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The Necessity for Interior Purification

The Necessity for Interior Purification

 

Presence of God – Purify my soul, O Lord, so that it may be filled completely with Your light and Your love.

MEDITATION

St. John of the Cross compares the soul to a glass window with a ray of sunlight shining on it. If the glass is dirty, “the ray cannot illuminate it, nor transform it completely into its light; its illumination will be in proportion to its clearness. If, on the other hand, it is absolutely clean and spotless, it will be illuminated and transformed in such a for post on interior purificationway as to appear to be the luminous ray itself, and to give the same light” (Ascent of Mount Carmel II, 5,6). God is the divine Sun shining upon our souls, desiring to invade them and penetrate them, completely transforming them into His light and love. Before He does this, however, He waits until the soul resolves to free itself from every “creature stain,” that is, the stains of sin and inordinate attachments. As soon as God finds that a soul is free from mortal sin, He immediately fills it with His grace. This precious gift is the first step in the great transformation which the Lord desires to bring about in us. The more we become purified of all sin and imperfection, and of even the slightest attachment; that is, in proportion as we conform our will to the will of God, not only in serious matters of obligation but even in the least details of perfection, the more capable we become of being entirely penetrated and transformed by divine Grace.

Grace, the gift of God which makes the soul a participant in the divine nature, is poured forth into the soul in proportion to its degree of interior purity, which always corresponds to its degree of conformity with God’s will. Therefore, the soul that wishes to be totally possessed and transformed by divine Grace, must in practice strive to conform fully to the will of God, according to the teaching of St. John of the Cross, “so that there may be nothing in the soul that is contrary to the will of God, but that in all and through all its movement may be that of the will of God alone” (Ascent of Mount Carmel I, 11,2).

COLLOQUY

O my God, for what great things have You created me! You have created me to know You, to love You, to serve You—and not as a slave, but as Your child, Your friend, living in intimacy with You, sitting at Your table, enjoying Your presence. O Jesus, You have said, “I will not now call you servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you” (John 15:15)

You have revealed to me the great mystery of a God who deigns to love me as His child, to establish His dwelling in my soul, to invite me to a more intimate friendship and union with Him. You Yourself asked for this union for me at the Last Supper: “As Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us” (John 17:21). To be one with God, to be consumed in the Unity of the Most Holy Trinity! O Jesus, how sublime is the ideal You propose to me, how wonderful the invitation you offer me! Yes, Your words apply also to me, a creature of sin and misery. Why should I delay, remaining among the base things and vanities of this earthly life? Why should I, like a reptile, be content to crawl on the ground, when You invite me to soar like an eagle and give me wings with which to do so? Alone I can do nothing and would struggle in vain to free myself from the bonds of sin, to detach myself from creatures and from myself; all my efforts would be useless because my natural weakness constantly tends to drag me down. But Your grace and love are the wings on which I can fly to perfect union with You. With such an ideal, how could I think it hard to undertake and carry out a work of profound purification and total detachment?

O God, make me understand clearly that “real love consists in detaching oneself from everything that is not You” (John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel II, 5,7). From everything, not only from this thing or that, but from everything, for love is by nature totalitarian, and perfect union demands perfect harmony of wills, desires, and affections.

My God, what profound purification I must undergo in order that You may be able to unite me to Yourself, who art infinite perfection!

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Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art for this post on interior purification: Gandzasar cathedral [of St. John the Baptist, in Gandzasar Monastery], in Kararbakh [Azerbaijan], 5 August 2007, Vladimer Shioshvili, CC, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio Author Insights Edition, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Jeanette

    I was mesmerized by this post from Divine Intimacy. If one is serious about being freed of all sin, imperfection and even the slightest attachment, I think it is absolutely necessary to have a good spiritual director who can point out any blind spots we may have regarding our spiritual life that would hinder our growing closer in intimacy with our Lord. We are blind to our blind spots. We have an awareness of the state of our souls but we need someone looking on who can point out our blind spots and thus help us to correct those areas in our lives that inhibit our spiritual health and progress. The Holy Spirit uses spiritual direction to help us in our battles in life against the world, the flesh and the devil. Spiritual direction helps to keep us on the narrow pathway to eternal life.

