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Spiritual Weeds

Header-Pulling nasty spiritual weeds from the soul

 

Modern man has a certain understanding of the virtues. When asked about them, meekness and kindness, even justice and fortitude immediately come to mind. However, there is one virtue which is almost entirely unknown. This virtue, which "…comprehends the rest, or supplies for all that may be wanting in them,"1 is vigilance.

The word vigilance means a close and alert watchfulness against danger. When applied to the spiritual life, it signifies the virtue whereby man directs this watchfulness against the three fetters pulling him towards damnation: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Like an army with no sentry, the man who lacks vigilance is defenseless against the continual assaults unleashed by the devil. In the Garden of Olives, Our Lord warned the apostles to this end, "Watch ye: and pray that ye enter not into temptation." (Matthew 26:41)

 

Three Steps to Vigilance

To better understand vigilance, and therefore simplify its practice, the great Catholic thinker, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira divided it into three main steps: suspicion, watchfulness and pugnacity.

 

1. Suspicion

Attempting to destroy the notions of good and evil in man, the Revolution2 denies the existence of Original Sin. As a result, modern man is not concerned about falling into sin and immerses himself in a world of immodest fashions, pornography and many other occasions of sin.

On the other hand, the Church teaches that after Original Sin man's inclinations are so corrupt and his passions so disordered that he is incapable of maintaining a friendship with God without the continual help of grace. Saint Paul calls men "bodies of sin" (Rom. 6:6) and speaking of the soul, Saint Louis de Montfort wrote:

We are naturally prouder than peacocks, more groveling than toads, more vile than unclean animals, more envious than serpents, more gluttonous than hogs, more furious than tigers, lazier than tortoises, weaker than reeds, and more capricious than weathercocks. We have within ourselves nothing but nothingness and sin, and we deserve nothing but the anger of God and everlasting Hell.3

Saint Louis also notes that man's "best actions are ordinarily stained and corrupted by…[his] corrupt nature."4

Understanding this corruption leads one to see all one's ideas, thoughts and tendencies with the utmost suspicion. This is the first step to vigilance.

 

2. Watchfulness

Suspicion gives rise to watchfulness. The vigilant soul, mindful of his corrupt nature and the lengths to which the devil will go in his unholy struggle, is constantly on the look-out. "Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

Pointing out the addictive nature of vice, the Catholic Encyclopedia classifies it as "a habit inclining one to sin."5 Through watchfulness, the vigilant soul identifies his defects before they become habits and is therefore much more likely to overcome them.

 

3. Pugnacity

In a generic sense, pugnacity is the practice of utterly destroying one's enemies whenever, wherever and however they exist. Pugnacity applies to vigilance when it is interiorly exercised against one's defects.

Defects, like weeds left unchecked, will grow out of control and take over the garden of the soul. Also like weeds, once uprooted, any part left in the soil will soon grow back stronger than before.

The pugnacious soul, like a good gardener, spares no effort in uprooting and completely overcoming defects as soon as they appear. History is full of examples of pugnacious saints doing violence to themselves to conquer their defects.

Saint Francis of Assisi, for example, while plagued with impure thoughts, reportedly threw himself out of a window to take his mind off them.

Our Lord Himself preached this same pugnacity. And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than thy whole body be cast into hell.

And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

 

Vigilance and Confidence

Realizing that his neighbor has the same bad inclinations that he has, the vigilant soul regards him with the same suspicion he regards himself. This is not to say that he is overly critical and unfriendly, but rather that he puts none of his confidence in mere creatures which Saint Theresa called, "dry branches that break under the first pressure."6

Like the wise man who built his house on rock (Matthew 7:24-27), the vigilant man possesses that special confidence which is anchored only in the firm rock of God, His Divine Church and His Holy Mother. Satan may unleash tempests and floods of fury, and his secure house will not succumb.

 

Vigilance, the Key to Counter-Revolutionary Living

In his book Revolution and Counter Revolution, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira insightfully pointed out how the Revolution makes use of the tendencies of man to reach its insidious goals.7 It introduces temptations and obstacles inside culture contrary to the practice of Christian virtue. Because of this all-encompassing influence, vigilance is essential to identify and destroy these evils.

For this reason, anyone aspiring to a Counter-revolutionary life must especially consider this virtue in developing his spiritual life. Through this virtue, the ever-present assistance of Our Lady will give him the eyes to see and the power to overcome all adversity and attain sanctity to which all men are called.

 

Our Lady of Vigilance, pray for us.

 


(Originally published under the title: Vigilance, A Counter Revolutionary Virtue, by Michael Whitcraft)

Footnotes:
1. Ven. Louis of Granada, The Sinner's Guide, Chapter 47, https://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/granada40-48.htm. [back to text]
2. The Revolution here refers to the anti-Christian, five hundred year-old process, described by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in the book Revolution and Counter-Revolution.
[back to text]

3. St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, translated by Fr. Frederick William Faber, D.D., Tan Books and Publishers Inc., Rockford Ill. 1941, p. 49. [back to text]
4. Ibid. p. 48. [back to text]
5. The Catholic Encyclopedia, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15403c.htm [back to text]
6. Quoted by Fr. Thomas de Saint Laurent, The Book of Confidence, p. 26, America Needs Fatima, Crompond, NY, 1989. [back to text]
7. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, Chapter 5. [back to text]


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 22, 2019

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember...

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September 22

 

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking
is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint,
in spite of his present weakness.

St. Thomas of Villanova


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Thomas of Villanova

When the emperor discovered his secretary had written the na...

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St. Thomas of Villanova

Thomas was born in Castile, Spain in 1488. His family was not wealthy, but his father’s work as a miller allowed the family to be charitable and generous towards the poor. He was sent to school at the University of Alcala at the age of sixteen, where he threw himself enthusiastically into his studies and, ten years later, became professor of philosophy.

In 1516 he joined the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained a priest two years later. He eventually became prior in several houses of the Augustinian Order, notably Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid. When Don Jorge, the Archbishop of Valencia, resigned, the emperor did not offer Thomas the see because he knew the high position would be a grievous trial for the humble friar-priest. Instead, the emperor nominated a religious of the Order of St. Jerome. However, when the emperor discovered his secretary had written the name of Brother Thomas of Villanova on the letter of nomination, he took it as a sign from God and appointed Thomas bishop. The year was 1545.

Thomas immediately began to restore the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was deeply committed to the poor, established care for orphans and convinced the emperor to provide funds to organize priests for service among the converted Moors who had lapsed back into their old religion for lack of a shepherd.

Renowned for his personal charity, sanctity and austerities, Thomas was eventually consecrated archbishop. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent supporter of the Reformation against the Lutheran heresy.

Thomas of Villanova died in 1555 of angina at the age of sixty-seven. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

Order your free 8x10 picture of Our Lady of Fatima

As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

Order your free 8x10 picture of Our Lady of Fatima

 

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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