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Monday 27 October 2014

Finally, someone making fun of one of the worst movies EVER

Going Off-Line

Thunder over the Mediterranean is an awesome sound. Reminds me of thunder over the Iowa plains.

Love it, but am going off line....

Agree, 100%!

On Esdailes, Writing, and A Good Cause

I first met Fr. Esdaile at the Venerabile when he was a sem. His parents and I became great friends, and his mother, who is still living, was a great supporter of my little family when we were going through hard emotional times.

She is still alive and well, I am told by my son. I am not in England to encourage Fr., but go and buy a copy of his poems for a good cause.

Writing is in the family. Fr. Esdaile's paternal grandmother is the famous Katherine Esdaile, who wrote THE book on figure tombs and whose papers are at Pepperdine University in California.

Here is some information on this amazing woman: the first is from 1950.

with deep regret of the death of Mrs Arundell Esdaile, a frequent
contributor to its pages for over a quarter of a century. The series
of articles by her dealing with sculptors in England of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, beginning with an article
on Roubiliac and Rysbrack in 1923, was concluded in 1949 by
a comprehensive study of the busts and statues of King Charles I.
By her ceaseless and patient researches she became one of the
foremost exponents of the hitherto despised sculpture of the
Renaissance and later periods in England. It is mainly due to her enthusiasm that a notable change has come about in the attitude of the critics towards such works, and particularly with
regard to the monuments of which English country churches
have a wealth unsurpassed in other countries. Such books as Mr
J. B. Morrell's York Monuments trace their origin to her initiative.
Her generosity in communicating her knowledge was notable.
The short history of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1944) showed her
ability to write for the general public. Her projected Dictionary of
English Sculptors, if and when it is published, ought to be invaluable.
Her outstanding books were English Monumental Sculpture
since the Renaissance, I927; Life and Times of FrancoisRoubiliac, 1929; Temple Church Monuments, 1933; and English Church Monuments,1510-1840, in 1947, a work without a parallel from the time of Weever's Funeral Monuments until the publication of Mr Crossley's English Church Monuments, to which Mrs Esdaile's book was asequel. 

And more.....

Mrs Esdaile(1881-1950) was a pioneer of the study of church monuments so the following from the Independent is worth copying to the group.
'12 April 1948.
James Lees-Milne,working for the National Trust,writes in his diary:"After breakfast I motored Eddy to Salisbury and then,parting with him regretfully,continued up to Wilton.Picked up Mrs Esdaile and drove her to Stourhead. Never have I been in closer contact with a more unkempt female;yet she is an old pet.Her stockings hang in folds,covered with stains;her face and fingers are yellow with cigarettes. She is rather vague now and walks with difficulty. Yet at Stourhead she plodded gallantly round the house and told us what she knew about each sculpture,which was everything.[She]kept prattling about a monument she wished to see in a church three miles from Stourton.'A stunner',she called it. It was by Van Nost,she assured me, of a Windham.We took a look at it. I admit it was a splendid affair,dated 1684,full-blooded Charles II Baroque,standing in the face of the open door'.
The Independent, 12 Apl 2007.Compiled by Ian Irvine. 

In addition, Fr. Esdaile's brother, Charles, is an eminent historian of  the Napoleonic wars, having published many books on that era,

and has this fascinating book to his credit.

And, do not forget the many poems on my blog for free-pence. And, my son is editing the seminary magazine this year. For five years, he worked part-time for a Spanish newspaper in the States.

What is all this about writing, sems, priests, mums, and grandmums, although I would have loved to have held Mrs. Esdaile's writing case, not being in the same category as this great lady and her grandsons. But, I would have had to have been an extremely precocious one-year-old.


St. Joseph and the Fava Beans

A good friend of mine sent me a little blue pouch with five fava beans in it. Accompanying this pouch was the story about how St. Joseph saved the Sicilians from starvation, in time of famine, by increasing the fava bean crops.

Here is the story from Wiki:

In Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron saint, and in many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to St. Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of St. Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a St. Joseph's Day custom. In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat a Neapolitan pastry known as azeppola (created in 1840 by Don Pasquale Pinatauro in Napoli) on St. Joseph's Day.[6][7] Maccu di San Giuseppe is a traditional Sicilian dish that consists of various ingredients and maccu that is prepared on this day.[8] Maccu is a foodstuff and soup that dates to ancient times which is prepared with fava beans as a primary ingredient.[8]
Upon a typical St. Joseph's Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity.

