What we must do when we are wounded

04-25-2023From the desk of Fr. Villafrom Chapter 26 of The Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli

When you feel yourself wounded, from having through your weakness, or even through willfulness it may be, fallen into some sin, do not be discouraged nor be over-anxious, but turn at once to God, and say unto Him:—"Behold, O Lord, what of myself I have done; what else could be expected of me but falls?" Then, pausing a little, humble yourself in your own eyes, bewail the offence which you have committed against your Lord, and without discouragement rouse your indignation against your vicious passions, and especially against that one which caused your fall.

Then say:—"And not even here, Lord, should I have stopped, if Thou of Thy goodness had not held me back!" After this, render Him greater thanks and love than ever, wondering at the greatness of His clemency in extending to you His right Hand to save you from another fall, when you had just offended Him. Lastly, say, with full confidence in His Infinite Mercy:—"Forgive me, O Lord, according to Thy Mercy; let me never depart from Thee nor be separated from Thee, and suffer me never to offend Thee any more." When this has been done, do not sit down to consider whether God has pardoned you or not; for this is only pride, anxiety, restlessness, waste of time, and, under color of various pretexts, a snare of the Devil. But commit yourself freely into the merciful Hands of God, and pursue your course, as if you had not fallen.

And if you should fall many times and receive many wounds in one day, do what I have told you, with the same confidence, the second, third, or even last time, as at the first; despising yourself, and detesting your sin, strive to live more watchfully. This way of taking falls is very displeasing to the Devil, both because he sees it to be very pleasing to God, and because he is thereby baffled and conquered by the one whom at first he succeeded in conquering. And, therefore, he adopts many artful devices for the purpose of leading us to relinquish it, and is often successful through our carelessness and too little watchfulness over ourselves. The more difficult you find this exercise, the more severely must you deal with yourself, renewing it again and again, even after a single fall. If, after a fall, you feel anxious, disturbed, and fearful, the first thing to aim at is the recovery of peace and tranquility of mind, and with it, your trustfulness.

Furnished with these arms, turn again to the Lord; for your distress about your sin was occasioned, not by the consideration of the offence against God, but of the loss to yourself. To recover this peace, you must for the time wholly forget your fall, and fix your mind on the unspeakable Goodness of God; considering His great readiness and eagerness to pardon every sin, however grievous; and how He calls the sinner by various means and many ways to return to Him, that He may unite him to Himself in this life, and by grace sanctify him, and in the life to come by His Glory may make him blessed forever.

When you have quieted your mind with these and similar reflections, think once more upon your fault, doing as I have already bidden you. Again, at the times of sacramental confession (and I recommend you often to resort to this) look again at your falls, and with renewed sorrow and displeasure for having offended God, and with a resolve never to offend Him more, open them with all simplicity before your spiritual father.

The Spiritual Combat Chapter 26 by Lorenzo Scupoli.
St. Francis De Sales read from this book every day.