What doth it profit a man to attend Latin Masses, but not live like the Good Samaritan?
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Sunday, 20 January 2019

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

Having covered the first stage of a soul's descent into the "heresy of good works," Dom Chautard describes the second stage: the gradual dismissal of good works which would otherwise guard against mortal sin.

Here is the first part of his description:
SECOND STAGE. If the worker were a supernatural soul, being a slave of duty he would be greedy of his time, and regulate its use, living by a schedule. He would well realize that otherwise he would be living purely from morning to night. But if he has no supernatural basis, he will soon find out about it. Since there is no spirit of faith governing his use of his time, he gives up his spiritual reading. Or else, if he still reads anything at all, he makes no studies. It was all right for the Fathers of the Church to spend the whole week preparing their Sunday sermons! For him, unless his vanity is at stake, he prefers to improvise. Yet his improvisations always hit it off with singular aptness — at least that is what be thinks! He likes to read magazines rather than books. He has no method. He flutters about from one thing to another like a butterfly. The law of work, that great law of preservation, of morality and of penance, is something he manages to escape by wasting his free time, and by the extreme pains he takes to provide himself with amusements. Anything that would interfere with his free and easy ways, he considers tiresome, and a mere matter of theory — nothing practical. He does not have nearly enough time for all his works and social obligations, or even for what he deems the necessary care of his health, or his recreations. “Really,” says the devil to him, “you are giving too much time to pious exercises: meditation, office, Mass, work of the ministry. Something has to be cut out!” Invariably he begins by shortening the meditation, by making it only irregularly, or perhaps he even gets to the point where, bit by bit, he drops it altogether. The one indispensable requisite for remaining faithful to his meditation — namely, getting up at the right time — is all the more logically abandoned since he has so many good reasons for having gone to bed late the night before.
Without a schedule, made worse by the lack of spiritual works, man quickly falls prey to the devil. As the saints have told us through the ages, Satan finds an idle man easier to succumb to his willies than one who keeps his body and mind oriented towards God. 

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