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Friday 24 May 2013

It is all about love....

One does damage to the process by being impatient and demanding answers from the supposed silence of God. He is no longer handing out sweeties, or speaking clearly, as He has changed the way He is addressing the soul.

The power of the Holy Spirit is Faith, pure and simple.

One waits for infused knowledge. One waits for the complete purification of the senses.
Without that purification, one is not loving in spirit and in truth.

Rote prayer is out, as is the usual meditation. This is the time when one, as when one was young and in love, sits on the park bench waiting for the beloved to show up and just be with one.

Waiting is important, and being silent is absolutely necessary. One can, however, be in the midst of other people and be silent. One must carry a cell in one's soul and decide to go to that cell amidst noise and distractions.

The challenge is staying focussed on God, and not one's self. The self fades away, as love is given from God, Who swallows up all distraction and noise into His Love. One important factor is not to run away from pain. Suffering must be accepted fully as part of the process of the passive purgation. For example, if I am in bed with back pain, I must accept this and not fight against it, nor pray for healing. The suffering is part of the purgation and sheer gift. God allows evil to assail one for the good of the soul. Humility must become a daily, normal way of life. Without humility, one cannot receive God.

What others are doing becomes God's business entirely. One can only concentrate on God alone.

This beginning of infused contemplation united to love is already the eminent exercise of the theological virtues and of the gifts of the Holy Ghost which accompany them. In it there is an infused act of penetrating faith; (7) therein the soul discovers increasingly the spirit of the Gospel, the spirit which vivifies the letter. Thus are verified Christ's words: "The Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you." (8) St. John also wrote to the faithful to whom he directed his first epistle: "And as for you, let the unction, which you have received from Him, abide in you.(9) And you have no need that any man teach you; . . . His unction teacheth you of all things." (10) In the silence of prayer, the soul receives here the profound meaning of what it has often read and meditated on in the Gospel: for example, the intrinsic meaning of the evangelical beatitudes: blessed are the poor, the meek, those who weep for their sins, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, those who suffer persecution for justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In this way, as a rule, begins infused prayer, the spiritual elevation of the soul toward God, above the senses, the imagination, and reasoning; it is adoration "in spirit and in truth," which goes beyond the formulas of faith to penetrate the mysteries which they express and to live by them. The formulas are no longer a term, but a point of departure.

All quotations in this series are from The Three Ages of the Interior Life.

To be continued....

Perfect Prayer

Perfect prayer comes finally after the passive purification of the beginning of the Illumination State. Perfect prayer is here described. As one becomes more aware of one's lowly state, one is raised up God. Read these sections and think about prayer. I shall come back to these again from a different perspective.

St. Teresa speaks in like manner: "For instance, they read that we must not be troubled when men speak ill of us, that we are to be then more pleased than when they speak well of us, . . . with many other things of the same kind. The disposition to practice this must be, in my opinion, the gift of God, for it seems to me a supernatural good." (23) "People may desire honors or possessions in monasteries as well as outside them (yet the sin is greater as the temptation is less), but such souls, although they may have spent years in prayer, or rather in speculations (for perfect prayer eventually destroys these vices), will never make great progress nor enjoy the real fruit of prayer." (24)
St. Catherine of Siena, too, taught the same doctrine: that the knowledge of God and that of our indigence are like the highest and the lowest points of a circle which could grow forever.(25) This infused knowledge of our misery is the source of true humility of heart, of the humility which leads one to desire to be nothing that God may be all,amare nesciri et pro nihilo reputari. Infused knowledge of the infinite goodness of God gives birth in us to a much more lively charity, a more generous and disinterested love of God and of souls in Him, a greater confidence in prayer.

As St. John of the Cross says: "The love of God is practiced, because the soul is no longer attracted by sweetness and consolation, but by God only. . . . In the midst of these aridities and hardships, God communicates to the soul, when it least expects it, spiritual sweetness, most pure love, and spiritual knowledge of the most exalted kind, of greater worth and profit than any of which it had previous experience, though at first the soul may not think so, for the spiritual influence now communicated is most delicate and imperceptible by sense." (26)

More on Garrigou-Lagrange and the Second Conversion

Continuing with this on the second conversion of the soul, which is known well to the nuns at Tyburn, Garrigou-Lagrange notes that this purification process applies to all Catholics and the goal is to come to God totally and freely before death.

