Chapter IV
Love is not Snobbish (Blind to what is Holy)
(Charity Dealeth not Perversely)


Crucifixion - by ANDREA DEL CASTAGNO - from National Gallery, London

 

Jesus Christ Died in-Battle, for us

Greater Love than this, no Man hath,
that a Man lay-down his Life, for his Friends.
(John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet
ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)

 

Some People make Perfection, Consist-in an Austere Life;
others in Prayer; others in Frequenting the Sacraments;
others in Almsgiving. But they Deceive themselves:
Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart.
Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love He has Shown us,
in His Passion and Death.

 

Nota Bene: Bible Verses quoted-in this Book are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, commissioned-by the Catholic Church.

 

Chapter IV
Love is not Snobbish (Blind to what is Holy)
(Charity Dealeth not Perversely)

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Saint Gregory says the Words "Dealeth not Perversely", mean that Love so-Concentrates on-God, that it "Ignores whatever is not Right and Holy". In Colossians 3:14, Saint Paul states: "But above all these things have Charity (Love), which is the Bond-of-Perfection". And since Love delights-in Perfection, it consequently Loathes the Luke Warmness, with-which some Serve God, at the Risk-of Losing their very Souls.

 

Luke Warmness

Those who Desire-to Love Jesus Christ, must avoid Luke Warmness, putting-aside their Snobbish Attitude, toward what is Right and Holy.

There are Two (2) Types-of Tepidity or Luke Warmness:

One (1) is Unavoidable;
the Other (2) is not, Unavoidable.

 

Indeliberate (Unavoidable) Faults

Even the Saints were not Free-from the Unavoidable Luke Warmness, that consists-of all the Faults that are Committed, without Complete-Consent, but are the Result-of Human Frailty - for example, Distractions during Prayer, Interior-Struggles, Unnecessary-Conversation, Idle-Curiosity, Preferences in Eating or Drinking, the Stirrings-of Passion not-Instantly Quenched, and such like. We must Avoid these Faults, as-much-as possible, but, because of the Weakness-of our Fallen Nature, we cannot Possibly Avoid them Completely. We should, indeed, 'Detest' them after 'Committing' them, because they Displease God; but we should be-Careful, not-to let them become a Source-of undue-Tension. If such Thoughts Disturb us, they should Instantly be Put-aside.

 

Corruption of Human Nature by Original Sin -
The Mother of God did not Possess this Corruption
"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee, . . . "

Nature of Man
>>>

Original
Justice

Original
Sin

After Redemption
by Christ's Passion

Glorified
Nature

Grace: >>
Intellect: >>

Infused Grace & Knowledge

Lost Grace -
Ignorance

Grace Restored -
Ignorance

Vision of God

Will: >>

Loving Obedience

Tends to Malice

Tends to Malice

Love Perfected

Passions: >>

Spontaneous Virtue

Concupiscence

Concupiscence

Perfect Joy

Body: >>

Immortal

Suffering/Death

Suffering/Death

Immortal

Concupiscence = The Loss of the Harmony, Integrity, Coordination or Balance between Body and Soul. The Emotions of the Body are not Docile Servants of the Soul, but often Rebel-against the Limitations, which Reason, Enlightened-by Faith, Impose-as the Norm-of-Action.

 

An Act-of-Sorrow, an Act-of-Love is enough to 'Blot-out' these Unavoidable Faults. The same Effect is Achieved-by the Reception-of Holy Communion. Thus, these Unavoidable Faults - even though they Really-are Faults - do not-'Prevent' us from Growing-in Holiness, because in this Life, we cannot-Reach Complete Perfection. That will come, only when we 'Enter' the Kingdom-of-the-Saints.

 

Deliberate (Avoidable) Faults

The Luke Warmness that does 'Hinder' Perfection, is the Tepidity which is Avoidable, as-when we Commit Deliberate Venial Faults. Willful Lies, Minor Detractions, Fits-of-Temper, Cutting Remarks, Words-of Self-Praise, Continued Resentments, Inordinate Attachments all these could Readily-be Avoided, with the Help-of God's Grace.

We should, therefore, Tremble-at such Deliberate Faults, because they can Deprive us of God's Light and Help. As a Result, we Drag-through our Spiritual Exercises, with Weariness and Pain, and in-Time, Abandon Prayer and Devotion-to the Blessed Sacrament. And Finally, we are Severely Tempted to Forsake Everything.

