We must be Realistic, Selfless, and Courageous in the Pursuit of Virtue

September 3, 2021 • 2 min

From The Spiritual Combat, in file "The Spiritual Combat (Dornin edition)", page 111
By Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

The second reason is, that when we conceive some good purpose, we only fix our eyes on the charms and excellence of virtue, which draw to it even the most feeble minds, but never consider the difficulties of attaining it; whence it comes that cowardly minds are dashed at the first appearance of trouble, and fly off from their enterprise.

Upon this account, you ought rather to place before your eyes the difficulties which occur in the acquisition of virtues, than the virtues themselves; think often of it, and prepare yourself accordingly.

Know, moreover, that the greater courage you shew in conquering yourself or defeating your enemies, the sooner will the difficulties diminish, and by degrees entirely vanish.

The third reason is, the too great regard we have to our own private advantage, preferably to virtue and the will of God; this frequently happens when soothed with consolations in time of affliction. For finding ourselves destitute of all earthly comfort, we take up a resolution of attaching ourselves to God and his service.

That we may be blameless on this head, let us beware of misusing the favours of heaven: let us be humble and circumspect in forming good resolutions: let us guard against all indiscreet fervour, which may rashly engage us in making vows beyond our abilities.

If we groan under affliction, let us barely [simply] propose to carry our cross as we ought, it coming from God, placing all our glory therein, without seeking any alleviation from earth, or even Heaven itself.

Let us ask, let us wish for no more, but that the Almighty may vouchsafe to support us under the trial, and that we may patiently undergo whatever he is pleased to inflict.

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