Sunday, October 25, 2009

A serious spiritual life becomes a continuous effort - with a glance enlightened by supernatural faith

"Good sense and sound judgment, by which are meant the practical use of our thinking faculties, bring us to see things as they really are, as they exist in the world around us. It goes without saying that there can be no perfection of the soul without them. They are, so to speak, the groundwork of perfection, matters of the first importance.

St Teresa, whose views in this matter are universally acknowledged to be right, had no wish to have people in her convents who were too limited in these areas, and for this reason: with them there is little hope of any spiritual progress being made. 'If a person is going to reform himself' she says, 'and to advance in virtue, then he must first of all be a person of intelligence, of sound judgment.'

St John of the Cross takes the same view. 'Enter into accound with thy reason,' he writes in his Maxims. 'He that acs according to reason is like one that eats of substantial food.'

In one way or another all Carmelite spiritual writers give evidence of this same fundamental confidence in reason which joins the life of devotion to natural realities in the same way that a healthy vine-stock is rooted in the soul which nourishes and feeds it. And in this attitude they take toward reason we already have the rough sketch of their whole philosophy of the spiritual life.

Nevertheless, above and beyond the light of reason, there is the more brilliant sun of faith.

In the light of faith, another Reality - An Infinite Reality - is indissolubly linked with the realities we already know by reason. This is the Reality of God - 'He Who is.' This is that 'sea of glass, like unto crystal' (Apocalypse 4:6) which stretches farther than the eye can see before the throne of God.

Through faith and reason joined to one another in this way, the Christian has a kind of supernatural good sense which  leads him to see things as they are actually seen by God, to see them as they truly are. A spiritual life which is at all serious thus becomes a continuous effort to be true, to see all circumstances in proportion and perspective - with an eye made clear by purity of intention, with a glance enlightened by supernatural faith."

-- The Simple Steps to God by Fr François of St Mary, ocd

No comments: