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Friday 7 June 2013

Has Drudge Ever Been So Depressing?

My ancestors came to this fair country for freedom...where do we go?

I hope you read the last two perfection posts earlier today

and do not forget to ask questions, as tomorrow is answer questions day about the series before I close the book cover on this one....

Some things are just too hard for me to write about--

and today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart! This happened a few days ago, but I can't get over it.

A repeat of a book review-Ralph Martin on Hell and Other Things

Recommended Blog of the Week

I decided to share weekly one or two blogs I really like. Here is the first one.

WOW Rant from Palin and some very strange ideas from Sunstein..

Thursday, June 6, 2013 02:53 PM
Sarah Palin: 'America ... So Screwed' with Rice,
Power Picks
By: Bill Hoffmann
Sarah Palin on Thursday issued a blistering attack on President Barack
Obama's appointments of Susan Rice and Samantha Power as top nationalsecurity and foreign-policy advisers, lamenting, "America, we are so
"We're in for a helluva ride, America. Obama just named Susan Rice as his
National Security Adviser and nominated Samantha Power to replace Rice
as our U.N. ambassador," the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican
vice presidential nominee said in jaw-dropping Facebook post.
Latest: Is Susan Rice to Blame for Benghazi Cover Up? Was She
Complicit? Vote Here.
"Samantha Power is married to Cass Sunstein, the very, very strange
Obama pick for an early 'czar' position who wowed us with his numerous
bizarre claims including the wacko belief that animals should have the right
to sue in court, that hunting should be banned as genocide, and that pet
ownership is akin to 'slavery.'"
Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs, is an outspoken advocate of animal rights and once said
that granting animals legal rights could decrease animal cruelty."
Palin then cited a report in The Daily Caller claiming that in 2002 Power
proposed forcing a peace deal on the Israelis and Palestinians, "even if it
alienated wealthy, pro-Israel American Jews."

more at Newsmax

On Spiritual Pride--Second Question and Answer

I am answering another question on perfection from C.A. She wants to know about people going around healing other people and claiming charismatic gifts, but not being orthodox with regard to Catholic teaching.

Good Question!

God gives us all gifts in the Sacrament of Baptism and these are completed, as well as increased,  in Confirmation.  Here is the CCC on this point.

1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";117
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; 
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;118
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:119

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.120

One of these gifts is knowledge. This gift pertains to knowledge of ourselves and the Scriptures, which God desires us to have in order to become perfect. At the higher states of holiness, knowledge may be infused. One can look at the great saints such as Padre Pio and Catherine of Siena to see such gift. As to discernment, this gift is one developed as taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola. One must be under orthodox spiritual directors to discern good and bad spirits, but there is more to it than that, as I wrote here.

Discernment is connected with prudence and purity of heart. Without orthodoxy, such gifts should  be suspect.

Again, I quote the Catholic Encyclopedia:

An excellent lesson is that given by St. Ignatius Loyola in his "Spiritual Exercises". Here we find rules for the discernment of spirits and, being clearly and briefly formulated, these rules indicate a secure course, containing in embryo all that is included in the more extensive treatises of later date. For a complete explanation of them the best commentaries on the "Exercises" of St. Ignatius may be consulted. Of the rules transmitted to us by a saint inspired by Divine light and a learned psychologist taught by personal experience, it will suffice to recall the principal ones. Ignatius gives two kinds and we must call attention to the fact that in the second category, according to some opinions, he sometimes considers a more delicate discernment of spirits adapted to the extraordinary course of mysticism. Be that as it may, he begins by enunciating this clear principle, that both the good and the evil spirit act upon a soul according to the attitude it assumes toward them. If it pose as their friend, they flatter it; if to resist them, they torment it. But the evil spirit speaks only to the imagination and the senses, whereas the good spirit acts upon reason and conscience. The evil labours to excite concupiscence, the good to intensify love for God. Of course it may happen that a perfectly well-disposed soul suffers from the attacks of the devil deprived of the sustaining consolations of the good angel; but this is only a temporary trial the passing of which must be awaited in patience and humilitySt. Ignatius also teaches us to distinguish the spirits by their mode of action and by the end they seek. Without any preceding cause, that is to say, suddenly, without previous knowledge or sentiment, God alone, by virtue of His sovereign dominion, can flood the soul with light and joy. But if there has been a preceding cause, either the good or the bad angel may be the author of the consolation; this remains to be judged from the consequences. As the good angel's object is the welfare of the soul and the bad angel's its defects or unhappiness, if, in the progress of our thoughts all is well and tends to good there is no occasion for uneasiness; on the contrary, if we perceive any deviation whatsoever towards evil or even a slight unpleasant agitation, there is reason to fear. Such, then, is the substance of these brief rules which are nevertheless so greatly admired by the masters of the spiritual life. Although requiring an authorized explanation, when well understood, they act as a preservative against many illusions.

