Liberating the Scrupulous

Christ and the Adultress by Bonifazio Veronese

Padre Quadrupani suggests a strategy for banishing unreasonable scruples of conscience, thereby liberating the spiritual wayfarer from his prison and enabling him to progress onward and upward.

“It is a secret pride,” says St. Francis de Sales, “that entertains and nourishes scruples, for the scrupulous person adheres to his opinion and inquietude in spite of his director’s advice to the contrary. He always persuades himself in justification of his disobedience that some new and unforeseen circumstance has occurred to which this advice cannot be applicable. But submit without other reasoning than this: I should obey, and you will be delivered from this lamentable malady.” Quadrupani concurs, saying: “There is but one remedy for scruples and that is entire and courageous obedience.”

St. Francis de Sales said: “We should do everything from love and nothing from constraint. It is more essential to love obedience than to fear disobedience.”

Quadrupani gives this advice: “In all his actions a scrupulous person sees only an uninterrupted series of sins, and in God nothing but vengeance and anger. He ought, therefore, to consider almost exclusively the attribute of the divine Master by which He most delights to manifest Himself, mercy, and to make it the constant subject of his thoughts, meditations and affections.”

He repeats the stern words of St. Joseph of Cupertino: “Away with sadness and scruples; I will not have them in my house.”

The editor of Light and Peace offers the reader these inspiring thoughts of Archbishop Fenelon: “Woe to that narrow and self-absorbed soul that is always fearful, and because of fear has no time to love and to go generously forward. O my God! I know it is your wish that the heart that loves you should be broad and free! Hence I shall act with confidence like to the child that plays in the arms of its mother; I shall rejoice in the Lord and try to make others rejoice; I shall pour forth my heart without fear in the assembly of the children of God.”

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).

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