You're right about quietist tendencies in non-dual Christianity today. But some of them (thank God) go only half the way. They propose practices to arrive at the loss of the affective ego or no-self experience, but they emphasize that one has to be active, moral, working etc. This is probably an influence of Zen, because Zen has its own ways to deal with passive "Zen-quietists" which are harshly treated by Zen masters. But the inner passivity seems to be present in those teachings. Of course, they would say they don't annihilate their powers, the powers disappear because of God's activity in the soul. And that is a great problem, I think. If someone practices only centering-prayer, but remains a faithful Christian - the enlightened or no-self state is his achievement through effort, or God's gift? What if he does centering-prayer, and lectio divina, and eucharist, and rosary etc.? It's difficult to draw the line here. You, Phil, describe a certain "annihilation" through your kundalini experience, but you can say you didn't invite it. Perhaps you could resist it more, some would say? I suppose it's not about avoiding inner silence, it's about doing something more than that - traditional prayer, sacraments, community etc, which Quietists, at least some of them, neglected.
See this poem by Thomas Keating from his "Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit", the poem's intended to show the goal of Christian life (the gift of wisdom):
When the self relativizes
And the "me" disappears
There is not much left of time
There is only the present moment
Time which once was most of me
Like "me", is now no more -
Just a memory.
When all anxious seeking stops
But every time I act
Even if to pray
When all striving ceases
I awaken to behold
Keeping silent watch.
This passage from Von Balthasar’s book, Prayer may be of interest:
“Natural mysticism and religion, which starts from man and is directed towards God, is an EROS whose impulse is to take flight from and transcend utterly the things of the world --necessarily, indeed, and inculpably so. But in its desire to reach beyond the things that point the way to God, only seeing them as that which is not God, it is in constant danger of losing the two, both the world and God as well -- the world, because it is not God, and God because He is not the world, who without the aid of the things of the world which mirror Him, can only be experienced as absolute void, nirvana.”
In a different passage (which I can’t seem to find to quote explicitly) Balthazar writes that the members of the Body of Christ properly contemplate the Head, because it is Christ who spearheads the contemplation of the Father in such a way that the entire Mystical Body advances in accordance with the plan of salvation.
Kind of like the Body / group as a whole moves forward in unison in contemplation per God’s ends and per His push. This brings the reality of the church as well as the individual into perspective.
I kind of conceptualize that like the scripture “Unless the Lord builds the house he who labors (at contemplation) labors in vain.” One’s ego / intellect can falsely lead one to go from ashram to ashram, technique to technique, with here a dabble there a dabble -- every where a dabble dabble. But this is inefficient if not ineffective. (Certainly God makes all things work for good, however -- and thankfully so).
In another vein:
In Spiritual Canticle 1:13, SJOC writes about keeping one’s heart continually set on Him with AFFECTIONATE LOVE. ‘Nothing is obtained from God except by love.’ he writes.
Again in SC 26:14 John speaks of the soul’s being absorbed in LOVE. Certainly this is distinct difference from absorption in void.
On another note:
Flame 35-42 is quite instructive and eerily kind of close in some regards to where the Quietists touched. The subtleties of all this seems to require a substantial understanding of where one is on one’s growth curve / journey. Para 42 is scarey in its import.
I can't seem to get Bold and Italic fonts to paste into my posts nor to get those means of emphasizing to work when in Live Cloud and highlighting and bolding. Only capitalization seems to work. So when you see caps please realize I am not shouting.
I like that poem by Keating and think it to be very well nuanced. Notice that he doesn't say that all seeking must stop, but only anxious seeking. By "acting," even if to pray, I'm assuming he's referring to a kind of willful assertion. Still, one wonders what kind of experience this is attesting to? It does all have a more Buddhist feel about it than a Christian mystical flavor.