My friend wishes me to be prosperous and the fava-bean prayer is said so that one never goes 

without food or pennies in the pocket. Now, I must admit I passed on the fava beans to someone who 

is much more needy than I am....May St. Joseph bless both of us, keep us in food, and if in 

God's Will, bring us prosperity.

On Spiders Again

An ancient story, now in the public domain, concerns Robert Bruce, who was loosing battles. He hid in a cave, or a "rude shed", as this version has it, and learned a lesson. Here is the story:


There was once a king of Scotland whose name was Robert Bruce. He had need to be both brave and wise, for the times in which he lived were wild and rude. The King of England was at war with him, and had led a great army into Scotland to drive him out of the land.
Battle after battle had been fought. Six times had Bruce led his brave little army against his foes;[34] and six times had his men been beaten, and driven into flight. At last his army was scattered, and he was forced to hide himself in the woods and in lonely places among the mountains.
One rainy day, Bruce lay on the ground under a rude shed, listening to the patter of the drops on the roof above him. He was tired and sick at heart, and ready to give up all hope. It seemed to him that there was no use for him to try to do anything more.
As he lay thinking, he saw a spider over his head, making ready to weave her web. He watched her as she toiled slowly and with great care. Six times she tried to throw her frail thread from one beam to another, and six times it fell short.
"Poor thing!" said Bruce: "you, too, know what it is to fail."
But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With still more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce almost forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread was carried safely to the beam, and fastened there.
"I, too, will try a seventh time!" cried Bruce.
He arose and called his men together. He told[35] them of his plans, and sent them out with messages of cheer to his disheartened people. Soon there was an army of brave Scotchmen around him. Another battle was fought, and the King of England was glad to go back into his own country.
I have heard it said, that, after that day, no one by the name of Bruce would ever hurt a spider. The lesson which the little creature had taught the king was never forgotten.

Because of the ravages on my heart in this Dark Night, I have felt like this spider since being in Malta. One difference in this story and the Dark Night must be this. That it is God's grace which creates the web of our lives, not us. We can do nothing on our own.
Pride and ignorance drive us to think that we can accomplish things, move hearts, help minds to think.
It is only God Who working through the humbled spirit Who works both the will and the action.
A Catholic spider would stop and ask for grace-the grace to see how futile it is to continue on one's own power, and how necessary are God's mercy and forgiveness.

Wise words from a Carmelite on a bus

Well, it is raining and cold. I have on four layers. And, despite the weather, I thought I should go out of my way to Valletta for Adoration and Maltese Mass, rather than Sliema, where I usually go.

Wondering who to go to for spiritual direction while I am here. a priest sat down next to me and we began, of course, to talk.

He does spiritual direction, and gave me some wise words on the 40 minute trip.

As a Carmelite, he pointed out that some orders are trained to do spiritual direction and some are not.

Keep this in mind. Not all diocesan priests have gifts for spiritual direction, either.

This good priest noted that, of course, the Dominicans train their men for preaching and scholarship, the Salesians train their men to work with youth, troubled youth mostly, and the Carmelites are trained to give spiritual direction.

Sadly, in some areas of America, the Carmelites have become uber-liberals. And, there, in that nation, it is hard to even find a Carmelite priest.

He also mentioned Thomas Merton, who I had just put back on the blog this morning. Synchronicity.

One more point this good priest made was that we all need to think about death. Again, synchronicity considering I just wrote about the Four Last Things. He stressed that we should consider death daily.

He shared his e-mail with me and I shall write to him.

God makes new doughnuts every day. Yesterday, I prayed for a spiritual director while I am here.

I got a little on the bus. God is good

Hello to Readers in The Ukraine

Mystic Attention-Where Is Yours Located?

Several commentators have asked me how one "hears" the Lord. Discernment takes time, but mostly, silence. I repeat a post and rewrite some helpful hints. Simply put, you will not be able to hear God unless you give Him time to speak to you in the quiet of your mind and soul.

In the long perfection series, I have quoted the great saints and Doctors of the Church concerning the levels of perfection, and at all these stages, one needs to make time for God.

The noise and chaos even in the political arenas of the Church cause us all great distraction.

