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But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting. John, ' of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in him. Not only grace, God's created gift, but the divine Persons will come: Thus the Holy Trinity dwells in us, in the obscurity of faith, in very much the same way as It dwells in the souls of the saints in heaven who see It face to face.

It is much more wonderful than any miracle, this supernatural life. A miracle is an exercise of the divine omnipotence by which God signifies that one of His servants speaks in His name, or that he is of eminent sanctity. But even the raising of the dead to life, the miracle by which a corpse is reanimated with its natural life, is almost nothing in comparison with the resurrection of a soul, which has been lying spiritually dead in sin and has now been raised to the essentially supernatural life of grace.

Grace, then, is eternal life already begun within us, and this is why Christ says: Neither shall they say: Behold here or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you. John, ' that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren '; [30] and ' these things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life, you that believe in the name of the Son of God. Thomas expresses this doctrine in the brief statement: Grace is nothing else but a certain beginning of glory within us. Jesus Christ gives us both the one and the other, because He has merited it for us and because He is the source of it in all the members to which He gives life.

And therefore the Liturgy tells us, in the Preface used for the Mass of the Dead. We are thus able to appreciate something of the importance of true conversion, by which a man passes from the state of mortal sin to the state of grace. In the former state his energies were dissipated and he was indifferent in regard to God; now he loves God more than he loves himself, more than he loves anything else; at any rate he esteems God beyond all earthly things, even though his love of God may not be free from all selfish motives.

The state of sin was a state of spiritual death; a state in which, more or less consciously, he made himself the center of all his activities and the end of all his desires; in which he was actually the slave of everything, the slave of his passions, of the spirit of the world, of the spirit of evil.

The state of grace, on the other hand, is a state of life in which man begins seriously to tend beyond himself and to make God the center of his activities, loving God more than himself. The state of grace is entrance into the kingdom of God, where the docile soul begins to reign with God over its own passions, over the spirit of the world and the spirit of evil. We may well understand, therefore, how St. This grace alone is worth more than all created natures together, including even the angelic natures.

For the angels, too, stood in need, not of redemption, but of the gratuitous gift of grace in order to tend to the supernatural beatitude to which God called them. Augustine says that when God created the nature of the angels He also gave them the gift of grace: No created nature, however perfect, is the germ of grace, whereas grace is indeed the germ or the seed of eternal life, semen gloriae. Hence when a sinner is absolved in the confessional, an event occurs which is proportionately of greater importance than the entrance of a just soul into heaven.

This doctrine is expressed by Pascal in one of the finest pages of his Pensees, a page which summarizes the teaching of St. Thomas on this point: All bodies together, and all spirits together, and all that they can produce, are of less value than the smallest act of charity, because this is of an infinitely higher order.

From all bodies together it would be impossible to extract a single thought, because a thought is of a higher order than they. From all bodies and all spirits together it would be impossible to extract one single act of true charity, because an act of charity is of the supernatural order. Luther erred fundamentally, therefore, when he tried to explain justification, not by the infusion of a grace and charity which remit sin, but merely by faith in Christ, without works and without love; making it consist simply in the extrinsic imputation of the merits of Christ, an imputation which covers sins without destroying them, and thus leaves the sinner in his filth and corruption.

The Way of Perfection

According to his view there was no regeneration of the will by the supernatural love of God and men. We have seen, on the contrary, what is the teaching of the Scriptures and of Tradition. Faith and the extrinsic imputation of the justice of Christ are not sufficient for the justification or conversion of the sinner. He must be willing, in addition, to observe the commandments, above all the two great commandments of the love of God and the love of one's neighbor: According to the true teaching of Christ we are in an order far transcending natural morality.

Our unaided reason tells us that it is our duty to love God, the author of our nature, and to love Him effectively, that is, by observing His commandments. But even this natural duty we are unable to fulfill without the help of God's grace, so weakened are our wills in consequence of original sin. Still less are we able by our natural powers alone to love God, the author of grace; for this love is of an essentially supernatural order, as supernatural for the angels as it is for us.

Such is the supernatural life which we received in Baptism; and this is what constitutes our interior life. This beginning of eternal life, as we have called it, is a complete spiritual organism, which has to grow and develop until we enter heaven.

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The root principle of this undying organism is sanctifying grace, received in the very essence of the soul; and this grace would last for ever, were it not that sin, a radical disorder in the soul, sometimes destroys it. First, the theological virtues, the greatest of which, charity, is destined to last for ever- ' Charity never falleth away, ' says St.

In addition to the theological virtues there are also the infused moral virtues, which perfect man in his use of the means of salvation, just as the former dispose him rightly in regard to his end. The infused moral virtues are like so many functions admirably adapted one to another, infinitely surpassing in perfection those of our physical organism; they are called- prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance Finally, in order to supply the deficiencies of these virtues which, in the twilight of faith and under the direction of prudence, still act in too human a fashion, we are given the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, who dwells in us.

These are like the sails on a ship; they dispose us to receive obediently and promptly the breathing that comes from on high, the special inspirations of God; inspirations which enable us to act, no longer in merely human fashion, but divinely, with that alacrity which we need in order to run in the way of God, undismayed by any obstacles. All these infused virtues and gifts grow with sanctifying grace and charity, says St. Thomas ;[44] they increase together just as the five fingers of the hand, or the organs of our body, develop simultaneously.

Thus it is inconceivable that a soul should possess a high degree of charity without possessing at the same time a proportionate degree of the gift of wisdom; whether this exist under a definitely contemplative form, or in a practical guise, more directly adapted to action. The wisdom of a St. Vincent de Paul is unlike that of a St. Augustine; but the one and the other are equally infused. In this way the whole of the spiritual organism develops simultaneously, though it may manifest its activity under various forms. And, from this point of view, since the infused contemplation of the mysteries of faith is an act of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, an act which disposes the soul to the beatific vision, must we not admit that such contemplation is in the normal way of sanctity?.

Let us now examine more closely the full development of our eternal life in heaven, in order that we may better appreciate the value of that sanctifying grace which is its beginning. In particular let us compare it with what would have been our beatitude and our reward if we had been created in a purely natural state. If we had been created in a state of pure nature, with a spiritual and immortal soul, but without the life of grace, even then our intellect would have been made for the knowledge of the True and our will for the love of the Good. Our end would have been to know God, the Sovereign Good, the author of our nature, and to love Him above all things.

But we should have known Him only in the reflection of His goodness in creatures, in the same way as the greatest among the pagan philosophers knew Him, though our knowledge would have been more certain than theirs, and free from any admixture of error. God would have been for us the First Cause and the Supreme Intelligence that orders all the things of creation. We should have loved Him as the author of our nature, with that love which a subject has for his superior.

It would not have been a love of friendship, but rather a sentiment compounded of admiration, respect and gratitude, yet lacking that happy and simple familiarity which rejoices the hearts of the children of God. We should have been God's servants, but not His children. This natural end is already a sublime destiny. It could never bring satiety, just as the eye never tires of contemplating the blue vault of heaven. Moreover, it is a spiritual end, and therefore, unlike material goods, can be possessed at once by all and by each, without possession on the part of one being prejudicial to possession on the part of another, and thus without causing jealousy or discord.

But this abstract and mediate knowledge of God would have left many obscurities in the human mind, especially as regards the mutual compatibility of the divine perfections. We should forever have remained at the stage of counting singly and enumerating these absolute perfections; we should forever have wondered how it was possible to reconcile the almighty goodness of God with His permission that evil should exist; an evil, too, which is sometimes so great as to disconcert the human mind. We should have asked ourselves, moreover, how His infinite mercy could be truly consistent with His infinite justice.

Even though we enjoyed this natural beatitude, we should still be urged to say: What the most brilliant of human minds, what even the intelligence of the angels could never have discovered, divine Revelation has disclosed to us. Revelation tells us that our last end is essentially supernatural and that it consists in seeing God immediately, face to face, as He is: We are destined to see God, not merely in the mirror of creatures, however perfect these may be, but to see Him immediately, without the intermediary of any creature, and even without the medium of any created idea; for no created idea, however perfect, could ever represent as He really is One who is Thought itself, infinite Truth, the eternally subsistent brightness of intelligence and the living flame of measureless Love.

We are destined to see all the divine perfections concentrated and intimately united in their common source: We are destined to see how the tenderest Mercy and the most inexorable Justice proceed from the one Love which is infinitely generous and infinitely holy; how this Love, even in its freest choice, is identically one with pure Wisdom, how there is nothing in the divine Love which is not wise, nothing in the divine Wisdom which is not synonymous with Love.

We are destined to contemplate the eminent simplicity of God, His absolute purity and sanctity; to see the infinite fecundity of the divine nature in the procession of the Three Persons: The Good tends naturally to diffuse itself, and the greater the Good the more abundant and intimate is its self-giving. None can tell the joy and the love which this vision will produce in us, a love of God so pure and so strong that nothing will ever be able to destroy or in the slightest degree to diminish it.

In no way, therefore, can we express more clearly the preciousness of sanctifying grace, or of the true interior life, than by saying that it is a beginning of eternal life. Here on earth we know God only by faith, and, while we hope one day to possess Him, we are able, unfortunately, to lose Him by sin. But, apart from these two differences, it is fundamentally the same life, the same sanctifying grace and the same charity, which is to last through all eternity. This is the fundamental truth of Christian spirituality. Consequently our interior life must be a life of humility, for we must remember always that the principle of that life, sanctifying grace, is a gratuitous gift, and that we need an actual grace for the slightest salutary act, for the shortest step forward in the way of salvation.

It must be also a life of mortification; as St. Paul says, we must be ' always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies '; [49] that is to say: But, above all, our interior life must be a life of faith, hope, charity, and union with God by unceasing prayer; it is above all the life of the three theological virtues and of the gifts of the Holy Ghost which accompany them: In this way we shall enter into the mysteries of faith and relish them more and more.

In other words, our whole interior life tends towards the supernatural contemplation of the mysteries of the inner life of God and of the Incarnation and Redemption; it tends, above all, towards a more intimate union with God, a preliminary to that union with Him, ever actual and perpetual, which will be the consummation of eternal life. If such is the life of grace, if such is the spiritual organism of the infused virtues and the gifts, it is not surprising to find that the development of the interior life has often been compared to the three periods or stages of physical life: Thomas himself has indicated this analogy: It is generally admitted that childhood lasts until the age of puberty, about fourteen; though early childhood, or infancy, ceases at the dawn of reason, about the age of seven.

Youth, or adolescence, lasts from the age of fourteen to twenty. Then follows manhood, in which we may distinguish the period which precedes full maturity, about the age of thirty-five, and that which follows it, before the decline of old age sets in. A man's mentality changes with the development of the organism: The child has as yet no discernment, it is unable to organize in a rational manner; it follows the lead of the imagination and the impulses of sense.

And even when its reason begins to awaken it still remains to a great extent dependent upon the senses. So, for example, a child asked me one day: The child's intelligence was as yet unable to grasp the abstract and universal idea of man as such. Most important to be noticed, for the purposes of our present subject, is the transition from childhood to adolescence and from youth to manhood.

The period of puberty, which is the end of childhood, about the age of fourteen, is characterized by a transformation which is not only organic but also psychological, intellectual and moral. The youth is no longer content to follow his imagination, as the child was; he begins 10 reflect on the things of human life, on the need to prepare himself for some career or occupation in the future.

He has no longer the child's attitude towards family, social and religious matters; his moral personality begins to take shape, and he acquires the sense of honor and of good repute. Or else, on the contrary, if he passes unsuccessfully through this difficult period, he deteriorates and follows evil courses. The law of nature so ordains that the transition from childhood to youth must follow a normal development; otherwise the subject will assume a positive bias to evil, or else he will remain a half-wit, perhaps even a complete idiot, for the rest of his life.

It is at this point that the analogy becomes illuminating for the spiritual life. We shall see that the beginner who fails to become a proficient, either turns to sin or else presents an example of arrested spiritual development. Here, too, it is true that ' he who makes no progress loses ground, ' as the Fathers of the Church have so often pointed out. Let us pursue the analogy further. If the physical and moral crisis of puberty is a difficult transition, the same is to be said of another crisis, which we may call the crisis of the first freedom, and which occurs at the stage where the youth enters manhood, about the age of twenty.

The young man, having now reached his complete physical development, has to begin to take his place in social life. It will soon be time for him to marry and to become an educator in his turn, unless he has received from God a higher vocation still. Many fail to surmount this crisis of the first freedom, and, like the prodigal son, depart from their father's house and confuse liberty with license. Here again the law ordains that the transition must be made normally; otherwise the young man either takes the wrong road, or else his development is arrested and he becomes one of those of whom it is said: The true adult is not merely a young man grown a little older.

He has a new mentality; he is preoccupied with wider questions, questions to which the youth does not yet advert. He understands the younger generation, but the younger generation does not understand him; conversation between them on certain subjects, except of a very superficial kind, is impossible. There is a somewhat similar relation, in the spiritual life, between the proficient and the perfect. He who is perfect understands the earlier stages through which he has himself already passed; but he cannot expect to be understood by those who are still passing through them.

The important thing to be noticed is that, just as there is the crisis of puberty, more or less manifest and more or less successfully surpassed, between childhood and adolescence, so in the spiritual life there is an analogous crisis for the transition from the purgative life of beginners to the illuminative life of proficients. This crisis has been described by several great spiritual writers, in particular by Tauler [50] and especially by St. John of the Cross, under the name of the passive purgation of the senses, [51] and by Pere Lallemant, S.

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Moreover, just as the youth has to pass through a second crisis, that of the first freedom, in order to reach manhood, so in the transition from the illuminative way of the proficients to the true life of union, there is a second spiritual crisis, mentioned by Tauler, [53] and described by St. John of the Cross under the name of the passive purgation of the spirit.

None has better described these crises which mark the transition from one spiritual period to another than St. John of the Cross. It will be noticed that they correspond to the two parts of the human soul, the sensitive and the spiritual. John of the Cross, it is true, describes spiritual progress as it appears especially in contemplatives, and in the most generous among contemplatives, who are striving to reach union with God by the most direct way possible.

He therefore shows us what are the higher laws of the spiritual life at their maximum of sublimity. But these laws apply in a lesser degree also to many other souls who do not reach so high a state of perfection, but are nevertheless making devoted progress, and not looking back. In the chapters which follow it will be our object to show that, according to the traditional teaching, beginners in the spiritual life must, after a certain period, undergo a second conversion, similar to the second conversion of the Apostles at the end of our Lord's Passion, and that, still later, before entering upon the life of perfect union, there must be a third conversion or transformation of the soul, similar to that which took place in the souls of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.

This distinction between the three periods or stages of the spiritual life is clearly of great importance, as those who are charged with the direction of souls well know. An old and experienced director who has himself reached the age of the perfect may have read but little of the writings of the mystics, and yet he will be able to answer well and readily the most delicate questions on the most sublime subjects, and he will answer in the words of the Scriptures, perhaps by quoting a passage from the Gospel of the day, without even suspecting for a moment how truly profound his answers are.

On the other hand a young and inexperienced priest, himself only at the age of a beginner, will have little more than a book-knowledge and a verbal acquaintance with the spiritual life. The question with which we are concerned is thus in the highest sense a vital question; and it is important that we should consider it from the traditional point of view.

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If we do so consider it, we shall see how true is the saying of the ancients, that ' in the way of God he who makes no progress loses ground '; and it will appear also that our interior life must, already here on earth, become the normal prelude to the beatific vision.

In this deep sense our interior life is, as we have said, eternal life already begun: WE have seen that, comparable with the two crises which mark the transition from childhood to youth and from youth to manhood, there are also in the spiritual life two crises, one by which proficients pass into the illuminative way, and another by which the perfect reach the state of union. The first of these crises has been called a second conversion, and it is of this that we have now to speak. The liturgy, especially at periods such as Advent and Lent, speaks often of the need of conversion, even for those who are leading a Christian life.

Spiritual writers also refer often to this second conversion, necessary for the Christian who, though he has thought seriously of his salvation and made an effort to walk in the way of God, has nevertheless begun once more to follow the bent of his nature and to fall into a state of tepidity -- like an engrafted plant reverting to its wild state. Some of these writers, such as the Blessed Henry Suso or Tauler, have insisted especially upon the necessity of this second conversion, a necessity which they have learned from their own experience.

John of the Cross has profoundly pointed out that the entrance into the illuminative way is marked by a passive purgation of the senses, which is a second conversion, and that the entrance into the unitive way is preceded by a passive purgation of the spirit, a further and a deeper conversion affecting the soul in its most intimate depths.

Among the writers of the Society of Jesus we may quote Pere Lallemant, who writes: We find this in the case of the Apostles, first when our Lord called them, and then when He sent the Holy Ghost upon them; we find it in the case of St. Teresa, of her confessor, P. Alvarez, and of many others. This second conversion is not granted to all religious, and it is due to their negligence. This question is of the greatest interest for every spiritual soul.

Among those who dealt with it before St. John of the Cross we must count St. Catherine of Siena, who touches upon the subject repeatedly in her Dialogue and in her Letters. Her treatment, which is very realistic and practical, throws a great light upon the teaching which is commonly received in the Church. Catherine, we shall speak first of this second conversion as it took place in the Apostles, and then as it should take place in us; we shall say what defects render this conversion necessary, what great motives ought to inspire it, and finally what fruits it should produce in us.

Catherine of Siena speaks explicitly of the second conversion of the Apostles in the 63rd chapter of her Dialogue. Their first conversion had taken place when Jesus called them, with the words: Three of them saw Him transfigured on Tabor. All were present at the institution of the Eucharist, were ordained priests and received Holy Communion. But when the hour of the Passion arrived, an hour which Jesus had so often foretold, the Apostles abandoned their Master Even Peter, though he loved his Master devotedly; went so far as to deny Him thrice.

But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted confirm thy brethren. When did his second conversion begin? Immediately after his triple denial, as we are told in the Gospel of St. Luke [60] ' Immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. And the Lord turning, looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter going out, wept bitterly.

In connection with this second conversion of St. Peter it is well to recall the words of St. Thomas; [61] ' Even after a grave sin, if the soul has a sorrow which is truly fervent and proportionate to the degree of grace which it has lost, it will recover this same degree of grace; grace may even revive in the soul in a higher degree, if the contrition is still more fervent. Thus the soul has not to begin again completely from the beginning, but it continues from the point which it had reached at the moment of the fall.

Everything leads us to suppose that Peter's repentance was so fervent that he not only recovered the degree of grace which he possessed before, but was raised to a higher degree of supernatural life. Our Lord had allowed him to fall in this way in order to cure him of his presumption, so that he might be more humble and place his confidence in God and not in himself.

Catherine writes in her Dialogue: Yet his lamentations were imperfect, and remained so until after the forty days, that is until after the Ascension. They remained imperfect in spite of the appearances of our Lord. 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 through fear, because the soul always fears until it arrives at true love. Yet even before the end of the Passion of Christ there was clearly a second conversion in Peter and the other Apostles, a conversion which was consolidated during the days that followed. After His resurrection our Lord appeared to them several times, enlightening them, as He did when He taught the disciples of Emmaus the understanding of the Scriptures; and in particular, after the miraculous draught of fishes, He made Peter compensate for his threefold denial by a threefold act of love.

He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time: And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

The threefold act of love made reparation for the threefold denial. It was a consolidation of the second conversion, a measure of confirmation in grace before the transformation of Pentecost. John, too, there had been something special just before the death of Christ. John, like the other Apostles, had abandoned his Master when Judas arrived with his band of armed men; but by an invisible and powerful grace Jesus drew the beloved disciple to the foot of the cross, and the second conversion of St.

John took place when he heard the seven last words of the dying Savior. In the 60th and 63rd chapters of her Dialogue, St. Catherine shows that what happened in the case of the Apostles, our models formed immediately by the Savior Himself, must happen, after a certain manner, in the case of each one of us.

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Indeed we may say that if even the Apostles stood in need of a second conversion, then still more do we. The Saint emphasizes especially the faults which make this second conversion necessary, in particular self-love. In varying degrees this egoism survives in all imperfect souls in spite of the state of grace, and it is the source of a multitude of venial sins, of habitual faults which become characteristic features of the soul, rendering necessary a veritable purging even in those who have, as it were, been present on Mount Tabor, or who have often partaken of the Eucharistic banquet, as the Apostles did at the Last Supper.

In her Dialogue [65] St. Catherine of Siena speaks of this self-love, describing it as ' the mercenary love of the imperfect, ' of those who, without being conscious of it, serve God from self-interest, because they are attached to temporal or spiritual consolations, and who shed tears of self-pity when they are deprived of them.

It is a strange but not uncommon mixture of sincere love of God with an inordinate love of self. It has not yet reached the stage of loving itself in God and for His sake. Such a state of soul is neither white nor black; it is a light gray, in which there is more white than black. The soul is on the upward path, but it still has a tendency to slip downwards.

We read in this 60th chapter of the Dialogue it is God who speaks. But this love is still imperfect, because what they seek in My service at any rate to a great extent is their own profit, their own satisfaction, or the pleasure that they find in Me. The same imperfection is found in the love which they bear towards their neighbor.

And do you know what shows the imperfection of their love?

