The first inducement to attain this second purification is a keen
and lively apprehension of the great evils resulting from sin, by
means of which we acquire a deep, hearty contrition. For just as
contrition, (so far as it is real,) however slight, when joined to
the virtue of the Sacraments, purges away sin; so, when it becomes
strong and urgent, it purges away all the affections which cling
around habits of sin.
A moderate, slight hatred makes men dislike its object and
avoid his society; but when a violent, mortal hatred exists, they
not only abhor and shun the person who excites it, but they loathe
him, they cannot endure the approach of his relations or
connexions, nor even his likeness or anything that concerns him.
Just so when a penitent only hates sin through a weakly although
real contrition, he will resolve to avoid overt acts of sin; but
when his contrition is strong and hearty, he will not merely abhor
sin, but every affection, every link and tendency to sin.
Therefore, my daughter, it behoves us to kindle our contrition
and repentance as much as we possibly can, so that it may reach
even to the very smallest appearance of sin. Thus it was that the
Magdalen, when converted, so entirely lost all taste for her past
sin and its pleasures, that she never again cast back one thought
upon them; and David declared that he hated not only sin itself,
but every path and way which led thereto. This it is which is that
"renewing of the soul" which the same Prophet compares to the
eagle's strength. (1)
Now, in order to attain this fear and this contrition, you must
use the following meditations
carefully; for if you practise them stedfastly, they (by God's
Grace) will root out both sin and its affections from your heart.
It is to that end that I have prepared them: do you use them one
after another, in the order in which they come, only taking one
each day, and using that as early as possible, for the morning is
the best time for all spiritual exercises;--and then you will
ponder and ruminate it through the day. If you have not as yet
been taught how to meditate, you will find instructions to that
purpose in the Second Part.