Here, Fr. Chautard is merely describing an active man with no interior life or a bare one at the very least, in simple terms.
To sum up such a one in a word; perhaps he is not yet tepid, but he is bound to become so. However, when a man is tepid, with a tepidity that is not merely in the feelings, or due to weakness, but residing in the will, that man has resigned himself to consent habitually to levity and neglect, or at any rate to cease fighting them. He has come to terms with deliberate venial sin, and by that very fact, he has robbed his soul of its assurance of eternal salvation. Indeed, he is disposing and even leading it on to mortal sin.10 Such also is St. Alphonsus’ teaching on tepidity, so well expounded by his disciple, Fr. Desurmont.11 Now how is it that, without an interior life, the active worker inevitably slides into tepidity? Inevitably, we say; and the only proof we need for this is the statement of a missionary bishop to his priests, a statement all the more terrifying by its truth, since it comes straight from a heart consumed with zeal for good works and filled with a spirit that goes clean contrary to anything that smacks of quietism. “There is one thing,” said Cardinal Lavigerie, “one thing of which you must be fully persuaded, and it is that for an apostle there is no halfway between total sanctity, at least faithfully and courageously desired and sought after, and absolute perversion.”Friends, does this describe us? Have we fallen into the heresy of good works? Are we on the way to becoming tepid, to the point where the Lord will spit us out of His Mouth? Or are we already tepid?
This will be continued.