Recent Posts

Tuesday 16 April 2013

From Vatican Radio-Telegram from Pope Francis to Boston

Pope Francis calls on Bostonians to "not be overcome by evil"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf.
The telegram reads “In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.”

The full text of the telegram is below

His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Archbishop of Boston

Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

Warmer Weather in Walsingham

It is odd visiting a place where everyone is talking about trivia and not either God, Mary, or world events. A little black hole, but restful...

Yet another ambulance called to Marie Stopes in London

Boston, Yesterday

  Lindokuhle Njozela

What the media ignores in Egypt-Photos of the attack on the Cathedral/Expelled from Syria Italian Jesuit talks about Jihad

From Vatican Radio Site-New Portrait of Benedict-And, Happy Birthday

Portrait of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI unveiled on his birthday

(Vatican Radio) Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI is celebrating his 86th birthday on Tuesday. The German Embassy to the Holy See will be hosting a party which will unveil a new portrait of the former pontiff painted by German artist Michael Triegel, who is known as “Papstmaler”, or “Pope Painter”. The painting is on permanent loan to the Embassy. A previous portrait of Benedict XVI by the same artist can be found at the Institute Benedict XVI in Regensburg.

Happy Birthday, dear Benedict, Pope-emeritus. Many happy returns.

The good of Vatican II? Your ideas, please

A highly intelligent person in the pew asked me yesterday what good came out of Vatican II. I had to think for a long time. We discussed briefly Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Sacrosanctum concilium. We did not have time to discuss Dei Verbum. As one with a theology degree, I had to study the main documents. 

Now, I ask my readers, what good have you seen from Vatican II?

Comments really wanted on this one.

When is terrorism called terrorism?

Part 123: Doctors of the Church and Perfection: John of the Cross

Another chapter for one's perusal on the way to perfection from St. John:


Wherein is described how strait is the way that leads to eternal life and how completely detached and disencumbered must be those that will walk in it. We begin to speak of the detachment of the understanding.
We have now to describe the detachment and purity of the three faculties of the soul and for this are necessary a far greater knowledge and spirituality than mine, in order to make clear to spiritual persons how strait is this road which, said Our Saviour, leads to life; so that, persuaded of this, they may not marvel at the emptiness and detachment to which, in this night, we have to abandon the faculties of the soul.

This type of language sometimes frightens people. But, the words indicate the violence one must be willing to endure for the sake of the kingdom of God.
2. To this end must be carefully noted the words which Our Saviour used, in the seventh chapter of Saint Matthew, concerning this road, as follows:Quam angusta porta, et arcta via est, quae ducit ad vitam, et pauci sunt, qui inveniunt eam.243 This signifies: How strait is the gate and how narrow the way that leadeth unto life, and few there are that find it! In this passage we must carefully note the emphasis and insistence which are contained in that word Quam. For it is as if He had said: In truth the way is very strait, more so than you think. And likewise it is to be noted that He says first that the gate is strait, to make it clear that, in order for the soul to enter by this gate, which is Christ, and which comes at the beginning of the road, the will must first be straitened and detached in all things sensual and temporal, and God must be loved above them all; which belongs to the night of sense, as we have said.
3. He then says that the way is narrow — that is to say, the way of perfection — in order to make it clear that, to travel upon the way of perfection, the soul has not only to enter by the strait gate, emptying itself of things of sense, but has also to straiten244 itself, freeing and disencumbering itself completely in that which pertains to the spirit. 

The narrow way is not chosen by many, but offered to all. This is a mystery, but also, it is the way God has created us to want to be with Him for all eternity. Our hearts, as we know from the well-known phrase of St. Augustine, are restless until these hearts are resting in God.

And thus we can apply what He says of the strait gate to the sensual part of man; and what He says of the narrow road we can understand of the spiritual or the rational part; and, when He says ‘Few there are that find it,’ the reason of this must be noted, which is that there are few who can enter, and desire to enter, into this complete detachment and emptiness of spirit. For this path ascending the high mountain of perfection leads upward, and is narrow, and therefore requires travellers that have no burden weighing upon them with respect to lower things, neither aught that embarrasses them with respect to higher things: and, as this is a matter wherein we must seek after and attain to God alone, God alone must be the object of our search and attainment.

