Spiritual Reading ~ Its Advantages (Part Two)


Painting by Harold Knight, 1961: Morning Sun

Part One is here.

From Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers by the Very Reverend P. Lejeune

Why have the saints so highly extolled the advantages of spiritual reading? Why have they exalted it—almost to a level with prayer? Without doubt, they were guided by the reasons which I have placed before you; but they were influenced also by another motive, one that seems of capital importance to me.

It arises from the fact that spiritual reading is one of the principal sources whence we draw light.

Have you ever reflected, my daughters, how important light is for us in our relations with God?

From certain maxims or passages taken at random from spiritual writers, it would seem that mortification and sacrifice are the sole means of approaching nearer to God. Thus the author of the Imitation exalts reaction against our evil inclinations.

He declares that the success of our struggle against nature is always the measure of our progress towards perfection. Certainly this principle is true and it would ill become us to complaisantly modify it. On the other hand, we must remember that energy in sacrifice is dependent upon clear-sightedness. We are energetic in sacrifice only when we see clearly the object of that sacrifice.

It is the office of the intelligence to point out the path to the will. The will itself would remain inert, if motives of action and sacrifice did not stimulate it. A strong and vigorous will is always accompanied by an enlightened intelligence.

Must we not conclude, then, that a solid knowledge of the principles of the spiritual life is a potent aid to the soul in its striving towards good?

Hence, we must appreciate the value of spiritual reading since it furnishes us with the principles of the science of the saints, as well as with practical counsels, and precious examples.

To be sure, God can, when He so wishes, dispense with every intermediary, and become Himself the teacher of those simple and pious persons who lack intellectual culture.

We have seen this in the case of that poor menial who could neither read nor write. We have learned of his great and heroic sanctity. In this case, books of piety did not bring about those marvelous results. Shall we say that this mediocre mind did not receive light from on high? No! A thousand times no!

Light was directly shed upon that mind by God. And why? Because it could not be enlightened save by that means.

But if you, my daughters, hope that God will employ a similar means in your regard, you will have to wait a very long time. God has given you the means to instruct yourselves in spiritual science, and you are bound to use these means.

Now if the reading of pious books is one of these means, you are bound in conscience to read them. Under pain of allowing our spiritual life to run wild, we are obliged to develop the intelligence as much as possible.

Why be astonished, then, that the lives of so many persons are sterile? If they do not make progress in the spiritual life, it is due to the fact that their minds are not enlightened, and that their intellectual vision is defective.

And what will rectify this defective vision? The words of a master drawn from spiritual reading.

Take, for example, two persons equally endowed with intelligence: one has been in contact with the best authors through spiritual reading, while the other has always been content with her own resources. I hold that the former will travel very much faster than the latter on the road to sanctity.

I pause to answer an objection which I have frequently met with from those who do not practice spiritual reading.

“Do you engage in spiritual reading every day,” I have asked; and they have responded: “No! I have no time.”

Well, for mothers of families who toil from morning till night to gain a livelihood, this reason is acceptable but when it is alleged as an excuse for the laziness and inertia of those who squander a considerable amount of time in useless babbling, in long and purposeless visits, and in reading the daily papers, this excuse is intolerable.

How many are there among you, my daughters, who cannot reserve at least a quarter of an hour every day for spiritual reading, by omitting all futile occupations, and by economizing their time. There are some, perhaps, but not very many, I know.

When St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one daily Holy Communion!”— Something not permitted everywhere in her times. She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little host.” -Jesus Our Eucharistic Love https://amzn.to/2YKBYPX (afflink) , Painting from https://www.facebook.com/sanctuairetheresedelisieux/

We seek happiness in many things yet we aren’t really happy. Why? You have made us for yourself & our hearts are restless till they rest in you, O Lord.

❤️🌹Our first line of defense is the bond we must have with our husband. Besides our spiritual life, which gives us the grace to do so, we must put our relationship with our husband first. It is something we work on each day.

How do we do this? Many times it is just by a tweaking of the attitude, seeing things from a different perspective. It is by practicing the virtues….self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.

The articles in this maglet will help you with these things. They are written by authors that are solid Catholics, as well as authors with old-fashioned values….
Available here.
Pkg Special on Catholic Wife’s Maglet and Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet available here.

With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M.




Necessary advice to Catholic parents building a Catholic home. Reliable advice that is almost completely lost today, from people who know how it’s done. How to make it. How to live it. How to keep it. This book covers every aspect of Catholicizing your home–from spiritual matters like prayer and catechism to nuts and bolts topics like Keeping the Family Budget, Games and Toys, Harmony between School and Home, Family Prayers, Good Reading in the Home, Necessity of Home Life and much more

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