The moment you awaken, your first act should be to
fix the interior eye on how you are enclosed within a wooden
fence. There is one law: The
one who will not fight, dies an eternal death.
Within this fence, you should picture the Enemy and your wicked
inclination on the side opposite you. You have already settled on
crushing them; they are likewise armed to injure you, to deliver death
to you. On the right side is your victorious Captain, Christ Jesus,
with his most holy mother, the Virgin Mary, along with her most beloved
spouse, Joseph. Accompanying them are many squadrons of angels and
saints, in particular Saint Michael. On the left side, you should
picture the hellish demon with his own angels, determined to excite
your aforesaid passion; he is encouraging you to give in to it.
Perhaps you make out a voice within the fence, that of your guardian
angel, say. It informs you:
Today you must fight against this enemy and others. Do
not let yourself grow faint, do not lose heart; do not give in because
of fear or any other consideration, for our Lord and your Captain is
here beside you with all these glorious squadrons. He will fight
against all your enemies, and will never allow them to prevail by force
or ability (see Deuteronomy
20.3-4). Stay strong, do violence to yourself and bear the
suffering it shall give you. Cry out frequently from the inner chamber
of your heart, and call upon your Lord, the Virgin Mary and all the
saints; beyond a doubt you will come away victorious. It is true that
you are weak; you are hampered by your bad habits; and your enemies are
many and powerful.
But your creator and redeemer has many ways to
assist you. In addition, your God is powerful beyond all comparison,
and his desire to save you is greater than the enemy's desire to
see you lost.
Fight, therefore, and your sufferings will not
increase, for victory is born from
exhaustion, from violence against your wicked inclinations, and
the sorrow that you feel for your bad habits; and along with victory,
the great treasure with which the kingdom of heaven is purchased, and
the soul is eternally united with God.
You should begin to fight in the name of the Lord. Use the weapons of
distrust in yourself and confidence in God; rely on prayer and the
spiritual exercise, calling to battle your enemy and your inclination
that, according to the aforesaid order, you have resolved to conquer,
now through resistance, now through hatred, and now through contrary
acts of virtue. Repeatedly deal them mortal wounds in order to please
your Lord, who with the entire Church Triumphant observe your struggle.
Again I urge you not to shrink from the fight. Consider the obligation
each of us has to serve God and to please him, and the necessity of
fighting, the inability to flee this battle without wounds, indeed
I also tell you this: should you desire the rebel's
course of flying from God and giving yourself to the world and the
delights of the flesh, in spite of this
you will have to
struggle against many, many obstacles. Your face will sweat profusely
and mortal anguish will pierce your heart.
Consider now how insane it is to undergo such great exhaustion and
suffering in order to win endless death, just so one can escape the
exhaustion and suffering which not only end sooner, but unite us to the
eternal, infinitely blessed life where we will enjoy our God forever.