Kundalini, for me, did blow apart the enmeshment of awareness and self-concept, which provided a sense of "me." That was very disorienting, but now I count it a great blessing. It also did a number on my affective memory, and this, too, brought a very different sense of self. In no ways did I ever invite this or imagine it to be a possibility; divinization of self-image was more what I'd had in mind, all along. So that was indeed a kind of annihilation, though not at all like what the Quietists were about. For one thing, I was aware of their mistakes, and even though strongly attracted to the apophatic way, I knew it was also important to stay kataphatically grounded. I thought it a huge mistake to consider kataphatic disciplines as something for beginners, to be dispensed of completely at some point. The only time to set them aside is when one actually feels drawn to contemplation, then, yes, that is the better way. But one is not always drawn to contemplation; not even the greatest of saints and mystics. So we pray kataphatically then, and doing so need not be an act of willfulness. Kataphatic prayer is another way the Spirit prays in/through us, and so I just don't follow how doing so could disrupt a sense of unity.
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Pop-pop -- that's a deeply insightful quote from von Balthasaar. Thanks for sharing it with us. Your other quotes and reflections also shed light on quietism.
Do you all think there are still quietist tendencies around today?
I can see what you mean by "nuanced", Phil. He also says "I awaken", which shows that he doesn't follow the extreme non-dual trend which denies any personal subjectivity after realizing non-dual consciousness. But, since there's nothing about love here, I'd read this as a report from Christian enlightenment experience, rather than transforming union.
Would you say that if there's a balance between apophatic and kataphatic practices, there's no danger for a Christian to develop natural silence of the faculties through centering-prayer/Christian meditation? I like your expression "grounding". Indeed, it seems like some apophatic Christians just float away into non-dual ocean of Being, losing contact with personal God in Christ. Bernadette Roberts seems to testify to that particular situation. Keating insists on lectio divina and sacraments which provides some grounding.
Mt. asked: Would you say that if there's a balance between apophatic and kataphatic practices, there's no danger for a Christian to develop natural silence of the faculties through centering-prayer/Christian meditation?
I think the ideal is for one to be drawn into contemplative silence in the context of lectio divina. Personally, I've found that practices like CP and CM stir up the energy too much and painfully so. I know that many benefit from those practices and so cannot generalize from my experience alone. Teachers such as Thomas Keating (CP) and Thomas Ryan (CM) do encourage continuing engagement with kataphatic disciplines, however, as good and necessary.
Keating's poem is not nuanced, however, from the pov of what he means by "acting even if to pray," as Phil points out. If it is a willful praying that dissovles unity, it's a big 'so what' if neither are submitting to God's will. This is not a minor point, God's will.
If he is praying in God's own Spirit, then he'd enjoy a very different kind of unity, as the Holy Spirit directly infuses and gives unction to pray--even with words! in the clutches of duality. And he'd write a very different kind of poem, as you note, one spilling of love mysticism.
As for the question of the balance of apophatic and kataphatic practices, (even though you didn't ask me, Mt ) I feel only God would know what that is for each unique and changing individual. I guess what would matter to me is the motivation behind why you would be spending time "developing natural silence of the faculties," which I sense for you may be edifying and strengthening for your spirit.
I wonder if, for you (knowing we cannot generalize), it's because at those times you are going against God's will.
Phil, do you think that Christian Enlightenment
(by which I understand an non-relational experience of impersonal God-as-Existence, which, however, through supernatural faith is graced and thus different from e.g. the Buddhist non-conceptual Way)
isn't worth of pursuit on its own? I mean, should Christian Enlightenment be treated as a gift, just as contemplation, and so no practices should be done to enable us to realize it?
I think that people who aren't called to contemplation, could pursue Christian Enlightenment, if they feel inspired to and under a good spiritual direction. If the practice is balanced and doesn't result in rejecting of kataphatic spirituality or the truth, it should be OK.
Why should they do that (Christians not called to contemplation)?
1. Enlightenment is a natural experience of the human spirit, of Existence, of the goodness of the Creation.
2. Enlightenment has good fruits which enable us to live more easily in accord with God's will (overcome temptations, become simple and mindful). The loss of affective ego makes it easier to do His will, doesn't it? (You could say the same can be achieved through cooperation with normal grace in Christian life, but I still think the realization of the Self can be a good aid).
Then we have three possibilities:
1. Christian life of faith, hope and charity, without enlightenment or contemplation (most common, although rare and precious in this world).
