Evening Meditations for the Twenty-first Thursday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

INTERIOR TRIALS

I.

All the anxiety of scrupulous souls arises from a fear lest in what they do, they should be acting, not with a mere scruple but with a real doubt, and therefore be committing sin. But the chief thing they are to remember is this: that he who acts in obedience to a learned and pious confessor, acts not only with no doubt, but with the greatest security that can be had upon earth, a security that rests on the Divine words of Jesus Christ, that he who obeys His ministers is as though he obeyed God Himself: He that heareth you heareth me (Luke x. 16). Hence St. Bernard says: “Whatever man, in the place of God enjoins, provided it be not certainly displeasing to God, is absolutely to be received as though enjoined by God.

As to the personal direction of conscience, it is certain the confessor is the lawful superior, as St. Francis de Sales, with all spiritual instructors, declares: while Father Pinamonti, in his Spiritual Director, says: “It is well to make the scrupulous perceive, that submitting their will to the ministers of the Lord gives them the greatest security in all that is not manifestly sin.” Let them read the Lives of the Saints, and they will find that they knew no safer road than obedience. The Saints plainly relied more on the voice of their confessor than on the immediate voice of God, and yet the scrupulous would lean more on their own judgment than on the Gospel, which assures them: He that heareth you, heareth me.

II.

The Blessed Henry Suso used to say that God demands no account from us of things done under obedience. St. Philip Neri says the same: “Let such as desire to advance in the way of God submit themselves to a learned confessor, and obey him in God’s stead. Let him who thus acts be assured that he will not have to render an account of his actions to God.” He says, moreover, that one should have all faith in one’s confessor, on the ground that God would not permit him to err; and that there is nothing that more surely cuts asunder the snares of the devil than to do the will of another in what is good, nor anything more full of danger than to be guiding ourselves according to what seems best to us. This is confirmed by St. John of the Cross, who speaks in the Name of the Lord: “When thou art unfaithful to confessors, thou art so unto Me, Who have said: He that despiseth you, despiseth me.” And again: “Not to rest satisfied with what the confessor says is pride and failure in faith.”

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