Christian Perfection and Contemplation
Product DescriptionThis insightful book expounds the Church's traditional teaching on that full flowering of Sanctifying Grace in the soul which is known as the mystical life. Contrary to some "modern" authors, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange explains here the Church's traditional teaching - from Scripture, Tradition, St. Thomas Aquinas and other Saints - that the mystical life is not something essentially extraordinary (like prophecy and miracles), but something to which God wants to raise all souls of good will, so that they may reach Christian perfection, which is the fullness of charity and the perfect development of the Sanctifying Grace that was received at Baptism. This perfection requires the gift of mystical prayer - or infused contemplation - which God wills to give to all who are receptive. Thus, this book inspires in us great hope of attaining a closer union with God and a more divine or supernatural mode of action than is possible through our ordinary good efforts aided by grace. Although infused contemplation is a special gift of God and not something that one can just kneel down and "do," it is something which we should all prepare for by prayer and practice of the virtues so that we pose no obstacle to God's raising us to this level of holiness, charity and supernatural fruitfulness - if and when He chooses.
Christian Perfection and Contemplation is an entire treatise on the operation of grace in the spiritual life that clearly and skillfully explains the great principles of the spiritual life according to St. Thomas Aquinas and other sterling Catholic sources. In fact, the author's fascinating and extremely informative footnotes are themselves worth the price of the book. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange shows us that the mystical life, which is true life - and, again, simply the full flowering of the Sanctifying Grace received at Baptism - is something abundantly spoken of in Scripture, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul and St. John, as well as in the traditional Liturgy of the Church.
Here he explains:
The clear distinction between nature and grace.
How efficacious grace works.
The meaning of infused contemplation.
The universality of the call to infused contemplation.
The increased activity of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost in the soul after it has entered the mystical life.
The apostolic fruitfulness of the mystical life.
The absolutely infallible certitude of faith, even in the spiritual darkness of the passive purifications.
The anti-mystical views of spiritual guides who consider the mystical life to be an extraordinary phenomenon intended for the very few, and who thus keep souls in mediocrity.
The extraordinary graces that sometimes do accompany infused contemplation.
This is a book to encourage all souls of good will to persevere in prayer and virtue, in the hope that God will bring them to that state of close union with Himself known as the mystical life, which results in the purifying and inflaming of their own souls by charity and in much greater fruitfulness in their efforts for the salvation of others. This book gives hope to the struggling, helping them to see that their spiritual trials do not indicate retrogression, but are in face the "narrow gate" leading to true life. (Page 156) This true life - which is actually the beginning of eternal life - is something to which all Catholics should aspire (page 461), an insight that is paramount in the thinking and writing of the learned, lucid and incomparable Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.