The Daughters of Lukewarmness

Nobody wants to be lukewarm!

I told a priest friend we should both write a blog post for Lent. He beat me to it by several weeks…so here we go.

Six Daughters of Lukewarmness, as explained by St Thomas Aquinas and St Gregory the Great:

1. Lack of hope. In other words, discouragement and lack of interest in the things of God. The lukewarm person seems unable to lead a mature and demanding interior life. He finds himself “without energy”.

2. An uncontrolled imagination. The lukewarm person gives free rein to the imagination. He takes refuge there amidst his false exploits and triumphs. He basks in a false happiness that is far removed from the real joy to be experienced by living ordinary life in the presence of God.

3. Mental torpor and sloth. The soul is lazy at the prospect of the supernatural struggle. “When it is not jolted by timely ardor, the soul becomes overcome with lethargy, thereby bringing about the total collapse of any desire for the good…” (St Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care)

4. Pusillanimity. The spirit of the lukewarm person shrinks in the face of any supernatural enterprise. The affected soul gives way to many sins of omission and disregards grace bestowed by the Holy Spirit.

5. Rancor and critical spirit. The lukewarm person becomes annoyed by people who are struggling for sanctity. He does not want to change his own conduct. The lukewarm person convinces himself that all the problems of the world lie in other people. Good people may encourage him to return to the right path, but the lukewarm person dismisses this assistance as coming from unsuitable teachers. This attitude can lead the lukewarm person to a hatred of spiritual goods in and of themselves.

6. An ill tempered antagonism. This problem can readily fester and develop into a positive evil. It is nothing more than an absolute hatred of everything that is divine in man. The lukewarm person makes a conscious, internal decision to do evil for its own sake. This is one of the most serious sins which a human being can commit.

St John of the Cross: “Anyone who does things lukewarmly is close to falling” (The Sayings of Light and Love, 168).

Fight against that weakness which makes you lazy and careless in your spiritual life. Remember that it might well be the beginning of lukewarmness… and, in the words of the Scripture, God will vomit the lukewarm out of his mouth.-St Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 325)

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