"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

***Spiritual Progress

        Over the centuries, the stages of spiritual growth have been classified as the Purgative way, the Illuminative way, and the Unitive way.  St. Teresa of Avila further divided the journey into seven stages, which she called "mansions."  (Read Ralph Martin's book The Fulfillment of All Desire.)
        I'd like to look at the journey in a simpler way from a different point of view.  As you progress spiritually, imagine that you are traveling along a straight line. When you reach the point on the line that represents Total Surrender (TS) to God, you have finished the first part of the journey.  Beyond that point you have the next and last part of the journey.  Basically, you have a line divided into two parts.
        Many will not reach the point of TS in their lifetime.  On the other hand, we have saints such as Therese of Lisieux who got there in her young age (she died at the age of 24).  Spiritual progress is made as you travel along the road (line); but thorough, speedy transformations come only after you have gone beyond the TS point because God is now completely taking over.
        Today is the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene.  She was a great sinner, but because of her love for Jesus, she was transformed into a saint.  What we should do is not to be so concerned about whether we can reach or go beyond Total Surrender, but to concentrate more on loving the Lord as Mary Magdalene did and let Jesus lead us as far along the road of progress as he wishes.     

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