    • Maria Arguello

      You are so right! God has been telling me to “detach” from things of this world. This article surely confirms this! Blessings,

  • Jean

    I agree with the three ladies who commented before me. This meditation resonates beautifully.

  • Patricia

    “All lesser loves fall away with the presence of a greater love, and right here is the balance and the answer to detachment- Supernatural Love.” – Mother Angeluca

  • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

    I think that a common misunderstanding about grace is that we can clean ourselves up before we go to God and receive it. We need grace to clean us up. We need Christ in us as the mediator of all graces to channel the graces of the Father into us. All we can do is open up to Christ’s presence within us by the faith and trust of casting our cares on Him. He then sanctifies us and gives us the capacity to avoid sin.
    Before that we are under the law of sin that weakens us towards our favorite sin actions. Our own willpower is insufficient to deal with the law of sin (see Romans 7:14 – 8:2).

    • Kathy

      Very good words , thank you

    • Eskimo man

      I thought Blessed Mother Mary was the Mediatrix of all graces?

      • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

        That is not in Scripture. It is not even Catholic dogma.

        • LizEst

          The Church is not a sola scriptura faith, but rests on three things: Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. And, She has a long and rich tradition of referring to our Blessed Mother under the title of Mediatrix of All Graces. There is a good post on it here: https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya4.htm As well, Dr. Peter Howard, an expert mariologist has written about it on our site and also teaches it in his Avila Institute courses. We even had a Mass that was celebrated under this title years ago.

          • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

            The first time I read Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 21 which says: “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture”, my reaction was: “this sounds like sola scriptura, Catholic style”.

          • LizEst

            Peter — OK. We accept that that was your reaction. As you know, we’ve had this discussion before. So, please do not proof-text DV for your purposes. For Dei Verbum 10 says: “It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church [the Magisterium], in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” Our Catholic faith rests on Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium together. Period.

          • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

            It says what it says.

        • Eskimo man

          Scriptures are the writings of those inspired by the Holy Spirit which are recorded in the Bible up until the year 100 AD. Everything is not in the Bible, and the Bible is a Catholic book considering it was the Church that decided which books were inspired by God, and which could be used in Catholic teaching and doctrines. It was the Catholic Church that canonized the Bible at the councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage at the end of the 4th century, and it was the Holy Catholic Church that called the Bible the word of God. But it is the word of God to those of the times that the scriptures were written, to the people that the scriptures were directed to, and with a context that can only be verified and interpreted by Sacred Apostolic Tradition. The 3 pillars of Christianity are the infallible Magisterium of the Church, infallible Sacred Apostolic Tradition, and the Holy Bible to be used as a guide for Church teaching. It is the Church that is built on rock, that cannot be overcome by the gates of hell, that has the Keys to the Kingdom of God, the power to bind and loosen knowing that it will be done in Heaven also Matthew 16:17-19, that has the power to forgive or retain the sins of any John 20:21-23, that is the household of God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth 1 Timothy 3:15, that Jesus commanded to Baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, TEACHING all nations what He had commanded, and promising to be with His Church till the end of time Matthew 28:16-20. If you hear the Church, you hear Christ, but if you reject the Church you reject Christ and God the Father who sent Him Luke 10:16. If you refuse to listen to the Church you are no more than a heathen and pagan publican Matthew 18:17. You see the Bible is the word of God through men, and in men’s words. If you interpret the Bible yourself it is no longer the word of God. To believe in God, you have to believe in the Apostles first, because it is the Apostles of the Church that give us the word of God in the first place. If you don’t believe in the Church, you can’t possibly believe in Christ, and the only way to Christ is through His Church. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit do not come in a book. Lastly the fact that Blessed Mary is full of grace, and the Holy Spirit goes to others through her Luke 1:41-44, it is clear that being full of grace she is meant to pass them on to others. Christ always had a role for His Mother to play, and as you can’t go to Christ outside the Church, you can’t go to Christ without His Mother, the mother of the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ.

          • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

            What I can add to this is that the Magisterium itself said in Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 21 that “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture”.

            Sacred Scripture was compiled by the Catholic Church in the fourth century. It was intended to be used by the Church, and apparently to be regulated by it.

            In answer to your comment about Mary being the mediatrix of all graces, the Magisterium in Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 62 says: “Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer”.

            Whenever we read the Bible for ourselves, we comprehend it at our different levels of understanding. If we are not allowed to form an opinion about what we are reading, what is the point in reading it at all? What is the point in reading something when you are not allowed to comprehend it? Dei Verbum 8 says: “This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth”. Looks like all of us can [300 word limit reached]

          • LizEst

            Please see our FAQ (frequently asked questions) here especially number 4.10. http://www.spiritualdirection.com/frequently-asked-questions Next time, kindly keep your comments to the length prescribed or less.

          • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

            What I can add to this is that the Magisterium itself said in Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 21 that “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated bySacred Scripture”.

            Sacred Scripture was compiled by the Catholic Church in the fourth century. It was intended to be used by the Church, and apparently to be regulated by it.

            In answer to your comment about Mary being the mediatrix of all graces, the Magisterium in Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 62 says: “Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles ofAdvocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer”.

            Whenever we read the Bible for ourselves, we comprehend it at our different levels of understanding. If we are not allowed to form an opinion about what we are reading, what is the point in reading it at all? What is the point in reading something when you are not allowed to comprehend it?

            Dei Verbum 8 says: “This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of
            the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth”.

          • http://sites.google.com/site/aiellopeter01 Peter Aiello

            (continuation) Looks like all of us can contribute to
            tradition. If true, we also need to be regulated by Sacred Scripture. If this is also true, we need to be able to read and interpret Scripture for ourselves.

            We as individuals are parts of the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit places us there. We individually have access to His guidance when He is within us. The Body of Christ is the sum of its parts, with Christ as the Head of the Body. All of the individual parts need to communicate with the Head in order to be functioning members of the Body.

          • Eskimo man

            We don’t contribute to Sacred Apostolic Tradition, we follow it and live it. Sacred scripture does not regulate us either, because without Sacred Apostolic Tradition the scriptures are worthless. The Bible clearly forbids private interpretation of the scriptures 2 Peter 1:16-21, but it is
            recommended to read them with a Catholic understanding, knowing that the Priests of the Church will guide us in their correct meaning and context in that they were written. If you refuse to listen to the Church, you are not Christian Matthew 18:17. You are not a part of the Body of Christ if you are outside His Body and Bride the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. The Holy Spirit
            guides the Church, not those who say they have the Holy Spirit from reading a book. We are not individuals, we are one Body of Christ as Christ and God the Father are one. You can be sure that the Holy Spirit is not with you because you have no truth, and He guides the Church to all truth. All 40,000 Protestant cults are divided in their interpretation of scripture, meaning they are not one body, and clearly not Christian.

            Is this scripture referring to your divided Church?

            1 Corinthians 12:26-28 [26] And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it. [27] Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member.
            [28] And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.

          • LizEst

            Eskimo man — this man you are arguing with is Catholic … just so you know. Please also see our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) here question 4 and its subquestions: http://www.spiritualdirection.com/frequently-asked-questions Thank you and God bless you.

          • Eskimo man

            I am sorry for not realizing the restrictions on length of comments, and I thought this bloke was Protestant by his concentration on scripture only.

          • LizEst

            Yeah, I know what you mean.

          • Eskimo man

            Thanks for your understanding, but can I ask why my posts about the truth of Vatican II are deleted?

          • LizEst

            We stand by the Magisterium. What you call “truth of Vatican II” is, instead, not supported by the Magisterium. We will not allow it to be printed and possibly lead some in the wrong direction.

      • LizEst

        Hi Eskimo man — please see my response to Peter below. Yes, the Church still refers to her as you indicate. There’s a nice link there, too.

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