Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange

A prayer from Father Garrigou-Lagrange

Lord, teach me to know the obstacles that, consciously or unconsciously, I am placing in the way of Thy grace in me. Give me the strength to put them aside, and if I am negligent therein, vouchsafe Thyself to remove them, howsoever I may suffer thereby. What wouldst Thou have me to do for Thee this day, my God? Show me what it is in me that displeaseth Thee. Teach me rightly to value the Precious Blood which Thou didst shed for me, of the sacramental or spiritual communion by which we are enabled to drink that Blood from the wound of Thy most loving Heart.”

“Make me, O Lord, to grow in love of Thee. Grant that our inner conversation may never cease; that I may never separate myself from Thee; that I may receive all that Thou dost deign to give me; and that I may not stand in the way of the grace which through me should be poured out upon other souls to give them light and life.”

Scripture supplied by significant other:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him,
And he will make your paths straight.”  

Proverbs 3:5-6

A word Tohubohu: chaos; disorder; confusion.

Quote: Learn this: joy is not merely joyful; it is great. So be lovers gaily then, the devil! and marry, when you do marry, with the fever and the dizziness and the uproar and the tohubohu of happiness.  — Victor Hugo, translated by Charles E. Wilbour, Les Misérables, 1862


Words of Father Garrigou-Lagrange gathered into a poem

When the heart is burning with love for God,
The soul is contemplating lamps of fire,
Which enlighten all things…
Divine perfections:
Wisdom, Goodness, Mercy, Justice, Providence, Omnipotence.
The colours of the divine rainbow,
Without destroying one another…
Identified in the intimate life of God,
In the Deity,
The seven colours of the rainbow…
United in the one light…
“All these are one lamp,
Which is the Word. . . .
This lamp
All these lamps,
Give light,
Burn in all these ways.”
Living Flame St John of the Cross
The powers of the soul…
Melted in the splendour of the divine lamps….
Truly a prelude to eternal life.
“The soul is completely absorbed in these delicate flames,
Wounded subtly in each of them,
In all of them more deeply
Subtly wounded in love of life,
See quite clearly,
That love belongs to life eternal,
The union of all blessings…..
The lamps of love,
Lamps of fire and flame.”
The flame which the wise virgins must tend in their lamps,
A participation of this flame…
Canticle of Canticles
The divine love is a consuming fire.
It penetrates the soul to its depth.
It burns and consumes,
But does not destroy;
It transforms into itself.
Material fire burns wood to its innermost fibers,
Iron to its last molecules,
An image of that fire,
How feeble an image!
At times, under a specially powerful grace,
The soul that is on fire with divine love sends forth flames.
They ascend straight to God.
God  is their principle
God is their end;
It is for God’s sake that the soul is consumed with love…..
St. John of the Cross compares the soul penetrated by God
With the union of air and fire in a flame,
Nothing else but air on fire…..
God by His action enters so intimately…
God deifies the purified soul.
Sanctifying grace.
Sanctifying grace a real and formal participation,
God’s inner life,
God’s own nature…
Unitive love…
The soul like a sea of fire
Reaches to the farthest heights and depths,
Filled wholly with a fiery love.
St John of the Cross Living Flame
Hardly perceptible at first,
More and more it grows,
The soul experiences an ever-increasing hunger for God
A burning thirst,
The Psalmist says:
“For thee my soul hath thirsted;
For thee my flesh, O, how many ways!”
True be attitude, (beautiful attitude)…
Those that hunger and thirst after justice;
The prelude to the life of heaven,
Truly a beginning of eternal life…
The life of grace on earth,
The seed of glory…
Too sublime for us poor mortals?
… too sublime…
Baptism: life of grace…
Must develop into eternal life…
Holy Communion increase that grace within…
More fervent than the preceding,
Too increase the love of God in us,
Thus dispose us to receive our Lord with a greater fervor…
St. John of the Cross says,
Spiritual souls that desire union,
Would attain it if they did not flee,
The trials which God sends for purification…
Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena…
“If any man thirst let him come to me and drink…
Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
“You were all invited,
Generally and in particular,
By God’s Truth,
Our Lord cried in the Temple,
‘If any man thirst,
Let him come to me and drink’
Invited to the fountain of living water,
Grace: it is right for you,
With perseverance keep by Jesus.
Christ is a bridge,
Do not be turned away,
Contrary winds will arise,
Either of prosperity or adversity,
Persevere until you find God,
Who offers the water of Life,
By means of this sweet Word of love:
My only-begotten Son…..”
You must have thirst,
Only those that thirst are invited.
‘If any man thirst,’
‘Let him come to me and drink.’
He who has no thirst will not persevere,
Either fatigue causes him to stop,
Or pleasure distracts him . . .
He turns back at the smallest persecution…
The intellect must gaze into the ineffable love…
My only-begotten Son. . . .
A man who is full of My love,
The love of his neighbour
Finds himself the companion of many real virtues;
And then the soul is disposed to thirst:
It thirsts for virtue,
The honour of God’s name and
The salvation of souls;
Every other thirst is spent and dead.
The soul then walks securely…
Stripped of self-love;
Raised above itself,
Above transitory things…
It contemplates the profound love,
I have manifested in Christ crucified…
The heart, emptied of the things that pass away,
Becomes filled with heavenly love,
Granted access to the waters of grace.
Having arrived,
The soul passes through
The door of Christ crucified,
Tasting the water of life,
Slaking his thirst in Jesus,
Christ the Ocean of Peace.

