Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Clear and Distinct Ideas

"The interior life, which presupposes the state of grace, consists, as we have seen, in a generous tendency of the soul toward God, in which little by little each one's intimate conversation with himself is elevated, is transformed, and becomes an intimate conversation of the soul with God. It is, we said, eternal life begun in the obscurity of faith before reaching its full development in the clarity of that vision which cannot be lost.
Better to comprehend what this seed of eternal life, semen gloriae, is in us, we must ponder the fact that from sanctifying grace spring forth in our faculties the infused virtues, both theological and moral, and also the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost; virtues and gifts which are like the subordinated functions of one and the same organism, a spiritual organism, which ought to develop until our entrance into heaven."

The above quote from Fr. Garigou-Lagrange, OP, The Three Ages of the Interior Life (as reported on the web site of the same name), reminds me of my first nuncio in Vienna, Archbishop Michele Cecchini, and his highest compliment for another person: "He has clear and distinct ideas". How can anyone be less than satisfied with the great Dominican's ideas?

Having faced high school and college in the 1960-70's, I am all too familiar with the sort of know-it-all deconstruction which expressed dissatisfaction with the "old school" while offering only fuzzy/warm obscurity as a substitute. If I had a wish for length of days, sight and hearing, clearness of intellect and health, it would be such that I could learn all the lessons I was denied in my youth. May we never stop learning!

Happy reading!

"A man illumined by faith thus advances toward God by the two wings of hope and love. As soon as he sins mortally, however, he loses sanctifying grace and charity, since he turns away from God, whom he ceases to love more than himself. But divine mercy preserves infused faith and infused hope in him as long as he does not sin mortally against these virtues. He still preserves the light which indicates the road to be followed and he can still entrust himself to infinite mercy in order to ask of it the grace of conversion.
Of these three theological virtues, charity is the'highest, and together with sanctifying grace, it ought to endure forever. "Charity," says St. Paul, "never falleth away. . . . Now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity." (12) It will last forever, eternally, when faith will have disappeared to give place to vision, and when hope will be succeeded by the inamissible possession of God clearly known.
Such are the superior functions of the spiritual organism: the three theological virtues which grow together, and with them the infused moral virtues that accompany them." (from Chapter 3 of Part I)

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