…We must be discreet and humble. Our greatest ambitions must be to see the crucified Christ always before us. His life and death, what efforts He demands of us.
Seek nothing beyond this. It will please the Divine Master. His real friends ask only for those things that will enable them to fulfill His commissions. Any other desire, any other quest, is but self-love, spiritual pride, an encirclement of the devil.
Such a disciplined conduct is well fortified against the assaults of the devil. When the skilled opponent sees the fervor of persons beginning spiritual exercises and the fixed resolution of their wills, he insinuates his subtleties into their understanding. A break-through here permits him to push his way into the will. He is then master of both these faculties.
As a feint, he inflates their imagination in moments of prayer, suggesting elevated sentiments. He works particularity on those who are curious and discerning by nature, who are subject to self-conceit and are fond of their own schemes. His aim, of course, is to amuse them with idle dreams and the sensible pleasure they afford so that, drugged with a false sense of appreciation of God, they may forget to cleanse their hearts, to examine themselves, and to practice mortification. In this way they become inflated with pride, and they idolize their own understanding.
–Dom Lorenzo Scupoli ‘The Spiritual Combat’