2. Christian life of faith, hope and charity, AND enlightenment (if one is inclined to and capable of achieving it), through additional apophatic practices like CP/CM.
3. Christian life of faith, hope and charity, which are fulfilled through the gift of contemplation. Then enlightenment shouldn't be pursued on its own, but may be given by God as an addition to contemplation (or may not be given) in a development of mystical life.
Logically, it seem OK to me . But I know that existentially it's never that simple! For example, I'm certainly biased by my own experience and history. I became Christian through experiences that were from the beginning two-fold - in some periods, more contemplative, in other - more non-dual. It took me few years to sort it out. When I joined SP forum at the end of 2008, I thought I could give up any enlightenment stuff, and focus on contemplative graces, or - when they're absent - on a normal life of Christian prayer. But I noticed during past 2 years that enlightenment experiences didn't go away, they still developped, even without any active effort on my part. I also felt sometimes a calling to sit in silence during prayer, although I didn't experience a clear contemplative presence of Love. First, I rejected this, but then I started to think that the inspiration might be from the Spirit. I didn't feel any negative responses consience and intuition, when I listened to this inspiration, so I suppose it's of a good spirit.
So I came to see my spirituality as a synthesis of those three ways, and in different times God wants me to focus on different aspects, I guess. But I don't "think" what I should do now - if I do that, I immediately feel anxious and energetically disturbed. I'm learning to follow His lead on this. But I'm aware I shouldn't "recommend" my path to anyone, since this is an individual path, made for me, with my specific needs, talents, shortcomings etc.
Yet, from my experience, those reflections arise about Christian Enlightenment, which I wanted to share with you. I know quite a few Christians who aren't receiving contemplative graces, but still want to meditate in a CP/CM or even Zen fashion. I wouldn't give them any advice, but I suppose it might be OK to live such a spiritual life, provided contemplation isn't confused with non-duality or placed "under" non-duality, which is sometimes the case, like in Rohr or others writers.
Thank you for your sharingabout these fascinating pieces of your spiritual journey. I do hope you keep us posted in the years to come.
I believe you and Phil should publish something together on this topic.
Your experiences witness to a kind of 'new breed' of Christian formation that allows for a happy coexistence and development of these different but simultaneous 'aspects' (for lack of a better word) of human and Godly growth.
I agree with your last sentence about not confusing or placing non-duality "under" contemplation--though I might add the issue of not placing non-duality "over" faith in Christ as personal Savior either.
Christ's peace to you,
I was struck by the opening section of Cassian's Conferences. Abba Moses asks Cassian and Germanus what their goal is. Without any hesitation or discussion, they reply that their goal is "the kingdom of heaven" (Conferences, 1.2.3, 1.3). Moreover, their goal was the kingdom in this lifetime just as much as in the hereafter.
The reason the passage struck me was that it highlighted the fact that we have lost this clarity about what we're trying to do here. Quite clearly, for the desert monks the Christian life was a goal-driven task, one with a set of practices that led to an explicit goal: the kingdom here and now.
Of course, whether "Christian Enlightenment" is the same as "the kingdom of heaven" is another question. (Some previous threads have covered similar ground. Also, the old Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08646a.htm has a thoughtful article about what constitutes "the kingdom.")
Probably so. It's been decades since I tried CP or CM, but my little ventures were enough to discourage me.
Re. Keating's poem, you wrote:
If he is praying in God's own Spirit, then he'd enjoy a very different kind of unity, as the Holy Spirit directly infuses and gives unction to pray--even with words! in the clutches of duality.
I agree. I've never understood this thing about union with God being somehow diluted or even lost because one has thoughts or prays in words. That's certainly not my experience. Indeed, sometimes it seems that Spirit is the One who moves one to think or to pray, and so to resist would be to go against the movement of the Spirit.
Mt., re. your post above . . . tricky business, I think, for Christians to pursue enlightenment as a spiritual "goal." I understand how it fits in with your own spiritual journey and ongoing lived experience, but you didn't seek enlightenment in the context of Christian faith and so that's different from what I hear you asking about.
