Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dom Lorenzo Scupoli (d. 1610) on how to deal with trials (from Spiritual Combat)

In talking to one of the ORC priests at Assumption Grotto recently, I was looking for some good resources on a particular topic when he asked me if I had ever read, "Spiritual Combat."  I must have heard of it, but there are so many mistaken ideas about fighting for the Church, that I probably dismissed it.  True combat is not something Catholics do with others; it's what they do within themselves.  The spiritual battle is within, and it's against the self*, and against principalities and powers (read Ephesians 6:10-20).

So, I downloaded onto my e-Reader the kindle version of "The Spiritual Combat".

It was written in the late 1500's by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli.  St. Francis de Sales called it the, "golden book" and carried a copy for 18 years.

Right out the gate in chapter 1 this book grabs you in an eye-opening way.  That quote at top, snagged with my S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 10.1, is from Chapter 1.  I'm now in Chapter 5 and it is an addicting read.  This is one of those things you can easily limit to just one or a handful of chapters per day.  In fact, it's probably best read that way so things an be absorbed.

If you are looking for something that will have you commiserating about all that is going wrong, or that will have you looking at everyone else's faults and imperfections, don't get this book.  If you want something that will help you grow in holiness, and help you to weather storms that come from members within the Church and from those outside of it, this should be in your reading list.

I don't know if the Grotto Gift Shop has it, so ask.  Otherwise, you can get it at places like Amazon in formats ranging from Kindle to paperback from various publishers.

There are versions of it that can be read online.  Try the links at the bottom of the page for Lorenzo Scupoli on wikipedia.  But, this is a big book that is probably best read in a comfortable way.

*Edited to include a note about the battle within the self to avoid leading others to believe everything bad or difficult comes from the Evil One. God permits Satan to tempt us, but often times, the difficulty comes from within our ourselves.  Concupiscence leads us to gravitate to lower things in life and to take lower paths amidst trials.  In that sense, the Angel of Darkness requires no assistance as we yield to our own fallen nature.

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