A description of the soul's journey to full union with God

The Purification of the Soul in Beginners (cont)


Ch 27: The Active Purification of the Will

"For Thou art God my strength." Ps.42:2

We have seen that the intellect must be purified not only from error, ignorance, willfulness, and spiritual blindness, but also from curiosity, which gives too much importance to what is secondary and not enough to what is primary, when the work of the intellect should be directed to God, our last end, and to the good of souls. We must now speak of the purification and training of the will.

The will or rational appetite, which is very superior to the sensitive appetite, is a faculty which tends toward the good known through the intellect; it has for its object the universal good, which permits it to rise to the love of God, the sovereign Good. Whereas each of the other faculties is inclined to its own good the sight to what is visible, the intellect to the intelligible true-the will is inclined to the good ,of the entire man This explains why it applies the other faculties to the exercise of their acts, for example, the intellect to the search for the true. This is also why, if the will is fundamentally upright, a man is good; he is not only a good mathematician or a good physician, he is a man of good or, as the Gospel says, "a man of good will" On the contrary, if the will has not the desired rectitude, if it is not inclined toward the true good of the entire man, he may be a good logician, a good painter, or a good musician, but he is not a man of good; he is an egoist, whose virtues, more apparent than real, are inspired by pride, ambition, or the fear of difficulties and vexations.

Thus free will gives not only to its own (or elicited) acts, but also to the acts of the other faculties which it commands (commanded acts), their liberty and their merit or demerit. Therefore, to regulate the will is to regulate the entire man. But in the will there are defects, deviations, which are the result of original sin and of our personal sins.


The strength of the will to move itself and to incline the other faculties to act comes from its docility to God, from its conformity to the divine will, because then, by grace, the divine strength passes into it. This is the great principle dominating this whole question.

All the meaning and the bearing of this principle are seen when we recall that, in the state of original justice, as long as the will was subject to God through love and obedience, it had the strength to command the passions completely and to reject every disorder of the sensible faculties; the passions were then totally subjected to the will vivified by charity. (2)

Since original sin, we are born without sanctifying grace and charity, with our wills turned away from God, the supernatural last end, and weak for the accomplishment of our duties even in the natural order.(3)

Without falling into the exaggeration of the first Protestants and the Jansenists, we must say that we are born with a will inclined to egoism, to inordinate self-love. This is called the wound of malice; (4) it often manifests itself by a gross egoism, against which one should guard, an egoism that mingles in all man's acts. It follows that the will, which has become weak by reason of its lack of docility to God, no longer has absolute power over the sensible faculties, but only a sort of moral power or persuasion to lead them to subject themselves.(5) Doubtless after baptism, which regenerated us by giving us sanctifying grace and charity, this wound, like the others, is in the process of healing; but it also reopens by reason of our personal sins.

The principal defect of the will is the lack of rectitude, called self-love or inordinate love of self, which forgets the love due to God and that which we should have for our neighbor. Self-love or egoism is manifestly the source of all sins.(6) From it are born "the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life." (7) The sensible appetites, which are no longer firmly led, incline man to thoughtlessness, feverish eagerness, fruitless agitation, selfish search for all that pleases, flight from all that is painful, nonchalance, discouragement, in which he sees that his will has lost its strength, and to all sorts of bad examples. (8)

It is clear that self-will, which is defined as that which is not conformed to the will of God, is the source of every sin. Self-will is extremely dangerous because it can corrupt everything; even what is best in one may become evil when self-will enters in, for it takes itself as its end, instead of subordinating itself to God. If the Lord perceives this will in a fast or a sacrifice, He rejects them because He sees therein a divine work accomplished through pride in order to gain approbation. Now, self-will is born of self-love or egoism; it is strong self-love that has become imperious.

On the subject of self-love or egoism, we may fall into two opposing errors: utilitarianism and quietism. Theoretical or practical utilitarianism does not see an evil in egoism, but a power that should be moderated. This doctrine, which reduces virtue to a business transaction, suppresses all morality; it reduces praiseworthy good to the useful and the delectable. This good, the object of virtue and duty, ought to be loved for itself and more than ourselves, independently of the advantages or the pleasure that may result therefrom: "Do what you ought, come what may." Practical utilitarianism leads to pride, which inclines a person to make himself the center of all who live about him; it is the manifest or hidden pride of the desire to dominate.