Jim Arraj and I discussed this many times at length, and he wrote several books, exploring the possibility. Basically, he thought it could work, and tended to view my own experience with K as one possibility, as the K process and the enlightenment states it leads to came in the context of Christian faith and I never sought the K in the first place -- didn't even know what it was for a couple of years. The main problem, we both agreed, was that it seemed that most Christians who pursued zen and other Eastern disciplines did so without a proper understanding of what was going on, metaphysically, and tended after awhile to buy into Eastern metaphysical ways of understanding the experience, most of which are pantheistic. They also tended to conflate enlightenment with contemplation, and to, after awhile, look at Christianity more through Eastern eyes. Your comment earlier about the Lutheran pastor at Jaeger's retreat center who couldn't even envision a relational paradigm with respect to God is a great example of this.
But, yes, given proper instruction and training, Christians could learn to tune into the enlightenment we all already have, which is naught, I believe, but our own human non-reflective consciousness. Granted, there are a wide variety of possibilities for experiencing this, not to mention deepening states of it, but one can do so within the context of faith without becoming pantheistic or even giving up on other "dualistic" Christian disciplines. All one need do is begin to note the space between thoughts and the "seeing" that is always going on "behind" the contents and movements of consciousness and learn to tune into that. It's always "there," and sometimes it's nice to just "be here now" without having any kind of thinking going on, unless there's something worth thinking about. We could all benefit from the kind of detachment and attentiveness of enlightenment, not to mention the profound sense of interconnectivity, though our false selves resist this state just as surely as they do contemplation.
So, yes, I'm all for "Christian enlightenment," only I'm also skeptical about it happening without Christian faith being somehow damaged or diluted in the process. That need not be, but it seems to be the way things usually go these days.
- 3rd post in a series -
Derek, it seems there are many dimensions to which the term, "kingdom of God," refers. I've always understood the patristics to refer to the life of God in the soul, or to have one's life directed by the Spirit of God. This isn't referring to any particular state of consciousness or mystical experience, though such could certainly be part of it. Is that your understanding as well?
The old Catholic Encyclopedia calls the kingdom a "tone of mind," which I take to be a nineteenth-century way of saying "state of consciousness."
(It also observes that the kingdom has "various shades of meaning.")
Abba Moses says the way to tell whether you're on track toward the kingdom is to examine yourself and see if you have "purity of heart." What impresses me is how direct and practical this view of the kingdom is.
Well, in one sense, we are always in some kind of "state of consciousness." It seems to me that what is most unique to Christianity, however, is the indwelling love of the Trinity. I really like John 14 as a reference, here:
I think that's as good a description of the mystical meaning of "kingdom of God" as we'll find anywhere. It has everything to do with love of God and neighbor, but especially of knowing God as indwelling Love.
I agree, Phil, that we see far more examples of dangers coming from pursuing Christian Enlightenment than clearly positive fruits of it. I suppose there are fruits in life of people who realize enlightenment as Christians, they tend to be loving persons, generally speaking, but the "bad stuff" is more subtle, in theology, understanding, modification of the dogmas etc.
I can testify myself to the total confusion in the understanding of the truth due to the interpretation of my experiences, which I found in non-dual authors. When I read my diary from 2004 or 2005 it's really crazy. In some entries I wrote poems of love and devotion to Jesus, saying that it's better than any witnessing state or cosmic awareness, and in other entries, becoming "sober", I was writing that Jesus is the Witness present in everyone's mind, and that I am Jesus. So powerful was the influence of Wilber and other people like that, that even my experiences of infused contemplation couldn't change my mind so easily. And I was a trained philosopher, soon to be an academic teacher, and I couldn't grasp the difference... But God was persistent enough to give me mystical graces which finally, after few years, gave me clear light in which I saw the difference between enlightenment and contemplation. But it was mainly through discussions with Phil and others on SP that I could finally sort it out for myself.
So now I feel safe to accept enlightened states of consciousness, because nothing can draw me back into quietist or other wrong ideas about practice and theology.
It makes me think of Christian Enlightenment as a project for the future, where there will be more Christian teachers who can give precise teaching like you do, Phil, because others prominent figures in contemplative renewal can be confusing at times.
