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Friday, 31 May 2013

The purgation again...

If a saint is not a martyr, he must undergo the passive purification. Accepting whatever suffering is given is a must.

All saints experience this process, unless they are martyred, which is a different process, and some martyrs may have experienced this purgation first, such as John Houghton and the Charterhouse Monks.

Let us look at this selection from Garrigou-Lagrange.


The Book of Wisdom says of the just: "As gold in the furnace He hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust He hath received them." (2) Gold in the crucible is purified by material fire; a still more intense fire is needed to transform coal into a diamond; likewise, in tribulation the soul of the just man is purified by a spiritual fire. Scripture often insists on this thought, telling us that God is a fire which gradually consumes whatever hinders His reign in souls.(3)

As I noted when looking at the Doctors of the Church, the saints of the Old Testament experienced this.

Jeremias writes in his Lamentations: "From above He hath sent fire into my bones. . . . He hath made me desolate, wasted with sorrow all the day long." (4) In the light of this spiritual fire, which in him, the prophet sees far more clearly the sins of Israel, the justice and goodness of God, and he prays earnestly to Him for the salvation of sinners.

How clear this is. St. David is especially helpful in his psalms.

The Psalmist says likewise: "Who can understand sins? From my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord." (5) "My substance is as nothing before Thee." (6) "O my God, enlighten my darkness." (7) "Create a clean heart in me, O God." (8) Thus, like a flash of lightning, the Holy Ghost illumines the soul He wishes to purify. He says at times to the soul: "Do you wish to be purified?" And if the reply is what it ought to be, a profound work begins in it; divine truth is given to the soul to deliver it from the depth of self-love that still so often deludes it. "If you continue in My word," says Christ, "you shall be My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (9) If anyone lives seriously by the words of Christ, correcting himself, the first Truth will gradually penetrate into his soul and deliver it from that most pernicious of lies, the lie that a person tells himself while cherishing his illusions.

All illusions must go, all. All self-deception must go. All that is not perfect must go.
The most common blockages are status and money.

We can never too strongly desire this purifying light which Scripture speaks of. Unfortunately we often flee from it, because we are afraid we may be told the truth about ourselves, when we so greatly love to tell others the truth about themselves.

We must be open to hearing the truth spoken to us, either by our brothers and sisters in Christ, or in prayer, when God speaks to the soul, the mind, the heart. The next selection is SO important. Ignorance must be cleansed. There is not excuse for this state. 

Thanks to wiki for John Houghton

St. John of the Cross simply explains the nature of the purifying light spoken of in Scripture, when he writes: "The dark night is a certain inflowing of God into the soul which cleanses it of its ignorances and imperfections, habitual, natural, and spiritual. Contemplatives call it infused contemplation, or mystical theology, whereby God secretly teaches the soul and instructs it in the perfection of love, without efforts on its own part beyond a loving attention to God, listening to His voice and admitting the light He sends, but without understanding how this is infused contemplation." (10) In the life of the holy Cure of Ars we have a striking example of this state. Comprehending better every day the loftiness of the priestly ideal and judging himself to be farther than ever from it, he certainly did not think then that he was a contemplative, and yet it was God Himself who was enlightening him and instructing him in this way.

God does the work. We only have to cooperate.

To be continued...