Recall the Words, from the Book-of-Revelation (3:15-16): "I know thy Works, that thou art neither Cold, nor Hot. I would thou wert Cold, or Hot. But, because thou art Luke Warm, and neither Cold, not Hot, I will begin to-Vomit thee out of My Mouth". Is it really better to be Cold, than to be Luke Warm? Yes, in a Certain Sense it is; those who are Cold (Deprived-of Grace), will more-easily Amend their Lives, because their Tortured Consciences 'Bother' them; but Luke Warm Persons, tend-to Sleep-on their Faults, without Bothering to-Correct themselves.

When Tethered-to the Things-of this World, the Soul can not Fly-to God. "While we are Bound-to-Earth, even by the Thinnest Thread, we cannot Fly-to God. Many People never-Reach Sanctity, because they Refuse to-do themselves the Violence, Necessary-to 'Snap' these Thin Threads."

 

Some 'Pamper' their Faults, and this Leads-to their own Destruction, especially-if the Fault is Coupled-with a Passionate Self-love, Ambition, or Resentment-of others. Such Persons will never become Saints, and will Lose the Crown that God has Prepared-for them, had they remained Faithful-to His Grace. While we are Bound-to-Earth, even by the Thinnest Thread, we cannot Fly-to God. Many People never-Reach Sanctity, because they Refuse to-do themselves the Violence, Necessary-to 'Snap' these Thin Threads.

All Tepidity (Luke Warmness) is due to a Lack-of Love, for Jesus Christ. Those who are Bloated-with Self-love, who become-Downcast when things do not go their-Way, who Purposely-encourage Distractions, who Cater-to their own-Comfort, who Resent every little Lack-of-Attention from others - all these are often Troubled, and as-a-Consequence, gradually find themselves Avoiding Prayer. One Minute - depending-on their Mood - they are Overjoyed, and the Next, they are Brooding Impatiently. Such Persons do not really Love Jesus Christ, or they Love Him very-Little.

If ever we find ourselves in this Miserable State, it is very Difficult to 'Regain' our Lost Fervor. But Our Lord has Promised-that, things that are Impossible-for Men and Women, are Possible-for God (see Luke 18:27). Those who Pray, and Resolve-to use the necessary-Means, are sure-to 'Regain' their Fervor.

 

Cures for Luke Warmness

There are Five (5) Ways of Curing the Spiritual Disease-of Luke Warmness. Those who use the following-Means to 'Overcome' their Tepidity, have an Excellent Chance of Recapturing, their former Ardor.

 

 

 

Definition of 'Desire' - from the New Catholic Dictionary
One (1) of the Six (6) Passions of the Concupiscible Appetite, Opposed-to Aversion When one, not Knowing, Desires to do everything God Wishes, as a Means-of Salvation.

1) Desire for Holiness

Desire, not only Gives the Strength to Advance-toward Holiness, but it also 'Lightens' the Burden-of the Journey. Those who really Desire to-become Holy, never stop-Striving, and so they must finally-Reach it. On-the-other-hand, those who have no-such Desire, are always moving-Backward, and will gradually-Find themselves, more Imperfect than before. As Saint Augustine says: "Not to go-Forward, on the Path-to God, is to-go Backward".

Those who say, "God does not-Expect Everyone, to become Saints", are 'Mistaken'. Saint Paul writes: "For this is the Will-of-God, your Sanctification" - 1Thessalonians 4:3. We are All Expected to-become Saints, each Person, in-accord-with his or her, Calling-in-Life.

How Beautiful are the Words-of Saint Teresa, on this Subject: "Let us Expand our Thoughts . . . We must Beware-of Barren Desires. Instead, we should put all our Trust-in God, so that by always Pushing Forward, we may eventually, by Divine Grace, reach the Goal Attained-by so many Saints". The Saint herself had this Desire, and Spirit-of-Generosity. She once told Our Lord that if she were to see Others in-Paradise, 'Enjoying' Him more than she Could, she would not-Care. But, if she were to see anyone Loving Him, more-than she Should have Loved Him, she said that she did not-Know, how she could-Stand it.

We must, therefore, have Great Courage: "The Lord is Good to them, that Hope-in Him, to the Soul that Seeketh Him" - Lamentations 3:25. Even Past Sins, cannot Prevent us from becoming Saints, if we Sincerely Desire it. "And we Know, that to them that Love God, all things Work-together unto Good, to such as, according-to His Purpose, are Called to be Saints" - Romans 8:28. So, even Past Sins can Contribute-to our Holiness, because the Memory-of them, keeps us more-Humble and more-Grateful; and because they Help us to-Realize the Favors, God Showers-on us, even after we have Offended Him.

