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Monday, 13 April 2015

Answers to Readers

How does one know one is through the passive purgation?

Here is what Garrigou-Lagrange has to say about this.  As usual, my comments in blue.

Having described and explained the passive purification of the spirit and pointed out the rules of direction which should be followed, we shall now set forth its effects on the soul when borne with generosity.

These effects show the end for which God thus purifies His servants. He does so that the higher part of the soul may be supernaturalized and prepared for divine union, as the sensible part must be spiritualized or wholly subjected to the spirit. Among these effects some are negative, consisting in the suppression of defects; others are positive and are profound especially in the perfection they give to the virtues in the elevated part of the soul, principally humility and the theological virtues.

Supernaturalized is a word I have used on this blog before. The senses must be completely taken into a realm of total detachment. The effects, negative and positive, can be seen fairly clearly.


These effects are visible in the progressive disappearance of distractions, dullness of spirit, and the need of external dissipation or of finding consolation. 

Distractions come from the sin of intemperance, and the lack of training of the intellect and will. Dullness of spirit is sloth and/or acedia. External dissipation is spending money irresponsibly, drinking and eating too much, watching too many movies, TV, or playing computer games. The list is endless. Dissipation for many Americans, as I noted in the consumerism post, can be shopping and spending money for non-necessities.

Self-love or subtle egoism gradually disappears. The result is that the soul is less subject to illusions, for it lives increasingly by its higher part, into which the enemy cannot penetrate. God alone penetrates the innermost depths of the heart and spirit. Doubtless the devil still multiplies his temptations, but if the soul takes refuge in its center, where God dwells, the enemy cannot harm it and even cannot know but can only conjecture what is taking place in it; the intimate secrets of hearts escape him.(1)

 Some people think they are humble because they are not rich, or have humble jobs. This "subtle egotism" most likely is a form of narcissism. The "me" generation only thinks of themselves and ignores consequences. 

Fantasies and illusions form part of this life of subtle egotism and self-love.  Only grace allows one to see the depth of sin. When one is humbled, one finds God.

Thankfully, God protects us with His grace. The demons cannot see into our minds and in that special place wherein God dwells.

This purification removes many other defects in our relations with our neighbor or in respect to our duties of state: a certain natural rudeness, which leads to impatience; an a most unconscious secret ambition, the cause of many disorders and divisions among people; and also a lack of interest in the occasionally great needs of our afflicted neighbor who turns to us for help. 

How I know these things. Mercy is given when we are humbled ourselves. It is sad that so many people's real needs are ignored.

It is in this state that those who have the duty of caring devotedly for others, possess a deeper understanding of Christ's words: "The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth; and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep." (2) 

Peter Pans and Peter Pams are hirelings, only considering themselves and their own needs. Others exist merely to serve them. They lack the commitment of true charity.

To profit by these words, we should ask the Lord to give us an increase of true zeal, the patient, gentle, disinterested zeal which draws life from God to give it in greater measure to our neighbor.

One can stop here for a moment and pray for patience, gentleness, disinterested zeal, for without these one is incapable of really helping a neighbor, or building up the Church.

To be continued....