Friday, December 27, 2013

Ven. John Arintero on the Humility Required for Sanctity

Our purification consists in cleansing our hearts from all stain of sin, in making satisfaction for our faults, and in rooting out all evil inclinations, banishing with them anything that may hinder us in the right practice of the virtues or impede in us the operations of grace and the communications of the Holy Ghost. Consequently we must mortify ourselves to destroy or rectify our depraved affections. We must deny ourselves in all things and completely renounce self, which is filled with vices, weaknesses, and snares, that we may be renewed by the virtue, strength, and fortitude of God, who frees us from our bondage.

I. Humility, the Basis of Sanctity

In order to construct the edifice of true and solid sanctity, we must lay the foundation of a profound and sincere humility. This is effected primarily by the destruction of pernicious self-love, which corrodes and vitiates everything and deceives and blinds us in all things, making us think we are something, when actually we are nothing (Gal. 6:3). Because of self-love we rely on our own knowledge, strength, and virtue without any more title to those things than our own ignorance, weakness, and misery. Further, self-love causes us to seek, unconsciously perhaps, our own selves, even when we think we are seeking only the glory of God.

Since God resists the proud and gives His grace only to the humble, it follows that, because of our hidden presumption, we continually place obstacles to the loving action of the Holy Ghost, who seeks to raise a spiritual edifice on our "nothingness" by creating in us a pure heart and by re-creating us in Jesus Christ in good works. We need, then, to recognize our own nothingness so that He may become our all and fill our emptiness with His plentitude. To hold ourselves in high esteem is to withdraw from Him even while He dwells in us, not only as our Comforter, but also as our Lord and Vivifier. Such action on our part grieves and oppresses Him, and our resistance makes Him abandon us. If He, the Spirit of truth who came to sanctify us in that truth which is the word of God, is to dwell in us and work in our souls according to His pleasure, He must find our dwelling place free and empty. We shall empty ourselves by recognizing our own nothingness on which He, the fullness of being, must work, and by proceeding in all things according to that conviction. [1] [...]

We should likewise realize the necessity of abandoning ourselves to Him without reserve. Doing that, we shall in no way resist His loving operation in us, but we shall always cooperate with the fervor and energy which He communicates to us.

Therefore, when the soul begins to feel within itself an immense emptiness which cannot be filled by any created thing (because God alone can fill it), it then truly begins to abandon itself to the hands of the divine Guest. This spiritual emptiness is the point of departure for marvelous advances in the mystical life. . . . [2] [3]

Since perfect union with the divine will is the norm of our spiritual life and the sure guide of its progress, we ought to renounce all self-interest, personal advancement, human viewpoints, personal caprices, tastes, and comforts, and our own will. We must have no other desire, no other affection, no other wish than those of the divine will.



1. "You must know, My daughter," said our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena (Life, I, X), "what you are and what I am. . . . You are that which is not, and I am He who is. If your soul is permeated with this truth, the enemy will never ensnare you. You will triumph over all his wiles, you will do nothing contrary to My commandments, and you will readily acquire grace, truth, and peace."

2. "Humility," says Ven. Mariana of Jesus, "is never foolishness, just as pride is never circumspect."

3. Interior Castle, sixth mansions, chap. 10: "I was wondering once why Our Lord so dearly loved this virtue of humility; and all of a sudden—without, I believe, my having previously thought of it—the following reason came into my mind: that is, because God is Sovereign Truth and to be humble is to walk in truth, for it is absolutely true to say that we have no good thing in ourselves, but only misery and nothingness; and anyone who fails to understand this is walking in falsehood. He who best understands it is most pleasing to Sovereign Truth because he is walking in truth."


Source: John G. Arintero, The Mystical Evolution, trans. Jordan Aumann (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1978), 2:50-53.

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