“We are lost if we seek any other path: We must either renounce the world and the flesh with the saints, or we renounce heaven with the wicked.”

A Word From…

November 1st – Feast of All Saints

“Do we complain of our frailty? The saints were made of the same mould with us. But being sensible of their weakness, they were careful to retrench all incentives of their passions, to shun all dangerous occasions of sin, to ground themselves in the most profound humility, and to strengthen themselves by the devout use of the sacraments, prayer, an entire distrust in themselves, and other means of grace. It was by the strength they received from above, not by their own, that they triumphed over both their domestic and their external enemies. We have the same succors by which they were victorious. The blood of Christ was shed for us as it was for them; the all-powerful grace of our Redeemer is not wanting to us, but the failure is in ourselves. If difficulties start up, if temptations affright us, if enemies stand in our way like monsters and giants, which seem ready to devour us, let us not lose courage, but redouble our earnestness, crying out with Josue, The Lord is with us. Why do we fear? If the world pursue us, let us remember that the saints fought against it in all its shapes. If our passions are violent, Jesus has furnished us with arms to tame them, and hold them in subjection. How furious assaults have many saints sustained in which they were supported by victorious grace! Many, with the Baptist, happily prevented the rebellion of these domestic enemies by early watchfulness, abstinence, and retirement. Others God suffered for their own advantage to feel their furious buffets; but animated them to vigilance and fervor, and crowned them with victories, by which they at length brought these enemies into subjection. Of this many are instances who had had the misfortune formerly to have fortified their passions by criminal habits. St. Austin, after having been engaged many years in irregular courses, conquered them. How many other holy penitents broke stronger chains than ours can be, by courageously using violence upon themselves, and became eminent saints! Can we, then, for shame think the difficulties we apprehend an excuse for our sloth, which, when we resolutely encounter them, we shall find to be more imaginary than real? Shall we shrink at the thought of self-denial, penance, or prayer? Shall not we dare to undertake or to do what numberless happy troops of men and women have done, and daily do? So many tender virgins, so many youths of the most delicate complexion and education, so many princes and kings, so many of all ages, constitutions, and conditions, have courageously walked before us! “Canst not thou do what these and those persons of both sexes have done?” said St. Austin to himself. Their example wonderfully inspires us with resolution, and silences all the pretexts of pusillanimity. To set before our eyes a perfect model of the practice of true virtue, the Son of God became man, and lived among us. That we may not say the example of a God-man is too exalted for us, we have that of innumerable saints, who, inviting us to take up the sweet yoke of Christ, say to us with St. Paul, Be you imitators of me, even as I am of Christ. They were men in all respects like ourselves, so that our sloth and cowardice can have no excuse. They form a cloud of witnesses, demonstrating to us, from their own experience, that the practice of Christian perfection is easy and sweet. They will rise up and condemn the wicked at the last day, covering them with inexpressible confusion: Thou raisest up thy witnesses against me. To animate and encourage ourselves in the vigorous pursuit of Christian perfection, and in advancing towards the glory of the saints, we ought often to lift up our eyes to heaven, and contemplate these glorious conquerors of the world, clothed with robes of immortality, and say to ourselves: These were once mortal, weak men, subject to passions and miseries as we are now: and if we are faithful to our sacred engagements to God, we shall very shortly be made companions of their glory, and attain to the same bliss. But for this we must walk in their steps; that is to say, we must with them take up our cross, renounce the world and ourselves, and make our lives a course of labor, prayer, and penance. We are lost if we seek any other path. We must either renounce the world and the flesh with the saints, or we renounce heaven with the wicked.”

Source: Extract from The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints by Rev. Alban Butler

2 thoughts on ““We are lost if we seek any other path: We must either renounce the world and the flesh with the saints, or we renounce heaven with the wicked.””

  1. Mark,

    How do I subscribe to your blog? I used to be subscribed and suddenly was not. I pick this up from the Vox Cantoris links.

    1. I lost all my subscriptions when Supernerd switched my site to the dot org from the dot com domain. There should be a button to subscribe from the dot org.

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