On the other hand, quietism (9) condemned all interested love, even that of our eternal reward, as if there were a disorder in Christian hope, from the fact that it is less perfect than charity.(10) Under the pretext of absolute disinterestedness, many quietists fell into spiritual sloth, which is indifferent to sanctification and salvation.(11)

The thought of salvation and eternal beatitude is evidently very useful that we may strive to put to death inordinate love of self, which is the principal defect of our will. It is of this love that St. Augustine wrote: "Two loves have built two cities: the love of self even to the despising of God, the city of the earth; the love of God even to the despising of self, the city of God. One glorifies itself in self, and the other in the Lord. One seeks its glory from men, the other places its dearest glory in God, the witness of its conscience. The one in the pride of its glory walks with head high; the other says to its God: 'Thou art my glory, and it is Thou who dost lift up my head.' The former in its victories lets itself be conquered by its passion to dominate; the latter shows us its citizens united in charity, mutual servants, tutelary governors, obedient subjects. The former loves its own strength in its princes; the latter says to God: 'Lord, Thou art my only strength, I shall love Thee.' " (12) One would never weary of quoting St. Augustine.

A great purification and Christian training of the will are necessary to obliterate all inordinate self-love; this result is produced in us by the progress of charity, which "unites man to God so that he lives not for himself, but for God." (13)

Egoism is like a cancer of the will, which ravages it more and more, whereas sanctifying grace should be in it like a strong root which buries itself ever deeper in the soil in order to draw therefrom nourishing secretions and transform them into fruitful sap. We should think of the value of habitual grace, called the "grace of the virtues and the gifts," because of various proximate principles of meritorious acts springing from it. We would do well to consider that our will should possess a high degree of the virtues of justice, penance, religion, hope, and charity in order that its powers may be vastly increased.

The author of The Imitation thus describes inordinate self-love when he has Christ say: "My son, thou must give all for all, and be nothing of thy own. Know that the love of thyself is more hurtful to thee than anything of the world. . . . If thy love be pure, simple, and well ordered, thou shalt not be in captivity to anything. Covet not that which thou mayest not have. Seek not to have that which may embarrass thee and deprive thee of thy inward liberty. It is wonderful that thou wilt not, from the very bottom of thy heart, commit thyself wholly to Me, with all things that thou canst desire or have. Why dost thou pine away with vain grief? Why art thou so worn with superfluous cares? Be resigned to My good pleasure, and thou shalt suffer no loss. If thou seekest this or that, or wouldst be here or there for thy own interests' sake, and the more to indulge thy own will, thou wilt never be at rest or free from solicitude; for in everything there will be found some defect, and in every place therewill be someone that will cross thee." (14)

The same book of The Imitation describes well the various movements of wounded nature, which remains weakened even after baptism:

Nature is crafty and draweth away many, ensnareth them and deceiveth them, and always proposeth self as her end. . . (15) Nature is neither willing to be mortified, restrained, overcome, nor subject, neither of its own accord to be brought under obedience. . . . Nature laboreth for its own interest and considereth what gain it may derive from another. . . . It willingly receiveth honor and respect, . . . is afraid of shame and contempt; seeketh to have things that are curious and beautiful; . . . hath regard to temporal things, rejoiceth at earthly gains, is troubled at losses, and is irritated at every slight injurious word. . . . Nature is covetous, and liketh rather to take than to give, and loveth to have things exclusive and private . . . . Nature glorieth in noble place and descent, smileth on them that are in power, flattereth the rich. . . . It easily complaineth of want and of trouble; it coveteth to know secrets and to hear news; desireth to appear abroad, longeth to be taken notice of, and to do those things which may procure praise and admiration. . . .

