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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Perfection Series VIll Part XIII Relationship

Raissa's entire life consisted of a balance between intense contemplation and activity in the world. She advised her husband and edited his work. She supported his world-wide intellectual ministry. She also entertained a large group of friends. Her interior and exterior lives merged because of relationship.

All her dear friendships came out of her intense love for Christ. She loved intensely, but was called to that objectivity and detachment which marks the saint.

Contemplation, at the level she experienced it, is a combination of pure gift and a generous heart. One's disposition must be that of loving God above all others and all things in order to enter into the deep relationship found in recueillement. 

The intellect and soul demand much energy for this type of prayer, as do the friendships which spring out of this love for God. So, Raissa moved back and forth from her friendship, lover relationship with God and the deep friendships she and Jacques made so easily.

The contemplative in the world is just that, a praying person involved in many things. To move back and forth from the interior to the exterior life is a grace in and of itself. Until one is purified, this movement proves to be difficult and tiring.

Here is a significant quotation from her Journal.

Contemplative prayer is not a question of making God descend from heaven! He is already there, in us, by grace. It is a question of descending into ourselves, to the bottom of our soul, and that, once again, by sweeping away obstacles.

When one is relating to other people, the obstacles can include too much human love.

On Friday, I read this entry: (A boy, age 7, said:) "If God is everywhere and we don’t see him, we are looking through him all the time."

This is key to Raissa's spirituality. She looks at everything in the world through God. This type of viewing of reality happens when one is both humble and truthful.

Today I read this: Contemplation requires the simplification of this natural life, and this simplification is obtained by active and passive mortification.

Simplification cannot be denied. Simplification is key. Active mortification involves those penances done by choice. Passive mortification involves the sufferings God allows one to endure, but one must see the value and endure in peace and eventually, complete freedom.

In another entry, Raissa expresses that it is better to do nothing than to act outside of purified love.
I have written about this many times, noting that the weakness of the Church may be found in the egos of those who act impurely. 

Relationship with God will lead to purification, unless one breaks this relationship "off". Mortification must be endured. If one runs away from suffering, one leaves the road to perfection.

Many of us do not have to go looking for mortification. It comes to us in intense suffering. Raissa helps us to understand how to suffer.

Suffer and do it well.  Suffer in and with God. Suffer in relationship with the Crucified One.

When suffering overwhelms you, suffer thoroughly, suffer to the depths, but suffer before God, Raissa tells us.

To be continued....