FIVE STEPS TO TEPIDITY
“After this, Jesus said to them,
‘Tonight you will all lose courage [fall away] over me;
for it has been written,
I will smite the shepherd,
and the sheep of his flock will be scattered.
But I will go on before you into Galilee,
when I have risen from the dead.’
Peter answered him,
‘Though all else should lose courage over thee,
I will never lose mine.’
Jesus said to him,
‘Believe me, this night, before the cock crows,
thou wilt thrice disown me.’
Peter said to him,
‘I will never disown thee,
though I must lay down my life with thee.’
And all the rest of his disciples said the like.”
“Then he went back to his disciples,
to find them asleep.” (Mt 26:40)
“One of those who were with Jesus lifted a hand to draw his sword,
and smote one of the high priest’s servants with it,
cutting off his ear.”
“Yet Peter followed him at a long distance….”
“It was cold, and the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire,
and stood there warming themselves;
there Peter stood too, warming himself with the rest.”
GRADUAL EROSION OF GRACE
“One cannot fall from a height which he has already abandoned.
And that height seldom is surrendered
in one dramatic gesture.
Rather it is a sly and slow descent,
with self-love the motivating force.”
(L Trese, Vessel of Clay, 98)
DELIBERATE LITTLE VENIAL FAULTS
Tepidity “is characterized by the fact that
one more or less deliberately treats venial sin lightly.
[It is] a state of conscious and deliberate lack of fervor,
a state of enduring carelessness and half-heartedness,
which pretends to justify itself with maxims like:
‘one should not be petty;’
‘God is too big and magnanimous to bother about such little things;’
‘everybody else does the same;’
and so on.
(B Baur, Frequent Confession)
A little pride, a little laziness, a little envy, a little sensuality …
“Tepidity is the result of prolonged carelessness in the interior life.
It usually follows a whole string of small infidelities,
whose unrepented guilt has come between the soul and God.
This carelessness is expressed in the habitual neglect of little things,
in lack of contrition for one’s personal faults,
in failure to have specific aims for improving one’s behavior towards God.
One has no definite spiritual objectives that attract or excite one.
‘One gets by.’”
(F Fernández Carvajal, Lukewarmness—The Devil in Disguise)
“Always be fearful if you do not feel sorry for the faults you commit,
for even venial sin ought to fill you with sorrow
to the very depths of your soul….
For the love of God, take care not to commit any deliberate venial sin,
even the smallest…”
(St Teresa of Avila)
And Judas “looked about for an opportunity to hand him over
without any commotion.”
“And the Lord turned,
and looked at Peter; [Winked at him? …There it goes, see what I told you?”]
and Peter remembered what the Lord had said to him ….
And Peter went out,
and wept bitterly.” (Lk 22:61)
“’Simon, I have a word for thy hearing.’
‘Tell it me, Master,’ he said.”
“Well, there is always tomorrow.
Yet in my moments of honesty
I know that already there have been too many tomorrows,
and that tomorrow it will be tomorrow still.
I know that if ever I collapse …
the capitulation of [my] citadel would be but
the surrender of an empty and ruined city.
Before it can fall,
so much that is more vital must first have been jettisoned.
Help me, dear Lord, to make tomorrow today!”
(L Trese, Vessel of Clay, 99)
COMING TO TERMS WITH THE ENEMY
“There is but one fatal illness,
one deadly mistake you can make:
to settle for defeat,
not to know how to fight with the spirit of a child of God.
If this personal effort is lacking,
the soul becomes paralyzed and languishes alone,
and is incapable of bearing fruit.”
(St Josemaría, The Forge, 168)
HODIE ET NUNC
“The time for grace is always now.”
(L Trese, Vessel of Clay, 69)
“One soul, one eternity.” (St Teresa of Avila)
“I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever;
with my mouth I will proclaim
thy faithfulness to all generations.” (Ps 89:1)
“Domine, tu omnia nosti,
tu scis quia amo te!”
“Lord, you know everything,
you know that I love you!”
MOTHER OF MERCY
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae!
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria!
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\jmom RETREAT\crt_18AgonyintheGarden&Tepidity.rtf
Revised 25 March 2005