Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Prepare yourself for battle

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Your desire for intimacy with the Lord must be accompanied by the desire for virtue and the hatred of sin.  You must have clarity of vision when it comes to the nature of not only the spiritual battle that all Christians are called to in this regard, but the intensity of the struggle for those so deeply committed and consecrated to prayer.  The moment the commitment to adoration and to pray for priests is made Hell will unleash its forces against you - assailing you in all manner of ways. Habits of mind and behavior will conspire against you to resist the changes that you have resolved to make.  Have no illusions Daughters - the Evil One will seek to get his clutches on you and "leave nothing undone to ruin you."

Yet you must not give yourselves over to discouragement.  Keep before your mind always the love and life that your Lord promises.  Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more and where evil is present there also is God and His angels and saints.  Against the habit of mind and behavior that would lead to sin you have the habit of virtue strengthened by grace.  Let the pure and ineffable joys of the Holy Spirit spur you on to victory.

You will no sooner have resolved to give yourself to God than Hell will send out its forces against you. The flesh, corrupted from its birth by the poison of the serpent, will assail you with its insatiable desires and alluring pleasures. Evil habits as strong as nature itself will fiercely resist this change of life and exaggerate the difficulties which you will encounter. 

To turn a river from its course is hardly more laborious than to change a life confirmed by inveterate habits. The world, as powerful as it is cruel, will wage a fierce war against you. Armed with its pleasures and bad examples, it will hasten to compass your downfall. At one time it will seek to captivate your heart with its pomps and vanities. At another time it will strive to entangle you in the net of its ways and maxims. Again it will boldly attack you with ridicule, raillery, and persecution. The devil himself, the arch-deceiver, will renew his warfare and turn all his forces against you. Enraged at your desertion from his party, he will leave nothing undone to ruin you. . .  .

That you may not be discouraged, bear in mind that the prize for which you are striving is worth more than all you can ever give to purchase it. Remember that you have powerful defenders ever near you. Against the assaults of corrupt nature you have God's grace. Against the snares of the devil you have the almighty power of God. Against the allurements of evil habits you have the force of good habits confirmed by grace. Against a multitude of evil spirits you have numberless angels of light. Against the bad example and persecutions of the world you have the good example and strengthening exhortations of the saints. Against the sinful pleasures and vain joys of the world you have the pure joys and ineffable consolations of the Holy Ghost.

Venerable Louis of Granada. 
The Sinner's Guide (p. 183).