Evening Meditations for Saturday after Ascension ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

II.-HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST AVOIDS LUKEWARMNESS AND SEEKS PERFECTION

I.

The tepidity, then, that does hinder perfection, is that tepidity which is avoidable when a person, commits deliberate venial faults; because all these faults committed with open eyes can effectually be avoided by Divine grace if we have the desire. Wherefore St. Teresa said: “May God deliver you from deliberate sin, however small it may be.” Such, for example, are wilful untruths, little detractions, imprecations, expressions of anger, derisions of one’s neighbour, cutting words, words of self-esteem, animosities nourished in the heart, inordinate attachments to persons of a different sex. “These are a sort of worm,” wrote the same Saint, “which is not detected before it has eaten into the virtues.” Hence, in another place, she gave this admonition: “By means of small things the devil goes about making holes for great things to enter.” We should, therefore, tremble at such deliberate faults; since they cause God to close His hands from bestowing upon us His clearer lights and stronger helps, and deprive us of spiritual sweetnesses; and the result of such is to make the soul perform all spiritual exercises with great weariness and pain; and so, in the course of time, she begins to leave off Prayer, Communions, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and Novenas; and, in the end, she will probably leave off all piety, as has not infrequently been the case with many unhappy souls.

II.

This is the meaning of that threat which our Lord makes to the tepid: Thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot; but because thou art luke¬warm . .. I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth-(Apoc. iii. 15, 16). How wonderful! He says, I would thou wert cold! What! And is it better to be cold, that is, deprived of grace, than to be tepid? Yes, in a certain sense it is better to be cold; because a person who is cold may more easily change his life, being stung by the reproaches of conscience; whereas a tepid person contracts the habit of slumbering on in his faults, without bestowing a thought, or taking any trouble to correct himself; and thus he makes his cure, as it were, desperate: St. Gregory says, “Tepidity, which has cooled down from fervour, is a hopeless state.” The Venerable Father Lewis da Ponte said that he had committed many defects in the course of his life; but that he had never made a truce with his faults. Some there are who make friends with their faults, and from that springs their ruin; especially when. the fault is accompanied with some passionate attachment, of self-esteem, of ambition, of liking to be seen, of heaping up money, of resentment against a neighbour, or of inordinate affection for a person of a different sex. In such cases there is great danger of those threads, as it were, becoming chains, as St. Francis of Assisi said, which will drag down the soul to hell. At all events, such a soul will never become a saint, and will forfeit that beautiful crown, which God had prepared for her, had she faithfully corresponded to grace. The bird no sooner feels herself loosed from the snare, than she immediately flies; the soul, as soon as she is loosed from earthly attachments, immediately flies to God; but while she is bound, though it be but by the slightest thread, it is enough to prevent her flying to God. Oh, how many spiritual persons there are who do not become saints, because they will not do themselves the violence to break away from certain little attachments.

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