If God is the center of our search, our journey, our life, then we do not mind the difficulty. Yes, it is hard. But, do we not do hard things for those we love?

4. Hence it is clearly seen that the soul must not only be disencumbered from that which belongs to the creatures, but likewise, as it travels, must be annihilated and detached from all that belongs to its spirit. Wherefore Our Lord, instructing us and leading us into this road, gave, in the eighth chapter of St. Mark, that wonderful teaching of which I think it may almost be said that, the more necessary it is for spiritual persons, the less it is practised by them. As this teaching is so important and so much to our purpose, I shall reproduce it here in full, and expound it according to its genuine, spiritual sense. He says, then, thus: Si quis vult me sequi, deneget semetipsum: et tollat crucem suam, et sequatur me. Qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere, perdet eam: qui autem perdiderit animam suam propter me. . . salvam lacier eam.245 This signifies: If any man will follow My road, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For he that will save his soul shall lose it; but he that loses it for My sake, shall gain it.

Can you decide to do the hard things for Love? This next section is very important.
5. Oh, that one could show us how to understand, practise and experience what this counsel is which our Saviour here gives us concerning self-denial,246 so that spiritual persons might see in how different a way they should conduct themselves upon this road from that which many of them think proper! For they believe that any kind of retirement and reformation of life suffices; and others are content with practising the virtues and continuing in prayer and pursuing mortification; but they attain not to detachment and poverty or selflessness247 or spiritual purity (which are all one), which the Lord here commends to us; for they prefer feeding and clothing their natural selves with spiritual feelings and consolations, to stripping themselves of all things, and denying themselves all things, for God’s sake. For they think that it suffices to deny themselves worldly things without annihilating and purifying themselves of spiritual attachment. Wherefore it comes to pass that, when there presents itself to them any of this solid and perfect spirituality, consisting in the annihilation of all sweetness in God, in aridity, distaste and trial, which is the true spiritual cross, and the detachment of the spiritual poverty of Christ, they flee from it as from death, and seek only sweetness and delectable communion with God. 

Many Catholics fall into this category of spiritual gluttons, who want the devotions, piety, and consolations without the detachment and without the death to self. This is the problem with those who do the exterior religious practices without allowing God to penetrate their inmost beings.

This is not self-denial and detachment of spirit, but spiritual gluttony. Herein, spiritually, they become enemies of the Cross of Christ; for true spirituality seeks for God’s sake that which is distasteful rather than that which is delectable; and inclines itself rather to suffering than to consolation; and desires to go without all blessings for God’s sake rather than to possess them; and to endure aridities and afflictions rather than to enjoy sweet communications, knowing that this is to follow Christ and to deny oneself, and that the other is perchance to seek oneself in God, which is clean contrary to love. For to seek oneself in God is to seek the favours and refreshments of God; but to seek God in oneself is not only to desire to be without both of these for God’s sake, but to be disposed to choose, for Christ’s sake, all that is most distasteful, whether in relation to God or to the world; and this is love of God.

One must seek God for Himself and not for one's own benefit. This is key. Doing all for the love of God is our true call.
6. Oh, that one could tell us how far Our Lord desires this self-denial to be carried! It must certainly be like to death and annihilation, temporal, natural and spiritual, in all things that the will esteems, wherein consists all self-denial. And it is this that Our Lord meant when He said: ‘He that will save his life, the same shall lose it.’ That is to say: He that will possess anything or seek anything for himself, the same shall lose it; and he that loses his soul for My sake, the same shall gain it. That is to say: He who for Christ’s sake renounces all that his will can desire and enjoy, and chooses that which is most like to the Cross (which the Lord Himself, through Saint John, describes as hating his soul248), the same shall gain it. And this His Majesty taught to those two disciples who went and begged Him for a place on His right hand and on His left; when, giving no countenance to their request for such glory, He offered them the chalice which He had to drink, as a thing more precious and more secure upon this earth than is fruition.249

