true zeal of a crusader

46: How Your Zeal Can Destroy Souls – A Tale of Three Zeals

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What a wonderful thing it is to have great zeal for the Gospel, but is it true zeal? 

Did you know mistaken zeal can destroy souls?

In this Episode

In this episode we take a look at three types of zeal:

  • The zeal that destroy souls.
  • Mistaken zeal.
  • True zeal.


The Spirit of St Francis de Sales

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There is a zeal. So bitter and fierce that it pardons nothing exaggerates the smallest faults and like an unskillful physician only makes the disease of the soul more serious. Welcome to life’s My thing. My name is Cynthia Burley.

Today’s topic is a tale of two ALS true zeal versus mistaken zeal. Zeal is “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” New converts and reverts are always full of zeal. I was full of zeal. In fact, I suspect that I still have some zeal left in me. What do you think? Those new to the Latin mass are full of zeal! It’s one of the best things about new converts and reverts, but also one of the worse. You see, sometimes you can harness that zeal in the wrong way. Zeal harnessed in the right way, is a powerful thing, indeed. You have to be balanced. Aristotle has this notion of the “golden mean.” In ancient Greek philosophy, the golden middle way is a “desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. “So You always have the middle and the two extremes. So for example, if you eat too much you’re a glutton. If you don’t eat at all, you might have anorexia. So the middle is where the good is. That’s where virtue lies. In the book, “The Spirit of St. Francis, the a the author looks at two kinds of zeal: zeal that destroys souls versus zeal that is lax and tolerant. When we come back, we’ll take a look at the kind of zeal that destroys souls.


So now we’re going to talk about the kind of zeal, described in the spirit of St. Francis, as a zeal that destroys souls. So I’m quoting from the spirit of St. Francis, which I will link to in the show notes. “There Is a zeal so bitter and fierce, that it pardons nothing, exaggerates the smallest fault and like an unskillful physician, only makes the disease of the soul more serious.” So sometimes you might be filled with so much zeal and you’re you think you’re doing God’s work, but you’re actually not because you’re actually discouraging someone or destroying that little seed of faith that is within that person. Here’s a story that will illustrate what talking about.

Zoe hates Catholics. She thinks they’re judgmental and hypocritical. Well, technically she’s a Catholic too, but she left the church a long time ago. She found it banal and just not very fun, filled with a bunch of, sour-faced, two-faced hypocrites. Zoe meets Jeremy, a Catholic filled with zeal for his faith. He starts to talk to her about Catholicism. So she breaks her own rule of not engaging with Catholics and starts asking him some questions. Besides, she has been fascinated with Catholicism for a few months, especially after watching the Tudors. The music and imagery on the Tudors was glorious. She sometimes wondered what it would be like to start going to Mass again. Jeremy compliments her by telling her that she seems to be pretty knowledgeable about Catholicism for a non-Catholic. “Oh,” She said. I used to be Catholic. “So You’re an apostate,” he counters. She’s taken aback. And before she can answer, he rattles off a prophecy from our Lady of Lasette. “Lucifer With a great number of demons will be unchained from hell. By degrees, they shall abolish the faith, even among persons consecrated to God.” . She sighs in frustration and walks away. So this is an example of destroying the soul. Don’t be that guy. When we come back, we’ll take a look at another type of zeal. Now this is on the other extreme, a zeal that is too lax and too tolerant.

Hi there. This is Cynthia Burley. Please subscribe to Life’s My Thing with Cynthia Burley on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google. If you listen to this on iTunes and you love this podcast, we would be so ecstatic, if you would leave us a five-star review. Leaving us five star reviews, help us to reach more people. Thank you so much. And God bless. Before the break, we talked about a zeal that destroy souls. So now we’re going to talk about a kind of zeal that is too lax and too tolerant. “Well, How can that be,” You ask. You’ll see. So notice we’re comparing zeals that are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One is two, uh sh and destroy souls. And one is two lax and tolerant. Basically. If your zeal is lax and intolerant, you barely have any zeal at all. You’re actually trying so hard to be pleasant and to please everyone, and to be gentle, that your zeal is almost nonexistent.

