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Thursday 21 August 2014

More Tomorrow

Perfection Series IV will continue on Friday....more from Bernard and Garrigou-Lagrange, as well as Teresa of Avila.

I am ill today. So pray for me. May be a virus, or flu.

Good Stuff from Today's Saint

The dream of re-shaping society will bring socialism
“But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, ‘the reign of love and justice’ ... What are they going to produce? ... A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.” (Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique ["Our Apostolic Mandate"] to the French Bishops, August 25, 1910, condemning the movement Le Sillon) Pope St. Pius X

Jesus Being Crucified Again

Perfection Series IV: Part Fifteen; Unitive State Description Continued.

Much confusion exists on the status of saints, what makes a saint, who are saints. That is why Catholics trust the Church in the person of the Pope, to make the infallible statement as to who is a saint and who is not. Those who are not accepting certain people who have been canonized as saints to be saints, are in disobedience to the doctrine of infallibility.

What the Church has determined is that by the end of the saint's life, he or she had experience a union with God, the last step of perfection. The reason is simple-only the perfect see God and canonized saints skip purgatory. They go right to heaven when they die-hence, their lives can be examined and honored by us.

That many saints have not written about the Unitive State does not mean that they have not experienced this state. Quite the opposite. After his experience of God in glory, St. Thomas Aquinas could not write anything. Not all saints are writers, or journal-keepers, or under obedience to share their experiences, including those of unity.

We look to the mystics for descriptions, but all the saints would have experienced, without definitions or even without sharing, union with God while on earth--the Unitive State. The Unitive State is the last step

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on the subject. He has much more to say on this, but the aspect of the continual knowledge of God separates the Unitive State from the others. As you readers look at this, you will see the great distinctions between those who have reached this level of perfection and the Illuminative State.

After the passive purification of the spirit, which is like a third conversion and transformation, the perfect know God in a quasi­experimental manner that is not transitory, but almost continual. Not only during Mass, the Divine Office, or prayer, but in the midst of external occupations, they remain in the presence of God and preserve actual union with Him.
The matter will be easily understood by our considering the egoist's contrary state of soul. The egoist thinks always of himself and, without realizing it, refers everything to himself. He talks continually with himself about his inordinate desires, sorrows, or superficial joys; his intimate conversation with himself is endless, but it is vain, sterile, and unproductive for all. The perfect man, on the contrary, instead of thinking always of himself, thinks continually of God, His glory, and the salvation of souls; he instinctively makes everything converge toward the object of his thoughts. His intimate conversation is no longer with himself, but with God, and the words of the Gospel frequently recur to his mind to enlighten from on high the smallest pleasurable or painful facts of daily life. His soul sings the glory of God, and from it radiate spiritual light and fervor, which are perpetually bestowed on him from above.

One thinks of St. Paul's experience of being carried out of himself into God.  Our Lady lived in this state.

The reason for this state is that the perfect man, unlike the beginner, no longer contemplates God only in the mirror of sensible things or of the Gospel parables, about which it is impossible to think continually. Neither does he, like the proficient, contemplate God only in the mirror of the mysteries of the life of Christ, a prayer that cannot last all day long; but, in the penumbra of faith, he contemplates the divine goodness itself, a little as we see the diffused light that always surrounds us and illumines everything from above.

According to the terms used by Dionysius the Mystic and preserved by St. Thomas,(1) this is the movement of circular contemplation, superior to the straight and the oblique movements. The straight movement, like the flight of the lark, rises from a sensible fact recalled in a parable to a divine perfection, from the sight of the prodigal son to infinite mercy. The oblique movement rises, for example, from the mysteries of the childhood of Christ to those of His passion, of His glory, and finally to the infinite love of God for us. The circular movement is similar to the flight of the eagle, which, after soaring aloft, delights in describing the same circle several times, then hovers seemingly motionless in the light of the sun, scrutinizing the depths of the horizon.
Here it is a question of a knowledge of the radiating goodness of God. The soul sees now in a quasi-experimental manner that everything God has done in the order of nature and that of grace is intended to manifest His goodness, and that if He permits evil, like a dissonance, it is for a higher good, which is glimpsed at times and which will appear on the last day.
This contemplation, by reason of its superior simplicity, may be continual and, far from hindering us from beholding the sequence of events, lets us see them from above, somewhat as God sees them as a man on a mountain sees what is happening on the plain below. It is like the prelude or the aurora of the vision of the fatherland, although the soul is still in the obscurity of faith.
This very simple supernatural view even on earth was continual in Mary, to a lesser degree in St. Joseph. It also enabled the apostles after Pentecost, to see in the divine light what they were to do for the preaching of the Gospel and the constitution of the first churches.
This all-embracing spiritual gaze is to be found in all the saints; it does not exclude significant details, but admirably perceives their profound meaning. At the same time it removes the imperfections springing from natural haste, unconscious self-seeking, and the lack of habitual recollection.

The person in the Unitive State now sees herself as God sees her. She now has a perfect confidence in God's Love for her. All her faculties are focused on God and His Will. The gifts of the Spirit and the virtues blossom like flowers. 