God has chosen the way for us to take up His Cross and follow Him. Do not deny Him.
7. This chalice is death to the natural self, a death attained through the detachment and annihilation of that self, in order that the soul may travel by this narrow path, with respect to all its connections with sense, as we have said, and according to the spirit, as we shall now say; that is, in its understanding and in its enjoyment and in its feeling. And, as a result, not only has the soul made its renunciation as regards both sense and spirit, but it is not hindered, even by that which is spiritual, in taking the narrow way, on which there is room only for self-denial (as the Saviour explains), and the Cross, which is the staff wherewith one may reach one’s goal, and whereby the road is greatly lightened and made easy. Wherefore Our Lord said through Saint Matthew: ‘My yoke is easy and My burden is light’; which burden is the cross. For if a man resolve to submit himself to carrying this cross — that is to say, if he resolve to desire in truth to meet trials and to bear them in all things for God’s sake, he will find in them all great relief and sweetness wherewith he may travel upon this road, detached from all things and desiring nothing. Yet, if he desire to possess anything — whether it come from God or from any other source — with any feeling of attachment, he has not stripped and denied himself in all things; and thus he will be unable to walk along this narrow path or to climb upward by it.

Most of us get stuck. We get distracted. The key is simplifying life to the point where such distractions and complications no longer keep us off the road of perfection. The easy yoke is merely the perfect will of God for our lives.
8. I would, then, that I could convince spiritual persons that this road to God consists not in a multiplicity of meditations nor in ways or methods of such, nor in consolations, although these things may in their own way be necessary to beginners; but that it consists only in the one thing that is needful, which is the ability to deny oneself truly, according to that which is without and to that which is within, giving oneself up to suffering for Christ’s sake, and to total annihilation. For the soul that practises this suffering and annihilation will achieve all that those other exercises can achieve, and that can be found in them, and even more. 

A multilplication of devotional activities may be useless. Why? Exterior modes of piety do not necessarily change us. We must put on the Mind of Christ, We must become Christ. 

And if a soul be found wanting in this exercise, which is the sum and root of the virtues, all its other methods are so much beating about the bush, and profiting not at all, although its meditations and communications may be as lofty as those of the angels. For progress comes not save through the imitation of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him, even as He Himself says through Saint John.250 And elsewhere He says: ‘I am the door; by Me if any man enter he shall be saved.’251 Wherefore, as it seems to me, any spirituality that would fain walk in sweetness and with ease, and flees from the imitation of Christ, is worthless.
9. And, as I have said that Christ is the Way, and that this Way is death to our natural selves, in things both of sense and of spirit, I will now explain how we are to die, following the example of Christ, for He is our example and light.
10. In the first place, it is certain that He died as to sense, spiritually, in His life, besides dying naturally, at His death. For, as He said, He had not in His life where to lay His head, and at His death this was even truer.

