What doth it profit a man to attend Latin Masses, but not live like the Good Samaritan?
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Friday, 25 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Twelve

Dom Chautard continues with his description of the total horrors of what awaits a soul if it does not take the olive branch - so to speak - from Our Lord standing at the door:
Now, let us go further and penetrate even into the depths of this soul whose features we are sketching. Thoughts play a most important part in the supernatural, as well as in the moral and intellectual life. Now what are the thoughts that occupy this man, and what direction do they take? Human, earthly, vain, superficial, and egotistical, they converge more and more upon self or upon creatures, and that, sometimes, with every appearance of devotion to duty and of sacrifice. This disorder in the mind brings with it a corresponding unruliness in the imagination. Of all our powers, this one is the most in need of being repressed at this stage. And yet it never even occurs to him to put on the brakes! Therefore, having free rein, it runs wild. No exaggeration, no madness, is too much for it. And the progressive suppression of all mortification of the eyes soon gives this crazy tenant of his soul opportunities to forage wherever it wills, in lush pastures!
As Dom Chautard said earlier, "Everything links up. Deep calls to deep." Or, as Holy Mother Church has solemnly repeated throughout the ages, "How we pray affects how we believe and how we live." 

Defects in one's prayer life has detrimental effects on how a person thinks. Indeed, it creates a disorder that spreads into other aspects of one's prayer life, as Dom Chautard has illustrated elsewhere.

Friends, have we allowed proud, vain, superficial and egotistical thoughts (admittedly hard to separate from one another) to invade our prayer life? Have we let our imagination run wild with what we think we are capable of doing - to the point where our planned actions and ideas are unattainable simply because of the height they are at?

Dom Chautard's last sentence here seem to refer to the consumption of knowledge that a soul has no right to know - "suppression of all mortification of the eyes" and "forag[ing] ... in lush pastures" - and this in turn feeds the imagination to assume such lofty heights and thus despoil otherwise lush pastures. It is a firm warning if that is what it means.

If anyone has another interpretation of the last sentence, suggestions are welcome in the combox.


Anonymous said...

I am enjoying the series. I think the last sentence implies the soul is losing track of reality? A case study would be helpful, I struggle to understand older works and who it applies to.

Everyday For Life Canada said...

I think our imagination (vision of the world and life) is mostly motivated by a desire to build a better civilization through freedom. We want a meaningful life so we try to improve our lives and society. However, if the imagination is not educated, trained, disciplined, grounded on truth, it will merely roam through “lush pastures” and not fully realize self, God or the world. The uneducated imagination can become engrossed in the pleasure self and things. For example, to save one’s soul there has to be an awareness that it’s worth doing and an imagination instructed and formed in God’s ways to even attempt the project. We cannot speak or do the language of prayer, if we have not learned the words that give us that thought and leads to that action. This is my short and poor explanation.