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96. Superstitious Observances

1. It is futile and sinful to dabble in what is calledmagic, and to use charms, formulas of speech, or otherdevices, to obtain occult knowledge or to control events by evokingoccult powers. To do such things is to employ superstitiousobservances. Of course, the magic here mentioned is not the skilledtrickery of an entertainer, often called a magician, who diverts uswith prestidigitation and legerdemain; his tricks are notsuperstitious practices. The magic we speak of as superstition iswhat people commonly call black magic. This sort of thingdebases the mind, dishonors God, and opens the door to diabolicalintervention.

2. The carrying or wearing of health charms, luck pieces,and the like, is, when done with serious intent of profiting bytheir use, a great evil; for such practice involves a belief insome preternatural force, other than God, which gives to theobjects used a magical power. This belief is superstition, and is asin against religion.

3. Fortunetelling is a superstitious and unlawfulpractice, whether it be done by consulting a person, or by usingcards, reading tea leaves, looking in a crystal ball, or employingother inept and futile observances. Similarly, it is superstitionto give serious belief to the omens of luck, good or bad, such ashorseshoes, four-leaf clovers, thebreaking of a mirror,seeing a black cat, passing under a ladder, and so on.

4. The using of incantations (recited or chanted formulas ofwords or sounds) and the wearing of written words on the person, inthe belief that such things have a protective power, are acts ofsuperstition. Even sacred words and blessed objects such as medalsmust be used in the spirit of reverence to God, and never in theway of amulets or luck pieces.

"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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