There you have our apostle, filled with his desire to throw himself into active works, and on the point of entering upon this ministry which is so completely new to him. It is not long before circumstances that inevitably arise from these works (as will readily be understood by anyone who has led the active life) produce a thousand-and-one occasions to draw him more and more out of himself; there are countless appeals to his naive curiosity, unnumbered occasions of falling into sin from which we may suppose he has hitherto been protected by the peaceful atmosphere of his home, his seminary, his community, or his novitiate — or at least by the guidance of an experienced director. Not only is there an increasing dissipation-, or the ever growing danger of a curiosity that has to find out all about everything; not only more and more displays of impatience or injured feelings, of vanity or jealousy, presumption or dejection, partiality or detraction, but there is also a progressive development of the weaknesses of his soul and of all the more or less subtle forms of sensuality. And all these foes are preparing to force an unrelenting battle upon this soul so ill-prepared for such violent and unceasing attacks. And it therefore falls victim to frequent wounds! Indeed, it is a wonder when there is any resistance at all on the part of a soul whose piety is so superficial — a soul already captivated by the too natural satisfaction it takes in pouring out its energies and exercising all its talents upon a worthy cause! Besides, the devil is wide awake, on the look-out for his anticipated prey. And far from disturbing this sense of satisfaction, he does all in his power to encourage it.Friends, has this happened to us? Have we abandoned ourselves to our natural energies, our natural gifts, and our concupiscence without nourishing our interior lives, which would also give us the graces to counter this concupiscence? Without turning to God first and foremost - or, if we do, has it been superficial and lacking the level of conversation appropriate to the One Who Created us? Have we succumbed to the devil and his willies in all of their forms?
This particular danger need not solely apply to brand-new apostolates - this can and does happen to apostolates which have been running for a number of years.