One thought on “I Call You Friends

  • 9th August 2019 at 6:41 pm

    I agree with Br Thomas on the need for ‘living saints’. I have been familiar with terms such as ‘divinization’ and recently I found some clarity around this area in the writings of St John of the Cross:

    John explains that to reach a state of perfection, or be reborn in the Holy Spirit during this life (Jn 3:5) is to become most like God in purity, without any mixture of imperfection. The illumination of the soul and its union with God correspond to the measure of its purity. As in the case of a window which will not reflect a ray of sunshine perfectly unless it is totally clean and pure, the illumination of the soul will not be perfect until ‘the soul is entirely cleansed, clear and perfect’, having united its will perfectly to Gods; ‘for to love is to labor to divest and deprive oneself for God of all that is not God’.
    When a window reflects a ray of sunshine perfectly, ‘the sunlight will so transform and illumine it that to all appearances the window will be identical with the ray of sunlight and shine just as the sun’s ray. Although obviously the nature of the window is distinct from the sun’s ray (even if the two seem identical), we can assert that the window is the ray or light of the sun by participation’. Similarly, when a soul has divested itself of all that is not God and is illumined by and transformed in God all things of both God and the soul become one in ‘participant transformation’ and the soul appears to be God more than a soul. It is ‘God by participation’. Yet truly, John points out ‘its being (even though transformed) is naturally as distinct from God’s as it was before, just as the window, although illumined by the ray, has being distinct from the ray’s.’

    John also confirms that, although individuals may have truly reached union, ‘this union will be proportioned to their lesser or greater capacity, for not all souls attain an identical degree of union. This depends on what the Lord wishes to grant each one. Here we have resemblance to the saints’ vision of God in heaven: Some see more, others less, but all see him and are happy owing to the satisfaction of their capacity.’ We may meet people in this world who are in a state of perfection and enjoying perfect peace and tranquillity, and the capacity of each will be satisfied, ‘yet one may be many degrees higher than the other’. Those who do not reach purity ‘in the measure of their capacity’ never achieve true peace and satisfaction, according to John.

    -John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, 1987, ‘The Classics of Western Spirituality’, Edited and with an introduction by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD, Paulist Press, New York, Ch 5:5-11.


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