burning logs image 2 Guide 2015



The soul contemplates the goodness of God in the mirror of material creatures, and rises to Him by recalling the parables which Jesus preached to beginners; 2) The soul contemplates the divine goodness in the mirror of intelligible truths, or the mysteries of salvation, and rises to Him by a spiral movement, from the Nativity of Christ to His Ascension; 3) The soul contemplates sovereign Goodness in itself, in the darkness of faith, circling round again and again, to return always to the same infinite truth, to understand it better and more fully to live by it. –Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange


All we need is love

We do not think that detachment from creatures is the same for all, whether for the greatest saints or for those souls that have reached a minimal perfection. And the principal reason is, that perfection excludes not only faults that are directly voluntary, but also those that are indirectly voluntary; those which proceed from negligence and a relative tepidity, from a secret and semi-conscious egoism that does not allow the depth of the soul to belong completely to God. Likewise there is a certain co-relation between the intensive growth of charity and its extension, in consequence of which charity gradually excludes even those obstacles which we more or less unconsciously oppose to the work of grace in our souls. –Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.


Advent fellowship

“One can in truth,” St Louis de Montfort says, “reach divine union by other roads; but it will be by many more crosses and strange deaths, with many more difficulties, which he shall conquer with greater difficulty.  He shall have to pass through dark thorns, and frightful deserts.  But by way of Mary, the passage is more sweet and tranquil.  On this road, in truth, are great combats to be fought and great difficulties to be overcome; but this good Mother takes up her position so near her faithful servants to sustain them in their struggles and difficulties that in reality this virginal road to find Jesus Christ is a road of roses and honey compared with other roads.”

St Francis of Assisi in this connection is well known.  One day the saint saw his sons trying to reach Our Lord by a ladder that was red and very steep; after climbing a few rungs, they would fall back.  Our Lord then showed St Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose sumit speared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis: “Advise my sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.”  –Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange ‘Three Ages of the Interior Life: Devotion to Mary in Proficients’.

Exiting mass yesterday, carrying ‘Three Ages of the Interior Life’.  I was asked what I was reading.  I showed the inquirer the author’s name.  They were not familiar with Father Garrigou, asking about his writing.  I started to read the passage above, moved when reading before the Eucharist.  The listener scoffed a bit at the words, mentioning they did not seek a sweet and tranquil path.  I smiled.  I knew their words were presumptuous, self-glorifying in the need to appear heroic, wrong on many levels.  I responded, “Ohh don’t worry, you will get your wish.  The crosses and difficulties will come”.  I said nothing more, steering the conversation toward family life, gatherings, and the holiday season.  I am tired of speaking about religion with others.  Transcribing the quote above, further words of Father Garrigou arose relevant:

To neglect the Mediators whom God has given us because of our weakness, shows a lack of humility.  Intimacy with Our Lord in prayer will be greatly facilitated by frequent recourse to Mary.

