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Friday, 22 August 2014

Addition to Poll

Those who vote in the poll, please feel free to comment, especially those who would not fight. I am interested in all opinions, yay or nay.

More on The Pope's Phone Call

Perfection Series IV: Part Twenty; The Star of Love and Simplicity in Unity; II

I want to end this section on the Unitive State by referring to a chapter, (41) from Garrigou-Lagrange. As usual, the priest's insights are extremely clear. In a chapter on the Unitive State and "holy childhood", the Dominican notes this:

 The simplicity, or the absence of duplicity, of a child is wholly spontaneous; in him there is no labored refinement, no affectation. He generally says what he thinks and expresses what he desires without subterfuge, without fear of what people will say. As a rule he does not pose; he shows himself as he is. Conscious of his weakness, for he can do nothing of himself, he depends in everything on his father and mother, from whom he should receive everything. This awareness of his weakness is the seed of humility, which leads him to practice the three theological virtues, often in a profoundly simple manner.

One of the signs of someone in the Unitive State is a childlike dependence on God, a complete trusting in God the Father, a complete realization that without Christ nothing is possible, and that one needs the Holy Ghost in order to live the Christian life.

Most of us love the Little Flower for her great simplicity and love. She was raised by loving and faithful parents, which allowed her to make great strides in perfection at a very young age. 

Garrogue-Lagrange understands the virtues of childhood grow quickly in "good soil."

St. Teresa of the Child Jesus reminds us that the principal virtues of the child of God are those in which are reproduced in an eminent degree the innate qualities of the child, minus his defects. Consequently the way of spiritual childhood will teach us to be supernaturally ourselves minus our defects.
The child of God should, first of all, be simple and upright, without duplicity; he should exclude hypocrisy and falsehood from his life, and not seek to pass for what he is not, as our Lord declares in the Sermon on the Mount: "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome": (2) that is, if the gaze of your spirit is honest, if your intention is upright, your whole life will be illumined.
The child of God should preserve the consciousness of his weakness and indigence; he should constantly recall that God our Father freely created him from nothing, and that without God's grace he can do absolutely nothing in the order of sanctification and salvation. If the child of God grows in this humility, he will have an ever deeper faith in the divine word, greater even than little children have in the words of their parents. He will have a faith devoid of human respect, he will be proud of his faith; and from time to time it will become in him penetrating and sweet, above all reasoning. He will truly live by the mysteries of salvation and will taste them; he will contemplate them with admiration, as a little child looks into the eyes of his beloved father.

 Why are characteristics of the loving, trusting child indicative of a state of union? A child always loves, without the cost and without strings attached. A child is not jaded and wonders at the beauty of life. This simplicity of love and awe grows out of abandonment to God's Perfect Will. I have highlighted some passages for emphasis.

These characteristics of the child are the same as those of the trusting bride one sees illumined in the sermons of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Those who trust are able to love.

If the child of God does not go astray, he will see his hope grow stronger from day to day and become transformed into trusting abandonment to Providence. In proportion to his fidelity to the duty of the moment, to the signified divine will, will be his abandonment to the divine good pleasure as yet unknown. The arms of the Lord are, says St. Teresa Of the Child Jesus, like a divine elevator that lifts man up to God.
Finally, the child of God grows steadily in the love of his Father. He loves Him for Himself and not simply for His benefits, as a little child loves his mother more than the caresses he receives from her. The child of God loves his Father in trial as in joy; when life is difficult, he remembers that he should love the Lord with all his strength and even with all his mind, and be always united to Him in the higher part of his soul as an adorer "in spirit and in truth."

This last characteristic shows that the way of spiritual childhood often demands courage in trial, the virtue of Christian fortitude united to the gift of fortitude. This is especially evident toward the end of the life of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus (3) when she had to pass through the tunnel, which St. John of the Cross calls the night of the spirit. She passed through this profound darkness with admirable faith, praying for unbelievers, with perfect abandonment and most pure and ardent charity, which led her to the transforming union, the immediate prelude of eternal life.

But, here is the mystery. One becomes childlike while retaining the virtues of strength and even martyrdom.

Garrigou-Lagrange does a good job in showing us that this seemingly contradiction is based on Christ's very words. 

The way of childhood thus understood wonderfully harmonizes several seemingly contradictory virtues: meekness and fortitude, and also simplicity and prudence, to which Jesus referred when He said to His apostles: "Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves."

We must be prudent with the world, which is often perverse; we must also be strong, at times even to martyrdom, as in Spain and Mexico in recent years. But to have this superior prudence and fortitude, we need the gifts of counsel and fortitude, and to have them we must be increasingly simple and childlike toward God, our Lord, and the Blessed Virgin. The less we should be children in our dealings with men, the more we should become children of God. From Him alone can come the fortitude and prudence we need in the struggles of today: we must hope in God and divine grace more than in the strength of popular movements; and should this force stray farther and farther into the way of atheistic communism, we should continue to resist even to martyrdom, placing our trust in God like a little child in the goodness of his father. Father H. Petitot, O.P., in his book, St. Teresa of Lisieux: a Spiritual Renascence, emphasizes this intimate union of virtues so contrary in appearance in St. Teresa of Lisieux.

After the time of purification, one is again regaining lost innocence. Humility brings trust and self-knowledge. A child knows he cannot do anything without his parents' help. But, he also knows he CAN do things and he begins to understand his own capabilities.

