|Spiritual Formation (cont)
Model Of Patience
When you receive insults and offences, look at Jesus and you will
have the strength to suffer everything patiently. When your anger is about to explode,
say: Am I more worthy than the Son of God to deserve a better treatment than his? How can
I take offence in adversities and for insults, with the Supreme Good mocked and tortured
before my eyes? Can you do other than imitate Him in his gentle resignation? With these
judicious warnings you will stop your fit of anger and calm your fury.
To tolerate slander meekly is simply being reasonable. in fact,
if we say and accuse ourselves of being wretched and bad, and knowing we say the truth, we
cannot expect our neighbour to say other-wise. To be displeased to be spoken ill of is a
desire that says the opposite to what we affirm and is not true.
We should not be irritated with slanderers but thank them because
they say the same as we do and help us to keep down our wicked ego.
Some revolt against any kind of lie, but not when they come in
useful. Is this not ridiculous?
A bit of coherence and you will remain tranquil in the midst of
the arrows of slandering tongues.
Slander Aimed At Ourselves
"But when they accuse me of something I have not done, don't
they tell a lie? And should I not be displeased? And then how can slander always be true
and regret unjust?"
I will reply at once to this observation that seem sensible but
which is in fact a useless excuse.
What they say may be untrue, but how many other real faults are
not revealed? The poor neighbour is even too indulgent and superficial in his
judgments Oh, how much deeper and vast is the misery you see in your own soul! Oh, how more
penetrating and comprehensive is the knowledge God has of it! He no only sees what you
are, but all you could be without his grace.
You should therefore bless Him to not allow the others to know as
much as you and He, so they car say very little.
Innate Tendency To Rash Judgment
Worsened By Diabolical Suggestion
It is one of the unfortunate inclinations of our ruined nature
that you feel. It is quite true, we are more inclined to see evil in good than good in
evil and therefore if it is easy for us to judge unfavourably, it is also very difficult
for us to judge favourably.
To this unfortunate tendency Satan adds his suggestions and you
are powerfully drawn to mentally condemn your neighbour.
But do not worry, the sorrow you feel when you judge rashly saves
you from sin. When you cannot in any way get rid of it, be indifferent, saying: I am not
the judge of my brothers, nor must I pay attention to what they do. I will pray for them
all and that is enough, even if the supposed wrong is real, may God have mercy.
When it is not a question of real and definite temptations but
more of physical dispositions favourable to temptations it is better to not fight against
them or to remove them positively, but distract yourself or occupy yourself with
something. Attending to it is harmful because it increases the feeling and consequent
anxiety through suggestion.
Since you yourself see it as foolish nonsense, do not pay
attention and treat it with contempt. Have recourse to the expedients alluded to. Fix your
gaze in the distance, or look back, etc., etc., this saves you from the sensible
impression because it distracts your attention.
You may have other tactics that may seem ridiculous and
insignificant, but who cares, even pins can be useful in time of war. And any suggestion
Purity And Respect For God
The enemy chatters and attacks the soul with errors and
blasphemies against integrity and the Divinity; and the poor soul thinks it is responsible
for having pronounced them. That is the real state of affairs. Cheer up then and do not
To drive away the insolent one, call immediately on Saint
Michael, his adversary, and the more horribly he blasphemes, the more you must oppose him
in your heart with short prayers: Blessed be God, blessed be his holy Name, etc.
I assure you that he will leave after a bit of resistance and
The best method to defend yourself against temptations of
impurity are: 1) guard your senses to protect them from bad impressions; 2) avoid vanity;
3) do not let your heart receive impressions; 4) convince yourself of the baseness of
these satisfactions; 5) avoid idleness; 6) pray detachedly when the passions are tempted.
As for corporal mortifications, the fasts and abstinences ordered by Holy Mother Church
You must guard the senses and above all the eyes. These are the
two doors where impressions enter and go down to the heart with all the fascination and
enchantment of apparent and voluptuous beauty. As for fashion, as in our period of time,
which has the deliberate intention of provoking and exposes impertinently what was once
forbidden to think of, more than ever must we be prudent and have self-restraint that the
fashions do not have.
When necessary look without seeing and see without reflecting.
Vanity makes the heart frivolous and more easily carried away by
the aura of temptation.
The impressions of the heart are in contact with those of the
senses and one affects the other.
At a certain age when reflection commands the imagination, it is
very useful to reject the sensible with the conviction of its foolishness and baseness.
Saint Augustine says to think that consenting to concupiscence is to become like flies and
fleas who delight in these pleasures.
Consider these attractions as so much rot that is made to look
To be occupied is to not give the enemy the time and ease to
display his base wares and attract your attention. Consequently Saint Bernard suggests,
amongst other things, to flee idleness to triumph and save oneself from these dangers.
But the best weapon to resort to often is prayer. When the
fascination has been transmitted and the fire blazes, reflections and intentions will be
of no use if the One who is stronger than nature and Satan does not intervene. Indeed, arm
yourself in advance against the feared attacks invoking the customary alliance saying:
"Lord, you well know my weakness, either remove or mitigate the attacks."