People know, like those around Padre Pio, that they are in the presence of a saint.

As a consequence the perfect know themselves, no longer only in themselves but in God, their beginning and end. In Him they see their indigence, the infinite distance separating them from the Creator; they feel themselves preserved in being by His sovereignly free love. They ceaselessly experience to what a degree they need His grace for the least salutary act; they do not become discouraged over their sins, but draw a truer humility from them. They make their examination of conscience by considering what is written of their existence in the book of life. They sincerely consider themselves useless servants, who of themselves can do nothing, but whom the Lord deigns to use for the accomplishment of great things, those that prepare the life of eternity. If they see their neighbor's sins, they think there is no sin committed by another which they themselves would not be capable of committing had they the same heredity and were they placed in the same circumstances, faced with the same temptations. If they see the great virtues of other souls, they rejoice in them for the sake of the Lord and of souls, remembering that in the mystical body of Christ the growth of one member redounds to the profit of all the others.

This infused contemplation proceeds from a living faith illumined by the gift of wisdom, which, under the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, shows that nothing good happens unless God wills it, nothing evil unless God permits it for a higher good. This eminent view may be almost continual by reason of its simplicity and universality, because the events of daily life fall under its scope, like lessons about the things of God and like the application of the Gospel to each one's life. It is the continuation of the Gospel which is being written in souls until the end of time.
Then the Christian who has attained to this state has such knowledge of the divine perfections and of the virtues demanded of the soul, that he has passed beyond not only the confused concept but also the distinct concept of the theologian, to the experimental concept, rich in all the experience of life, which becomes concrete, enlightening him from above for the good of souls. Thus he attains to the experiential concept of infinite goodness, as well as to that of perfect simplicity and true humility, which inclines him to love to be nothing in order that God may be all.

The Unitive State is all about living in Love, Who is a Person.

to be continued...

Perfection Series IV: Part Fourteen; Unitive State And Back to Augustine Two

The importance of definitions becomes clear in discussing the Unitive State. What is also important is a clear understanding of the gifts of the Holy Ghost and the life of the virtues. St. Augustine's sermon continues here, and as some is repetition for the sake of clarity, I make no comment until the next post. This is fyi.

Chapter IV. Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount
11. Hence also the sevenfold operation of the Holy Ghost, of which Isaiah speaks,32 seems to me to correspond to these stages and sentences. But there is a difference of order: for there the enumeration begins with the more excellent, but here with the inferior. For there it begins with wisdom, and closes with the fear of God: but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And therefore, if we reckon as it were in a gradually ascending series, there the fear of God is first, piety second, knowledge third, fortitude fourth, counsel fifth, understanding sixth, wisdom seventh. The fear of God corresponds to the humble, of whom it is here said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, not proud: to whom the apostle says, “Be not high-minded, but fear;”33i.e. be not lifted up. Piety34 corresponds to the meek: for he who inquires piously honours Holy Scripture, and does not censure what he does not yet understand, and on this account does not offer resistance; and this is to be meek: whence it is here said, “Blessed are the meek.” Knowledge corresponds to those that mourn who already have found out in the Scriptures by what evils they are held chained which they ignorantly have coveted as though they were good and useful. Fortitude corresponds to those hungering and thirsting: for they labour in earnestly desiring joy from things that are truly good, and in eagerly seeking to turn away their love from earthly and corporeal things: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Counsel corresponds to the merciful: for this is the one remedy for escaping from so great evils, that we forgive, as we wish to be 7ourselves forgiven; and that we assist others so far as we are able, as we ourselves desire to be assisted where we are not able: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Understanding corresponds to the pure in heart, the eye being as it were purged, by which that may be beheld which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man:35 and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Wisdom corresponds to the peacemakers, in whom all things are now brought into order, and no passion is in a state of rebellion against reason, but all things together obey the spirit of man, while he himself also obeys God: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”36

12. Moreover, the one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named according to these stages. In the first, just as ought to be the case, is placed the kingdom of heaven, which is the perfect and highest wisdom of the rational soul. Thus, therefore, it is said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as if it were said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To the meek an inheritance is given, as it were the testament of a father to those dutifully seeking it: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To the mourners comfort, as to those who know what they have lost, and in what evils they are sunk: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” To those hungering and thirsting, a full supply, as it were a refreshment to those labouring and bravely contending for salvation: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To the merciful mercy, as to those following a true and excellent counsel, so that this same treatment is extended toward them by one who is stronger, which they extend toward the weaker: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To the pure in heart is given the power of seeing God, as to those bearing about with them a pure eye for discerning eternal things: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” To the peacemakers the likeness of God is given, as being perfectly wise, and formed after the image of God by means of the regeneration of the renewed man: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” And those promises can indeed be fulfilled in this life, as we believe them to have been fulfilled in the case of the apostles. For that all-embracing change into the angelic form, which is promised after this life, cannot be explained in any words. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This eighth sentence, which goes back to the starting-point, and makes manifest the perfect man, is perhaps set forth in its meaning both by the circumcision on the eighth day in the Old Testament, and by the resurrection of the Lord after the Sabbath, the day which is certainly the eighth, and at the same time the first day; and by the celebration of the eight festival days which we celebrate in the case of the regeneration of the new man; and by the very number of Pentecost. For to the number seven, seven times multiplied, by which we make forty-nine, as it were an eighth is added, so that fifty may be made up, and we, as it were, return to the starting-point: on which day the Holy Spirit was sent, by whom we are led into the kingdom of heaven, and receive the inheritance, and are comforted; and are fed, and obtain mercy, and are purified, and are made peacemakers; and being thus perfect, we bear all troubles brought upon us from without for the sake of truth and righteousness.

