EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Spiritual Combat”

A. What is it?

>> “Spiritual Combat” is a 17th century Catholic Spiritual Classic on Ascetic Theology

>> Fr Lorenzo Scupoli is considered to be its author.

>> St. Francis de Sales called the “Spiritual Combat” as the “Golden Book”. This “the favorite, the dear book” of the great master of spiritual life was carried by him for 18 years. The Saint read some pages of it every day, entrusted to its supernatural and human wisdom, the guidance of his soul, and recommended it to all under his direction.         

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Spiritual Combat” is a practical manual of living. It is a personal “do-it-yourself” book that allows the reader to put the truths of Christian spiritual warfare into practice on a daily basis.

>> The purpose of the book is to lead the soul to the summit of spiritual perfection, by means of a constant, courageous struggle against our evil nature, which tends to keep us away from that goal.

>> The “Spiritual Combat” consists of 66 short chapters based on the maxim that in the spiritual life one must either “fight or die”.

>> It shows the Christian how to combat his passions and vices, especially impurity and sloth, in order to arrive at victory.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “Spiritual Combat” analyses various human situations and advises how to cope with them, preserving a pure conscience and improving virtue.

>> The whole human history has been the story of the combat with the powers of evil. In the midst of the battlefield, human beings have to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.

>> The fundamental scripture at the heart of the “Spiritual Combat” is “None shall be crowned who has not fought well” (2 Tim 2:5)

2. Battle One Passion, at a time!

>> Don’t randomly practice virtues.

>> Instead, wage war against your worst passions and practice the opposite virtue.

3. There are 7 Spiritual weapons that are prescribed

(i) Distrust of Self    

(ii) Trust in God       

(iii) Spiritual Exercises (Practise of 1 virtue at a time)                

(iv) Prayer     

(v) Holy Eucharist     

(vi) Spiritual Communion   

(vii) Examination of Conscience

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Spiritual Combat” for this Season of Lent?

1. Recognizing that we are Soldiers for Christ in this world

2. Never being discouraged, even in the midst of immense hardships

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Being optimistic and trusting in God, even when things don’t seem to be going “our way”

2. Filling our hearts with the “Spirit of Joy” by invoking a short prayer, especially in moments of tension and anxiety: Jesus, I trust in You!

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Catholic Classic “Spiritual Combat” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

(The Full Text of “Spiritual Combat” can be found at:

http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/combat.htm)

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