Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 5, Chapter 4

Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 5, Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV. Examination of the Soul’s Condition as regards God.

1. WHAT is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin? Are you
firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And have you
kept that resolution from the time you first made it? Therein lies the
foundation of the spiritual life.

2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of God? Are
they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good digestion and
healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away from that which is

3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help committing
some such occasionally; but are there none to which you have any
special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and clinging?

4. With respect to spiritual exercises–do you like and value them? or
do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or least disposed,
hearing or reading God’s Word, meditating upon it, calling upon God,
Confession, preparing for Communion and communicating, controlling your
inclinations, etc.? What of all these is most repugnant to you? And if
you find that your heart is not disposed to any of these things,
examine into the cause, find out whence the disinclination comes.

5. With respect to God Himself–does your heart delight in thinking of
God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? “I remembered Thine
everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received comfort,” says David. [206]
Do you feel a certain readiness to love Him, and a definite inclination
to enjoy His Love? Do you take pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity,
the Goodness, the Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the
occupations and vanities of this world, does the thought of God come
across you as a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield
yourself up to it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him?
There are souls that do so.

6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon as she
sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered she may be
with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of circumstances,
her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once from all else to think
upon him she loves. So it is with souls which really love God, however
engrossed they may be; when the thought of Him is brought before them,
they forget all else for joy at feeling His Dear Presence nigh, and
this is a very good sign.

7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man–how does your heart
draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey, but wasps
hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw all their joy
from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding sweet Love, but those
who are careless find their pleasure in worldly vanities.

8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian Angel–do
you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their guardianship?
Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures, their memories?

9. As to your tongue–how do you speak of God? Do you take pleasure in
speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms and hymns?

10. As to actions–have you God’s visible glory at heart, and do you
delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who love God
will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you conscious of having
ever given up anything you liked, or of renouncing anything for God’s
Sake? for it is a good sign when we deprive ourselves of something we
care for on behalf of those we love. What have you ever given up for
the Love of God?

[206] Ps. cxix. 52.