Tuesday, November 29, 2022

How to Fight Against Lust

IN ENCOUNTERING THIS VICE we must use special tactics and greater resolution. In order to do this we must distinguish three phases of the operation------the first, which precedes the temptation------the second, during the temptation------the third, which follows the temptation.

1. Before the time of temptation we must avoid all persons and occasions that would expose us to sin. If it is necessary that we speak to such people, do it as speedily as possible; speak only on serious subjects with corresponding modesty and gravity. We must not permit the conversation to become familiar or frivolous.

Do not presume on your own strength despite the fact that after many years spent in the world you have remained firm against the force of concupiscence. For lust often achieves in one instant what whole years could not effect. Sometimes it will make long preparations for the assault. Then the wound is more dangerous when it comes least expected and under a disguise.

Avoid undue familiarity.
It must likewise be noted, and every day experience proves this, that the danger is always greatest on those occasions where there is the least appearance of evil. Here it is founded on the plausible pretenses of friendship, gratitude, obligation, or on the merit and virtue of the persons involved. Impure inclinations imperceptibly insinuate themselves into such friendships through frequent visits, prolonged conversations, and indiscreet familiarities until the poison reaches the heart. The intellect, then, is so blinded that it even connives at amorous glances, tender expressions, and facetious liberties in conversation which bring violent and almost irresistible temptations.

Fugite! (cf. 1 Cor. 6:18; Gen. 39:12)
a. Be cautious------run away------you are more susceptible to occasions of this sin than straw is to fire. Do not rely on your own strength or on some resolution you have taken to die rather than offend God. Despite your good intentions, frequent exciting conversations will enkindle a flame that cannot be extinguished. The impetuous desire of satisfying your passions will make you deaf to the warning of your friends. You will lose the fear of God, your reputation and even your life will be disregarded. Not even the fear of the flames of Hell will be able to master the fury of the sensual fires enkindled in your heart. Look for safety, then, in flight. There is no other way to escape. Too much confidence will end in eternal destruction. Regarding lust, flight is the best fight.

b. Avoid idleness. Determine what you have to do, and then fulfill exactly the duties of your position in life.

c. Obey your superiors (and all rightful authority) promptly; do what they command. In the things that are most mortifying and opposed to your inclinations, be even more cheerful.

d. Never judge others rashly, particularly in regard to impurity. If any are unfortunate enough to fall into such disorder, and even if the affair becomes public, you must not treat them with scorn and contempt. Rather pity their weakness, and take advantage of the occasion to humble yourself before God, acknowledging that you are but dust and ashes. Redouble your prayers and avoid with greater care all dangerous company, however insignificant may be your reasons for suspecting it. For if you permit yourself the liberty of severe judgments on your neighbors, God will permit you, for your punishment and amendment, to fall into the same faults for which you condemned others, in order that by such humiliation you may discover your own pride and rashness, and then you can find proper remedies for both.

Although it is possible that you would avoid these degrading sins, yet be assured that, if you continue to form these rash judgments, you are: in great danger of ruin.

e. If you discover that your heart is rich in spiritual comforts and joys, you must be on guard against a secret complacency with yourself, against imagining that you have attained perfection and that the enemy can no longer do you any harm because you apparently have nothing but scorn and contempt for him. The greatest caution is necessary here to prevent a relapse.

2. During the actual time of temptation. In the first place, we must determine whether the cause of the temptation is exterior or interior.

By an exterior cause is meant curiosity of the eyes or ears to the point where decency suffers, vanity in one's dress, too tender friendships, and indiscreet familiarities. Modesty and decency are the proper remedies for this evil; they shut the eyes and ears to those things that cloud the imagination. The real remedy, as we have said, is to run away from all such occasions of sin.

Interior causes proceed from a pampered body, from many bad thoughts that come from evil habits or the suggestions of the devil. When the body has been pampered too much, it must be mortified by fasting, discipline, and other austerities which, however, must always be regulated by discretion and obedience.

From whatever source unchaste thoughts may arise, we can drive them away by serious application to our proper duties, and by prayer and meditation.

Your prayer should be conducted in the following manner. When you see these thoughts present themselves and attempt to make an impression, recollect yourself and speak to Christ crucified saying: 
"Sweet Jesus, come to my rescue, that I may not fall a victim to my enemies." 
On certain occasions you may embrace a Crucifix representing your dying Savior, kiss the marks of the Sacred Wounds on His feet and say with great confidence and affection:
"O adorable, thrice holy Wounds! Imprint your marks on my heart which is filled with evil, and preserve me from consenting to sin."
In your meditations I am not of the opinion [as several authors are] that, when the temptation is most violent, you should consider the degrading and insatiable nature of these sins in order to establish a hatred for impurity, that you should consider how they are followed by disgust, remorse and anxiety, even by the loss of one's fortune, health, life, honor, etc. These considerations are not appropriate to the situation and, instead of freeing us from the danger, they frequently only increase it. If the understanding drives away evil thoughts, these reflections naturally call them back.