Thank you for sharing about your experiences and confusions, Mt. I had many of the same struggles. Jim Arraj was most influential in helping me to discern "who's who" and "what's what" in all these different kinds of states of consciousness.
Where it's all come out for me is that I don't think we can ever say we have transcended our human nature and subjectivity in such manner that it is only God who sees or acts in us. I could certainly never deny that "I" still had my own thoughts and was making decisions . . . that "I" was here. My "I" does have a deep connection with Christ, however, and that is both a wonder and a mystery. The operative paradigm seems more participative than ontological, however, which is to say that "I" am not Christ's subjectivity, but am given (more and more) to see, understand and love in union with his Person through the ongoing transformation process effected by the Holy Spirit. As you noted on another thread, the paradigm is also one of subsistence. Nevertheless, "I" am still here -- the very "I" that has always been looking out of these eyes -- though radically changed in many ways by virtue of ongoing theotic subsistence in Him.
I will start a discussion on Christian enlightenment and let's see how that goes.
That's the view of a dissertation I came across. It argues that Molinos and John of the Cross really weren't that different. Why, then, was Molinos condemned (and the word "quietism" invented), when no such fate befell John of the Cross? The author concludes:
"What we see here can then be said to be the actions of a power-structure trying to preserve itself, even if that means condemning previously authorized doctrines. . . . What matters is then ultimately not the mystical doctrine in itself, but whether it becomes a threat to the existing power-structure by being spread to the masses."
Nikolaj Emil Nehammer Knub. "The Condemnation of Miquel de Molinos: Quietism and Heresy in The History of Christian Mysticism." Dissertation, Roskilde University, Denmark, 2012. https://www.academia.edu/62912..._Christian_Mysticism
The 68 errors for which Molinos was eventually condemned are given in Innocent XI, "Coelestis Pastor", November 2, 1687. They do seem extreme. It seems to me Molinos met with opposition not so much for what he proposed, but for what he rejected. He denigrates every form of religion except his own.
1. It is necessary that man reduce his own powers to nothingness, and this is the interior way.
2. To wish to operate actively is to offend God, who wishes to be Himself the sole agent; and therefore it is necessary to abandon oneself wholly in God and thereafter to continue in existence as an inanimate body.
3. Vows about doing something are impediments to perfection.
4. Natural activity is the enemy of grace, and impedes the operations of God and true perfection, because God wishes to operate in us without us.
5. By doing nothing the soul annihilates itself and returns to its beginning and to its origin, which is the essence of God, in which it remains transformed and divinized, and God then remains in Himself, because then the two things are no more united, but are one alone, and in this manner God lives and reigns in us, and the soul annihilates itself in operative being.
6. The interior way is that in which neither light, nor love, nor resignation is recognized, and it is not necessary to understand God, and in this way one makes progress correctly.
7. A soul ought to consider neither the reward, nor punishment, nor paradise, nor hell, nor death, nor eternity.
8. He ought not to wish to know whether he is progressing with the will of God, or whether or not with the same resigned will he stands still; nor is it necessary that he wish to know his own state or his own nothingness; but he ought to remain as an inanimate body.
9. The soul ought not to remember either itself, or God, or anything whatsoever, and in the interior life all reflection is harmful, even reflection upon its human actions and upon its own defects.
10. If one scandalizes others by one’s own defects, it is not necessary to reflect, as long as the will to scandalize is not present, and not to be able to reflect upon one’s own defects, is a grace of God.
11. It is not necessary to reflect upon doubts whether one is proceeding rightly or not.
12. He who gives his own free will to God should care about nothing, neither about hell, nor about heaven; neither ought he to have a desire for his own perfection, nor for virtues, nor his own sanctity, nor his own salvation, the hope of which he ought to remove.
13. After our free will has been resigned to God, reflection and care about everything of our own must be left to that same God, and we ought to leave it to Him, so that He may work His divine will in us without us.
14. It is not seemly that he who is resigned to the divine will, ask anything of God; because asking is an imperfection, since the act is of one’s own will and election, and this is wishing that the divine will be conformed to ours, and not that ours be conformed to the divine; and this from the Gospel: “Seek you shall find” [John 16:24], was not said by Christ for interior souls who do not wish to have free will; nay indeed, souls of this kind reach this state, that they cannot seek anything from God.