Jesus said to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Luke 9:58 If the Son of God, who emptied Himself of His Glory to become Incarnate did not think that beneath His dignity, why do we hesitate or even rebel against self-denial?
11. In the second place, it is certain that, at the moment of His death, He was likewise annihilated in His soul, and was deprived of any relief and consolation, since His Father left Him in the most intense aridity, according to the lower part of His nature. Wherefore He had perforce to cry out, saying: ‘My God! My God! ‘Why hast Thou forsaken Me?’252 This was the greatest desolation, with respect to sense, that He had suffered in His life. And thus He wrought herein the greatest work that He had ever wrought, whether in miracles or in mighty works, during the whole of His life, either upon earth or in Heaven, which was the reconciliation and union of mankind, through grace, with God. And this, as I say, was at the moment and the time when this Lord was most completely annihilated in everything. Annihilated, that is to say, with respect to human reputation; since, when men saw Him die, they mocked Him rather than esteemed Him; and also with respect to nature, since His nature was annihilated when He died; and further with respect to the spiritual consolation and protection of the Father, since at that time He forsook Him, that He might pay the whole of man’s debt and unite him with God, being thus annihilated and reduced as it were to nothing. Wherefore David says concerning Him: Ad nihilum redactus sum, et nescivi.253This he said that the truly spiritual man may understand the mystery of the gate and of the way of Christ, and so become united with God, and may know that, the more completely he is annihilated for God’s sake, according to these two parts, the sensual and the spiritual, the more completely is he united to God and the greater is the work which he accomplishes. And when at last he is reduced to nothing, which will be the greatest extreme of humility, spiritual union will be wrought between the soul and God, which in this life is the greatest and the highest state attainable. This consists not, then, in refreshment and in consolations and spiritual feelings, but in a living death of the Cross, both as to sense and as to spirit — that is, both inwardly and outwardly.
This paragraph is a meditation in itself. The mystery of the Passion of Christ and the mystery of each one of our own call to suffering may be understood as the true beginning of the unity of the soul with God. When we enter into His Passion, for the sake of Love alone, we become one with Him. Christ invites us all to do this.
12. I will not pursue this subject farther, although I have no desire to finish speaking of it, for I see that Christ is known very little by those who consider themselves His friends: we see them seeking in Him their own pleasures and consolations because of their great love for themselves, but not loving His bitter trials and His death because of their great love for Him. I am speaking now of those who consider themselves His friends; for such as live far away, withdrawn from Him, men of great learning and influence, and all others who live yonder, with the world, and are eager about their ambitions and their prelacies, may be said not to know Christ; and their end, however good, will be very bitter. Of such I make no mention in these lines; but mention will be made of them on the Day of Judgment, for to them it was fitting to speak first this word of God,254 as to those whom God set up as a target for it,255 by reason of their learning and their high position.

How sad I am to know how far I am away from union with God. Too often, I seek my own consolations and comforts, my own love, instead of His. I must desire more than anything to want to be with Him, in love, no matter what the cost. This is the way to perfection.

13. But let us now address the understanding of the spiritual man, and particularly that of the man to whom God has granted the favour of leading him into the state of contemplation (for, as I have said, I am now speaking to these in particular), and let us say how such a man must direct himself toward God in faith, and purify himself from contrary things, constraining himself that he may enter upon this narrow path of obscure contemplation.

I hope you join with me in prayer, begging God for the grace to follow Him, to be with Him, and desire His way to perfection. To be continued....

Part 122: Doctors of the Church and Perfection: John of the Cross

We are given virtues at Baptism and more grace for the life of virtues at Confirmation. John tells us what we need to do. 


Wherein is described how it is the three theological virtues that perfect the three faculties of the soul, and how the said virtues produce emptiness and darkness within them.
Having now to endeavour to show how236 the three faculties of the soul — understanding, memory and will — are brought into this spiritual night, which is the means to Divine union, it is necessary first of all to explain in this chapter how the three theological virtues — faith, hope and charity — which have respect to the three faculties aforesaid as their proper supernatural objects, and by means whereof the soul is united with God according to its faculties, produce the same emptiness and darkness, each one in its own faculty. Faith, in the understanding; hope, in the memory; and charity, in the will. And afterwards we shall go on to describe how the understanding is perfected in the darkness of faith; and the memory in the emptiness of hope; and likewise how the will must be buried by withdrawing and detaching every affection so that the soul may journey to God. This done, it will be clearly seen how necessary it is for the soul, if it is to walk securely on this spiritual road, to travel through this dark night, leaning upon these three virtues, which empty it of all things and make it dark with respect to them. For, as we have said, the soul is not united with God in this life through understanding, nor through enjoyment, nor through the imagination, nor through any sense whatsoever; but only through faith, according to the understanding; and through hope, according to the memory; and through love, according to the will.

As we are both body and spirit, we respond both physically and spiritually to events and stimuli. But, we need to get beyond mere reactions, and living in complete objectivity.