Chapter V.
13. “Blessed are ye,” says He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great37 is your reward in heaven.” Let any one who is seeking after the delights of this world and the riches of temporal things under the Christian name, consider that our blessedness is within; as it is said of the soul of the Church38 by the mouth of the prophet, “All the beauty of the king’s daughter is within;”39 for outwardly revilings, and persecutions, and disparagements are promised; and yet, from these things there is a great reward in heaven, which is felt in the heart of those who endure, those who can now say, “We glory in tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 40 For it is not simply the enduring of such things that is advantageous, but the bearing of such things for the name of Christ not only with tranquil mind, but even with exultation. For many heretics, deceiving souls under the Christian name, endure many such things; but they are excluded from that reward on this account, that it is not said merely, “Blessed are they which endure persecution;” but it is added, “for righteousness’ sake.” Now, where there is no sound faith, there can be no righteousness, for the just [righteous] man lives by faith.41

Neither let schismatics promise themselves anything of that reward; for similarly, 8where there is no love, there cannot be righteousness, for “love worketh no ill to his neighbour;”42 and if they had it, they would not tear in pieces Christ’s body, which is the Church.43
14. But it may be asked, What is the difference when He says, “when men shall revile you,” and “when they shall say all manner of evil against you,” since to revile44 is just this, to say evil against?45 But it is one thing when the reviling word is hurled with contumely in presence of him who is reviled, as it was said to our Lord, “Say we not the truth46 that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”47 and another thing, when our reputation is injured in our absence, as it is also written of Him, “Some said, He is a prophet;48 others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people.”49 Then, further, to persecute is to inflict violence, or to assail with snares, as was done by him who betrayed Him, and by them who crucified Him. Certainly, as for the fact that this also is not put in a bare form, so that it should be said, “and shall say all manner of evil against you,” but there is added the word “falsely,” and also the expression “for my sake;” I think that the addition is made for the sake of those who wish to glory in persecutions, and in the baseness of their reputation; and to say that Christ belongs to them for this reason, that many bad things are said about them; while, on the one hand, the things said are true, when they are said respecting their error; and, on the other hand, if sometimes also some false charges are thrown out, which frequently happens from the rashness of men, yet they do not suffer such things for Christ’s sake.50 For he is not a follower of Christ who is not called a Christian according to the true faith and the catholic discipline.
15. “Rejoice,” says He, “and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” I do not think that it is the higher parts of this visible world that are here called heaven. For our reward, which ought to be immoveable and eternal, is not to be placed in things fleeting and temporal. But I think the expression “in heaven” means in the spiritual firmament, where dwells everlasting righteousness: in comparison with which a wicked soul is called earth, to which it is said when it sins, “Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.”51 Of this heaven the apostle says, “For our conversation is in heaven.”52 Hence they who rejoice in spiritual good are conscious of that reward now; but then it will be perfected in every part, when this mortal also shall have put on immortality. “For,” says He, “so persecuted they the prophets also which were before you.” In the present case He has used “persecution” in a general sense, as applying alike to abusive words and to the tearing in pieces of one’s reputation; and has well encouraged them by an example, because they who speak true things are wont to suffer persecution: nevertheless did not the ancient prophets on this account, through fear of persecution, give over the preaching of the truth.

Perfection Series IV: Part Thirteen; Back to Augustine And Unity in God

Again, using the famous work of Augustine on the Sermon on the Mount, one is presented with the Beatitudes which describe the Unitive State in a person.

The last Beatitudes flow from the person's mind, soul, heart, body which are all in union with God.

8. “Blessed are the pure in heart:25 for they shall see God.” How foolish, therefore, are those who seek God with these outward eyes, since He is seen with the heart! as it is written elsewhere, “And in singleness of heart seek Him.”26 For that is a pure heart which is a single heart: and just as this light cannot be seen, except with pure eyes; so neither is God seen, unless that is pure by which He can be seen.

 There is a primacy of order here. Purity first.

9. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” It is the perfection of peace, where nothing offers opposition; and the children of God are peacemakers, because nothing resists God, and surely children ought to have the likeness of their father. Now, they are peacemakers in themselves who, by bringing in order all the motions of their soul, and subjecting them to reason—i.e. to the mind and spirit—and by having their carnal lusts thoroughly subdued, become a kingdom of God: in which all things are so arranged, that that which is chief and pre-eminent in man rules without resistance over the other elements, which are common to us with the beasts; and that very element which is pre-eminent in man, i.e. mind and reason, is brought under subjection to something better still, which is the truth itself, the only-begotten Son of God. For a man is not able to rule over things which are inferior, unless he subjects himself to what is superior. And this is the peace which is given on earth to men of goodwill;28 this the life of the fully developed and perfect wise man. From a kingdom of this sort brought to a condition of thorough peace and order, the prince of this world is cast out, who rules where there is perversity and disorder.29 When this peace has been inwardly established and confirmed, whatever persecutions he who has been cast out shall stir up from without, he only increases the glory which is according to God; being unable to shake anything in that edifice, but by the failure of his machinations making it to be known with how great strength it has been built from within outwardly. Hence there follows: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

 Notice some important indications of Unity in and with God: order, the emphasis on reason ruling the passions, the singleness of heart which is focusing on God alone, and purity. Peace follows from these characteristics. And, to be a full person, to be holy and in union with God, the mind and reason must first come under the Will of God. 

Now St. Augustine begins to make a one to one correspondence with the Beatitudes and the levels of the Unitive State. One sees these levels explain in St. Teresa of Avila, which one will see later in this series.

Chapter III.
10. There are in all, then, these eight sentences. For now in what remains He speaks in the way of direct address to those who were present, saying: “Blessed shall ye be when men shall revile you and persecute you.” But the former sentences He addressed in a general way: for He did not say, Blessed are ye poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven; but He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 6theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” nor, Blessed are ye meek, for ye shall inherit the earth; but, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” And so the others up to the eighth sentence, where He says: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” After that He now begins to speak in the way of direct address to those present, although what has been said before referred also to His present audience; and that which follows, and which seems to be spoken specially to those present, refers also to those who were absent, or who would afterwards come into existence.
For this reason the number of sentences before us is to be carefully considered. For the beatitudes begin with humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, while the soul submits itself to divine authority, fearing lest after this life it go away to punishment, although perhaps in this life it might seem to itself to be happy. Then it (the soul) comes to the knowledge of the divine Scriptures, where it must show itself meek in its piety, lest it should venture to condemn that which seems absurd to the unlearned, and should itself be rendered unteachable by obstinate disputations. After that, it now begins to know in what entanglements of this world it is held by reason of carnal custom and sins: and so in this third stage, in which there is knowledge, the loss of the highest good is mourned over, because it sticks fast in what is lowest. Then, in the fourth stage there is labour, where vehement exertion is put forth, in order that the mind may wrench itself away from those things in which, by reason of their pestilential sweetness, it is entangled: here therefore righteousness is hungered and thirsted after, and fortitude is very necessary; because what is retained with delight is not abandoned without pain. Then, at the fifth stage, to those persevering in labour, counsel for getting rid of it is given; for unless each one is assisted by a superior, in no way is he fit in his own case to extricate himself from so great entanglements of miseries. But it is a just counsel, that he who wishes to be assisted by a stronger should assist him who is weaker in that in which he himself is stronger: therefore “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” At the sixth stage there is purity of heart, able from a good conscience of good works to contemplate that highest good, which can be discerned by the pure and tranquil intellect alone. Lastly is the seventh, wisdom itself—i.e. the contemplation of the truth, tranquillizing the whole man, and assuming the likeness of God, which is thus summed up: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” 

 Again, one sees the obvious progress of the levels of holiness leading to the Unitive State.

The eighth, as it were, returns to the starting-point, because it shows and commends what is complete and perfect:30 therefore in the first and in the eighth the kingdom of heaven is named, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as it is now said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”31 Seven in number, therefore, are the things which bring perfection: for the eighth brings into light and shows what is perfect, so that starting, as it were, from the beginning again, the others also are perfected by means of these stages. 

There is little need for commentary here, except to stress that the last stages reveal the state of Unity.

to be continued.... 

Perfection Series IV: Part Twelve; Unitive State Described

The remaining Beatitudes become the focal point in this section from Garrigou-Lagrange on the Unitive State. 

Purity of heart is the key to entering this state. God takes the initiative in coming to the person who has allowed Him to create that purity. Only in that purity is God reflected. My boldface highlights....


Some philosophers have thought that happiness lies in the knowledge of truth, especially of supreme truth. This was the teaching of Plato and Aristotle. They were but little preoccupied with purity of heart, and their lives, on more than one point, were in contradiction with their doctrine. Christ tells us: "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God." He does not say that those are blessed who have received a powerful intellect, who have the leisure and means to cultivate it; but rather, blessed are the clean of heart, even though they may be naturally less endowed than many others. If they are clean of heart, they shall see God. A truly clean heart is like the limpid waters of a lake in which the azure of the sky is reflected, or like a spiritual mirror in which the image of God is reproduced.
That the heart may be pure, a generous mortification is prescribed: "If thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. . . . If thy fight hand scandalize thee, cut it off." (17) We must particularly watch over purity of intention: for example, not giving alms through ostentation, not praying to draw upon ourselves the esteem of men, but seeking only the approbation of "the Father who seeth in secret." Then will be realized the words of the Master: "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome." (18)

Even here on earth, the Christian will, in a sense, see God in his neighbor, even in souls that at first seem opposed to God. The Christian will see God in holy Scripture, in the life of the Church, in the circumstances of his own life, and even in trials, in which he will find lessons on the ways of Providence as a practical application of the Gospel. Under the inspiration of the gift of understanding, this is the true contemplation which prepares us for that by which, properly speaking, we shall see God face to face, His goodness, and His infinite beauty. Then all our desires will be gratified, and we shall be inebriated with a torrent of spiritual delights.

