Along with the book "The Imitation of Christ", "The Spiritual Combat" is a classic essay that every Catholic should read. It was written in the 16th century by Father Lawrence Scupoli, and has been used by many saints throughout the centuries, most notably by St. Francis de Sales, who called it his "golden book". This book leads one away from our lustful human nature into a state of spiritual perfection, by giving us all concrete ways to fight satan, our flesh, and the world. The natural state of man is sin and death; the supernatural state of man is virtue and salvation. Only by overcoming our natural state through supernatural means can we hope to attain heaven. Spiritual reading is one way to do that, because what we put into our thoughts soon becomes our actions. Always remember that life has many choices, but eternity has only two - heaven or hell. This book, along with "The Imitation of Christ" and the Holy Bible will program you to choose heaven through your thoughts, deeds and actions. Overcoming the flesh and satan is never easy, and is a constant battle. But just like in war, we can lose a few battles but still win the war if we get up and keep on fighting. It's only when we stay down and give up that we lose our souls. So get up off of the ground, go to confession, start going to daily Mass, say your rosary EVERY DAY, start your spiritual reading program, and get with the program. Your soul, as well as the souls that you encounter every day, are at stake. Don't put it off until tomorrow, because you are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
As St. Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-17:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Here is a sample from the book, Chapter 65, "Concerning Temptation to Vainglory"...
65: Concerning Temptation To Vainglory.
"The third assault is that of vainglory and presumption. Dread nothing so much as yielding in the least way to an exalted opinion of your person or your good works. Take no glory but in the Lord, and acknowledge that all that you are or ever hope to be is to be attributed to the merits of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Until the very evensong of life, hear nothing within your heart but the refrain of your own nothingness. Let your humility deepen as self-love fades, and unceasingly thank God, the Author of all your greatness. Stand ever in a holy and prudent fear, and acknowledge simply that all your endeavors are vain, unless God, in Whom is all your hope, crowns them with success.
If you will follow this advice, never shall your enemy prevail against you; your road will be open before you, and you may pass on joyfully to the heavenly Jerusalem."
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