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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Perfection and Albert continued in Part 27 of Doctors of the Church series

This may be the hard part for many who decide to come closer to Jesus. The pursuit of love must come without tangible devotion or the looking for consolation. I know many, many Catholics who have given up the search for perfection after hitting the long period of purgation which is marked by the lack of consolation.

But, the reason for this is simple-God wants us to love Him for Himself and not for the goodies He brings. Let us look at Albert on not seeking consolations.......

Chapter 10

That one should not be concerned about feeling tangible devotion so much as about cleaving to God with one’s will

Furthermore you should not be much concerned about tangible devotion, the experience of sweetness or tears, but rather that you should be mentally united with God within yourself by a good will in your intellect. 

That is clear!

For what pleases God above everything is a mind free from imaginations, that is images, ideas and the representations of created things. It befits a monk to be indifferent to everything created so that he can turn easily and barely to God alone within himself, be empty for him and cleave to him.

 For this reason deny yourself so that you can follow Christ, the Lord your God, in nakedness, who was himself poor, obedient, chaste, humble and suffering, and in whose life and death many were scandalised, as is clear from the Gospel accounts. After all, a soul which is separated from the body pays no attention to what is done to its abandoned body - whether it is burned, hanged, or reviled, and is in no way saddened by the afflictions imposed on the body, but thinks only of the Now of eternity and the One Thing which the Lord calls necessary in the Gospel. 

Albert knows from experience that God is the NOW. God is the All Present. And we should immerse ourselves into that Now, no matter what. We put the spiritual life first, above all things and seek our salvation and that of those around us, those to whom God has put in our care, first.

So you too should treat your body as if you were no longer in the body, but think always of the eternity of your soul in God, and direct your thoughts carefully to that One Thing of which Christ said, For one thing is necessary. (Luke 10.42) You will experience because of it great grace, helping you towards the acquisition of nakedness of mind and simplicity of heart. Indeed this One Thing is very much present with you if you have made yourself bare of imaginations and all other entanglements, and you will soon experience that this is so - namely when you can be empty and cleave to God with a naked and resolute mind. In this way you will remain unconquered in whatever may be inflicted on you, like the holy martyrs, fathers, the elect, and indeed all the saints who despised everything and only thought of their souls’ security and eternity in God. 

Note that we are then like the martyrs, as I mentioned before, going to God with nothing but our love and wills. The denial of self brings us to this sublime place of loving God before our own bodies. 

Armed in this way within, and united to God through a good will, they spurned everything of the world as if their souls were already separated from their bodies. Consider from this how much a good will united with God is capable of, when by means of its pressing towards God the soul is effectively separated from the body in spirit and looks on its outward man as it were from a distance, and as not belonging to it. In this way it despises everything that is inflicted on itself or on its flesh as if they were happening to someone else, or not to a human being at all. 

Can you imagine loving someone and not putting them first? Can you imagine holding back in love? Can you imagine not wanting with your whole heart, and mind, and soul, not wanting to be with the Beloved? I cannot.

For He that is united with the Lord is one Spirit, (1 Corinthians 6.17) that is with him. So you should never dare to think or imagine anything before the Lord your God that you would blush to be heard or seen in before men, since your respect for God should be even greater than for them. It is a matter of justice in fact that all your thoughts and thinking should be raised to God alone, and the highest point of your mind should only be directed to him as if nothing existed but him, and holding to him may enjoy the perfect beginning of the life to come.

To be continued..............