I am Capable-of Nothing (the Sinner should say); I 'Deserve' only Hell; but I Love a God of Infinite (∞) Generosity, Who has Promised-to Listen-to All, who Pray-to Him. And since He has 'Rescued' me from Hell, and 'Wants' me to become Holy, and 'Gives' me His Help, I can certainly Become a Saint, not by my own-Strength, but by the Grace-of-God, Who 'Strengthens' me. "I can do all these Things in-Him, Who Strengtheneth me" - Philippians 4:13.

Once we have developed a Firm Desire for-Perfection, we 'Put' our Trust in-God, and 'Try' to-Fulfill our Desires. But, if we later 'Encounter' Obstacles, we must Rest Quietly, in the Will-of-God. God's Will must be-Preferred, even-to our own Great Desires.

 

2) Resolution to Achieve Holiness

All Persons, are Called-to Holiness. Spurred-on by Grace, they 'Develop' a Desire-for it; but, because they never really Resolve-to Work-toward it, many Live and Die in the Disagreeable Odor-of their Imperfect Lives. The mere Desire-for Holiness, is not enough; it must be Followed-by a Strong Resolution to 'Achieve' it. How many Souls, 'Feed' themselves on-Desires, but never-Take One (1) Step, toward God? Imperfect Souls 'Generate' noble-Desires, but never-Resolve to-take the Means necessary, to-Become Saints. They tell themselves, that if they were only-in some Hermitage, and not in this House, they would become Saints. There, they say, they could 'Surrender' themselves Completely-to God. And meanwhile, they cannot endure a single Word-of-Contradiction, or get-along-with a certain Companion. They Exhaust themselves with many Senseless Worries, and Commit a Thousand (103) Faults of Gluttony, Curiosity, and Pride. Their Desires to be in some Other Place, do more Harm than Good, because they have no direct-Influence, on their Lives-of Imperfection.

We must, therefore, not only Desire Perfection, but also Resolutely-Take the Means to-Achieve it. Saint Teresa says: "The Lord only Waits, for a Single Resolution from us, and He will then do all the Rest Himself". Mental Prayer is Vitally Important, in this Area. Some Pray a Great Deal, but never come-to a Practical Resolution.

Our Initial (1st)-Resolution, must be to-Make every Effort to-Avoid Committing the Smallest Deliberate Sin. While it is True that our own Efforts, without God's Help, will not 'Conquer' Temptation, God 'Wants' us to-Use Severe Measures with-Ourselves, before He Strengthens us with His Grace, to-Aid our Weakness, and 'Ensure' our Victory. This Resolution, 'Removes' the Obstacles to our Progress, and at the same-Time, 'Fortifies' us with Courage, because it 'Provides' us with Assurance-of-Being, in God's Grace.

All this, 'Requires' what is called Delicacy-of Conscience. It is One-thing to-have a Delicate Conscience, and quite Another, to have a 'Scrupulous' One. A Delicate Conscience is a Means-of-Growth, but a 'Scrupulous' One, can only do Harm. We must, therefore, 'Obey' our Spiritual Directors, and 'Overcome' 'Scruples', which are simply False Alarms.

Conscience is an Act-of-the-Intellect, which Applies the Moral Law to a Particular Case. Conscience therefore Refers-to a Primordial Moral Law, not to a Personís own Feelings.

For these Reasons, it is Necessary to-Resolve on 'Choosing', not only what is Agreeable-to God, but what is most-Agreeable to-Him, without any Reserve. And we must begin-Quickly, not Waiting-for Tomorrow. In the Next Life, there is no-more Time to-Work, or make-Plans, or seek-Advice. After Death, what is-Done, is-Done.

Each Day, we must Begin-again, and Resolve-to 'Belong' Completely-to God. Nor should we Stop-to See, How-or-What, others may Do. Not too-many Persons here on Earth, actually become Saints; and if we 'Imitate' the Mediocrity-of many others, we will always Remain Imperfect. We must, therefore, 'Renounce' Everything, in-order-to 'Gain' Everything (∞). The Saints did not-Know how to-Spare themselves, when there was a Question-of 'Pleasing' the God, Who 'Gave' Himself completely, to 'Gain' their Love (see 2Corinthians 5:15).

 

3) Use of Mental Prayer

Without Mental Prayer, as a Means-of Overcoming Luke Warmness, we Stumble in Spiritual Darkness. The Truths-of-Faith are not Apparent-to our Physical Sight, and so they must be Grasped-with the Vision-of-the-Mind, in Meditation. Those who Refuse-to Meditate, will remain Blind, and, being Blind, will easily-become Attached-to Tangible Things.

Prayer is the Holy Furnace, in which the Fire-of Holy Love, is Ignited and kept-Alive.

