Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Of the good Use of Time



Of the good Use of Time

by Fr. Jean Croiset, S.J.

FIRST POINT. That Time is very precious.

SECOND POINT. That the Loss of Time can never be repaired.



FIRST POINT.

Consider that nothing is so precious as time, every moment is worth an eternity; that the glory of the saints, the eternal joys of Heaven, which Christ has purchased for us by his blood, are the reward of the good use we make of our time.

Time is so precious, that the smallest part of it is worth more than all the honours and riches in the world; and though we employ but one moment to get all those honours and riches, if that be all we gain by it, God, who judges righteously, will look upon that moment as lost. If a damned soul were master of all the kingdoms of the earth, he would give them all and all its treasures, for one of those precious minutes which he formerly spent in folly, and which we lose every day.

Comprehend if you can what grace the possession of God is; this grace, this God, are the price of our time, which is given us only to obtain more grace, and by its assistance to merit the enjoyment of God; and it is certain that by every moment we spend for anything else, we lose more than the whole world can repay.

The saints in heaven, by reiterated, perfect acts of virtue to eternity, cannot merit a greater degree of glory; yet this I can merit every moment if I will, by one true act of love to God: Reprobates will not be able to satisfy the Divine Justice, not to obtain the pardon of one sin, by all their regrets and tears, nor by an eternity of dreadful sufferings; but I may do it every moment by one sigh, or one tear; by one act of contrition I may appease the wrath of God.

Eternal happiness or misery will be the consequence of my use or abuse of time; I can work out my salvation only while time lasts; how then can men be so much at a loss how to employ their time? How can they amuse themselves, and be taken up with trifles, only to pass away the time? You do not know how to spend the time. Have you never offended God? Are you not obliged to him? Have you received no favours from Him? Ought not you to adore and serve him? The glorious saints do not think eternity too long to love, to praise, to bless and honour him, and shall we think an hour or a day too long?

You don't know what to do; have you no sins to grieve for? Don't you know that Jesus Christ is in person on the altar, where he expects to be adored, and is adored but by few? And can you want employment for your time? We are never at a loss how to spend our time, but when we have most time to serve and love God: For we can spend whole days in business and vain pleasures, in offending God, and destroying our souls, without being uneasy, or thinking the time long.

Let us consider that we can secure our salvation only while time lasts, and that all the time of our lives is given us only for this end; how careful ought we then to be of improving it? Every moment is precious; we lose all if we lose our time.

But do we much value this loss? Do we think that there is such a thing as the loss of time? We improve every moment some things of no consequence, we are cast down at disappointments, and with all our care and diligence we are continually afraid that we shall want time.

But alas! A time will come when we shall think otherwise, because we shall have juster thoughts; a time will come when we would give all the world to recall some of those precious moment which we now throw away, and willfully lose; when we shall be torn with despair to find that they are all lost, and that time is past.

Then will you cry out, Oh! That I were now in the condition I was in such a day of my life, when I was meditating upon the improvement of my time: Oh! That I had now the same health and strength, my God, what would I not do? But wretched that I am, I foresaw this despair, which torments me now, for having lost my time, why did I make no use of that foresight nor of that time.

Time is short, it ends with our lives we have already passed the greatest part of them, and to what purpose? What use have I made of this last year? How much time have I lost in doing what ought not, or in omitting what I ought to have done? And how little of it have I spent in doing my duty? My God, what a terrible account have I to give of my time, and of these present reflections?

How can I expect mercy from God, if I make no better use of what is left, if I defer my conversion any longer? How many are dead who were in better health than I some months ago? How many seem now in their full vigour who will be in the grave before the year is past? And how do I know that I shall not be one of them?

Let us then work while we have time; we cannot expect it should be long, and therefore let us not defer our conversion one moment.

SECOND POINT

Consider that you can never repair the loss of time; that all you can do will never recall one moment; and if you be capable of reflection, and be seriously desirous of salvation, this will be sufficient to convince you of the importance of redeeming time.

It is certain that all the moments of our lives are counted; let us employ them well or ill, we shall not increase their number, for it is fixed, and lessens continually. An hour ago we had so much more time to work out our salvation, an hour hence we shall have so much less.

Though we live holily after the example of St. Paul, and do not lose one moment of what is left, yet it is most certain that a moment once gone will return no more; and that if it be employ ill 'tis lost. If we employ the rest of our time well, we may escape the dangers into which our abuse of the past has brought us, but we cannot undo what we have done; we have still lost so many precious hours, and with them all the graces which God would have bestowed on us and all the good we might have done in them.

My God, what a loss is this? So many moments lost since we had first the use of reason, and with them so many graces beyond recovery.

When we spend hours and days in vanity, we call it passing the time, a phrase very unfit for a Christian's mouth: We pass away the time, time itself passes away; the time so passed is lost, and neither it, nor the graces we could have merited in it, will return any more.

The grace of predestination is in some manner annexed to some certain moments; what will become of us if God has fixed ours to some of those moments, that are past and lost! The fear of having lost it is indeed a sure and sensible mark that I am not yet deprived of it; but what must expect if I let slip this opportunity, and to not grow better by this fear?

We know time is precious and short, and yet we complain it passes slowly; we are continually wishing for some time to some; whence proceeds this uneasiness? Are we weary of living? No, but we make ill use of our time; and that loss which we see and feel disturbs our quiet, and makes us think the time long: All our pleasures and diversions cannot free us from this uneasiness, which never quits those who lose their time. But they who improve it well for their salvation are not object to this uneasiness; nothing is so easy, so full of peace as they. Many saints have, with St. Paul, desired to be delivered from their exile, that they might perfectly enjoy their God, and be out of anger of losing him; but we never find that they were uneasy in the discharge of their duties, in doing the Will of God. So true it is, that to be entirely satisfied and contented, we need only make a good use of time, by yielding obedience to the Divine Will.

But here let us examine what use we made of our time; it's passed, and it be lost too, how great is our loss? How shall we repair it? If we had improved those many moments, hours, and days, as a Christian ought to do, we should reap the fruit in spiritual consolations; instead of which we feel nothing but regret for having lost so much time, and terrible apprehensions for the exact account we must give of it.

Let us therefore at least make good use of what is left, for the period of our lives is fixed; and we draw nearer it every moment; a time will come when we can improve time no longer, because it will be followed by eternity. Let us for the future improve the little that remains, and not lose one single moment.


Highlighted version:

Of the good Use of Time

by Fr. Jean Croiset, S.J.

FIRST POINT. That Time is very precious.

SECOND POINT. That the Loss of Time can never be repaired.



FIRST POINT.

Consider that nothing is so precious as time, every moment is worth an eternity; that the glory of the saints, the eternal joys of Heaven, which Christ has purchased for us by his blood, are the reward of the good use we make of our time.

Time is so precious, that the smallest part of it is worth more than all the honours and riches in the world; and though we employ but one moment to get all those honours and riches, if that be all we gain by it, God, who judges righteously, will look upon that moment as lost. If a damned soul were master of all the kingdoms of the earth, he would give them all and all its treasures, for one of those precious minutes which he formerly spent in folly, and which we lose every day.

Comprehend if you can what grace the possession of God is; this grace, this God, are the price of our time, which is given us only to obtain more grace, and by its assistance to merit the enjoyment of God; and it is certain that by every moment we spend for anything else, we lose more than the whole world can repay.

The saints in heaven, by reiterated, perfect acts of virtue to eternity, cannot merit a greater degree of glory; yet this I can merit every moment if I will, by one true act of love to God: Reprobates will not be able to satisfy the Divine Justice, not to obtain the pardon of one sin, by all their regrets and tears, nor by an eternity of dreadful sufferings; but I may do it every moment by one sigh, or one tear; by one act of contrition I may appease the wrath of God.

Eternal happiness or misery will be the consequence of my use or abuse of time; I can work out my salvation only while time lasts; how then can men be so much at a loss how to employ their time? How can they amuse themselves, and be taken up with trifles, only to pass away the time? You do not know how to spend the time. Have you never offended God? Are you not obliged to him? Have you received no favours from Him? Ought not you to adore and serve him? The glorious saints do not think eternity too long to love, to praise, to bless and honour him, and shall we think an hour or a day too long?

You don't know what to do; have you no sins to grieve for? Don't you know that Jesus Christ is in person on the altar, where he expects to be adored, and is adored but by few? And can you want employment for your time? We are never at a loss how to spend our time, but when we have most time to serve and love God: For we can spend whole days in business and vain pleasures, in offending God, and destroying our souls, without being uneasy, or thinking the time long.

Let us consider that we can secure our salvation only while time lasts, and that all the time of our lives is given us only for this end; how careful ought we then to be of improving it? Every moment is precious; we lose all if we lose our time.