Again, I list things Catholics must do to become perfect.

One, simplify one's life and the lives of those around you. Do less, be quiet more.

Two, never watched TV and select what news sources which you read daily. Three or four online sources a day, read briefly, would be plenty for the head of the family.

Three, set at least an hour a day aside for silent prayer, perhaps beginning with meditating on the Scriptures.

Four, Blessed Paul VI asked the laity to say at least part of the Divine Office. These prayers only take minutes and can be done on the bus or train if one is commuting. Sadly, too many Americans are forced to drive, which takes away from reading and praying time.

Five, say the rosary daily, and this is something one can do in the car on the way to work. There are many mp3s and CDs for such meditation. The family rosary is the best form of this prayer, imo.

Six, pray as a family daily, even if only for fifteen minutes together in the evening and, better yet, in the morning as well.

Seven, learn to quiet the mind. One cannot hear God is one's mind is full of junk and goo from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

I repeat Thomas Merton's comment on contemplation, which follows meditation. Look at all the references to this in the past almost two years.

13 Feb 2013
Remember what Thomas Merton said, which I have quoted here before on this blog that television is the opposite of contemplation. And that the very energies of passivity which most men use in watching television are the ...
29 Nov 2013
As Thomas Merton notes, we are geared to passive intake of knowledge, which happens at the contemplative stage, but if our minds are full of goo from the television, we shall never learn either meditation or contemplation.
05 Dec 2013
Walker Percy, read my comments in two posts on Thomas Merton's insight into how tv takes over our capacity to be in contemplation of God. Passivity given over to evil will change us, sadly, to someone God did not intend.
11 Sep 2012
... Father Mark "Vultus Christi" Kirby's first Oblate, I have to say my Benedictine soul is envious. Please know that you're in my prayers, and I'll be asking St. Scholastica and St. Thomas More for their intercession on your behalf.

11 Sep 2012
Figures for an Apocalypse by Thomas Merton. Posted by Supertradmum. As a foreigner in a foreign land, I shall not be able to talk about 9-11 as I would want to do today. But, I was in Canada on 9-11. Father Z has part of ...
22 Jan 2013
We only have so much the video here and the next one posted. I have read all of Thomas Merton's books many, many years ago but I have missed some of his articles. Now, I have come across a startling one ...
21 Nov 2013
I have shared on this blog the great insight of Thomas Merton on the biggest danger of television-that the passivity which one approaches tv is the aspect, the gift of the mind and soul for passive prayer. The television takes ...
13 Feb 2013
Remember what Thomas Merton said, which I have quoted here before on this blog that television is the opposite of contemplation. And that the very energies of passivity which most men use in watching television are the ...

Repetition is a good way to learn.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Wow, television is the enemy of contemplation

We only have so much the video here and the next one posted.

I have read all of Thomas Merton's books many, many years ago but I have missed some of his articles. Now, 
I have come across a startling one which I missed so long ago and I hope this helps.

If you can find Cistercian Studies Quarterly, "Inner Experience: Problems of the Contemplative Life (VII)", 
Vol 19, 1984, notes on pp. 269-270, 

You will read that the monk compared television watching as a caricature of contemplation. 

This is earth-shaking. I knew that television interfered with silence and solitude, and that it is a brain-washing technique, but to read that it creates the same dynamic as contemplative prayer reveals the real evil.

Merton's points are these: one is passive and takes in uncritically what is given on the television; one is 
receptive to all that is there before one; one become inert and "yields" to  the "mystic attraction until one is 
spellbound in a state of complete union."

This is terrifying. And, I know this to be true. In families where there is tv, there is no peace or reflection. In 
families where there is no TV, there is quiet.

Merton goes on to write that television is the opposite of contemplation, which breaks with sensuality, noise, 
the senses in general, and the "will on a temporal or material level...the the nadir of 
intellectual and emotional slavery."

I visited the first house I have been in for a long time where television is on for hours and hours. People 
actually "shh" people into silence for stupid programs, like variety shows. I was not only amazed, but realized 
how this slavery is so real.

That family does not pray together and several members have fallen away from the Church. There is no adult 
reading concerning the Faith and no attempts at Lectio Divina. Up to six hours of television watching cloud the judgments and movements of those children as well who watch it.

Please, parents, stop watching television and start praying.