Those who 'Stop' Praying, 'Stop' Loving Jesus Christ. Prayer is the Holy Furnace, in-which the Fire-of Holy Love, is Ignited and kept-Alive. Saint Teresa 'Affirms': "Those who do not Stop Praying, sooner-or-later Reach their Destination".

How Great are the Rewards-of Prayer? In Prayer, we 'Form' Holy Thoughts, 'Make' Fervent Affections, 'Excite' Lofty Desires, and 'Form' Efficacious Resolutions, to-'Give' ourselves Completely-to God.

We should not Go-to Prayer, merely to-Enjoy the Feeling-of Divine Love; those who Pray-with this Motive, are 'Wasting' their Time, and will 'Gain' very little. We must Begin-to Pray, simply to-Please God and to-Learn the Will-of-God for us, and to-Beg His Help to put it into-Practice. Prayer that is not Filled-with Sensible Consolation, can 'Bring' great Profit-to us. But, if we Stop Praying because we no-longer Enjoy it, we become Miserable.

Another Result-of Prayer, is that the Soul finds itself Constantly Thinking-of God. "The True Lover", says Saint Teresa, "is always Conscious-of the Loved One. And it follows that Persons-of-Prayer, are always Speaking-of God; they know how Pleasing it must be to Him, that His Lovers enjoy Talking-about Him, and His Love for them, and that they Try-to Share it, with Others".

 

 

Definition of 'Recollection' - from the New Catholic Dictionary

(Latin: Recoligere, Intensive of Colligere, get together)

Term used in Ascetical Books, to express the Attention and Concentration-of-Mind, on the Subject-of Meditation or Reading, and on the Motives or Intentions with which one should Perform various Duties; the Opposite-of Distraction, Dissipation of Mind. Saint Aloysius was Remarkable-for the Ease, with-which he kept his Mind, on the Subject-of his Prayer.

Prayer also 'Creates' an Atmosphere, which makes it Possible-for us to-Speak-to God, in Solitude. It Helps us 'Retain' Interior Recollection, even while-'Performing' External Duties. Persons, who Recklessly 'Allow' the World, to-take-over their Lives, never become Saints. Even the Saints, who Worked-to Win Souls for God, in the Everyday World, always remained-Recollected. The same is True-for those who must 'Apply' themselves to-Study. Those who must have Knowledge, because they need it to-Teach others, can do so without Losing their Recollection. But those who Abandon Prayer for-Study, show that they are Seeking only-for themselves in their Studies, and not God.

It is a Sad Fact, that without Mental Prayer, we do not Pray at-all. Prayer is a Great Means-of Salvation. (Later in this Chapter, Prayer-of-Petition will be Proposed-as One-of the Means, to-'Overcome' Luke Warmness.)

The Love we seek to-Preserve, cannot Last, unless God 'Grants' us Perseverance. But how can we Gain Perseverance, unless we 'Ask' the Lord for it? And how, other-than by-Prayer, can we 'Ask' it of-Him? Without Prayer, there is no Communication-with God, for the Preservation-of Virtue. And so it 'Happens', that those who Avoid Mental Prayer, become Unaware-of the Needs-of their Souls, and cannot even 'See' the Means they must-'Take', to-'Overcome' Temptations. This Fact cannot be-'Ignored': Those with little Understanding-of the Importance-of Prayer, will Stop Praying Completely, and will-be Lost.

As to the Subjects-for Meditation, Nothing is more-Useful, than-to Meditate-on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. But it is especially Helpful-to Meditate-on Death our Own, and that of Jesus Christ, Who Suffered and Died, that we might Live.

 

The Active Study of the Four Last Things,
and the Deep Consideration of them,
is the Thing that will Keep you, from-Sin.

--Saint Thomas More

 

4) Practice of Frequent Communion

We can do nothing more-Pleasing to Jesus Christ, than to-'Approach' Him frequently, in the Sacrament-of-the-Altar. (This has been Treated quite-Thoroughly, in the Introduction) But, in-order-to Gain the most-Benefit, from Frequent Communion, we must Prepare ourselves:

by 'Freeing' ourselves from Attachment-to Deliberate Sins;
by 'Practicing' regular Mental Prayer; and
by Mortifying our Senses and Passions.

We should also make a Careful and Fervent Thanksgiving. Saint Teresa tells us: "After Holy Communion we should be Careful, not to Lose the Opportunity of Interceding with God. His Majesty, Pays-well for His Lodging, if He is given a Good Reception".

