Recent Posts

Saturday 2 March 2013


Ok, since thousands of people are talking about and showing Benedict's new shoes, I thought I would show you my new shoes.

 I feel silly today.

I want a pope.........Instaurare Omnia in Christo, "to restore all things in Christ."

After many conversations this week with good Catholics, it is clear that we need leaders in the intellectual life of the Church.

Piety is just not enough. Too many of the laity are stuck in piety. They have not developed an adult faith.

We need another scholar pope. Pastoral is not enough.

We need priests who know how to interpret the Scripture from the Catholic point of view.

We need intellectual priests to help us all with apologetics and evangelizing.

We need nuns who have vision for the future because they know the past.

I know of fantastic Catholic libraries which no one touches, elegant books gathering dust.

The tradition of the ages is being lost daily with Religion-Lite.

We no longer need Religion-Lite.

We do not need popular priests, or popular bishops or media popular cardinals.

We need seriously holy men at the top, in the middle and at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder.

We need mature men, with experience not merely with people but with God.

I want a new pope who is, first of all, a man of prayer.

I want a pope who is a saint, like St. Pius X.

Thanks to Wiki

Part 65: DoC: Augustine and Perfection

Continuing with the great Augustine, I am going to look at one small quotation from the same source as yesterday.

II. "We must next ask," he says, "whether sin comes from will, or from necessity? If from necessity, it is not sin; if from will, it can be avoided." We answer as before; and in order that we may be healed, we pray to Him to whom it is said in the psalm: "Lead Thou me out of my necessities."

I do not need the red type here.

I want to pull apart this small idea and show how it is connected to the pursuit of perfection.

Firstly, the term necessity is one you have seen before on this blog. If we do something out of our own needs, then the thing we do is imperfect. This does not mean it is "wrong", but necessity brings with it selfishness and self-interest. If the necessity is a serious flaw, it causes serious sin.

For example, if I love someone out of my own limitations, wanting someone else to complete me, I am not loving that person freely. If I am healed, and note that Augustine uses that term, then I am freed from need.

This is possible. I think some married couples who have been married for a long time move from eros to philos then to agape, and  finally,caritas, that is, pure love. I have referred to this last year when writing about Benedict, Pope Emeritus' encyclical on love.

Caritas is loving someone for the sake of God alone.

That type of love is not connected to self, but transcends the self.

Can we experience this? Yes, absolutely.

But, and this is the second big point here, only though God is this type of freedom to love purely possible.

I love without expecting anything in return. That is healed love. That is love without necessity.

Augustine moved from very carnal and selfish love to a sublime love of God.

For him, this happened through suffering. Perhaps that is the way for most of us.

The soul becomes ordered once necessities are both repented of and healed.

I know of a young woman who did not want to love a man and was not open to a relationship.

She had been hurt to many times. She was closed to real love. I felt sorry for her.

But, she needed to be healed and this is not a psychological game, but an interior purifying which only God can do. But, one must face the pain of loss and rejection in order to obtain the purity of heart which opens one up to God.

The purgation state cleanses us of self. The illumination which follows sheds light into our soul and shows us the habits which cause the sin and the imperfections. That is the grace of light. God wants to heal all those things.

St. Augustine fought the love of God for a long time. He kept running away. Finally, he stopped. His passion for love was purified so that he could love God not out of necessity, but out of freedom.

How wonderful it is to love someone, or Someone, freely.

Pray that God leads you out of necessity. Then, you will really know love. And, Love is a Person.

To be continued....

Part 64: DoC: Augustine and Perfection--Can One Not Sin?

from the same text as Part 63


But what is the import of the last statement which he has made: "If any one say, 'May it possibly be that a man sin not even in word?' then the answer," says he, "which must be given is, 'Quite possible, if God so will; and God does so will, therefore it is possible.'" See how unwilling he was to say, "If God give His help, then it would be possible;" and yet the Psalmist thus addresses God: "Be Thou my helper, forsake me not;" where of course help is not sought for procuring bodily advantages and avoiding bodily evils, but for practising and fulfilling righteousness. 

The point here is that anything is possible with God. St. Mary never sinned and was conceived without sin. St. John the Baptist was cleansed of Original Sin in the womb.

Righteousness or justice, that is, purity in the eyes of God, derives grace in and from His Will for us.

Now, this is a great insight of Augustine's. It is OUR FAITH OR LACK OF FAITH which determines our perfection.

If we believe that God wants us to be perfect and if we cooperate with that grace, then we shall be.