Otherwise, you cannot even begin the road to perfection.

P.S. Let me add that the faculties of the soul and mind which should be used for contemplative prayer are 
being seized by television. This is the point of Merton's warning......Computer games do the same thing.

St. David in The Dark Night

Psalm 41 Douay-Rheims

from today's Morning Prayer
41 Unto the end, understanding for the sons of Core.
As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God.
My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?
These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God: With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.
Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance,
And my God. My soul is troubled within myself: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniim, from the little hill.
Deep calleth on deep, at the noise of thy flood-gates. All thy heights and thy billows have passed over me.
In the daytime the Lord hath commanded his mercy; and a canticle to him in the night. With me is prayer to the God of my life.
10 I will say to God: Thou art my support. Why hast thou forgotten me? and why go I mourning, whilst my enemy afflicteth me?
11 Whilst my bones are broken, my enemies who trouble me have reproached me; Whilst they say to me day be day: Where is thy God?
12 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope thou in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

Huge Suggestion

If you are interested in keeping the perfection series, I suggested you begin saving bits and pieces on your own computer.

I do not even have these saved on a hard drive.

If anyone wants to help me with this, please contact me in the com box.

Someone in my family is trying to set up a private server, but is bogged down with other things.


Continuing Reposts Today

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Battle for Purity and Saintliness

On that hard word, concupiscence, a result of Original Sin, which all men and women have, the CCC states much. I am sure a review will help us all today.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.299Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.300
2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.301 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.

2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit."302 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.303

2516 Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle:
For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or badworks, or better, the permanent dispositions - virtues and vices - which are the fruit of submission (in the first case) or of resistance (in the second case) to the saving action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."304

St. Mary Magdalen

The more we give in to sin in our lives, the more we make a habit of sin. Then, the Dear Lord must break those habits of sin, whether those of the body, or of  the spirit or of the will.

As one reader reminds us, purity of heart leads to heaven, a theme on this blog.

Here is the CCC again.

2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . . "305 The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:

Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.306
2518 The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."307 "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;308 chastity or sexual rectitude;309 love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.310 There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith:

The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed "so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe."311

This is a real battle, not a skirmish. Sometimes, it takes an entire lifetime to become pure in heart. Other people may be given such a grace of infused purity, never losing it from childhood, but for most of us, it is a struggle. The bold highlights are mine.

2519 The "pure in heart" are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.312 Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as "neighbors"; it lets us perceive the human body - ours and our neighbor's - as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beauty.

2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God's grace he will prevail
- by the virtue and gift of chastity, for chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart;
- by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God's will in everything;313
- by purity of vision, external and internal; by discipline of feelings and imagination; by refusing all complicity in impure thoughts that incline us to turn aside from the path of God's commandments: "Appearance arouses yearning in fools";314
- by prayer:

I thought that continence arose from one's own powers, which I did not recognize in myself. I was foolish enough not to know . . . that no one can be continent unless you grant it. For you would surely have granted it if my inner groaning had reached your ears and I with firm faith had cast my cares on you.315    
This last quotation is from St. Augustine.

St. Margaret of Cortona with illegitimate son and guardian angel.....

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuitionof the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
St. Claude de la Colombiere, who brought the Sacred Heart devotion to England
  2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.

2527 "The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ."316

I wrote about purity of intention way last year....follow the tag.

2528 "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28).
2529 The ninth commandment warns against lust or carnal concupiscence.
2530 The struggle against carnal lust involves purifying the heart and practicing temperance.
2531 Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God.
2532 Purification of the heart demands prayer, the practice of chastity, purity of intention and of vision.
2533 Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

Reposting Day for The Sake of The Remnant

Monday, 28 January 2013

Part Five: Saints on the Illuminative State-on the way to the one thing necessary

Sometimes people do not read footnotes in texts.

I do. Garrigou-Lagrange has these three in his section on the Illuminative State, which I think will be helpful for all of us.  Garrigou-Lagrange's next chapter highlight St. Catherine and Bl. Henry, and here are some of his extensive points. My boldface type highlights.................

8. In the prologue of his Rule, St. Benedict wrote: "Let us therefore at length arise, since the Scriptures stir us up, saying: 'It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep' (Rom. 13:11). And our eyes being now open to the divine light, let us hear with wonderment the divine voice admonishing us, in that it cries out daily and says: 'Today if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts.' " That is to say: It is time to rise from the sleep of negligence and to walk courageously in the way of God.