But do we much value this loss? Do we think that there is such a thing as the loss of time? We improve every moment some things of no consequence, we are cast down at disappointments, and with all our care and diligence we are continually afraid that we shall want time.

But alas! A time will come when we shall think otherwise, because we shall have juster thoughts; a time will come when we would give all the world to recall some of those precious moment which we now throw away, and willfully lose; when we shall be torn with despair to find that they are all lost, and that time is past.

Then will you cry out, Oh! That I were now in the condition I was in such a day of my life, when I was meditating upon the improvement of my time: Oh! That I had now the same health and strength, my God, what would I not do? But wretched that I am, I foresaw this despair, which torments me now, for having lost my time, why did I make no use of that foresight nor of that time.

Time is short, it ends with our lives we have already passed the greatest part of them, and to what purpose? What use have I made of this last year? How much time have I lost in doing what ought not, or in omitting what I ought to have done? And how little of it have I spent in doing my duty? My God, what a terrible account have I to give of my time, and of these present reflections?

How can I expect mercy from God, if I make no better use of what is left, if I defer my conversion any longer? How many are dead who were in better health than I some months ago? How many seem now in their full vigour who will be in the grave before the year is past? And how do I know that I shall not be one of them?

Let us then work while we have time; we cannot expect it should be long, and therefore let us not defer our conversion one moment.

SECOND POINT

Consider that you can never repair the loss of time; that all you can do will never recall one moment; and if you be capable of reflection, and be seriously desirous of salvation, this will be sufficient to convince you of the importance of redeeming time.

It is certain that all the moments of our lives are counted; let us employ them well or ill, we shall not increase their number, for it is fixed, and lessens continually. An hour ago we had so much more time to work out our salvation, an hour hence we shall have so much less.

Though we live holily after the example of St. Paul, and do not lose one moment of what is left, yet it is most certain that a moment once gone will return no more; and that if it be employ ill 'tis lost. If we employ the rest of our time well, we may escape the dangers into which our abuse of the past has brought us, but we cannot undo what we have done; we have still lost so many precious hours, and with them all the graces which God would have bestowed on us and all the good we might have done in them.

My God, what a loss is this? So many moments lost since we had first the use of reason, and with them so many graces beyond recovery.

When we spend hours and days in vanity, we call it passing the time, a phrase very unfit for a Christian's mouth: We pass away the time, time itself passes away; the time so passed is lost, and neither it, nor the graces we could have merited in it, will return any more.

The grace of predestination is in some manner annexed to some certain moments; what will become of us if God has fixed ours to some of those moments, that are past and lost! The fear of having lost it is indeed a sure and sensible mark that I am not yet deprived of it; but what must expect if I let slip this opportunity, and to not grow better by this fear?

We know time is precious and short, and yet we complain it passes slowly; we are continually wishing for some time to some; whence proceeds this uneasiness? Are we weary of living? No, but we make ill use of our time; and that loss which we see and feel disturbs our quiet, and makes us think the time long: All our pleasures and diversions cannot free us from this uneasiness, which never quits those who lose their time. But they who improve it well for their salvation are not object to this uneasiness; nothing is so easy, so full of peace as they. Many saints have, with St. Paul, desired to be delivered from their exile, that they might perfectly enjoy their God, and be out of anger of losing him; but we never find that they were uneasy in the discharge of their duties, in doing the Will of God. So true it is, that to be entirely satisfied and contented, we need only make a good use of time, by yielding obedience to the Divine Will.

But here let us examine what use we made of our time; it's passed, and it be lost too, how great is our loss? How shall we repair it? If we had improved those many moments, hours, and days, as a Christian ought to do, we should reap the fruit in spiritual consolations; instead of which we feel nothing but regret for having lost so much time, and terrible apprehensions for the exact account we must give of it.

Let us therefore at least make good use of what is left, for the period of our lives is fixed; and we draw nearer it every moment; a time will come when we can improve time no longer, because it will be followed by eternity. Let us for the future improve the little that remains, and not lose one single moment.

Meditation for Tuesday (on the seven miseries of life) by Ven. Luis de Granada

This day (when thou hast made the sign of the Cross, and prepared thyself,) thou hast to meditate upon the condition, and mysteries of this life: that thou may by them understand, how vain the glory of this world is, seeing it is built upon so weak a foundation: and how little account a man ought to make of himself, being as he is subject unto so many miseries.

Now for this purpose thou hast to consider first of the vileness of the original, and birth of man, to wit: the matter whereof he is compounded: the manner of his conception: the griefs, and pains of his birth: the frailty, and miseries of his body: according as hereafter shall be entreated.

Then thou hast to consider the great miseries of the life, that he lives, and chiefly these seven.

First consider how short this life is, seeing the longest term thereof passes not three score and ten, or four score years. For all the rest (if any man's life be drawn a little longer) is but labor and sorrow. And if thou take out of this the time of our infancy, which is rather a life of beasts, than of men, and withal the time, that is spent in sleeping, at which time we have not the use of our senses an reason, thou shalt find that life is a great deal shorter, than it seems unto us. Besides all this, if thou compare this life with the eternity of the life to come, that endures for evermore, it shall scarcely seem so much as a minute: Whereby thou may perceive, how far out of the way those persons are, who to enjoy the little blast of so short a life, do hazard to lose the quiet rest of the blessed life to come, which shall endure everlastingly.

Secondly, consider how uncertain this life is, (which is another misery besides the former. For it is not only of itself very short, but even that very small continuance of life that it has, is not assured, but doubtful. For how many (I pray thee) do come to the age of those threescore and ten, or fourscore years, which we spake of? In how many persons is the web cut off, even at the first, when it is scarcely begun to be woven? How many do pass away out of this world, even in the flower (as they term it) of their age, and in the very blossoming of youth. Ye know not (says our Savior) when our Lord will come, whether in the morning, or at noonday, or at midnight, or at the time of the cock crowing: That is to say: Ye know not whether he will come in the time of infancy, or of childhood, or of youth, or of age. For the better perceiving of this point, it shall be a good help unto thee, to call to mind, how many of thy friends, and acquaintance, are dead, and departed out of this world. And especially remember thy kinsfolk, thy companions, and familiars, and some of the worshipful and famous personages of great estimation in this world, whom death has assaulted, and snatched away in divers ages, and utterly beguiled, and defeated them, of all their fond designs and hopes. I know a certain man, that has made a memorial of all such notable personages, as he has known in this world in all kind of estates, which are now dead: and sometimes he reads their names, or calls them to mind, and in rehearsal of every one of them, he does briefly represent before his eyes, the whole tragedy of their lives, the mockeries, and deceits of this world, and withal the conclusion and end of all worldly things. Whereby he understands what good cause the Apostle had to say: That the figure of this world passes away. [I. Cor. 7:31] In which words he gives us to understand, how little ground, and stay, the affairs of this life have, seeing he would not call theme very things indeed, but only figures, or shows of things, which have no being, but only an appearance, whereby also they are the more deceitful.

Thirdly, consider how frail, and brittle this life is, and thou shalt find, that there is no vessel of glass so frail as it is. Insomuch as a little distemperature of the air, or of the son, the drinking of a cup of cold water, yea the very breath of a sick man is able to spoil us of our life, as we see by daily experience of many persons, whom the least occasion of all these that we have here rehearsed, hath been able to end their lives, and that even in the most flourishing time of their age.

Fourthly, consider how mutable and variable this life is, and how it never continues in one self same stay. For which purpose, thou must consider the great and often alterations, an changes of our bodies, which never continue in one same state and disposition. Consider likewise, how far greater the changes, and mutations of our minds are, which do ever ebb and flow like the Sea, and be continually altered an tossed with divers winds, and surges of passions, that do disquiet, and trouble us every hour. Finally, consider how great the mutation in the whole man is, who is subject to all the alterations of fortune, which never continues in one same being, but always turns her wheel, and, rolls up and down from one place to another. And above all this, consider how continual the moving of our life is, seeing it never rests day or night, but goes always shortening from time to time, and consumes itself like as a garment does with use, and approaches every hour nearer an nearer unto death. Now by this reckoning what else is our life, but as it were a candle that is always wasting and consuming, and the more it burns, and wastes away? What else is our life, but as it were a flower, that buds in the morning and at evening is clean dried up? This very comparison makes the Prophet in the Psalm, where he says, The morning of our infancy passes away like an herb, it blossoms in the morning, and suddenly fades away: and at evening it decays, and waxes hard, and withers away.

Fifthly, consider how deceitful our life is (which peradventure is the worst property it has.) For by this mean it deceives us, in that being in very deed filthy, it seems unto us beautiful: and being but short, every man thinks his own life will be long: and being so miserable (as it is in deed) yet it seem so amiable, that to maintain the same, men will not stick to run through all dangers, travels, and losses, (be they never so great) yea they will not spare to do such things for it, an whereby they are assured to be damned forever and ever in hell fire, and to lose life everlasting.

