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that our Lord said: "But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting."

Other senses besides that of taste, however, need to be mortified. Of one of these Rodriguez well says: "It is a common doctrine of the Saints that one of the principal means of leading a good and exemplary life is modesty and custody of the eyes. For, as there is nothing so adapted to preserve devotion in a soul, and to cause compunction and edification in others, as this modesty, so there is nothing which so much exposes a person to relaxation and scandals as its opposite." There is too pronounced a tendency nowadays, even among the clergy, to look upon this custody of the eyes as a peculiarly feminine virtue, altogether congruous, to be sure, in Sisters and Catholic maidens, but rather effeminate in robust, common-sense men. Yet every priest must know, from the experience of others, if not his own, that sin still enters by these windows of the soul, and that failure to exercise control of the eyes is not infrequently to expose one's self deliberately to dangerous occasions such as we are bound to avoid.

"If any man offend not in word," says St. James, "the same is a perfect man." The priesthood is, as we have said, a state of perfection; but individual priests who measure up to this standard of St. James are probably not so numerous as the "autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa," and accordingly one bodily member that may very profitably be subjected to habitual and systematic mortification is that “unquiet

evil, full of deadly poison," the tongue. St. Francis of Sales says that one of the things that keeps us at a distance from perfection is undoubtedly our speech, and he proffers this wholesome advice: "And since one of the worst ways of speaking is to speak too much, speak little and well, little and gently, little and simply, little and charitably, little and amiably." Just how common, not to say universal, is one particular fault of the tongue, the making of uncharitable remarks, any reader may determine for himself by recalling how often, or rather how seldom, in his experience he has heard this tribute truthfully paid to a recently deceased cleric: "He was never known to utter an unkind word about anybody." A good many of us very probably merit some such rebuke as was administered to a loquacious penitent who asked his spiritual director for a hair skirt in order to mortify his flesh. "My son," said the director, laying his finger on his lips, "the best hair shirt is to watch carefully all that comes out at this door." Interior mortification, in other words, is preferable to external penances. And yet, as the two are not mutually exclusive, one may judiciously follow the advice: Do this, and don't neglect that. Apropos of interior repressions, this bit of doctrine from St. Francis of Sales is quite in harmony with what we have said of the value of little things in the spiritual life: "Above all, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, jealousies, envy, deceitfulness, vanity, attachments, and evil thoughts. For in this way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones."

To return from this quasi-digression and resume our consideration of distinctively exterior penitential exercises: one mortification which many a priest would do well to practice is-spending from fifteen to thirty minutes every morning in alternately reading and pondering a brief series of supernatural truths. "Mortification?" comments the reader. "Why, that's not mortification; 'tis meditation." Quite so; or, at least, 'tis the framework, the mechanical structure of meditation: and nevertheless if one is to believe a not uncommon assertion in clerical circles, it is to many priests a genuine mortification as well. In point of fact, actual neglect of daily meditation, and alleged inability to meditate as the pretext for such neglect, characterize a larger number of American priests than the devout reader of this page is apt to consider possible. Not very many years ago the present writer was, to say the least, mildly surprised at this declaration of an experienced retreat-master who was mentioning the subjects he purposed discussing in his sermons and conferences to a body of several hundred diocesan priests: "I'm not going to talk to them about meditation; they won't make it, anyway." Making due allowance for the unquestionable exaggeration of the remark, the residue of truth which it contains is worth while considering—and deploring. No amount of external activity, strenuous labor about the temporalities of his parish, or punctilious performance of all his pastoral duties, can compensate or indemnify a priest for the neglect of mental prayer,

If the practice of daily meditation is regarded as a sort of bugbear by not a few clerics, it must be because they have confounded form with substance, or mistaken the shell for the kernel. It should be obvious to any educated man that the statement, "I can't meditate," is in sober earnestness fully as nonsensical as the statement, "I can't think." For, after all, that is essentially what meditating means, thinking, or, as the prophet Jeremiah phrases it, "considering in the heart." Now, no priest presumably would care to have his mental calibre qualified in such terms as Sir Henry Irving once applied to an overbearing crossexamining barrister. The great actor, having begun his answer to a question by saying, “Well, I think—” was interrupted by the cross-examiner. "We don't want to hear what you think, sir; we want what you know."—"Pardon me,” replied Sir Henry, "am I not allowed to think in answering these questions?"-"No, sir; decidedly not."—"In that case," said the actor incisively, "I may as well retire. I can't talk without thinking: I'm no lawyer." The priest who can coördinate his thoughts sufficiently well to hold a sane conversation, write a sensible letter, or preach a good sermon, can assuredly meditate, if only he has the will to do so. True, he may not rise to the heights of contemplation, be lost in ecstasy, or be carried like St. Paul to the third heaven; but, then, no masters of the spiritual life expect him to undergo such experiences. What they do expect of him, and what they declare he cannot safely neglect, is a daily private devotional act consisting in delib

erate reflection upon some spiritual truth or mystery, accompanied by acts of the affections and the will, especially the formation of resolutions as to future conduct.

Books of set meditations, with their formal divisions of preludes, points, considerations, applications, affections, resolutions, colloquies, and spiritual nosegays, are meant to serve the purpose of helps, not hindrances, to mental prayer; and it is quite possible to meditate thoroughly well without having recourse to them at all. They are especially useful, of course, to beginners; but even a beginner need not deem it essential to go systematically and rigorously through all the three points provided for him. If a thought occurring in the first of those points, or even in the preludes, appeals to him in a special way and enchains his attention, he may profitably confine his reflection and pondering to the salutary ideas which it evokes and take practical resolutions in accordance therewith, without scruple about his neglecting the subsequent considerations set forth in the book. It is probably true to say, and it is consoling to think, that a good many priests who habitually fail to "make their morning meditation," do as a matter of fact meditate considerably at odd times during the day. Thinking seriously of God and the things of God, reflecting on the eternal truths, deliberating as to one's spiritual interests, putting one's self in the presence of God and uttering a silent heart-cry for additional strength to be in the world and not of it, dwelling on some of the scenes in the passion of our Lord-all such action as this

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