 As soon as the Dominican begins to describe this state, we can identify traits in some of the saints, such as Bernard, Catherine of Siena, John of the Cross, and many others.

This contemplation of God ought, even here on earth, to be fruitful. It gives peace, a radiating peace, as the seventh beatitude says: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." According to St. Augustine and St. Thomas, this beatitude corresponds to the gift of wisdom, which makes us taste the mysteries of salvation and see, so to speak, all things in God. The inspirations of the Holy Ghost, to which this gift renders us docile, gradually manifest to us the wonderful order of the providential plan even in those things, and at times especially in those things, which at first disconcerted us, in the painful and unforeseen events permitted by God for a higher good. One could not thus perceive the designs of Providence, which directs our lives, without experiencing peace, which is the tranquillity of order.

One of the biggest problems in contemporary society, including choices people make, is the hatred, the avoidance of order. Many people do not want orderly lives, thinking that spontaneity is superior. Sadly, with the intensity of difficulties in life, many people cannot believe that order brings peace, and therefore, they do not seek the designs of Providence.

That we may not be troubled by painful and unexpected events, that we may receive all from the hand of God as a means or an occasion of going to Him, we need great docility to the Holy Ghost, who wishes to give us progressively the contemplation of divine things, the requisite for union with God. Hence we received in baptism the gift of wisdom, which has grown in us by confirmation and frequent Communion. The inspirations of the gift of wisdom give us a radiating peace, not only for ourselves but for our neighbor. They make us peacemakers; they help us to calm troubled souls, to love our enemies, to find the words of reconciliation which put an end to strifes. This peace, which the world cannot give, is the mark of the true children of God, who never lose the thought of their Father in heaven. St. Thomas even says of these beatitudes: "They are a kind of preparation for future happiness." (19)


Again, docility is no longer seen as a goal. The true happiness of the Unitive State must be desired by men and women. Is it possible that some do not want to be one with Christ?
Lastly, in the eighth beatitude, the most perfect of all, Christ shows that all He has said is greatly confirmed by affliction borne with love: "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The final trials especially, the requisites for sanctity, are indicated here.

Christ's surprising statement had never been heard before. Not only does it promise future happiness, but it declares that a soul should consider itself happy even in the midst of afflictions and persecutions suffered for justice. This is an altogether supernatural beatitude, which is practically understood only by souls enlightened by God. There are, moreover, many spiritual degrees in this state, from that of the good Christian who begins to suffer for having acted well, obeyed, and given good example, up to the martyr who dies for the faith. 

 One builds up to martyrdom. One is trained in the school of suffering, like SS. Edmund Campion or Thomas More. Stages occur naturally in the spiritual life.

 This beatitude applies to those who, converted to a better life, encounter only opposition in their surroundings. It applies also to the apostle whose action is hindered by the very people he wishes to save, when they will not pardon him for having spoken the Gospel truth too clearly. Entire countries sometimes endure this persecution, such as the Vendee during the French Revolution, Armenia, Poland, Mexico, and Spain.

Our news reveals persecution at a horrific scale daily now. If we seek God and find Him, there are those who want to tear us away from God, out of envy or spite or malice. Do you want to know what perfection looks like? Look at the Cross.

This beatitude is the most perfect because it is that of those who are most clearly marked in the image of Jesus crucified. To remain humble, meek, and merciful in the midst of persecution, even toward persecutors, and in this torment not only to preserve peace but to communicate it to others, is truly the full perfection of Christian life. It is realized especially in the last trials undergone by perfect souls which God purifies by making them work for the salvation of their neighbor.

 All the saints have not been martyrs, but they have, in varying degrees, suffered persecution for justice' sake, and they have known something of that martyrdom of the heart which made Mary the Mother of Sorrows.

 The saints witness Unity with Christ.

Christ insists on the reward promised to those who thus suffer for justice: "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven." These words of Christ kindled in the souls of the apostles the desire for martyrdom, a desire which inspired the sublime utterances of St. Andrew and St. Ignatius of Antioch. These words live again in St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, and St. Benedict Joseph Labre. Inspired by these words, these saints were "the salt of the earth," "the light of the world," and they built their houses not on sand but on rock, houses that have been able to weather all storms and have not been overthrown.

These beatitudes, which, as St. Thomas says,(20) are the superior acts of the gifts or of the virtues perfected by the gifts, go beyond simple asceticism and belong to the mystical order. In other words, the full perfection of Christian life belongs normally to the mystical order; it is the prelude of the life of heaven, where the Christian will be "perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect," seeing Him as He sees Himself and loving Him as He loves Himself.