Grace teacheth, therefore, to restrain the senses, to avoid vain complacency and ostentation, humbly to hide those things which are worthy of praise and admiration; and from everything, and in every knowledge, to seek the fruit of utility, and the praise and honor of God. . . . This grace is a supernatural light and a certain special gift of God, the proper mark of the elect, and a pledge of eternal salvation, which elevateth a man from earthly things to love such as are heavenly, and from carnal maketh him spiritual. Wherefore, as nature is the more kept down and subdued, with so much the greater abundance is grace infused; and every day by new visitations the interior man is reformed according to the image of God.(16)

St. Catherine of Siena, speaking of the effects of self-love, says: "The soul cannot live without love, but always desires to love something. . . . So, if the sensual affection desires to love sensual things, the eye of the intellect sets before itself for its sole object transitory things, with self-love, displeasure of virtue, and love of vice, whence it draws pride and impatience, and the memory is filled with nothing but what the affection presents to it. This love so dazzles the eye of the intellect that it can discern and see nothing but such glittering objects." (17)

We read in the same Dialogue: "Thus is injustice committed through miserable self-love, which has poisoned the whole world, and the mystical body of holy Church, and through which the garden of My spouse has run to seed and given birth to putrid flowers." (18) It is self-love that renders man unjust toward God, to whom he no longer renders the glory that is due Him, and toward souls to which he no longer gives the true goods without which they cannot live. Finally, self-love, which overthrows in our will the order willed by God, leads to trouble, discouragement, discord, and all dissensions; it brings about the total loss of peace, the tranquillity of order, which is truly found only in those who love God more than themselves and above all.

All the passages in Tauler's works where he speaks of the necessity of purifying the depths of our will should be consulted.(19)


How can we restore to our more or less weakened and vitiated will its power for good, the real power that makes it conquer spiritual sloth and also pride, which is a weakness hidden under the mask of energy? To bring about this restoration, we must remember the harmony existing in the state of original justice in which, as long as man's will was docile and conformable to that of God, it had the grace and strength to dominate the passions, to prevent every fault, whence spring disorder and discouragement. To renew our spiritual energies we must, therefore, render our will increasingly docile to the will of God, who will then give us ever new graces to advance along the way of perfection.

The training of the will must be made by progress in the virtues which it ought to possess: the virtue of justice, which renders to everyone his due; of religion, which renders to God the worship we owe Him; of penance, which repairs the injury of sin; of obedience to superiors; of veracity or of loyalty; above all, of charity, of love of God and neighbor.(20)

From this higher point of view, the strength of will of a Napoleon seems insignificant compared to that of the sublime beggar, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, or that of the humble Cure of Ars. In the first centuries, the strength of will of Christian virgins, like Agnes and Cecilia, was incomparably superior to that of their executioners.

In the practice of all the virtues, docility to the divine will presupposes abnegation of self-will, that is, of the will not conformed to that of God. The spirit of sacrifice alone, by putting to death our inordinate self-love, can assure the first place to the love of God and give us peace. Profound peace of soul is impossible without the spirit of sacrifice. Therefore our Lord says: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself"; (21) and also, "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life (selfishly) shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world (who leads a sacrificed life) keepeth it unto life eternaL" (22) In the spirit of abnegation we must be ready to abandon everything in order to do the will of God as it shall be manifested to us. We must say with the Psalmist: "My heart is ready, 0 God, my heart is ready." (23) Like St. Paul at the moment of his conversion, we must daily pray thus: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (24)

Is this purification of the will in order to remove egoism and self will, something difficult? By reason of reiterated faults, it is very difficult in certain persons, and without divine grace it is even impossible in everyone. In fact, only the love of God, which is the fruit of grace, can triumph over self-love and put it to death; but if the love of God grows in us, what was at first difficult becomes easy. With this meaning Christ said: "My yoke is sweet and My burden light." (25)

Mortification of self-will is facilitated in the religious life by the practice of obedience, which rectifies and considerably strengthens the will by making it daily more and more conformable to the divine will, manifested by the rule and the orders of superiors.

To succeed in purifying and strengthening the will, a person must act according to the profound convictions of Christian faith, and not according to his own spirit, which is more or less variable, according to circumstances and the fluctuations of opinion. When anyone has reflected before God and prayed to obtain His grace, he must act with decision in the way duty directs or in that which seems most conformable to the divine will. We have only one life, and it is short; it must not be wasted in trifles. Moreover, we must with persevering courage firmly and persistently will what appears to us to be our duty. In this way we avoid both the fluctuations of successive inclinations, some opposed to others, and unreasonable violence. True strength of will is calm; in calmness it is persevering so that it does not become discouraged by momentary lack of success or by any wounds received. No one is conquered until he has given up the struggle. And he who works for the Lord puts his confidence in God and not in himself.

