The Spiritual Combat

Chapter 15:

Some counsels regarding how to fight
and especially against whom
and with which virtue

You have now seen, daughter, the manner in which you ought to fight to conquer yourself and to decorate yourself with the virtues. In addition you should now make yourself aware that: to bring back victory over your enemies with the greatest of speed and ease, it is necessary to fight. Indeed, it is necessary that you should fight daily, in particular against love of self. Accustom yourself to receive as dear friends the insults and molestations that the world may give you. And from not engaging this battle, and from giving it little importance, it has happened, and it does happen, as I indicated above, that victories are difficult, rare, imperfect and unstable.

I further advise you that you must undertake your struggle with strength of spirit, that you will easily acquire [victory] if you ask it of God. If you should think of the anger, the perennial hatred and the great number of the squadrons and armies of the enemy, you should consider instead how infinitely greater are the goodness of God and the love with which He loves you; think also of the number of angels in heaven and the prayers of the saints that fight on our behalf. From this very consideration it has come about that many fragile women have overcome and conquered all the power and wisdom of the world, all the assaults of the flesh and all of Hell's rage.

Because of this you should never let yourself be frightened, even if, at times, your enemies' battle grows hotter, and it may last your entire life, and certain falls threaten you from various quarters: in fact you must know, beyond what I have said, that our enemies' every energy and consideration are in the hands of our divine Captain, in whose honor we fight. Because we esteem him indescribably and because he himself calls us to the battle, not only will he never permit violence to be done to us, but, fighting himself for you, he will give you victory over them at a time of his pleasing, and with great reward for you -- even should he wait until the last day of your life.

This alone is left to you: that you fight generously and that, notwithstanding your numerous wounds, you never abandon your weapons, nor give yourself to flight. In the end, so that you may fight with valor, you must know that you cannot avoid this battle: if you refuse to fight, you will die. Beyond this, we have to face enemies of such qualities and hatred, that we can entertain hope neither for peace or even a ceasefire.

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"many fragile women": As in chapter 1's reference to women "in particular", the reader should not misread Scupoli as some sort of misogynist.