Recent Posts

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dark Night of the Soul Part 42

Remember that Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve. He had gifts. He was in the inner circle of Christ's companions. In this ancient drawing, he is in hell with Lucifer, as described by Dante. This is a warning to those of us who might think we are holy, as presumption is one of the sins needed to be purged in the Dark Night.

The goods labelled sensual, moral, supernatural and spiritual need to be examined briefly. Again, Father Phelim's pamphlets help me.

Vanity, or vainglory impede the growth of virtues. But the deep sins of gluttony, drunkenness, luxury, spiritual laziness, sensuality and the lack of penance lead one directly out of the Dark Night. This can happen.

Satan tempts and only vigilance keeps one from falling.

The moral goods also need to be purged. Father Phelim warns against edifying people who do good. He quotes St. John of the Cross,
"Many Christians today accomplish great acts which will profit them nothing for eternal life, because they have not sought in them the glory and honour which belong to God alone."

Harsh words, indeed. One must work entirely out of love for God alone.

If one relies, as Father Phelim notes using John, on the esteem of men and praise or recognition, there will be no recompense in heaven for such good moral works. One must work without praise and in a state of doing one's duty.

The next two categories are the most difficult for many Catholics, especially charismatics. Please note Father Phelim's words here.   The supernatural goods given for the building up of the Body of Christ " not imply holiness in those who exercise them."

God's gifts and charisms are NEVER a sign of holiness or purity of heart.

Frequently, charisms are misused, as Father emphasizes Two things help one in this regard-one, complete detachment from gifts and, two, the reluctance to use them. Father and St. John are clear on these two points.  One need not feel any rejoicing or emotions regarding the use of gifts and most likely, those who are doing so in a showy manner when exhibiting gifts lack holiness.

Lastly, spiritual goods, such as statues, medals, beautiful music and churches, and all manner of Christian art can become idols. One must realize they are there to help our faith and are not substitutes for holiness. I have see much magical thinking with regard to holy things which is dangerous.

The important aspect of spiritual goods is that these build our faith, increase our hope and encourage us in love.

The last warning on the use of goods pertains directly to charismatics and those prone to prayer meetings. St. John of the Cross writes, "We must not be anxious to cling to ceremonial inventions which are not approved by the Church. We must leave the method and manner of saying Mass to the priest whom the Church sets in her place giving him her orders as to how he is to do it."

Father Phelim warns us,  by reminding us that St. John  of the Cross rebukes those who experiment with new methods, "as if they knew more than the Church and the Holy Spirit."  Wow!

To be continued....