Sixthly, consider how besides this that our life is so short (as has been said) yet that little time we have to live is also subject unto divers and sundry miseries as well of the mind, as of the body: insomuch as all the same being duly considered, and laid together is nothing else, but a vale of tears, and a main Sea of infinite miseries. S. Ierome declared of Zerxes that most mighty king, (who threw down mountains, and dried up the Seas, that on a time he went up to the top of a high hill, to take a view of his huge army, which he had gathered together of infinite numbers of people. And after that he had well viewed and considered them, it is said that he wept , and being demanded the cause of his weeping, he answered, and said: I weep because I consider that within these hundred years, there shall not one of all this huge army, which I see here present before me, be left alive. Whereupon S. Ierome says these words: O that we might (says he) ascend up to the top of some tower, that were so high, that we might see from thence all the whole earth underneath our feet. From thence should thou see the ruins and miseries of all the world: Thou should see nations destroyed by nations: and kingdoms by kingdoms. Thou should see some hanged, and others murdered: some drowned in the sea, others taken prisoners. In one place thou should see marriages and mirth, in another doleful mourning and lamentation. In one place thou should see some born into this world, and carried to the Church to be christened, in another place thou should see, some others die, and carried to the Church to be buried. Some thou should see exceeding wealthy, and flowing in great abundance of lands and riches, and others again in great poverty, and begging from door do door. To be short, thou should see, not only the huge army of Zerzes, but also all the men, women, and children of the world, that be now alive, within these few years to end their lives, and not to be seen any more in this world.

Consider also all the diseases and calamities that may happen to mens' bodies, and withal all the afflictions, and cares of the mind. Consider likewise the dangers, and perils, that be incident as well to all estates, as also to all the ages of men: and thou shalt see very evidently, the manifold miseries of this life. By the seeing whereof thou shalt perceive how small a thing all that is, that the world is able to give the, and this consideration may cause thee more easily to despise and contemn the same, and all that thou may hope to receive from it.

After all these manifold miseries, and calamities, there succeeds the last misery, that is death, which is as well to the body, as to the soul, of all terrible things the very last and most terrible. For the body shall in a moment be spoiled of all that it has. And of the soul there shall then be made a resolute determination what shall become of it forever and ever.

Of Prayer and Meditation, by Ven. Luis Granada

IV. FOURTH OBSTACLE. — Some Unmortified Passion.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- Fr. Croiset

IV. FOURTH OBSTACLE. — Some Unmortified Passion.

The fourth obstacle, and the fourth source of those defects which hinder and destroy the love of Jesus Christ, and consequently the devotion to His Sacred Heart, are certain unmortified passions to which we are attached, and which, sooner or later, are the fatal cause of some great misfortune.


The greater number of persons who wish to give themselves to God, and who consequently declare a mortal war against all vices, proceed in this war something in the same way as Saul did, in the war he undertook by the order of God against Amalech — Vade, percute Amalech, et demolire universa ejus ; non parcas ei, et non concupiscas ex rebus ipsius aliquid. Now, therefore, go and smite Amalech, and utterly destroy all that he hath; spare him not, nor covet anything that is his (1 Kings xv. 3). Almighty God had ordered Saul to exterminate all the Amalekites, and destroy whatever belonged to them, without sparing anything. Saul exterminated the people, but, moved with compassion, he pardoned the king, and reserved for sacrifice whatever he found most precious on the field : et pepercit Saul Agag . . . et universis quae pulchra erant, nec voluerunt disperdere ea; quidquid vero vile fuit et reprobum, hoc demoliti sunt. And Saul spared Agag . . . and all that was beautiful, and would not destroy them, but everything that was vile and good for nothing, that they destroyed. The Lord hath rejected thee from being king. But this disobedience cost Saul his kingdom, and was the cause of his reprobation and ruin : abjecit te Dominus ne sis Rex.


Many follow the example of Saul in the war they undertake against their vices. May God preserve them from a similar fate. We are well convinced that God wills that we should make a sacrifice to Him of all our passions, and that He cannot endure that we should spare any vice. But we consent to this only in appearance. We destroy, so to speak, all our enemies, but there is some predominant passion that we spare. There is always something particularly dear and precious that we do not touch. That we may deceive ourselves without scruple, we leave a place in our heart always with some good motive, for one of our enemies. We extinguish in ourselves the spirit of the world, but we like to see it still living in its followers. We dress ourselves with all modesty, but we wish a daughter to be attired in the extreme of unchristian fashions. We do not gamble, but we are recklessly extravagant in the entertainments which we give. We moderate our impetuosity and our anger, but we spare a secret ambition and some secret jealousy which we cannot resolve to overcome. We mortify that constant dissipation which is so unbecoming in persons who make profession of loving Jesus Christ in a special manner, but we will not deprive ourselves of the liberty of spending whole hours in visits and useless conversations. Under the pretence that we must make ourselves agreeable to all, to gain all to Jesus Christ, and that we must make virtue easy, sweet, and amiable, we insensibly get into the habit of doing everything just like others, and reserve only the name and appearance of virtue.


Others, a little more generous, break the strongest links that kept them attached to the world. They leave their parents and their property. They even give up their liberty in a certain way, and submit to the yoke of religious obedience. But they do not take pains to break the smaller links, that is to say, to free themselves from a variety of little affections, which fail not to stop them, and retard their progress in the way of perfection. What does it matter, that the fetters which keep us bound to creatures are slight, if there are many of them ? A single chain, however small, suffices to hinder us from advancing a single step when we will not break it.


Finally, there are some who are generous enough to resolve to overcome all. They even make some efforts to do so. But they do not touch their natural disposition or that failing which suits their inclinations best. This one enemy left unconquered, this single passion not mortified, this single chain unbroken, makes them go on creeping all their lives, and hinders them from arriving at the high perfection to which they were calledpro eo ergo abjecit te Dominus ne sis Rex. The Lord hath rejected thee from being king. A small opening is enough to destroy a ship, and to bring to ruin in course of time the most splendid edifice. A spark suffices to cause a great conflagration. Death is often the consequence of a trifling sickness neglected. A single ill drawn stroke of the pencil is enough to discredit a picture, otherwise well executed.


We are surprised sometimes to see persons who have grown old in exercises of piety, men of consummate spirituality and highly mortified, who still retain very great imperfections which they themselves condemn in others, and of which, however, they never correct themselves. This arises from their familiarising themselves, as it were, with their own failings. They have spared them from their youth ; they allow their natural disposition to act. They easily become impatient ; they continually praise themselves always with some good motive, and under some grand pretext. They neglect to become perfect when they are young, and they find themselves most imperfect when they are old.


Such are the great obstacles to the love of Jesus Christ, and consequently to the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Such are the sources of the many imperfections that are noticed in persons who seem the most spiritual ; imperfections, however, which do great injury to true piety, by the false idea they give of devotion. True piety always condemns these defects. The true love of Jesus Christ cannot exist together with these imperfections, this secret pride, this self-love. The effects of these three fatal sources are not to be found in those who possess this true love. And yet, without this pure and true love of Jesus Christ, there is no solid devotion, no perfect virtue.


"My God!" exclaimed a great servant of God, "what confusion and disorder is this ? At one time we are cheerful, at another sad ; to-day we are kind to every one, to-morrow we are like a hedge-hog, that no one can touch without being pricked." This is a clear proof of a want of virtue. It is a sign that nature still reigns in us, that our passions are not mortified. A truly virtuous man is always the same. Is there no danger, if we sometimes do good, of our doing it rather through humour than from virtue ?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We feel resentment at the least disagreeable word, or at the least sign of contempt.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- Fr. Croiset

III. THIRD OBSTACLE. — A Secret Pride.

Secret pride is no less an obstacle to the love of Jesus Christ. It seems that there cannot be a greater obstacle to our perfection, and consequently to an ardent love of Jesus Christ, than the spirit of vanity, from which there are so very few who preserve themselves. Our other enemies we weaken and overcome by the practice of virtue ; whereas, it is in the very practice of virtue itself, that this enemy finds its strength. Our very victories are weapons which the devil makes use of, to vanquish us, by taking occasion from them to inspire us with pride. We may say, that of all vices, there is none that has kept so many souls back in the path of piety, or that has plunged so many from the highest perfection into tepidity, and even into sin. From this spirit of vanity proceed the inordinate desire that we have to be seen, and the excessive eagerness we feel to succeed in all that we undertake.


