Jan 312014
 

As soon as ever ofxxx my second age

I was upon the threshold and changed life,

Himself from me he took and gave to others.

When from the flesh to spirit I ascended,

And beauty and virtue were in me increased,

I was to him less dear and less delightful;

And into ways untrue he turned his steps,

Pursuing the false images of good,

That never any promises fulfill;

Nor prayer for inspiration me availed,

By means of which in dreams and otherwise

I called him back, so little did he heed them.

So low he fell, that all appliances

For his salvation were already short,

Save showing him the people of perdition.

For this I visited the gates of death,

And unto him, who so far up has led him,

My intercessions were with weeping borne.

God’s lofty fiat would be violated

If Lethe should be passed, and if such viands

Should tasted be, withouten any scot

Of penitence, that gushes forth in tears.

 

Dante, Purgatorio, Canto XXX

Apr 222012
 

Note, lastly, what the Truth must be;

1. In the first Hierarchy:

evoked by the utterance of prayer, work of the Angels;

heard in study and reading, work of the Archangels;

announced through example and preaching, work of the Principalities.

2. In the second Hierarchy:

joined with refuge and place of indulgence, work of the Powers;

apprehended through zeal and emulation,

work of the Virtues;

conjoined with self-deprecation and mortification,

work of the Dominions.

3. In the third Hierarchy:

worshipped through sacrifice and praise,

work of the Thrones;

admired through ecstasy (going out of oneself)

and contemplation,

work of the Cherubim;

embraced in kiss and dilection (amplectanda per osculum et dilectionem),

work of the Seraphim.

Note diligengly what I say here,

because this is the fountain of life.

St Bonaventura, De triplici via, iii, 14

Oct 192011
 

Know, dearest friar, that when I was on Mount Alverna, all rapt in the contemplation of the Passion of Christ, in this Seraphic vision I was by Christ thus stigmatised in my body; and then Christ said to me:

“Knowest thou what I have done to thee? I have given thee the marks of my Passion in order that thou mayst be My standard-bearer. And even I, on the day of My death, descended into limbo and drew thence all the souls I found therein, by virtue of my stigmatas, and led them up to paradise, so do I grant thee from this hour (that thou mayst be conformed to Me in thy death as thou has been in thy life) that after thou has passed from this life thou shalt go every year, on the day of thy death, to purgatory, and shalt deliver all the souls thou shalt find there of thy three Orders, to with, Minors, Sisters, and Penitents, and likewise the souls of thy devoted followers, and this, in virtue of thy stigmatas that I have given thee; and thou shalt lead them to paradise.”

And those words I told not while I lived in the world.

[This said, St Francis suddenly disappeared]

The Little Flowers of St Francis

Aug 082010
 

I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:

Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note;

So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;

And they fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me

On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

Out of the wood do not desire to go:

Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.

I am a spirit of no common rate;

The summer still doth tend upon my state;

And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;

I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee;

And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,

And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep:

And I will purge thy mortal grossness so,

That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare

Aug 022010
 

The poor distressed soul was so terrified and amazed, that it could not speak one word more.

When it found that it stood in the form and condition of the serpent, which separated it from God; and that the devil was so nigh it in that condition, who injected evil thoughts into the will of the soul, and had so much power over it thereby, that it was near damnation, and sticking fast in the abyss or bottomless pit of hell, in the anger of God; it would have even despaired of divine mercy; but that the power, virtue, and strength of the first stirring of the grace of God, which had before bruised the soul, upheld and preserved it from total despair.

But still it wrestled in itself between hope and doubt; whatsoever hope built up, that doubt threw down again. And thus was it agitated with such continual disquiet, that at last the world and all the glory thereof became loathsome to it, neither would it enjoy worldly pleasures any more; and yet for all this, could it not come to rest.

On a time the enlightened soul came again to this soul, and finding it still in so great trouble, anguish, and grief of mind, said to it:

What dost thou? Wilt thou destroy thyself in thy anguish and sorrow? Why dost torment thyself in thy own power and will, who art but a worm, seeing thy torment increaseth thereby more and more? Yea, if thou shouldst sink thyself down to the bottom of the sea, or couldst fly to the uttermost coasts of the morning, or raise thyself above the stars, yet thou wouldst not be released. For the more thou grievest, tormentest, and troublest thyself, the more painful thy nature will be; and yet thou wilt not be able to come to rest.

For thy power is quite lost; and as a dry stick burnt to a coal cannot grow green and spring afresh by its own power, nor get sap to flourish again with other trees and plants; so neither canst thou reach the place of God by thy own power and strength, and transform thyself into that angelical image which thou hadst at first. For in respect to God thou art withered and dry, like a dead plant that hath lost its sap and strength, and so art become a dry tormenting hunger. Thy properties are like heat and cold, which continually strive one against the other, and can never unite.

The distressed Soul said: What then shall I do to bud forth again, and recover the first life, wherein I was at rest before I became an image?

The enlightened Soul said: Thou shalt do nothing at all but forsake thy own will, viz. that which thou callest I, or thyself. By which means all thy evil properties will grow weak, faint, and ready to die; and then thou wilt sink down again into that one thing, from which thou art originally sprung. For now thou liest captive in the creatures; but if thy will forsaketh them, the creatures, with their evil inclinations, will die in thee, which at present stay and hinder thee, that thou canst not come to God. But if thou takest this course, thy God will meet thee with his infinite love, which he path manifested in Christ Jesus in the humanity, or human nature.

And that will impart sap, life, and vigour to thee; whereby thou mayest bud, spring, flourish again, and rejoice in the living God, as a branch growing on his true vine. And so thou wilt at length recover the image of God, and be delivered from the image or condition of the serpent: Then shalt thou come to be my brother, and have fellowship with the angels.

The Signature of all Things, Jacob Boehme

Jul 102010
 

it is said that Angels are in perpetual contemplation of God. They are, if one understands by contemplation the state of being in  permanent contact with the Holy Trinity and of being blinded by its light. It is the ‘dark contemplation’ of which St John of the Cross spoke which is that of the Angels. They do not see God; they are united to him substantially.

With respect to guardian Angels, neither do they see one another, nor do they see entities of the other hierarchies – Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. For the presence of the transcendental divine light in them envelops in darkness their perception of the intermediary spheres between God and mankind.

It is the latter sphere that they see, or rather, the ‘spheres’ of their proteges. It is here that they make use of this clairvoyance, which the human being – who has lost it – has need of for the protection it affords. It is here also that the Angels display the geniality of synthetic and profound understanding – without parallel – which has merited them, on the part of human beings, with the attribute of ‘omniscience’.

They are not omniscient, but the facility with which they orientate themselves in human things and grasp at them – at contact with which their ‘dark’ divine wisdom becomes resplendent – has so impressed human beings who have had the experience of consciously meeting with them that they have been led to consider them as omniscient. It is to this impression that has been gained of Angels that the word ‘genius’ owes its original meaning, namely that of superhuman intelligence.

But – and this is the tragic side of Angelic existence – this geniality shows up only when the human being has need of it, when he makes room for the flashing forth of its illumination. The Angel depends on man in his creative activity. If the human being does not ask for it, if he turns away from him, the Angel has no motive for creative activity.

He can then fall into a state of consciousness where all his creative geniality remains in potential and does not manifest. It is a state of vegetation or ‘twilight existence’, comparable to sleep from the human point of view. An Angel who has nothing to exist for is a tragedy in the spiritual world.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance