The One Sin You Must Crush This Lent

There is one thing that every one of us needs to focus upon and crush this Lent with no mercy.

What is it? Your predominant fault. “My what?”

You heard me…or rather you heard one of the greatest spiritual theologians of the 20th century, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

What in the world is a predominant fault?

Well, even in a state of grace, each of us possesses a particular fault that is stronger than the rest. It could be lack of patience, fierce anger, deadly lust, admiration of skinny jeans…the list goes on.

Regardless of its identity, the predominant fault is a stone cold killer of the spiritual life.

Here’s how it works.

Grace in the soul tends to start by perfecting what is good in us. For example, if you’re already patient, grace can even help you charitably endure a 3 hour long elementary school Christmas concert.

From there, says Fr. Lagrange, grace radiates out to what is, shall we say, “less good,” in us. In other words, it starts to work more on our natural weaknesses and faults.

Our predominant fault, however, acts as a major obstacle to that pattern of purification. It attacks the work of grace in a similar manner to that of weeds seeking to take over a manicured lawn.

We’ve all seen it happen…even to ourselves.

You spent the entire summer cultivating the best-looking grass on the block and in mere days one dandelion seed from your neighbor’s “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” yard destroyed it all.

Suddenly you’re swimming in a sea of yellow.

All that time spent in the sweltering company of a Garden Weasel is rendered nil and dandelion “bouquets” begin appearing on your dining room table, courtesy of your children.

Of course, it’s not all your neighbor’s fault. The Devil is the real anti-gardener. 

As Christ says in the Parable of the Sower, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away” (Mt 13:24-25). 

And then the Evil One continues to come round like a disgruntled Chem-lawn guy, fertilizing the weeds so they can strangle and destroy the good plants.

And the weed that grows fastest is our predominant fault.

But while it’s incredibly deadly to the life of grace, few of us have actually identified our personal predominant fault (though we can easily identify it in others. Hmmm…)

Ironically, it’s often easier for earnest beginners in the spiritual life to name their main fault than those more advanced in the ways of God.

Those a little further along in the spiritual journey are often quite adept at covering their faults with the facade of virtue. (“I’m not impatient! I just admire punctuality!” or “I’m not angry, just righteously indignant!”)

So with Lent fast approaching, it would be a good time to identify and set up a plan to crush our predominant fault. It’s the perfect time to do so.

And if you’re wondering how to identify your predominant fault and exactly how to crush it, don’t worry. 

In my next blog post, I’ll give you 6 ways to identify your predominant fault, as well as the three keys to crush it.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. If you haven’t yet signed up for the FREE Lenten streaming of Catholic Mysticism & the Beautiful Life of Grace, what are you waiting for? It’s FREE! Join thousands of Catholics from all over the world and be transformed this Lent! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Why You Don’t Feel God…(and what to do about it).

How many times have you wondered “Why don’t I feel God?”

It’s a natural question.

Created as a union of body and soul, it’s normal for a Christian to desire a sense of God’s presence. After all, we are “created through him and for him”, says St. Paul (Col 1:16).

Of course, this doesn’t mean we necessarily “feel” Him like we do the rest of the created world. In fact, that’s pretty rare.

Regardless, in order for there to be an authentic divine intimacy (and any chance of sensing him), we must have a plan of conquest. It’s what many spiritual writers call the “science of sainthood.”

And this plan, this “science of sainthood”, is necessary because because like a buried treasure, God is hidden within you. But interestingly, St. John of the Cross doesn’t say we seek the treasure of intimacy with God so as to expose it.

Rather, the spiritual treasure hunter “should secretly penetrate its hiding place, and when he finds it, he too is hidden as it is.”

It’s almost like that old game of “sardines” you used to play in high school. One person hides, and when another person finds him, they join in the hiding until there’s only one person left who hasn’t found the hiding spot.

(That last person was always pretty lonely:)

But there’s a twist, says Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary of Magdalen. In hiding with God, we actually reveal him. Why? How?

Well, the biggest reason he was “hidden” in the first place was mostly due to the clutter and junk in our lives that covered him up.

We hide him by our superficial distractions and focus upon worldly affairs.

But in the process of finding him, we clear out the clutter and cut through the distractions. To put it another way, in turning away from ourselves, we find God, hiding with and in Him.

So as we approach Advent, focus on removing the junk and clutter that keeps you from sensing the presence of God.

“Forgetting everything and withdrawing from all creatures, hide yourself,” says St. John of the Cross, “until you find Him in the intimate seclusion of your spirit. Then…in secret you will hear Him and love Him and enjoy Him…above all that tongue and sense can understand” (Spiritual Canticle I, 9).

God bless!

Matthew

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If you’ve ever wanted to deepen your life of prayer and actually make some progress in avoiding vice and growing in virtue, look no further.” Dr. Brant Pitre – Renowned theologian & best-selling author

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PILGRIMAGE TO POLAND with MATTHEW!

Want to Walk in the Footsteps of St. John Paul II, St. Faustina, and St. Maximilian Kolbe? Join Matthew Leonard for an amazing pilgrimage to Poland, the most Catholic country in the world!

091: Living with Sheen: A Conversation with the Remarkable Msgr. Hilary Franco

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Every now and then you meet a person whose life blows your mind.

I recently met that guy while in Israel.

His name is Msgr. Hilary Franco, a priest of 64 years and unlike anyone you’ve ever encountered.

He’s a living treasure-trove of knowledge spanning the last six decades of Church history.

But it’s his personal history that wows.

(You can read all about it in his incredible memoir Bishop Sheen: Mentor and Friend.)

What makes his life so special?

Only the fact that he lived and worked very closely for years with two of the most incredible Catholics in the history of the modern Church – Pope St. John Paul II and soon-to-be Blessed Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

No joke.

And boy, does he have stories. And you’re about to hear some of them. For example:

  • How Sheen prepared for his Emmy Award winning television show
  • The secret identity of the Angel erasing the blackboard on the Life is Worth Living (Sheen’s program that had 40 million viewers…a week!)
  • The beautiful encounter between Venerable Fulton Sheen and St. John Paul II
  • Some inside scoop on Vatican II

And while he’s lived quite the life. Msgr. Franco isn’t not done yet!

He currently represents the Vatican at the United Nations and is helping promote the Catholic faith around the world.

This guy is a total dynamo and you’re going to love him. Enjoy!

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. Doors re-open to the world’s largest online school of Catholic spirituality at the end of summer 2019!

CLICK HERE to check it out and get on the Wait List! (Wait List members are eligible for big Early Bird Discounts!)

If you’ve ever wanted to deepen your life of prayer and actually make some progress in avoiding vice and growing in virtue, look no further.” Dr. Brant Pitre – Renowned theologian & author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist