Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chapter XVI : The Difference between Perfection in the Lives of Contemplatives and those who practice Mental Prayer

1 So far, in describing the virtues, I have only been 'placing the board'; you have asked me to tell you the way to attain to contemplation, and in this matter, the King does not allow Himself to be taken except by one who surrenders wholly to Him.  If you think it is unimportant to place such stress on the virtues, you can continue to practice mental prayer all your life; but unless you strive after the virtues, you will never arrive at contemplation.  The King of glory will not come and be united with our souls unless we strive to gain the greatest virtues.

2 Contemplation is Divine Union, in which the Lord takes His delight in the soul, and the soul takes its delight in Him.  So, although a person in mortal sin may experience a genuine vision, that person could not arrived at contemplation while in this state of sin.  The Lord gives such consolations to prepare them and test them; but few really prepare themselves to enjoy this favour of contemplation.

3 When the Lord gives His favours and we ourselves leave nothing undone, I think it is certain that He never ceases from giving until He has brought us to a very high degree of prayer.  If we do not give ourselves resolutely, as He gives Himself to us, He will leave us in mental prayer, just visiting us from time to time.  These others, whom He draws to contemplation, are His beloved children, whom He would never want to banish from His side.  He sits them at His table, feeds them with His own food, almost taking the food from His mouth to give it to them.

4 How happy we shall be, if by leaving these few, petty things we can arrive at so high an estate!  If the world should blame you, and eaten you with its cries, what matter so long as you are in the arms of God?  What a wonderful exchange, if we give Him our love, and receive His!  We do hardly anything at all - just make some poor weak resolution.

5 All our trouble comes from not having our eyes fixed on the Lord; we do not set our eyes on the true Way.  Do not be afraid that He will fail to do His part if we do not fail to do ours.  Since we come here for no other reason than to arrive at contemplation, let us put our hands to plough.  We must be venturesome to take in hand whatever wouldbe a service to the Lord.  We must have a holy boldness, for God helps the strong, being no respecter of persons, and He will give courage to you and to me.


The Way of perfection


Paragraph numbering was made by the blog owner for easy reference in some of his reflections and writings.

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