|Rose of Lima|
Raissa Maritain neatly summarizes both St. Bernard and Garrigou-Lagrange on the way to perfection. She is writing from experience as well.
Here is the neat quotation.
It seems to me that one could characterise the phases of divine love in a soul which has reached full spiritual development in the following way, under the seven Gifts on which the mystical life depends:
The Master: One considers God as Master and obeys His commandments; (why I have repeated over and over that the road to perfection begins with orthodoxy and obedience; if one disagrees with any Church teaching, one cannot even be in stage one, as one is disobedient-STM). The Friend: One seeks out His friendship by a pure life and by the desire to know Him better. One frequents the divine Friend by means of silent prayer. One makes Him one's Unique Friend by mean of the prayer of union. The Lover: In the purifications which follow this prayer one experiences all the torments of love. The Fiance: The Lord goes to the soul which He has embellished and contracts a spiritual engagement with her. The soul is wholly innocent. The Divine Spouse: and the mystical marriage is consummated and maintained by an indissoluble union. The soul is wholly deified.
One cannot be in mortal sin at all with this process. One starts in sanctifying grace. One also, in step two, of friendship, attempts to cooperate with grace in breaking away from all venial sin and even imperfections.
In stage three-when Christ is seen and experienced as the Love, real purgation takes place in the Dark Nights of the Senses and the Spirit. This is a stage of the Passion.
Those saints who are canonized, despite the protestations of the liberals, including clergy, reach the last two stages on earth. Do not believe these false teachers who have dumbed down the way to holiness. They are not pursuing it themselves. And, all this is possible with God's grace, as He does not ask us to do the impossible.
When the soul is deified, that person is a saint. St. Bernard uses this term as well as Raissa.
Again, I have written over 700 posts of this process. But, I find that people either do not believe this is possible, or deny the truth of it.
Abandonment to God, to Divine Providence, is part of this process.