 A good friend of mine loves the passage about faith without works being dead. In the Unitive State, there is no separation between works and prayer, prayer and works. One is only doing God's Will and nothing else.

St. Teresa writes: "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; that we must despise our own good name, be detached from our kindred. . . 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." (21) In other words, this disposition goes beyond simple asceticism or the exercise of the virtues according to our own activity or industry; it is the fruit of a great docility to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. Moreover, the saint says: "If a soul loves honors and temporal goods, it is in vain that it will have practiced prayer or rather meditation for many years; it will never advance very much. Perfect prayer, on the contrary, frees the soul from these defects." (22) This is equivalent to saying that without perfect prayer a soul will never reach the full perfection of Christian life.

The author of The Imitation also expresses the same idea when speaking of true peace: "If thou arrive at an entire contempt of thyself, know that then thou shalt enjoy an abundance of peace, as much as is possible in this thy earthly sojourn." (23) This is why, in the same book of The Imitation, the disciple asks for the superior grace of contemplation: "I stand much in need of a grace yet greater, if I must arrive so far that it may not be in the power of any man nor anything created to hinder me. . . . He was desirous to fly freely to Thee who said, 'Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest?' (Ps. 44:7.) . . . Unless a man be disengaged from all things created, he cannot freely attend to things divine. And this is the reason why there are found so few contemplative persons, because there are few that know how to secure themselves entirely from perishable creatures. For this a great grace is required, such as may elevate the soul, and lift it above itself. And unless a man be elevated in spirit, and free from attachment to all creatures, and wholly united to God, whatever he knows and whatever he has is of no great importance." (24) This chapter of The Imitation belongs, properly speaking, to the mystical order; it shows that only therein is the true perfection of the love of God found.

Detachment, which is learned and polished as a gift in the Dark Night becomes a sign of this state. One leaves everything to follow God and then, He lets the person find Him.

St. Catherine of Siena speaks in. the same way in her Dialogue.(25) As we have seen, this is the very teaching given us by Christ in the beatitudes, especially as St. Augustine (26) and St. Thomas understood them, that is, as the elevated acts of the gifts of the Holy Ghost or of the virtues perfected by the gifts. This is truly the full normal development of the spiritual organism or of "the grace of the virtues and the gifts." The beatitudes show it to us, not in an abstract and theoretical form, but in a concrete, practical, and vital manner.

On Hell

One of the thing which becomes more poignant in the Dark Night is the reality of hell. Suddenly, or gradually, depending on the person, the fact that one deserves hell and could easily go there, but for God's mercy and grace, becomes clarified.

But, what is also clearer is how many people are in danger of going to hell as well. One becomes sensitized to evil and the fact that so many people turn away from grace. This knowledge can be daunting. Evil is seen for the ugliness it really is and good for the simplicity and beauty that it is.

We must, absolutely, must pray more for fallen away members of our family and for our own salvation.

Too many Catholics accept the mediocre, or the easy. The problem is that priests and teachers avoid preaching or discussing hell. Parents refuse to teach their children about hell.

It is a hard subject to teach or discuss. Mr. Voris discusses it.

Father Z. discusses it and going to Confession frequently.

But, honestly, when was the last time you heard a sermon on the possibility of many people going to hell on a Sunday?

The Dark Night reveals the hidden sins, the predominant faults, the need for purification. Without confession and the teaching of the Church, one could despair. The Crucifixion is the deciding moment is history, in the history of mankind and in each one's personal history.

Do we accept Redemption and mercy, or reject Christ's Sacrifice?

Please pray daily for conversions. Please.

From The Illuminative to The Unitive-Perfection Series IV: Part Eleven

I am going to wrap up my comments and references to the Illuminative State. Of course, the topic is not exhausted here, as there is so much, in the long history of the Church, the Doctors, the saints, the Fathers and so on.

But, time is an issue now. I want to move to the Unitive State, which I approach as a topic, with fear and trembling. Why? To speak of something so profound, so holy when one is so far away from this state seems presumptuous. But, I think to finish off this, the last perfection series, (as I plan now), I must go on and attempt to share some insights.

I can start with the round-up of what I have already posted. Although this is an incomplete list, one can see that I have not written much on this. I intend to concentrate for the rest of this week, on this highest state of love a person can experience on earth. Complete unity comes in the Beatific Vision one experiences after death, if one is purified and goes to heaven.

These are not in any particular order.

25 Nov 2012
Garrigou-Lagrange would fall into the category of theologians who believe that God is calling all to the unitive state. The reason one should read these books with the approval of a spiritual director is to avoid deceit in one's life ...
15 Nov 2013
On the Unitive State-a short post. Posted by Supertradmum. A last few words on the Unitive State from St. John of the Cross before leaving him for awhile follow: “It should be known that God dwell secretly in all souls and is ...
06 Jun 2013
On the Beatific Vision and the Unitive State A Bit. Posted by Supertradmum. Last year, a friend of mine had a remarkable experience of his particular judgement. The man, who is young middle age, told me he cried for days ...
22 Aug 2013
For most of us, especially in these times of chaos in the Church regarding liturgy and catechesis, the road to perfection, to the Unitive State, which is the mark of the saint, will be long and arduous. Many of us are climbing out ...