This is only possible through purification and grace. Our talents do not bring us to God, nor our other gifts, but only faith, hope and love.
2. These three virtues, as we have said, all cause emptiness in the faculties: faith, in the understanding, causes an emptiness and darkness with respect to understanding; hope, in the memory, causes emptiness of all possessions; and charity causes emptiness in the will and detachment from all affection and from rejoicing in all that is not God. For, as we see, faith tells us what cannot be understood with the understanding. Wherefore Saint Paul spoke of it ad Hebraeos after this manner: Fides est sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apparentium.237 This we interpret as meaning that faith is the substance of things hoped for; and, although the understanding may be firmly and certainly consenting to them, they are not things that are revealed to the understanding, since, if they were revealed to it, there would be no faith. So faith, although it brings certainty to the understanding, brings it not clearness, but obscurity.
The reason why faith brings the understanding to obscurity is that God takes us into the mystery of Himself. He invites us to join HIm in His Passion.
3. Then, as to hope, there is no doubt but that it renders the memory empty and dark with respect both to things below and to things above. For hope always relates to that which is not possessed; for, if it were possessed, there would be no more hope. Wherefore Saint Paul says ad Romanos: Spes, quae videtur, non est spes: nam quod videt quis, quid sperat?238 That is to say: Hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth — that is, what a man possesseth — how doth he hope for it? This virtue, then, also produces emptiness, for it has to do with that which is not possessed and not with that which is possessed.

One lives in hope because one no longer sees with impure eyes or an impure imagination. What is there but God? Nothing. One becomes objective, leaving subjectivity behind.
4. Similarity, charity causes emptiness in the will with respect to all things, since it obliges us to love God above them all; which cannot be unless we withdraw our affection from them in order to set it wholly upon God. Wherefore Christ says, through Saint Luke: Qui non renuntiat omnibus quae possidet, non potest meus esse discipulus.239 Which signifies: He that renounces not all that he possesses with the will cannot be My disciple. And thus all these three virtues set the soul in obscurity and emptiness with respect to all things.

Love becomes totally focussed on God and one loves people not for their own sake but for His.

Love becomes completely free, and without answer. The giving is all...the virtues are purified.

5. And here we must consider that parable which our Redeemer related in the eleventh chapter of Saint Luke, wherein He said that a friend had to go out at midnight in order to ask his friend for three loaves;240 the which loaves signify these three virtues. And he said that he asked for them at midnight in order to signify that the soul that is in darkness as to all things must acquire these three virtues according to its faculties and must perfect itself in them in this night.

In the sixth chapter of Isaias we read that the two seraphim whom this Prophet saw on either side of God had each six wings; with two they covered their feet, which signified the blinding and quenching of the affections of the will with respect to all things for the sake of God; and with two they covered their face, which signified the darkness of the understanding in the presence of God; and with the other two they flew.241This is to signify the flight of hope to the things that are not possessed, when it is raised above all that it can possess, whether below or above, apart from God.
Nada, nothing but God. And for a human, this is a huge step into the unknown, beyond our senses, understanding and memory.
6. To these three virtues, then, we have to lead the three faculties of the soul, informing each faculty by each one of them, and stripping it and setting it in darkness concerning all things save only these three virtues. And this is the spiritual night which just now we called active; for the soul does that which in it lies in order to enter therein. And even as, in the night of sense, we described a method of voiding the faculties of sense of their sensible objects, with regard to the desire, so that the soul might go forth from the beginning of its course to the mean,242 which is faith; even so, in this spiritual night, with the favour of God, we shall describe a method whereby the spiritual faculties are voided and purified of all that is not God, and are set in darkness concerning these three virtues, which, as we have said, are the means and preparation for the union of the soul with God.

This is the great purification of the entire person. One no longer wants anything but God's Will. One allows God to enter into every aspect of one's physical and spiritual life, Nothing is held back. Without this stage of purgation, one cannot progress to even begin to do the work of God. Plus, if one is detached, the evil one has a hard time tempting one, except to the worst sin, spiritual pride.
7. In this method is found all security against the crafts of the devil and against the efficacy of self-love and its ramifications, which is wont most subtly to deceive and hinder spiritual persons on their road, when they know not how to become detached and to govern themselves according to these three virtues; and thus they are never able to reach the substance and purity of spiritual good, nor do they journey by so straight and short a road as they might.