15. Just as they ought not ask anything from God, so should they not give thanks to Him for anything, because either is an act of their own will.
16. It is not proper to seek indulgences for punishment due to one’s own sins, because it is better to satisfy divine justice than to seek divine mercy, since the latter proceeds from pure love of God, and the former from an interested love of ourselves, and that is not a thing pleasing to God and meritorious, because it is a desire to shun the cross.
17. When free will has been surrendered to God, and the care and thought of our soul left to the same God, no consideration of temptations need any longer be of concern; neither should any but a negative resistence be made to them, with the application of no energy, and if nature is aroused, one must let it be aroused, because it is nature.
18. He who in his prayer uses images, figures, pretension, and his own conceptions, does not adore God “in spirit and in truth” [John 4:23].
19. He who loves God in the way which reason points out or the intellect comprehends, does not love the true God.
20. To assert that in prayer it is necessary to help oneself by discourse and by reflections, when God does not speak to the soul, is ignorance. God never speaks; His way of speaking is operation, and He always operates in the soul, when this soul does not impede Him by its discourses, reflections, and operations.
21. In prayer it is necessary to remain m obscure and universal faith, with quiet and forgetfulness of any particular and distinct thought of the attributes of God and the Trinity, and thus to remain in the presence of God for adoring and loving Him and serving Him, but without producing acts, because God has no pleasure in these.
22. This knowledge through faith is not an act produced by a creature, but it is a knowledge given by God to the creature, which the creature neither recognizes that he has, and neither later knows that he had it; and the same is said of love.
23. The mystics with Saint Bernard in the Scala Claustralium (The Ladder of the Recluses) distinguished four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and infused contemplation. He who always remains in the first, never passes over to the second. He who always persists in the second, never arrives at the third, which is our acquired contemplation, in which one must persist throughout all life, provided that God does not draw the soul (without the soul expecting it) to infused contemplation; and if this ceases, the soul should turn back to the third step and remain in that, without returning again to the second or first.
24. Whatever thoughts occur in prayer, even impure, or against God, the saints, faith, and the sacraments, if they are not voluntarily nourished, nor voluntarily expelled, but tolerated with indifference and resignation, do not impede the prayer of faith, indeed make it more perfect, because the soul then remains more resigned to the divine will.
25. Even if one becomes sleepy and falls asleep, nevertheless there is prayer and actual contemplation, because prayer and resignation, resignation and prayer are the same, and while resignation endures, prayer also endures.
26. The three ways: the purgative, illuminative, and unitive, are the greatest absurdity ever spoken about in mystical (theology), since there is only one way, namely, the interior way.
27. He who desires and embraces sensible devotion, does not desire nor seek God, but himself; and anyone who walks by the interior way, in holy places as well as on feast days, acts badly, when he desires it and tries to possess it.
28. Weariness for spiritual matters is good, if indeed by it one’s own love is purified
29. As long as the interior soul disdains discourses about God, and disdains the virtues, and remains cold, feeling no fervor in himself, it is a good sign.
30. Everything sensible which we experience in the spiritual life, is abominable, base, and unclean.
31. No meditative person exercises true interior virtues; these should not be recognized by the senses. It is necessary to abandon the virtues.
32. Neither before nor after communion is any other preparation or act of thanksgiving required for these interior souls than continuance in a customary passive resignation, because in a more perfect way it supplies all acts of virtues, which can be practiced and are practiced in the ordinary way. And, if on this occasion of communion there arise emotions of humility, of petition, or of thanksgiving, they are to be repressed, as often as it is not discerned that they are from a special impulse of God; otherwise they are impulses of nature not yet dead.
33. That soul acts badly which proceeds by this interior way, if it wishes on feast days by any particular effort to excite some sensible devotion in itself, since for an interior soul all days are equal, all festal. And the same is said of holy places, because to souls of this kind all places are alike.
34. To give thanks to God by words and by speech is not for interior souls which ought to remain in silence, placing no obstacle before God, because He operates in them; and the more they resign themselves to God, they discover that they cannot recite the Lord’s prayer, i.e., the Our Father.