08 Feb 2013
Catherine describes the Unitive State here: we see the characteristics of the enlightened mind and soul, purified in the Love of God and exhibiting a fullness of caritas. Humility and love, peace and tranquility of mind and purity ...
15 Mar 2014
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.
18 Apr 2013
I am assuming that readers have cottoned on to the purgative and illuminative states, so that I can move on to the descriptions and definitions of the unitive state. I am returning to Garrigou-Lagrange in the next few days.
20 Aug 2013
There is an illumination before the Dark Night, but the great Illumination happens only after purgation, and for many saints, this illumination quickly moves into the Unitive State, union with God in love. See the link below.

Second Repeat of The Day

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Purification of A Generation of Children

One of my readers asked me why God did these two things: one, cause the Hebrews to wander in the Sinai wilderness for forty years. She thought that the adoration of the golden calf was dealt with at the foot of the mountain.

Two, she could not understand why the army of  St. Joshua had to kill Canaanites. (Also connected to this, would be the slaughter of the Philistines by St. David.)

Good questions.

Yes, God did punish many of those who built the golden calf by death immediately when Moses came down from the mountain. However, the problem of the interior lives of the Hebrews required that there souls be purified. Of what? As I heard in a sermon long ago, the bodies of the Hebrews were freed from slavery in the Exodus, but their souls had to be freed from the slavery of sin and idolatry in the Wandering.

The hardest thing for some of the Israelites was that they had to adore the Unseen God. Although God spoke to Moses, His Voice was not heard by all. There was too much sin and corruption in the souls of the Hebrews blocking the Voice of God.

One can see that 40 years is a generation. All of those who came out of Egypt, barring a few, like Joshua and Caleb, were not allowed entrance into Canaan, not merely because of punishment for idolatry, but because they simply were not strong enough to conquer evil.

One cannot conquer evil outwardly if one has not conquered it inwardly. This is what purification is all about. As in the purification series here on this blog, the process of allowing God to get rid of all sin, the proclivity to sin and to be filled with the Holy Spirit is necessary not only for personal holiness, but for making the Church and the society holy.

Without personal holiness, the Church is weak. God had to purify His People. They were purified to the point where their children were being formed in God's ways from little on.

This is what we need to do now. Form our children from little on to be pure so that they can overcome evil. Evil will thrive and grow without the purity of St. Joshua.

Secondly, the Canaanites were bad news. I have studied their culture.They sacrificed babies, usually the first-born, to Moloch, and archaeologists have found clay jars with the skeletons of infants in them. They would roll these jars into the mouth of the furnaces of Moloch. They also put the bodies of sacrificed children under the foundations of houses. By the way, an old missionary priest friend of mine told me the Maoris did the same thing with the bodies of their slain enemies. His church was built over a Maori home and the remains were found under every one of the main four posts. The idea that the dead gave strength to a house and protected it is not confined to the Canaanites.

Joshua's name is the same as that of Jesus. The name means Saviour. and Joshua, like many other leaders in the Old Testament, is a type of Christ. He tell us something about Christ and points to Christ's winning the battle over evil and death. He is a type of Christ for leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, as Christ leads us to Heaven. But, not without spiritual warfare.

And Joshua had to fight against cannibals.  I recommend reading the Book of Joshua.
But, the Book of Wisdom also refers to these bloody rituals.

1] O how good and sweet is thy spirit, O Lord, in all things! [2] And therefore thou chastisest them that err, by little and little: and admonishest them, and speakest to them, concerning the things wherein they offend: that leaving their wickedness, they may believe in thee, O Lord. [3] For those ancient inhabitants of thy holy land, whom thou didst abhor, [4] Because they did works hateful to thee by their sorceries, and wicked sacrifices, [5] And those merciless murderers of their own children, and eaters of men' s bowels, and devourers of blood from the midst of thy consecration, DR

The woman who asked the question could not understand offensive warfare dictated by God in the Old Testament.

For a context, many in 2013 have lost the idea of defense; that is, that in Catholic teaching, one may defend one's family, one's nation, and even one's property.

However, the offensive wars of the Old Testament, like the destruction of the five cities by God, two of which were Sodom and Gomorrah, are hard for modern Catholics to understand.

God called His People to a holiness and He called them to the Promised Land. His Will was to cleanse those lands of evil so that His People would thrive in holiness.

Christ does not call us to offensive war, except in prayer. Spiritual warfare needs spiritual weapons. However, we have a right to defend ourselves and a duty to defend those who are weak-children, women, the elderly.

As in The Mission, there are two ways to withstand evil. One is fighting, and one is witnessing peace. Both groups were right, but all but a few died.

Make pursuing the path to purification a priority in your lives. Teach your children and form them from the cradle. They shall see the age of the Canaanites. It is already upon us in some places.

Turn in Your Man Card, Dude Four and Last

One of the traits of the Man-Eater Woman is the syndrome called "passive aggression". Passive aggressiveness is actually a form of abuse and must be address in a marriage or in children.

