All Conversations in My Heart
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
  State of Grace
I often spend my day wondering why the Church has become so different since Vatican 2. It was never supposed to change. Pastoral Councils do not change the doctrines and beliefs of the Church. How do I know? The opening homily said so the closing homily said so. JP2 said so Cardinal Ratzinger said so and Benedict said so a month or two ago. The change has become very apparent for me in the Pentecostal cult, the natural inheritors of the mystery religions which the Apostle Paul railed against. They do not know or cannot answer this statement John 4. 10. “If thou didst know the gift of God and who he is that saith to thee: Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (DRV) So I ask you to read this thought of mine, remembering it is a paraphrase, a précis of book that has an imprimatur.
In this thought of mine let us proceed to state and understand the distinctive part played by the Third Person in our spiritual life. It is a matter of fact, the Holy Ghost is the one of the three Divine Persons with Whom we have most to do in our present condition. We are in reality in the age of the Holy Spirit, the ‘remembrancer’ promised , who is to help the Apostles and Disciples remember the teachings of Christ, the Word of God.
From the moment of our Baptism, provided we commit no mortal sin, the Holy Ghost is in us all the time, day and night, without so much as a single moment's interruption of His presence. He it is by whose operation we are to be changed into a Divine being: so that the whole secret of the spiritual life consists in allowing the Holy Ghost to do in us and with us what He wills. He is, moreover, the Divine Person Whom we may and ought to enjoy most during our pilgrim state, whilst we enjoy the other two Persons only through Him.
God the Father, Who is the Prime-mover of our mystical life acts upon us not directly and by Himself, but through His Divine Son Whom He sent on earth for this very purpose. In His turn, Our Lord, the Son of God made man, acts upon us in two ways: first by Himself; secondly, by His Holy Spirit. He acts upon us, directly, by Himself, through the instrumentality of His Sacred Humanity, under the veil of the Sacraments, and He also acts upon us, and indeed much more, indirectly, through His Holy Spirit. In fact, this is even the very first way, in order of time, in which God the Father and God the Son, do act upon anyone they want to draw to the Divine union: they act upon him by the agency of the Holy Spirit, they first of all give him their Holy Spirit. This is what makes St. Thomas say that the Holy Ghost is the first gift. We therefore know, God first loved us, and then created us. We also know, God first loved the world, and then He gave it His only Son.
God first sent out His Holy Spirit upon the turbid elements of what was to be the world, and then He sent out His Word, His Fiat, to organize it into the beautiful Cosmos. He made the world, the Garden of Eden for His Creation and all were to serve them, His creation mankind.
In the first explicit revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, when the Angel Gabriel announced unto Mary that she would be the Mother of the Redeemer, the Holy Ghost is first mentioned: His being infused into Mary is the first Divine fact, paving the way, so to say, for the coming of the Son of God. He was the first gift to Mary.
And so it is likewise, not only in the mystery of the Incarnation proper, but also in that extension of the Incarnation, the mystery of the Church, and in the mystery of the union with Christ, of every individual soul.
The Holy Ghost is the first gift we receive, given perfectly and perfectly, without any previous merit that is any effort on our part; so real a gift that He is never to be recalled or taken away from us, but to be ours throughout all time and all eternity.
It is through His indwelling in us that we enter upon the supernatural life, and that we shall do the supernatural acts it calls for. Gal:5:25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (DRV). We live in the Spirit when we are in the state of grace; we walk in the Spirit when attending to the demands of the Holy Ghost for the purposes of the mystical life. It is through His operation that we are united to Jesus Christ in His mystical body of the Church. We are first baptized in water and the Holy Ghost, and, then only, are we admitted to the other Sacraments, and especially to the partaking of the Flesh and Blood of the Savior in Holy Communion.
Now, this pouring out of the Holy Ghost in us, this extension of the great event of Pentecost, is not done with great noise as of a whirlwind and with visible tongues as it were of fire, but all silently, secretly, and yet as powerfully and efficaciously, if only the Holy Ghost finds clean and empty vessels, quite free from self-love and the disorderly affections of creatures.
Then, indeed, will He fulfill His office of Parac1ete or Consoler. The Holy Ghost is the very gladness of God, the very Joy of God, the mutual, eternal, infinite Love of God the Father and of God the Son. How could such a Person, such a Gift, such a Guest not bring gladness to the fervent soul who sets herself to enjoy Him? He teaches the soul "all things" she ought to care for: the ways of purity, simplicity, goodwill to all, solid and cheerful piety, the beautiful ways of God Prv:3:17: Her ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are peaceable. (DRV). The soul is always a her and is through the actions described becomes the spouse of Christ if not in this world at least in the next Rv:19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb is come: and his wife hath prepared herself. (DRV).
When you experience joy in your Christian life, in your mind, clinging well nigh desperately at times to the truths of faith, and in their contemplation; in prayer and the receiving of the Sacraments; in the practice of the Commandments and of the evangelical Counsels according to your state in life, it is the gladness of the Holy Ghost making itself felt; the very essence of mystical life is being imparted to you. But if, on the contrary, the performance of your Christian or religious duties affords you no joy; if you have no relish for them; if you find them irksome and tedious, it may be that the Holy Ghost has not found the vessel of your heart clean and empty, and His sweetness cannot take effect in you until disorderly affections have been all thrown out and washed away from the heart. This is called tepidity and unfortunately if you examine behavior in the Church today it might well be that they can reproached for they have journeyed far beyond tepidity to indifference
Finally, let us consider for a moment the case of the Christian in mortal sin. When, after the Holy Ghost has been given to a man He ceases, on account of mortal sin, to be in that man, we can only hope or he or she can only hope that the Holy Spirit of God lives on him. It has become a dwelling on as opposed to a dwelling in the soul. It is not that God has withdrawn His Gift, the gifts of God are never taken back. In the case of Saul we see 1 Sam 15:10. The word of the LORD came to Samuel:1 Sam 15:11 "It repenteth (regret) me that I have made Saul king: for he hath forsaken me, and hath not executed my commandments. And Samuel was grieved, and he cried unto the Lord all night. (DRV).
What has happened is this: the man has made himself unfit for the further indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When the light of day is streaming through the windows into a room and filling it with brightness and warmth, if you close all the shutters tightly, there will be darkness in that room. Is it that the sun has withdrawn its rays? The sun has withdrawn nothing: its rays are still besieging this room and shedding their kindly light and warmth all around it. As soon as the shutters are thrown open, the light will flood the room again. It is even thus with the Holy Ghost who is sent to illumine and to inflame our souls.
We open the shutters with repentance, we crack the hard black exterior of our soul, just as St Teresa of Avila described when it was given to her to see a soul in mortal sin. We crack this barrier to give grace to the smoldering candle that our soul became.

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