Another point of capital importance is that when well understood the way of spiritual childhood wonderfully harmonizes also true humility with the desire for the loving contemplation of the mysteries of salvation. Thereby we see that this contemplation, which proceeds from living faith illumined by the gifts of understanding and wisdom, is in the normal way of sanctity. This penetrating and at times sweet contemplation of the mysteries of faith is not something extraordinary like visions, revelations, and the stigmata, extrinsic favors, so to speak, which we do not find in the life of St. Teresa of Lisieux; it is, on the contrary, the normal fruit of sanctifying grace, called the grace of the virtues and the gifts and the seed of glory. It is the normal prelude of eternal life. This point of doctrine stands out clearly in the writings of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. She makes us desire and ask the Lord for this loving contemplation of the mysteries of the Incarnation, the redemption, the Eucharist, the Mass, and the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in our souls.

"Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps."

The saint comes to the threshold of eternal life like a little lamb. 

The virtue of obedience is key at this state, and a sign of a saint, one in the Unitive State is complete obedience to Holy Mother Church. Obedience reveals humility and simplicity.

Maybe someday I can write more about this wonderful state of being one with God. I pray that God in His mercy and love will guide all of us on this blog, both me and readers, to become true children of Light.

I can say no more at this time about the Unitive State, but encourage my readers to read Garrigou-Lagrange's book found here.

We also have the saints, that "cloud of witnesses", the Church Triumphant, which tell us how to move on the road to perfection. What wonderful truths in the lives of the saints may be found in the readings from their feast days, the readings in the Divine Office, and the myriad biographies and autobiographies. There are no reasons, but our own reluctance and sin, in becoming the saint God wants each one of us to be.

I want to end with a song from my youth. St. Therese called Jesus her "Star of Love", echoed here in this song. The words are underneath this video of the Notre Dame Liturgical Alumni Choir.


I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.


In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God;
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father.

I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus.


Perfection Series IV: Part Nineteen; Simplicity in Unity; I

Too many people assume or think even after study that the state of Union with God means that one has to have a complicated spiritual life.

On the contrary, simplicity is a mark of unity in and with God I am going to devote the last two parts of this fourth series on simplicity as a mark of unity.

Simplicity actually begins or comes in the Illuminative State, but is seen most clearly in the mature saint.

Little Rose of Lima, whose feast day is tomorrow, was united to God at an early age, shows us the way of simplicity. So, too, do SS. Therese, the Little Flower, and Joseph Cupertino.

Here is the great Dominican again:


Another aspect of veracity, the superior simplicity of the saints, prepares the soul even more for contemplation. Simplicity is opposed not only to duplicity, but to every useless complexity, to all that is pretentious or tainted with affectation, like sentimentality which affects a love that one does not have. What falsity to wish to talk in a glowing style as if one were already in the seventh mansion of the interior castle, when one has not yet entered the fourth! How far superior is the simplicity of the Gospel!

We say that a child's gaze is simple because the child goes straight to the point without any mental reservation. With this meaning Christ says to us: "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome"; that is, if our intention is upright and simple, our whole life will be one, true, and luminous, instead of being divided like that of those who try to serve two masters, God and money, at the same time. In the presence of the complexities, the pretenses, the more or less untruthful complications of the world, we feel instinctively that the moral virtue of simplicity or of perfect loyalty is a reflection of a divine perfection.

The simplicity of God is that of the pure Spirit who is Truth itself and Goodness itself. In Him are no thoughts that succeed one another; there is but one thought, ever the same, which subsists and embraces every truth. The simplicity of His intellect is that of a most pure gaze which, without any admixture of error or ignorance, has unchangeably as its object every knowable truth. The simplicity of His will or of His love is that of a sovereignly pure intention ordering all things admirably and permitting evil only for a greater good.

The most beautiful characteristic of God's simplicity is that it unites in itself perfections which in appearance are most contradictory: absolute immutability and absolute liberty; infinite wisdom and the freest good pleasure, which at times seems arbitrary to us; or again infinite justice, which is inexorable toward unrepented sin, and infinite mercy. All these perfections are fused and identified without destroying each other in the eminent simplicity of God.
We find a reflection of this lofty simplicity in the smile of a child and in the simplicity of the gaze of the saints, which is far superior to all the more or less untruthful intricacies of worldly wisdom and prudence.

What a false notion of simplicity we sometimes form when we imagine that it consists in telling frankly all that passes through our minds or hearts, at the risk of contradicting ourselves from one day to the next, when circumstances will have changed and the persons whom we see will have ceased to please us! This quasi-simplicity is instability itself and contradiction, and consequently complexity and more or less conscious untruth; whereas the superior simplicity of the saints, the image of that of God, is the simplicity of an unchanging wisdom and of a pure and strong love, superior to our impressionability and successive opinions.

St. Francis de Sales often speaks of simplicity.(11) He reduces it to the upright intention of the love of God, which should prevail over all our sentiments, and which does not tarry over the useless search for a quantity of exercises that would make us lose sight of the unity of the end to be attained. He says also that simplicity is the best of artifices because it goes straight toward its goal. He adds that it is not opposed to prudence, and that it does not interfere with what others do.

The perfect soul is thus a simplified soul, which reaches the point of judging everything, not according to the subjective impression of the moment, but in the divine light, and of willing things only for God. And whereas the complex soul, which judges according to its whims, is disturbed for a trifle, the simplified soul is in a constant state of peace because of its wisdom and its love. This superior simplicity, which is quite different from naivete, or ingenuousness, harmonizes perfectly, therefore, with the most cautious Christian prudence that is attentive to the least details of our acts and to their proximate or remote repercussion.

In my last section on the Unitive State, I shall go back to Garrigou-Lagrange on the childlike soul of the saint.

I know I have not exhausted this topic, but only given some hints, some indications as to the beauty of life in and with God.