Garrigou-Lagrange rightly and clearly expresses that the Illuminative State is a second conversion. This waking up is absolutely a gift from God, but one has to cooperate with this.

It does not happen if one is NOT ORTHODOX and if one is orthodox and falls away from the Church, the Illuminative State ends in heresy and condemnation. Now, one may be "outside" the Catholic Church and receive great graces for the very purpose of God calling one to become Catholic. This can be a painful decision.

One falls because of pride, mostly, and stupidly thinking that one is arriving at these stages by one's own efforts and not by grace.

9. We shall see farther on that, as St. Catherine of Siena says in her Dialogue (chaps. 60, 63), the second conversion of the apostles took place more properly at the end of the Passion when Peter wept over his denial, and that Pentecost was like a third conversion or more properly a transformation of the soul, which marks the entrance into the unitive way.

This is absolutely spot on.

Garrigou-Lagrange should be canonized. His insights as to Catherine of Siena's Dialogue, a book I recommend to all, shows that Catherine received graces for the Unitive Way, which I have not discussed yet.

One cannot enter the Illuminative State without purgation and one finishes purgation in the Illuminative State.

No pain, no gain. Sorry, but the Protestants miss this point by insisting that a sign of election is wealth. Nope.

I shall write about the Third Transformation when I have exhausted the Illuminative State explanations. I have never personally met a living man, woman or child in the Unitive State, although I have met several in the Illuminative State. Age, by the way, does not matter. Catherine died at 33.

Here is G-L on her contribution: Christ is speaking to Catherine. 

We read in chapter 60: "Some there are who have become faithful servants, serving Me with fidelity without servile fear of punishment, but rather with love. This very love, however, if they serve Me with a view to their own profit, or the delight and pleasure which they find in Me, is imperfect. Dost thou know what proves the imperfection of this love? The withdrawal of the consolations which they found in Me, and the insufficiency and short duration of their love for their neighbor, which grows weak by degrees, and oft-times disappears. Toward Me their love grows weak when, on occasion, in order to exercise them in virtue and raise them above their imperfection, I withdraw from their minds My consolation and allow them to fall into battles and perplexities. This I do so that, coming to perfect self-knowledge, they may know that of themselves they are nothing and have no grace, and, accordingly in time of battle fly to Me as their benefactor, seeking Me alone, with true humility, for which purpose I treat them thus, withdrawing from them consolation indeed, but not grace. At such a time these weak ones of whom I speak relax their energy, impatiently turning backward, and so sometimes abandon, under color of virtue, many of their exercises, saying to themselves: This labor does not profit me. All this they do, because they feel themselves deprived of mental consolation. Such a soul acts imperfectly, for she has not yet unwound the bandage of spiritual self-love, for had she unwound it, she would see that, in truth, everything proceeds from Me, that no leaf of a tree falls to the ground without My providence, and that what I give and promise to My creatures, I give and promise to them for their sanctification, which is the good and the end for which I created them."

and again,

In chapter 63 of The Dialogue, the saint says, in speaking of the passage from mercenary to filial love: "Every perfection and every virtue proceeds from charity, and charity is nourished by humility, which results from the knowledge and holy hatred of self, that is, sensuality. . . . To arrive thereat. . . a man must exercise himself in the extirpation of his perverse self-will, both spiritual and temporal, hiding himself in his own house, as did Peter, who, after the sin of denying My Son, began to weep. Yet his lamentations were imperfect, and remained so until after the forty days, that is, until after the Ascension. But when My Truth returned, to Me in His humanity, Peter and the others concealed themselves in the house awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, which My Truth had promised them. They remained barred in from fear, because the soul always fears until she arrives at true love. But when they had persevered in fasting and in humble and continual prayer, until they had received the abundance of the Holy Spirit, they lost their fear, and followed and preached Christ crucified."
St. Catherine of Siena shows in this passage that the imperfect soul which loves the Lord with a love that is still mercenary, ought to follow Peter's example after his denial of Christ. Not infrequently this time Providence permits us also to fall into some visible fault to humiliate us and oblige us to enter into ourselves, y at as Peter did, when immediately after his fall, seeing that Jesus looked at him, he "wept bitterly." (1)

And more, and a warning: this second conversion is not obvious, nor is it necessarily "charismatic".

