This will be the last posting on Raissa'a Journal, at least for a while. I shall move on to another book soon.
I want to merely highlight three things in this post and move on.
Several selections from her book follow. She addressed someone who hated the idea of God, who actually hated her and who hated Catholics. She engaged elegantly in the arguments necessary to aid conversion, but her telling description of this man's state of mind reveals the mindset of many today of those who want to turn over all the goodness of Western Civilization.
In a letter, she writes, "Do you really find in the paganism that precede those twenty centuries (of Christianity), the true direction of life which the blood of Christians has turned aside from its course? I that the direction in which you want to go? Towards subjugation to the gods of the city, towards cruelty in the service of luxury, towards the slavery which alone would sustain such a civilisation? No, doubtless. It would not be worth the trouble of wanting to change everything; our capitalist and atheist society, itself the result of the so-called Renaissance, has almost rediscovered the tradition..."
Raissa notes that God cannot be driven out of societies which want justice and mercy. But, for those societies which do not want justice or mercy, loyalty or love, God can be driven out to a certain extent.
But, as she states, "It is difficult to drive God our altogether. Invariably he returns humbly disguised under one name or another; and under the name we have chosen he makes himself loved without our knowledge."
Such are the saints, who remind us of God in the world through holiness and a type of purity given to them. This leads to another point on the command of love by Love, who is God.
Let me share her insights here: "Passivity...in the sense of the first and principal action of the Holy Spirit in the mystical life, is ontologically the essential characteristic. Psychologically, this passivity, passio divinorum, is expressed not only by the ligature and (apparent)death of our natural faculties, but also, in certain cases, by the heightening of them..."
"In contemplation, this passivity manifests itself above all by ligature, powerlessness, annihilation, because our faculties of knowing are utterly disproportionate to the object of contemplation, which is God in Himself. Here the intellect must recognise its incapcity, and submit to love which, through the infusion of divine Wisdom, connaturalises the soul with God and makes it know him with an obscure and ineffable certainty.
By the other Gifts, whose object is in some way more particularised, the Holy Spirit, on the contrary, heightens our faculties and proportions them to arduous, heroic, saintly acts, by setting them to work himself, by enlightening them and strengthening them."
In the passivity of the Dark Night, this passivity leads to the obscurity, the darkness of the purifying Night.
Again, Raissa on this point, "....the purifying Night, infinitely painful, which ceases when the soul has attained the degree of purity and holiness willed by God....St. John of the Cross says: 'the fire begins by blackening the wood; it does not set it aflame until it has dried it out.' Therefore one has to pass through nights, through all the anguishes and terrors of the night, see oneself engulfed in darkness and be dried up with suffering, before the soul is truly set on fire, kindled into flame that does not consume like natural fire, the vivifying flame of eternal life."
Lastly, "God is perceived as Love because he attracts and unites, makes one suffer, or gives one joy, reveals himself to the soul as its end, its repose, its beatitude."
Raissa, like myself and another friend of mine, makes the connection between Love of God, God's Love and Romantic Love. One is allowed to suffer in Romantic Love. Raissa writes "The demands of Christ as regards his disciples are absolutely inhuman; they are divine. There is not doubt about it, he who wishes to be Christ's disciple--must hate his own life. The image of Jesus Crucified is for the disciple.
...it is not the sinner, the "worldly" one, who has the greatest fear of God---rather it is those who, having been chosen as disciples, know that they are, and will be, more severely treated. From these, all in demanded."
In my humble opinion, the remnant will be and is made up of the disciples, only. for the times will be so difficult that only those who give all to God, who seek His Love, will be able to survive and not be confused.
In a post, soon, I shall described some of the remnant people's I have met, who are suffering already and becoming saints in the process.