The way of purification is up to God, but it must happen. For most of us, the first stage of purgation is the breaking of the will and the purifying of the heart to the point where one is no longer a slave to mortal, or even venial sin.
This is possible, as I have noted before, but not without discipline and grace.
Purity of heart means being focussed on God.
Some people realize that the sufferings they receive are part of this purgative stage and they go with these and do not fight God at this level. The faster one realizes what is going on, that is, purgation, and then cooperates with God, the shorter the process takes.
For those who are particularly interested in the aspect of renunciations, go here.
Purgation is more than renunciation for the lay person, as these steps are not written into their lives, as they are the lives of monks.
Therefore, we must pay attention more closely to what God is doing in our souls.
For the lay person, these conditions must be seen as happening in the purgative state.
1. Adherence to the Commandments;
2. Acceptance of suffering;
3. Frequent Confession;
5. Growth in humility;
6. Lack of consolations;
7. Awareness of one's possible damnation;
8. Complete avoidance of mortal sin;
9. Moving away from venial sin;
10. Movement from Meditation in prayer to Contemplation.
These stages lead to purity of heart.
Only when these have been accomplished, is the soul ready for the illuminative stage.
Cassian helps us:
So then the end indeed which
we have set before us is, as the Apostle says, eternal life, as he declares, "having indeed your fruit unto holiness, and the end eternal life;" but the immediate goal is purity of heart, which he not unfairly terms "sanctification," without which the afore-mentioned end cannot be gained; as if he had said in other words, having your immediate goal in purity of heart, but the end life eternal. Of which goal the same blessed Apostle teaches us, and significantly uses the very term, i.e., skopos, saying as follows, "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those that are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of the Lord:" which is more clearly put in Greek kata skopon dioko, i.e., "I press toward the mark, as if he said, "With this aim, with which I forget those things that are behind, i.e., the faults of earlier life, I strive to reach as the end the heavenly prize." Whatever then can help to guide us to this object; viz., purity of heart, we must follow with all our might, but whatever hinders us from it, we must shun as a dangerous and hurtful thing. For, for this we do and endure all things, for this we make light of our kinsfolk, our country, honours, riches, the delights of this world, and all kinds of pleasures, namely in order that we may retain a lasting purity of heart. And so when this object is set before us, we shall alnways direct our actions and thoughts straight towards the attainment of it; for if it be not constantly fixed before our eyes, it will not only make all our toils vain and useless, and force them to be endured to no purpose and without any reward, but it will also excite all kinds of thoughts opposed to one another. For the mind, which has no fixed point to which it may return, and on which it may chiefly fasten, is sure to rove about from hour to hour and minute to minute in all sorts of wandering thoughts, and from those things which come to it from outside, to be constantly changed into that state which first offers itself to it.
There is no skipping of this process...The hard part is allowing God to purify your desires and thoughts, not merely your deeds. In the past few months, those who have been following this blog, can see my own struggles here.
I call it "passing through Duty Free without caring, noticing or stopping for anything..." The purgation of all desire for worldly things.............
This happens at the end of the purgative stage and in the beginnings of the illuminative stages. The laity are called to this process in order to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
To be continued.....