The Spiritual Life and the Contemplative Charism (2)

“Pentecost”, Jean II Restout, 1732.
It is certain, that, the active life is more perfect than the contemplative life. The life of the religious living in a contemplative order, is ordered towards contemplation, towards a vision of God that grants an intuition of Being. The active life, however, as evidenced in the priest, and foremost, in the bishop, perfects the virtue of religion for it is ordered towards sacrifice and teaching, that is, those elements of the religion that are most patterned after the model of Jesus Christ. As such, there exists a certain hierarchy due to an inequality of dignity because of a difference of function, that forms in the end, a hierarchical Church. It must never be accepted, that, the hierarchical constitution of the Church is an attribute that is to be dispensed with in favor of the egalitarian nature of the democratic government that seems to, in a sense, abolish difference and merit and substitute money for charity as the basis of the life of religion. Indeed, the true cause of democracy in the historical sense is only the development of Capitalism in Protestant Europe; a development from which Enlightenment philosophy inherited its notions of freedom, “libre-arbirtre”, and its adaptation of the notion of progress from the eschatological expectation of a millennial Kingdom from the Catholic faith. The adoption of the democratic psychological orientation within the Church, is in truth, the result of the passing away of the Divine monarchy as a force of political system; it marks, in fact, the reality of a Church that increasingly sacrifices spiritual power for temporal interest, for a concern that in the end, proves destructive of the process of redemption, present within history as the economy of salvation.
Contemplation in its authentic activity, serves to kindle within the Catholic Church, the flame of faith and maintain the life of prophecy; for the contemplative religious, the mystic are inherently instruments of the prophetic office of the Body of Christ, whose Head is Jesus Christ. There subsists the certainty, that, to contemplate must conduce the believer to share the fruits of contemplation. This is particularly true of the Dominican charism, which labors in contemplation to direct the efforts of the spiritual life: in this sense, prayer is conducive to scholarship, for it purifies the rational vision and kindles the spiritual life of the believer. The condition that remains permanent, then, is that prayer is a matter of intelligence and reason as it is a matter of virtue and conscience; in the end, a concern for salvation. The man who prays well, with the eloquence of the poet, the fire of the mystic, the righteousness of the prophet, and the intelligence of the doctor, can finally encounter the merit of salvation. Prayer, the sacramental life, the meditation of Scripture and holy books, and the union to suffering, these are the constants of the Catholic life.

The path to holiness, is eminently, one that recognizes the primacy of prayer, and the practice of charity. These, together, are the oil and the lamp that keep the light of faith aflame. Holiness, consists in living in the Divine Will, in the Power of God, in the reality of eternity. The believer, in the life of religion, continually conforms to the Will of God, by the practices of virtue, faith, religion, prayer, and charity. Life during the temporal existence, is an education, a preparation for eternity, for fellowship with the Divinity, for man must come to know, to love, and to serve the invisible God in the present life before he can enter the Glory of Heaven.

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