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Monday, 1 December 2014

For St. Edmund's Day Repost Seven

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Pay Attention, Get Ready, Pray

“My God and all things.”

What have the Illuminative State and the Unitive State have to do with Catholics in this time of coming trials?

Some readers understand that only those who truly love God and His Church will be able to withstand the tribulations to come. And, this fact has always been so in times of trouble for the Church. The great martyrs, such as St. John Houghton and his companions, mentioned many times on this blog, were ready for the horrible torments they suffered at Tyburn.

But, the ability to withstand physical pain and endure martyrdom to receive the palm of victory are not the only reasons for pursuing the way of perfection now, in these times of uncertainty.

As I have noted many times, the Church realizes a strength and perfection if Her members are perfected, and experiences weakness and loss, if Her members do not pursue the love of God in all things.

But, the Illuminative and Unitive States of the saint do much more than strengthen the Church. These states bring God into the midst of humankind.

Because in these states, the person is one with God as far as possible on this earth, there is a unity of God and person in the Trinity.  In other words, God is present in the person experiencing this transcendent relationship, and that person is in God in all Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Such a transcendent relationship cannot help but change the world, as God is Present in, with, and through the person.  The person communicates God to all.

This powerful experience of the Divine brings life, God’s life, to the world in an overflowing of love.

Of course, the problem is that most of the time, the world does not want this love and purposefully thwarts those who bring the Trinity into its midst.

Such is the irony of the human condition, that the very persons who could and do change the world are usually the ones persecuted by the world.

That God reveals His attributes to the person in these states means that the person experiences, understands and lives in beauty, truth, wisdom, peace, and so on.

Such is the witness of the saint.

That some people do not experience this oneness with God, this spiritual marriage, until right before death does not diminish the witness. However, as we see in the lives of the saints, those generous souls who have allowed God to perfect them give us a tremendous witness of love and grace.

Just think of the cloud of witnesses, like Theresa, the Little Flower, Gemma Galgani, Edmund Campion, Oliver Plunkett, Pius X, Fulton J. Sheen and so on--these men and women who give us a glimpse of life in the Trinity.

There is too much facile theology floating around about living in the life of the Trinity. That we are given this life in baptism and confirmation is true, but that those graces can only be released through purgation of sin and the tendency to sin is also true.

You will know if you are in the presence of one who is in the Illuminative or Unitive State. You will know if you are in the presence of a saint.

Sadly, this does not happen often enough in our day and age, as there are so many choices and so many distractions for most people.

I have met many people in the Dark Night and even the last stages of the Dark Night. I saw twice, and touched once, Blessed John Paul II, but before his long purgation and suffering. I believe we watched him become a saint.

Some readers may have met saints, even some who have been martyred.  Those Catholics are role models for all of us.

As to the main thesis of this post, that these states most likely are necessary for Catholics to withstand the coming persecutions, I would say that those who went before us were a bit smarter at reading the signs of the times.

I cannot imagine that the earliest Catholics were caught off guard concerning trials. And, it is obvious that such saints as Edmund Campion were trained to face the certain death when leaving the Venerable English College in Rome and traveling to England. As some of you know, St. Philip Neri would stand outside the Venerabile and bless those young priests going to England, saying, “There go the Flowers of the Martyrs”.

Are you preparing yourself and your children for trials by pursuing holiness, which is another word for perfection?

Are you too caught up in trivia to make holiness a priority in your family? Are you all pursuing sports, entertainments, unnecessary shopping, vacations, and ignoring prayer, formation, penances, frequent confession and Holy Communion?

Are you acting as if your children will not need to be different, special, super-Catholics and saints in the days to come?

Do you think they will face a world like yours and mine growing up?

Are you forming saints? I see too many families wasting time on trivia.

Do not lie to yourselves and think holiness just “happens”.  Even St. Thomas More admitted that he needed his long time in prison to get ready for death after watching the singing of the Charterhouse monks, going to their deaths, “like bridegrooms to the wedding.”

Such are the actions of the perfect, those who have gone through the Illuminative and Unitive States, and bear witness joyfully to the vision of the Trinity in the world.

I have met many people lately who are acting as if they have all the time in the world to pursue holiness. I have met too many people who are in denial regarding the signs of the times. And, these people are not young.

I have met too many people who think Catholics can live in America or Europe with the freedoms experienced by their forefathers.

I have met too many people who are wasting time and may be swept away, and compromise when the going gets tough.

For the past several weeks, the urgency of allowing God to make one holy has been a recurring theme on this blog.

God is pouring out His grace and mercy on us now.  The time of grace will end. Look the history of the Church.

Do not think you can act as you have always acted.

When the Son of Man comes, all will be as it was in the days of Noe; in those days before the flood, they went on eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the time when Noe entered the ark, and they were taken unawares, when the flood came and drowned them all; so it will be a the coming of the Son of Man.”

Matthew 24:37-39

Let these ideals be your guide. Be open to suffering anything in order to become one with God. Be generous is saying yes to graces God wants to give.  Be willing to be different than all those around you and your families-even other Catholics who are not paying attention.

Give yourselves to God entirely now.  Then, like St. Francis, as quoted by St. John of the Cross, you will be able to pray, “My God and all things.”

To be continued….