We are ALL called to this state. Whether we cooperate with grace or not is our own decisions, made daily, until we die.

to be continued....

Additional Info on Poll

 I did not place a category for priests on the poll. The answer could look like, "Yes to give the sacraments".  Sorry, Holy Priests. I did not mean to leave you out.

You may always leave a comment.

Perfection Series IV: Part Eighteen; The Marks of The Unitive State

Love, or charity, is the mark of the Unitive State. Perhaps some of you have met a person who is truly loving, kind, charitable, generous, calm, exhibiting all of the virtues and showing the world the life of the pouring out of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I have not met a person in the Unitive State. I did see and touch St. John Paul II, but to my knowledge, he was not yet in the Unitive State.

All Christians in Baptism are given the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a state which is altered when one commits mortal sin.

Those in mortal sin no longer walk in love or towards love.

Some people may have met such a person who walks in love. Garrigou-Lagrange sites several signs of a person who is in the Unitive State. Here is the section of his book which deal with these:


The signs of this indwelling are set forth at length by St. Thomas in the Contra Gentes,(14) and more briefly in the Summa theologica (15) where he asks whether a man can know if he is in the state of grace. Without having absolute certitude that he has grace, he has signs which enable him, for example, to approach the Holy Table without fear of making a sacrilegious Communion.
The principal signs of the state of grace, in ascending gradation, are the following.
The first sign is the testimony of a good conscience, in the sense that he is not conscious of any mortal sin. This is the fundamental sign, presupposed by the following signs which confirm it.
A second sign is joy in hearing the word of God preached, not only for the sake of hearing it, but to put it into practice. This may be observed in several countries where there is preserved, together with a simple life, a great Christian faith which leads the faithful to listen willingly to their pastor when he explains the great truths of the Gospel.

A third sign, confirming the preceding ones, is the relish of divine wisdom, which leads a man to read the Gospel privately, to seek in it the spirit under the letter, to nourish his soul with it, even when it deals with the mystery of the cross and with the cross he must bear every day.
A fourth sign is the inclination leading the soul to converse intimately with God, and faithfully to resume this conversation when it has been interrupted. We cannot repeat too often that every man carries on an intimate conversation with himself, which, at times, is not good. True interior life begins, as we have often pointed out, when this intimate conversation is no longer only with self, but with God. St. Thomas says: "Friendship inclines a man to wish to converse with his friend. The conversation of man with God is made through the contemplation of God, according to these words of St. Paul: 'Our conversation is in heaven' (Phil. 3: 20). And as the Holy Ghost gives us the love of God, He also inclines us to contemplate Him. That is why the Apostle also says: 'But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord'" (II Cor. 3: 18).(16)


A fifth sign is to rejoice in God, fully consenting to His will even in adversity. Sometimes in the midst of dejection there is given us a pure and lofty joy which dissipates all sadness. This is a great sign of the Lord's visit. Moreover, Jesus, in promising the Holy Ghost, called Him the Paraclete, or Comforter. And normally we rejoice so much the more in the Lord as we more perfectly fulfill His precepts, for by so doing we form increasingly one sole heart with Him.
A sixth sign is found in the liberty of the children of God. On this subject, St. Thomas writes: "The children of God are led by the Holy Ghost, not like slaves, but like free creatures. . . . The Holy Ghost, in fact, makes us act by inclining our free will to will, for He gives us to love God and inclines us to act for love of Him and not through fear in a servile manner. That is why St. Paul tells us: 'You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.' (19) The Apostle also says: 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty' (II Cor. 3: 17, deliverance from the slavery of sin, and 'If by the Spirit you mortify the deeds [and affections] of the flesh, you shall live' (Rom. 8: 13)'" (20) This is truly the deliverance or the holy liberty of the children of God, who reign with Him over inordinate desires, the spirit of the world, and the spirit of evil.

Lastly, a seventh sign of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the soul, according to St. Thomas,(21) is that the person speaks of God out of the abundance of his heart. In this sense is realized what the holy doctor says elsewhere: "Preaching should spring from the plenitude of the contemplation of the mysteries of faith." (22) Thus, from Pentecost on, St. Peter and the apostles preached the mystery of the redemption; so too, St. Stephen, the first martyr, preached before being stoned; and likewise St. Dominic, who knew how to speak only with God or of God. Thus the Holy Ghost appears increasingly as a source of ever new graces, an unexhausted and inexhaustible source, "the source of living water springing up into life eternal," the source of light and love.
He is, as the saints say, our consolation in the sorrows of exile. A great hope is left to us in the present world crisis, for the hand of the Lord is not shortened. The numerous saints recently canonized evidence the fact that God is always rich in mercy. These saints who are His great servants, furnish us with magnificent, and often imitable, examples of faith, hope, and love. Proof of this statement is found in the lives of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, St. Gemma Galgani, St. John Bosco, St. Joseph Cottolengo, Blessed Anthony Mary Claret, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Conrad of Parzham, the humble Capuchin lay brother in whom are so admirably fulfilled our Savior's words: "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones" (Matt. 11:25).

to be continued....

New Poll Alert!

I did a small poll in a class of high school students in 2003 and was shocked at the answer. I wonder if minds and hearts have changed.

Pope Phoned Journalist's Family

Father Z has update on satanic event and Update indicating Host is being given to the Archbishop

Perfection Series IV: Part Seventeen; The Fifth Mansion of St. Teresa of Avila

Perhaps one of the easiest descriptions of the Unitive State is from St. Teresa of Avila. I shall let her share her experience here without comment. Again, this is all in her definition of the Fifth Mansion.

1. You may imagine that there is no more left to be described of the contents of this mansion, but a great deal remains to be told, for as I said, it contains favours of various degrees. I think there is nothing to add about the prayer of union, but when the soul on which God bestows this grace disposes itself for their reception, I could tell you much about the marvels our Lord works in it. I will describe some of them in my own way, also the state in which they leave the soul, and will use a suitable comparison to elucidate the matter, explaining that though we can take no active part in this work of God within us,173  yet we may do much to prepare ourselves to receive this grace. You have heard how wonderfully silk is made—in a way such as God alone could plan—how it all comes from an egg resembling a tiny pepper-corn. Not having seen it myself, I only know of it by hearsay, so if the facts are inaccurate the fault will not be mine. When, in the warm weather, the mulberry trees 130come into leaf, the little egg which was lifeless before its food was ready, begins to live. The caterpillar nourishes itself upon the mulberry leaves until, when it has grown large, people place near it small twigs upon which, of its own accord, it spins silk from its tiny mouth until it has made a narrow little cocoon in which it buries itself. Then this large and ugly worm leaves the cocoon as a lovely little white butterfly.
2. If we had not seen this but had only heard of it as an old legend, who could believe it? Could we persuade ourselves that insects so utterly without the use of reason as a silkworm or a bee would work with such industry and skill in our service that the poor little silkworm loses its life over the task? This would suffice for a short meditation, sisters, without my adding more, for you may learn from it the wonders and the wisdom of God. How if we knew the properties of all things? It is most profitable to ponder over the grandeurs of creation and to exult in being the brides of such a wise and mighty King.
3. Let us return to our subject. The silkworm symbolizes the soul which begins to live when, kindled by the Holy Spirit, it commences using the ordinary aids given by God to all, and applies the remedies left by Him in His Church, such as regular confession, religious hooks, and sermons; these are the cure for a soul dead in its negligence and sins and liable to fall into temptation. Then it comes to life and continues nourishing itself on this food and on devout meditation until it has attained full vigour, which is the essential point, 131for I attach no importance to the rest. When the silkworm is full-grown as I told you in the first part of this chapter, it begins to spin silk and to build the house wherein it must die. By this house, when speaking of the soul, I mean Christ. I think I read or heard somewhere, either that our life is hid in Christ, or in God (which means the same thing) or that Christ is our life.174  It makes little difference to my meaning which of these quotations is correct.
4. This shows, my daughters, how much, by God’s grace, we can do, by preparing this home for ourselves, towards making Him our dwelling-place as He is in the prayer of union. You will suppose that I mean we can take away from or add something to God when I say that He is our home, and that we can make this home and dwell in it by our own power. Indeed we can: though we can neither deprive God of anything nor add aught to Him, yet we can take away from and add to ourselves, like the silkworms. The little we can do will hardly have been accomplished when this insignificant work of ours, which amounts to nothing at all, will be united by God to His greatness and thus enhanced with such immense value that our Lord Himself will be the reward of our toil. Although He has had the greatest share in it, He will join our trifling pains to the bitter sufferings He endured for us and make them one.
5. Forward then, my daughters! hasten over your work and build the little cocoon. Let us renounce 132self-love and self-will,175  care for nothing earthly, do penance, pray, mortify ourselves, be obedient, and perform all the other good works of which you know. Act up to your light; you have been taught your duties. Die! die as the silkworm does when it has fulfilled the office of its creation, and you will see God and be immersed in His greatness, as the little silkworm is enveloped in its cocoon. Understand that when I say ‘you will see God,’ I mean in the manner described, in which He manifests Himself in this kind of union.
6. Now let us see what becomes of the ‘silkworm,’ for all I have been saying leads to this. As soon as, by means of this prayer, the soul has become entirely dead to the world, it comes forth like a lovely little white butterfly!176  Oh, how great God is! How beautiful is the soul after having been immersed in God’s grandeur and united closely to Him for but a short time! Indeed, I do not think it is ever as long as half an hour.177  Truly, the spirit does not recognize itself, being as different from what it was as is the white butterfly from the repulsive caterpillar. It does not know how it can have merited so great a good, or rather, whence this grace came178  which it well knows it merits not. The soul desires to praise our Lord God and longs to sacrifice itself and die a thousand deaths for Him. It feels an unconquerable desire for great 133crosses and would like to perform the most severe penances; it sighs for solitude and would have all men know God, while it is bitterly grieved at seeing them offend Him. These matters will be described more fully in the next mansion; there they are of the same nature, yet in a more advanced state the effects are far stronger, because, as I told you, if; after the soul has received these favours, it strives to make still farther progress, it will experience great things. Oh, to see the restlessness of this charming little butterfly, although never in its life has it been more tranquil and at peace! May God be praised! It knows not where to stay nor take its rest; everything on earth disgusts it after what it has experienced, particularly when God has often given it this wine which leaves fresh graces behind it at every draught.
7. It despises the work it did while yet a caterpillar—the slow weaving of its cocoon thread by thread—its wings have grown and it can fly; could it be content to crawl? All that it can do for God seems nothing to the soul compared with its desire. It no longer wonders at what the saints bore for Him, knowing by experience how our Lord aids and transforms the soul until it no longer seems the same in character and appearance. Formerly it feared penance, now it is strong: it wanted courage to forsake relations, friends, or possessions: neither its actions, its resolutions, nor separation from those it loved could detach the soul, but rather seemed to increase its fondness. Now it finds even their rightful claims a burden,179  fearing contact with 134them lest it should offend God. It wearies of everything, realizing that no true rest can be found in creatures.
8. I seem to have enlarged on this subject, yet far more might be said about it; those who have received this favour will think I have treated it too briefly. No wonder this pretty butterfly, estranged from earthly things, seeks repose elsewhere. Where can the poor little creature go? It cannot return to whence it came, for as I told you, that is not in the soul’s power, do what it will, but depends upon God’s pleasure. Alas, what fresh trials begin to afflict the mind! Who would expect this after such a sublime grace?180  In fact in one way or another we must carry the cross all our lives. If people told me that ever since attaining to the prayer of union they had enjoyed constant peace and consolation, I should reply that they could never have reached that state, but that, at the most, if they had arrived as far as the last mansion, their emotion must have been some spiritual satisfaction joined to physical debility. It might even have been a false sweetness caused by the devil, who gives peace for a time only to wage far fiercer war later on. I do not mean that those who reach this stage possess no peace; they do so in a very high degree, for their sorrows, though extremely severe, are so beneficial and proceed from so good a source as to procure both peace and happiness.
9. Discontent with this world gives such a painful longing to quit it that, if the heart finds comfort, 135it is solely from the thought that God wishes it to remain here in banishment. Even this is not enough to reconcile it to fate, for after all the gifts received, it is not yet so entirely surrendered to the will of God as it afterwards becomes. Here, although conformed to His will, the soul feels an unconquerable reluctance to submit, for our Lord has not given it higher grace. During prayer this grief breaks forth in floods of tears, probably from the great pain felt at seeing God offended and at thinking how many souls, both heretics and heathens, are lost eternally, and keenest grief of all, Christians also! The soul realizes the greatness of God’s mercy and knows that however wicked men are, they may still repent and be saved; yet it fears that many precipitate themselves into hell.
10. Oh, infinite greatness of God! A few years ago—indeed, perhaps but a few days—this soul thought of nothing but itself. Who has made it feel such tormenting cares? If we tried for many years to obtain such sorrow by means of meditation, we could not succeed.
11. God help me! If for long days and years I considered how great a wrong it is that God should be offended, and that lost souls are His children and my brethren; if I pondered over the dangers of this world and how blessed it would be to leave this wretched life, would not that suffice? No, daughters, the pain would not be the same. for this, by the help of God, we can obtain by such meditation; but it does not seem to penetrate the very depths of our being like the other which 136appears to cut the soul to pieces and grind it to powder through no action—even sometimes with no wish—of its own. What is this sorrow, then? Whence does it come? I will tell you. Have you not heard (I quoted the words to you just now, but did not apply to them this meaning)181  how the Bride says that God ‘brought her into the cellar of wine and set in order charity in her’?182  This is what happens here. The soul has so entirely yielded itself into His hands and is so subdued by love for Him that it knows or cares for nothing but that God should dispose of it according to His will. I believe that He only bestows this grace on those He takes entirely for His own. He desires that, without knowing how, the spirit should come forth stamped with His seal for indeed it does no more than does the wax when impressed with the signet. It does not mould itself but need only be in a fit condition—soft and pliable; even then it does not soften itself but must merely remain still and submit to the impression.
12. How good Thou art, O God! All is done for us by Thee, Who dost but ask us to give our wills to Thee that we may be plastic as wax in Thy hands. You see, sisters, what God does to this soul so that it may know that it is His. He gives it something of His own—that which His Son possessed when living on earth—He could bestow on greater gift on us. Who could ever have longed more eagerly to leave this life than did Christ? 137 As He said at the Last Supper: ‘With desire have I desired’183  this. O Lord! does not that bitter death Thou art to undergo present itself before Thine eyes in all its pain and horror? ’No, for My ardent love and My desire to save souls are immeasurably stronger than the torments. This deeper sorrow I have suffered and still suffer while living here on earth, makes other pain seem as nothing in comparison.’
13. I have often meditated on this and I know that the torture a friend of mine184  has felt, and still feels, at seeing our Lord sinned against is so unbearable that she would far rather die than continue in such anguish. Then I thought that if a soul whose charity is so weak compared to that of Christ—indeed, in comparison with His this charity might be said not to exist—experiences this insufferable grief, what must have been the feelings of our Lord Jesus Christ and what must His life have been? for all things were present before His eyes and He was the constant witness of the great offences committed against His Father. I believe without doubt that this pained Him far more than His most sacred Passion. There, at least, He found the end of all His trials, while His agony was allayed by the consolation of gaining our salvation through His death and of proving how He loved His Father by suffering for Him. Thus, people who, urged by fervent love, perform great penances 138hardly feel them but want to do still more and count even that as little. What, then, must His Majesty have felt at thus publicly manifesting His perfect obedience to His Father and His love for His brethren? What joy to suffer in doing God’s will! Yet I think the constant sight of the many sins committed against God and of the numberless souls on their way to hell must have caused Him such anguish that, had He not been more than man, one day of such torment would have destroyed not only His life but many more lives, had they been His.

