to be free and completely secure. Although you may feel the desire to do otherwise, whether for the goal of virtue or some other good, this is in fact the deception of our impure nature and a trap of our clever adversary, who transforms into an angel of light so that he can lead us into the shadows.

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