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Benedict
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« on: September 25, 2020, 07:53:58 PM »

OOK ONE
THOUGHTS HELPFUL IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL
The First Chapter
Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth
HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. John 8:12. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.
The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.
What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.
This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing.”Eccles. 1:8. Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God.

The Second Chapter
Having a Humble Opinion of Self
EVERY man naturally desires knowledge (Aristotle, Metaphysics, i. 1); but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars. Augustine, (Confessions V. 4.) He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.
If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God Who will judge me by my deeds?
Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.
Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God.
The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you?
If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.

The Third Chapter
The Doctrine of Truth
HAPPY is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little.
What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day? Neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly.
We have eyes and do not see.
What, therefore, have we to do with questions of philosophy? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. For from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak—the Beginning Who also speaks to us. Without this Word no man understands or judges aright. He to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God.
O God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me.
The more recollected a man is, and the more simple of heart he becomes, the easier he understands sublime things, for he receives the light of knowledge from above. The pure, simple, and steadfast spirit is not distracted by many labors, for he does them all for the honor of God. And since he enjoys interior peace he seeks no selfish end in anything. What, indeed, gives more trouble and affliction than uncontrolled desires of the heart?
A good and devout man arranges in his mind the things he has to do, not according to the whims of evil inclination but according to the dictates of right reason. Who is forced to struggle more than he who tries to master himself? This ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue.
Every perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it and no learning of ours is without some darkness. Humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than the ardent pursuit of learning. Not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. Many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well.
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.
Tell me, where now are all the masters and teachers whom you knew so well in life and who were famous for their learning? Others have already taken their places and I know not whether they ever think of their predecessors. During life they seemed to be something; now they are seldom remembered. How quickly the glory of the world passes away! If only their lives had kept pace with their learning, then their study and reading would have been worth while.
How many there are who perish because of vain worldly knowledge and too little care for serving God. They became vain in their own conceits because they chose to be great rather than humble.
He is truly great who has great charity. He is truly great who is little in his own eyes and makes nothing of the highest honor. He is truly wise who looks upon all earthly things as folly that he may gain Christ. He who does God’s will and renounces his own is truly very learned.

The Fourth Chapter Prudence in Action
DO NOT yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech.
Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.
Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations.
A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2020, 12:13:40 AM »

The Fifth Chapter

Reading the Holy Scripture

TRUTH, not eloquence, is to be sought in reading the Holy Scriptures; and every part must be read
in the spirit in which it was written. For in the Scriptures we ought to seek profit rather than polished
diction.
Likewise we ought to read simple and devout books as willingly as learned and profound ones.
We ought not to be swayed by the authority of the writer, whether he be a great literary light or an
insignificant person, but by the love of simple truth. We ought not to ask who is speaking, but mark
what is said. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remains forever. God speaks to us in many
ways without regard for persons.
Our curiosity often impedes our reading of the Scriptures, when we wish to understand and
mull over what we ought simply to read and pass by.
If you would profit from it, therefore, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and never seek
a reputation for being learned. Seek willingly and listen attentively to the words of the saints; do
not be displeased with the sayings of the ancients, for they were not made without purpose.
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2020, 09:45:12 PM »