The reason John calls this a beginning stage, and it is, is that is comes before Illumination and Unity. Stages cannot be skipped.
8. And it must be noted that I am now speaking particularly to those who have begun to enter the state of contemplation, because as far as this concerns beginners it must be described somewhat more amply, as we shall note in the second book, God willing, when we treat of the properties of these beginners.

To be continued...

Part 121: Doctors of the Church and Perfection: John of the Cross

What St. John describes in the last post is the unitive state. When I started this series, I assumed that only a few saints had experienced this last stage. What a delightful discovery it was for me over the past months to find out that all the Doctors of the Church not only, obviously, had entered into the state of enlightenment, but that of unity with God.

What is described in John's poems finds an echo throughout the entire record of writings of the Doctors of the Church. One is overwhelmed with this knowledge that there has always been with us in the Church the lovers of God and the beloved of God.

How comforting. Here is more from the Ascent of Mount Carmel. This is a long section, but one must look at it carefully. My comments are in blue.


Wherein is described what is meant by union of the soul with God. A comparison is given.231
From what has been said above it becomes clear to some extent what we mean by union of the soul with God; what we now say about it, therefore, will be the better understood. It is not my intention here to treat of the divisions of this union, nor of its parts, for I should never end if I were to begin now to explain what is the nature of union of the understanding, and what is that of union according to the will, and likewise according to the memory; and likewise what is transitory and what permanent in the union of the said faculties; and then what is meant by total union, transitory and permanent, with regard to the said faculties all together. All this we shall treat gradually in our discourse — speaking first of and then of another. But here this is not to the point in order to describe what we have to say concerning them; it will be explained much more fittingly in its place, when we shall again be treating the same matter, and shall have a striking illustration to add to the present explanation, so that everything will then be considered and explained and we shall judge of it better.

So, like St. Paul, John is quick to discern and define different states of unity
2. Here I treat only of this permanent and total union according to the substance of the soul and its faculties with respect to the obscure habit of union: for with respect to the act, we shall explain later, with the Divine favour, how there can be no permanent union in the faculties, in this life, but a transitory union only.

3. In order, then, to understand what is meant by this union whereof we are treating, it must be known that God dwells and is present substantially in every soul, even in that of the greatest sinner in the world. And this kind of union is ever wrought between God and all the creatures, for in it He is preserving their being: if union of this kind were to fail them, they would at once become annihilated and would cease to be. 

God through creation is in all, but in a special way through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. 
Without God, we would not exist. Without grace, we cannot come to unity with Him, as only the perfect see God. Therefore, there are two unions: one natural and one supernatural.

And so, when we speak of union of the soul with God, we speak not of this substantial union which is continually being wrought, but of the union and transformation of the soul with God, which is not being wrought continually, but only when there is produced that likeness that comes from love; we shall therefore term this the union of likeness, even as that other union is called substantial or essential. The former is natural, the latter supernatural. And the latter comes to pass when the two wills — namely that of the soul and that of God — are conformed together in one, and there is naught in the one that repugnant to the other. And thus, when the soul rids itself totally of that which is repugnant to the Divine will and conforms not with it, it is transformed in God through love.

As noted before many times, the purgative state must precede that of union. No pain, no gain...
4. This is to be understood of that which is repugnant, not only in action, but likewise in habit, so that not only must the voluntary acts of imperfection cease, but the habits of any such imperfections must be annihilated. 

One must find a confessor and/or spiritual director who understands such things.

And since no creature whatsoever, and none of its actions or abilities, can conform or can attain to that which is God, therefore must the soul be stripped of all things created, and of its own actions and abilities — namely, of its understanding, perception and feeling — so that, when all that is unlike God and unconformed to Him is cast out, the soul may receive the likeness of God; and nothing will then remain in it that is not the will of God and it will thus be transformed in God. 

And, most likely, we do not know what that is, the will of God for us. Therefore, we must rely completely on Him. In addition, we are not the same in this process, as we are all created as unique individuals.

Wherefore, although it is true that, as we have said, God is ever in the soul, giving it, and through His presence conserving within it, its natural being, yet He does not always communicate supernatural being to it. For this is communicated only by love and grace, which not all souls possess; and all those that possess it have it not in the same degree; for some have attained more degrees of love and others fewer.

