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Sunday 16 March 2014


Challenge to British Readers

What has happened at the Catholic Herald?

Once the best of a bad lot of Catholic publications in Great Britain, the Catholic Herald is beginning to sound more and more like The Tablet.

Perhaps it is time for a group of Catholics who are Catholics to begin a new Catholic newspaper or journal.

I would be glad to help any English person who is interested in setting up a really new paper which has an editiorial policy of printing Catholic news from a Catholic point of view.

Anyone interested? I want to start a Catholic newspaper in Great Britain which is really Catholic. I want this to be the vanguard news source for Catholic issues, full of excellent Catholic commentary and articles by such good priests who celebrate the TLM.

Any takers? Are there any donors out there who would help with this venture? I can start with a website, but I need a donor.

Perhaps the collapse of the last really Catholic newspaper is a sign either that a new one is necessary, or that is the age of the news blog.

Ideas, comments?  Many think this age is, indeed, of electronic newspaper. What do you all think?

I want to start up a website newspaper for English consumption. Who will help with this? We would need a person in Rome, to start with....and money. I would, as you all know, be willing to relocate to the EU asap.

I think paper is not the way to go....

Perhaps, that the CH is in demise as a really Catholic paper, shows that the electronic media is the only means of reading really Catholic news and opinion.

Perfection Series II: liii

A dangerous position for writers studying the path of holiness is that scholarship overtakes experience. I have tried to hold back on writing on the Illuminative State, as, obviously, I am not "there". But, for those of you who are on a path beyond where I am, and for those of you aspiring to holiness, I can share the outlines of this remarkable state.

The Illuminative State involves the end of the active types of prayer and leads one into the passive type of contemplation. This type of prayer happens when Christ, the Bridegroom, takes over prayer, and the soul remains in the passive position of the Bride.

Some of the great saints, such as Bernard of Clairvaux, experienced this state, before moving on to the Unitive State, very early in life, of course, and were fortunate in their ability to share in words what this stage involved.

God allows Himself, finally, to be found, to be apprehended by the soul, which is now purified. God can take over the soul and loosen the bonds which held back the complete life of the virtues. The second chapter of the Song of Songs delineates the Illuminative, and finally, the Unitive State. Once the soul, mind and body are pure, God allows us to find Him.

He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me.
Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love.
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me.
I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and the harts of the, fields, that you stir not up, nor make the beloved to awake, till she please.
The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills.
My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart. Behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices.
10 Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come.
11 For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:
13 The fig tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come:
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.

Garrigou-Lagrange notes these characteristics of the Illuminative State:

time of contemplation which is no longer active but infused;
gift of wisdom under practical form (especially for those in the active life);
extraordinary visions and revelations attached to contemplation;

One thinks of Padre Pio and his great gifts in the confessional, along with his ability to bi-locate, for example. That he attained the Unitive State is heralded by the Church in his canonization.

Gemma Galgani reveals the Illuminative and then the Unitive State. Like Padre Pio, the complete union with Christ may involve the saint suffering the real pains of the Passion of Christ.

However, in the Illuminative State, one is still not in complete union, or union as it is possible while one is still on earth, body and soul.

Again, I have met a few people who have attained this state-very few. One was an Opus Dei priest, whose wisdom and deep spirituality in the confessional provided me with great guidance when I was in Ireland.

Pray for the purgation necessary to reach this state of Illumination. Then, truly, you will be building the Kingdom of God, allowing God to use you, now stripped of all egotism and the predominant fault.

To be continued....

Why are priests not asking for prayers for our brothers and sisters from the pulpits?

Human Rights Watch says in a report that the attacks by Boko Haram are having a devastating impact on the population of north-eastern Nigeria.
Quoting United Nations figures, it says some 300,000 people have fled their homes over the past year.
"Even if the government can't stop the attacks, at the very least, it can meaningfully assist the people who have been most devastated by them," says HRW's Africa director Daniel Bekele.
Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2009. It wants northern Nigeria to become an Islamic state.

Perfection Series II: lii

Perhaps the most obvious state of perfection to see in the world is the Illuminative State, or stage. At this level, the Catholic works in obvious ways to build up the Kingdom of God. As noted before, this is the stage of the foundation of orders, the formation of schools, hospitals, as well as the work of holy scholars.

One can see the Illuminative State physically and spiritually in the person who lives the life of virtue easily, without any barriers, having had sin and the tendencies to sin cleansed from the imagination, intellect, soul and body.

One point, which must be made, involves the fact that some saintly people at this state suffer intensely. Suffering may be found in all stages of holiness, which confuses some people, who expect saints to stop suffering after years of purification.

By the way, some good works can be done purely out of faith, such as the foundation of orders when the founder remains in the Dark Night, without the release of the virtues witnessed in the Illuminative State. However, this phenomenon would be rare, and God would allow this to teach the Church that living solely by faith in God, while in great darkness and without any consolations, forms a great good. Such a journey was seen in the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose long, long Dark Night of fifty years, did not hinder her from creating a new order. God allowed her to suffer those long years of solitude in darkness to teach the Church to have faith in dark times.

Her long suffering matches the long years of physical suffering of Blessed John Paul II. The public suffering of this Pope reveals, again, that suffering is necessary for holiness. 

Too many priests teach that saints are imperfect. This is not the view of the writers we have followed on this blog. Preaching that one does not need to actively seek for purification and perfection may be one reason why the Church remains so weak. People say, "Would it not be a good time for a great saint, like Ignatius or Augustine, to renew the Church?"

Yes, it would be, but we are the people who God calls to be saints, and to sit in mediocrity, aiming only at
getting into purgatory, remains one of the sad lies of our century.

To respond to the call of saintliness means that those in the Church are willing to say "yes" to the suffering necessary to arrive at the Illuminative and Unitive States.

I have met a few people in the Illuminative State. I have not met anyone in the Unitive State. Why?

Saints respond to the call of God, through suffering, to the life of the virtues.

to be continued....