35. It is not fitting for souls of this interior life to perform works even virtuous ones, by their own choice and activity; otherwise they would not be dead. Neither should they elicit acts of love for the Blessed Virgin, saints, or the humanity of Christ, because since they are sensible objects, so, too, is their love toward them.
36. No creature, neither the Blessed Virgin, nor the saints ought to abide in our heart, because God alone wishes to occupy and possess it.
37. On occasion of temptations, even violent ones, the soul ought not to elicit explicit acts of opposite virtues, but should persevere in the above mentioned love and resignation.
38. The voluntary cross of mortifications is a heavy weight and fruitless, and therefore to be dismissed.
39. The more holy works and penances, which the saints performed, are not enough to remove from the soul even a single tie.
40. The Blessed Virgin never performed any exterior work, and nevertheless was holier than all the saints. Therefore, one can arrive at sanctity without exterior work.
41. God permits and wishes to humiliate us and to conduct us to a true transformation, because in some perfect souls, even though not inspired, the demon inflicts violence on their bodies, and makes them commit carnal acts, even in wakefulness and without the bewilderment of the mind, by physically moving their hands and other members against their wills. And the same is said as far as concerns other actions sinful in themselves, in which case they are not sins, but in them (Viva: quiahis,because with these) the consent is not present.
42. A case may be given, that things of this kind contrary to the will result in carnal acts at the same time on the part of two persons, for example man and woman, and on the part of both an act follows.
43. God in past ages has created saints through the ministry of tyrants; now in truth He produces saints through the ministry of demons, who, by causing the aforesaid things contrary to the will, brings it about thatthey despise themselves the more and annihilate and resign themselves to God.
44. Job blasphemed, and yet he did not sin with his lips because it was the result of the violence of the devil.
45. Saint Paul suffered such violences of the devil in his body; thus he has written: “For the good that I will I do not do; but the evil which I will not, that I do” [Rom. 7:19].
46. Things of this kind contrary to the will are the more proportionate medium for annihilating the soul, and for leading [Viva: et eam]it to true transformation and union, nor is there any other way; and this is the easier and safer way.
47. When things of this kind contrary to the will occur, it is proper to allow Satan to operate, by applying no effort and making no real attempt, but man should persist in his own nothingness; and even if pollutions follow and obscene acts by one’s own hands, and even worse, there is no need to disquiet oneself [Viva:inquietari],but scruples must be banished, as well as doubts and fears, because the mind becomes more enlightened, more confirmed, and more candid, and holy liberty is acquired. And above all there is no need to confess these matters, and one acts in a most saintly way by not confessing, because the devil is overcome by this agreement, and the treasure of peace is acquired.
48. Satan, who produces violences of this kind contrary to the will, afterwards persuades that they are grave sins, so that the mind disturbsitself, lest it progress further in the interior way; hence for weakening his powers it is better not to confess them, because they are not sins, not even venial.
49. Job from the violence of the devil polluted himself with his own hands at the same time as “he offered pure prayer to God” (thus interpreting the passage from chapter 16. Job) [cf. Job. 16:18 ].
50. David, Jeremias, and many of the holy Prophets suffered violence of this kind, of these impure external operations contrary to the will.
51. In Sacred Scripture there are many examples of violence to the will unto external sinful acts, as that of Samson, who by violence killed himself with the Philistines [ Judg. 16:29 f.], entered a marriage with a foreigner [Judg. 14:1 ff.], and committed fornication with the harlot Dalila [Judg. 16:4 ff.], which in other times were prohibited and would have been sins; that of Judith, who had lied to Holofernes, [ Judith. 2:4 ff.]; that of Elisaeus, who cursed children [ 2 Kings 2:24 ]; that of Elias, who burned the leaders with the troops of King Achab [cf. 2 Kings 1:10 ff.]. But whether violence was immediately executed by God, or by the minister of the demons, as it happens in some souls, is left in doubt.
52. When such things contrary to the will, even impure, happen without confusion of the mind, then the soul can be united to God, and de factois always the more united.
