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How to practice exterior recollection from St. Peter Julian Eymard August 9, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

0802Eymard-thumb-244x351.jpgExterior recollection is that practice of virtue that allows us to exist in the world, without falling into vice or losing our focus on the interior life. It means, rejecting all the attractions and seductions the world, the flesh, and the devil present in order to distract us from the life of Grace.

St. Peter Julian Eymard counsels that exterior recollection consists in love of solitude, of silence, and of modesty of body.  From  The Eymard Library Vol. 3 Eucharistic Retreats:

Solitude: God does not love excitement, He does not let His voice be heard in the tumult of the world.  God wants peace and tranquility. That is why He said: “I will lead the soul I love into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart.”  In silence and peaceful solitude a devout soul advances in virtue, and learns to understand the hidden things of the Scriptures………in order that she may be the more familiar with her Creator, the farther removed she lives from worldly tumult. For God with His holy angels will draw near unto him who withdraws himself from all his friends and kindred. It is more profitable to lead a retired life and to attend to one’s salvation, than to neglect one’s self and work miracles.

Therefore, O’ my soul, avoid the world as much as you can. The time you pass in its midst is wasted. There the soul is dissipated, the heart attached, or sullied, piety withers away, and virtue is weakened. Oh, use your time well, for it is short! Guard your Grace closely, for it is in a most fragile vessel! Live as though disregarded, unknown by the world, and Jesus will give you His sweet and holy company.  Whoever wishes to lead an interior life and to become spiritual, must with Jesus keep aloof from the crowd.

Silence: Silence is the guardian of peace of heart and of purity of soul.  “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin” (Prov 10:19), says the Holy Spirit. The soul is dissipated by idle words; it is sullied by words against charity and humility; and it si so easy to forget oneself in the midst of the world!

Let your words, O my soul, always pay homage to truth and glorify charity! Let them be a sacrifice of humility and mildness, a defense of virtue and justice!

Modesty:  In order to preserve inner recollection, exterior modesty is necessary. It shows itself:

  1. In watchfulness over the senses, that they be not carried away by curiosity, led into too great activity, and receive too vivid impressions of external objects. [Given that our culture has just about descended to an endless carnival where barkers constantly assail souls to abandon their chastity and enter into dens of the worst iniquity, this is a most critical practice]
  2. In an unobtrusive guard over the eyes, a guard neither prudish nor timid but unconstrained, which allows one to look without fixing one’s glance, to see without retaining a vivid impression [I have lamented immodesty in dress, particularly in female dress. At the same time, all people, but especially men, need to practice much better custody of the eyes, in spite of what the Westian TOBers think]
  3. In movement, gesture, and posture: a modesty grave and unconstrained; active without agitation, granting repose without voluptuosness to the body; decorous without familiarity, good without affectation; a modesty that is the flower of purity of soul.

Jesus is the model of the life of this beautiful virtue. How great was the modesty of His glance!

———————-End Quote———————–

All these actions require much practice, and much mortification.  If these virtues above seem alien to  you, start small, with a few changes every day or two.  Turn off the TV.  Read holy books. If you see that immodestly dressed woman, fight the urge to ogle and look at something else.  Pray more. Spend some quiet time alone, if possible.  Etc.  Transitioning into a life of exterior recollection will take time.  But if you keep applying yourseld, you will soon reap dividends and great changes in your life.

Christ Light of the World_pius picture


1. Catholic4Life - August 9, 2013

Reblogged this on Catholic4Life.

2. tg - August 9, 2013

I’ve cut the TV off for most shows. If they have a liberal agenda, I can’t watch them. I only watch EWTN, MeTV, and a couple of shows on USA and one of TNT. They’re cop shows and to my surprise don’t have a liberal agenda. I like to read holy books to help me and then have my time for prayer. I’ve made prayer by priority because I want to please God by showing him that prayer is my priority not a TV show. I like solitude maybe too much. I find I don’t sin then but I have to love people if I want to go to heaven. Loving those that aren’t my own is a struggle for me. Thanks for the post. I like to read what the saints said.

3. Sal - August 9, 2013

The above are somewhat dictated by one’s vocation and stage of life. Those of us nearer the end of life than in the middle may have more time for prayer, b/c our duties have lessened.
I am a huge fan of solitude, as well. In American, it’s almost a sin to be an introvert.
Love the line about carnival barkers. I’m thinking TVs in restaurants, talking gas pumps with ads, the constant barrage of noise and distraction that comes from never being unconnected to some electronic device. Almost all of which is aimed at making us discontent with ourselves and our lives.

Modesty? What could be further from our “look at me!” culture?

Am really enjoying these excerpts from St. Eymard. Thanks!

tantamergo - August 9, 2013

Thanks, Sal. Those are some of my favorite things to post. I would feel kind of bad if I did nothing but post what I read, but I really like to. Better than just controversy or scandal. I may try to do more like this.

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