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Thursday 6 November 2014

Some things cannot be ignored

Lancing A Deadly Wound

The sedes are into conspiracy theories about why and how the Pope Emeritus resigned.

They are claiming that Francis is not a real pope.

They state that the election was invalid.

All these things are errors and may indicate a person has fallen into heresy.

As far as we know from the mouth of Benedict himself, God moved him to resigned. Then, a more liberal pope was elected and a Jesuit to boot.

Here is my take on Francis and what is happening.

Since the early 19th Century, Modernism has plagued the Church.

Modernism is now seen clearly, perhaps for the first time, by some who were not paying attention to the heretics in the Church. There are many heretics wearing red robes.

I believe that this putrid sore of Modernism was lanced by the Pope Emeritus. In other words, the purification and renewal of the Church can only come when the poison of heresies is revealed.

If, indeed God told Benedict to step down it was in order to cleanse the Church openly, in public, and to strengthen the holy remnant.

The Church will prevail.

Matthew 16:18 Douay-Rheims 

18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Benedict could not rally all the support he needed to combat this great evil of unbelieving cardinals and bishops.

The present pope, in my opinion, did not realize the effect the heretics would have on the Synod and more importantly on the orthodox laity, who made a fuss, thank God. He allowed a mess. If he did allow this level of manipulation on purpose, pray for him.

Pray for the Pope. He can change some of his own views or supposed views.

Our prayers may stop a schism.

Now the whole world sees the factions.

We need to pray for Holy Mother Church and the good leaders.

Benedict is not against the office of the Pope.

He is against error, and unorthodoxy, but not the office of the Pope.

I would not use political terms.

This is spiritual warfare.

God is allowing evil for a greater good.

The lancing of the wound.

The fight is spiritual so the antidote has to be spiritual

Has to be...

Has to be addressed

The fact that The Holy Spirit guides the Church does not mean that the majority of Catholics will stay orthodox. Church doctrine is not decided by a vote.

But, this promise of Christ, Who is God, does mean that the Church will not ever promulgate heresy.

Will there be schism? Of course, and it has been a long time in coming-at least seventy years.

But, no pope can teach authoritatively something against Catholic doctrine or tradition.


Can bishops and cardinals leave the Church is droves? Yes, we saw this is both the Arian and Donatist controversies.

But, the Church, despite being severed by heresy continued and will continue.

Are we in for a rough ride? Yes.

Read my comment on this blog.

The Church may become very small, but it will not be destroyed.

Liberal priests and cardinals have plagued the Church. The Catholic Church does not decide doctrine in a political manner. The Holy Spirit decides the direction of the Church.

I would NOT compare a president with a pope. It is a false analogy. There logical fallacy here. The Pope is not primarily a political persona.

Catholic doctrine is not decided by vote. The Pope believes everyone should have a say because of collegiality, which he contradicted by being true Jesuit. Jesuits have very high sense of hierarchical structure. The Pope has one foot in collegiality and strong hierarchy-using it as he sees fit and this all may be totally unfair.

As to the Synod, Bishops have been liberal for ages but most people have not known this.

Many of the Cardinals are not holy, and they will lead people astray. But, it in the end, the Pope will never decide against doctrine.

The problem in this article is that Damian is confusing issues--one cannot talk about bishops messing things up and the pope messing things up without confusing people.

And why bring Benedict up even though the Pope Emeritus has been critical in the context of words like civil war? This language feeds the sedevacantist.

And, there are many other commentaries on line and in the press as earlier as ten days ago, such as Edward Feser, who did a better job on critiquing the synod mess.

Tip of the iceberg--UK

Silence is Consent

Watch this movie with your kids-Becket!

SS. Elizabeth of Hungary and Thomas a Becket would be arrested in Florida.

Homeless activist Arnold Abbott, 90, and Christian ministers Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs were handing out meals in a park on Sunday, two days after Fort Lauderdale's ordinance took effect, when police approached them with their sirens flashing, Black said. The three were issued citations and face a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.

"Homeless activist" = Christian.