I will comment no further, rather focusing upon a dryness I am experiencing regarding the voice of others.  I am tired of talk, fatigued from socializing in general being the basis of the spiritual life.  The spiritual life has always been an interior endeavor for myself.  Inherently possessing its own dangers and difficulties, an interior—a concentrated prayer life calls forth boredom, unromantic times of being alone.  If one does not know one’s self, if one is not at peace, the life is too much.  And then even within an advanced knowing of one’s self, it is difficult, lonely and empty, complicated by the instinctual desire for intimacy.  Even the desert hermits would come together, meeting with one another, supporting, nourishing, and confiding.  Ann is removed from my life, therefore her ways of fun, lunches, entertainment, and people gathering are passed beyond.  They never were my way.  I know her elimination is appropriate, a prayerful life emerging significant, a centering within my mission through the Hospice and more. I thought of Father David Mary once stating the necessity of Joseph being removed early from Jesus and Mary’s lives in order for them to complete their salvific mission. Joseph, the worldly father and protector, would have tried to dominate and save his son from being crucified. He would have consoled his wife, attempting to alleviate her sorrow.  During Advent, I am experiencing the call to become detached from spiritual sharing; conversation rooted in fellowship demonstrates too much casualness, chattiness, irrelevance and irreverence, all centering upon vanity and the need to establish identity, to be someone special through faith.  Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk…..

The blessed thing is God supplies companionship through the Hospice, proper fellowship nurturing my contemplative life.  Yesterday began a wonderful Wednesday routine.  I will be assisting a couple in Willoughby, Ohio, a small community east of Cleveland, resting upon Lake Erie.  The wife needs someone to sit with her husband, while she goes with her daughter-in-law shopping.  I am enamored with the opportunity, identifying it as a gift to establish routine.  I was also blessed on the drive home, stopping at a bagel and coffee diner, locals gathered aplenty, an obvious lively community gathering place.  I fell into conversation with the owner and several gentleman regarding politics, and the discussing of an event I witnessed covered by the news channel on the television before us.  The other day after mass, at Euclid and Fifty-fifth Street, a multitude of police cars flooded a gas station, crime scene tape dispersed, news crews filming.  I later learned I witnessed the aftermath of the severe tragedy of a failed car-jacking, a mother and her seven year old daughter shot to death.  The Bagel Buddy, on Lakeshore Boulevard, sits directly across from Our Lady of the Lakes, a church I will explore.  One of the gentleman and I fell into discussion about Catholic churches.  He reminded me of the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine close by and furthermore pulled out his camera, showing me a plentitude of photos from a recent pilgrimage to a Hungarian Shrine I knew nothing about, the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch.  It will, possibly this weekend, be an upcoming photographic excursion.  The Bagel Buddy is firmly entrenched upon my Wednesday itinerary.  I will be purchasing cookies and two cream cheese pumpkin rolls to take to my family for Christmas celebrations.  Back to the Willoughby couple, the woman is so grateful, she tried to extend money.  I could only smile, expressing how much her and her husband provided by allowing me to visit their lovely home upon the lake.  Driving away, I came to the conclusion I would ask for a favor from her since she is so insistent upon doing something for me.  I will ask her and her husband to attend mass with me at St Paul Shrine.  All in God’s hand.  During this Advent season, God presents fellowship, through the Hospice.  Another opportunity has arisen with a couple in Richmond Heights.  She would like to attend Catholic mass, needing someone to sit with her husband while she celebrates mass.  I will be blessed with this opportunity in the near future, hoping something of permanency develops, a Rosary partner existing within.  Bottom line, I will allow God to provide companionship through the Hospice.  I will not run around like a teenager attempting to fill my life with people.

