What doth it profit a man to attend Latin Masses, but not live like the Good Samaritan?
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Monday, 28 January 2019

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

The good Dom Chautard explains the full damage of allowing the imagination to run wild has on the interior life: 
The disorder pursues its course. From the mind and the imagination it gets down into the affections. The heart is filled with nothing but will-o’-the-wisps. What is going to become of this dissipated heart, scarcely concerned anymore with the Kingdom of God within itself? It has become insensible to the joys of intimacy with Christ, to the marvelous poetry of the Mysteries, to the severe beauty of the Liturgy, to the appeals and attractions of God in the Blessed Eucharist. It is, in a word, insensible to the influences of the supernatural world. What will become of it? Shall it concentrate upon itself? Suicide! No. It must have affection. No longer finding happiness in God, it will love creatures. It is at the mercy of the first occasion for such love. It flings itself without prudence or control into the breach, without a care perhaps even for the most sacred of vows, nor for the highest interests of the Church, nor even for its own reputation. Let us suppose that such a heart would still be upset by the thought of apostasy—and profoundly so. But still, it feels far less fear at the thought of scandalizing souls. Thanks be to God, it is doubtless the exception for anyone to follow this course to the very limit. But is there anyone incapable of seeing that this getting tired of God, and accepting forbidden pleasures, can drag the heart down to the worst of disasters? Starting from the fact that “the sensual man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God,” 1!l we must necessarily end up with: “He who was reared in the purple has embraced dung.” 20 Obstinate clinging to illusion, blindness of mind, hardness of heart all follow one another in progressive stages. We can expect anything. To crown his misfortunes, the will is now found to be, though not destroyed, reduced to’ such a state of weakness and flabbiness that it is practically impotent. Do not ask him to fight back with vigor; that would make a simple effort, and all you will get will be the despairing answer, “I can’t.” Now a man who is no longer capable of making any effort, at this stage, is on the way to dreadful calamities.  
In short, when one allows the imagination to run wild and subsequently throw themselves onto the love of creatures (as one cannot concentrate solely on themselves) for affection, they become a flurry of activity. They get caught up in how to attain this and that person's affection ... it is almost as if they live or die by the breath of others ... and will do anything to keep that person's affection.

This is not to say one cannot have affections for others or otherwise enjoy close friendships. It is only when we concern ourselves solely with these loves of creatures that it becomes a problem ... an easy problem to fall into.

What happens to the soul when this is its prime concern? Well, while the soul is immortal, it has a finite capacity, created as it was to live inside a finite container. It gets tired. "Reduced to a state of weakness and flabbiness that it is practically impotent," as it were. It is no longer able to perform any good works at all, so worn down with performing good works that it is unable to keep at them.

Only when a soul maintains a relationship with God - through the interior life - is it able to stay the course and remember why it is doing these good works in the first place.

Friends, have we allowed love of creatures and affections to overshadow the love due to God?

1 comment:

James Joseph said...

Perhaps we add a subtle subtitle.
(Or what it's like to be a modern woman)

That was fun. But seriously.