In the ascetical classic, The Spiritual Combat, by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli he views the spiritual life through the lens of 4 principles, or 4 steps. They are: 1) Distrust of Self 2) Confidence in God 3) Proper use of the faculties of the body and mind 4) The duty of prayer.
In our culture distrust of self can often be considered a bad thing, such as low self esteem, low self worth, etc.. But, I think what the Spiritual Master is getting at here is a type of self, self insofar as it is estranged from and even in rebellion against God. It is the self, separated from God’s wisdom, God’s liberating power, that is the self that must be distrusted: the same self that we put all of our confidence in prior to a fall. It is the self that we must mortify, that must die, so that Christ may live in us and we may be new men in Him.
Here is a quote from the introduction that introduces this concept:
Experience proves that acknowledged sinners are reformed with less difficulty than those who willfully hide themselves under the cloak of a false virtue. From this you can easily understand that the spiritual life does not consist in the practices enumerated above, if they are considered only in their outward appearance. It actually consists in knowing the infinite greatness and goodness of God, together with a true sense of our own weakness and tendency to evil, in loving God and hating ourselves, in humbling ourselves not only before Him, but, for His sake, before all men, in renouncing entirely our own will in order to follow His. It consists, finally, in doing all of this solely for the glory of His holy name, for only one purpose—to please Him, for only one motive—that He should be loved and served by all His creatures.
Affirmations or meditations based in this wisdom to aid us in recovery:
Lord, I am addicted to lust, I am enslaved to it, to the extent that I can not free myself.
Lord, I lack the power, and the wisdom to overcome my enslavement to lust.
Lord, I have coupled with the spirit of lust so long I can no longer tell what is me, and what is him.
Lord, I realize I will fall over, and over, and over again as long as I rely on my own strength, for as long as I pridefully tell myself there is another way to freedom than You.
Lord, I am powerless over lust and my life is a mess, my moral life is disgusting and embarrassing. I am ashamed of these acts Lord.
Lord, I pretend to be holy, but You know better, and so do those close to me.
Help me to realize my powerlessness Lord, help me to see my true condition, apart from your Presence, apart from your Grace.
Teach me Lord to know longer place all of my trust in self, help me place trust in You, and the people you have put into my life who can help me grow.
Lord, I am willing to go to any length to grow in chastity and purity of heart.
Lord, your heart is pure. I offer you my broken heart, my heart diseased by sin, that my heart may be Your Heart, that Your heart may reign in me.
Blessed Mother, your heart is purer than any other woman, I look to your pure heart whenever I call to mind a woman I want to lust after.
St. Joseph, Most Chaste, show me the way of solid virtue, may I imitate your sacrifice for Jesus and for Mary.
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