"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."

Thomas Kempis

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "

Thomas Kempis

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"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"

St Augustine

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CONTENTS

PREFACE - TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE - FOREWORD

INTRODUCTION

A. The one thing necessary
B. The question of the one thing necessary at the present time
C. The aim of this work
D. The object of Ascetical and Mystical Theology
E. The method of Ascetical and Mystical Theology
F. The distinction between Ascetical and Mystical Theology and their relations to each other
G. Division of this work

PART I - THE SOURCES OF THE INTERIOR LIFE AND ITS END

PROLOGUE

I. THE LIFE OF GRACE, ETERNAL LIFE BEGUN
 
A. Eternal Life Promised by the Savior to Men of Good Will
B. The Seed of Eternal Life in Us
C. An Important Consequence

II. THE INTERIOR LIFE AND INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH GOD
 
A. Conversation with Oneself.
B. Interior Conversation with God

III. THE SPIRITUAL ORGANISM

ARTICLE I - THE NATURAL LIFE AND THE SUPERNATURAL LIFE OF THE SOUL

ARTICLE II - THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES

ARTICLE III - THE MORAL VIRTUES
A. The Acquired Moral Virtues
B. The Infused Moral Virtues
C. Relations Between the Infused Moral Virtues and the Acquired Moral Virtues

ARTICLE IV - THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST
A. The Teaching of Scripture
B. Tradition
C. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost According to St. Thomas

APPENDIX - THE SUPERHUMAN MODE OF THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST
A. In What Sense Can the Gifts Have Two Modes, That on Earth and That of Heaven?
B. Whether the Superhuman Mode of the Gifts Can Be Latent.
C. Are There Degrees in Detachment from Creatures?
D. Are the Passive Purifications Necessary to Eliminate Moral Defects?

ARTICLE V - ACTUAL GRACE AND ITS DIVERS FORMS
A. The Necessity of Actual Grace
B. The Different Actual Graces
C. Fidelity to Grace

IV. THE BLESSED TRINITY PRESENT IN US, UNCREATED SOURCE OF OUR INTERIOR LIFE

A. The Testimony of Scripture
B. The Testimony of Tradition
C. The Theological Explanation of This Mystery
D. Spiritual Consequences of This Doctrine
E. Our Duties Toward the Divine Guest

V. THE INFLUENCE OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER ON HIS MYSTICAL BODY

A. How the Savior Communicates to Us the Graces Which He Formerly Merited for Us
B. The Sanctifying Influence of the Savior Through the Eucharist
C. Progressive Incorporation in Christ and Sanctity

VI. THE INFLUENCE OF MARY MEDIATRIX

A. The Meaning of Universal Mediation
B. Mary Mediatrix by Her Cooperation in the Sacrifice of the Cross
C. Mary Obtains and Distributes All Graces

VII. THE GROWTH OF THE LIFE OF GRACE BY MERIT, PRAYER, AND THE SACRAMENTS

A. Why the Life of Grace and Charity Should Grow in Us until Death
B. The Increase of Charity by Our Merits
C. The Increase of the Life of Grace Through Prayer
D. The Increase of the Life of Grace Through the Sacraments

VIII. THE TRUE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION

A. Erroneous or Incomplete Ideas of Perfection
B. The Essence of Perfection According to St. Paul's Interpretation of the Gospel
C. Some exact Theological Statements on the Nature of Perfection
D. The Superiority of Charity to the Knowledge of God in This Life
E. The Love of Charity Cannot Be Absolutely Continual on Earth as It Will Be in Heaven

IX. THE GRANDEUR OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION AND THE BEATITUDES

A. The Beatitudes of the Deliverance from Sin
B. The Beatitudes of the Active Life of the Christian
C. The Beatitudes of Contemplation and Union with God

X. PERFECTION AND HEROIC VIRTUE

A. Does Perfection Necessarily Require Great Charity?
B. Does Perfection Require the Heroic Practice of the Virtues?

XI. FULL CHRISTIAN PERFECTION AND THE PASSIVE PURIFICATIONS

A. Acts of the Other Virtues Required for Perfection
B. The Purifications Required for the Full Perfection of Christian Life
C. Full Christian Perfection and Contemplation

XII. PERFECTION AND THE PRECEPT OF THE LOVE OF GOD

A. Is the First Precept Without Limit?
B. The love of God does Not Consist in a Golden Mean
C. The Duty of Advancing on the Way to Eternity

XIII. PERFECTION AND THE EVANGELICAL COUNSELS

A. The Three Evangelical Counsels and the Wounds of the Soul
B. The Three Evangelical Counsels and the Restoration of Original Harmony

XIV. THE SPECIAL OBLIGATION OF THE PRIEST AND THE RELIGIOUS TO TEND TO PERFECTION

A. The Nature of the Special Obligation for Religious
B. The Special Obligation of the Priest to Tend to Perfection
C. The Ideal of Episcopal Perfection According to St. Isidore

XV. THE THREE AGES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE ACCORDING TO THE FATHERS AND THE GREAT SPIRITUAL WRITERS

A. Statement of the Problem
B. The Testimony of Scripture
C. The Testimony of Tradition
D. The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life and Those of the Corporeal Life

XVI. SPIRITUAL READING OF SCRIPTURE, OF THE WORKS AND LIVES OF THE SAINTS

A. Holy Scripture and the Life of the Soul
B. The Spiritual Works of the Saints
C. The Lives of the Saints
D. Dispositions for Profitable Spiritual Reading

XVII. SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

A. The Necessity of Direction
B. The Direction of Beginners
C. The Direction of Proficients and the Perfect
D. The Qualities of the Director and the Duties of the One Being Directed

 

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