Reflection on Chapter 5
Truth! O Truth! How I have loved Thee! How I have sought Thee! O God of Truth! Teach me Thy Truth that I may walk in Thy Way!
 Give me what you know to be good for me! For you alone O God know the Absolute Truth, the incomprehensible Truth, the ineffable divine Truth.
Your Wisdom penetrates all things O Most High! By the manifold splendor of Thy purity you foreknow all things!
O Jesus, no man has ever spoken as Thee, many have tried, but none have the fullness of Sacred Eloquence as Thee.
O My Jesus, though art exceedingly truthful, for you do not hold back the Truth from common people through lofty sublimity but express the hidden things of God plainly for children and illiterate to learn.
O Jesus! You have opened for me the treasury of knowledge! Divine Truth, Ever-present Truth! All Holy Truth! Be exalted O Truth above the heavens, for mankind is not worthy of Thy sacred presence, nor is any worthy of Thy divinity!
Yet the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, would have us be filled with Truth, brimming with the Spring of Truth, overflowing into exuberance! For Jesus came to save! And God's Word will not return to Him in vain!
This is the Truth! The Jesus Christ, died as propitiation for the sins of the world, and rose again, conquering death by death and granting eternal life through eternal life, for Jesus, the Eternal Word, could not be held within the grave!
The stones spoke out against the world as the earth began to quake! The very sky was blackened by the death of Truth! The dead rose from their graves in indignation at the extinguishing of Truth!
Extinguish not the Spirit of Truth, for it is the Truth that sets you free!
Be not captive to a lie! Neither a slave to falsehood! For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! Where the Spirit of Truth there is freedom!
Therefore, whenever you read Sacred Scripture, be patient with God, He is neither impatient to impart to you the understanding of His Word, nor is He slack to impart Wisdom to the simple nor is He negligent to invest Truth to the faithful!
Be faithful my friends in the little things, in your prayers, in your words, in your actions, be faithful, be truthful, for God remain faithfuls and God remains truthful, unable to deceive, by the very nature of Truth.
For God is not both falsehood and Truth! The devil is the Father of Lies, but God is the Father of Truth.
Therefore eat from the Tree of Truth, resist the devil's lies and they will perish as waves upon the shore, unable to exceed their allotted boundary without the permission of God.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2020, 08:49:36 AM »

I have a 1954 edition titled My Imitation of Christ by Confraternity of the Precious Blood which is called a Revised Translation, but has virtually no comment on the nature or purpose of the revision.  It continues much archaic language: sample, Book 1, Chapter 1, "'He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness,' saith our Lord," John 8,12."
Pages 458-9 describe How to Use This Book, "a page a day is sufficient to strengthen the soul..." if read slowly to permit each word and grace to penetrate the soul, and if the Holy Ghost is invoked before every reading.
There is a four-page index (463-60) and the book concludes with Contents (468-474).  By contrast, My Way of Life concludes with its index (pp 616-630) with much more detail.
Imitation has a Reading Guide (pp 460-2), but curiously the last chapter is titled Against Curious Searching, although this seems to refer primarily to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2020, 04:08:27 PM »

Escator83, here is a prayer I learned to say before studying or before any pious reading
O Most Good Lord! Send down upon us the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, granting us understanding and the strengthening of our mental powers, that attending to the teaching given us, we may grow to the glory of Thee, Our Creator, to the comfort of our parents, and to the benefit of the Church and our homeland. Amen

And here is the prayer to be said after study or pious reading
We thank Thee, O Creator, that Thou hast vouchsafed us Thy grace to attend instruction. Bless those in authority over us, our parents and our instructors, who are leading us to an awareness of good, and grant us power and strength to continue this study.

But yes, one chapter per day is sufficient, especially if you read it over and over again as to memorize at least one lesson or idea from it.
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 04:09:19 PM »

Chapter 6
Unbridled Affections

WHEN a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man
never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified
man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal
and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad
to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience
overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.
True peace of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no
peace in the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and
spiritual man.
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2020, 04:31:08 PM »

Chapter 7
Avoiding False Hope and Pride

VAIN is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things.
Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world.
Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid
your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the
grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.
If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who
gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of
physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in
your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you have.
Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who
knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God’s judgments differ from those
of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in
others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else,
but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace,
while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 02:56:21 PM »

The Eighth Chapter

Shunning Over-Familiarity

DO NOT open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who
fears God. Do not keep company with young people and strangers. Do not fawn upon the rich, and
do not be fond of mingling with the great. Associate with the humble and the simple, with the
devout and virtuous, and with them speak of edifying things. Be not intimate with any woman, but
generally commend all good women to God. Seek only the intimacy of God and of His angels, and
avoid the notice of men.
We ought to have charity for all men but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it
happens that a person enjoys a good reputation among those who do not know him, but at the same
time is held in slight regard by those who do. Frequently we think we are pleasing others by our
presence and we begin rather to displease them by the faults they find in us.
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2020, 03:41:01 PM »

