Chapter XIII
Love Endureth All Things


The Crucifixion - by VITALE DA BOLOGNA - from Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Composition brings together all the Components making up the Crucifixion Episode: the Virgin and the Three (3) Mary's; the Magdalene kneeling-at the Foot-of the Cross; the Soldiers playing Dice in the Foreground; the Good Centurion giving Christ the Sponge, with the Vinegar; the Good Thief (on the Left, his Soul being carried off by an Angel); and the Bad Thief (on the Right, his Soul being Carried-off by a Devil); and finally, the Skeleton-of-Adam. Adam and other Just-Fathers, await the Coming of Christ to Limbus Patrum. (Refer to 'Descent to Hell', for more Detail on this Subject)

 

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 XIII
Love Endureth All Things

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Those who Love Jesus Christ with a Strong Love, do not 'Cease' to Love Him, when they are 'Asked' to 'Endure' all Sorts-of Temptations and Desolations.

Temptation and Desolation, Try those who Love God, far-more-than the Pains-of Sickness, or Poverty, or Persecution. At those Times, in our Lives, when we 'Experience' the Loving Presence-of God, we feel so Removed-from Human Trials, that we are even Comforted-by them, because they give us an Opportunity for 'Showing' God some Proof-of our Love. But, when we are Faced-with the Temptation of Rejecting Divine Grace, or are Tormented-by the Fear that we have already Lost it, our Anguish seems almost too-much-to 'Bear'. The same Love, however, 'Gives' us the Strength to 'Endure' everything with-Patience, and to 'Continue'-on the Path-to Holiness. God 'Permits' these Trials, to 'Test' our Love.

God 'Permits' these Trials, to 'Test' our Love.

God's Tests-of Our Love, are Easy, Open-Book Tests; and Unlimited, Top-Notch, Free Consulting/Psychiatric/Psychological Services from the Test-Giver Himself, are also available Instantly, 24/7.

Saint Paul reminds us that God will not 'Allow' us to be Tested, beyond our Strength -
(1Corinthians 10:13).

Open-Book Tests! Access to a Lifetime of Loving, Actual-Graces Absolutely No Secrets or Favoritism among Peoples! Public Access-to Two (2) Thousand Years of Previous, Successful Tests! Our Greatest Enemy is Constantly Visible-to us, in any Mirror How Difficult can it All be?

 

Temptations

Temptations are the most-Serious Trials that can 'Afflict' those, who Love Jesus Christ. They can 'Accept' every other Evil with-Resignation, because they know that such Crises will 'Bind' them closer-to God. But Temptation to 'Commit' Sin, might 'Separate' them from Jesus Christ, so their 'Torture' is Intense.

 

Why God Permits Temptation

We know that Temptation to 'Commit' Sin, comes from the Devil or from our Weak Human Nature; but we know that God sometimes 'Permits' the Souls Dearest-to Him, to become the Most Seriously Tempted. He 'Allows' this so that we can Discover our own Weakness, and 'Recognize' how much we 'Need' the Help-of-God. When God 'Favors' us with Consolations, we feel Ready-to 'Conquer' every Enemy and to do any Work-for God. But when we are Severely Tempted, and on the Brink-of Falling, we finally Begin-to 'Recognize' our Inability-to 'Resist' the Trials, without the Help-of-God.

God also 'Permits' Temptation, in-order-to 'Detach' us more-Completely from this Life, and to-Strengthen our 'Desire'-to 'Join' Him in Heaven. We know that as-long-as we Live-on this Earth, we will be Faced-with Temptation. This is why the Saints 'Long-for' Death, which will 'Free' them from the Danger-of Losing God.

Almighty God also 'Permits' us to be 'Tempted' to-Increase our Merit. We need not Think, therefore, that we are Abandoned, when we are 'Tempted'. Rather, we have Reason-to 'Hope', that God Loves us very-much. Evil Thoughts, of-themselves, do not 'Cause' us to-Stop Loving God; only Deliberate 'Consent' to-them, does that. No matter how Filthy or how Violent, the Suggestions-of the Devil, they cannot 'Leave' the Slightest Stain on our Soul, if we do not 'Consent' to-them. They can even 'Make' the Soul Purer, Stronger, and Dearer to Almighty God.