In the Catholic Church, God works through the hierarchy, the Teaching Magisterium, the intercession of the saints, and the sacraments. Are there people with extraordinary gifts? Yes, but rare, as they would be saints as well.

People who are not obedient in some area of Church teaching cannot be trusted in so-called ministries.

Recently, for example, a friend of mine found a suspect alternative so-called medical treatment, not approved by any medical association being taught at a retreat house here in England.

People claiming gifts but involved in New Age and fake alternative methods of healing cannot be trusted. People claiming healing gifts who say they are Catholic but do not follow the teachings of the Church in any area must be suspect and, frankly, avoided.

Some people in the Illuminative State may be experiencing such gifts, but many times, spiritual pride gets in the way. Beware.

One more interesting article

RMT Debate and Scary Catholics

Here are a few what I consider balanced articles on RMT. These are written by professionals. People who are not professionals, who claim to be faith healers, and who claim special powers from God are dangerous and misleading some of the public, especially Catholics.

In the Midwest, I witnessed a priest and an ecumenical charismatic group claiming such healings and came to the conclusion that such claims were based on emotional instability and manipulation. Sadly, as I was a young person when introduced by this priest to so-called healing of memories and at first, took this in, hook, line and sinker. Thankfully, I became more aware of the pitfalls and deceits involved.  Indeed, now in England,  some charismatic groups are picking up this decades old ideal of healing of memories which is completely out of their competence, and not connected with any Catholic teaching. Catholics see that healing occurs in the sacraments and through medically/psychologically trained counselors. 

1420 Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life "in earthen vessels," and it remains "hidden with Christ in God."1 We are still in our "earthly tent," subject to suffering, illness, and death.2 This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin.

1421 The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health,3 has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

1 2 Cor 4:7; Col 3:3.

a snippet from the first article in the glossary...

False memory syndrome: A lay term used to describe memories of events that did not happen. Such memories are confabulated or fabricated, usually, but not exclusively, in the course of therapy aimed at retrieving early childhood memories of abuse.
Recovered memory: A memory of a past traumatic event, believed to have been concealed from consciousness by repression or dissociation, but retrieved or recovered intact at a later point in time. See also recovered memory therapy and false memory syndrome.
Recovered memory therapy: A controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at retrieving traumatic memories that are believed to be repressed or dissociated. Although there is no one method for this, the techniques used most typically include hypnosis, truth serum, guided imagery, dream interpretation, age regression, free association, journaling, psychodrama, primal scream therapy, reflexology, massage and other forms of “body work” to recover “body memories.”

I am disgusted that so-called Catholic group are involved in this stuff. It is dangerous and deceitful. Non-professionals are offering so-called courses on this outside the medical and psychiatric communities. 

Here is a new book on the fraud. If anyone has read this, let me know a.s.a.p. It is an e-book. I need more information on this pernicious therapy.

Beginning of Q and A on the Perfection Series

For the next few days, I shall try and answer questions as to the applications or understanding of the perfection series.  So far, I only have one question, which I can answer from experience.

KL asked how a mother with children at home can pursue the interior life without a community for help and support.

One may look at this situation from three points of view, all of which I tried when I was a stay-at-home mum with a young child.

First, create a community for yourself. I did this. Invite like-minded or potentially like-minded women in for coffee mornings.

Home school and get involved in home schooling communities or create one yourself. These groups usually include good conservative Evangelicals and Catholic mums.

2) Find the closest TLM and go to it. Most TLMs have community of some sort.

3) If one cannot create or find a community, pray to God for a good way in which to follow your time of meditation and contemplation at home. Ask your husband for an hour by yourself daily for this.

God always blesses effort and desire.

Are you ready to move?

In the future, people, like you and me, may have to move to get to Mass on Sunday, or even to get the sacraments in a somewhat regular fashion. As in England, during the Reformation, families will have to decide  whether to stay in their homes or move to have a priest minister to them. Families may break up because of this, just as the Mores had to break up, some going France and some staying in England. The same was true of the Howard family; some had to stay in England, such as Philip Howard, who was in prison, and some went to France. England under Elizabeth I passed a law that it was illegal to send one's Catholic children to the continent. Some families were stopped at the ports and turned back, not being allowed to leave the country with children.

