Monday, 8 October 2012

Ten counsels to lead the soul in the way of salvation. St John of Avila

I. At once to reject from your mind not only rash judgments of your neighbour but the very thought of his faults or sins. Turn your mind towards God and show Him the wounds of your own soul that He may cure them.

II. If you have not the strength to desire sufferings, censures, vexations, or affronts, rudeness and hard work, at least endure them patiently and in silence: do not concern yourself to know from whom they come, but look upon them as sent from the hand of God. Pray to Him for those who are the cause of these trials and beg Him to give you grace to bear them for His love, reflecting that patience in suffering is a sign of salvation.

III. Return thanks to God for all your spiritual graces, natural gifts and every other good that you possess, attributing nothing to yourself except your sins, faults and imper fections.

 IV. When any feeling of jealousy arises in your mind on account of the spiritual, natural, or temporal advantages of your neighbour, lift up your heart to God, begging of Him to increase these gifts in your brethren; rejoice in the well-being of others and be sorry for their short-comings.

V. Let it be your firm conviction that you 
should neither desire nor strive for anything 
but to possess the grace and love of God, to 
avoid offending Him and to please Him in all 
things. Whether death or life, sickness or 
health, joy or sadness, honour or shame, be 
your lot, whether you be the Rector or the 
cook, either here or at the other end of the 
world, it will matter nothing, except in so far 
as it brings you nearer to God. 

VI. Be persuaded of this truth, that as long 
as you live you will have to suffer trials, sorrows, 
temptations, and the cross, for this is the livery 
of the servants of Jesus Christ our Lord. Bear 
these patiently, remembering that your sins are 
many and deserve far greater punishments : 
" The life of man upon earth is a warfare." 
(Job VII. i.) and: "He that shall persevere 
unto the end, he shall be saved." (St. Matth. 
X. 22.) 

VII. Whenever you give way to any thought, 
word, or work of pride, such as, that you are 
better, or more useful, or in any way preferable 
to others, reject it instantly as most abhorrent 
to God. Confess your sins and faults to Him 
and beg Him to remedy them: "For God 
resisteth the proud, but to the humble he 
giveth grace." (i. Pet. V. 5.) 

VIII. When reason tells you that others are 
guilty of some matter as to which you are 
innocent, do not excuse yourself, though you 
are not blameworthy, but accuse yourself and 
praise your brother, even if it bring upon you 
punishment, or reproof, or pain. Though upon 
this occasion you have not deserved it, yet your 
past sins have merited this penance; thus you 
can never suffer as one wholly innocent, and 
therefore never exculpate yourself. 

IX. Frequently during the day, but especially 
when you make your examination of conscience, 
remember to render thanks to our Lord Jesus 
Christ for having redeemed you and made you 
a friend of God, and for having gained so many 
benefits for you by His Passion and sufferings. 
Bless God for having given Him to you; you 
should also glorify God for His own Perfections. 

X. The fruit of Holy Communion and of all 
other spiritual exercises should be to obtain for 
us greater strength to serve and love our Lord, 
to resist temptations, to bear our trials with 
patience, and not to afford us sweetness or 
pleasant feelings, which are usually signs of 
imperfection and may even be sent by the devil 
to deceive us. Do not therefore strive to gain 
these sentiments if our Lord does not send 
them to you, and if He should, beware of 
presumption by despising your neighbour 
because he is without them, for, very possibly, 
he is holier and more dear to God than you are. 

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