Saint Paul reminds us that God will not 'Allow' us to be Tested, beyond our Strength:

"Let no Temptation take hold on you, but such as is Human. And God is Faithful, Who will not Suffer you to be Tempted, above-that which you are Able: but will make also with Temptation, Issue, that you may be able to Bear it" - 1Corinthians 10:13.

God frequently-'Lets' Souls Dearest-to Him, 'Suffer' Temptations, to Give them a further Source-of-Merit and Glory. Stagnant Water, soon becomes Putrid. Similarly, Souls left without any Struggle or Temptation, are in Serious Danger-of being Lost, because of an Exaggerated 'Conception'-of their own Virtue. They 'Think' they have already 'Achieved' Perfection, and so have little-to Fear, and Consequently make only Slight Effort to 'Recommend' themselves to God. But when, on-the-contrary, they are Tempted, and see themselves in Danger-of Falling into Sin, they Turn-to God:

They 'Ask' Mary to-Intercede for them;
They 'Renew' their Resolutions;
They Humble themselves, and
'Throw' themselves into the Arms-of God's Mercy.

And thus they 'Find' Renewed-Strength, and Closer-Union (1) with God.

We must not 'Seek' Temptation, however. On the Contrary, we should 'Beg' God to-'Deliver' us from it. This is the Reason-for the Petition-of the Our Father:

"And Lead us not into Temptation. But Deliver us from Evil. Amen" - Matthew 6:13.

When we are Tempted, then, we should be neither Ashamed nor Discouraged. We must 'Place' all our Faith in Jesus Christ and 'Beg' Him to 'Help' us. He will never Fail-to 'Give' us the Strength to 'Resist'.

 

Means of Overcoming Temptation

Spiritual Writers suggest various Means, for 'Overcoming' Temptation, but the most-Important one is to 'Turn' Immediately to-God, and 'Say' with Humility and Confidence: "Deliver me in Thy Justice, and Rescue me. Incline Thy Ear unto me, and Save me" - Psalm 70:2. This Short Prayer, will Help us to 'Resist' all the Powers-of-Hell; for God is Infinitely (∞) more-Powerful, than All-of-them.

How can we Doubt the Help-of the Lord, after all the Promises, made-in Sacred Scripture?

"Come to Me, all you that Labor, and are Burdened, and I will Refresh you" - Matthew 11:28.

"And Call upon Me in the Day of Trouble: I will Deliver thee, and thou shalt Glorify Me" - Psalm 49:15.

"Then shalt thou Call, and the Lord shall Hear: thou shalt Cry, and He shall Say, Here I am" - Isaiah 58:9.

If all Souls would 'Turn' to God, whenever they are Tempted to 'Offend' Him, they would never 'Commit' Sin. They 'Fall', because they Prefer-to 'Lose' God, the Highest Good, rather than Give-up their Fleeting Pleasures. Experience proves-that those who Turn-to God in Temptation, do not 'Fall', and this is especially True-of Temptations against Purity.

In Temptations against Faith and Purity, we must make it a Rule, never to Try-to 'Fight' the Temptation Head-on; rather, we should 'Try' to-get Rid-of it Indirectly, by Making an Act of-Love for-God, or of-Sorrow for-Sin; and Try-to 'Distract' our Minds, with some other Thought. When we First (1st) 'Detect' a Temptation, we should not Stop, to-'Examine' it. We must 'Shake-off' the Evil Suggestions, as-quickly-as we would, Sparks-from a Fire.

Like Children in-Danger, we should Cry-out for-Help, Immediately. Seek the Help-of Jesus and Mary, Instantly, without 'Considering' the Temptation, for a Moment.