I comprehend amidst the Advent season something emerging, the time of preparation presenting.  There is an individual I am going to provide privacy upon, protecting and sheltering his reputation and ways.  I recall my first meeting with him, shaking hands, being introduced to him with Ann by her friend Lauren.  I knew instantly upon shaking his hand he was authentic, a man of depth and calling, his ways beyond the ways of other lay people playing at the spiritual life.  Good people dedicate themselves to furthering and deepening their faith, yet a special few are being worked upon by God in advancement.  My time in the friary, and the grace of God, allows me to instantly perceive someone advanced within a spiritual vocation. Such individuals must be protected and supported, or at least left alone by those working on the natural and social level. The ways of God are dangerous to impose upon, spiritual competition and pettiness draining and defeating for someone whose spiritual acuteness has been heightened. Their sensitivities are not an overly-sensitive nature protecting ego and delusion, rather a rarefied sensitivity produced through divine influence and formation, inferior ways a harsh and brutal abrasion. I think of the scene from the strange movie ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ when St Francis shakes his head no, saying no, rejecting the celebration of mass as his parents know it.  I have been observing this man for months, ever since that first hand shaking, keeping distance, allowing God to guide.  I seem to see him everywhere.  Through time, during Advent, amidst a time of frustration, he comes into clarity.  I am convinced God is bestowing the advancing of ways.  I have no clue regarding details, no expectation, no agenda, no aspirations.  I simply, to the best of my abilities purely, adhering to my conviction that God is calling forth something special in my life, open myself to the influence of a gentleman I am convinced has something of a depth others are not only lacking, yet completely unaware exist.  I think the gentleman himself, as Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange details a true contemplative exists, is unaware of the depths of the Holy Spirit working within his soul.  The time of excessive talking is commenced. The time of inferior ways not engaged or confronted, rather dismissed, simply moved beyond.


Antithetical bringing to light

We might add that unfavorable surroundings often provoke a salutary reaction in good souls, especially in very good ones, and the Lord helps them in proportion to the difficulties to be overcome.  For example, the suffering caused by injustice reveals to us the worth of justice, self-sufficiency and pride, which become unendurable, demonstrate the worth of humility.  Love of truth, relish for the word of God, solid piety, all of which are not content with appearances, react by common accord and quite spontaneously against empty and pretentious learning, which alters everything by its false spirit. The lack of simplicity in life emphasizes the desirability of that frank cordiality without which there is not true union of hearts and minds in God.  A discordant note, which violates the order of charity by placing the love of neighbor above the love of God, startles us and by contrast recalls the grandeur of the first precept.  Falsehood under its various forms shows us the worth of truth; the absence of truth in varying degrees is one of the greatest obstacles to the life of prayer. A soul becomes contemplative only if it is established in the truth, because infused contemplation is simply the immediate effect of the direct operation of God’s truth on the soul to bring it to a greater love.  Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross’

I like Father Garrigou’s message of a soul open to infused contemplation able to alight upon truth under contrary conditions.  It made me think of St John of the Cross being incarcerated, judged so harshly wrong in interpretation he is imprisoned and beaten, reduced to paltry conditions.  Complicating matters further, the severe discipline is enforced by fellow religious, those dedicating their lives to the service of the Lord.  The saint responds with a greater absorption in truth.  He does not seek justice, nor focus upon the impiety of others.  Lacking accord or reward, he dives deeper into God.  External conditions are such a great affront to the reality of truth the saint responds with a greater immersion into truth.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit, wisdom and understanding, provide clarity upon the ways of God through the perversion of the ways of man.  Through the grace of God, the experience of reality away from truth assists in the defining of truth.




Mary, present, silently forming

‘By her action Mary enters therefore into our lives as bearer of the Divine. In the whole course of our lives, from the cradle and before it to the grave and beyond it, there is nothing of grace in which she had no part.  She shapes us to the likeness of Jesus.  She leaves her mark on everything and adds to the perfection of what passes through her hands.  I have said that we are sustained by her prayer: we are similarly sustained by her action and, if one may say it, have our spiritual being in her hands.  Every Christian is a child of Mary, but a child is not worthy of the name unless it is formed by its mother.’  Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange


Advent Antiphons

From Mary’s sweet silence
Come, Word mutely spoken!

Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!

Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.

Fullness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,

Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,


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Sister M. Charlita Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary