Monday, 21 January 2013
Cassian on the way to perfection
Posted by Supertradmum
John Cassian, who died in 435, was one of the first "monks" I read about thirty-five years ago. His wisdom provides us with a perspective to help us begin the spiritual process of perfection.
I have been writing for a year on perfection, but am backtracking a bit on purpose. Check out the saint's Conferences here.
He is part of his sayings:
The beginning and end of our salvation as well as its safeguard is fear of the Lord. It is through this that those who give themselves to the way of perfection acquire the beginning of conversion, the cleansing of vices, and the safeguarding of the virtues. When fear of the Lord penetrates someone's mind, it brings to birth a contempt for all things, forgetfulness of family, and a drawing back from the world.
The fact is that humility is acquired through contempt for and privation of everything.
...humility can be verified...(in these ways)
1. If (the monk) mortifies in himself all ....self-will.
2. If he reveals to his senior not only his actions but his thoughts.
3. If he allows nothing to his own power of discernment but entrusts everything to the judgement (of his senior)
4. If....he maintains the meekness that is obedience and the constancy that is patience.
5. If.(he does not injure another)...he is not .... saddened when another inflicts on him an undeserved injury...
6. If he not only openly declares himself to be inferior to all, but believes it in the very depths of his heart.
7. If he controls his tongue and does not speak loudly.
8. If he is not inclined to ready laughter.
There are more....
Cassian states that humility leads to delight in virtue and love of goodness.
These are signs that one is on the road to perfection.
But, all this is done through human persons--why the single state does not usually lead to perfection and why I say it is not, usually, a vocation. A vocation leads us to perfection.
Humility and fear of the Lord grow together, but fear of the Lord is necessary first.
The modern pastors do not talk about fearing God. Some deny hell.
Without the realization that imperfection leads us further and further from God, one cannot even start the process.