Lastly, the strong will is the one that rests, not on the careening of obstinate pride, but on God, on His grace, which we ought to ask for daily with humility and confidence. If with humility, confidence, and perseverance we implore the graces necessary for our sanctification and salvation, they will infallibly be granted us in virtue of Christ's promise: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you." 926) Genuine strength of will, the effect of divine grace, is drawn from humble, trusting, and persevering prayer.(27) Therein is found the true supernatural training of the will. Prayer is our strength in our weakness. Knowledge of its power made St. Paul say: "I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me." (28) This should be the sentiment of one who sees himself obliged to undergo martyrdom rather than deny his Christian faith. God never commands the impossible and gives to those who truly ask it the grace to be faithful in the midst of the greatest trials. Then the will becomes strong, with that divine strength of which the Psalmist speaks when he says: Dominus fortitudo mea. By divine grace the human will then shares in the power of God and frees itself from self-love, from the attraction of everything that turns it away from God and hinders it from being wholly His. Thus abnegation and the spirit of sacrifice are the inevitable way of divine union, in which the love of God is finally victorious over self-love or egoism. He who has this holy hatred of his ego, which is made up of self-love and pride, saves his soul for eternity and obtains even here on earth a peace and union with God which are a foretaste of eternal life.


In The Ascent of Mount Carmel,(29) St. John of the Cross sets forth a profound doctrine on the perfect abnegation of self-will. He indicates the most direct route to reach lofty perfection and shows how the austerity of the narrow way leads to the sweetness of divine union. If we recall the elevation of the end he has in view, we will not consider the abnegation he demands exaggerated. A man who wishes to climb a mountain does not stop at the first difficulties; knowing that he needs energy, he urges himself forward. The same is true of him who truly wishes to make progress toward the summit of perfection.

We shall sum up the teaching of St. John of the Cross on detachment in respect to exterior goods and in regard to the goods of the spirit and of the heart, in a word, to all that is not God and His will.

We should detach ourselves from exterior goods, riches and honors. "If riches abound, set not your heart upon them." (30) St. Paul says: "The time is short. . . and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; . . . and they that use this world, as if they used it not." (31) Even those who do not effectively practice the counsel of evangelical poverty ought to have its spirit if they wish to tend to perfection.

We must detach ourselves from the goods of the body, from beauty, from health itself; it would be an aberration to cling to them more than to union with God. And we cling to health far more than we think; if it were irremediably taken from us, it would be a true sacrifice for us, and one that may be asked of us. All these things will pass away like a flower that withers.

We must avoid all complacency in the virtues we may have. To entertain any complacency would be vanity and perhaps amount to scorn of our neighbor. The Christian ought to esteem the virtues, not inasmuch as they are in him like a personal possession, but inasmuch as they lead the soul to God.

When we receive consolations in prayer, we must not dwell on them with satisfaction; to do so would be to make of this means of drawing near to God an obstacle that would hinder us from reaching Him. It would be the equivalent of pausing in a selfish fashion over something created and making an end of the means. By so doing, we would set out on the road of spiritual pride and illusion.(32) All that glitters is not gold; and we must be careful not to confound an imitation diamond with a real one. We should remind ourselves of our Savior's words: "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and His justice; and all these things (all that is useful to your soul and even to your body) shall be added unto you." (33)

Therefore we understand that adversity is good for us in order to deliver us from illusion and make us find the true road again.

Finally, if a person were to receive extraordinary graces, such as the gift of prophecy, he should avoid all attachment to this divine favor and live in holy detachment in its regard, at the same time recalling the words of St. Paul: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." (34) Christ also says to His apostles: "But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you (that you drive out demons); but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven." (35)

On the subject of eloquence, St. John of the Cross says: "For though it is true that a good style and action, profound learning, and correct expression have a greater effect when they accompany true spirituality; still when that is wanting, though the senses be charmed and the understanding delighted, but little or no substantial warmth reaches to the will. In general, the will remains dull and weak as before in good works, though marvelous things have been marvelously told it. . . . Though men may be wonderful preachers, yet their sermons are soon forgotten if they kindle no fire in the will." (36)

This teaching of St. John of the Cross demonstrates how necessary it is that the preacher greatly purify his intention that his words may truly bear life-giving fruit, which will last for eternity. To effect this purification, his soul must live according to the spirit of immolation or of sacrifice, which assures the first place in the soul to the love of God and of souls in God.

