"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fr. Voigt, Am I Saving my Soul?

Fr. Voigt, Am I Saving my Soul?
"Da mihi animas coetera tolle," was the quote that Dominic Savio found on the
window looking into the office of St. John Bosco.  When he entered he stated:
"I see around here you deal in saving souls...will you help me save mine?" In 
response the Saint took out a hankerchief and began shaping it into a rabbit,
a bird, a donkey and said:  "If you make yourself pliable as this hankerchief, we 
will make a fine saint of you."  
Today we no longer speak of the soul and the development of the soul despite the fact that Our Lord was constantly driving home the importance of the eternal life.  "Seek first the kingdom of God and all else shall be granted thee besides."  Focus on the development of your soul.  The development will pass through the three stages of spiritual life:
(1) the purgative state in which the soul is attached to the glories of the world and the pleasure of the senses.  This state is marked by habitual sin which is often mortal because the soul is encased in a closet of selfishness and pride.  To combat this state the reasonmust grasp the truth that only the glory of God matters.  When this realization hits the mark then a serious confession will take place and the soul begins its true journey.

In the second state, the illuminate state, the soul is still riddled with superficial attachments to family, innocent pleasures, venial sin in one shape or another.  The soul must seek more and more the truth of the gospel in order to detach itself from the physical world and attach itself to the glory of God.  The soul in this state seeks the designated will of God through a love of the ten commandments and the six precepts of the Church.  Spirtual reading, love of the 
holy rosary and good companions aid the soul's pursuit of holiness.  It will begin to seek only the actions that glorify God and so prayer, fasting and almsgiving become second nature to the soul in its ascent to union.  The soul's progress will be recognized in the person when the desire to dominate and manipulate others (even for the good) is erased from one's mode of acting.  
Finally, the third state is the unitive state in which only the pleasure of God fills the heart of the individual and nothing in this world offers it anything like the Love of God.  The unitive state is the beginning of a unique expression of holiness which will increase the action of the Theological Virtues in union with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.  The life of perfection consists in the desire to obey the will of God as expressed in my unique life.  Hence, Obedience subordinates our will to the will of God.  Then the soul expresses the body's submission through a desire for true purity often termed Chastity.  Finally, the possessions of the person are totally for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.  This attitude is the Poverty of Spirit that initiates the Beatitudes.  Each of these virtues (Poverty, Chastity and Obedience) will go nowhere without the foundational virtue of Humility.

Humility is the soil of a soul bent upon heaven.  Without humility there is no real virtue and no true charity.  The pathway of the Lord of the Universe was to humble Himself by taking to Himself a human nature.  That human nature subjected Itself to the humiliation of ridicule, spitting, being whipped, and being crucified.  He looked like a worm and not a man.  Humiliation after humiliation followed one after another and He chose them.  In fact the greatest of all His humiliations is the reality we celebrate in the Holy Mass:  He humbled Himself to become our divine and eternal food. He is our Bread of Life.
Some come to realize the all powerful love of God in early youth like St. Agnes; others learn the truth when they are adolescence like a Francis de Sales: still others recognize their need to glorify God when they are young adults consider a St. Paul; later others come to their vocation in their senior years like me; finally others come to their hearts' desire on their deathbeds.  The hour does not matter.  What matters is that the souls arrive at the desire to be one again with their author and their Eternal Lover.  When will you begin to take seriously the life of the soul?  When will you seek to save and sanctify that which is eternal and vivifies everything moment of your presence in this temporal world?  It is up to each of us to make use of the time that has been given us by God.  

May you seek to save your soul.  Nothing else matters in this world.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Voigt