Should the Temptation 'Persist', we must not become Troubled or Angry, because-of it; for this might 'Play-into' the Hands-of-the-Enemy. Instead, we should make an Act-of Humble 'Resignation-to' the Will-of-God, Who 'Permits' it; 'Saying': "O Lord, I Deserve to Suffer these Temptations, in Punishment for my Sins, but You must Help to Free me, from them".

As long, then, as the Temptation 'Persists', we should never-Cease ' Praying', and 'Renewing' our Resolution-to 'Endure' Anything, rather than Offend God. And even if the Temptation becomes so-Violent, that we are on the Verge-of Consenting-to it, we must simply re-Double our Prayers - in the Presence-of the Blessed Sacrament, or with a Crucifix in-hand and 'Beg' God with Greater Fervor, to 'Help' us. God 'Hears' everyone who Prays to Him, and we must 'Trust-in' Him, rather-than in our own Strength. Almighty God 'Permits' these Struggles, and then He Himself 'Compensates-for' our Weakness, and 'Grants' us Victory.

It may happen-that, Persons who have 'Lead' a Virtuous Life, for a considerable Period-of-Time, will on occasion, be in Doubt about whether they gave Consent-to a Grievous Sin. Such Persons can be Perfectly Assured-that, they have not Lost Divine Grace. Why? Because it is Morally Impossible for the Will - 'Confirmed' in-Grace for a Considerable Length-of-Time to 'Undergo' so Total a Change, as to 'Consent' to a Mortal Sin, without clearly 'Knowing' it. Mortal Sin is so-Horrible a Monster, that if it were to 'Enter' a Soul, which has long-Held it in Abhorence, that Soul would be fully-Aware-of it. No one can 'Commit' a Sin, without 'Knowing' it.

This Thought is Worth 'Repeating': The Greatest means-of Overcoming Temptation, is Prayer. And we must never-Stop Praying, in the Face-of Temptation. Almighty God frequently Wills Success, not to the First (1st) Prayer, but to the Second (2nd), Third (3rd), or Fourth (4th). We must 'Try' to-Realize, that our Whole Future 'Depends' on Prayer, along with Perfection, Perseverance, and Eternal (∞) Salvation.

Without the Help-of-God, we are Powerless to-'Overcome' Temptation.
The Spirit-of-God Dispenses His Fruits-and-Gifts, 24/7, to Help us.

Without the Help-of-God, we are Powerless to-'Overcome' Temptation. Saint Paul tell us how to 'Prepare' ourselves, to 'Meet' the Enemy: "And Take-unto you the Helmet-of Salvation, and the Sword-of the Spirit (which is the Word of God). By all Prayer and Supplication, Praying at all times in the Spirit; and in the same, Watching-with all Instance and Supplication for all the Saints" - Ephesians 6:17,18. And Our Lord Warns us: "Watch ye, and Pray that ye Enter not into Temptation. The Spirit indeed is Willing, but the Flesh Weak" - Matthew 26:41.

Undoubtedly, Sermons, Meditations, and Mortifications are Great Aids to the Spiritual Life; but if we do not Turn-to God in-Prayer, when we are Tempted, we will 'Fall' - and this in-spite-of all our Meditations, Communions, Penances, and Good Resolutions. If we really 'Desire' Salvation, then, we must Pray Continually-to Jesus Christ, most especially when we are Tempted.

 

Desolations

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Self-Will/
Psychosomatic Powers
Passions/Emotions/
Sensible Appetites/
Feelings/Imagination
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Intellect/
Superior Will/Love/
Reason/Grace/
Infused Knowledge/
Heart/Conscience
(Dominant Partner)

The Will Resides-in the Soul of a Person.
Anger and the other Feelings/Passions/Appetites, Reside-in the Body.
Strength is Manifested-in our Control-of the Will-of the Soul.
Love and Charity are an Act-of the Will.

