Some Principles of the SpiritualLife
One of Our duties as Pope is to lead the lambs and the sheep to the fold in Heaven. Inorder to do this We must study the Science of the Saints most carefully. Further, We must teachthis science to all people. In consider this We look for those things that will speak best to people. We try to digest all that We have learned and then pass it along to others in a manner most likely to bring about the salvation of your soul. In reading this book, We came to theconclusion that the first three chapters are an excellent introduction to the spiritual life. With thisin mind We would like to ask you to read the first three chapters of Some Principles andPractices of the Spiritual Life by Maturin.
The Christian Aim
BESIDES the general effort which every Christian must make to do what is right and tokeep from what is wrong, it is important that he should have some special and definite aim whichwill help to keep him from dissipating his strength, The end of the Christian life is, of course,holiness, but holiness is rather an indefinite thing to beginners, and it may manifest itself in manyforms. And those who would attain to holiness must begin as they are, with their many sins andimperfections and ignorances, and work on towards an end that becomes clearer as they advance,and yet ever more difficult of attainment. Indeed, they have to work towards an end which at firstthey cannot see, for only as the eye of the soul becomes purified does it get to see clearly whatholiness means, and how imperfect were its first conceptions of it. It is a good thing, therefore, toconcentrate our efforts, to be definite in our aim, to set before ourselves clearly some one purpose, some special virtue to strive after, upon the attainment of which we shall have advancedconsiderably towards holiness of life. Now there are two kinds of virtues which we may seek after: there are particular virtueswhich may counteract certain specific evil tendencies of the soul, and help to overcomeindividual sins; and the acquirement of these virtues is, of course, essential to the advancementof all. One may need to conquer sloth by diligence, or pride by humility, or irritability by patience; but this does not necessarily lead the soul to its end; it needs more than this; one mayovercome certain individual sins and never go further, nor even aim at holiness.There are, therefore, other more comprehensive virtues which involve in their acquisitionmuch more than merely any one virtue or grace, and which lead on definitely and directly toholiness of life; and such virtues cannot be gained, even in any degree, without a very manifestgrowth in holiness; for they attack not merely one sin but the root of all the sin that is in us. In proportion as we acquire them, sin loses its hold upon our whole system: its vigour flags; the oldman loses strength because the new man grows stronger; the sun rises over the whole being, andthe ice-bound nature thaws, and all the germs of the new life begin to bud and blossom.1