Returning to this theme today, one needs perseverance to combat the predominant fault. If one is checking out the latest apparitions or seers, how does one have time to consider, to reflect, to go to regular confession? We must escape from the prison of our predominant fault.
|The Marshalsea Prison|
I know woman who spends inordinate amounts of money following seers and visionaries, going to conferences in various countries or even churches. They are so caught up in chasing this type of information, that they do not see the importance of a quiet, interior journey with God.
Instead of staying at home and reading the teachings of the Church, this person travels extensively to find out about false apparitions. It is almost an addiction. It is a prison. Other people are making money on her greed for experiences.
She could fight this chaotic lifestyle by three things, prayer, examination of conscience and a sanction.
It is like an interior prison that we bear about with us wherever we go. We must earnestly aspire to deliverance.
It would be a great grace for us if we were to meet a saint who would say: "This is your predominant fault and this your principal attraction of grace which you must follow generously to reach union with God." In this way Christ applied the name, "sons of thunder" (Boanerges) (6) to the young apostles James and John who wished to call down fire from heaven on a city that had refused to receive them. We read in St. Luke: "He rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save." (7) In the school of the Savior, the Boanerges became such gentle souls that toward the end of his life St. John the Evangelist could say only one thing: "My little children, . . . love one another." (8) When asked why he always repeated the same exhortation, he used to reply: "This is His commandment. . . . And he that keepeth His commandments, abideth in Him and He in him." John had lost nothing of his ardor, of his thirst for justice, but it had become spiritualized and was accompanied by a great gentleness.
HOW TO COMBAT THE PREDOMINANT FAULT
Because the predominant fault is our principal interior enemy, we must combat it. When it is conquered, temptations are no longer very dangerous, but are rather occasions of progress.
The predominant fault is not conquered, however, as long as there is no true progress in piety or the interior life, as long as the soul has not attained to a true and stable fervor of will; in other words, to that promptness of the will in the service of God which is, according to St. Thomas, the essence of true devotion.(9) In this spiritual warfare, we must have recourse to three principal means: prayer, examination of conscience, and a sanction.
Our prayer must be sincere: "Lord, show me the principal obstacle to my sanctification, the one that hinders me from profiting by graces and also by the exterior difficulties that would work to the good of my soul if I had greater recourse to Thee when they arise." The saints went so far as to say, as St. Louis Bertrand did: "Lord, here burn, here cut, and dry up in me all that hinders me from going to Thee, that Thou mayest spare me in eternity." Blessed Nicholas of Flue used to pray: "Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to Thee. Give me all that will lead me to Thee. Take me from myself and give me to Thyself."
These are excellent prayers. Memorize them, if you can. And move on to the next stage, which is self-examination. What a great overlap here between St. Ignatius, mentioned yesterday on temptation, and Garrigou-Lagrange. Keep a journal, which is very Ignatian. Look at how many times you fall into that predominant fault weekly, even daily.
This prayer does not dispense us from self-examination; on the contrary, it leads to it. And, as St. Ignatius says, it is especially suitable for beginners to write down each week the number of times they have yielded to their predominant fault which seeks to reign in them like a despot. It is easier to laugh fruitlessly at this method than to apply it fruitfully. If we keep track of the money we spend and receive, it is still more useful to know what we lose and what we gain from the spiritual point of view for eternity.
Do we budget? Do we keep track of the money we need to spend? The same type of vigilance is necessary.
More so--as our immortal souls are in danger....
It is also highly proper to impose a sanction, or penance, on ourselves each time we fall into this defect. This penance may take the form of a prayer, a moment of silence, an exterior or an interior mortification. It makes reparation for the fault and satisfaction for the penalty due it. At the same time we acquire more circumspection for the future. Thus many persons have cured themselves of the habit of cursing by imposing on themselves the obligation of giving an alms in reparation each time they fail.
If your predominant fault is greed, take less food. If it is sloth, get up earlier in the morning and pray more.
If it is pride, let others shine in your presence. If it is vainglory, stop buying new clothes all the time and look in the mirror less and so on.....
To be continued....http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/revealed-for-first-time-the-real-great-92669
One more post on this theme later today and enjoy the news article on the Great Escape.