Fear and doubt are two of the most unwelcome denizens that regularly plague the human soul. Padre Quadrupani, drawing upon the wisdom of the saints, gives this advice on how to cope with these afflictions:
“Far from allowing yourself to be dejected by fear and doubt, raise your desires rather to great virtues and to the most sublime perfection. God loves courageous souls, Saint Theresa assures us, provided they mistrust their own strength and place all their reliance upon Him. The devil tries to persuade you that it is pride to have exalted aspirations and to wish to imitate the virtues of the saints; but do not permit him to deceive you by this artifice. He will only laugh at you if he succeed in making you fall into weakness and irresolution.”
“Sorrow, not fear, is the sentiment our sins should awaken in us. When Saint Peter said to his divine Master: ‘Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man’ (Lk 5:8-10), what did our Saviour reply? ‘Fear not.’ Saint Augustine remarks that in the Holy Scriptures we always find hope and love preferred to fear.”
The Padre quotes this astute observation of St. Thomas of Villanova: “What do you fear? This Judge whose condemnation you dread is the same Jesus Christ who died upon the Cross in order not to condemn you.”
Referring to his favorite spiritual guide, the Padre writes, “Our miseries form the throne of the divine mercy, we are told by Saint Francis de Sales, for if in the world there were neither sins to pardon, nor sorrows to soothe, nor maladies of the soul to heal, God would not have to exercise the most beautiful attribute of His divine essence. This was our Lord’s reason for saying that He came into the world not for the just but for sinners (Lk 5:32).”
Moreover, he notes: “The immoderate fear of hell, in the opinion of Saint Francis de Sales, can not be cured by arguments, but by submission and humility.”
Therefore, Quadrupani concludes, “Do not forfeit your peace of mind by wondering what destiny awaits you in eternity. Your future lot is in the hands of God, and it is much safer there than if in your own keeping.”
Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).