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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Perfection Series VIII Part XXII The Only Way Forward

When one follows God into the path of perfection, one must be prepared for suffering. Jacques Maritain had to realize this about his wife and let her go the way God was calling her.

Thankfully, he understood the way. But, how many of us who are called to this deep suffering, the death of self, the death of the ego, are not supported by those around us? In fact, some of us who have been called into this purgation are left behind by family who do not understand the way, parents, sibling, spouses.

Raissa's purging of the ego and her corresponding purity of heart and mind fed the active missionary activity of Jacques in the world. He was told by his wife's spiritual director to let her suffer. And, Jacques came to know that Raissa was given to God, sacrificed to God directly and not to him.

This oblation created great power in Maritain's life and work. One of the most obvious fruits of Raissa's suffering were the great number of converts which came out of their friends and acquaintances-a veritable list of conversions fills the pages of her diary.

This suffering is the only way forward. The interior trials of Raissa must be seen as the primary walk to perfection. If none of us were sinners, this suffering would not be necessary-but the suffering goes beyond one's self and one becomes joined with Christ in His Passion. The life which suffers becomes a life of blessing for others as well as for one's self.

This is a mystery. Raissa explains that the merits of the Church must be won by those in the Church. That all Catholics are called to suffer in order to bring others to God, others who may not be in the Church but gain grace through the merits of the Church is acknowledge by her-hence, the converts.

Raissa asks the same question I have in this past week. Why are there not more saints in the Church if God is giving these great graces to all? One reason is that when the suffering increases, people back off and stop desiring perfection. Another reason is distraction by the things of this world.

Raissa notes that the elect, those in the Church, are "separated people", but how many today no longer want to be separate, what to be different?

One must desire the one way forward and keep to the road. That Jacques was generous enough to allow God to love his wife in this way must be a lesson to all married Catholics, and to those in families who seem not to understand this way of perfection. So many people who watch those who suffer want them to "snap out of it" and get going with some type of visible happiness. This is not always the case.

Those in great suffering need to be allowed to suffer, but with protection and with the means of grace, such as daily Mass and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the Monstrance. Without those anchors, the suffering person would float off into real death. And, God does not want the person to die until He calls them to that last state of union.

to be continued....