Purgatory is punishment, not merely cleansing, as Garrigou-Lagrange quotes several saints and religious writers. There is no merit gained in purgatory, none. One does not gain a status of grace for heaven in that punishment. The merit for heaven comes with suffering and purification. The entrance into the Illuminative State begins with the second conversion. In this state, one is called to the life of the virtue, which happens more easily and without effort, as God is holding one's hand and leading one into quiet and solitude.

It is hard for the laity to understand that they are called to these ways as well as religious. The religious vocation is merely a short-cut. There is no opt-out for holiness for all of us who have been baptized.

What are the characteristics of this second conversion?

Here is a list.

Complete trust in God and Divine Providence
An awareness of one's nothingness in the Face of God
Humility and a desire for brutal honesty about one's self
A call to quiet and deeper, intense prayer
A release of the gifts of Confirmation, which may be blocked by sin and the tendencies to sin
The giving up and hatred of the seeking of consolation and the awareness that consolations are not necessary
The desire to be with God alone, to be His child, student, and finally, bride.

These are just some of the signs of the second conversion given in Garrigou-Lagrange.  He is using Thomas Aquinas, John of the Cross and Catherine of Siena quite a bit.

The passive purification of the senses is done by God, without one being in control of the process. One merely needs to be orthodox and compliant. Orthodoxy is absolutely ABSOLUTELY necessary for this road to holiness.

We are given the infused virtues, but temptations occur, of course. One of the greatest temptations at this stage is spiritual pride. Impatience is another great temptation, which one experiences in this passive purification, as one wants things to move on. Not so, as God has His own plan.

Here is a section from Garrigou-Lagrange:

If we bear these trials well, they produce precious effects in us. It is said that "patience produces roses." Among the effects of the passive purification of the senses, must be numbered a profound and experimental knowledge of God and self.

St. John of the Cross points out: "These aridities and the emptiness of the faculties as to their former abounding, and the difficulty which good works present, bring the soul to a knowledge of its own vileness and misery." (20)

This knowledge is the effect of nascent infused contemplation, which shows that infused contemplation is in the normal way of sanctity. St. John of the Cross says: "The soul possesses and retains more truly that excellent and necessary virtue of self-knowledge, counting itself for nothing, and having no satisfaction in itself, because it sees that of itself it does and can do nothing. This diminished satisfaction with self, and the affliction it feels because it thinks that it is not serving God, God esteems more highly than all its former delights and all its good works." (21)

With this knowledge of its indigence, its poverty, the soul comprehends better the majesty of God, His infinite goodness toward us, the value also of Christ's merits, of His precious blood, the infinite value of the Mass, and the value of Communion. "God enlightens the soul, making it see not only its own misery and meanness, . . . but also His grandeur and majesty." (22)


This knowledge is the effect of nascent infused contemplation, which shows that infused contemplation is in the normal way of sanctity. St. John of the Cross says: "The soul possesses and retains more truly that excellent and necessary virtue of self-knowledge, counting itself for nothing, and having no satisfaction in itself, because it sees that of itself it does and can do nothing. This diminished satisfaction with self, and the affliction it feels because it thinks that it is not serving God, God esteems more highly than all its former delights and all its good works." (21)

To be continued......

A reminder for Catholics on "deliverance"

I do not think I have written on this for a long time. I think I had an article on line about this several years ago. As I am meeting people today involved in something dubious, I thought I would write a reminder to Catholics about deliverance ministries run by lay people.

Let me make some succinct points.

One, there is no difference in the terms deliverance and exorcism in the Catholic Church. People who say that the two words mean something other than the removal of demonic activity in or around a person are deluded. The Catholic Church does not use the term deliverance, only exorcism. Deliverance is a term which comes from the protestants, who do not have an official structure for such things.

