THIS CRUCIFIED LORD … is a book that I give you to read. You will be able to draw from it the true portrait of every virtue. Because it is the book of life, it not only instructs the intellect with words but also inflames the will with living example. All the world is full of books, but … all of them taken together cannot so perfectly teach the way to acquire all virtues as the contemplation of a crucified God.
You know, daughter, that there are some who spend many hours weeping over the passion of our Lord, considering His patience, and then when adversities overtake them demonstrate impatience, as if they had thought of everything but the passion during prayer. … What is more foolish and miserable than this—to see the virtues of the Lord with crystal clarity, to love and admire them, and then to completely forget or discount them when an occasion to exercise them arises?
—Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat (1589), trans. William V. Hudon. This book encapsulates the new piety that developed out of the Catholic Reformation.
Christian History’s 2015–2017 four-part Reformation series is available as a four-pack. This set includes issue #115 Luther Leads the Way; issue #118 The People’s Reformation; issue #120 Calvin, Councils, and Confessions; and issue#122 The Catholic Reformation. Get your set today. These also make good gifts.