Reflect how unreasonable it would be for a man, grievously sick, to send for a physician, and express his eager desire to be restored to health, and kept in it, and yet obstinately to resist every measure proposed, and refuse to take such remedies as the physician had been at the pains to prepare for him with his own hands.
[…] Precisely such, or worse, is our conduct as regards our sanctification, if we neglect to use frequently and well the sacraments which Jesus Christ has left us for that end.
He came down from heaven as our Divine physician; He knows all our weaknesses, sores, and ailments; He has studied our case most minutely, and through His own painful experience; He has made up for us sovereign remedies, in which His own Blood is the principal ingredient.
These remedies He offers to us in the sacrament of Penance.
Can we indeed be said to dislike and lament our state of illness, or to desire seriously our recovery, so long as we neglect to apply to that means of cure?
Further, our Lord has laid up in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood a rich and inexhaustible store of blessings and graces, pledges and instruments of eternal life.
Can we be said to desire earnestly the sanctification they are designed to bestow, if we are slothful, negligent, or cold in the use of that adorable institution to which they are attached?
Such, then, are the sacraments left by our Lord for the sanctification of His followers; and they are precisely such as are best adapted for the purpose.
For, first, the great impediment to our sanctification is our constant frailty, which by daily and hourly falls prevents the grace of God from fully possessing our souls, and reigning therein sovereign and supreme.
What could we hope for, unless God, in His mercy, had prepared for us a saving remedy, accessible to us as often as we need it; wherein our offences are forgiven, and their consequences repaired in our souls?
But besides this repeated diminution of strength by accidents, there is a constant evaporation and wearing out of our vigour, by our contact with the world, by the action of our passions and earthly desires, and by the very inertness of our mortal natures, which cannot long together keep steadily to what is good.
[…] God…hath given us a strengthening bread, a succulent nourishment, which confirms and consolidates the spiritual man, and pours new vigour into his soul, and restores all its wasted energy.
How then can we hope spiritually to live that is, to be in a state of grace or sanctification if we have not frequent recourse to this banquet, ever spread for us, in which grace and holiness ever dwell?
Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman (1802–1865): Daily Meditations, pp. 301-302.