The Spiritual Combat

Chapter 18:

How to resist  our passions' sudden impulses

Your are not yet accustomed to parrying the sudden strikes of injuries or of anything else opposed to you. To do so, learn to foresee them, and then to desire them more and more often, awaiting them with a ready spirit.

This is how you will foresee them. Consider the condition of your passions; consider likewise whom you know and where you go. From such considerations you can easily suppose what could befall you. Beyond this help afforded you by keeping your spirit ready for those adversities you foresee, you can give yourself more help from other, unexpected adversities with the following method.

The moment you feel the first strikes of an injury, or of some other painful event, stay on your feet, take courage and raise your mind to God. Consider his ineffable goodness and his love for you -- this very love with which he sends you the adversity! Consider these until, by bearing the adversity out of love for God, you purify yourself all the more, drawing near and uniting yourself to him. Once you have realized how much it pleases God that you bear this adversity, turn to yourself, reprove yourself and say to yourself: "Ah! Why is it that you do not wish to bear this cross, sent to you not by this person nor that one, but by your heavenly Father?" Turn then to the cross, embrace it with as great a patience and a joy as possible, and say: "O cross, created by divine providence before I was conceived! O cross, sweetened by the sweet love of my Crucified! By now I am nailed to you so that I might give myself to the one who, by dying on you, has redeemed me."

If however your passions have initially prevailed, so that you cannot raise yourself to God, but you remain wounded, seek even so to raise yourself to God as if you were not even wounded.

For an efficacious remedy against these sudden impulses, you would do well to remove as soon as possible the source from which they proceed. Suppose, for example, that you are attached to something. You notice that your spirit is troubled when the object of your affection is denied you. The way to prepare for this is for you to accustom yourself to denying the satisfaction of your affection.

Suppose instead that your turmoil proceeds not from a thing, but from a person you cannot stand, whose every little action pricks and disturbs you. Your remedy is to force yourself to incline your will to love her and to hold her dear. Indeed, should you bear with her as a creature formed like you by a sovereign hand and redeemed by the same divine blood, she will provide you the opportunity to make yourself loving and benign to all people, and in this you will resemble your Lord.

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