Friday, July 20, 2012

QUOTATION: Spiritual Perfection

Rushrochius a man very learned, and excellently well versed in spirituality, relates that a holy virgin, explaining to her director, who was a great servant of God, the method she used in prayer, told him, she was accustomed to make her meditation upon the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: and the fruit she reaped thence, was to have a knowledge of herself, of her own faults, and her vicious inclinations; and above all to have a great compassion and sorrow for the sufferings of the Son of God. The director answered her, what she said was very good, but that any one might without attaining any great perfection, be extremely touched with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, even as amongst men, the very sentiments of nature make them feel for the afflictions and calamities of their neighbour. But, the holy virgin, who desired to know the opinion of her confessor, thereby to regulate her way of proceeding, demanded, if a continual lamenting her sins, were not a profitable devotion? Yes, my daughter, replied the confessor: but still that is not what is the most perfect; because naturally what is evil in itself, causes in us dissatisfaction and regret. Would it then be, answered she, a perfect devotion to exercise ourselves in meditating on the pains of the damned, and the glory of the blessed? Nor is that, replied he, what is the most sublime in perfection. For nature itself abhors all that causes it any grief or pain, and is always inclined to what affords it joy and content. At last seeing she could get no other answer from her director, she departed in tears and very much troubled, that she could not understand, to what she should more particularly apply herself in her meditations, to render them more acceptable to God.

Awhile after, as she was still in the same affliction, there appeared to her a young child, of surprising beauty, to whom, after she had discovered the cause of her affliction, and that she could find no one capable of giving her any comfort — not so, said the child: for I both can and will comfort you. Go seek your spiritual father, and tell him that true and real devotion consists in an entire renunciation of one's self, and an absolute resignation into the hands of God, by a strict union with him in love, and a perfect conformity in all things to his divine will. The holy woman, abundantly satisfied with this, told it her director; who answered, that that very thing in reality was the essential point, to which she ought most particularly to apply herself in meditation. Because in this consists true charity, and love of God, and consequently all our advancement and perfection.

--St. Alphonsus Rodriguez