« Last post by Seraphina on Yesterday at 07:31:00 PM »
One needs to strike a prudent balance concerning a Rule of Life. It will be different for each individual except in the case of vowed religious. (There, too, allowances are made. For example, a frail, elderly religious can’t engage in vigorous exercise followed by a cold shower! But a younger, vigorous religious may be permitted to exceed the rules of his order with permission of his superior.)
For those who object to Viva’s list of practices, citing Jansenism, it is important to know what exactly is wrong with Jansenism. Jansenism a heresy. Heresies are used by Satan to entice Catholics from sound doctrine, thus corrupting morals. The Enemy uses it in two ways to tempt two types of souls.
Firstly, the lax soul can be lead astray when he sees a list of “rules.” This is accomplished, especially if he has a choleric temperament. His base reaction is one of rebelliousness. If he can be led to rashness and anger, he is apt to refuse “optional” practices as an excuse to indulge the appetites. The man of lax conscience follows rules in public, thus appearing outwardly holy, while remaining inwardly in mortal sin.
The second kind of soul tempted by lists of rules is the scrupulous. On the surface, this seems not to make sense. What better for the insecure than a clear list of do’s and don’ts? The problem comes with the fact that the majority of scrupulous souls are of a melancholic temperament, the main weakness of which is fear or timidity of pain and suffering, a subtle manifestation of pride. A list of rules can become a substitute for the hard work of prayer, spiritual warfare of routing out besetting sin. The scrupulous man replaces the graces given by the Holy Ghost, whose use requires sacrifice, with impersonal rules. Being naturally insecure, the closer he attempts to be perfected by meticulous adherence to the rules, the farther he falls from the goals he has set for himself, forgetting that he is to please God, not a self-imposed, inflexible list. The devil’s aim is accomplished when the scrupulous soul gives up, feeling he cannot be saved.
By either route, Jansenism is a most harmful heresy to the serious Catholic. For American Catholics, it is uniquely tempting because of the ingrained Puritan mindset set down by the Freemasonic Founding Fathers. It is the Catholic version of Calvinism, with its rigid T.U.L.I.P. theology.
Why not change the title to Recommended Practices for Catholics? Any one, combination, or all of these are meritorious whether done full-time or during Lent, Advent, or at times of discernment. For most laity, practicing all of them simultaneously until death is not appropriate to his state of life, whether married or single.
May I propose simple rewording?
Recommended Practices for Catholics Wishing to Grow in Holiness
1. Take cold, short showers sufficient to good hygiene.
2. Practice heavy, manual labor or exercise.
3. Walk and pray the Rosary, or pray the Rosary kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament or an image of Our Lady.
4. Abstain from alcohol, tobacco, sweets, snacking between meals. Suggestion: Substitute an apple for cake, water for drink, taking a walk for eating a snack.
5. Get sufficient sleep; more if you stay up too late, less if inclined to sleep in.
6. Limit screen time to necessity, business, school. Substitute a voice call or a friendly snail mail letter for texting.
7. Abstain from TV, video games, and other forms of electronic entertainment. Substitute spiritual reading or Lives of the Saints. Play board or other real games with family and friends. Sing or play musical instruments. Do folk or square dancing.
8. Fast and Abstain beyond that which is required.
9. Perform corporal or spiritual acts of Mercy.
10. Hear weekday Mass or attend Rosary, Compline, Vespers, etc.
(These practices are highly recommended to all Catholics.)