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Monday 13 April 2015

More on Passive Purgation and Our Times

To go through the Dark Night entails one deciding to let God purify one and to stick with the pain and suffering. Garrigou-Lagrange notes that persecutions are "collective purifications", a fact I have mentioned on this blog.

Heroic virtue then is necessary. God almost forces some to become saints, if these people do not pass up the opportunity or bail out.

One cannot judge people's personal trials and tribulations. One cannot judge, period. In fact, one cannot even judge one's self.

In connection with this subject, it should be noted that there are also at times collective purifications, like persecutions, from which the soul must know how to draw profit. On such occasions the heroic degree of the virtues becomes necessary; one is in the happy necessity of becoming a saint in order not to be lost. Those who seem fairly good in prosperity are often weak and cowardly in these great difficulties; others, on the contrary, reveal their true character on these occasions. These grave moments should lead us to make the following salutary reflection: true sanctity does not require a lesser purification in outwardly calm periods than in periods troubled by persecution. The saints who lived in the calmest periods of the life of the Church had their interior trials, without which their souls would not have attained to the perfect purity which God willed to see in them.

No one knew the sufferings of St. Faustina, for example, or other nuns and monks, who suffered in silence. How many mothers have suffered for their children in silence, and in prayer? These sufferings are salutary, if one does not waste them by complaining.

In no period, however calm it may be, can anyone become a saint without carrying his cross, without being configured to Christ crucified. In troubled times, however, man often faces the urgent necessity of sanctifying himself completely in order not to lose his soul; he must then be heroically faithful in order not to fall back. In other calmer periods, this urgent necessity does not make itself thus felt, but even then, carrying his cross he must follow our Lord. Nothing unclean can enter heaven; one must be purified either before death, like the martyrs, or after it, like the souls in purgatory.

Nothing imperfect can enter heaven....let me end this with a description of  our choice to be excellent servants, not merely good ones. 

Lastly, there are other collective trials which demand great uprightness of will: for example, when in the society in which we live some exceptional event occurs that obliges us, though at the cost of great sacrifices, to declare ourselves for God. Such events are visits from the Lord; in them are distinguished His true servants, who, instead of being merely good, must become excellent. With this meaning, the aged Simeon said of the coming of the Child Jesus into the world: "Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; . . . that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." (3) In other words, Christ, who had come for the salvation of all, was to be an occasion of fall for many. Refusing to recognize the Savior in Him, they have fallen into infidelity. Thus the secret thoughts of the Pharisees were revealed, whereas they would have remained partly hidden had the Pharisees lived two centuries earlier. Something similar occurs when there is a great supernatural event, like the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes, an event about which the good and the bad are divided. There is, as Pascal says, sufficient light for those who wish to see and sufficient obscurity for those who do not wish to see. These great events, persecutions, or exceptional visits of the Lord, on the occasion of which the good and the tepid are profoundly divided, throw light on what we are saying here of the passive purification of the soul. In periods when the life of society is not marked by anything exceptionally bad or good, no less a purification is needed to reach sanctity than in periods of social upheaval.

So, we are fortunate in the fact that we live in these times of choice. May God grant us the grace always, and may we respond to His grace.

More tomorrow....

Answers to Readers

How does one know one is through the passive purgation?

Here is what Garrigou-Lagrange has to say about this.  As usual, my comments in blue.

Having described and explained the passive purification of the spirit and pointed out the rules of direction which should be followed, we shall now set forth its effects on the soul when borne with generosity.

These effects show the end for which God thus purifies His servants. He does so that the higher part of the soul may be supernaturalized and prepared for divine union, as the sensible part must be spiritualized or wholly subjected to the spirit. Among these effects some are negative, consisting in the suppression of defects; others are positive and are profound especially in the perfection they give to the virtues in the elevated part of the soul, principally humility and the theological virtues.

Supernaturalized is a word I have used on this blog before. The senses must be completely taken into a realm of total detachment. The effects, negative and positive, can be seen fairly clearly.


These effects are visible in the progressive disappearance of distractions, dullness of spirit, and the need of external dissipation or of finding consolation. 

