And now our friend, up to so recently a man of virtuous habits, is going from weakness to ever greater weakness, and will soon place his foot upon an incline so slippery that he will be utterly unable to keep himself from falling. Deep in his heart he is miserable, and vaguely realizes that all this agitation is not according to the Heart of God, but the only result is that he hurls himself even more blindly into the whirlpool in order to drown his remorse. His faults are piled up to a fatal degree. Things that used to trouble the upright conscience of this man are now despised as vain scruples. He is fond of proclaiming that a man ought to live with the times, meet the enemy on equal terms, and so he praises the active virtues to the skies, expressing nothing but scorn for what he disdainfully calls “the piety of a bygone day.” Anyway, his enterprises prosper more than ever. Everybody is talking about them. Each day witnesses some new success. “God is blessing our work,” exclaims the deluded man, over whom, tomorrow, perhaps the angels will be weeping for a mortal sin. How did this soul fall into so lamentable a state? Inexperience, presumption, vanity, carelessness, and cowardice are the answer. Haphazardly, without stopping to reflect on his inadequate spiritual resources, he threw himself into the midst of dangers. When his reserves of the interior life ran out, he found himself in the position of an uncautious swimmer who has no longer the strength to fight against the current, and is being swept away to the abyss.Friends, here we see how slippery of a slope the "heresy of good works" is. How is this possible? Dom Chautard tells us himself that it is from "inexperience, presumption, vanity, carelessness, and cowardice." How often have we expressed such faulty character traits in our own apostolates?
Even though these passages have painted a dreary portrait of a soul who has fallen into the heresy of good works, there is hope for a soul who has fallen into heresy and tepidity.
For now, let us repeat these words of Dom Chautard:
Let us pause a moment to look back over the road that has been traveled, and to estimate the depth of the fall.We will pick up this series after a day's respite.