Your last post reminds me of a recent post by Shin, I think by St John Chrysostom, to the effect (paraphrase) that he recommends every man to live as a monk, or religious.  As usual I didn't write a note to myself about this, and haven't found Shin's post in a couple of quick searches.  But this seems to boil down to a couple of basic issues that today's Christians would like to understand, or at least hope for.  1- Will most/many be saved, or only a very few?  2- Will only the priestly class have reasonable hope of salvation, or will only the humble and meek deserve hope?
One more: Can there be hope for married men?  (vis-a-vie St Paul, it is better to remain unmarried.)
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2020, 05:31:15 PM »

Your last post reminds me of a recent post by Shin, I think by St John Chrysostom, to the effect (paraphrase) that he recommends every man to live as a monk, or religious.  As usual I didn't write a note to myself about this, and haven't found Shin's post in a couple of quick searches.  But this seems to boil down to a couple of basic issues that today's Christians would like to understand, or at least hope for.  1- Will most/many be saved, or only a very few?  2- Will only the priestly class have reasonable hope of salvation, or will only the humble and meek deserve hope?
One more: Can there be hope for married men?  (vis-a-vie St Paul, it is better to remain unmarried.)
Alright so you have touched upon a couple heresies. So I will do my best to try to explain what I understand.
First point : Should everyone live as a monk or religious IE those who have taken vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. No, being religious does not contribute to your salvation.
Quite clearly Saint John Chrysostom says "The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path."
Furthermore, Saint John Chrysostom was a zealous defender of marriage saying in a homily "The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together. " and "you think that monks are the only persons properly concerned with decency and chastity?”
 and "“If the beatitudes were spoken only to solitaries, and the secular person cannot fulfill them, yet [Jesus] permitted marriage anyway—then all things have perished, and Christian virtue is boxed in.”

“If persons have been hindered by their marriage state, let them know that marriage is not the hindrance, but rather their intentions, which made an ill use of marriage.”
Being a religious means you have a HARDER time entering heaven because MORE will be asked of you.
However, much more is also given to religious to help accommodate for this difficulty. The stability of a community, the release from worldly life, the lack of external responsibilities. This means that for those who do become religious, if they truly received the calling for God, they will exceed the minimal expectations of their religious life and through the holy orders they receive and the vows they take they will escape from condemnation and increase in holiness.

Second point: Will most/many be saved? Most what? Many what? Many people, yes. Many demons, no. Most of those who are faithful, yes. Most of the godless. No.
It is very clear, Revelation 7:9-12
"9After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. 11And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the ancients, and the four living creatures; and they fell down before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, 12Saying: Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen."
More than anyone can known or count will be saved from every nation, every tribe and every people and every language.
God's grace is sufficient to save all people but not all people wish to be saved and so not all will be saved.
The heresy of Universalism AKA all people will be saved, has be repudiated by the Church but so has Jansenism which says only a certain portion of humanity is predestined to be saved.
Jesus Himself was asked this question Matthew 19:25-26 "the disciples wondered very much, saying: Who then can be saved? 26And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible."
Without God, no man shall be saved. But God has the power to save all people. Furthermore 1 Timothy 2:3-6 " 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: 6Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times."
However, lest we forget the Lord has given us a warning Luke 13:22-27 "23And a certain man said to him: Lord, are they few that are saved? But he said to them: 24Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. 25But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. 26Then you shall begin to say: We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27And he shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity."
Most important, is to remember what our Lord taught concerning those who will be saved Matthew 25:31-46
"31And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

34Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

41Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. 46And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."

