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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Part 45: DoC--Bernard and perfection:action and contemplation

Quare venisti, Bernardus

When I was in graduate school at Notre Dame, I had this saying on the outside of my dorm door, written in nice calligraphy on elegant paper. This is one of my mottoes as well. Bernard had it above his bed in his cell, to remind him of his first Love, Who is Christ?

Why have you come here, Bernard?

(Just for your information, on the inside of my door, in 1979, I had a list of last minute conversions to Catholicism  such as Wilde, and kept adding to it. I also had a third sign of famous people who were home schooled. I have a long history of supporting causes!)

At any rate, Bernard's question is our question. Why are we here and what are we doing?

Here is Bernard in his own words.

The voice of love, sweetly urges the soul to attend to the things of God. The lover hearkens and hastens to the work of souls. For such is true contemplation  that it not only kindles Divine fire within the spirit, but urges the soul with ardent zeal to gain others also to the love of God. Thus contemplation yields lovingly to action , and in proportion to the gains, returns with ardour to its repose. Again, it enjoys the sweets of inward life, ten reverts with fresh alacrity to a further conquest of souls."  Sermon 57, Canticle of Canticles. 

I know this is a harsh saying, but one is not doing the acts of God and gaining merit until one is in this Illuminative State.

Virtue is in the heart, Redite ad cor,  and if the heart is not pure, there is no virtue in the actions.

Here is more: But amidst these changes (action-contemplation), the soul oftentimes stands in anxieties; fearest lest its affections draw it over much either to the side of contemplation or action, by which it might deflect ever so little from the Divine Will. Peradventure holy Job suffered in this wise when he said: "If I lie down to sleep, I say, When shall I rise? and again I look for the evening." That is, when I rest, I fear to neglect work; and when I work I fear to disturb my rest. See how a holy soul is straitened between the fruits of labour and the respose of contemplation? Same source...

What many Christians and Catholics do is rush headlong into ministries, activities and such, thinking that works will save them, thinking that any work they do for the Church or others is from God and for God.

Not so. This is hard for those in the West, especially Americans and the English to understand.

Works coming out of the purgative stages are tainted by our own sin, mostly pride. The necessity to endure purgation and be purified so that the balance of prayer feeding works is kept is missed my most, which is why most projects in the parish, or Church at large prove to be unfruitful.

Doing is NOT being.

When one is in Christ, when one has allowed Christ to take over the heart, mind, memory, will and soul, then, and only then, is one doing the work of God.

Perfection creates works, works do not create perfection...............To be continued.