St. Alphonsus Liguori on the Means of Perfection July 19, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, reading, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I have posted on this subject from St. Alphonsus before, but it’s something I for one can stand to hear over and over again. This is a particularly exhaustive instruction on practicing perfection so it goes on a bit but I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever read, so I’m going to inflict it on you:
The chief means of perfection are:
- To avoid all deliberate sin, however small. Should we, however, happen unfortunately to commit a fault, let us refrain from becoming angry and impatient with ourselves; we must, on such occasions, quietly repent of it; and while we make an act of love to Jesus Christ, and beg his help, we must promise him not to repeat the fault.
- To have an earnest desire to acquire the perfection of the Saints, and to suffer all things to please Jesus Christ; and if we have not this desire, to beseech Jesus Christ, through His bounty, to grant it us; since, as long as we do not feel a sincere desire of becoming Saints, we shall never make one step forward in the way of perfection.
- To have a firm resolution of arriving at perfection; whoever is wanting in this resolution, works but languidly, and in the occasion does not overcome his repugnances; whereas a resolute soul, by the divine aid, which never fails her, surmounts every obstacle.
- To make daily two hours’ or at least one hour’s mental prayer; and, except in case of urgent necessity, never to relinquish it for the sake of any weariness, dryness, or trouble that we may experience.
- To frequent Holy Communion several times a week [I think this one is so key], it is well to seek the counsel of our director, “in order that the practice may be carried out with greater prudence and more abundant merit.” The same rule holds good with regard to external mortifications, such as fasting, wearing the cilice, taking the discipline, and the rest; mortifications of this kind, when practiced without obedience to our spiritual director, will either destroy health or produce vainglory. Hence it is necessary to for each one to have his own director, so that all may be regulated in obedience to him.
- To pray continually, by having recourse to Jesus Christ in all our necessities, by invoking likewise the intercession of our Angel Guardian, of our Holy Patrons, and most particularly of the Mother of God through whose hands Almighty God bestows all graces upon us……Our welfare depends entirely on prayer. We must especially not pass a day without begging God to grant us the gift of perseverance in His grace; whosoever asks for this perseverance obtains it, but he that does not ask for it obtains it not, and is damned; we must pray, too, that Jesus Christ may grant us His holy love and perfect conformity with His divine will. Neither should we forget to pray for every grace through the merits of Jesus Christ. We must first make these prayers when we rise in the morning, and afterwards repeat them in our meditation, at Holy Communion, at the visit of the Blessed Sacrament, and again in the evening at the examination of conscience. We must particularly cry to God for help in the time of temptation, and more especially in temptations against purity, when we should not cease to call for succor on the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He that prays, conquers; he that prays not, is conquered……..
…….With respect to humility, not to pride ourselves on riches, honors……or any other natural advantage, and still less on any spiritual gift, reflecting that all are the gifts of God. To consider ourselves the worst of all, and consequently to delight in being despised by others; and not to act as some do, who declare themselves the worst of men, and at the same time wish to be treated as the best. Moreover, to receive corrections humbly, and without attempts to excuse ourselves, and this even though wrongly blamed; except when to defend ourselves would be necessary in order to prevent others being scandalized.
Much more we ought to banish all desire of appearing in public, and of being honored by the world. The maxim of St. Francis should never be out of our sight: “We are just what we are before God.” It would be still worse for a religious to covet posts of honor and superiority in his community. The true honor of a religious is to be the most humble of all; and he is the humblest of all who most joyfully embraces humiliations.
[I add one more unrelated quote because it’s provocative but not at all contrary to the Gospel……]……….St. Philip Neri says…..”whatever affection we bestow on creatures is so much taken from God.”
I’d like to add a conclusion but I’m out of time and probably won’t be back for today. Sorry.
Time to restart the men’s prayer group outside strip joints or “gay” bars? I’m feeling it.