In vain do we torment ourselves, to assure ourselves that in all this we are seeking nothing but the glory of God. We have but to listen to our conscience, to be convinced that we seek nothing but our own glory. That excessive uneasiness which the fear of not succeeding causes in us; that sadness and discouragement we experience after a failure ; that joy and satisfaction we feel at the sight of the honours and praises we receive, are clear proofs of the spirit of vanity that urges us to act.


This same spirit also mixes itself up with the practice of the highest virtues : we wish to be highly mortified, to be obliging, courteous, civil, charitable, and we may add, to give great edification to our neighbour, by appearing so. From the same source spring almost all our defects. We fill our minds insensibly with the idea of a pretended merit, which we do not possess, and which this idea alone would make us lose, did we really possess it. We love to recount our adventures. We have always some circumstance of our life ready, as an example of the subject on which we are speaking. One would say, that it is no longer any failing to praise ourselves continually, when we already bear a good reputation. We wish to possess the esteem and the hearts of all. Hence it is that we prefer to omit our obligations, rather than disoblige another ; and what is still more extraordinary, we try to cover this ambition and vanity by the specious pretext of civility, charity, and condescension. We falsely persuade ourselves that we must act thus, in order to make virtue less difficult to others. We wish to please both God and men. By this means, we very often fail to please men, and we always displease God.


From the same source spring that delicacy regarding the point of honour, those little coolnesses in friendship, those regrets which approach so nearly to envy, if they have not all its malignity; that secret pain which is caused by the success of others. We always find some accident to which the greater part of their good fortune is attributed. We try to lower them. We speak coldly of them. We consider anyone who speaks in their praise, either tiresome or a flatterer. Whence proceeds all this ? From our being filled with vanity and pride. We feel resentment at the least disagreeable word, or at the least sign of contempt. We think ourselves at liberty to omit certain acts of civility towards others ; but we do not pardon them, if they fail in what we consider due to us. By a still more ridiculous illusion, we imagine that we owe it to the honour of God, Whom we serve, and of that exalted virtue which we flatter ourselves we possess, to display before the world our spirit, our talents, our good qualities, natural and supernatural. If anyone after this does not show us all the esteem and veneration that we expected, this is enough to make us at once consider him as imperfect, or as one who has no regard for merit, or esteem for virtue.


Nor are these yet all the effects of this secret ambition. We love fame, applause and praise for all we do. We see some who labour much for God, but who are always saying how much they do. They are always uncomfortable, hurried, fatigued and oppressed ; one would say that they are inviting everyone to have compassion on them, in their labours. The truth is, that vanity has a great part in so much labour. We think ourselves very important and necessary ; and we wish to appear so. Pride comes in, even in the very actions that belong to humility. We love to distinguish ourselves in the practice of certain virtues, and even in the exercise of good works. But all this alacrity is not for God alone, it is also to secure our own distinction. Finally, that excessive sadness and discouragement which we feel after a relapse into our former failings, is not the effect of tenderness of conscience, as some imagine. It is the effect of a secret pride, which makes us think ourselves more holy than we really are. In a word, we pass for spiritual persons, we even think ourselves such, and yet we are influenced merely by human prudence, disguised under the name of good sense. We refer all to the rule of this pretended good sense which we have framed for ourselves, in order that we may deceive ourselves without scruple. It is by this false rule that we judge even of spiritual things, of divine operations, and of the marvels of grace. We approve of nothing but what suits our ideas. The graces which God bestows either upon ourselves or others, we use according to the maxims of human prudence, and by an extraordinary blindness which is the chastisement of proud spirits, we think that we are following reason and good sense, the further we remove from the spirit of God.


Are we astonished, then, with all this, that we have neither spiritual consolations nor sentiments of devotion, after ten or twenty years spent by us in the exercise of virtue and the practice of good works ? Do we lament that we make no progress, that we are always imperfect, that the use of the Sacraments is of little profit to us, that we do not know what sensible devotion is ? That secret pride which we nourish in the depth of our heart, dries up, as it were, the fountain of the greatest graces. It is this that causes persons so wise in appearance, so regular, so circumspect, who have lived with so much honour, and have been proposed as the model of those who are called wealthy in the world — viri divitiarum, and who, from appearances, ought to be loaded with spiritual riches, to find themselves at death with their hands empty of good works. This self-love, this little ambition, this secret pride, have robbed them of all, and corrupted everything. This is the worm that withers the loftiest oaks ; this is the leaven that, sooner or later, corrupts the whole mass, or at least inflates it, and fills it with nothing but wind.


It is evident that the love of Jesus Christ cannot exist at the same time with a vice so opposed to it. How can our blessed Saviour, who would have the first of the beatitudes, the foundation of the spiritual life, and the first step to be taken in the path of virtue, to be that spirit of humility which He Himself has chosen, in preference to all the other virtues as His own special characteristic ; — how can He be greatly loved by those who so little resemble Him ? This sincere humility of mind and heart is the distinctive character of Jesus Christ. It is impossible, then, to be animated by His spirit, and to dwell in His Heart, unless we are truly animated by this spirit of humility.

Of the Angelical Salutation (St. Peter Canisius)

Which is commonly called the Angelical salutation?

That which was pronounced unto the most holy Virgin, the mother of God in these words: Hail MARY full of grace, our Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, IESVS. Holy MARIE mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death. AMEN.

Whereupon came this manner of saluting the mother of God?

First of the words and examples of the Gospel, whereas the great Archangel GABRIEL and ELISABETH the holy mother of the forerunner of our Lord, both inspired by the holy Ghost, do so teach and instruct us.

Then we have form of salutation confirmed and ratified, by the continual custom and consent of the Church, which the holy ancient Fathers and men of old time have religiously observed, even to this day, and would have also of us to be observed.

What does it profit us to use this manner of salutation?

By these excellent words, we are first of all admonished of that exceeding great benefit, that the eternal Father would begin in Christ, by MARIE the mother of God, and mercifully bestow upon mankind by redeeming it.

This is also a singular commendation of the most holy and wonderful Virgin, which God has determined to be the finder of grace and mother of life unto us all.

Wherefore no marvel, if after those Godly petitions, which we offered unto God in our Lord's prayer; being here mindful of the grace that we received by Christ, we do not only praise the mother of Christ but also God the Father in the same Virgin mother of God, and rejoicing together with the Angels, with great reverence, and often salute her.

What is the sense of this salutation?

In the first words thereof, we do justly rejoice with, and in rejoicing praise and renown her, that was to us the second and that a most happy EVE. For, that woe of malediction that the first EVE brought into the world, this other by her wholesome fruit has taken away, and has exchanged the very curse of the children of ADAM with a perpetual blessing.

Most worthy no doubt to be called full of grace, as who being full of God, full of virtues. alone (for I will use S. AMBROSE his words) obtained that grace which no other had ever deserved before, that she might be replenished with the author of grace. And what place could there be in her soul or body for any vice, when she was made the temple of the holy of all hollies?

There is added besides: Our Lord is with thee. because both the power of the Father did singularly overshadow her: and the holy Ghost came plentifully upon her: and the word being made flesh, from her did proceed in most wonderful wise, as a bridegroom from his chamber.

Then it follows, Blessed art thou among women. Because she was together a spouse by Virginity and a mother by fruitfulness. And therefore with great right all generations do, and shall always call her blessed. A woman all fair and immaculate: a Virgin before her delivery: at her delivery, and after her delivery: always uncorrupted: free from all spot of sin: exalted above all heavens: who no less by giving life was profitable, than unhappy EVE by killing was hurtful unto all mankind.

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, IESVS. as he that springing up like a flower from MARIE the root, has both showed himself after a sort of fruit of the earth: and does in such manner yield the fruit of life and salutation to his members, as a Vine does juice and life unto the branches. O blessed womb indeed that bear and brought forth a Savior to the world: O blessed paps without doubt, that being filled from heaven, suckled the Son of God.

Finally the Church has added in the end; Holy MARIE mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. For we following the steps of the holy Fathers, do not only salute that wonderful Virgin, worthy of all commendation, which is as a Lillie amongst thorns but do also believe and profess that she is endowed with so great power and ability from God, that she is able to profit, favor, and pleasure miserable mortal men, sepecially when they do commend themselves, and their desires unto her, and do humbly sue for the grace of God, by the Mother's intercession.

Testimonies of the Fathers touching the Virgin MARY.

IRENAEVS: As EVE was seduced to swerve from Almighty God: so MARY was persuaded to obey God; so that MARY a Virgin was made the advocate of EVE a Virgin: and as mankind was made subject to death by a Virgin: a Virgin's disobedience, being counter appeased by a Virgin's obedience.

Saint CHRYSOSTOM: It is very meet and just, to glorify thee the mother of our God, ever most blessed, and altogether undefiled, more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious incomparably, than the Seraphim, which without all corruption has brought forth God. we do magnify thee, the very mother of God. Hail Mary full of grace, our Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb; because thou has brought forth the Savior of our souls.

