Preparation of Soul

1) Preparation for Death

Only a complete readiness for death will give a man the courage he needs to approach a gravely dangerous situation without hesitation. Our first and most important preparation, therefore, is to remain ever in a State of Grace; ever with a clear conscience; ever with our hearts right with God. If we are ever so unfortunate to fall out of such a state through some grave sin, we will immediately repent, confess, and amend our ways, in order to be healed.

Each day, we undertake at least one of the following devotions to strengthen our readiness for death. We do not superstitiously regard these devotions as magical charms that themselves cause our salvation; rather, we approach them as powerful channels for God's grace to flow into our hearts, and as potent reminders of just how confident a man of good will can be in his salvation:

2) Growth in Humility

We do not regard ourselves as courageous, much less as heroes: we are merely men who are trying to do our best to prepare for moments wherein courage and heroism may be needed, so that we can honestly say we have done our part, and have not flippantly assumed that merely because we claim to God-fearing, we are always ready for whatever comes our way. We acknowledge that the grace to exercise heroic virtue comes from God, therefore we intend no judgment of the hearts--which He alone can see--of those who appear to have failed to live up to the heroic call of the moment, nor do we make any claim to know that we ourselves will be heroic when the circumstances call for heroism.

In accordance with this understanding, we pray each day the Litany of Humility, and strive to grow in this virtue always. As heroic courage is a grace, it will be given like all grace: to the humble, not the the proud, arrogant, or conceited.

The Litany of Humility:

3) Growth in Love

No man will succeed in rendering aid when he must, and as he must, unless he holds in his heart a genuine love for all of God's children -- because each person bears His Image. We place supreme importance, therefore, on growing in the virtue of Charity towards all people. We seek to grow in this virtue by forgiving all from the heart, by performing works of mercy, and by never passing a judgment of condemnation on someone's soul.

As love is the supreme virtue—so high, indeed, that everything we think, say, and do, should (and must) in some way be an act of love—it is impossible to summarize here a succinct regimen to ensure that we grow in love and truly live this virtue. All Vigilants, however, must remember that continual growth in love is one of the core components of our spiritual preparation.

4) Mortification of Flesh

A man who is accustomed to always doing what his lower desires want--and avoiding what they do not want--is unlikely to rise to meet the challenges of an extraordinary situation. Vigilants, therefore, ensure that no day goes by without opposing the flesh as a spiritual exercise. For example:

  • A cold shower

  • Fasting

  • Exercising or doing manual labor with great exertion, to the point of great exhaustion.

  • Kneeling for lengthy prayers on a hard floor.

  • Eating something that one greatly dislikes.

  • In general: safely and prudently pursuing or avoiding those things whicheven if only subjectivelycause us pain/fear/discomfort/embarrassment/exhaustion/etc. in the act of pursuing or avoiding them.