The Spiritual Combat, Chapter 18
ATTRACTION AND REPULSION:
Either of these opposite movements of the heart can produce good or bad fruits. Remember that there is but one goal: full union with God. That being remembered, let’s mark out a few examples of attraction and repulsion.
Attraction and Bad Fruit:I start to follow a particular show, series, character, celebrity, or any other sort of fashionable reality. My desire for it moves too far up on the hierarchy of importance (above my duties, my relationships, my prayer time). This attraction has now shown to produce bad fruits for any number of reasons: too much time spent with it; too much love given to things not divine, nor human; too much thinking and wondering and wishing to be around this reality even more than I already have, which is too much. This is a simple example of attraction and bad fruit.
Attraction and Good Fruit:
I heard a passage of Sacred Scripture that stuck out to me. Instead of simply remembering that I enjoyed that Scripture when I heard it, my attraction leads me to find it in the Bible, and to read it again. And then I read around it, and become interested in that chapter, and that book, of the Bible. It leads me into a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Attraction and good fruit.
Repulsion and Bad Fruit:
One example in the text today from chapter 18 regards a person that I don’t like, a person who annoys me. There are many things that are according to taste, and if my taste doesn’t appreciate it, I can leave it alone. On the other hand, there are those things that, if I continue to disdain, or abhor, or consciously turn over in my head as annoying, will become particular areas of harming my own goal in life: union with God. And this harm for two reasons: 1) my interior posture is to be, according to Scripture, at peace, without anxiety, resting in the consolation of God; 2) these things, or persons, are for me occasions for giving myself over to God in petition and prayer, so that I can learn to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow where my Saviour leads.
Repulsion and Good Fruit:
Very simply: avoid those things which are evil. Hate the things God hates, and avoid them. Namely: sin and occasions of sin.
In all things, we are to lift our eyes to Jesus. In all trials, we are to move nearer His Cross. In all temptations, we are to bow to His Father in trust. In short, we are to live with Jesus His life.
O cross, formed by Divine providence before I was born;
O cross, endeared to me by the dear love of my crucified Lord,
nail me now to you,
that so I may give myself to Him
Who died on you for my redemption!
The Spiritual Combat text: here.
Chapter 19: Of the way to resist the sins of the Flesh