Things will get bad really quickly, as we have seen this week with so many odd laws undermining the authority of the parents either being passed or being discussed. What Stalin and Mao did to make the state the carer and therefore, brianwashers of children, will happen in so-called democratic countries. Look at my link a few days ago on the ruling in Scotland that every child will now have a state minder, whose authority will be greater than that of the parents.

If anyone thinks that things will get better for families or the Church, look and read.

I cannot tell you which places in the world would be safe from such tyranny. There may be none. My ancestors went to America for religious and financial freedom.

There may be no more promised lands except the Kingdom of God under persecution.

Thanks to a reader and a good bishop, I feel justified

The Last Perfection Post

I want to summarize a few points here on the way to perfection. As readers have followed this series, I hope these points resonate.

1) All Catholics are called to the way of perfection;

2) the call to perfection is a call to all those Catholics who are baptized, no matter what the age;

3) the call to perfection has stages which cannot be skipped, as these reflect the spiritual, psychological, and physical growth of the person;

4) one must start with being orthodox, that is, an obedient son or daughter of the Church;

5) the sacraments are key to the reception of sanctifying grace, necessary for the road through purification, to illumination, to perfection;

6) the road to perfection is the natural way for the each Catholic; purgatory is not the goal, heaven is the goal;

7) God offers all of us these graces and those who are generous respond to this call of Love;

8) all of the saints and all the Doctors of the Church knew and experienced these three stages; they also, as seen in my series on the Doctors of the Church, wrote about these, as did, of course, Garrigou-Lagrange;

9) Christ the Bridegroom calls us to the stages of understanding that each one of us must experience, as explained, for example, by Bernard of Clairvaux; these stages are knowing one is a child of a loving Father; that one is the student of the Master, Christ; and finally, one is the beloved of the Bridegroom;

10) the virtues and gifts given in the sacraments are freed up though purification and brought to fruition;

11) only when one pursues perfection and allows God to purify one does that person finally do work of God, and not the work of one's self-will;

12) the way of perfection is suffering, period;

13) prayer is a necessity, starting with meditation and moving to contemplation;

14) patience and humility must counteract anger, complaining, and spiritual pride.

 I hope you ask questions in the comment box set up yesterday for Q and A.

Not for the few, but for all...perfection

The penultimate post on perfection; again, from Garrigou-Lagrange:


If sanctifying grace is the seed of eternal life in us, what follows as a result? First of all, that sanctifying grace, called "the grace of the virtues and the gifts," is "much more excellent," as St. Thomas says,(13) than the graces gratis datae, like the gift of miracles, that of tongues, or prophecy which announces a contingent event. These graces are, so to speak, exterior; they give us signs of the divine life, but they are not themselves the divine life shared in us.

What the charismatics do not get--the interior life of grace is much more important than the exterior. The exterior follows the interior.

Now, it is from the grace of the virtues and the gifts received by all at baptism, and not from graces gratis datae and extraordinary graces that, as we have seen, the infused contemplation of the mysteries of faith proceeds. This contemplation is an act of living faith, illumined by the gifts of understanding and wisdom. It is not, therefore, an essentially extraordinary favor like prophecy or the gift of tongues, but is found in the normal way of sanctity.

This normal way of sanctity through contemplation is NOT a way of spoken or shared prayer, nor a way of merely actions, but a seeking of intense prayer.

The truth of this conclusion becomes even more apparent if we observe that sanctifying grace, being essentially ordained to eternal life, is likewise ordained to the normal and immediate prelude of the beatific vision. Is not this prelude precisely the eminent exercise of infused faith illumined by the gifts of wisdom and understanding, that is, the infused contemplation of the divine goodness and its radiation, together with perfect charity and the ardent desire for the beatific vision? On earth this ardent desire is found in its full perfection only in the transforming union. Therefore this union does not appear to be outside the normal way of sanctity, especially if one considers, not so much a given individual soul, but the human soul and, in it, sanctifying grace considered in itself, as the seed of glory.

The normal way...through sanctifying grace received in the sacraments of the Church. 

The ardent desire for God is only too rare on earth, even in consecrated souls; and yet if there is a good to which the Christian should ardently aspire, evidently it is the eternal possession of God. To attain it, he should desire an ever deeper faith, a firmer confidence, a purer and stronger love of God, virtues which are found precisely in the transforming union

Part of the process is the desire for the process.  Value and intensity...our idols lie in our energies and focus. Each one of us needs to be humble and realize the obstacles to union with God, and say with St. Teresa that one wants more, the more which is God.

