Thursday, November 21, 2013

Little by little...

So you won't notice.

As it was in the days of Noah - people married and were given in marriage, they bought and sold - their lives went on as normal.  As things changed, they didn't notice.  This changed, that changed, but life went on.  Life was good and the future could only be better.  They didn't need to worry about religious rules and regulations - they could be discarded little by little without any negative consequences.  You can keep your current religious plan.  Embrace the form of religion while repudiating its power...  You can be your own God.

Perhaps unrelated, but I read a former priest's blog from time to time.  He loves sex with men.  It is his greatest joy.  He has gone so far as to say that at times it is like a mystical experience for him: it can be - for him - the highest form of ecstasy - like a bit of heaven.  He once said the Church rejected him, had no room for him - but I see it the other way around.

little by little
though we are making great strides
toward it.

you are told
you are mistaken, deluded
so you won't notice.

How deep will that darkness be.

The appetites, our inordinate desires blind and darken the soul. Otherwise, how could a spiritual man fall into such depravity? 
Wherein is shown how the desires darken and blind the soul. 
THE third evil that the desires cause in the soul is that they blind and darken it. Even as vapours darken the air and allow not the bright sun to shine; or as a mirror that is clouded over cannot receive within itself a clear image; or as water defiled by mud reflects not the visage of one that looks therein; even so the soul that is clouded by the desires is darkened in the understanding and allows neither[140] the sun of natural reason nor that of the supernatural Wisdom of God to shine upon it and illumine it clearly. And thus David, speaking to this purpose, says: Comprehenderunt me iniquitates meoe, et non potui, ut viderem.[141] Which signifies: Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, and I could have no power to see.

2. And, at this same time, when the soul is darkened in the understanding, it is benumbed also in the will, and the memory becomes dull and disordered in its due operation. For, as these faculties in their operations depend upon the understanding, it is clear that, when the understanding is impeded, they will become disordered and troubled. And thus David says: Anima mea turbata est valde.[142] That is: My soul is sorely troubled. Which is as much as to say, 'disordered in its faculties.'
Even an old man can fall away.
6. Oh, if men but knew how great is the blessing of Divine light whereof they are deprived by this blindness which proceeds from their affections and desires, and into what great hurts and evils these make them to fall day after day, for so long as they mortify them not! For a man must not rely upon a clear understanding, or upon gifts that he has received from God, and think that he may indulge his affection or desire, and will not be blinded and darkened, and fall gradually into a worse estate. For who would have said that a man so perfect in wisdom and the gifts of God as was Solomon would have been reduced to such blindness and torpor of the will as to make altars to so many idols and to worship them himself, when he was old?[149] Yet no more was needed to bring him to this than the affection which he had for women and his neglect to deny the desires and delights of his heart. For he himself says concerning himself, in Ecclesiastes, that he denied not his heart that which it demanded of him.[150] And this man was capable of being so completely led away by his desires that, although it is true that at the beginning he was cautious, nevertheless, because he denied them not, they gradually blinded and darkened his understanding, so that in the end they succeeded in quenching that great light of wisdom which God had given him, and therefore in his old age he foresook God.

7. And if unmortified desires could do so much in this man who knew so well the distance that lies between good and evil, what will they not be capable of accomplishing by working upon our ignorance? For we, as God said to the prophet Jonas concerning the Ninivites, cannot discern between[151] our right hand and our left.[152] At every step we hold evil to be good, and good, evil, and this arises from our own nature. What, then, will come to pass if to our natural darkness is added the hindrance of desire?[153] Naught but that which Isaias describes thus: Palpavimus, sicut coeci parietem, et quasi absque oculis attreetavimus: impegimus meridie, quasi in tenebris.[154] The prophet is speaking with those who love to follow these their desires. It is as if he had said: We have groped for the wall as though we were blind, and we have been groping as though we had no eyes, and our blindness has attained to such a point that we have stumbled at midday as though it were in the darkness. For he that is blinded by desire has this property, that, when he is set in the midst of truth and of that which is good for him, he can no more see them than if he were in darkness.  - John of the Cross

Ed. note: Since it is the end of the liturgical year, it seems appropriate to think 'apocalyptically' - since all the readings for Mass lead that way.


  1. This is the truth. I'm grateful for this. Great graces and virtues can be lost by giving in to temptation.

  2. Terry, I managed to not read this. Not that it's not true, but because I don't think John of the Cross is helpful for me.

    I would just end up fearing all of my natural desires, and feelings like God is mad at me for having them, or that I am wrong to want anything.

  3. Well, I did just see a bit of it. He's not saying desires and affections are themselves bad, huh? Just that they can mislead us?

    But as to mortification -- this doesn't always mean physical mortification, but not indulging sinful desires is mortification in itself, is it not? Like, wanting to marry and desiring all that comes with it is good, and making an effort to remain pure through that time, to not fall with one's beloved, is a mortification too?


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.