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Saturday, 11 April 2015

A simple view of the Illuminative State-II

Garrigou-Lagrange's explanation sounds like a summary of all the posts of mine on the virtues. Of course, Aquinas provides us with most of this teaching.

The explanation of the drawing below continues....Someone yesterday told me a person became "unhinged" and ended their marriage. This word in common parlance means the same thing as here-the lack of virtue.

This drawing and the explanations would make a great part of Confirmation prep, imho. Home schoolers, take note.

However, to enter this spiritual edifice there must be a door. According to tradition, in particular the teaching of St. Gregory the Great, often quoted by St. Thomas, the four hinges of this two­leafed door symbolize the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Their name "cardinal" comes from the Latin cardines, meaning hinges. This meaning is preserved in the current expression, "That man is unhinged," when irritation makes a man fail in these four virtues. Without them man is outside the spiritual temple in the uncultivated region ravaged by the evil weeds of egoism and inordinate inclinations.(3) The two upper hinges on the temple door symbolize prudence and justice, which are in the higher part of the soul, and the two lower hinges are figures of fortitude and temperance, which have their seat in the sensible appetites, common alike to man and animal.

To each of these four hinges is fastened a triple piece of ironwork, symbolizing the principal virtues annexed to each of the cardinal virtues. Thus, to prudence is attached foresight (a reflection of divine Providence), circumspection attentive to the circumstances in the midst of which we must act, and steadfastness or constancy, that we may not because of difficulties abandon good decisions and resolutions made after mature reflection in the presence of God. 

Inconstancy, says St. Thomas, is a form of imprudence.(4)

To the virtue of justice are also attached several virtues. Those which relate to God as forms of justice toward Him are: religion, which renders to Him the worship due Him; penance, which offers Him reparation for the offenses committed against Him; obedience, which makes man obey the divine commandments or the orders of the spiritual or temporal representatives of God.

The virtue of fortitude makes us keep to the right road in the presence of great dangers instead of yielding to fear; it manifests Itself in the soldier who dies for his country and in the martyr who dies for the faith. To fortitude several virtues are also attached: notably, patience that we may endure daily vexations without weakening; magnanimity which tends to great things to be accomplished without becoming discouraged in the face of difficulties; longanimity which makes us bear over a long period of time incessant contradictions that sometimes are renewed daily for many years.
Lastly, to the virtue of temperance, which moderates the inordinate impulses of our sensible appetites, are attached chastity, virginity, meekness which moderates and represses irritation or anger, and evangelical poverty which makes us use the things of the world as though not using them, without becoming attached to them.

According to St. Augustine and St. Thomas, to each of these cardinal virtues corresponds a gift of the Holy Ghost, symbolized by so many precious stones which ornament the door; portae nitent margaritis, as we read in the hymn for the feast of the dedication of a church.
To prudence corresponds manifestly the gift of counsel, which enlightens us when even infused prudence would remain uncertain, for example, as to how to answer an indiscreet question without telling a lie. To justice, which in regard to God is called the virtue of religion, corresponds the gift of piety, which comes to our help in prolonged aridities by inspiring in us a filial affection for God. To the virtue of fortitude corresponds the gift of fortitude, so manifest in the martyrs. To the virtue of temperance, and especially of chastity, corresponds the gift of filial fear, which enables us to surmount the temptations of the flesh, according to the words of the Psalmist: "Pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear."

Thus the picture of the spiritual edifice condenses the teaching of the Gospel, the writings of St. Paul and of the great doctors on the subordination of the virtues and their connection with the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
This structure may appear somewhat complicated when insistence is placed on the virtues attached to the cardinal virtues; but the superior simplicity of the things of God stands out if the following profound statement is considered carefully: When in a soul or a community the foundation of the edifice and its summit are what they ought to be, in other words, when there is profound humility and true fraternal charity, the great sign of the progress of the love of God, then everything goes well. Why is this? Because God then supplies by His gifts for what may be lacking in acquired prudence or natural energy; and He constantly reminds souls of their duties, giving them His grace to accomplish them. "God . . . giveth grace to the humble," and He never fails those who understand the precept of love: "Love one another as I have loved you; by this shall all men know that you are My disciples."