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Spiritual maxims from the great Saint Alphonsus July 30, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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St. Alphonsus is without doubt one of my favorite Saints, if for no other reason that his copious writings are full of such wonderfully edifying, truly helpful material.  Volume III of his Ascetical Works, the Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, contains a list of useful spiritual maxims for Christians.  I pray you find them as useful as I have!  These are brief statements of piety that can be returned to again and again, and should be.  They can serve as a check on our activities, state of conscience, and advancement (or lack thereof) in the interior life.

I will  break this up into two parts with part two, God willing, coming tomorrow. 
Alphonsp

Spiritual Maxims for Christians:

Of what use will it be to gain the whole world and to lose one’s soul?

Everything has an end; but eternity has no end.

All may be lost, provided God be not lost.

No sin, however small, is a “light” evil.

If we desire to please God, we must deny ourselves.

That which is done for our own satisfaction is all loss.

In order to save ourselves we must be in constant fear of falling.

Let me die, so that I may please God.

The only evil that we ought to fear is sin.

All that God wills is good, and therefore to be desired. [That can be very hard to accept, especially when we are suffering]32-alphonsusvxeprov

He who desires nothing, but God, is happy and contented with everything that happens.

I ought to imagine to myself that there are no others in the world but God and myself.

The whole world cannot satisfy our heart; God alone can satisfy it.

All good consists in loving God. And loving God consists in doing His Will.  

All our riches are in prayer.  He who prays obtains everything that he can desire.

Let us consider that day lost on which we omit our mental prayer.  “He who leaves off praying,” says St. Teresa, “casts himself into hell of his own accord.”  [Now I feel really bad about missing that Angelus!]

Let us not pass a day without reading some spiritual book.

To be humble of heart and not merely in word, it is not sufficient to say that we are deserving of all contempt, but we must also be glad when we are despised.  And what has a Christian learnt to do, if he cannot suffer an affront for God’s sake?  When you are insulted, take it all cheerfully.

———–End Quote————

More tomorrow!  Otherwise, the post would get a little long and the maxims themselves possibly watered down due to sheer weight of numbers.

padre stefano missa

 

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The necessity of keeping the soul disengaged that God’s Holy Will may operate in it July 30, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, reading, religious, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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In these times, we have so much to keep us distracted.  Neutral and even good things like telephones, radios, the internet, Catholic blogs, etc, can become both a distraction and a source of emotions that can make us lose our peace.  I am not counseling giving up all of the above by any means (although some Saints might!), but we have to keep things in proper perspective and not allow nominally useful tools, or even very good things, to derail us in our pursuit of virtue.  With so much upsetting news of late, I thought a reminder from Dom Lorenzo Scupoli might be of some use, mostly to myself, but perhaps to some of you, as well. Bear in mind that the following is written primarily for contemplative religious, but has application for those of us in the world, as well.

If we are truly cognizant of the priceless worth of the immortal soul, that sublime temple of God Himself, let us take are that nothing of the world intrude therein. Placing our hope in the Lord, we should wait with a firm confidence for His Coming, and realize that He will certainly enter the soul unattached to worldly things and ready to receive Him alone.  Alone, having no desire but the presence of God; alone, loving only Him; alone, void of all will but the will of Heaven.

Let us learn to do nothing to please ourselves, that we may merit in the soul of the human the presence of the Divine, the comprehension of Whom is far beyond the horizons of created intellects.  [Very, very hard, but this is the path of union with the Divine Will.  We cannot possibly do this ourselves, we can only turn our will over to God and let him work through us to bring about such a powerful, intimate union.]

Let us follow exactly the prescriptions of our spiritual father and of those who govern us in the place of God, that every suffering and good work offered to God may be prudent and salutary.  [Salutary and universally applicable guidance for all of us]

It is sufficient that we keep ourselves ever ready and willing to suffer for love of Him all that He wills and the manner in which He wills it. Whoever acts solely in conjunction with the dictates of his own will would do much better were he to remain in peace, attentive to what God wills to perform in him.  Therefore, we must always avoid attachments of the will which should ever be free and in perfect harmony with the Divine. [When I think of the genocide ongoing in the Mideast, I think how hard it is sometimes to submit to the Will of God.  But it is when pious souls do so, especially under the most awful of conditions, that massive torrents of Grace flow and that Grace has, in past instances, resulted in a great flowering of the Church.  The blood of martyrs waters the Church and makes it grow.  It is one of the profound and difficult paradoxes, if you will, of our Faith, that when it seems to be crushed out of existence, it suddenly flowers anew.  So we must always retain the virtue of hope, even amidst the worse of news]

And since we ought not to act according to our own desires, let us not consciously attach our wills to any one thing; but if we should desire something , let it be in such a way as to leave us as unperturbed as if we had desired nothing, should our desire fail to materialize. [Certainly great advice, especially with regard to earthly/material things.]

For our desires are our chains, and to be entangled in them is to be a slave. To free ourselves from desires, therefore, is to free ourselves from tyranny.  [!!!]

God demands that our souls be alone and unattached that He may manifest His manifold wonders in them, glorifying them even in this life by His Divine Power.

O Holy Solitude!  O desert of happiness!  O glorious hermitage, where a soul may find its God!  Let us not only run to such an exalted place, but beg the wings of a dove that we may fly to it and find there a holy repose. Let us not stop by the wayside; let us not tarry on the way for frivolous conversation; let us leave the dead to bury their dead, forsaking the land of the lifeless for the land of the living.

———-End Quote———-

I am not so ideological or unaware of myself that I do not recognize that someone could easily rebut to me, regarding much of the above “physician, heal thyself.”  And they would be right.

But I shall continue trying to improve.  I don’t know about you, but I have experienced periods where I think there has been some real positive growth in virtue, and others where I have advanced more slowly, or maybe even gone backwards a bit.  But I keep trying.  I know there are at present a number of things – attachments – I need to work on.  And there are positive spiritual works, especially with regard to prayer and meditation, that I need to improve.

So pray for your blogger!  He tries!  He may make a number of mistakes, but tries very hard to always put forward both news and reflections that will help people deal with the ongoing crisis and advance in the spiritual life.  I pray I do not fail to be edifying too often.

And please excuse this public examination of conscience!  I think it necessary sometimes to air such things, bearing my soul, so that readers can gain a little insight into my motivations.