Two, only priests, and rarely, those lay people appointed by a bishop, under the authority of a bishop, can "do" exorcisms. To be an exorcist or involved in such is an official position in the Church. If there are priests and lay people doing so-called deliverance or exorcism outside the specific appointment of a bishop, they are not in obedience and must be avoided. Confusion on this set in in the 1970s, with the deletion of the minor orders. Lay people were allowed to do some of those offices done only by priests or deacons in the past, such as Lector and Extraordinary Minister. Therefore, some of the laity and even some priests, thoughts the laity could do the other minor order of exorcism. This is not so.

Three, deliverance teams of lay people without a priest are never sanctioned by a bishop. These types of groupings are not in line with the authority of the Church and are rogue groups. Many protestants and some charismatic Catholics are involved in such, but Catholics should avoid protestant deliverance teams as well as non-appointed lay groups which are supposedly Catholic. To be Catholic is to be under authority of a bishop.

Four, people say to me, "Well, so and so priest and lay person have the gifts of deliverance." So? We are all given gifts from God for various things, but it is God Who decides how and when and where these gifts are used. The Church is our structure of authority and safety. Those who choose to work outside the normal authority of the Church are removing themselves from the Church. Christ established the Church not only for the sacramental life He instituted, but for community and our protection. To step outside the normal Church structures and work outside the authority of the Church is not only disobedience, but dangerous. The Church needs holy and obedient sons and daughters, not those who want to do their own thing.

Example: I may have gifts for a life in a family-nurturing gifts, even practical ones, such as organization, cooking, communal gifts for living with others, and so on. However, as I am not married, these gifts are not or rarely used. This is God's business, not mine.

Likewise, one can have various gifts of nature which are never or hardly used. I have gifts of art and can paint and do calligraphy. However, poverty and a mobile life not chosen by me have denied the use of those gifts, which demand money and stability. We all have many, many gifts which are not used, and that can be part of our suffering.
Thanks to wiki for the photo of paints

One cannot set up ministries outside the Church. Work or ministry is God's work, not ours. If we take ownership over such, instead of working with and in the Church, we are stepping outside of His grace, His Will, His protection.

In this country and in the States, there are too many Catholics who think and act like protestants, that is, doing there own thing outside the normal structures. People say to me, "We are meeting a need not covered by the Church, so we can step in and do this." No. That is presumption and spiritual pride.

Perhaps part of the greater suffering in the Church is the lack of priests who are exorcists. Several years ago, I came upon a situation in a northern diocese which does not have an appointed exorcist. I phoned a neighboring diocese for help for this situation and the exorcist told me he could not even think of coming into another diocese, (where he would have to get permission from that bishop), as he was too busy in his own great metropolitan area. He was exhausted, and could not come to deal with something hundreds of miles away.

The sad demonic situation still exists and will, as the fact that we lack priests who are exorcists is a direct cause of situations not being addressed. Yet, for a lay person to step in would be wrong. Even a priest who is not an appointed exorcist should not be involved in exorcism. All priests need to be under the direct authority of the Church in order to be bona fide. As there are rogue laity doing such things, there are, sadly, also rogue priests acting as exorcists outside the authority of the local bishops. In doing so, these priests are in disobedience, as all priests are under the authority of bishops. Just as a priest cannot merely go into another diocese other than his own and hear confessions without the local ordinary's permission, there are other ministries a priest cannot do without the express appointment of a bishop where the priest is desiring to work. An exorcist friend of mine gets permission from the bishop's of the dioceses where he is called to work. He works in five dioceses and two countries only under the auspices of those bishops. This is the proper order for such a vocation.

The Church is weakened from within by disobedience and spiritual pride. The "can do" attitude does not mean "should do". God gives us work to do and sometimes that work is blocked. He allows suffering in His permissive Will and sadly, that means people suffer, even greatly. Just because we can do something does not mean we are supposed to do something.

Pray and fast for vocations to the priesthood. Pray that those bishops who do not believe in the devil and his demons have a change of heart. Do not do your own thing in this regard. You may be endangering your own immortal soul.

Obedience and suffering are on a higher plane that action outside the direct authority of the Church.