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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Help on the Perfection Series Three Out of Three

Through meditation and work, one is finally brought to the unitive stage of perfection. This is the what Bernard calls the most sublime and noble of them all. He states, "It is that of  him who, having perfectly purified his heart, desires nothing and seeks nothing of God but God Himself".

He refers to Psalm 72 here, and goes on to say that "For the soul that is such desires nothing for herself with a private affection, neither happiness nor glory nor anything else whatever, but loses herself completely in God, and has but one most eager desire, namely, that the King would bring her into His bed-chamber  that she might belong to HIm alone and enjoy His sweet caresses."

One may be afraid of this state, seeing one's imperfections and lowliness and tendency towards sin, which is why one allows God to purge one of all sin and all imperfections.

In my entire life, besides the Doctors of the Church, I have only found three priests who have understood this well enough to speak about it.

Most priests do not understand this dealing with imperfections in the Confessional. Many discourage people at the illuminative stage. It is important to have a good spiritual director or good confessor to help.

And, yet, God can work with one in many ways, including through daily meditation and Lectio Divina.

Bernard states that by gazing at the Beloved's Face, the Face of Jesus, one becomes like HIm. One is fulfilling the reason why one came into being-to become like God.

He notes the Song of Songs, 4:7 and 2:16.

He states, "Such, my brethren, is the most sweet and happy converse which a soul in these dispositions is privileged and delighted to hold with her heavenly bridegroom."

One becomes a symbol of the Church in the world as well, as the entire Church is the Bride of Christ. If each member sought the path of perfection, what a difference this would make in the Church and in the world. The contemplative nun is the sign of the Bride of Christ, the Church in the world.

Her entire life is that of learning to gaze on the Face of the Beloved, through trial, suffering, purification, illumination and finally, unity.

St. Benedict's Rule is a short-cut to perfection. Hard, yes, very, but a tried and true way, nonetheless.

I suggest that women and men read Blessed John Paul II's Congregation for the Institutes of Religious Life's Sponsa Verbi, which I share share on this blog tomorrow.

However, I want to emphasize that it is not just nuns, priests and nuns who are called to this state, but all baptized Catholics.