Wherefore God communicates Himself most to that soul that has progressed farthest in love; namely, that has its will in closest conformity with the will of God. And the soul that has attained complete conformity and likeness of will is totally united and transformed in God supernaturally. 

Have you ever met someone like this? Have you met a saint? There is a wholeness, a oneness with God which is almost "seen".

Wherefore, as has already been explained, the more completely a soul is wrapped up in232 the creatures and in its own abilities, by habit and affection, the less preparation it has for such union; for it gives not God a complete opportunity to transform it supernaturally. The soul, then, needs only to strip itself of these natural dissimilarities and contrarieties, so that God, Who is communicating Himself naturally to it, according to the course of nature, may communicate Himself to it supernaturally, by means of grace.

One must get "unwrapped". How hard it is in this day and age of narcissism for youth to know how to follow God. But, all things are possible with and in God.

5. And it is this that Saint John desired to explain when he said: Qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt.233 As though he had said: He gave power to be sons of God that is, to be transformed in God — only to those who are born, not of blood — that is, not of natural constitution and temperament — neither of the will of the flesh — that is, of the free will of natural capacity and ability — still less of the will of man — wherein is included every way and manner of judging and comprehending with the understanding. He gave power to none of these to become sons of God, but only to those that are born of God — that is, to those who, being born again through grace, and dying first of all to everything that is of the old man, are raised above themselves to the supernatural, and receive from God this rebirth and adoption, which transcends all that can be imagined. 

Dying to self, putting on the Mind of Christ, being reborn in the Spirit, living in the sacramental life of the Church...all these gifts make us children of God.

For, as Saint John himself says elsewhere: Nisi quis renatus fuerit ex aqua, et Spiritu Sancto, non potest videre regnum Dei.234 This signifies: He that is not born again in the Holy Spirit will not be able to see this kingdom of God, which is the state of perfection; and to be born again in the Holy Spirit in this life is to have a soul most like to God in purity, having in itself no admixture of imperfection, so that pure transformation can be wrought in it through participation of union, albeit not essentially.

If one desires this, it will happen. Some are given these graces as gifts without much effort. Some must ask and strive. But, it is the Perfect Will of God that all who are baptized in His Life come to this perfection.

6. In order that both these things may be the better understood, let us make a comparison. A ray of sunlight is striking a window. If the window is in any way stained or misty, the sun’s ray will be unable to illumine it and transform it into its own light, totally, as it would if it were clean of all these things, and pure; but it will illumine it to a lesser degree, in proportion as it is less free from those mists and stains; and will do so to a greater degree, in proportion as it is cleaner from them, and this will not be because of the sun’s ray, but because of itself; so much so that, if it be wholly pure and clean, the ray of sunlight will transform it and illumine it in such wise that it will itself seem to be a ray and will give the same light as the ray. Although in reality the window has a nature distinct from that of the ray itself, however much it may resemble it, yet we may say that that window is a ray of the sun or is light by participation. And the soul is like this window, whereupon is ever beating (or, to express it better, wherein is ever dwelling) this Divine light of the Being of God according to nature, which we have described.

Remember, one is given the Indwelling of the Trinity at Baptism and sealed as a child of God. In Confirmation, more grace is given and the life of the virtues released in order to bring each one of us to that perfection to which each one is called. It is ALL about Love.
7. In thus allowing God to work in it, the soul (having rid itself of every mist and stain of the creatures, which consists in having its will perfectly united with that of God, for to love is to labour to detach and strip itself for God’s sake of all that is not God) is at once illumined and transformed in God, and God communicates to it His supernatural Being, in such wise that it appears to be God Himself, and has all that God Himself has. And this union comes to pass when God grants the soul this supernatural favour, that all the things of God and the soul are one in participant transformation; and the soul seems to be God rather than a soul, and is indeed God by participation; although it is true that its natural being, though thus transformed, is as distinct from the Being of God as it was before, even as the window has likewise a nature distinct from that of the ray, though the ray gives it brightness.