S. AMBROSE: Let he Virginity and Life of blessed MARY be set forth unto us as it were in an image; from whom, as from a glass, there shines out bright the beauty of chastity and fairness of virtue. What is more noble than the mother of God? What is more bright, than she whom brightness did choose? What is more chaste, than she that brought forth a body without contagion of the body? Such a one was MARY, that her only life might be a document to all men.

Saint ATHANASIVS: Forasmuch as he is a king that was born of the Virgin, and the same also Lord and God: for that cause, she that bear him is truly and properly judged to be a Queen, and a Lady, and the mother of God. This new EVE is called the mother of life, and she remains replenished with the first fruits of immortal life above all living creatures. We do call her therefore again and again, and evermore, and every way most blessed. To thee we cry, be mindful of us, O most holy Virgin, which even after thy delivery remains a Virgin. Hail MARY full of grace, our Lord is with thee: The holy orders of all Angels, and men do call thee blessed. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb: make intercession for us O Mistress, and Lady, and Queen, and mother of God.

S. GREGORY NAZIANZEN.

O ter beata Mater, O lux Virginum,
Quae templa caeli lucidissima incolis,
Mortalitatis liberata fordibus,
Ornata iam immortalitatis es stola:
Meis benignam ab alto aurem exhibe verbis,
Measque, Virgo, suscipe, obsecro, preces.

O mother thrice happy, and light of Virgins pure,
Inhabiting the Temples bright of heavenly globe,
Thou now from mortal filth, exempted and secure
Of immortality art decked with the robe.
Yield courteous audience from high to what I say,
And entertain my suits, O Virgin, I thee pray.

S. AVGVSTINE, holy MARY succor the miserable, help the faint-hearted, cherish the sorrowful, pray for the people, be a mean for the clergy, and make intercession for the devout woman kind. Let all feel thy help, whosoever do celebrate thy Commemoration.

FVLGENTIVS: MARY was made the window of heaven; because by her, God gave the true light unto the world. MARY was made the ladder of heaven; because by her God descended down to earth, that by her also men may ascend unto heaven. MARY was made the restorer of women, because by her they are known to be exempted from the ruin of the first curse.

S. BERNARD: The kingly virgin is the very way by the which our Savior came unto us, proceeding out of her womb, as a Bridegroom out of his chamber. By thee let us have access to thy Son O blessed inventrix of grace, bringer forth of life, an mother of salvation, that by thee he receive us, who by thee was given unto us.

The Summe of Christian Doctrine by St. Peter Canisius [Not available for view online]

Pater Noster explained by St. Peter Canisius.

What good things are those which a Christian must hope for?

First, and specially those good things of the kingdom of heaven, which do make men blessed and happy, and exempts them from all manner of misery. Then, all such things as serving for the necessary uses of mortal men in this life, are rightly desired and prayed for at God's hands, ought to be reputed in the number of those good things which are to be hoped for and expected. All which are specially expressed in our Lord's prayer, as which Christ our Lord with his own most sacred mouth delivered, and with wonderful wisdom prescribed to all those, that would gladly by prayer lay open their hope and good desires before All, God.

What is the form of our Lord's prayer?

This that follows; Our Father which art in heaven.

1. Hallowed be thy name.
2. Thy kingdom come.
3. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread.
5. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass agaist us.
6. And lead us not into temptation.
7. But deliver us from evil. Amen.


What are the sum of Our Lord's prayer?

There are seven petitions therein contained, unto which, all manners and forms of prayers whatsoever may an ought to be referred, whether we treat with Almighty God, for the obtaining of some good things: or for the wiping away of sin: or for the turning away of any evil whatsoever. And in the three first petitions, those things are in order demanded, which are properly eternal and everlasting: in the four others we do ask even temporal things, as being necessary for us, to the getting of the eternal.

What is meant by the beginning of this prayer, Our Father which art, etc.

It is a little preface, and it puts us in mind of that great and inestimable benefit, whereby God the Father, that eternal majesty, reigning most happily in heaven, received us into his favor, and for Christ his Son's sake, adopted us by the holy Ghost to be his sons, and heirs unto his heavenly kingdom.

And this remembrance of so great benefits, does not only stir up attention: but provoke also the sons to render love again to their father and to obey him, and it does in like manner encourage them to pray, and afford them confidence to obtain.

What is the sense of the first petition, Hallowed be Thy Name?

We desire that as well in ourselves as in all others, that may always be preferred and advanced, which stands most with the glory an honor of our sovereign and most excellent Father.

And this indeed we do perform, when the confession of the true faith, hope and charity, and holy conversation of Christian life, do show forth their light and force in us, that others also beholding the same, may take occasion to glorify our Father.

What is contained in the second petition, Thy kingdom come?

We do ask that God by his grace and justice, may reign in his Church, yea, and in the whole world all adversary powers, and evil affections being once abandoned and rooted out.

Then we do wish and pray, that being once called out of this world, as out of a troublesome pilgrimage and warfare, we may be speedily transported into the kingdom of glory, and everlasting felicity, to reign with Christ and his saints forever.

What imports the third petition, Thy will be done?

We do wish in this petition, that as the angels and blessed saints in heaven; so we also upon earth, though weak, and of small force, may exhibit unto Almighty God, exact obedience, desiring or coveting nothing so much as that we may willingly submit ourselves to the will of God, both in prosperity and adversity, and renouncing our own will, which is prone unto evil, we may rest and settle our minds in the will of God.

What has the fourth petition, Give us this day our daily bread?

We do like poor folks, and beggars, crave of the author and fountain of all goodness, those things that be sufficient for the daily maintenance of our corporal life, to wit, food, and clothing, also those things that do serve to a better the life of the soul: as the word of God, the spiritual food of the soul; the most holy and Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, that heavenly bread: and other most wholesome Sacraments and gifts of God, which do feed, cure, and confirm the inward man to a well ordered and happy kind of life.

How is the fifth petition understood, Forgive us our trespasses?

In this we crave, that God will mercifully purge us from the spot of sin, which above all things is most foul and pestilent unto the soul; and that he will also remit those very debts, which we have contracted by sinning.

And lest our prayer should not be available, by reason that we are evil affected towards our neighbor; we add this besides, that all secret hate and desire of revenge being laid aside, we are at atonement with our neighbor, and have forgiven every one that has offended us, even from the bottom of our hearts. For this is that which Christ signified in another place when he said: Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. And again: If you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses.

What is the sense of the sixth petition, Lead us not into temptation?

Because this present life is a very warfare upon earth, while we are always assaulted with divers temptations,and in a hard and continual conflict, with the world, the flesh, and, the devil: therefore, being devoutly careful of our own estate, we sue for help at the hands of almighty God, that we do not yield to such assaults of our adversaries, and by yielding incur damnation; but that standing always in this continual combat, relying upon the might and hand of God, we may valiantly resist the power of the devil, have the world in contempt, chastise the flesh, and so finally as invincible soldiers of Christ, be crowned after the victory, for no man is crowned, as witnesses the Apostle, unless he strive lawfully.

What is the seventh and last petition, deliver us from evil?

We pray at the last, that God will not suffer us to be overthrown, and cast away with the wicked, by the calamities of this world, wherewith even the Godly also are exercised: but that by his benignity he deliver us, so far forth as is expedient for our salvation: and mercifully defend us from all evil both of body, an of soul, as well in this life, as in the life to come. For so has himself promised: Call upon me in the day of tribulation, I will deliver thee and thou shalt honor me.

Last of all, we conclude the whole prayer with this one word Amen, that we may show our confidence in praying an hope of obtaining, in regard as well of Christ's promise that never fails, Ask, (saith he) and it shall be given you: as also of the infinite clemency and ready mercy of God the Father. Insomuch that hereupon, S. John has said, Whatsoever we shall ask according to his will, he hears us.

What is the sum of our Lord's prayer?

It contains a perfect and absolute form not only of asking that which is good, but also of praying to be delivered from whatsoever is evil.

And among the things that be good, this is first to be wished and prayed for, that all men may glorify our heavenly Father, at all times and in all places: then, that we may be partakers of his Kingdom: afterward, that we may not want those helps that are convenient for the attaining unto the same Kingdom. As is, on the behalf of our soul, to be conformable to the will of God: and as touching our body, to have necessary living and maintenance.

But those things that are added in the second place, and do continue to the end of the prayer, do express the affect of one that craves delivery from evils, which by the grace and power of almighty God he desires to have either utterly taken away, to wit, sin the contagion of all goodness and the sink and puddle of all evils. or else that they may be so tempered, that by their violence, they hinder us not in the way to salvation. Such are, divers temptations that invade us in this world, and all calamities both present and to come. All other things that are to be said touching prayer, shall be reserved for that place, where the three kinds of good works shall be expounded.

