Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Excerpts: Casting Off the Dross
“See, I have refined you like silver, tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
Old Testament Spirituality
Chapter 3: Purification
"Here, Scripture teaches by its usual method- not by abstract maxims, but by the portrayal of men suddenly struck by suffering…gradually leading them by successive purifications to divine union. Nevertheless, once these souls are free of sin, they allow God to guide them into the narrow path where they learn patience; where, with the help of grace, they cast off their impurities and dross.
For while the soul is no longer opposed to God, it is still radically dissimilar to Him. Just as the divine initiative was necessary first to remove whatever blocked out the light, so it is required again to eliminate whatever cannot be assimilated by love.
The Old Testament teaches that life is born of death and that in God’s hands suffering is the chosen instrument of resurrection.
Souls, like the burning bush [before Moses], are to be enkindled by Yahweh’s flame. In proportion that they consent to die while still living, they are born to true life and experience union with God.
The just man knows that he is radically unlike God and this dissimilarity necessitates a real renewal. Hence, the just seek purification, not only that they be cleansed from their hidden and unconscious faults, but also that they may become less unworthy to appear before Him whose infinite sanctity is all the better known to them as their souls are less sullied by sin.
For the farther man advances along the path of purification, the less attention he pays to himself. His sins impede him less and God attracts him more."
Waiting on the Lord is a great test for the soul. St. Padre Pio once said that waiting on God is like being in an interior room of a ship out at sea. You can feel the ship rocking from side to side; but because the room does not have any windows, it seems the ship is far from its destination. Indeed, the ship seems to be going nowhere. In reality, however, the ship is traveling many miles a day. Likewise, waiting on the Lord can feel like you are losing ground, but in reality the soul makes much progress during this time. But the Lord has been known to do his greatest work when things look dormant or when all seems lost. Beneath the surface, Divine Providence is merely getting things ready: "The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds." (Sirach 35:17-18) Just as important, as we wait and trust in the Lord on a day to day basis, he builds-up the soul from within.
Posted by Joe at 10:58 AM