Spiritual Formation (cont)
Model Of Patience
When you receive insults and offences, look at Jesus and you will have the strength to suffer everything patiently. When your anger is about to explode, say: Am I more worthy than the Son of God to deserve a better treatment than his? How can I take offence in adversities and for insults, with the Supreme Good mocked and tortured before my eyes? Can you do other than imitate Him in his gentle resignation? With these judicious warnings you will stop your fit of anger and calm your fury.
To tolerate slander meekly is simply being reasonable. in fact, if we say and accuse ourselves of being wretched and bad, and knowing we say the truth, we cannot expect our neighbour to say other-wise. To be displeased to be spoken ill of is a desire that says the opposite to what we affirm and is not true.
We should not be irritated with slanderers but thank them because they say the same as we do and help us to keep down our wicked ego.
Some revolt against any kind of lie, but not when they come in useful. Is this not ridiculous?
A bit of coherence and you will remain tranquil in the midst of the arrows of slandering tongues.
Slander Aimed At Ourselves
"But when they accuse me of something I have not done, don't they tell a lie? And should I not be displeased? And then how can slander always be true and regret unjust?"
I will reply at once to this observation that seem sensible but which is in fact a useless excuse.
What they say may be untrue, but how many other real faults are not revealed? The poor neighbour is even too indulgent and superficial in his judgments Oh, how much deeper and vast is the misery you see in your own soul! Oh, how more penetrating and comprehensive is the knowledge God has of it! He no only sees what you are, but all you could be without his grace.
You should therefore bless Him to not allow the others to know as much as you and He, so they car say very little.
Innate Tendency To Rash Judgment
Worsened By Diabolical Suggestion
It is one of the unfortunate inclinations of our ruined nature that you feel. It is quite true, we are more inclined to see evil in good than good in evil and therefore if it is easy for us to judge unfavourably, it is also very difficult for us to judge favourably.
To this unfortunate tendency Satan adds his suggestions and you are powerfully drawn to mentally condemn your neighbour.
But do not worry, the sorrow you feel when you judge rashly saves you from sin. When you cannot in any way get rid of it, be indifferent, saying: I am not the judge of my brothers, nor must I pay attention to what they do. I will pray for them all and that is enough, even if the supposed wrong is real, may God have mercy.
When it is not a question of real and definite temptations but more of physical dispositions favourable to temptations it is better to not fight against them or to remove them positively, but distract yourself or occupy yourself with something. Attending to it is harmful because it increases the feeling and consequent anxiety through suggestion.
Since you yourself see it as foolish nonsense, do not pay attention and treat it with contempt. Have recourse to the expedients alluded to. Fix your gaze in the distance, or look back, etc., etc., this saves you from the sensible impression because it distracts your attention.
You may have other tactics that may seem ridiculous and insignificant, but who cares, even pins can be useful in time of war. And any suggestion is valid
Purity And Respect For God
The enemy chatters and attacks the soul with errors and blasphemies against integrity and the Divinity; and the poor soul thinks it is responsible for having pronounced them. That is the real state of affairs. Cheer up then and do not worry.
To drive away the insolent one, call immediately on Saint Michael, his adversary, and the more horribly he blasphemes, the more you must oppose him in your heart with short prayers: Blessed be God, blessed be his holy Name, etc.
I assure you that he will leave after a bit of resistance and these prayers.
The best method to defend yourself against temptations of impurity are: 1) guard your senses to protect them from bad impressions; 2) avoid vanity; 3) do not let your heart receive impressions; 4) convince yourself of the baseness of these satisfactions; 5) avoid idleness; 6) pray detachedly when the passions are tempted. As for corporal mortifications, the fasts and abstinences ordered by Holy Mother Church are enough.
You must guard the senses and above all the eyes. These are the two doors where impressions enter and go down to the heart with all the fascination and enchantment of apparent and voluptuous beauty. As for fashion, as in our period of time, which has the deliberate intention of provoking and exposes impertinently what was once forbidden to think of, more than ever must we be prudent and have self-restraint that the fashions do not have.
When necessary look without seeing and see without reflecting.
Vanity makes the heart frivolous and more easily carried away by the aura of temptation.
The impressions of the heart are in contact with those of the senses and one affects the other.
At a certain age when reflection commands the imagination, it is very useful to reject the sensible with the conviction of its foolishness and baseness. Saint Augustine says to think that consenting to concupiscence is to become like flies and fleas who delight in these pleasures.
Consider these attractions as so much rot that is made to look attractive.
To be occupied is to not give the enemy the time and ease to display his base wares and attract your attention. Consequently Saint Bernard suggests, amongst other things, to flee idleness to triumph and save oneself from these dangers.
But the best weapon to resort to often is prayer. When the fascination has been transmitted and the fire blazes, reflections and intentions will be of no use if the One who is stronger than nature and Satan does not intervene. Indeed, arm yourself in advance against the feared attacks invoking the customary alliance saying: "Lord, you well know my weakness, either remove or mitigate the attacks."