Would you attain in Christ the height of perfection, and by a nearer and nearer approach to God become one spirit with Him? Before undertaking this greatest and noblest of all imaginable enterprises, you must first learn what constitutes the true and perfect spiritual life. For many have made it to consist exclusively in austerities, maceration of the flesh, hair-shirts, disciplines, long vigils and fasts, and other like bodily hardships and penance's. Others, especially women, fancy they have made great progress therein, if they say many vocal prayers, hear many Masses and long Offices, frequent many churches, receive many communions. Others and those sometimes among cloistered religious are persuaded that perfection depends wholly upon punctual attendance in choir, upon silence, solitude, and regularity.
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None shall be crowned who has not fought well. The Spiritual Combat is known as one of the greatest classics in ascetic theology, along with The Imitation of Christ. In both cases the authors are shrouded in mystery.
Several 17th century editions were published under the name of the Spanish Benedictine, John of Castanzia. Some writers of the Society of Jesus have ascribed the book to the Jesuit, Achilles Gagliardi, but most critics however consider Fr. Lawrence Scupoli as the author of this famous treatise. The first known edition was published in Venice in and contained but 24 chapters; later editions appeared with more chapters, so it is possible that the Theatines or another religious order may have been part of the composition.
Whatever may be the solution of the problem of the author, doubt of the actual one or ones, can take nothing away from the value and efficacy of this "golden book" as St.
Frances de Sales called it. It was "the favorite, the dear book" of this great master of the spiritual life who, for 18 years, carried in a pocket a copy which he had received from Fr. Scupoli in Padua himself. The Saint read some pages of it every day, entrusted to its supernatural and human wisdom, the guidance of his soul, and recommended it to all under his direction.
The purpose of the work is to lead the soul to the summit of spiritual perfection, by means of a constant, courageous struggle against our evil nature, which tends to keep us away from that goal. The author was a genius, the kind that can only be inspired by the grace of God and his book is a Catholic treasure and one of the greatest gifts God could have given any age, but most especially this benighted age which has lost its appreciation for the kind of simplicity necessary for sanctity.
Catholic Tradition is presenting here chapters in installments of several per month until completed, for a total of 66 chapters [8 months]. The image is of St. Michael Fighting the Devil by Guido Reni, circa
None shall be crowned who has not fought well. The Spiritual Combat is known as one of the greatest classics in ascetic theology, along with The Imitation of Christ. In both cases the authors are shrouded in mystery. Several 17th century editions were published under the name of the Spanish Benedictine, John of Castanzia. Some writers of the Society of Jesus have ascribed the book to the Jesuit, Achilles Gagliardi, but most critics however consider Fr. Lawrence Scupoli as the author of this famous treatise.
The Spiritual Combat
Its wisdom formed his soul; it inspired him to a life of the deepest devotion, and ultimately it helped him become one of the Church's greatest saints. Now this book can do the same thing for you. It's no longer fashionable to speak of the Christian life as a "battle," but there's actually no better way to describe the tug-of-war for your soul that's raging right now between the forces of light and darkness. Here, Dom Lorenzo Scupoli helps you take your proper part in this spiritual battle so that you can win - decisively - the war for your soul. This book has been loved by saints and sinners alike ever since it was written four hundred years ago. Because it offers sensible advice to help you overcome spiritual obstacles and achieve spiritual perfection. Best of all, Spiritual Combat doesn't just tell you what you ought to be doing in order to live a truly Christian life - it also shows you how to do it.