Sticker Shock

I wanted to send four used books to supertradson this past week...the US postal service wanted 66.50 USD for three and a half pounds of books to Britain. Of course, I do not have that kind of money.

Does anyone want to send these books to STS? I passed these on to another interested person.


The Sign of Contradiction by John Paul II

The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin 

Bernard of Clairvaux: Sermons on the Song of Songs, Vol I


if anyone feels like getting me volumes II, III and IV of the same, I would appreciate it.

Perfection Series IV: Part Sixteen; The Fifth Mansions of Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila puts the Unitive State at the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Mansions, the highest being ecstasy and the Spiritual Marriage. I have written about the Spiritual Marriage several times on this blog, and refer you to these posts:

18 Jul 2012
To you, young people, I say: if you hear the Lord's call, do not reject it! Dare to become part of the great movements of holiness which renowned saints have launched in their following of Christ. Cultivate the ideals proper to ...
25 May 2013
There are several saints, and some not yet canonized women, who had experienced the mystical marriage with Christ. Here are some. But, does one have to be named Catherine, I wonder? Seriously, I place an incomplete ...
11 Nov 2013
Moving out of the Dark Night is noted by St. John of the Cross as the time of betrothal of the spiritual marriage. He is clear that the long Dark Night purges one of the smallest imperfections, so that one is emptied of evil. A new ...
25 May 2013
This favour does not of itself produce an alienation of the senses; ecstasies are more rare. Nor does this permanent sense of God's presence suffice to constitute the spiritual marriage, but is only a state somewhat near to it.
Also, under St. Catherine of Siena, there are many, many posts on the Mystical Marriage.
I do not need to concentrate on that aspect of the Unitive State, which is also covered in St. Bernard's sermons on The Songs of Songs.

 However, it is worth looking at the state just before that of the Mystical Marriage in order to understand the Unitive State. Now, Garrigou-Lagrange is the most comprehensive writer on this stage, so I shall return to him later.

But, here is Teresa in her own words on the Fifth Mansion. For me, the key is understanding that God takes the initiative totally at this stage.

St Catherine of Siena and The Christ Child
 Teresa makes it clear Who is now in charge of the person in the Unitive State.

 Concerning my words: ‘We can do nothing on our own part,’ I was struck by the words of the Bride in the Canticles, which you will remember to have heard: ’The King brought me into the cellar of wine,’170  (or ‘placed me’ I think she says): she does not say she went of her own accord, 128although telling us how she wandered up and down seeking her Beloved.171  I think the prayer of union is the ‘cellar’ in which our Lord places us when and how He chooses, but we cannot enter it through any effort of our own. His Majesty alone can bring us there and come into the centre of our souls. In order to declare His wondrous works more clearly, He will leave us no share in them except complete conformity of our wills to His and abandonment of all things: He does not require the faculties or senses to open the door to Him; they are all asleep. He enters the innermost depths of our souls without a door, as He entered the room where the disciples sat, saying ‘Pax vobis,’172  and as He emerged from the sepulchre without removing the stone that closed the entrance. You will see farther on, in the seventh mansion, far better than here, how God makes the soul enjoy His presence in its very centre. O daughters, what wonders shall we see, if we keep ever before our eyes our own baseness and frailty and recognize how unworthy we are to be the handmaids of so great a Lord, Whose marvels are beyond our comprehension! May He be for ever praised! Amen. 

This gift of being taken up into Christ is a foreshadowing of our life in heaven where we shall experience the Beatific Vision. As one can see, Teresa of Avila's description is quite discursive.

To be continued.....

In case you missed this...

Nature Responds to Dumbing-Down

Thursday, 21 August 2014

More Tomorrow

Perfection Series IV will continue on Friday....more from Bernard and Garrigou-Lagrange, as well as Teresa of Avila.

I am ill today. So pray for me. May be a virus, or flu.

Good Stuff from Today's Saint

The dream of re-shaping society will bring socialism
“But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, ‘the reign of love and justice’ ... What are they going to produce? ... A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.” (Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique ["Our Apostolic Mandate"] to the French Bishops, August 25, 1910, condemning the movement Le Sillon) Pope St. Pius X

Jesus Being Crucified Again

Perfection Series IV: Part Fifteen; Unitive State Description Continued.

Much confusion exists on the status of saints, what makes a saint, who are saints. That is why Catholics trust the Church in the person of the Pope, to make the infallible statement as to who is a saint and who is not. Those who are not accepting certain people who have been canonized as saints to be saints, are in disobedience to the doctrine of infallibility.

What the Church has determined is that by the end of the saint's life, he or she had experience a union with God, the last step of perfection. The reason is simple-only the perfect see God and canonized saints skip purgatory. They go right to heaven when they die-hence, their lives can be examined and honored by us.

That many saints have not written about the Unitive State does not mean that they have not experienced this state. Quite the opposite. After his experience of God in glory, St. Thomas Aquinas could not write anything. Not all saints are writers, or journal-keepers, or under obedience to share their experiences, including those of unity.

We look to the mystics for descriptions, but all the saints would have experienced, without definitions or even without sharing, union with God while on earth--the Unitive State. The Unitive State is the last step

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on the subject. He has much more to say on this, but the aspect of the continual knowledge of God separates the Unitive State from the others. As you readers look at this, you will see the great distinctions between those who have reached this level of perfection and the Illuminative State.

After the passive purification of the spirit, which is like a third conversion and transformation, the perfect know God in a quasi­experimental manner that is not transitory, but almost continual. Not only during Mass, the Divine Office, or prayer, but in the midst of external occupations, they remain in the presence of God and preserve actual union with Him.
The matter will be easily understood by our considering the egoist's contrary state of soul. The egoist thinks always of himself and, without realizing it, refers everything to himself. He talks continually with himself about his inordinate desires, sorrows, or superficial joys; his intimate conversation with himself is endless, but it is vain, sterile, and unproductive for all. The perfect man, on the contrary, instead of thinking always of himself, thinks continually of God, His glory, and the salvation of souls; he instinctively makes everything converge toward the object of his thoughts. His intimate conversation is no longer with himself, but with God, and the words of the Gospel frequently recur to his mind to enlighten from on high the smallest pleasurable or painful facts of daily life. His soul sings the glory of God, and from it radiate spiritual light and fervor, which are perpetually bestowed on him from above.

