The Spiritual Combat

Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli


You see now after what manner you must fight in order to conquer self, and to adorn your soul with all virtues.

Know, furthermore, that to obtain a speedier and easier victory over your enemies, it is expedient, nay necessary, that you should fight against them daily, and especially against self-love, and learn to esteem as dear friends and benefactors all the insults and vexatious which the world can heap upon you.

And it is because men know not the necessity of this daily warfare, and make too little account of it, that, as I said before, their victories are rare, difficult, imperfect, and unstable.

Moreover, I warn you that you must bring great steadfastness of soul to this conflict. And this gift you will readily obtain if you beseech it of God: considering, on the one hand, the undying hatred and fury of your enemies, and the vast multitude of their ranks and squadrons; and, on the other, how infinitely greater is the goodness of God and the love wherewith He loves you, and how much mightier, too, are the angels of heaven, and the prayers of the saints, which fight for us.

By this consideration have so many feeble women been enabled to overcome and conquer all the power and wisdom of the world, all the assaults of the flesh, and all the fury of hell.

Therefore you must never be dismayed, though at times your enemy seem to be strengthening his array against you, though the struggle threaten to last your whole lifetime and though almost certain falls menace you on every side; for know assuredly, that the whole strength and wisdom of our enemies is in the hands of our Divine Captain, in whose honor the battle is arrayed; who, prizing us beyond measure, sure, and having Himself imperatively called us to the conflict, will never suffer you to be overcome. Nay more, He will Himself fight on your right hand, and will not fail in His own good time to subdue your foes before you; and this to your greater reward, if He should delay to give you the victory till the last day of your life.

This alone is your concern, to fight manfully, and never, however numerous your wounds, to lay down your arms or take to flight.

Lastly. That you fail not to fight courageously bear in mind that this is a conflict whence there is no escape; and that he who will not fight must needs be captured or slain. Moreover, we have to deal with enemies so powerful, and go filled with deadly hate, as to leave us no hope of either peace or truce.

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