I brought sandwiches and juice to the homeless on my own in England and in Ireland years ago. Am I a criminal? Who knows what the laws are?

This has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with anti-homeless legislation to remove "unwanteds".

Hitler started with the criminals of his choice, then gypsies, the severely disabled, foreigners. No one complained.

Then, Jews, Catholic, Slavs, Czechs, political opponents, priests, nuns, and so on.

Watch what happens and who is objecting?

Why is the Church weak? A repost

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Why is the Catholic Church Weak?

I believe there are two reasons why the Catholic Church is weak today.

First, the apostasy and sins of the clergy weaken the Church from within. One cannot list all the problems, but this blog has highlighted some. The spirit of disobedience has corrupted so many priests, monks, deacons...

Second, and perhaps the most significant reason is the fact that the laity has refused to allow God to purify them.

If egosim remains in the soul, the entire Church is weakened.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on the need for purgation at the later stages of growth, wherein most people back off and fail to produce real fruit. My comments are in blue.

Before St. John of the Cross, Tauler greatly insisted on the depths of our will, which need to be purified from the often unconscious egoism that has for long subsisted in it, leading us to disturbing and fruitless conversation with ourselves and not to tranquilizing and vivifying conversation with God.

Most of the time, we are talking to ourselves. We are talking, talking, talking and not listening.

Tauler (19) often speaks of the unconscious egoism that still inclines us to seek ourselves in everything and at times to judge our neighbor with severity while treating ourselves with great indulgence. This same egoism which makes us seek ourselves in many things is especially evident when trial strikes us; we are then completely upset and seek help, consolation, and counsel from without, where God is not to be found. We have not built our house sufficiently on Christ the rock, with the result that it lacks solidity. We have built on self, on self-will, which is equivalent to building on sand; thus at times there is great weakness underlying harshness of judgment.

The seeking of consolations is a mark of the very immature Catholic. Once one gets into this state of passive purgation, suffering brings REAL JOY.

Tauler declares: "There is only one way to triumph over these obstacles: God would have to take complete possession of the interior of the soul and occupy it, which happens only to His true friends. He sent us His only Son in order that the holy life of the God-Man, His great and perfect virtue, examples, teachings, and multiple sufferings might lift us above ourselves, make us leave ourselves completely (draw us from this depth of egoism), and that we might let our own pallid light disappear in the true and essential light." (20)

This does not happen all at once. One must beg, in most circumstances, the Divinity to take complete control one's life. It is much easier if one has left all to follow Jesus, much easier.

Let Christ invite you to take up HIS Cross, not the ones you may choose. Give the entire life of your body, soul, mind, heart to God.

"This light [of the Word made flesh] shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5). None but the poor in spirit and those who are completely stripped of self, of self-love, and of their individual wills, receive this light. There are many who have been materially poor for forty years and who have never received the slightest [interior] ray of it. Through their senses and reason, they know thoroughly what is said of this light, but, in its essence, they have never tasted it; it is foreign to them and remains far from them." (21)

Merely to be poor does not bring holiness and this stage of purgation. No. One must will the poverty and live it fully, not living in deceit. And, there are many types of poverty, such as loneliness or misunderstanding. These, too, can lead one to the altar of the soul where self-love is finally sacrificed.

Again Tauler says: "It is thus that, whereas simple common folk followed our Lord, the Pharisees, the princes of the priests and the scribes, every class that had the appearance of sanctity, harshly opposed Him and ended by putting Him to death." (22) God is the grandeur of humble souls, and His very lofty ways remain hidden to our pride.

How many times have I myself judged others, and have been judged unfairly.

When one is walking with God in the land of the letting go of self, one no longer cares about criticisms from those who judge unfairly.

We see, consequently, to what extremities we may be led by this depth of egoism and pride which blinds us and hinders us from recognizing our sins. Therefore it is important that the light of life of living faith and of the gifts of the Holy Ghost should penetrate the depths of our intellect and, as it were, the root of our will.

This is NOT an emotional process, but a rational one. The root of the will is in the intellect and not the emotions. It is in the soul, and not the passions.