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It is that, as soon as they are deprived of the consolations which they find in Me, their love fails and can no longer survive. It becomes weak and gradually cools towards Me when, in order to exercise them in virtue and to detach them from their imperfection, I withdraw spiritual consolations from them and send them difficulties and afflictions. I act in this way in order to bring them to perfection, to teach them to know themselves, to realize that they are nothing and that of themselves they have no grace.

It would seem, unhappily, that the great majority of souls do not belong to any of these three categories, of beginners, proficients or perfect, but rather to that of stunted souls!

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At what stage are we ourselves? This is often a very difficult question to answer, and it would perhaps be vain curiosity to inquire at what point we have arrived in our upward path; but at least we must take care not to mistake the road, not to take a path that leads downwards. It is important, therefore, to reach beyond the merely mercenary love, which often we unconsciously retain.

We read in this same 60th chapter: But as soon as the time of tribulation came all his courage forsook him. Not only did he not have the strength to suffer for Him, but at the first threat of danger his loyalty was overcome by the most servile fear, and he denied Him three times, swearing that he did not know Him. Catherine of Siena, in the 63rd chapter of the same Dialogue, shows that the imperfect soul, which loves God with a love which is still mercenary, must do what Peter did after his denial. Not infrequently Providence allows us, too, at this stage to commit some very palpable fault, in order to humiliate us and cause us to take true measure of ourselves.

But it is, I say, still imperfect, and in order to draw it on to perfection I withdraw from it, not in grace but in feeling. This I do in order to humiliate that soul, and cause it to seek Me in truth John of the Cross, following Tauler, gives us three signs which mark this second conversion: For God now begins to communicate Himself to it, no longer through sense, as He did aforetime, by means of reflections which joined and sundered its knowledge, but by an act of simple contemplation, to which neither the exterior nor the interior senses of the lower part of the soul can attain.

Progressives or proficients thus enter, according to St. John of the Cross, ' upon the road and way of the spirit, which Catherine of Siena does not give so exact an analysis, she insists particularly upon one of the signs of this state: At that moment Peter received a grace of enlightenment; he remembered, and going out he wept bitterly. At the end of this same 63rd chapter of her Dialogue we find a passage of which St. John of the Cross later gives a full development- ' I withdraw from the soul, ' says the Lord, ' so that it may see and know its defects, so that, feeling itself deprived of consolation and afflicted by pain, it may recognize its own weakness, and learn how incapable it is of stability or perseverance, thus cutting down to the very root of spiritual self-love; for this should be the end and purpose of all its self-knowledge, to rise above itself, mounting the throne of conscience, and not permitting the sentiment of imperfect love to turn again in its death-struggle, but, with correction and reproof, digging up the root of self-love, with the knife of self-hatred and the love of virtue.

In this same connection the Saint speaks of the many dangers that lie in wait for a soul that is moved only by a mercenary love, saying that souls which are imperfect desire to follow the Father alone, without passing by the way of Christ crucified, because they have no desire to suffer. The first motive is expressed in the greatest commandment, which knows no limits: Catherine of Siena emphasizes this in the 11th and 47th chapters of her Dialogue, reminding us that we can only perfectly fulfill the commandment of love towards God and our neighbor if we have the spirit of the counsels, that is to say, the spirit of detachment from earthly goods, which, in the words of St.

Paul, we must use as though we used them not. The great motive of the second conversion is thus described in the 60th chapter: I am the rewarder of every labor, and I render to every man according to his condition and according to his works. Wherefore, if these souls do not abandon the exercise of holy prayer and their other good works, but continue with perseverance to increase their virtues, they will arrive at the state of filial love, because I respond to them with the same love with which they love Me; so that if they love Me as a servant loves his master, I pay them their wages according to their deserts, but I do not reveal myself to them, because secrets are revealed to a friend who has become one thing with his friend, and not to a servant And I will manifest Myself to them, as My Truth said in these words- " He who loves me shall be one thing with me and I with him, and I will manifest myself to him and we will dwell together.

This is contemplation, which proceeds from faith enlightened by the gifts, from faith united with love; it is a knowledge which savors mysteries and penetrates into their depths. A second motive which should inspire the second conversion is the price of the blood of the Savior, which St. Checkout Your Cart Price. The Way of Perfection was written in order for the saint to instruct her nuns in proper prayer, but it is applicable for all Christians wishing to deepen their religious practice and achieve a greater connection with God.

Through devotion, austerity, poverty, and most of all humility, she invites the presence of God into her life so that she may do His work. And these qualities she hopes to encourage in all readers so that they may find true spiritual love.

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