The Summe of Christian Doctrine by St. Peter Canisius [Not available for view online]

Monday, December 29, 2008

languishing during their whole life in this state, without ever correcting a single failing.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- Fr. Croiset

II. SECOND OBSTACLE. — Self-love.

It is a most certain fact, that there are very few who do not act through self-love. All the difference that there is between spiritual persons and those who are not so is, that in the one, self-love acts without disguise, whilst in the others, it is less perceptible and more masked. Any one who would take the trouble to make a few reflections, on the true motives of the greater part of his actions, which appear the least defective, would discover numberless windings and turnings of a secret self-love which forms their principal motive and destroys all their fruit. We relish and approve of only such practices of virtue as we find easy. The specious pretext of preserving our health, which we imagine to be so necessary for the glory of God, takes up our whole mind with a thousand little cares. We are careful of ourselves. Most kinds of mortification appear to us to be either indiscreet, or not suited to our age or our state. The thoughts and desires which God gives us, from time to time, of attending seriously to our perfection, we treat as illusions. We wish to persuade ourselves that God does not require from us so high a sanctity, though He has granted us very great graces, or has placed us in a state that requires us to be great saints. We flatter ourselves that we have a true desire of leaving all things as soon as the will of God shall be manifested to us. In vain does God make Himself heard in the depth of our heart by His inspirations, in vain does He speak to us by means of a director or spiritual father, or by means of the reflections we make, of the lights we receive, of the examples we see, and which we ourselves are ready to praise. The voice of God is not recognized when it is opposed to self-love. The reason is, that it is not the will of God that we take as the rule of our life, but our inclination and self-love. We would fain make these the rule of the will of God.

Whence comes it that there are some persons who are never more uneasy, more melancholy, more full of resentment, or ill-humoured, than when they are more recollected, and seem to be applying more particularly to their perfection? It is because the lights they then receive in prayer, and the inspirations which God gives them, disturb them from their not being able to reconcile them with the self-love that fills their minds. It seems as though they expected that the path of perfection should present no difficulty, or that God should heap upon them sweetness and interior consolations before they have taken the first step in the way to perfection. As the life of such persons seems well regulated, and their conduct irreproachable, they go on unhappily crawling and languishing during their whole life in this state, without ever correcting a single failing.


It would be better for us, if we may say so, not to have certain virtues with the possession of which we comfort ourselves. We should at least acknowledge our indigence and misery. But the little virtue we possess serves only to render us daily more imperfect. We content ourselves with a composed exterior, a natural or affected modesty, an apparent virtue, which is rather the effect of education than of grace ; and as we see that we are secure from the reproaches which those whose lives are ill-regulated draw upon themselves, we imagine that we have a great fund of virtue, because we do not allow many faults to appear.


We form to ourselves a plan of devotion according to our humour, our natural inclination, and our caprice. We find many inexperienced or yielding directors who approve this system upon which our whole life turns, and thus we become insensible to the examples, the reflections, and the truths which move the greatest sinners. We need not wonder, if, being so full of self-love, we are always seeking our ease in trifles. We cannot bear to want anything, under the pretext that we are willing to leave all. If we deprive ourselves of anything, we generally do it in order that we may deceive ourselves by this pretended mortification, and enjoy in quiet many other things which are dearer to us, and of which we are unwilling to deprive ourselves. We mostly act either from nature or inclination. We feel tenderness only for those with whom we sympathise. We refuse nothing to our senses, and if we mortify them in anything, it is only in what gives us the least difficulty, or when such mortification does us honour. We are willing to do good works, but we wish to choose what we will do. Hence it follows that we feel nothing but disgust for the slightest obligations which our state imposes on us, whilst we find great attraction in more painful occupations, either because they are of our own choice, or because they put us under the necessity of exempting ourselves from the ordinary obligations of our state. We consider sickness in others as a visitation, and as a gift of God ; but, as soon as Almighty God grants us this gift, we become uneasy, melancholy, impatient, and anxious. It is not that sickness is the cause of this. But we show in sickness what we really are, because we have then no longer the motives or the means which health afforded us for disguising our self-love.


From the same source, too, proceed those barren desires and chimerical projects which form the food of a spirit naturally proud, and which give nourishment to self-love. We propose to ourselves certain plans of life which we intend to carry out at certain times ; and, as if our conversion and sanctification were secure, we take no further trouble about correcting our imperfections. Though we are convinced that mortification is ; absolutely necessary if we would be holy, we refuse the crosses that present themselves under the pretext that they are too small. We sigh after greater crosses, only because we see them at a greater distance. We satisfy ourselves in the meantime with these idle imaginations. We are at rest, confiding in this composed exterior, in these good works which please us, and in the practices of devotion in which we are most exact. We are intoxicated, as it were, with the vain and insipid praises of those who flatter us. We are full of the idea of some virtue which we possess only in name. At length we find ourselves, at the close of a long life, devoid of merit, and often without any sentiment, more praiseworthy than a vain and barren desire of being then as virtuous as we were at the beginning of our conversion.


Such are the effects of self-love, and few are exempt from it. We are to be pitied for nourishing within ourselves an enemy dangerous in proportion as he is crafty, and to be dreaded in proportion as we distrust him less. Now it is certain that Jesus Christ will never recognize as the true friends of His Heart those who love only their own ease, and who are so cautious about labouring for Him. This is what He has expressly said in giving us the description of His true servants. In vain, says He, will any one flatter himself that he is My disciple, because he has left for My love his goods, his parents, his friends, if he does not also renounce himself : adhuc autem et animam suam. We must do violence to ourselves, make war against our passions, stifle or at least mortify our self-love in everything, in order to be truly His disciples. There is no true love of Jesus Christ where there is no true mortification.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

When our soul is distracted and dissipated

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- Fr. Croiset

When our soul is distracted and dissipated, we must conduct it tranquilly to the Heart of Jesus Christ, and offer to the Eternal Father the holy dispositions of this adorable Heart, and unite the little we do with what is done by Jesus Christ with infinite perfection. In this manner, whilst doing nothing ourselves, we do much by means of Jesus Christ. Let the Sacred Heart of Jesus be henceforward your Oratory, devout soul. In It, and by means of It, offer all your prayers to God the Father ; if you wish them to be accepted. This is the school which you must frequent if you would learn the sublime science of God, and be instructed in its lessons so directly opposed to the maxims and false opinions of the world. This must be your treasury from which you are to draw all that you may require in order to become rich — purity, pure love, fidelity. But the most precious and the most abundant riches this treasury contains are, humiliations, sufferings, and an ardent love of the greatest poverty. The esteem and love of these things is so precious a gift that it is only to be found in its original source, the Heart of a God made man. All other hearts, however holy and noble, possess it in a greater or less degree ; only as they seek it with more or less diligence in this treasury, the Heart of Jesus Christ."


In fine, it has been observed, not only that all the Saints of the Church, who have seemed to be favoured with the highest graces, have had a most ardent and tender love for Jesus Christ, but also that there is not one, so to say, of those who have had this exceeding love for Jesus Christ, that has not had a singular devotion to His Sacred Heart.


Those who have read the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the works of St. Thomas, and those of St. Teresa, the lives of St. Bonaventure, St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis of Sales, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, will have noticed the tender devotion of these Saints towards the Heart of Jesus Christ. And to shew that this is still familiar to all those chosen souls, who burn with a most fervent charity for our loving Redeemer, it will suffice to read the life of the great servant of God, Armelle Nicolas, who died not long since, in the odour of sanctity. In her life, entitled The Triumph of Divine Love, she says : "As soon as any affliction befel me, from creatures, I had recourse to my loving Saviour, Who immediately filled me with the sweetest consolations ; you would have said, that He was afraid lest I should suffer any uneasiness, so solicitous was He to console me in all my sorrows. Frequently, also, He shewed me His opened Heart, that I might hide myself therein, and at the same moment, I found myself enclosed in this Sacred Heart, in such security, that all the efforts of hell seemed to me but weakness. For a length of time I could not regard myself as in any other place than in this Sacred Heart, so that I used to say to my friends, 'If you wish to find me, seek for me nowhere but in the Heart of my Divine Saviour, for I shall not quit it either by day or night. This is my retreat and place of refuge against all my enemies.' "

Seeking after sauces and seasonings for the enjoyment of the palate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluttony

Early Church leaders (e.g., St. Gregory the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it also consists in an anticipation of meals, the eating of delicacies, and costly foods, seeking after sauces and seasonings, and eating too eagerly.[2]

St. Gregory the Great, a doctor of the Church, described five ways by which one can commit sin of gluttony, and corresponding biblical examples for each of them:[3]

1. Eating before the time of meal in order to satisfy the palate.

Biblical example: Jonathan eating a little honey, when his father Saul commanded no food to be taken before the evening.

