The Spiritual Combat

Chapter 4:

How to determine if one acts with mistrust of oneself and confidence in God

At times, it appears to the presumptuous servant to have obtained mistrust of self and confidence in God, but it is not so. What makes this clear is the effect that a fall has in you.

This is a certain sign that you trusted in yourself and not God: if, when you fall, you are disturbed, you become sad and you feel in yourself the despairing certainty of being unable to go ahead like this and do good. If your sadness and despair are great, you trusted greatly in yourself and little in God. In fact, the one who by and large mistrusts herself and trusts in God does not marvel at her fall. She does not become saddened, nor does she waste time with regret, knowing that this has happened to her on account of her weakness and lack of trust in God. To the contrary, she mistrusts herself all the more, and trusts in God much more humbly. She hates above all else the defect and disordered passions which caused her fall. In great pain, and calm and peaceful on account of the offense to God, she returns to the task and gives chase to her enemies with greater spirit and resolve, to the point of their death.

How I wish these things would be considered carefully by certain people who call themselves "spiritual"! When they incur some defect, they cannot find, nor do they wish themselves, any peace. At times, more to free themselves from anxiety and disturbance caused by self-love than to accomplish anything else, they can hardly await the hour to find their spiritual father. They ought instead to seek him out in order to be washed from the stain of their sin, and to take strength against it with with the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.

Previous Chapter · Table of Contents · Next Chapter