Alonso Rodriguez, SJ…

…judges Francis’ idea on matrimony

  • To reach perfection it is necessary to not commit faults on purpose

It will also aid us much towards growth in virtue and perfection to try never to commit faults on purpose. There are two sorts of faults and venial sins : the one sort is that into which those who fear God fall through frailty, ignorance and inadvertence, albeit with some carelessness and negligence. As to such faults as these, they who serve God and walk in His sight with an upright heart, know by experience that they cause no bitterness of heart, but rather humility ; nor do they find that on that account God turns away His face from them, but rather they experience new favour from the Lord and a new spirit by the humble recourse they have to God for them. Other faults and defects there are which they fall into with advertence and on purpose, who are tepid and remiss in the service of God ; and these faults are an obstacle to the great blessings we should receive if we did not commit them. For these faults the Lord will often turn away His face from us in prayer, and withdraw many favours. Thus if we wish. to thrive and receive many favours of the Lord, we must take care not to commit faults on purpose. (Alonso Rodríguez, SJ. Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues, Part I, treatise I, ch. XII)

  • To advance in the spiritual life, do not pause along the path of virtue

St. Basil lays down another means for gaining perfection, and says it is an excellent way to advance much in a short time : it is, not to call halts on the road of virtue. There are those who make temporary efforts, and then stop. Go on as you have begun, and do not call these halts. On this road of spiritual life you will find yourself more wearied by making these halts than by not making them. In this there is a great difference from bodily exercises : the more the body works and labours, the more it is worn out; but the more the spirit works, the more strength it gathers : caro operando deficit, spiritus operando proficit (St. Basil). And says the proverb : ‘The bow that is kept strung breaks, but the soul unstrung decays,’ arcum frangit intensio, anitnam remissio. (Alonso Rodriguez, SJ. Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues, Part I, treatise I, ch. XII)

…judges Francis’ idea on interpersonal relationships no longer need to seek purity and perfection

  • To attain even mediocrity in virtue, it is necessary to fix the eyes on lofty ideals of great perfection

Our advancement in perfection will be greatly helped on by our fixing our eyes on lofty ideals that require great perfection to realize. So Saint Paul advises, writing to the Corinthians: Be ye emulous of the better gifts (1Cor 12:31). Get yourselves ready for great things: meet and undertake things great and excellent. This is a determination of much importance: for our designs and desires must needs reach our very far, if our performance are at least to come up to what is our strict duty. Where a bow or catapult is slack, the to hit the mar kit is necessary to aim from three to six inches higher: otherwise, the string being loose, the missile will not go where you want, but by aiming higher it comes to hit the mark. We are like a slack blow or catapult. We are so poorly strung that, to hit the mark, it is necessary to aim very high. Man was left by sin so miserable that, to come to attain mediocrity in virtue, it is necessary for his purposes and desires to travel far beyond. (Alonso Rodriguez, SJ. Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues. Part 1, ch. 8)

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