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Author Topic: What is the Interior Life?  (Read 1906 times)

gladius_veritatis

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What is the Interior Life?
« on: May 19, 2006, 10:59:am »

From The Soul of the Apostolate, by Dom Chautard, OCSO, this is the first of around ten posts I will make about this very important subject.  The capital letters and the italics are in the original.

 

What is the Interior Life?

 

In this book the words life of prayer, contemplative life will be applied as they are in the Imitation of Christ to the state of those souls who have dedicated themselves to a Christian life which is at the same time out of the common, and accessible to all, and, in substance, obligatory for all.

 

Without embarking upon a study of asceticism, let us at least remind the reader that EVERYONE is obliged to accept the following principles as absolutely certain, and base his inner life upon them.

 

FIRST TRUTH.  Supernatural life is the life of Jesus Christ Himself in my soul, by Faith, Hope, and Charity; for Jesus is the meritorious, exemplary, and final cause of sanctifying grace, and, as Word, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, He is its efficient cause in our souls.

 

The presence of Our Lord by this supernatural life is not the real presence proper to Holy Communion, but a presence of vital action like that of the action of the head or heart upon the members of the body.  This action lies deep within us, and God ordinarily hides it from the soul in order to increase the merit of our faith.  And so, as a rule, my natural faculties have no feeling of this action going on within me, which, however, I am formally obliged to believe by faith.  This action is divine, yet it does not interfere with my free will, and makes use of all secondary causes, events, persons, and things, to teach me the will of God and to offer me an opportunity of acquiring or increasing my share in the divine life.

 

This life, begun in Baptism by the state of grace, perfected at Confirmation, recovered by Penance and enriched by the Holy Eucharist, is my Christian life.


gladius_veritatis

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What is the Interior Life?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2006, 05:50:pm »

SECOND TRUTH.  By this life, Jesus Christ imparts to me His Spirit.  In this way, He becomes the principle of a superior activity which raises me up, provided I do not obstruct it, to think, judge, love, will, suffer, labor with Him, by Him, in Him, and like Him.  My outward acts become the manifestations of this life of Jesus in me.  And thus I ten to realize the ideal of the INTERIOR LIFE that was formulated by St. Paul when he said: "I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me."

 

Christian life, piety, interior life, sanctity: in all these we find no essential difference.  They are only different degrees of one and the same love.  They are the half-light, the dawning, the rising, and the zenith of the same sun.

 

Whenever the expression "interior life" is used in this book, the reference is not so much to habitual interior life, which we may call the "principal" or "capital" of the divine life deposited in us, by sanctifying grace, as to the actual interior life, which invests this capital and puts it to work in the activity of our soul, and in our fidelity to actual graces.

 

Thus I can define it as the state of activity of a soul which strives against its natural inclinations in order to REGULATE them, and endeavors to acquire the HABIT of judging and directing its movements IN ALL THINGS according to the light of the Gospel and the example of Our Lord.

 

Hence, a twofold movement.  By the first, the soul withdraws from all that is opposed to the supernatural life in created things, and seeks at all times to be recollected: aversio a creaturis.  By the second, the soul tends upwards to God, and unites itself with Him: conversio ad Deum.

 

The soul wishes in this way to be faithful to the grace which Our Lord offers to it at every moment.  In a word, it lives, united to Jesus, and carries out in actuality the principle: "He that liveth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit."


gladius_veritatis

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What is the Interior Life?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 06:03:pm »

THIRD TRUTH. I would be depriving myself of one of the most effective means of acquiring this interior life  if I failed to strive after a precise and certain faith in the active presence of Jesus within me, and if I did not try to make this presence within me, not merely a living, but an extremely vital reality, and one which penetrated more and more into all the life of my faculties.  When Jesus becomes, in this manner, my light, my ideal, my counsel, my support, my refuge, my strength, my healer, my consolation, my joy, my love, in a word, my life, I shall acquire all the virtues.  Then alone will I be able to utter, with sincerity, the wonderful prayer of St. Bonaventure, which the Church gives me for my thanksgiving after Mass: Transfige dulcissime Domine Jesu.