2. Seeking delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the "vile sense of taste."

Biblical example: When Israelites escaping from Egypt complained, "Who shall give us flesh to eat ? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely ; the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks and the onions and the garlic," God rained fowls for them to eat but punished them 500 years later.

3. Seeking after sauces and seasonings for the enjoyment of the palate.

Biblical example: Two sons of Eli the high priest made the sacrificial meat to be cooked in one manner rather than another. They were met with death.

4. Exceeding the necessary amount of food.

Biblical example: One of the sins of Sodom was "fullness of bread."

5. Taking food with too much eagerness, even when eating the proper amount, and even if the food is not luxurious.

Biblical example: Esau selling his birthright for ordinary food of bread and pottage of lentils. His punishment was that the "profane person . . . who, for a morsel of meat sold his birthright," we learn that " he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully, with tears."
The fifth way is worse than all others, said St. Gregory, because it shows attachment to pleasure most clearly among others.

To recapitulate, St. Gregory the Great said that one may succumb to the sin of gluttony by:

  1. Time (when)
  2. Quality
  3. Stimulants
  4. Quantity
  5. Eagerness

Full document from which the Wiki summary is derived:

The sin of gluttony, when considered in the practical details of every-day life, is not altogether so well suited for minute analysis as some of the deadly sins which have been discussed from this place. I purpose, therefore, to adopt a plan different in this case from the plan adopted in former cases. I shall not enter into minute detail. In the lieu of such detail, gathered either from experience in myself, or from observation of others, I am content to quote from the teaching, and thus to be sheltered under the authority, of a Saint, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. What has been already laid before you, indeed, on the other capital sins, has also been collected from masters of the spiritual life: and hence comes any value which may attach to such collected thoughts. But hitherto, the estimates or examples have been sometimes altered or re-arranged, have been sometimes enlarged or contracted, and have been always adapted to the necessities of modern life. Now, however, I propose to quote the Saint's analysis of the sin, somewhat developed indeed, but almost in his very words. There will be benefit to all concerned in such a treatment of such a sin. I shall speak with authority. You will assent without question. And both of us will be edified by the systematic and exhaustive, and withal the devout and scriptural estimate of the sin of gluttony, which an ancient Father has handed down to us as the teaching of the Church of his day on a matter of morals.

The analysis of the sin of gluttony by S. Gregory the Great, is concerned with one feature alone of this twofold sin. The Saint confines his attention to the popular meaning of the term, as equivalent to viciousness in the use of food. He also treats the vice as a personal sin, as distinct from a sin against society. And he does not descend into particulars, in regard to gross or vulgar excess. Thus, the Saint's method harmonises excellently well with our own plan, and with the requirements of the present day, specially with a view to the circumstances of those to whom I speak, and to the times in which we live. To this prefatory statement, I need only call to mind two points of which we must not lose sight. First: That the sin of gluttony consists in an inordinate and selfish desire for the sensual pleasure which arises from the gratification of taking food, when such desire develops into action. Secondly: That the parable of Dives and Lazarus teaches us that he, who in hell-fire lifted up his eyes being in torment, was a certain rich man who fared sumptuously every day.

We are tempted to the sin of gluttony, says the Saint and Doctor, in five different ways : and these five temptations oppose five distinct hindrances to our spiritual perfection. We will take them in order, and nearly in the language of the Father.

I. We are tempted to gluttony when, for the mere purpose of gratifying our palate, we anticipate the time of eating, by forestalling our regular hour for meals.

This is our first temptation: and you will observe that it has reference to time.

II. Without anticipating the time of eating, we may be tempted to sin in regard to the quality of our food, when we seek delicacies wherewith to pamper, what the ascetic bishop well calls, this vile sense of taste.

Quality, you will perceive, is the leading feature of the second temptation to gluttony.

III. It may further happen, that although we be content with ordinary food, and so escape the second temptation; and although we fail to anticipate the hour of our meals, and so escape the first; yet, we may fall into a third temptation. And the third incentive to gluttony, to use the Saint's words, consists in seeking after sauces and seasonings for the sensual enjoyment of the palate.

In this case, stimulants to the appetite is the third note or mark of spiritual hindrance.

IV. We may, by God's help, be free from these three temptations only to fall, by the malice of our bitter foe, into a fourth. We may avoid condiments; we may be indifferent to quality ; we may be punctual in time : but if we exceed in the amount of food which we consume, so as to partake of common dishes beyond what nature demands, we succumb to the fourth temptation of this capital sin.

Here the main point, in this fourth temptation to gluttony, consists in quantity.

V. Lastly, even if we avoid all the former means of sinfulness in the matter of eating, we may still offend against the opposite virtue of temperance, by partaking necessary food with too much eagerness.

The last note of gluttony, therefore, is marked by the mode or method of eating: and adds the holy bishop, this last fault is worse than all the others, as it is a clearer sign of our attachment to the sensual pleasure which eating affords to our natural appetite.

Hence, according to this great master of spirituality, we may become guilty of the sin of gluttony in five different ways, each of which possesses its own distinctive character, each of which may be recalled to mind by a single word. i. We may sin in the matter of time. 2. We may sin on a question of quality. 3. We may sin by the use of stimulants. 4. We may sin in relation to quantity. And 5. we may sin, lastly, from eating with undue eagerness.

Having thus enumerated the five evil inclinations which tempt us to pamper the sense of taste, the good bishop appeals to Holy Scripture to enforce his analysis of the sin, and to afford illustration of its practical working. It will be well for us to note these scriptural instances, not only as to their details, that they may be avoided ; but also, as to the punishments which severally ensued to the guilty, either by the just judgment of Almighty God or by the sentence of man.

I. With regard to the temptation of anticipating the hour of our meals, S. Gregory brings forward the example of Jonathan, the son of Saul. On the day on which the Israelites smote the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, and were much distressed and very faint for want of sustenance, King Saul adjured the people saying: " Cursed be the man that eateth any food until the evening." But Jonathan, we read, " heard not [or perhaps, heeded not] when his father charged the people with an oath. Wherefore he tasted a little of the wild honey of the wood." No doubt in consequence, his eyes were enlightened. But what was the immediate and supernatural result of this disobedience? GOD "answered not" unto Saul " that day" when he would take counsel of Him whether or not he should "go down after the Philistines ;" whether or not GOD would " deliver them into the hand of Israel." And when the cause of this mysterious silence was sought by lot, and the lot pointed to Saul and Jonathan as guilty, the latter made confession of his sin, and said : " I did but taste a little honey, and lo, I must die." Whilst, although the sentence was afterwards reversed by the democratic will of the people, even under so absolute a monarchy as that of Israel; yet of his own son, and for this act of implied gluttony, did Saul say: " God do so and more also, for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan."

Jonathan's case may be considered as a warning against the capital sin of gluttony in the matter of time.

2. In order to deter us from daintiness in the selection of food, the Saint next instances the gluttony of the children of Israel in the wilderness, when they murmured against Moses and Aaron. "Would to GOD (they said) we had died in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots and did eat bread to the full." And also, when they " wept again and said : 'Who shall give us flesh to eat ? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,' which appear to have been luxuries to them. But now, they complain, "our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes." And how did God punish His rebellious and discontented, though much-loved people ? God " rained flesh upon them as thick as dust: and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea. ... So they did eat and were well filled : for He gave them their own desire; they were not disappointed of their lust." But we read a commentary upon their conduct five hundred years later, in their recorded punishment. For "while the meat was yet in their mouths, the heavy wrath of God came upon them, and slew the wealthiest of them; yea, and smote down the chosen men that were in Israel." Or, as it is elsewhere said : " The Lord smote the people with a very great plague."

The conduct of the Israelites furnishes an example of the sin of gluttony in the question of the quality of food.

3. The holy bishop calls to mind the sin of the sons of Eli, the high-priest, as an illustration of the third temptation to gluttony, namely, in the superfluous seasoning of food. " The sin of these young men was very great," says holy Scripture: " for they made the offering of God to be abhorred." And why, or how ? They appear to have been guilty in two ways. They not only desired to secure for themselves more than their legal share of the sacrificial flesh, or sought it before they were entitled to claim their allotted portion: but, they also forcibly took possession of the meat, in order that it might be cooked to suit their palate after one fashion, rather than after another. These may seem to some of us to be comparatively light faults, and hardly worth the place which is assigned to them in the sacred drama. And no doubt they were coupled in these young men with other sins which were more heinous. Yet, what does Inspiration declare concerning them ? "The sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD." What was the punishment with which God both at the time threatened them, and afterwards actually fulfilled? "This shall be a sign unto thee," said God to Eli, "that shall come upon thy two sons, Hophni and Phinehas : in one day they shall die both of them." "And it was so." For, not long after, when "the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent," that "the two sons of Eli were slain."