One thinks of St. Paul's experience of being carried out of himself into God.  Our Lady lived in this state.

The reason for this state is that the perfect man, unlike the beginner, no longer contemplates God only in the mirror of sensible things or of the Gospel parables, about which it is impossible to think continually. Neither does he, like the proficient, contemplate God only in the mirror of the mysteries of the life of Christ, a prayer that cannot last all day long; but, in the penumbra of faith, he contemplates the divine goodness itself, a little as we see the diffused light that always surrounds us and illumines everything from above.

According to the terms used by Dionysius the Mystic and preserved by St. Thomas,(1) this is the movement of circular contemplation, superior to the straight and the oblique movements. The straight movement, like the flight of the lark, rises from a sensible fact recalled in a parable to a divine perfection, from the sight of the prodigal son to infinite mercy. The oblique movement rises, for example, from the mysteries of the childhood of Christ to those of His passion, of His glory, and finally to the infinite love of God for us. The circular movement is similar to the flight of the eagle, which, after soaring aloft, delights in describing the same circle several times, then hovers seemingly motionless in the light of the sun, scrutinizing the depths of the horizon.
Here it is a question of a knowledge of the radiating goodness of God. The soul sees now in a quasi-experimental manner that everything God has done in the order of nature and that of grace is intended to manifest His goodness, and that if He permits evil, like a dissonance, it is for a higher good, which is glimpsed at times and which will appear on the last day.
This contemplation, by reason of its superior simplicity, may be continual and, far from hindering us from beholding the sequence of events, lets us see them from above, somewhat as God sees them as a man on a mountain sees what is happening on the plain below. It is like the prelude or the aurora of the vision of the fatherland, although the soul is still in the obscurity of faith.
This very simple supernatural view even on earth was continual in Mary, to a lesser degree in St. Joseph. It also enabled the apostles after Pentecost, to see in the divine light what they were to do for the preaching of the Gospel and the constitution of the first churches.
This all-embracing spiritual gaze is to be found in all the saints; it does not exclude significant details, but admirably perceives their profound meaning. At the same time it removes the imperfections springing from natural haste, unconscious self-seeking, and the lack of habitual recollection.

The person in the Unitive State now sees herself as God sees her. She now has a perfect confidence in God's Love for her. All her faculties are focused on God and His Will. The gifts of the Spirit and the virtues blossom like flowers. 

People know, like those around Padre Pio, that they are in the presence of a saint.

As a consequence the perfect know themselves, no longer only in themselves but in God, their beginning and end. In Him they see their indigence, the infinite distance separating them from the Creator; they feel themselves preserved in being by His sovereignly free love. They ceaselessly experience to what a degree they need His grace for the least salutary act; they do not become discouraged over their sins, but draw a truer humility from them. They make their examination of conscience by considering what is written of their existence in the book of life. They sincerely consider themselves useless servants, who of themselves can do nothing, but whom the Lord deigns to use for the accomplishment of great things, those that prepare the life of eternity. If they see their neighbor's sins, they think there is no sin committed by another which they themselves would not be capable of committing had they the same heredity and were they placed in the same circumstances, faced with the same temptations. If they see the great virtues of other souls, they rejoice in them for the sake of the Lord and of souls, remembering that in the mystical body of Christ the growth of one member redounds to the profit of all the others.

This infused contemplation proceeds from a living faith illumined by the gift of wisdom, which, under the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, shows that nothing good happens unless God wills it, nothing evil unless God permits it for a higher good. This eminent view may be almost continual by reason of its simplicity and universality, because the events of daily life fall under its scope, like lessons about the things of God and like the application of the Gospel to each one's life. It is the continuation of the Gospel which is being written in souls until the end of time.
Then the Christian who has attained to this state has such knowledge of the divine perfections and of the virtues demanded of the soul, that he has passed beyond not only the confused concept but also the distinct concept of the theologian, to the experimental concept, rich in all the experience of life, which becomes concrete, enlightening him from above for the good of souls. Thus he attains to the experiential concept of infinite goodness, as well as to that of perfect simplicity and true humility, which inclines him to love to be nothing in order that God may be all.

The Unitive State is all about living in Love, Who is a Person.

to be continued...

Perfection Series IV: Part Fourteen; Unitive State And Back to Augustine Two

The importance of definitions becomes clear in discussing the Unitive State. What is also important is a clear understanding of the gifts of the Holy Ghost and the life of the virtues. St. Augustine's sermon continues here, and as some is repetition for the sake of clarity, I make no comment until the next post. This is fyi.

Chapter IV. Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount
11. Hence also the sevenfold operation of the Holy Ghost, of which Isaiah speaks,32 seems to me to correspond to these stages and sentences. But there is a difference of order: for there the enumeration begins with the more excellent, but here with the inferior. For there it begins with wisdom, and closes with the fear of God: but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And therefore, if we reckon as it were in a gradually ascending series, there the fear of God is first, piety second, knowledge third, fortitude fourth, counsel fifth, understanding sixth, wisdom seventh. The fear of God corresponds to the humble, of whom it is here said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, not proud: to whom the apostle says, “Be not high-minded, but fear;”33i.e. be not lifted up. Piety34 corresponds to the meek: for he who inquires piously honours Holy Scripture, and does not censure what he does not yet understand, and on this account does not offer resistance; and this is to be meek: whence it is here said, “Blessed are the meek.” Knowledge corresponds to those that mourn who already have found out in the Scriptures by what evils they are held chained which they ignorantly have coveted as though they were good and useful. Fortitude corresponds to those hungering and thirsting: for they labour in earnestly desiring joy from things that are truly good, and in eagerly seeking to turn away their love from earthly and corporeal things: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Counsel corresponds to the merciful: for this is the one remedy for escaping from so great evils, that we forgive, as we wish to be 7ourselves forgiven; and that we assist others so far as we are able, as we ourselves desire to be assisted where we are not able: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Understanding corresponds to the pure in heart, the eye being as it were purged, by which that may be beheld which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man:35 and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Wisdom corresponds to the peacemakers, in whom all things are now brought into order, and no passion is in a state of rebellion against reason, but all things together obey the spirit of man, while he himself also obeys God: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”36