Distractions come from the sin of intemperance, and the lack of training of the intellect and will. Dullness of spirit is sloth and/or acedia. External dissipation is spending money irresponsibly, drinking and eating too much, watching too many movies, TV, or playing computer games. The list is endless. Dissipation for many Americans, as I noted in the consumerism post, can be shopping and spending money for non-necessities.

Self-love or subtle egoism gradually disappears. The result is that the soul is less subject to illusions, for it lives increasingly by its higher part, into which the enemy cannot penetrate. God alone penetrates the innermost depths of the heart and spirit. Doubtless the devil still multiplies his temptations, but if the soul takes refuge in its center, where God dwells, the enemy cannot harm it and even cannot know but can only conjecture what is taking place in it; the intimate secrets of hearts escape him.(1)

 Some people think they are humble because they are not rich, or have humble jobs. This "subtle egotism" most likely is a form of narcissism. The "me" generation only thinks of themselves and ignores consequences. 

Fantasies and illusions form part of this life of subtle egotism and self-love.  Only grace allows one to see the depth of sin. When one is humbled, one finds God.

Thankfully, God protects us with His grace. The demons cannot see into our minds and in that special place wherein God dwells.

This purification removes many other defects in our relations with our neighbor or in respect to our duties of state: a certain natural rudeness, which leads to impatience; an a most unconscious secret ambition, the cause of many disorders and divisions among people; and also a lack of interest in the occasionally great needs of our afflicted neighbor who turns to us for help. 

How I know these things. Mercy is given when we are humbled ourselves. It is sad that so many people's real needs are ignored.

It is in this state that those who have the duty of caring devotedly for others, possess a deeper understanding of Christ's words: "The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth; and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep." (2) 

Peter Pans and Peter Pams are hirelings, only considering themselves and their own needs. Others exist merely to serve them. They lack the commitment of true charity.

To profit by these words, we should ask the Lord to give us an increase of true zeal, the patient, gentle, disinterested zeal which draws life from God to give it in greater measure to our neighbor.

One can stop here for a moment and pray for patience, gentleness, disinterested zeal, for without these one is incapable of really helping a neighbor, or building up the Church.

To be continued....

Good News About Bad News

Snippet from Today's Office of Readings

Christ, the sacrifice that was offered up for us, is the father of the world to come. He puts an end to our former life, and through the regenerating waters of baptism in which we imitate his death and resurrection, he gives us the beginning of a new life. The knowledge that Christ is the Passover lamb who was sacrificed for us should make us regard the moment of his immolation as the beginning of our own lives. As far as we are concerned, Christ’s immolation on our behalf takes place when we become aware of this grace and understand the life conferred on us by this sacrifice. Having once understood it, we should enter upon this new life with all eagerness and never return to the old one, which is now at an end. As Scripture says: We have died to sin – how then can we continue to live in it? From Pseudo-Chrysostom, The Spiritual Passover

Well, I rarely agree with Romney, but...

Even former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, couldn’t resist taking a shot at Clinton on Sunday.
“Hillary Clinton is just not trustworthy,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”She’s a creature of Washington.”

Sinn Fein Abortion Support

Monday, 13 April 2015

Sinn Féin backs abortion for children with disability

Liam Gibson addresses
the Dungannon political seminar
Over the weekend I was speaking at a pro-life political seminar in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, in connection with the forthcoming general election.

The political seminar was expertly chaired by Charlotte McQuaid from Dungannon - who's currently teaching in Westport, County Mayo.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's NI development officer, told our seminar attendees that Sinn Féin blocked legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly to close down Marie Stopes' abortion operation. It's ironic, he said, that Sinn Féin is propping up the British abortion industry rather than protecting the children of Northern Ireland. Liam also explained how Sinn Féin backs abortion for children with disability.

I travelled to Dungannon with Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC youth officer. In her splendid presentation Rhoslyn made the point  that singling out the disabled for abortion is every bit as bad as legalising abortion on demand.

Later that evening, Rhoslyn and I parted company at Heathrow airport from where she flew to Nigeria to join Antonia Tully, SPUC's Safe at School organiser. Rhoslyn and Antonia are speaking at a pro-life conference organised by the Archbishop of Ibadan.

Comments on this blog? Email them to

A Covering of Consumerism

As soon as I fly into some countries, I sense a spiritual presence surrounding that country. I distinctly remember flying into Ireland for the first time, through churning black clouds in the twilight, over a landscape of lights and darkness.