For each shall be judged according to their works Revelation 20:11-13 "11And I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them; and they were judged every one according to their works."
Again there is comfort, Romans 8:1-2 "1THERE is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh. 2For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death."
Romans 8:14-17
"14For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). 16For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. 17And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him."
Romans 8:24-35
 "24For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for? 25But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience. 26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. 27And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because he asketh for the saints according to God. 28And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints. 29For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. 30And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who is against us? 32He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things? 33Who shall accuse against the elect of God? God that justifieth. 34Who is he that shall condemn? Christ Jesus that died, yea that is risen also again; who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or the sword?
Romans 8:37-39 " 37But in all these things we overcome, because of him that hath loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
1 Timothy 4:9-13 "9A faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10For therefore we labor and are reviled, because we hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful. 11These things command and teach. 12Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity. 13Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine. "
1 John 4:14-21 " 14And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. 16And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him. 17In this is the charity of God perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world. 18Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity. 19Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us. 20If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not? 21And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother."

Third point: Will only the priestly class be saved? What kind of made up religion would you have to believe in that says only priests will be saved? Surely, this could never describe Catholicism, which prays for the salvation of all people. The religion of Jesus who died to take away the sins of the world and not only priests. FAR more accurate it is to say that the humble, the meek, the poor, the righteous, the repentant, the loving, the kind, the gentle, the truthful, the faithful, the godly, and the saints will be saved.
ALL people deserve hope. There is no sin that cannot be repented of. There is nothing that God cannot forgive. To say otherwise is literally blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as taught by Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure. God's desire to forgive fallen man is the primary reason behind the revelation of His infinite love through the Cross and Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus.

Fourth point: Can there be hope for married men. Yes. Saint Basil the Elder was married, and his children became Saints, namely Saints Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebaste, Naucratius, and Saint Macrina the Younger. Saint Paul also says that to forbid marriage is a doctrine of devils 1Timothy 4:1-3. Marriage is a Sacrament or a Sacred Mystery Ephesians 5:32. Why would the Church offer a Sacrament and it not do anything? The Holy Spirit acts through all 7 Sacred Mysteries of the Church. The Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Marriage enables a man and a woman to grow in holiness and love through the mutual self giving of one another.
Paul himself calls Marriage a Great Sacrament or a Great Mystery. While it is better to remain unmarried that is solely for the purpose of devoting oneself to the service of God. But those who marry do not sin. Furthermore, women are saved through giving birth to children if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:15
The Catechism says thus paragraph 1624  "The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church. The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity."
 and continues
IV. THE EFFECTS OF THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY

1638 "From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament."142

The marriage bond

1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.143 From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society."144 The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love."145

1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.146

The grace of the sacrament of Matrimony

1641 "By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God."147 This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they "help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children."148

1642 Christ is the source of this grace. "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony."149 Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,"150 and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.151

In Summary: I don't think you understand why people go to hell and why people are saved. I don't think you understand the very basic concepts of repentance, baptism, or even the Sacraments, let alone the teachings of the Church. Isolated verses from Shin and Saints does not constitute a knowledge of the doctrine of the Catholic Church nor does it constitute a knowledge of Scripture nor does it constitute a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ let alone a relationship with them. God bless you and I wish you the best.
John 17:3 "3Now this is eternal life: That they may KNOW thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. "
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2020, 11:18:11 AM »

The Ninth Chapter
Obedience and Subjection
IT IS a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one’s own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love.
Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.
Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority.
Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.
Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him.
But if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace.
Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything?
Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others.
If, though your own be good, you accept another’s opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it.
It may happen, too, that while one’s own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy.
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2020, 02:00:00 PM »

The Tenth Chapter Avoiding Idle Talk
SHUN the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity.
Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men.
Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom part without a troubled conscience?
We do so because we seek comfort from one another’s conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts.
Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely.
But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation.
Therefore we must watch and pray lest time pass idly.
When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify.
Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue.
Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2020, 01:59:42 PM »

