What doth it profit a man to attend Latin Masses, but not live like the Good Samaritan?
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Monday, 14 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Two

Here, Fr. Chautard describes the seeds of the 'heresy of good works' found in a soul who is enamored with ideals but fails to take into account the 'nitty-gritty' of what really needs to be there for one's good works to bear good fruit.
First let us go back to the seed of corruption fostered in our nature by concupiscence, and the fight to the death that is ever waged against us by your enemies, within as well as without. Let us go back to the dangers that threaten us on every side. With this in mind, let us consider what happens to a soul that enters upon the apostolate without being sufficiently forewarned and forearmed against its dangers. Fr. (or Mr.) So-and-So feels within himself a growing desire to consecrate himself to good works. He has no experience whatever. But his liking for the apostolate gives us the right to suppose that he has a certain amount of fire, some impetuosity of character, is fond of action, and also perhaps, inclined to relish a bit of a fight. Let us imagine him to be correct in his conduct, a man of piety and even to devotion; but his piety is more in the feelings than in the will, and his devotion is not the light reflected by a soul resolute in seeking nothing but the good pleasure of God, but a pious routine, the result of praiseworthy habits. Mental prayer, if indeed he practices it at all, is for him a species of day-dreaming, and his spiritual reading is governed by curiosity, without any real influence on his conduct. Perhaps the devil even eggs him on by reason of an illusory artistic sense, which the poor soul mistakes for an “inner life,” to dabble in treatises on the lofty and extraordinary paths of union with God, and these fill him with admiration and enthusiasm. All in all, there is little genuine inner life, if any at all, in this soul which still has, we grant, a certain number of good habits, many natural assets and a certain loyal desire to be faithful to God; but that desire is altogether too vague.
Friends, are we guilty of heaping loads of idealism on the good works we imagine ourselves capable of without injecting a good dose of realism into our veins? Have we already sown the seeds of our own fatigue and defeat before we have even begun our good works?

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