 

We are Mistaken, if we 'Judge' our Devotion, by the Consolations which we Feel. True Devotion consists in a Determined-Will, to-do what 'Pleases' God. This is why Almighty God, sometimes 'Uses' Desolations (or Aridity), in-order-to 'Draw' His Dearest Souls, Closer-to Himself. The Greatest Obstacle to Real Union (1) with God, is Attachment-to Self-Will, so when God Wills to-'Draw' Souls to His Perfect Love, He 'Tries' to 'Detach' them, from Created-Goods.

God usually 'Begins' the Process, by 'Filling' the Souls 'Seeking' Perfection, with Great Consolation and Tenderness, so that they Willingly 'Search'-for Ways-of Mortifying themselves, by various Kinds-of Penances. Spiritual Directors, or Counselors, will usually not give Permission-for all the Mortifications, such Souls 'Request', because, under the Impulse-of Sensible Fervor, they could easily Ruin their Health, by Indiscretion. Directors will, instead, 'Encourage' Beginners to-'Practice' Greater Interior Mortifications 'Bearing' Insults Patiently, 'Being' Obedient-to Proper Authority, Mortifying Curiosity. When these Practices become Habits, these Souls can then Proceed-to External-Ones. It is a Serious Mistake to-Teach as-some-do that Exterior Mortifications are Necessary. Undoubtedly, Interior Mortification is most necessary-for Salvation and Perfection, but it does not 'Follow', that External Penance is Useless. Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, 'Taught' that One who Refuses to-Practice External Mortification, will not be Interiorly Mortified.

When Souls, in the Beginning-of their Conversion to-God, become 'Detached'-from Creatures, and 'Attached' to God, their Attachment is still Imperfect. It 'Stems' more from a Feeling-of Consolation, than from a Real Desire to-'Please' God. They Deceive themselves, however, if they 'Believe' that the more they 'Feel' Pleasure, the more they Love Almighty God. If the Food-of-Consolation is 'Withheld', at some Point-in-Time, they are Disturbed. This a Common Defect-of our Miserable Human-Nature; to 'Seek' our own Satisfaction, in Everything we do.

***

Object

True
Self-Love
Love of God and Neighbor
Supernatural Love
Sanctification
of All
Salvation of All
Inordinate
Self-Love
Satisfy Sensory Appetites
Satisfy Bodily Emotions
Satisfy Pride/Ego
Satisfy
Worldly Desires

When some Souls 'Lose' Sensible Consolation, they either Forsake their Spiritual Exercises, or at-least 'Shorten' them. They continue-to 'Shorten' them day-by-day, until they 'Stop' them Completely. This 'Happens' to many Souls, 'Chosen' to Love Almighty God. They 'Begin' the Way-of-Perfection, and Make-Progress, as-long-as Consolation 'Lasts'; and when that Feeling 'Disappears', they Relapse-into their Former Ways. But they must be completely-'Convinced', that the Love-of-God does not Consist-in Feelings-of Tenderness and Consolation - only in the 'Conquest'-of Self-Love, and in 'Following' the Will-of-God.

It does not require any Great Virtue, for Souls to 'Sacrifice' Sensual-Delight, when they are in the Midst-of Consolation. Such Souls can Endure anything. But the Endurance sometimes 'Stems' more-from the Consolations themselves, than from the Strength-of a True Love, for God. This is why the Lord 'Withdraws' Himself from-them, and Deprives them of Sensible Devotion - in-order-to 'Give' them a Solid Foundation, in Virtue. He Wants-to 'Free' them from every Attachment-of Self-Love, which was only 'Fed'-by such Consolations.

Once, they may have 'Felt' Joy, in 'Making' Acts-of Confidence, Oblation, and Love. Now, that the Stream-of Consolation is 'Dried-up', they 'Make' them, only-with Coldness and Agonizing Effort. They find in them Nothing-but Darkness and Fear, and All is Lost, in their Opinion. They Pray and Pray-again, and still are 'Overwhelmed' with Sadness, because God 'Seems' to-have 'Abandoned' them.