The passions must have been purified at the earlier stage.

That we may receive this light and these gifts, it is not sufficient to know the letter of the Gospel and adhere to it; we must assimilate its spirit profoundly. Otherwise, appearing as Christians and using the language of Christians, we would preserve in the depths of our being something which is not Christian and which resists the light of life. 

That is a good description of the Pharisees.

There would be in the depths of our intellect and will as it were a citadel which would serve as a refuge for self-love, which is unwilling to surrender and to allow the reign of God to be profoundly and eternally established in us. Thereby certain souls, that think themselves quite advanced but that do not recognize their defects, are in greater peril than the common run of men who admit that they are sinners and who preserve the fear of God.

I cannot stress enough that to whom more is given, more is expected. Many lay people back off, into mediocrity, at this stage. They do not want to leave their comfort zones. One must. This backing off from this purification of the will is what has weakened the Church of the laity. The laity are not living the life of the virtues and the fruits of the Spirit because they have run away from process of purification. When they mentally settle for purgatory and not heaven, the Church's ministry is undermined.

Fear of God defeats both self-will and presumption. This little citadel, wherein lies the self-will, must be stormed by God. If one keeps running back into the castle of the self, God cannot speak to the heart and mind and will. And, as John Donne states, our soul must capitulate. 

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you,

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue,
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Thanks to wiki for photo

At this stage, we may not even recognize who we are. We are so different, so new, so other than what we have been before, that we need direction.

Consequently we should meditate on Tauler's conclusion: "Therefore, well-beloved children, employ all your activity, both of soul and body, to obtain that this true light may shine in you in such a way that you may taste it. In this way you will be able to return to your origin, where the true light shines. Desire, ask, with nature and without nature,(23) that this grace may be granted to you. Employ all your energy to this end, pray to the friends of God that they may help you in this work; attach yourself to those who are attached to God in order that they may lead you to God with them. 

and further down in this section, one of the most important ideas-the necessity of accepting suffering:

This passive purification will certainly not be without suffering, and, as St. John of the Cross teaches, it will even be a mystical death, the death to self, the disintegration of self-love, which until then has resisted grace, at times with great obstinacy. Here pride must receive the deathblow that it may give place to genuine humility, a virtue which has been compared to the deepest root of a tree, a root which buries itself so much the more deeply in the soil as the loftiest branch, the symbol of charity, rises higher toward the sky.

For some of us, this is illness, or infirmity, or failure in the world, or even serious sin repented of and confessed...for some this is the death of loved ones, poverty, displacement, loss...Pride must go!

This center of the soul, the refuge of personal judgment and self-­love that is often very subtle, must be illumined by the divine light and filled by God, rendered completely healthy, and vivified. On the feast of the Purification, at Mass and in the procession each person carries a lighted candle, the symbol of the light of life that each should bear in the innermost depths of his soul. This light of life was given to man on the first day of creation; extinguished by sin, it was rekindled by the grace of conversion and by the hope of the promised Redeemer. This light grew in the souls of the patriarchs and the prophets until the coming of Christ, "a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of . . . Israel," as the aged Simeon said in his beautiful canticle, Nunc dimittis, on the occasion of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

There is NO LIGHT without purification first. All who think there is are looking at a false light, a light which seems good but is not. Only the light of Christ, in fact, Christ Himself, Who is the Light of the World, can lead us through purification to new life and the living out of the fruit of the Holy Ghost, especially charity.

This same light of life, which grew in humanity until the advent of the Messias, should also grow in each of our souls from baptism until our entrance into heaven. It should gradually illumine and vivify the very center of our intellect and our heart that this depth may be not an obscure depth of egoism, personal judgment, and resistance to grace, but a depth of light and goodness where the Holy Ghost, the source of living water springing up into eternal life, may reign increasingly.

Suffering is the only way, the only. The acceptance of suffering is key.