As a reminder, passive aggression is suppressed anger. Frequently, the person's main symptom is moodiness or sulkiness. Complaining and covert revenge form part of the daily passive aggressive behavior.

The Man-Eater is a professional at being passively aggressive. This woman is the manipulator type, who does not come right out and share her feelings, but expects everyone, especially her husband, to just "know" how she feels.

Manipulation becomes a way of controlling situations the passive aggressive person finds difficult or uncomfortable. The Man-Eater wife or sister-in-law refuses to engage directly but gossips and talks behind the husband's back. They form cliques in order to "punish" the husband.

Sadly, psychology forgets that some behavior is sinful. Emotional disappointments in life do not give a wife the right to be sullen, or short, or disengage in real conversation.  The person falls into "victim mentality".  We Catholics are not given a pass on sin just because we have been hurt in the past. The sacrament of Confession is the first place to start dealing with abusive behavior.

The woman, if she has sisters or cousins, or good friends, rallies the troops against the husband.

If a woman loves her husband, the others may want to interfere with the marriage, which is a mortal sin on their part-marriage busters are Man-Eaters.

If the couple is Catholic, prayer is essential and praying together is a must. One person told me that prayer and effort saved his marriage, but the family had to move far, far away. Sometimes, counseling is a necessity. But, the key is that the one acting passive aggressively must want to change.

If the wife, she has to stop asking her husband to be the second-in-command. There is a reason why God created the patriarchy and a reason why the husband is the head of the family.

The man in the Man-Eater house is expected not to confront, not to be honest, to "turn in his man card" and take the abuse, and abuse it is.

The answer is "no" to such destructive behavior. Manipulation must be pointed out as deceit.

If a spouse can love another person through this syndrome, good, but the wife must be willing to change. That is key.

I have written this for the men who have written in about problems in marriages and families. There are passive aggressive husbands as well, but the syndrome is behind some of the hatred some women have for men.

Men, if an extended family is destructive to your wife and children, you must move. This advice is not merely mine, but from those who have been in this situation.

Only openness and love can conquer such evils, but wives, and husbands, have to desire to change. If not, the person who continually decides to be passively aggressive may lose their souls to unforgiveness, spite, malice, revenge.

Thank God we Catholics have the sacraments.  I suggest that couples who are having difficulty with the extended family talk about how to deal with the chains which may keep one from becoming holy, and the man in the family has to keep carrying his Man Card and never give it up.

Repeat Post on Dangerous Times

Thursday, 18 July 2013

On No Safe Havens. Or, How to Live in Dangerous Times

I have written on this blog and other blogs that I believe there are no safe havens for Catholics any more. Some of our American ancestors immigrated for religious freedom. Those days are gone.

So, in the face of the lack of a hiding place, what does a Catholic do in countries when persecution has come or is coming? We have two enemies and I do not need to name those.

Since the late 1990s, if I was teaching in Catholic institutions, I would ask my students, the Millenials and the end of the Gen Xers, if they were ready to be martyrs. Some said yes.

There are many kinds of martyrdom-loss of job, loss of status, fines--look at the Roper Family history. Margaret Roper died very young-I think her heart was broken.

thanks wiki for painting

But, one must not be caught off-guard.

One must create a mind-set which chooses, willingly, God first, the Church first and all else second.

This is why I have the long perfection series. One must become perfect NOW.

Secondly, one must train one's children to think like Catholics. I have many, many posts on this. Follow the tags.

Why anyone is surprised at the growing evil is beyond me. I suppose some people did not want to face what I have been writing about on line since the beginning of 2007.

My favorite blogger, Dr. Sanity, gave up the blogging fight, as she is smarter than I am.

I have many photos and drawings of ostriches on my blog.

Do not be an ostrich, even the mythical one which puts its head in the sand.

Either you learn to deal with this world and to live in it but not of it, or you will lose your soul.

We are not alone-we have a cloud of witnesses. But, please stop lying about discussions or compromises or working together with evil. As Solzhenitsyn said years ago, there is no d├ętente with evil. I wrote on that as well. The time for writing will end and those of you who have not interiorized the radical Gospel will be left on your own devices.

Many places will not have priests or the sacraments. If you are a parent, it is your duty to teach your children well. Bring them up, as Scripture states, in the way they should go.

There are too many Catholics who will compromise and sell you to the highest bidder. It has all happened before.

I have received hateful comments, which I do not post, from three groups: Muslims, feminists and gay activists. People who write hate, hate.

People who write about love, love.  Be lovers of Christ and His Church and you will endure. Remember my story from the Desert Fathers, which I have repeated on line for six years off and on. Paraphrased.

A young monk came to an abbot and said, "We must be the greatest generation. We see and cast out devils, fast, pray and heal." The abbot replied, "No, we are not the greatest generation. We do the works of God, but the next generation will take over the world and do great works. They are not the greatest generation, either. The last generation will not be able to do great works, but they will endure to the end under persecution. That generation is the greatest-the one which will keep the Faith in trial."