Another Important Means-of Keeping the Fire-of-Love, Burning-in our Hearts, is the Practice-of Frequent Spiritual-Communion. Saint Thomas tells us that Spiritual-Communion, Consists-in an Ardent Desire-of 'Receiving' Jesus Christ, in the Holy Sacrament. Here are Two (2) ways to-Make it:

My Jesus, I Believe that You are Really Present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I Love You and I Desire You. Come-to my Soul. I Embrace You and Beg You,
Never to-let me be Separated-from You again.

Amen

My Jesus, I Believe that Thou art Present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I Love Thee above all-Things, and I Desire Thee in my Soul.
Since I cannot now 'Receive' Thee Sacramentally, come at-least Spiritually,
into my Heart. As though Thou wert already there, I 'Embrace' Thee and 'Unite'
myself wholly-to Thee; Permit not that I should ever be Separated-from Thee.

Amen

We can make Spiritual Communions as-often-as we Wish, each Day: during Meditation; during our Visit to the Blessed Sacrament; and especially when 'Attending' Mass.

 

5) Habit of Regular Prayer

The Most Important 'Means', for-Living a Spiritual Life, and for-Loving Jesus Christ, is Prayer. God uses this Means, to-Convince us of His Great Love for us. What Greater Proof-of Love can we Offer-to a Friend, than to say, "Ask, and you shall Receive; that your Joy may be Full" - John 16:24? When we Pray, God 'Gives' us the Grace that we 'Ask' for, even before we have Finished our Request. If we Lack Grace, then, we have only ourselves to-Blame. Our Dearth-of Grace, 'Deserves' no Sympathy from Others. The Lord wants to-Give us, whatever we 'Ask'; but if we 'Choose'-to Continue-in our Poverty, rather than to 'Ask' for what we Need, we have no one to-Blame, but ourselves.

Humble Prayer, then, 'Gains' everything-from God. It is Certain, that we Absolutely-need Divine Help, to 'Overcome' Temptation. Those who Pray, 'Gain' this Grace; and those who Refuse to-Pray, are Lost. And this is most Clearly True, in-regard-to the Grace-of-Final-Perseverance (of Dying-in the Grace-of-God). This, of course, is a Grace that is Absolutely Necessary-for our Salvation. But it is Received only-by those who Pray.

 

 

If, then, we want to Persevere-in the Grace-of-God until Death, we must 'Play' the Role-of a Beggar, and Ask-for God's Help. This Prayer should always be on our Lips:

My Jesus, Mercy.
Let me never be Separated-from You.
O Lord, come to my Aid.
My God, Help me.

These Words are especially-Helpful, when we are Severely Tempted.

We must have Great Faith in Prayer. Jesus said: "Therefore I say unto you, All things, whatsoever you Ask when ye Pray, Believe that you shall Receive; and they shall Come-unto you" - Mark 11:24.

Even if we are Sinners, we Know-that we will be-Heard. "For every one that Asketh, Receiveth; and he that Seeketh, Findeth; and to him that Knocketh, it shall be Opened" - Luke 11:10. The Power-of Prayer to obtain Graces, does not Depend-on our Merits, but on the Mercy-of-God. But the Graces that we 'Ask'-for, must be Graces related-to our Eternal (∞) Welfare. We may Ask-for Temporal Goods, but they must be Asked-for, only on the Condition-that, they will be-of Benefit-to our Souls.

 

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"O my God, make me a Saint"
Saint Alphonsus Mary Liguori

 

Prayer

Jesus, my Love, I Promise-to Love You Always. I Wish to-become a Saint, to-please You, and I want-to Love You very much - in this Life and in the Next. I can do Nothing by-myself, but You can do all-Things, and I know that You want me to-Become a Saint. I no-longer want to Live-for myself. You want me to be-completely Yours, and I want to be-completely Yours. Unite me to Yourself, and Yourself to me. You are Infinite Goodness. You are the One Who Loves me so-much. How, then, can I Love anyone else, but You?

My Redeemer, my Comforter, my Hope, my Love, I will never Despair-of 'Becoming' a Saint, even though I have Sinned, in the Past. For I know, Jesus, that You Died, in-order-to Pardon the Truly Penitent. I Love You, with my Whole Heart, with my Whole Soul. Now, I am no-longer my Own; I am Yours.

God of my Heart, do with me as You Will. In Order-to Please You, I Accept all the Sufferings, You Choose-to Send me: Sickness, Sorrow, Disgrace, Poverty, Contempt, Desolation. I 'Accept' everything to-Please You. Lend me Your Help. Only Love-of my Soul, give me the Strength-to compensate-by my Love, for the Pain I have-Caused You in the Past.

Queen-of-Heaven, Mother-of-God, Advocate-of-Sinners, I Trust-in you.

Amen