The fate of the sons of Eli should make us hesitate to sin by gluttony in the use of stimulants.

4. On excess in the quantity of food as a temptation to gluttony, are quoted the words of the prophet Ezekiel against the guilty city of Sodom. Apparently, no fewer than three of the deadly sins were justly chargeable against the self-doomed inhabitants, one in each of the three classes of sin, the result of imperfect love. They were guilty of pride, caused by love distorted ; of sloth, caused by love defective; of gluttony, caused by love excessive. Behold, saith God, by the mouth of His prophet: "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom . . . fulness of bread ... in her and in her daughters: . . . therefore I took them away as I saw good." And how did it seem good unto the Good Lord to take them away ? The words "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven," sufficiently indicate the punishment inflicted on Sodom for its sin of gluttony, as exhibited in undue excess, or in scriptural language, "fulness of bread."

The guilty cities of the plain teach us a lesson, perhaps unexpected, in the capital sin we are discussing, in relation to quantity.

5. As a warning against over eagerness in eating even coarse and common food, the Saint adduces the case of Esau, whose greediness in partaking of "bread and pottage of lentiles" is apparent, from his having sold his birthright for so mean a price. Thus, saith the Spirit of God, in the calm, dispassionate terms of sacred history when recording the sin of man, "thus Esau despised his birthright." And how was this form of gluttony punished ? Eighteen centuries after the event, we have this inspired comment on the conduct of Esau, which reveals his punishment, till then unknown to the world. Of the "profane person . . . who, for a morsel of meat sold his birthright," we learn that "he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully, with tears."

Esau's greediness thus stands as a monument preserved by God, to teach us to avoid that form of the sin of gluttony which arises from eating with undue eagerness.

These five species of the sin of gluttony, which, as I have said, may be remembered by as many single words—time, quality, stimulants, quantity, and eagerness—may be reduced, as a commentator on the Saint's words has pointed out, to two generic heads. The vice may be reduced

1. To a search after the indulgence of the palate; and

2. To the pleasure which ensues from the act of eating.

A little consideration will show the truth of this arrangement. Why, urges the writer in question, why is it an imperfection to forestall the hour of our meals, but that this argues an impatience to indulge our palate ? Why is it blameworthy to search after costly dishes and savoury sauces, except that such misapplied industry comes from a desire to give pleasure to the taste ? Why is it sinful to eat to excess ? Because it is a sign that we eat not from necessity, but for indulgence. And the same may be said when we allow ourselves to consume our necessary food with too much eagerness.


From The Exercises of a Christian Life: http://immaculate.wiki.zoho.com/Exercises-of-a-Christian-Life.html

THE second sinne of the flesh is Gluttony, a great frend and fostrer of lasciuiousnes; sith, when the panch is puffed vp, and the fleshe too delicately fedd, this fire is quickly kindled; and a man falleth easily into the filth of lecherie, accor|ding as the scriptures * doo in sundry places admonish vs. It behoueth thee therfore to be armed at al assayes a|gainst this vice, which is the dore & entrance of many others; and of the victory and conquest wherof depen|deth the victory and conquest of the rest. Whervpon those holy auncient fathers that liued earst in the wilder|nes, endeuoured them-selues al they might, to dompt and suppresse this vice; woting wel, that but if this wer firste fullye vanquished, the other Page [unnumbered]could very hardly be subdued. Yea, experience teacheth this for truth; howe the deuil most commonly be|ginneth to geue his first on-set with this temptation. Witnesses hereof are our first * Parents Adam and Eue; yea, the very first teptation he propouded to our Lord * and Sauiour Iesus Christe, was of this sort. Wherfore, to defende thee from this so venemous a vice, being one that doth hatch and breed so many other, apply these remedies and aduises folowing. *


THE FIRST is, that in thy eating thou seeke to obserue fiue thinges, that preserue thee from fiue sundrye sortes of gluttony; wherof S * Grego|rie doth in one of his bookes make mention.


The first is concerning the time, when a man eateth before his ordinary houre; which thou must be|ware of; * forbearing and forcing thy selfe not to take aboue two repasts a day; to wit, thy dinner and supper; Page 112 and that at such conuenient and ac|customed houres, as they keepe, that gouerne them-selues most orderlye; more thē at which times thou ough|test not to eate, without some nota|ble necessitie. If therefore thou finde thy selfe at any time tempted to in|fringe this rule, and without suffici|ent cause to anticipate thine houre, thou must fight, and make a forcible resistance; as did that monke which * is written of in the liues of holye fa|thers; who on a time being tempted to eate in the morning before his ac|customed houre, beguiled him-selfe in this maner, saying: Tarye a while vntil the thirde houre (which is at nine a clocke in the morning) and then wil we eate. And when this houre was come; go too, let vs worke a while vntil the sixt houre (to witt, noone:) afterwardes, nowe let vs saye a fewe prayers or psalmes; nowe Page [unnumbered]let vs lay our bisquit to steepe; and thus passed on the time, til his ordi|narye howre was come, which was at the ninth hour, to wit, (three a clocke at after-noone;) & by this means was he perfectly deliuered from this vice.


THE SECOND kind of gluttonie * in the qualitie; I meane, in eating of too daintie and pleasaunt * meates, wherof thou must take great heede, contenting thy selfe with such meates, as may suffice to susteine and fleshe; and not to delite and it; according to that S. Bernard * doth exhort thee; and but if they seeme course and vnsauourye, apply that saulce which he * to hunger; that shal cause them to seem sauourie ynough. Remember thee also of that singuler abstinence of the auncient fathers of Egipt, who deemed it superfluous to eate any sodden [cooked] meates, as S. Ierome telleth vs. Let therefore this their ri|goure *Page 113 shame and confounde thy ri|ot, and make thee refraine eating of delicate and sweete meates, for feare thou be like to those amongst the people of Israel; * that desired flesh in the desert, and thereby prouoked the wrath and indignation of God a|gainst them.


THE THIRD kinde of gluttonye * concerneth the quantitie, that is, of eating more then sufficeth to sustein nature; wherof foloweth (as S. Ierome saith) that looke by how much the more the bel|lye*is filled, and by so much the more is the soule made feeble. Thou must therefore shun such excesse; sith meate is (according to S. * Austins counsail) to be taken in maner of a medicine; whereof we vse not to receaue anye great quantitie. Take heede then of ouercharging thy heart with too much meate and drinke; as our Sauior doth admonish * vs, that by this meanes thou maiest escape his future indignation; and a Page [unnumbered] million of mischiefes * that proceede out of this vice.


THE FOVRTH kinde of gluttonye * respecteth the maner. When a man eateth his meat too greedily, and with too great a feruour: which appereth * wel by his hastie and disorderly fee|ding; and when he is too muche bent and affectionate vpon his meate. This vice doth the wise man * in these wordes reprehend, saying: Long not af|ter euery kind of meate, nor eate not greedilye vpon euery dishe. Whose counsaile see thou endeuour thy self to folow, min|ding not so seriouslye thy corporal foode and nutriture whiles thou ea|test; but either listen to the lesson, if there be any read; or lift vp thy mind to God with some good thought; or enterlace som praier or psalm amōgst; that by thus doing both thy soule & body may be fostred & fed together.


THE FIFT and last kinde of glut|tonie, * is an excessiue eare and thoght to seek out of cates & new|fangled Page 114 tasts; which thou oughtest (as * a very blame-worthy thing) greatlye to eschewe and beware of, for feare of being like to those the Apostle * spea|keth of, that make their belies their God, see|king with as great care to serue and satisfie it; as were requisite for dis|charge of their dueties to God-ward.


Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine


What is Gluttonie, what sinnes produceth it, and what is the reme|die against it?

M

Gluttonie is a disordinate appe|tite of eating & drinking: which cō|sisteth in taking more meate then is conuenient, in seeking too pretious Page 265meates, in desiring forbidden meats, as flesh on the Friday and Saturday, in not exspecting the houre of ea|ting on fasting daies, and finally in eating with too great desire & ea|gernesse. The sinnes which come of gluttonie, are obscuritie of vnder|standing, vaine mirth, and babling, And often of Gluttonie, commeth Leacherie, with all the sinnes which proceed thereof. The remedie is to attende vnto temperance and absti|nence, which helpe both the soule and the bodie. And in particular it is most profitable to consider, that the delight of gluttony is very short and often leaueth behinde it long paines of the stomacke, of the head, and other like.

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Pillar of Scourging of Our Lord JESUS

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