If we do not believe, this perfection will not happen as God intended. We shall fall short of His ideal. We have free will either to answer the call to perfection or NOT.

Hence it is that we say: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Now no man is assisted unless he also himself does something; assisted, however, he is, if he prays, if he believes, if he is "called according to God's purpose;" for "whom He did fore-know, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." 

You who are reading this are already on the way. Take heart. You would not be reading and pondering these words of Augustine is you were not called. 

We run, therefore, whenever we make advance; and our wholeness runs with us in our advance (just as a sore is said to run when the wound is in process of a sound and careful treatment), in order that we may be in every respect perfect, without any infirmity of sin whatever,--a result which God not only wishes, but even causes and helps us to accomplish. 

Here it is again--the call, to get rid, with God's help of any imperfection and all sin!

And this God's grace does, in co-operation with ourselves, through Jesus Christ our Lord, as well by commandments, sacraments, and examples, as by His Holy Spirit also; through whom there is hiddenly shed abroad in our heads that love, "which maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered," until wholeness and salvation be perfected in us, and God be manifested to us as He will be seen in His eternal truth.


Remember, that in baptism and confirmation, we have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. More than just the Holy Spirit (just!), we have the Indwelling of the Trinity.

The Triune God is with us....recall the words of the Mass.

Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
for ever and ever.

To be continued...

Part 63: DoC Series: Augustine and Perfection

Augustine in his monastery and with the Christ Child

ADDRESSED TO EUTROPIUS AND PAULUS, A.D. 415. found here and my comments are in dark red.

There are still some people who deny that we are called to perfection. 

They think that we are just supposed to "get by". There is no just getting by the Lord.


Having premised these remarks, let us carefully attend to the passages which he whom we are answering has produced, as if we ourselves had quoted them. "In Deuteronomy, 'Thou shalt be perfect before the Lord thy God.' Again, in the same book, 'There shall be not an imperfect man among the sons of Israel.' In like manner the Saviour says in the Gospel, Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' So the apostle, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, says: 'Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect.' Again, to the Colossians he writes: 'Warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ.' And so to the Philippians: 'Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless, and harmless, as the immaculate sons of God.' In like manner to the Ephesians he writes: 'Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.' Then again to the Colossians he says in another passage: 'And you, that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death; present yourselves holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight.' In the same strain, he says to the Ephesians: 'That He might present to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish. So in his first Epistle to the Corinthians he says 'Be ye sober, and righteous, and sin not.' So again in the Epistle of St. Peter it is written 'Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is offered to you: . . . as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.' Whence blessed David likewise says: 'O Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle, or who shall rest on Thy holy mountain? He that walketh without blame, and worketh righteousness.' And in another passage: 'I shall be blameless with Him.'

The Death of Monica

The entire section above I have put in bold and may be considered a summary of all I have posted so far on perfection.

Christ calls us and gives us the grace. He does the work, if we merely cooperate.

And yet again: 'Blessed are the blameless in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.' To the same effect it is written in Solomon: 'The Lord loveth holy hearts, and all they that are blameless are acceptable unto Him.'" Now some of these passages exhort men who are running their course that they run perfectly; others refer to the end thereof, that men may reach forward to it as they run. He, however, is not unreasonably said to walk blamelessly, not who has already reached the end of his journey, but who is pressing on towards the end in a blameless manner, free from damnable sins, and at the same time not neglecting to cleanse by almsgiving such sins as are venial. 

The Funeral of St. Augustine. all photos from
Apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano

Remember, dear readers, a long time ago last year, when I started this series, I wrote that God wanted us free not only from mortal sin, but from venial sin, and, in fact, those imperfections which hold us back.

The passage below fills us with hope. 

For the way in which we walk, that is, the road by which we reach perfection, is cleansed by clean prayer. That, however, is a clean prayer in which we say in truth, "Forgive us, as we ourselves forgive." So that, as there is nothing censured when blame is not imputed, we may hold on our course to perfection without censure, in a word, blamelessly; and in this perfect state, when we arrive at it at last, we shall find that there is absolutely nothing which requires cleansing by forgiveness.

The object is not merely to avoid purgatory, (I think some people do not believe in purgatory), but to build up the Body of Christ, the Church, through the gifts and insights and graces released after those purgative states. Only those actions which are done in the states following purgative state are those of God and not of our own needs and weaknesses. At the Illuminative State, our works are those totally in the Will of God and of His planning and grace. No wonder so many projects in the Church fail-these are human and not Divine.

To be continued....