The entire feeling was one of chaos and turbulence.

When I flew into France, the air was bitter cold and sharp, like a knife, the day ending in rain and gloom, on that day after the Je suis Charlie shootings.

Flying into the States, I had a sense of a huge dome covering the entire nation, a dome of self-sufficiency, arrogance, and most of all, consumerism.

The main demon of this country is gross consumerism. I call it a god, an idol, to which millions of people bow and scrape, desiring comfort and solace in this time of anxiety. One can almost feel this presence of consumerism, like a smothering blanket of constant buying and selling woven by fear, and the lack of trust in Divine Providence.

Consumerism is fed by narcissism, because the narcissist always has to have the best that money can buy. Consumerism destroys neighborhoods and communities as people are too busy working and shopping. 

It is too easy to get caught up with this consumeristic philosophy, the main one of this once free and simple land. Or, was it always this way?

Looking back over the history of America, one sees the tension of dreams of peace and prosperity mixed with clever greed and anxious conformity. Because things, stuff, are relatively inexpensive, one is tempted to buy what one does not need and ignore the millions of people who need basics for life, daily.

Consumer goods have dulled the sense of personal responsibility for the other. The real other, the outsider, is not considered when one is discussing with one's significant other whether one needs to buy a new car, when the old one is running just fine, or whether one needs to redecorate, because one is bored, or whether one needs just one more pair of shoes.

For four years exactly, I lived out of two suitcases and a carry on. Now, I am facing taking my few things out of storage this week and doing the last cull. I have no furniture, except the chapel furnishings, and mostly books and personal papers, plus photos of you-know-who.

Still, STS said, "Mum, get rid of it all," like a true apostle, knowing that what one really needs is limited. Things get in the way of God. Things demand time and attention, time and attention taken away from God. Detachment forms the real backbone of the spiritual man or woman.

For years, when I was married, a long time ago now, in England, we had no car (we never did get one), no phone (we used the local red box), no refrigerator (I shopped daily-- butter and cheese were left out, while the milk was put on the window sill).

Honestly, we did not miss these things-car, phone, fridge. I never had a freezer, and only had a washer-dryer the last year of my marriage.

We managed. We did not miss modern conveniences. We ate well and entertained friends, including sems and priests, without all the mod-cons.

I never had a crock pot, or a microwave, cooking all things the "long way" as I had learned.

If someone wanted to get ahold of us, they had to stop by, or write a note. Imagine. No phone.

I realized today that our little house was rather monastic. 

Even when I had the Montessori school, things were simple, like Montessori's original ideas.

I made much of the materials, as one learns when one is studying to be a directress.

Amazing how people lived before PCs and the Internet.

I am going back towards those times. Poverty limits what I own, what I have, what I use. Poverty determines if I even have the Net or a cell phone.

One learns to do without. And, it is refreshingly freeing.

I never want to go back to accumulation and consumerism. I pray to God not to ever get caught up in that again. Being poor and not having credit cards provides me with discipline. If I do not have the money, I cannot buy even, sometimes, necessities.

So be it.

I considered my passive purgation a stand against consumerism. May God wean me from every single venial sin and tendency towards sin, especially the sin of this nation of shopkeepers and shopdwellers.

I defy the covering of consumerism. However, I do need a place to live, to pray, to set up the chapel I shall have to take down in one month. Please pray for me to find this place, and help if you can.

Consumerism hates need, as needs are basic.....consumerism thrives on wants, not needs.

McBlogging and Random Animals

In one week,

I shall be limited to McBlogging. So, I shall try and do as much as I can this coming week.

A  reader said I needed more animals on the blog.

Hmmmm Need some statistics...

I decided to do a pictorial study of whether more men attended Mass pre-Vatican II. As there are no hard statistics to be found, I thought at least photos would reveal something.

Let me start with the famous 1959 painting by Rockwell. "Sunday Morning"--pre-Vat. II.

Mexicans worshipping without priests, 1926

Wedding, 1947

Wedding, 1930s

Coming out of Mass, 1930s

Wedding, 1950

Wedding, 1950

Wedding, 1960

Special Mass, 1958 with priests and sems, check out laity

Mass, 1950s

And just for the heck of it, a Lutheran church, 1930s