53. To recognize in practice, whether an operation has been violence in some persons, the rule which I have for this is not the protestations of those souls which protest that they have not consented to the said violences or cannot swear that they have consented, and cannot see that they are the souls who make progress in the interior life, but I would adopt a rule from a certain light which is superior to actual human and theological cognition, that makes me recognize for certain, with internal certitude, that such operation is violence; and I am certain that this light proceeds from God, because it comes to me joined with certitude that it comes forth from God, and it leaves in me no shadow of doubt to the contrary, in that way by which it sometimes happens that God in revealing something reassures the soul at the same time that it is He who reveals it, and the soul cannot doubt to the contrary.
54. Persons who lead ordinary spiritual lives, in the hour of death will find themselves deluded and confused with all the passions to be purged in the other world.
55. Through this interior life one reaches the point, although with much suffering, of purging and extinguishing all passions, so that he feels nothing more, nothing, nothing; nor is any disquietude felt, just as if the body were dead, nor does the soul permit itself to be moved any more.
56. Two laws and two desires (the one of the soul, the other of self-love) endure as long as self-love endures; wherefore, when this is purged and dead, as happens through the interior way, those two laws and two desires are no longer present; nor, is any lapse incurred further, nor, is anything felt more, not even venial sin.
57. Through acquired contemplation one comes to the state of not committing any more sins, neither mortal nor venial.
58. One arrives at such a state by no longer reflecting on his own actions, because defects arise from reflection.
59. The interior way is separated from confession, from those who confess, and from cases of conscience, from theology and from philosophy.
60. For advanced souls, who begin to die from reflections, and who even arrive at the point that they are dead, God sometimes makes confession impossible, and He Himself supplies it with such great preserving grace as they receive in the sacrament; and therefore for such souls it is not good in such a case to approach the sacrament of penance, because it is impossible for them.
61. When the soul arrives at mystical death, it cannot wish for anything more than what God desires, because it does no longer have a will, since God has taken it away from it.
62. By the interior way it arrives at a continuous, immobile state in an imperturbable peace.
63. By the internal way one even arrives at the death of the senses; moreover, it is a sign that one remains in a state of nothingness, that is, of mystical death, if the exterior senses no longer represent sensible things (from which they are) as if they did not exist, because they do not succeed in making the intellect apply itself to them.
64. A theologian is less disposed than an ignorant man for the contemplative state; in the first place, because he does not have such pure faith; secondly, because he is not so humble; thirdly, because he does not care so much for his own salvation; fourthly, because he has a head full of phantasms, images, opinions, and speculations, and cannot enter into that true light.
65. One must obey directors in the exterior life, and the latitude of the vow of obedience of religious extends only to the external. In the interior life the matter is different, because only God and the director enter.
66. A certain new doctrine in the Church of God is worthy of ridicule, that the soul should be governed as far as its interior is concerned by a bishop; but if the bishop is not capable, the soul should go to him with his director. I speak a new doctrine; because neither Sacred Scripture, nor councils, nor bulls, nor saints, nor authors have ever transmitted it, nor can transmit it, because the Church does not judge about hidden matters, and the soul has its faculty of choosing whatsoever shall seem good to it [Viva: anima ins habet eligendi quaecumque sibi bene visums].
67. To say that the interior must be manifested to the exterior tribunal of directors, and that it is a sin not to do so, is a manifest deception, because the Church does not pass judgment on hidden matters, and they prejudge their own souls by these deceptions and hypocrisies.
68. In the world there is neither faculty nor jurisdiction for commanding that the letters of a director, as far as the interior direction of a soul is concerned, should be made manifest; therefore, it is necessary to assert that it is an insult of Satan, etc.
Yep, 68 silly practices that needed to be called out.
The irony is that this Pope and Molinos were good friends, until Molinos began to drift into this uber-apophatic spirituality.
I had the lecture on Quietism in our spiritual formation classes at the retreat center, and found Jim Arraj's work a helpful resource. He did his doctoral work on this topic, and ended up writing several books about it. From St. John of the Cross to Us is his most direct treatment of this topic. He was concerned about some of the directions he saw Christian teachers on prayer going these days.
See http://innerexplorations.com/catchspmys/fromst1.htm for the book online. A fascinating read!
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