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Liguori on Resolution towards Perfection May 18, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, Restoration, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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From Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s The Holy Eucharist is a treatise on remedies against lukewarmness in the Faith and steps to take in the path to perfection.  The five steps are:

  • The desire of perfection
  • The resolution to attain it
  • Mental prayer
  • Frequent Holy Communion
  • Prayer

The segment below deals with Resolution towards perfection, as the title of the post indicates:

The second means of perfection is the resolution to belong wholly to God.  Many are called to perfection; they are urged on towards it by grace, they conceive a desire of it; but because they never really resolve to acquire it, they live and die in the ill-odor of their tepid and imperfect life. [I should insert my picture here] The desire of perfection is not enough, if it be not followed up by a stern resolve to attain it.  How many souls feed themselves on desires alone, but never make withal one step in the way of God!  It is of such desires that the wise man speaks when he says: Desires kill the slothful (Prov xxi:25). The slothful man is ever desiring, but never resolves to take the means suitable to his state of life to become a saint.  He says: “Oh, if I were but in solitude, and not in this house! Oh, if I could but go and reside in a monastery, I would give myself entirely up to God!”  And meanwhile he cannot support a certain companion; he cannot put up with a word of contradiction; he is dissipated among many useless cares; he commits a thousand faults of gluttony, of curiosity, and of pride; and yet he sighs out to the wind: “Oh, if I had but!” or “Oh, if i could but!” etc. [Am I the only one to whom this sounds uncomfortably familiar?]

Such desires to more harm than good; because some regale themselves upon them, and in the meantime go on leading a life of imperfection.  It was a saying of St. Francis de Sales: “I do not approve of a person who, being engaged in some duty or vocation, stops to sigh for some other  kind of life than that which is compatible with his actual position, or for other exercises unfitted for his present state; for it merely serves to dissipate his heart, and makes him languish in his necessary duties……

……..The first resolution [on the path of perfection] must be to make every effort, and to die rather than commit any deliberate sin whatever, however small it may be.  It is true that all our endeavors, without the divine assistance, cannot enable us to vanquish temptations; but God wishes us on our part frequently to use this violence with ourselves, because then he will afterward supply us with His Grace, will succor our weakness, and enable us to gain the victory.  This resolution removes from us every obstacle to our going forward, and at the same time gives us great courage, because it affords us an assurance of being in the Grace of God.  St. Francis de Sales writes: “The best security we can possess in this world of being in the Grace of God, consists not indeed in feeling that we have His love, but in a pure and irrevocable abandonment of our entire being into His hands, and in the firm resolution of never consenting to any sin, either great  or small.”  This is what is meant by being of a delicate conscience…….[Which quote simply obliterates protestantism and post-conciliar “Catholicism,” with its focus on emotion and feelings.  Feelings can lie. Emotion is rarely a reliable guide.  Reason and submission to the Truth, by concrete act, is the only way to demonstrate our faith.]

…….St. Teresa said: “Because we do not come to the conclusion of giving all our affection to God, so neither does He give all His love to us.”

———-End Quote———-

I pray you found this useful.  I rather prefer posting this kind of material of late, rather than the more controversial stuff.  I still do it, but not with the fervor I did even a few months ago.  As much as I oppose this pontificate and the direction it is taking the Church, I can’t get over a certain discomfort in doing so. I rather prefer to try to spread the Truth more positively, by this method, than negatively, by opposing the smashed debris of errors surrounding the leaking and listing Barque of Peter these days.  I sorely pray God would have mercy on His Church, whatever remnant remains, and take away this affliction from us, but it may not be His will to do so.

So I pray for the strength to endure it.  This material also hopes with that.

 

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Gueranger: Early Christians Overcame Enormous Obstacles in Spreading the Faith            May 18, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, reading, Society, Spiritual Warfare, The End, Tradition, Virtue.
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That may not seem a particularly insightful thing to say, but thinking a little harder on it, you have likely read, as I have, many people claim that Christ came at a uniquely fortuitous time, and that much of the success of the Christian religion was due to external factors.  And while there were factors working in favor of early Christianity – a fairly stable and uniform culture through which to spread, a certain readiness for the Christian message through the spread of reasoned discourse, among others – Gueranger shows that, overall, the environment into which Christianity was born was overtly hostile.

Thus, it is all the more miraculous that this new religion demanding such great personal sacrifice would not only survive, but thrive (from pp. 337-8 of The Liturgical Year Vol. 9):

[Describing the world at the time of the birth of Christ, which will also be the state of the world at His return……]During these sad long ages, another master has presented Himself to the nations, and they have enthusiastically hailed him as their king.  It is satan.  So firmly, indeed, has he established his rule, that our Lord calls him the prince of this world.  He must be cast out; that is, he  must be driven from the temples men have built to him, from society, from the soul, from literature, from art, from political life, all of which are under his sway. [Pretty frightening to see how much our own time corresponds, eh?]  There will be resistance from the world he has corrupted; nay, he himself the strong armed one will resist, and so powerfully that on mere created power shall ever make him  yield.

So, then, everything is against the Kingdom of Christ, and nothing is favorable.  And yet, if we are to believe certain modern writers, the world was in a fit state for a total and complete reformation!  Impious and absurd assertion!  Are we to deny the evidence of facts?! Or must we admit that error and vice are the best preparation for truth and virtue?  Man may know that he is in a state of wretchedness, and yet not know that his wretchedness comes from sin, still less be resolved to become, at cone, and at every sacrifice, a hero in virtue.

No: in order that Jesus might reign over a world such as ours was [and is] , there was need of a miracle; nay, of a miracle, as Bossuet observes, comparable to that of creation, whereby God draws being out of nothingness.  Now, it was the Holy Ghost who worked this miracle.  He willed that we, who have never seen the Lord Jesus, should be as certain of His being our Messias and God, as though we had witnessed his wonderful works, and heard His divine teachings.  For this end, He achieved the master-miracle of the conversion of the world, that He might confound the strong; and the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are.  By this stupendous fact, which was evident to men as the noon day sun, the Holy Ghost made His presence known and felt by the world. 

———-End Quote———-

 Certainly an appropriate topic for this Octave of Pentecost.

And so here we are, 2000 years after Christ walked this earth and this new religion was born under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and the whole thing seems to be slipping away.  We seem to be descending back into that darkness that covered the earth before God, through His mystifying, infinite love for us, became Incarnate.  More and more, I think this period of darkness part of God’s positive will, that we are nearing the Second Coming.  But I remain convinced that I shall die before that occurs.

If it seems that things are spiraling out of control, that the Church is gravely wounded and appears beyond human repair, keep in mind, it could all be part of a plan revealed a very long time ago.  That’s one reason, perhaps, why I am able to find good in the Church today, I don’t despair that things have somehow gone totally off-kilter and that God is no longer in charge.

Just a thought.  Hope you enjoyed the post.