Thus this union appears, in profoundly humble and fully purified souls, as the immediate prelude of the beatific vision. There must, in fact, be some proportion between the intensity of the desire and the value of the good desired; in this case the value of the good being infinite, it could not be too greatly desired. Consequently it is not fitting that this infinite good should be granted to a soul that does not yet desire it ardently. The more purified the soul is, the more it aspires to the possession of God, and if at death the soul's desire is not as ardent as it should be, this is a sign that it needs additional purification, that of purgatory.

The need for purgatory is real and a gift, but it is not the ideal, and we cannot aim for that, but aim for heaven.

The dogma of purgatory, then, throws a new light on the present question. Purgatory is a punishment which supposes a sin that could have been avoided and an insufficient satisfaction that could have been complete if we had better accepted the trials of the present life. 

Do this..accept the trials of this life, please. These are the way to perfection. Today, for example, my glasses came in and the prescription is wrong. They have to be redone. I got bumped off the Internet regularly each day since Monday. And, a few days ago, some customer service people gave me the wrong information about my phone which ended up in me purchasing one which I cannot use as a dongle, when I was told it would. The company will not let me return it. Sufferings in addition to back pain and another illness have slowed me down to a snail's pace. God is purifying me big time and I say yes to all of this trivial and not so trivial suffering. If I complain, I step back into the wasteland of sin and discontent. No way!

It is certain that no one will be detained in purgatory except for sins he could have avoided or for negligence in making reparation for them. 

Train your children to be not wait. Children can be saints. We can be saints.

Therefore normally we should, like the saints, undergo our purgatory in this life while meriting, while growing in love, instead of after death without meriting.

There is no merit in purgatory.

Therefore sanctifying grace, which is of itself ordained to eternal life, is also ordained to such perfection that the soul may receive the light of glory immediately after death without passing through purgatory. This disposition to enter heaven immediately after death supposes a complete purification, analogous at least to that of souls that are about to leave purgatory and have a very ardent desire for God. According to St. John of the Cross, this complete purification is normally found on earth only in those who have courageously endured the passive purifications of the senses and the spirit, which prepare the soul for intimate union with God.(14) 

Suffering is a good, a grace given to us. Do not waste suffering. Count it all joy.

This reason confirms all that we have said and shows that the passive purifications are indeed in the normal way of sanctity, like the close union with God for which they prepare. Evident also is the degree of sanctity in question in the expression "the normal way of sanctity"; that sanctity is meant which permits the soul to enter heaven immediately after death.

Why should we aim so low; aim high, be in love with God. God can do in the lay life, what is done in Tyburn. 

Such is, we believe, the teaching of St. John of the Cross, which admirably preserves and explains the traditional doctrine on this point, in particular that of the great spiritual writers who preceded him. To grasp the meaning and import of this teaching, souls must doubtless be considered not only as they are, but as they should be. Now, it is the work proper to spirituality to remind souls incessantly of what they should be that they may go beyond what they are.

Clergy, please teach this...please.

This lofty doctrine also conforms perfectly to what St. Thomas tells us not only about the nature of grace, the seed of glory, but also about the beatitudes and the imitation of Jesus Christ,(15) the virtues of the purified soul,(16) the higher degree of humility,(17) patience,(18) the spirit of faith,(19) confidence in God, and charity.(20)

When the seminaries stopped teaching Thomas Aquinas, the rot set in.

St. Thomas, St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, and after them St. John of the Cross and St. Francis de Sales (21) found this teaching in the fathers who spoke of the relations of contemplation and perfect love, in St. Paul himself, and in the Gospel. St. Paul delights in saying: "That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation [if it is well borne], worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." (22) He gives us the ardent desire for it by reminding us that we have received the "pledge of the Spirit," (23) or the pledge and foretaste of eternal life. And our Lord Himself says to us: "If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. . . . Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (24) "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." (25) 

Purity of heart is real, not poetry. 

This secret manifestation of Christ to the faithful soul is truly the prelude of eternal life; it is found especially in the highest of the eight beatitudes: "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers. . . . Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake." (26) These beatitudes are, says St. Thomas, the highest acts of the virtues and the gifts; there is in them "a kind of imperfect inchoation of future happiness." (27) Even here on earth, the fruits of these merits begin to appear, and they contain a savor of eternal life, or a foretaste of the joy of the elect.

To be clean of heart means that one has allowed God to purify one and one has a generous heart. 

Be generous. 

To be continued...