I’m quoting from the book, now: “The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales.” It says,” There is a zeal of another kind, which is so lax and weakly tender. But if it gives everything thinking in so doing to practice charity, which is patient and kind, seeks not her own, and bears, all wrongs done to her, even joyfully. But such zeal too, is quite mistaken. For true charity cannot endure without grief, any wrong done to God. That is to say, anything contrary to his honor and glory. So that is a problem with that kind of zeal. You’re trying so hard to be nice. You’re not standing up for God as you should. And we are to stand up for our faith and for truth, although charitably, but sometimes you can be so gentle that you fail to make an impression at all. And if you love God, would you not stand up for his honor?

And for his glory? Suppose you have a husband or wife … The husband is so nice to his wife, so sacrificial. He goes out and provides for her. He’s ready to defend her at a moment’s notice. His wife is so pleasant. She never nags. She takes care of him in the household. She’s just very sweet. Now if someone were to harm or attempt to harm either spouse, would not the other try to protect them. Would they not? It’s the same thing with God. Sinning is against God. Sinning is in rebellion to God, sinning offends God. Blaspheming offends. God. If you love God, you will naturally want to stand up for him. This is zeal. Now some of you might say, well, as a woman, I would never try to protect my husband because I’m not, you know, I’m not strong. I’m weak. I, I couldn’t possibly do anything.

For example, if someone came to attack my husband with a knife, I couldn’t jump in because I can’t fight. No, you wouldn’t even think about it. If someone sprung at your husband with a knife, you wouldn’t even think. You would act. You would either scream or you would throw something or do something. You wouldn’t just stand there passively and say, “Oh, well, you know, I hope he can fight.” No, you wouldn’t even think about it. You would put yourself in danger. And of course a man would definitely put his life in danger for his wife. This is the kind of zeal we are to have for God. So therefore, when you see someone offend God, you should naturally want to stand up for God. So what is the middle ground? You know, what do you do? So you’re not too lax and too gentle and too tolerant, or, you know, you’re not on the other side, which is you’re too. Umuick to say something, your, your zeal is just directed in the wrong way. When we come back, we’ll look at what is true zeal.

Now we’re going to talk about true zeal, which is what we all should have. So remember we spoke about zeal that destroys souls and zeal that is too lax and too tolerant? So now here is the middle ground. The middle ground, and by middle ground, by the way, I don’t mean lukewarm. You know, some people think if you’re talking middle, that means lukewarm. No, this is the correct – the virtuous way. In the “Spirit of St Francis De Sales,” it says, “True zeal must be accompanied by knowledge and judgment. It pardons certain things, or at least winks at them until the right time and place are come for correcting them. It reproves others, when it sees there is hope of amendment, leaving no stone unturned, when it thinks there is a possibility of preserving or advancing the glory of God. Now don’t let yourself get distracted by the “winks.”. What that means is that you don’t — you don’t say anything. You let it go for now. It’s a temporary situation. You let it go for now.

But what you do is you wait for the right time and then you leave no stone unturned. An example of this type of, of zeal is what’s happening with the priestly abuse crisis. What happened is that since the bishops weren’t doing anything about it, the laity felt that it was time to step up, and step ups they did. You have groups like Church Militant, which a lot of people don’t like, but we have to admit that they keep the bishops accountable. And they’re doing all this for the glory of God and to advance the glory of God and to preserve the faith. I saw an example of h church militant holding a Bishop accountable. I don’t remember his name, but basically what they did is they had cameras and they approached him in an airport and asked him why he was allowing a certain priest,

I believe in his diocese ( I think it was a priest) to continue to do things that were wrong. And so they demanded the truth. So they held them accountable. Of course they didn’t like that. Another example is a new group called Complicit Clergy. Complicit clergy is a group of laity that decided to come together. They have a website,, and I’ll just read their “about.” It says, “This website is our first contribution towards working to cleanse the church. It’s objective is to identify bishops who knew or should have known about sexual abuse and to demand that they resign or be removed from office.” So these two groups are examples of people, laity that have so much zeal for the faith. They do not want to see the holy Catholic faith be dragged through the mud. And so they keep the clergy, the bishops accountable. So again, true zeal waits until the right time in place and corrects and reproves when there is hope of amendment.

In other words, you’re not correcting people just so you feel good. So just so you feel holy you’re correcting people because you hope and you pray that they will amend their lives. So you look for an opportune time to reprove them so that they amend their lives. So as we go about our day, let us remember that this zeal, that a lot of us have, make sure that you’re using true zeal and not zeal that is, that can only destroy souls or zeal that is so lax and tolerant that you might as well not have any zeal at all. God bless. If you enjoyed this video or audio, please share with your friends. Thank you for supporting beautyso

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