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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Returning to the Perfection Series-- À la recherche du temps perdu

This is a toe in the water of the perfection series, mark two. The next few posts in this series will be more on the detail of the passive purgation.

St. Teresa of Avila was in the passive purgation for 18 years.

One must understand these long times of dryness which demand Faith.

I am finding a confusion among people, especially some young ones, who do not understand that the levels of prayer are connected to the levels of progress, from consolation to dark night, to the illumination stage and finally to the unitive.

A keen look at these stages again reveals that in the passive purgation, which demands the working of the virtues, one is not in a unitive state or illuminative state yet. There is also a confusion as to the term "affective prayer" which is used by many authors to mean different things.

In the passive purgation, vocal prayer is almost impossible. One cannot meditate, the great insights into the Scriptures or Mysteries of the Rosary have ended.

One can only look at God in a great simplicity. This is what Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta meant, when she said that in Adoration, she looked at God and God looked at her.

That was all she could do.

Please so not mix up nomenclature or confuse stages.

In the passive purgation, one can only turn to God in small prayers, in small acts of the will.

In this stage, one desire God, not people, and God is vague, not specifically Jesus, the Father or the Holy Spirit. Faith tells one that God is the Trinity, not experience.

"The will is fixed on God by 'a vague love and a secret instinct.' a dolorous and persistent need of a more intimate union with Him. It is as it were a longing, like home-sickness, after God absent, and assuaged thirst, which cannot do without Him; the soul would like to be inflamed with love, and, above all, to posses God; merely to love Him no longer satisfies her, she aspired to union with Him."

This quotation from  Lehodey's The Ways of Mystical Prayer reveals the mystery of the passive purgation.

One learns patience and humility, waiting on God and waiting for God.

One would love to be totally occupied in loving. One desires to love.

But, all the soul perceives is irritation and a new ennui, which is not directed towards anything but the realization of one's own sin and imperfections in the light of God's love.

One can honestly say, "All I want is you, Lord. And, if it is Your will that I go to hell, so be it. But, I love you."

One feels an indistinct unease about the spiritual life, as one does not know where to find God, as He has hidden Himself  in all the old ways.

One can only say, God has visited me before, He will not abandon me." The act of sheer will power towards faith, hope and love marks this period of passive purgation.

One learns to be patient with others, but most especially, with one's self. And, at times, one feels or even thinks one is on the way to hell.

Only hanging on to faith, hope and love give the soul any strength at this time.

Not every one must experience the reality of trials, such as illness, loss of employment, financial losses, loss of status, loss of family and so on.

God decides what suffering to send. And, some people suffer less than others moving towards the same end.

One cannot compare one's self with others at all. This is a waste of time, and dangerous.

To be content to be carried on the winds of trial is the best some can do.

The key is remaining focused on Christ and that little ember of past consolations of love which one may now and then remember.

to be continued....