Thursday, 9 July 2009


There are two kinds of lukewarmness; one that can be avoided, and the other that cannot. We cannot avoid that kind which, in the present state of being, is suffered even by spiritual souls, who, through their natural weakness, cannot avoid falling, but who, from time to time, without the full consent of their will, fall into some light fault; from which defects no one is free, because of the corruption of our nature through original sin, without a most special grace, which was granted to none but the Mother of God. God himself permits these flaws in his saints, in order to keep them humble. Often they find themselves without fervor, wearied and wandering in their devout exercises; and at such times of dryness they are more apt to fall into many defects, at least without deliberation. For the rest, they who find themselves in this condition must not leave off their ordinary devotions nor lose courage, nor believe that they have fallen into real lukewarmness; for this is not lukewarmness. Let them go on with their accustomed exercises, let them detest their defects, let them often renew their resolutions of giving themselves wholly to God, and let them have confidence in him, for he will comfort them. There is true lukewarmness to be mourned over, when the soul falls into venial sins with a full will, and grieves but little for them, and takes little care to avoid them, asserting that they are trifles of no moment. What! is it nothing to displease God? St. Teresa said to her nuns, “My daughters, may God deliver you from known sins, however small.”

Yet people say, that such sins do not deprive us of the grace of God. He that says this is in imminent danger of seeing himself one day deprived of divine grace, and in a state of mortal sin. St. Gregory writes, that whoever falls into deliberate mortal sins habitually, without feeling pain at it, and without thinking of amending himself, does not stay just where he has fallen, but goes on to fall down a precipice: “The soul never lies on the spot where it falls.”1 Mortal diseases do not always spring from serious disorders, but from slight disorders of long continuance; and thus the fall of certain souls into a state of sin is often to be attributed to the repetition of venial sins, which make the soul so weak, that when it is attacked by any powerful temptation, it has no strength to resist, and so falls.

“He that despiseth little things, by little degrees shall he fall.” He that takes no account of trifling falls, will one day find himself upon a precipice. The Lord said, “Because thou art lukewarm, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth.” This signifies that the soul would be abandoned by God, or at least deprived of those special divine aids which are necessary to preserve us in a state of grace. Let us pay good heed to this. The Council of Trent condemns those who say that we can persevere in grace without a special help from God: “If any man shall say, that the justified can persevere in the justification he has received without the special help of God, let him be accursed.” Thus, we cannot persevere in grace without a special extraordinary help from God; but this special help God will justly deny to one who makes no account of committing many venial sins with his eyes open. Is God bound to give this special help to one who thinks nothing of voluntarily causing him continual displeasure? “He that sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly.” If we act grudgingly with God, how can we hope that God will act bountifully with us?

Miserable is that soul that is at peace with sin, even when it is venial! Such a one will go from bad to worse; for his passions, ever gaining strength upon him, easily blind him; and when a man is blind, it is easy for him to find himself falling down a precipice when least he expects it. Let us fear to fall into voluntary lukewarmness; for it is like a fever, that does not cause much alarm, but is in itself so malignant, that it is with great difficulty cured.

For the rest, though it is very difficult for a lukewarm person to amend, yet there are remedies, if only he desires amendment. The remedies are: 1. A resolution to escape, at all costs, from this miserable state; 2. The removal of the occasions of falling, without which there is no hope of amendment; and 3. The constant recommendation of himself to God, with fervent prayer that he would give him strength to escape from this deplorable condition, continued until he finds himself free.

O Lord, have mercy upon me! I see that I have deserved to be vomited forth by Thee, for the many defects with which I serve Thee. Miserable I am, for I see my self without love, without confidence, and without desire. O my Jesus! abandon me not; stretch forth Thy powerful hand, and drive me from this depth of lukewarmness in which I see myself fallen. Grant this through the merits of Thy passion, in which I trust. O holy Virgin, pray to Jesus for me!

1“Nunquam illic anima, quo ceciderit, jacet.” -- Moral. 1. 31, c. 12.

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