From what we have just said it is evident that the passive purification of the spirit, made necessary by the defects of proficients, is the decisive struggle between two spirits: the spirit of pride, which may grow even to blasphemy, to hatred of God, and despair, and that of humility and charity, which is eternal life begun in us. These two conflicting spirits may be symbolized by two trees, one of which illustrates the teaching of St. Gregory the Great and St. Thomas on the roots and results of the seven capital sins, while the other explains their doctrine on humility and charity, and the connection of these virtues with the other virtues and the seven gifts.

Bad News Re: Russia

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On lying to self on repost day

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Perfection and Reality

I want to go back to Garrigou-Lagrange in this study of perfection for a few posts and then move on to Cyril of Jerusalem. I want to stress the necessity, as I have before, of objectivity in the spiritual life, The only way one can be objective is to face reality honestly with integrity.

In this meantime, chew on this meaty statement from Garrigou-Lagrange on the use of our intellect, from his study on reality. I am very concerned  by the fact that so many people can only argue from feelings and perception and not from logic. We have been given the capacity, the ability to use our intellect in matters of faith and morals. To do less is not to be an adult in the Faith.

A few days ago, I said I would write something on integrity, the connection to love and honesty.

Here is a beginning of this discussion.

REALITY—A Synthesis Of Thomistic Thought


St. Thomas, following Aristotle, teaches that the intelligible being, the intelligible reality, existing in sense objects is the first object of the first act of our intellect, i. e.: that apprehension which precedes the act of judging. Listen to his words: "The intellect's first act is to know being, reality, because an object is knowable only in the degree in which it is actual. Hence being, entity, reality, is the first and proper object of understanding, just as sound is the first object of hearing." [123] Now being, reality, is that which either exists (actual being) or can exist (possible being): "being is that whose act is to be." [124] Further, the being, the reality, which our intellect first understands, is not the being of God, nor the being of the understanding subject, but the being, the reality, which exists in the sense world, "that which is grasped immediately by the intellect in the presence of a sense object." [125] Our intellect, indeed, is the lowest of all intelligences, to which corresponds, as proper and proportioned object, that intelligible reality existing in the world of sense. [126] Thus the child, knowing by sense, for example, the whiteness and the sweetness of milk, comes to know by intellect the intelligible reality of this same sense object. "By intellect he apprehends as reality that which by taste he apprehends as sweet." [127].

In the intelligible reality thus known, our intellect seizes at once its opposition to non-being, an opposition expressed by the principle of contradiction: Being is not non-being."By nature our intellect knows being and the immediate characteristics of being as being, out of which knowledge arises the understanding of first principles, of the principle, say, that affirmation and denial cannot coexist (opposition between being and non-being): and other similar principles." [128] Here lies the point of departure in Thomistic realism.

Thus our intellect knows intelligible reality and its opposition to nothing, before it knows explicitly the distinction between me and non-me. By reflection on its own act of knowledge the intellect comes to know the existence of that knowing act and its thinking subject. Next it comes to know the existence of this and that individual object, seized by the senses. [129] In intellective knowledge, the universal comes first; sense is restricted to the individual and particular.

If we do not  use universals to apply to particulars, we may not be using the gift of Prudence.

A bit later, the writer notes this.

This limited moderate realism of Aristotle and Aquinas is in harmony with that natural, spontaneous knowledge which we call common sense. This harmony appears most clearly in the doctrine's insistence on the objective validity and scope of first principles, the object of our first intellectual apprehension. These principles are laws, not of the spirit only, not mere logical laws, not laws merely experimental, restricted to phenomena, but necessary and unlimited laws of being, objective laws of all reality, of all that is or can be.

There may be two generations of people who have no common sense, who cannot objectify. This is dangerous. Very.

Without the realization of the real world as separate from one's perceptions, a person cannot grow in perfection...this is the sin of the Pharisees-to persist in one's own reality after being faced with the Truth.

Why do people lie to themselves? For comfort? Out of fear?

To be continued...

 Matthew 5:20-26 
Jesus said to his disciples: 

'If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
'You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors:
You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.
But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother "Fool" he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him "Renegade" he will answer for it in hell fire. 

So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. 
Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last p

Repost because we need to be reminded of this.......

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...........