(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love)
" “If you don’t behave as you believe you will end by believing as you behave.” – Venerable Fulton Sheen

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Musings - Which Kind of Soul Am I? - Part 3

[For the past two Mondays we have taken a brief look at two of the three types of souls that Saint Anthony Marie Claret describes in his book The Golden Kingdom – An Explanation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. IgnatiusIf you missed either of these posts you can find them here and hereThe first type "aspire to perfection and to follow Jesus but only in speech and not in their heart". The second has a true will "to aspire to perfection but does not have an all-inclusive generous will". Today we take a look at souls that really want to strive for perfection.]

"The third class of souls consists of those who have an earnest, generous will to strive for perfection. I mean that they are ready and willing not only to carry out whatever God wants, but also to suffer all that His designs provide, in order to acquire perfection... 

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
This soul infallibly arrives at perfection - The measure with which God gives Himself to a man is exactly the same as that which the man gives himself to God. Therefore when the soul surrenders itself entirely and without reserve to God in this state of which we speak, so that it is ready to do and suffer all that pleases God, God also, on His part, communicates Himself totally and without reserve to the soul, and in a very short time raises it to this perfection...

The soul that has this disposition certainly reaches union with God - Union and intimate familiarity with God is the reward promised for perfect charity...Now who is it that has perfect charity, to which is attached the promise of such an outstanding grace? It is beyond doubt one who surrenders himself entirely to God.

This soul infallibly obtains from God many other very sublime graces - If God is infinitely liberal, He will not fail to pour down His Graces superabundantly and will pour them assuredly on any heart which submits completely to Him. These graces consist in a very sweet, quiet peace and joy of heart, in a very tender devotion and affection for God and in other gifts which are properly from the Holy Spirit...

Affective Acts

Fear - O my God, how liberal and merciful Thou art with me! It is purely an effect of Thy Grace that I now know the road which leads to Holiness, that I certainly know I can attain it, provided I abandon myself entirely into Thy Hands. Oh, what goodness! Oh, what Mercy! Oh, what Grace! But these very graces make one tremble, O my God...

And one to whom a great deal has been lent, must likewise restore a great deal. Oh, what a disaster it would be for me, if the very abundance of grace that ought to raise me to a very high level of glory in Heaven, were to plunge me into the depths of hell! This is certain, that for many souls there is no middle state; but they will either be elevated to a very high place in paradise, or they will fall most disastrously into the eternal pit of hell. Could I be one of these? I do no know. Oh frightening thought! I do not know!...

Resolution - I will promptly look after my soul's welfare and begin walking the way that Thou, O my Jesus, hast made known to me today. Yes, at this moment I surrender myself entirely to the ways Thou has designed." 

[I hope that these series of posts have caused you to pause and fruitfully reflect on the condition of your own soul. This is something we all need to do, not once but on a regular basis. St. Anthony Marie Claret is just one of many wise spiritual advisers to consider. Don't stop here. For instance, in The Soul of the Apostolate, Jean Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O., describes nine different types of souls. Many might find his expanded list of descriptions even more helpful.]





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