Since I became chaplain I’ve grown very lazy and on mortified, the cause of much unhappiness and remorse to me. My excuse is that my present life is so hard and repugnant that I need these little indulgences. Then I think of Blessed Charles Spinola, for example, amid the horrors of his prison, practicing great austerities, fasting, etc which make me ashamed of my cowardice. The Holy Spirit is constantly urging me not to let this precious time slip by, when even a small sacrifice is worth many a big one at other times. I see the only chance is to mark down the special acts I do, for though I hate doing so, I know it is an immense help, and otherwise nothing is done. I’ve begun the “Book of Little Sacrifices” again today.
It is scarcely necessary to state that deliberate sin in any shape or form utterly destroys the interior life.
COMMENT: It is a well accepted principle of Catholic spirituality that we must fight against sin. Naturally we must exert all of our will in the battle against deliberate mortal sin, which utterly destroys the life of grace in our soul and puts our salvation in jeopardy. But we must also exert great efforts in the battle against venial sins and imperfections which, while they do not destroy the life of grace in our souls, weaken our spiritual life and tempt us towards tepidity. In this fight we must have recourse to the sacraments and rely heavily on God’s grace.
Today is the feast of St Lucy, whose resolve in avoiding sin should give us courage. St Lucy was an early 4th century martyr who dedicated herself to virginity and the service of the Lord. When she refused offers of marriage, she was denounced to the Roman authorities, who decided to force her into prostitution as a punishment for being Christian. When the soldiers came to take her away, they were unable to lift her, so they tied a team of oxen to her to pull her along. These too failed to move her. They then tortured her, pulling out her eyes, which is why she is often depicted carrying her eyes on a plate. An angel subsequently appeared and restored her sight, which is why she is also a patron of those suffering from eye complaints. The soldiers tried to kill her by burning her. However, the wood would not burn, no matter what they tried. They then killed her with a sword.
Completely true story or part golden legend? Ultimately it does not matter, for the story of St Lucy reminds us that we must stand firm and resist sin, and that if we do our part, then the grace of God will not be lacking.