The happiness of this life is ruined even by our own passions

October 18, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 296

Man’s irregular appetites and passions are another and inexhaustible source of afflictions.

What, in fact, can you expect from immoderate affections, inordinate sorrow, groundless fears, uncertain hopes, unreasonable solicitude, but violent shocks and continual anxieties which take from man all freedom and peace of heart? Living in the midst of tumult, he scarcely ever prays, he knows not the sweets of repose.

From man himself, from his uncontrolled appetites, spring all these miseries. Judge, then, what happiness is possible under such conditions.

Were there only bodily sufferings to harass us we would not have so much reason to fear. But the world is full of dangers that are far more terrible, because they menace the soul. Of these the prophet spoke when he said: “He shall rain snares upon sinners.” [Ps. x. 7.] How numerous must be these snares which the holy king compares to drops of rain!

He expressly tells us that they shall rain upon sinners, for they are so indifferent in watching over their hearts and guarding their senses, so careless in avoiding the occasions of sin or providing themselves with spiritual remedies, that they rush into the very midst of the flames of the world, and therefore cannot but encounter a thousand dangers.

Snares exist for them everywhere—in youth, in old age; in riches, in poverty; in honor, in dishonor; in society, in solitude; in adversity, in prosperity; in the eyes, in the tongue, in all the senses.

Were God to enlighten us as he did St. Anthony, we would see the world covered with snares like a network, and we would exclaim with the holy solitary: Who, O Lord! can avoid all these? Behold the cause of the destruction of the many souls who daily perish!

St. Bernard said with tears that there was hardly one ship out of ten lost on the sea, but on the ocean of life there is hardly one soul saved out of ten.

Who, then, will not tremble in the midst of so many perils? Who will not seek to avoid the treacherous snares of this world? Who will venture to go unarmed into the midst of so many enemies? Who will not fly from this Egypt, from this Babylon, from the flames of this Sodom and Gomorrha?

“Can a man,” says Solomon, “hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn? Or can he walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?” [Prov. vi. 27, 28.]

“He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled with it, and he that hath fellowship with the proud shall put on pride.” [Ecclus. xiii. 1.]

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