When Almighty God, in His Mercy, Wills to-Console us, with His Presence, we should Gratefully 'Receive' Him. But, we must be-Careful not to-'Rest' our Delight, in these Feelings-of Spiritual Tenderness. Rather, we should 'Humble' Ourselves, by 'Recalling' the Sins of our Past Life, and Realize-that this Grace is the Fruit-of the Goodness-of God, and perhaps a Preparation-for some Trial, Soon-to 'Come'. We should therefore 'Take' this Opportunity, to-'Offer' ourselves to-Suffer every Pain Internal or External that might Happen-to us; every-Illness, every-Persecution, and every-Spiritual Desolation. And we should 'Tell' Him:

O my Lord, I Stand before You.
Do with me, as You Will.
Give me the Grace to Love You,
and to do Your Will Perfectly.
I ask no more than this.

Amen

It is One-thing to 'Perform' an Act-of-Virtue, such-as:

to-'Repel' a Temptation,
to-'Trust' in God,
to-'Love' God, and
to-'Will' what He Wills;

but it is quite something else, to be Conscious-of 'Making' these Good Acts. The Consciousness-of 'Doing' Good, 'Gives' us Pleasure, but Merit consists-in actually 'Doing' the Good. God is Satisfied-with the Act, but He has the Right-to Deprive us, of its Satisfaction. By 'Removing' from us, all Self-Satisfaction, the Lord 'Seeks' our Real Advantage, over our Apparent Pleasure. For, it must be 'Repeated':

Perfection Consists-in the Mortification-of our own Will, and
in its Union (1) with the Will-of-God.

It may be Useless - and perhaps a Source-of still Greater Agitation - to 'Want' to 'Seek' Assurance, that we are in the Grace-of-God, and that what we are 'Experiencing', is only a Trial, and not Abandonment, on the Part-of God. At such Times, it is God's Will, that we should not have this Assurance. And He does this, so that we may 'Humble' ourselves More, and Increase our Prayers and Acts-of Confidence, in His Mercy. We Desire-to 'See', and God Wills that we should not 'See'.

The Resolution not to 'Consent' to any Sin, is a Sure Sign that we are in God's Grace. But, if we are in Deep Desolation, it is Difficult for us to 'Recognize' this Resolution. Nevertheless, in such a State, we should not try to-Feel, what we 'Will'. It is Enough, to 'Will' it with the Tip-of the Will, and 'Deliver' ourselves Interiorly-into the Arms-of Divine Goodness. Such Acts-of Confidence and Resignation, 'Enrapture' the Heart-of-God, when we 'Make' them in the midst-of Darkness and Desolation. We should simply Trust-in a God, Who Loves us much more, than we Love Ourselves.

 

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

 

Prayer

Jesus, my Hope and my Love, I do not Deserve Your Consolations. Keep them for those Innocent Souls who have always Loved You. Sinner as I am, I do not Deserve them. I do not Ask for them.

Give me, instead, the Grace to-Love You, and to do Your Will. Never Leave me in my own hands, for a Minute. Give me the Strength to Vanquish Temptation, and to Conquer myself. Give me the Grace, to always Turn-to You. I give You my Body, my Soul, my Will, and my Liberty. I want to Live-for You alone.

My Creator and my Redeemer, I Desire to become a Saint, and I Trust that You will Grant me this Grace. Deprive me of everything, but not of Your Grace, or Your Love.

O Mary, the Hope of Sinners, your Power is Great with-God. I Trust in your Intercession. I Beg you, by your Love-for Jesus Christ, help me to become a Saint.

Amen

- End of Chapter XIII -

 

Concerning Dryness or
Spiritual Aridity

from The Spiritual Combat,
by Father Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

 

The Spiritual Combat, by Father Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, is a famous Classic on the Strategy for achieving Spiritual Perfection and Salvation. First Published in 1589, it was the favorite Book of the Great Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Doctor-of-the-Church and Master-of the Spiritual Life; he carried a Copy in his Pocket for 18 years, read from it every day, and recommended it to everyone under his direction.