One becomes the bride, beloved of the Bridegroom. 
8. This makes it clearer that the preparation of the soul for this union, as we said, is not that it should understand or perceive or feel or imagine anything, concerning either God or aught else, but that it should have purity and love — that is, perfect resignation and detachment from everything for God’s sake alone; and, as there can be no perfect transformation if there be not perfect purity, and as the enlightenment, illumination and union of the soul with God will be according to the proportion of its purity, in greater or in less degree; yet the soul will not be perfect, as I say, if it be not wholly and perfectly235 bright and clean.

Like the other Doctors of the Church, John emphasizes the absolute necessity for purification. This can happen through illness, failures, losses. Enlightenment and illumination, including the ability to understand the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church come. But, total unity can only happen after death, of course.

9. This will likewise be understood by the following comparison. A picture is truly perfect, with many and most sublime beauties and delicate and subtle illuminations, and some of its beauties are so fine and subtle that they cannot be completely realized, because of their delicacy and excellence. Fewer beauties and less delicacy will be seen in this picture by one whose vision is less clear and refined; and he whose vision is somewhat more refined will be able to see in it more beauties and perfections; and, if another person has a vision still more refined, he will see still more perfection; and, finally, he who has the clearest and purest faculties will see the most beauties and perfections of all; for there is so much to see in the picture that, however far one may attain, there will ever remain higher degrees of attainment.

We are not equal. There are Teresas, Thereses, Annes, Thomases, Peters and so on. Yet, we are all called to attain the degree of perfection for which we were created.
10. After the same manner we may describe the condition of the soul with relation to God in this enlightenment or transformation. For, although it is true that a soul, according to its greater or lesser capacity, may have attained to union, yet not all do so in an equal degree, for this depends upon what the Lord is pleased to grant to each one. It is in this way that souls see God in Heaven; some more, some less; but all see Him, and all are content, for their capacity is satisfied.

11. Wherefore, although in this life here below we find certain souls enjoying equal peace and tranquillity in the state of perfection, and each one of them satisfied, yet some of them may be many degrees higher than others. All, however, will be equally satisfied, because the capacity of each one is satisfied. But the soul that attains not to such a measure of purity as is in conformity with its capacity never attains true peace and satisfaction, since it has not attained to the possession of that detachment and emptiness in its faculties which is required for simple union.

Say "yes" to the process. Say "yes".

To be continued...

Can we sign up men we know? From William Hanson's Site

3-Day Modern Manners for Men Course

William leads this interactive 3-day course will give the gentlemen who attend a firm understanding and practical knowledge of modern manners and basic housekeeping skills they need for the fast-paced world.

Day One

Introducing yourself
Introducing others
Social kissing
How to handle bad introductions
What to do when you don't catch their name
Networking & communications
Modern Table Manners
The place setting
Napkin placement
Common mistakes
Eating tricky foods
Customs and nuances around the world
For business
For pleasure
Budget and menus
Food & wine pairing
Basic wine skills
Communication - Verbal & Non-Verbal
IT, mobiles & iPhones
Social networking
Thank you letters
Business correspondence and emails

Day Two

The Art of Shaving
First impressions
Deportment & posture
The Modern Gentleman's wardrobe - codes, colours and style
Tie tying 101
Presentation skills
Finding your voice
Posture and stance
Working with PowerPoint
Vocal exercises
Self defence
This session is always popular and is, sadly, crucial for modern living. Lead by professional safety coach Amanda Wilson, the gentlemen will leave the class with the knowledge of how to defend themselves in a difficult situation.
Good Housekeeping
Laundry skills
Ironing: shirts, trousers and sheets
Basic cookery skills
Cocktails & wine appreciation

Day Three

Business Etiquette
CVs and covering letters
Introducing clients
Answering the telephone
Titles & correct form
Entering an office: where and when to sit
A businessman's props
Accepting gifts
Integrating yourself with the office
Dress codes
Students will be taken to a leading gentlemen's outfitters, and talked through the different formal dress codes
Cultural tour of Chester
Chester is an ancient city and was a major port in Roman times so there is a wealth of Roman relics, including an amphitheatre and the original city walls. It is also famous for its unique 'rows' which date back to Tudor times.