The second conversion may also take place, though we have no grave sin to expiate, for example, at a time when we are suffering from an injustice, or a calumny, which, under divine grace, awakens in us not sentiments of vengeance, but hunger and thirst for the justice of God. In such a case, the generous forgiving of a grave injury sometimes draws down on the soul of the one who pardons, a great grace, which makes him enter a higher region of the spiritual life. The soul then receives a new insight into divine things and an impulse which it did not know before. David received such a grace when he pardoned Semei who had outraged and cursed him, while throwing stones at him.(3)

This has been in my experience and forgiveness opens the door to grace. But, this
"yes" opens the door to great suffering as well.

A more profound insight into the life of the soul may originate also on the occasion of the death of a dear one, or of a disaster, or of a great rebuff, when anything occurs which is of a nature to reveal the vanity of earthly things and by contrast the importance of the one thing necessary, union with God, the prelude of the life of heaven.

In her Dialogue St. Catherine also speaks often of the necessity of leaving the imperfect state in which a person serves God more or less through interest and for his own satisfaction, and in which he wishes to go to God the Fatherwithout passing through Jesus crucified.(4) To leave this imperfect state, the soul which still seeks itself must be converted that it may cease to seek itself and may truly go in search of God by the way of abnegation, which is that of profound peace.

There is no short-cut.

Staying with the Dominicans today, on the Feast of the Greatest, I pick up on G-L's reference to Henry Suso, who I first discovered in about 1980. Here is a section of his writings to help us. Again, read footnotes, as they are good for you! They led up to the following chapter.

10. For example, the second conversion of Blessed Henry Suso, of St. Catherine of Genoa, of Blessed Anthony Neyrot, O.P., and of many others, is well known.

The works of Blessed Henry Suso contain a number of instructions relative to the second conversion. He himself experienced this conversion after a few years of religious life, during which he had slipped into some negligences. Particular attention ought to be given to what he says about the necessity of a more interior and deep Christian life in religious who give themselves most exclusively to study, and in others who are chiefly attentive to exterior observances and austerities. In the divine light he saw "these two classes of persons circling about the Savior's cross, without being able to reach Him," (5) because both groups sought themselves, either in study or in exterior observances, and because they judged each other without charity. He understood then that he should remain in complete self-abnegation, ready to accept all that God might will, and to accept it with love, at the same time practicing great fraternal charity. (6)

Do not circle the Cross. Embrace it.

And I end with a helpful footnote and also section on St. Thomas Aquinas.......

15. This mode of acting conforms perfectly to what St. Thomas says of the difference between acquired prudence (a true virtue, already described by Aristotle) and infused prudence. and the gift of counsel (IIa IIae, q.47, a.14 and q. 52). Should a man tend to perfection under the almost exclusive direction of acquired prudence (which is, nevertheless, not that of the flesh), he would never reach true Christian perfection, which belongs to the supernatural order; such perfection requires the frequent exercise of infused prudence and of the gift of counsel. These three sources of actions (habitus) are among themselves a little like what agility of the fingers, the acquired art which is in the practical intellect, and musical inspiration are in the musician. Without art, properly so called, and this inspiration, a man will certainly never produce a masterpiece, and will never be able even to comprehend one.

And, so that we do not become full of pride, God allows us to fall......

In connection with Peter's second conversion, we should recall that St. Thomas teaches (2) that even after a serious sin, if a man has a truly fervent contrition proportionate to the degree of grace lost, he recovers this degree of grace; he may even receive a higher degree if he has a still more fervent contrition. He is, therefore, not obliged to recommence his ascent from the very beginning, but continues it, taking it up again at the point he had reached when he fell. A mountain climber who stumbles halfway up, rises immediately, and continues the ascent. The same is true in the spiritual order. Everything leads us to think that by the fervor of his repentance Peter not only recovered the degree of grace that he had lost, but was raised to a higher degree of the supernatural life. The Lord permitted this fall only to cure him of his presumption so that he might become more humble and thereafter place his confidence, not in himself, but in God. Thus, the humiliated Peter on his knees weeping over his sin is greater than the Peter on Thabor, who did not as yet sufficiently know his frailty.

To be perfect is to be conformed to Christ. We become like Him. We are His Face in the world...........