In Spiritual Combat we are encouraged to try to strive to obtain one particular virtue at a time. We are also reminded that there are so many opportunities that will come our way each day, where we can grow in these virtues.
The following are some examples put forth by Father Scupoli:
"It may happen that in the very same day, and perhaps in the same hour,
- that we are blamed for some good action, or found fault with for some other cause;
- we may be harshly denied some favor we have asked for, or some trifling request;
- we may be accused of something we have not done or be called upon to enure some bodily pain or some petty annoyance (such as a dish badly cooked);
- or we may have to bear some real and heavy trial, such as this miserable life is full of..."
We can come up with things in our own daily lives that will help us grow in the virtues.
- Your spouse snaps at you when you ask a innocent question.
- A friend takes out her growing stress on you and yells at you in front of others.
- A bicyclist on the sidewalk forces you, the pedestrian out of the way or a motorist cuts you off on the road.
- Someone cuts in front of you on the checkout line in the store or even at the confessional line in Church.
- Your child speaks disrespectfully to you or worse, someone else's child speaks disrespectfully to you.
- You are not invited to a certain event that most of your friends have been invited to.
- A member of an organization you belong to, spends a large sum of money without anyone's consent or knowledge and then expects reimbursement from everyone.
This list can go on and on.
Father Scupoli advises that we should strive to achieve one virtue at a time as aforesaid. So for example, we are trying to achieve the virtue of patience, we should accept the above situations not only willingly, but with a light heart.
If it is humility we are striving to achieve, then the above situations should be felt by us, that we truly deserve to be treated in such a rude or inconsiderate manner.
If it is the virtue of obedience that we are striving for, then we are to accept all these situations as coming from the hand of God. This means even if our annoyances are caused by people who we really do not owe obedience to. i.e., a child.
If the virtue is poverty, Father says "....we should be quite ready to be stripped of all the consolations of this world, great and small.
If it is charity,
"we should perform actions of love toward our neighbor, through whose instrumentality we may thus progress, and toward our Lord God, as the first and loving Cause from whom our discomforts proceed, or by whom they are permitted to arise, for our discipline and spiritual improvement...
Therefore, instead of growing impatient, angry, envious, prideful, etc., use these opportunities that will inevitably come your way daily, to perfect one of these virtues at a time.
Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli, Published by Sophia Press.