(Latin desperare , to be hopeless.) Despair, ethically regarded, is the voluntary and complete abandonment of all hope of saving one's soul and of having the means required for that end.
It is not a passive state of mind : on the contrary it involves a positive act of the will by which a person deliberately gives over any expectation of ever reaching eternal life.
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All moral conduct may be summed up in the rule: avoid evil and do good.
In the language of Christian asceticism, spirits , in the broad sense, is the term applied to certain complex influences, capable of impelling the will, the ones toward good, the others toward evil ; we have the wordly spirit of error, the spirit of race, the spirit of Christianity, etc.
Still its power for working harm in the human soul is fundamentally far greater than other sins inasmuch as it cuts off the way of escape and those who fall under its spell are frequently, as a matter of fact, found to surrender themselves unreservedly to all sorts of sinful indulgence. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online.
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This last is motived by the persuasion either that the individual's sins are too great to be forgiven or that it is too hard for human nature to cooperate with the grace of God or that Almighty God is unwilling to aid the weakness or pardon the offenses of his creatures, etc.In addition to the special treatises enumerated in the bibliography the following documents may be cited for the history of the subject: An excellent lesson is that given by St. Here we find rules for the discernment of spirits and, being clearly and briefly formulated, these rules indicate a secure course, containing in embryo all that is included in the more extensive treatises of later date.For a complete explanation of them the best commentaries on the "Exercises" of St. Of the rules transmitted to us by a saint inspired by Divine light and a learned psychologist taught by personal experience, it will suffice to recall the principal ones.This charisma or gift was granted in the early Church and in the course of the lives of the saints as, for example, St. Second, discernment of spirits may be obtained through study and reflection.It is then an acquired human knowledge, more or less perfect, but very useful in the direction of souls.