12. Moreover, the one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named according to these stages. In the first, just as ought to be the case, is placed the kingdom of heaven, which is the perfect and highest wisdom of the rational soul. Thus, therefore, it is said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as if it were said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To the meek an inheritance is given, as it were the testament of a father to those dutifully seeking it: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To the mourners comfort, as to those who know what they have lost, and in what evils they are sunk: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” To those hungering and thirsting, a full supply, as it were a refreshment to those labouring and bravely contending for salvation: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To the merciful mercy, as to those following a true and excellent counsel, so that this same treatment is extended toward them by one who is stronger, which they extend toward the weaker: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To the pure in heart is given the power of seeing God, as to those bearing about with them a pure eye for discerning eternal things: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” To the peacemakers the likeness of God is given, as being perfectly wise, and formed after the image of God by means of the regeneration of the renewed man: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” And those promises can indeed be fulfilled in this life, as we believe them to have been fulfilled in the case of the apostles. For that all-embracing change into the angelic form, which is promised after this life, cannot be explained in any words. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This eighth sentence, which goes back to the starting-point, and makes manifest the perfect man, is perhaps set forth in its meaning both by the circumcision on the eighth day in the Old Testament, and by the resurrection of the Lord after the Sabbath, the day which is certainly the eighth, and at the same time the first day; and by the celebration of the eight festival days which we celebrate in the case of the regeneration of the new man; and by the very number of Pentecost. For to the number seven, seven times multiplied, by which we make forty-nine, as it were an eighth is added, so that fifty may be made up, and we, as it were, return to the starting-point: on which day the Holy Spirit was sent, by whom we are led into the kingdom of heaven, and receive the inheritance, and are comforted; and are fed, and obtain mercy, and are purified, and are made peacemakers; and being thus perfect, we bear all troubles brought upon us from without for the sake of truth and righteousness.

Chapter V.
13. “Blessed are ye,” says He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great37 is your reward in heaven.” Let any one who is seeking after the delights of this world and the riches of temporal things under the Christian name, consider that our blessedness is within; as it is said of the soul of the Church38 by the mouth of the prophet, “All the beauty of the king’s daughter is within;”39 for outwardly revilings, and persecutions, and disparagements are promised; and yet, from these things there is a great reward in heaven, which is felt in the heart of those who endure, those who can now say, “We glory in tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 40 For it is not simply the enduring of such things that is advantageous, but the bearing of such things for the name of Christ not only with tranquil mind, but even with exultation. For many heretics, deceiving souls under the Christian name, endure many such things; but they are excluded from that reward on this account, that it is not said merely, “Blessed are they which endure persecution;” but it is added, “for righteousness’ sake.” Now, where there is no sound faith, there can be no righteousness, for the just [righteous] man lives by faith.41

Neither let schismatics promise themselves anything of that reward; for similarly, 8where there is no love, there cannot be righteousness, for “love worketh no ill to his neighbour;”42 and if they had it, they would not tear in pieces Christ’s body, which is the Church.43
14. But it may be asked, What is the difference when He says, “when men shall revile you,” and “when they shall say all manner of evil against you,” since to revile44 is just this, to say evil against?45 But it is one thing when the reviling word is hurled with contumely in presence of him who is reviled, as it was said to our Lord, “Say we not the truth46 that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”47 and another thing, when our reputation is injured in our absence, as it is also written of Him, “Some said, He is a prophet;48 others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people.”49 Then, further, to persecute is to inflict violence, or to assail with snares, as was done by him who betrayed Him, and by them who crucified Him. Certainly, as for the fact that this also is not put in a bare form, so that it should be said, “and shall say all manner of evil against you,” but there is added the word “falsely,” and also the expression “for my sake;” I think that the addition is made for the sake of those who wish to glory in persecutions, and in the baseness of their reputation; and to say that Christ belongs to them for this reason, that many bad things are said about them; while, on the one hand, the things said are true, when they are said respecting their error; and, on the other hand, if sometimes also some false charges are thrown out, which frequently happens from the rashness of men, yet they do not suffer such things for Christ’s sake.50 For he is not a follower of Christ who is not called a Christian according to the true faith and the catholic discipline.
15. “Rejoice,” says He, “and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” I do not think that it is the higher parts of this visible world that are here called heaven. For our reward, which ought to be immoveable and eternal, is not to be placed in things fleeting and temporal. But I think the expression “in heaven” means in the spiritual firmament, where dwells everlasting righteousness: in comparison with which a wicked soul is called earth, to which it is said when it sins, “Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.”51 Of this heaven the apostle says, “For our conversation is in heaven.”52 Hence they who rejoice in spiritual good are conscious of that reward now; but then it will be perfected in every part, when this mortal also shall have put on immortality. “For,” says He, “so persecuted they the prophets also which were before you.” In the present case He has used “persecution” in a general sense, as applying alike to abusive words and to the tearing in pieces of one’s reputation; and has well encouraged them by an example, because they who speak true things are wont to suffer persecution: nevertheless did not the ancient prophets on this account, through fear of persecution, give over the preaching of the truth.