The Spiritual Combat
The reasons we do not discern things rightly.
The method one should use to know them well.
The reason we do not discern all the above-said things rightly, as well
many others besides, is that we attach either love or hatred of them at
sight. Obscured by these emotions, the intellect does not judge them
for what they are.
To prevent this deception from finding its home in you, be as conscious
possible of always keeping your will pure and free from from disordered
to whatever thing. And when some object is placed before you, from the
observe it well with your intellect and consider it maturely. Do this
you are moved to desire it from love, if it brings you delight, or to
it from hatred, if it involves something contrary to our natural
In this way the intellect, unencumbered by passion, will be free and
it will be able to understand the truth and penetrate into the evil
is hidden beneath false pleasure, and to the good which is well-covered
the appearance of harm.
But if the will has first inclined itself to love the thing, or to
the intellect cannot know it well, because the affection which has put
in the way confuses the intellect so that it values the thing
from what it is. Thus presenting anew to the will differently from what
is, the latter moves itself to love or hate it more ardently than
against ever order and law of reason. From such affection the intellect
to be even more obscured and, again it makes the will believe the thing
lovable or hateable than ever. Thus, if one does not observe this rule
said (which is of the highest importance in this entire exercise),
very noble and excellent powers, the intellect and the will, come
to walking ever from shadows into deeper shadows and from errors into
errors, as in a vortex.
Therefore, daughter, watch yourself with every vigilance from every
not well-ordered, be it to anything whatever, which you have not with
intellect examined well and recognized for what it truly is. You should
rely on the vigilance of grace and of prayer, and the vigilance of your
father. By this I mean to say that you should be observant, sometimes
than in other things, when doing external works that are good and holy.
in these, to be such, we run more risk of the danger of deception and
From these, for some circumstance of time, of place, and of measure, or
respect to obedience, you could bring on yourself no small
is known, this has happened to many who in their praiseworthy and most
exercises have run into dangers.