We need both the interior and exterior virtues

January 17, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 459
By Venerable Louis of Granada



Section I.

The Necessity of Exterior as well as Interior Virtues.

From the preceding principles we can deduce four consequences of great importance in the spiritual life.

The first is that a true servant of God must not be content to seek interior virtues only, though they are the noblest, but must also add the practice of exterior virtues, both to preserve the first and perfectly to fulfil the obligations of justice.

Neither the soul without the body nor the body without the soul constitutes man. In like manner true Christianity is neither wholly interior nor wholly exterior.

The union of both classes of virtues is as necessary to the perfection of the spiritual life as the union of soul and body is to the perfection of the natural life.

For as the body receives its life and dignity from the soul, so the exterior virtues receive their life and merit from our interior dispositions, particularly from charity.

Therefore he who would become a perfect Christian, must remember that the interior and exterior virtues are as inseparable as soul and body.

Let him embrace simultaneously soul and body, the treasure and the chest, the vine and its support—that is, the spiritual virtues and their defences, the exterior works of piety.

Otherwise he will lose the first, without which he can reap no profit from the second. Let him ever bear in mind these words of Holy Scripture: “He that feareth God neglecteth nothing, and he that contemneth small things shall fall little by little.” [Eccles. vii. 19, and Ecclus. xix. 1.]

The plague of gnats in Egypt was succeeded by that of flies. Beware, then, lest in despising the sting of gnats—that is, of small faults—you may fall a victim to flies—that is, to mortal sin. [Exod. viii.]

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