Thanks for these wonderful selections, they are encouraging me to read more.  For quite some time, I've looked for reasonably concise descriptions of both soul and conscience.  My dictionaries, concordances and even encyclopedias aren't very help.  Curiously The Imitation has no direct index reference for soul, but 5 for conscience.  Conversely, MWL has none for conscience, but almost 20 for soul.  The new Catechism has nearly 20 for conscience, only five four soul.  Can you think of a source(s) that addresses most aspects of each? 
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2020, 04:40:22 PM »

The first thing that came to mind was Saint John of Damascus's Exposition of the Orthodox Faith Book 2
Chapter 12 On Man excerpts
The soul, accordingly , is a living essence, simple, incorporeal, invisible in its proper nature to bodily eyes, immortal, reasoning and intelligent, formless, making use of an organised body, and being the source of its powers of life, and growth, and sensation, and generation, mind being but its purest part and not in any wise alien to it; (for as the eye to the body, so is the mind to the soul); further it enjoys freedom and volition and energy, and is mutable, that is, it is given to change, because it is created. All these qualities according to nature it has received of the grace of the Creator, of which grace it has received both its being and this particular kind of nature.

But piety and thought are the peculiar properties of the soul. And the virtues are common to soul and body, although they are referred to the soul as if the soul were making use of the body. The reasoning part, it should be understood, naturally bears rule over that which is void of reason. For the faculties of the soul are divided into that which has reason, and that which is without reason. Again, of that which is without reason there are two divisions: that which does not listen to reason, that is to say, is disobedient to reason, and that which listens and obeys reason. That which does not listen or obey reason is the vital or pulsating faculty, and the spermatic or generative faculty, and the vegetative or nutritive faculty: to this belong also the faculties of growth and bodily formation. For these are not under the dominion of reason but under that of nature. That which listens to and obeys reason, on the other hand is divided into anger and desire. And the unreasoning part of the soul is called in common the pathetic and the appetitive . Further, it is to be understood, that impulsive movement likewise belongs to the part that is obedient to reason.

Chapter 20 on Memory
The faculty of memory is the cause and storehouse of remembrance and recollection. For memory is a fantasy that is left behind of some sensation and thought manifesting itself in action; or the preservation of a sensation and thought . For the soul comprehends objects of sense through the organs of sense, that is to say, it perceives, and thence arises a notion: and similarly it comprehends the objects of thought through the mind, and thence arises a thought. It is then the preservation of the types of these notions and thoughts that is spoken of as memory.

Chapter 21 on conception and articulation
Again the reasoning part of the soul is divided into conception and articulation. Conception is an activity of the soul originating in the reason without resulting in utterance. Accordingly, often, even when we are silent we run through a whole speech in our minds, and hold discussions in our dreams. And it is this faculty chiefly which constitutes us all reasoning beings. For those who are dumb by birth or have lost their voice through some disease or injury, are just as much reasoning beings. But articulation by voice or in the different dialects requires energy: that is to say, the word is articulated by the tongue and mouth, and this is why it is named articulation. It is, indeed, the messenger of thought, and it is because of it that we are called speaking beings.