The best way to become free of these is to remove not only the thoughts themselves, but also the reflections directly contrary to them. In attempting to dissipate them by their contraries, we merely renew the impure ideas and unconsciously imprint them still deeper. Be satisfied with meditation on the life and death of our Savior. If, while you are doing this, the same thoughts should return, even more disturbing than before, as may possibly happen, do not be discouraged or abandon your meditation, do not exert yourself in driving them away. Ignore and despise these miserable deceits of the devil and persist, with all possible attention, in your meditation on the death of our Savior. Nothing can be more effective in putting your enemy to flight, despite his determination to resist.

Conclude your meditation with some prayer such as the following:
"O My Creator and Redeemer, save me from my enemies through Thy infinite goodness and the merits of Thy bitter passion."
But remember, when you say this do not think about the particular vice from which you are endeavoring to free yourself. The least reflection on it may be dangerous. Above all, do not waste any time disputing with yourself about how much you may have yielded to the temptation. Such scrutiny is an invention of the enemy, who under the deceiving appearance of an imaginary duty, attempts to renew the attack, or at least hopes to make some impression with the bad thoughts he had poured into your mind. When, therefore, it is evident that you have consented to the evil, let it suffice to tell your confessor/spiritual director in a few words just what has occurred. Do just as he advises, and do not trouble yourself further with it.

You must be sure, however, not to conceal anything because of shame or any other reason. If humility is necessary to conquer our common enemies, it is infinitely more so in this case because this vice is, for the most part, a just punishment for pride.

3. After you have conquered the temptation, you should conduct yourself as follows. Although you enjoy complete peace and consider yourself safe, avoid with the greatest care all objects that tend to temptation. Exclude them completely from your mind, even if they seem to be virtuous or good. These perversions are the illusions of a corrupt nature or traps laid by the devil, who would transform himself into an Angel of light in order to drag you down with him into the darkness of Hell itself.

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Devotion of "The Three Hail Mary's"

Below I suggest an easy way to fulfill the powerful daily devotion of the three Hail Mary's. Then I offer a few brief reasons for it.

The Devotion of "The Three Hail Mary's"

At bedtime, at the bedside, kneeling, make The Sign of the Cross and say three Hail Mary's and a Glory Be, closing again with The Sign of the Cross. (At the start of this nightly devotion it is good to make also a brief examination of conscience [with a quick glance over the day] to repent of one's sins and make a short Act of Contrition, e.g. Kyrie eleison [Lord, have mercy!].)

Rising, again kneeling at the bedside, make The Sign of the Cross and say the three Hail Mary's and a Glory Be, closing with The Sign of the Cross. At the start of this morning prayer it is good to briefly make the intention to offer the day to God with all of its joys and sorrows. (An Apostle's Creed may be used for this daily offering.)

Another convenient and highly commendable context of the three Hail Mary's is at midday, to simply say The Angelus, wherever you may find yourself. It consists, basically, in three Hail Mary's.

Some Reasons for this Devotion

Piety, supernatural piety is essential for man, because man is relational, and the most basic relationship is man's personal intimate relationship with God, responding to the divine initiative. It is of the distinctive nature of man to think of his own approaching death, judgment, and eternal retribution (heaven and hell). "I am the Lord your God" is the first commandment of the law of God. To love God is the first necessity of man, and the best way to do that is through Mary.

Constancy is an important virtue to persevere in piety, to have a serious interior life with God. It is important to make a commitment to God and to keep it. "Make your vows to the Lord and keep them." Psalm 76:11

The Church, in fact, grants a plenary indulgence, available at the moment of death (in articulo mortis), to faithful, properly disposed, who habitually recited some prayers in their lifetime, even if unable to be assisted by a priest and the sacraments. That is an assurance of heaven, for those who want to be saved.
Enchiridion of Indulgences, 1968, 28.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


Humility consists in three things: penitence/confession, forgiveness, and right worship.

In his treatise on humility Saint Bernard names three levels of truth as the sources of true humility.

1. Consider and admit one's own wretchedness => confession and penitence.

2. Have pity on the wretchedness of others, in light of the consideration of one's own wretchedness => fraternal correction and forgiveness.

3. Purify the eye of one's heart to contemplate heavenly and divine things.

Friday, November 4, 2022

College Catholic Identity

Below are ten questions of The National Catholic Register for determining the Catholic identity of Catholic Colleges.

44 Colleges in 2022 are on record with their affirmative responses.

  1. Did the president make the public “Profession of Faith” and take the “Oath of Fidelity”? Yes
  2. Is the majority of the board of trustees Catholic? Yes
  3. Is the majority of the faculty Catholic? Yes
  4. Do you publicly require all Catholic theology professors to have the mandatum? Yes
  5. Did all Catholic theology professors take the “Oath of Fidelity”? Yes
  6. Do you provide daily Mass and posted times (at least weekly) for individual confession? Yes
  7. Do you exclude advocates of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning or advocates of the redefinition of marriage as commencement speakers and/or recipients of honorary degrees? Yes
  8. Do you exclude sponsoring campus groups and clubs that are not in line with Catholic teaching? Yes
  9. Do you prohibit coed dorms? Yes
  10. Do your student health services prohibit referrals to abortion businesses? Yes
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