Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ven. John Arintero on Configuration in Christ through Prayer

By baptism, indeed, we are grafted into Christ so as to form with him one single body—his mystical Body. We are given life by his very Spirit. His divine sentiments enter into us in ever-increasing measure, in proportion as we strip ourselves of our own. [...]

All our good consists, then, in cleaving to God until we have become one spirit with him; in being truly docile and teachable towards him, never grieving his loving Spirit, not resisting, much less extinguishing the Spirit, or letting him call to us in vain; striving, on the contrary, to be very attentive to him, interiorly recollected that we may catch every sound of his voice, and desiring faithfully to accomplish that which the Lord our God deigns to speak within us, for he speaks words of peace to his saints and to all those who are converted to the heart (cf. Ps. 84, 9). Then, dwelling in us, as St. John of the Cross says (Living Flame of Love, cant. 4, v. 2), 'with pleasure', he will not tarry in making himself the sweet Master, Director, Consoler and Lord of our souls, moving and governing us in all things as if we were perfect sons of God [....]

To this end all the intimate, loving and familiar intercourse with God by means of prayer and contemplation is ordained, to the copying and imitation as perfectly as possible—allowing the divine Spirit to imprint them in us 'supernaturally'—of the adorable perfections of the Heavenly Father, striving to this purpose to become con-figured to his Only-begotten Son, the splendour [sic] of his glory and our exemplar and model. [1]

In order, then, to understand the stages which this divine life offers and the phenomena which it presents from the time it is received in baptism until it is fully unfolded in Glory, it is essential to keep well before the mind all the mysteries—joyful, sorrowful and glorious—of the life of our Lord. To that end it is good that we should meditate on them deeply at the side of Mary, Mother of divine Grace, in the holy Rosary; for all of them—from the Incarnation itself, by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary, and from the birth of Christ to his passion, death, resurrection, and the sending of the same divine Spirit, in which sending the marvels of the Christian life are consummated—have to be reproduced, each in its own way, as in so many other Christs, in all perfect Christians. [2] Those in whom they have not been reproduced in any way will always be very imperfect and puny followers of Christ, as St. Bernard warns us (Sermon 44).



1. [...] 'The formal ground by which we know these causes,' says John of St. Thomas (In I-IIæ, q. 70, disp. 18, a. 4, no. 6), is a certain interior experience of God, and of divine things, in the very savouring [sic] of them: either through feeling and delight, or it may be described, where these spiritual things are concerned, as an interior touch of the will. For our of this union the soul becomes as it were connatural with divine things, and through her very savouring of them, distinguishes them from created things and those of sense.

Since, therefore, the gift of wisdom is not just any sort of wisdom but the spirit of wisdom, that is, it is in feeling and spirit, and since it is by the very giving of this gift that we experience in ourselves what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God, judging from divine things themselves, it is necessary that the formal ground by which the gift of wisdom attains the highest, that is, the divine cause, is the very knowledge which it has experimentally of God, in so far as he is united with us, deeply rooted within our hearts, and gives himself to us: this, indeed, is to know according to the spirit and not only by the light of our own minds, or by discursive reason demonstrating the essence of a thing. To know according to the spirit arises from the very experience of union.'

2. 'In Christ all are crucified, all dead, all buried, all indeed are risen again.' St. Leo, Sermon 64, 7.

'Whatever was wrought in the cross of Christ, in his burial, in his resurrection on the third day, in his ascension into heaven, and in his sitting at the right hand of the Father, that was wrought that to these things . . . the Christian life which is here lived might be configured.' St. Augustine: Enchiridion, 14.

'We cannot be pleasing to our heavenly Father,' says Dom Guéranger, 'except in so far as he sees in us Jesus Christ, his Son. This divine Saviour [sic], full of goodness, deigns to come to each one of us; and if we are willing to allow him to work, he will gradually transform us into himself in such a way that we shall no longer live by our own life, but by his. Such is the end of all Christianity: to divinize man by Jesus Christ who thus communicates himself to man. Such is the sublime mission entrusted to the Church who, with St. Paul (Gal. iv, 19) says to the faithful: "My little children, of whom I am in labour [sic] again until Christ be formed in you." '


Source: Source: Fr. John G. Arintero, Stages in Prayer, trans. by Kathleen Pond (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1957), 1-4.

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