Chapter 22 on passion and reason excerpts
Observe also that our soul possesses twofold faculties, those of knowledge, and those of life. The faculties of knowledge are mind, thought, notion, presentation, sensation: and the vital or appetitive faculties are will and choice. Now, to make what has been said clearer, let us consider these things more closely, and first let us take the faculties of knowledge. Presentation and sensation then have already been sufficiently discussed above. It is sensation that causes a passion, which is called presentation, to arise in the soul, and from presentation comes notion. Thereafter thought, weighing the truth or falseness of the notion, determines what is true: and this explains the Greek word for thought, dianoia, which is derived from dianoein, meaning to think and discriminate. That, however, which is judged and determined to be true, is spoken of as mind. Or to put it otherwise: The primary activity of the mind, observe, is intelligence, but intelligence applied to any object is called a thought, and when this persists and makes on the mind an impression of the object of thought, it is named reflection, and when reflection dwells on the same object and puts itself to the test, and closely examines the relation of the thought to the soul, it gets the name prudence. Further, prudence, when it extends its area forms the power of reasoning, and is called conception, and this is defined as the fullest activity of the soul, arising in that part where reason resides, and being devoid of outward expression: and from it proceeds the uttered word spoken by the tongue. And now that we have discussed the faculties of knowledge, let us turn to the vital or appetitive faculties. It should be understood that there is implanted in the soul by nature a faculty of desiring that which is in harmony with its nature, and of maintaining in close union all that belongs essentially to its nature: and this power is called will or thelesis. For the essence both of existence and of living yearns after activity both as regards mind and sense, and in this it merely longs to realise its own natural and perfect being. And so this definition also is given of this natural will: will is an appetite, both rational and vital, depending only on what is natural. So that will is nothing else than the natural and vital and rational appetite of all things that go to constitute nature, that is, just the simple faculty. For the appetite of creatures without reason, since it is irrational, is not called will. Again boulesis or wish is a sort of natural will, that is to say, a natural and rational appetite for some definite thing. For there is seated in the soul of man a faculty of rational desire. When, then, this rational desire directs itself naturally to some definite object it is called wish. For wish is rational desire and longing for some definite thing.
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2020, 05:29:48 PM »

The Eleventh Chapter

Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection

WE SHOULD enjoy much peace if we did not concern ourselves with what others say and do, for these are no concern of ours.
How can a man who meddles in affairs not his own, who seeks strange distractions, and who is little or seldom inwardly recollected, live long in peace?
Blessed are the simple of heart for they shall enjoy peace in abundance.
Why were some of the saints so perfect and so given to contemplation?
Because they tried to mortify entirely in themselves all earthly desires, and thus they were able to attach themselves to God with all their heart and freely to concentrate their innermost thoughts.
We are too occupied with our own whims and fancies, too taken up with passing things.
Rarely do we completely conquer even one vice, and we are not inflamed with the desire to improve ourselves day by day; hence, we remain cold and indifferent.
If we mortified our bodies perfectly and allowed no distractions to enter our minds, we could appreciate divine things and experience something of heavenly contemplation.
The greatest obstacle, indeed, the only obstacle, is that we are not free from passions and lusts, that we do not try to follow the perfect way of the saints.
Thus when we encounter some slight difficulty, we are too easily dejected and turn to human consolations.
If we tried, however, to stand as brave men in battle, the help of the Lord from heaven would surely sustain us.
For He Who gives us the opportunity of fighting for victory, is ready to help those who carry on and trust in His grace.
If we let our progress in religious life depend on the observance of its externals alone, our devotion will quickly come to an end.
Let us, then, lay the ax to the root that we may be freed from our passions and thus have peace of mind.
If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect.
The contrary, however, is often the case—we feel that we were better and purer in the first fervor of our conversion than we are after many years in the practice of our faith.
Our fervor and progress ought to increase day by day; yet it is now considered noteworthy if a man can retain even a part of his first fervor.
If we did a little violence to ourselves at the start, we should afterwards be able to do all things with ease and joy.
It is hard to break old habits, but harder still to go against our will.
If you do not overcome small, trifling things, how will you overcome the more difficult?
Resist temptations in the beginning, and unlearn the evil habit lest perhaps, little by little, it lead to a more evil one.
If you but consider what peace a good life will bring to yourself and what joy it will give to others, I think you will be more concerned about your spiritual progress.
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2021, 08:59:37 PM »

My translation (1954 by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Brooklyn, NY but translator not identified) is difficult for me to understand or reconcile, but sometimes seems better.
Subtitle: Acquiring peace and zeal for our spiritual progress.  (Can we only be perfect temporarily through confession, forgiveness, and penance?)
We might have much peace if we would not busy ourselves with the sayings and doings of others and with things which belong not to us.  (What sort of community do we share if we disregard people around us?)
Blessed are the single-hearted (?) for they shall enjoy much peace.
Do you ever have similar difficulties or concerns?  What do you do?
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