How to preserve Devotion, which will preserve the other Virtues

January 16, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 457
By Venerable Louis of Granada

To acquire and preserve this precious virtue of devotion, which of itself disposes us for the practice of all other virtues, we must watch over ourselves with special vigilance.

So little suffices to make us lose this delicate virtue. Frivolous conversations, excessive mirth, immoderate indulgence at table, slight anger, unnecessary disputes, curiosity and eagerness to see and hear what does not concern us, besides many similar faults, while not grave in themselves, weaken, and sometimes destroy, the spirit of devotion.

To preserve the intense heat communicated to it by the fire iron must be kept continually in the furnace, or, at least, it must seldom be withdrawal. Otherwise it will quickly resume its former temperature. In like manner, if we would keep our hearts inflamed with the fire of devotion, we must remain closely united to God by the practices we have mentioned.

These reflections will show us the importance of the second class of virtues, and the relation which they bear to the others. The first class forms the end; the second are the means to attain this end. The first may be said to be the health of the body; the second, the medicine to obtain it. The first may be regarded as the spirit, the second as the body, of religion, but absolutely necessary for its welfare.

By observing the counsels we have here laid down you will avoid two equally lamentable errors. One was that of the Pharisees in the time of Christ, and the other is that of certain heretics of the present day.

The Pharisees, carnal and ambitious men, accustomed to the literal observance of a law then framed for a carnal people, disregarded true justice and interior virtues, and were satisfied, according to the expression of the apostle, with “an appearance of godliness.” [2 Tim. iii. 5.] Under a virtuous exterior they concealed a corrupt and wicked heart.

The heretics of our day, endeavoring to avoid this error, fell into the opposite extreme, and preached contempt for exterior practices.

But the Catholic Church preserves a happy medium between both, and, while maintaining the superiority of the interior virtues, recognizes the merit and advantage of those that are exterior, just as in a well-governed commonwealth each one enjoys the merit and prerogatives which belong to him.

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