The fruit of the purification of the will, which we have just mentioned, is peace, the tranquillity of order in which the soul is established with respect to God and its neighbor. This peace is not always joy, but it tends to become more profound and more lofty and to radiate even on the most troubled souls, giving them the light of life. This is what Christ says: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." They will make Him known and loved.

As a practical conclusion, each one ought, in his examination of conscience, to ask himself whether his spirit of self-abnegation is increasing or diminishing. If there is no longer the minimum of exterior mortification, it is a sign that interior mortification has disappeared, that he no longer tends toward perfection, and that he is like salt which has lost its savor.

Here it should be remembered that on the journey toward God, he who does not advance falls back. And what would a religious or sacerdotal life be in which there is evidence of slower and slower progress, like the movement of a stone that has been cast into the air and that will soon fall back? A uniformly retarded progress is followed by a recoil.  Especially in the religious and sacerdotal life, this progress should, on the contrary, be so to speak uniformly accelerated, like the movement of a stone that tends toward the center of the earth which attracts it. Souls ought, in fact, to advance more rapidly toward God, the nearer they approach Him and are more drawn by Him.(37)

We should pray as follows: "My God, make me know the obstacles which I more or less consciously place to the working of grace in my soul. Show these obstacles to me at the moment when I am about to place them. Give me the strength to remove them, and, if I am negligent in doing so, do Thou deign to remove them, though I should suffer greatly. I wish only Thee, Lord, who alone art necessary. Grant that my life here on earth may be like eternal life begun."

He who would say this prayer frequently would make great progress, which would be written in the book of life. Undoubtedly he would receive many crosses, but he would be borne by them more than he would bear them, as a bird is borne by its wings more than it bears them. This is what The Imitation says: "If thou carry the cross willingly, it will carry thee, and bring thee to thy desired end, namely, to that place where there will be an end of suffering, though here there will be no end." (33) This is the true road by which one enters the inner courts of the kingdom of God.



1. Cf. St. Thomas, Ia, q.80, a.1 f.

2. Ibid., q.95, a. 2.

3. Cf. Ia IIae, q.109, a.3 f. The will, which is directly turned away from the supernatural last end, is indirectly turned away from the natural last end, for every sin against the supernatural law is indirectly opposed to the natural law, which obliges us to obey God, whatever He may command.

4. Ibid., q. 85, a. 3: "In so far as the will is deprived of its order to the good, there is the wound of malice."

5. Ibid., q. 17, a.7: "Reason governs the irascible and concupiscible not by a despotic supremacy, which is that of a master over his slave; but by a politic and royal supremacy, whereby the free are governed, who are not wholly subject to command."

6. Ibid., q.77, a.4: "Inordinate love of self is the cause of every sin."

7. Ibid., a.5.

8. These are like diseases of the will, but not diseases properly so called, as certain materialist doctors believe when they talk about abulia. The will is a faculty of the spiritual or immaterial order; it is not the seat of diseases like those which effect our organism, for example, the nervous centers. But certain diseases of these centers render the exercise of the will much more difficult, just as others suppress the condition required by the imagination for the exercise of reason and bring in their wake mental confusion or "fixed ideas" and madness.

9. Cf. Denzinger, no. 1226: "The soul ought not to think of a reward, of paradise, or of hell, or of death, or of eternity, etc. . . ." Cf. ibid., nos. 1232, 1337 ff.

10. This teaching constituted a poor understanding of the act of Christian hope; by it we do not subordinate God to ourselves, but we desire God for ourselves by subordinating ourselves to Him, for He is the ultimate End of the act of hope. As Cajetan clearly points out (In IIam IIae, q. 17, a.5, no. 6): "I desire God for myself (finaliter), for God's sake, and not for my own sake; whereas when it is a question of things inferior to me, such as a fruit, I desire them for my own and for myself, I subordinate them to myself as to an end. On the contrary, by the act of hope I already subordinate myself to God (the last End of this act). This subordination becomes more perfect through charity, which makes me efficaciously love God formally for Himself and more than myself, by making me will His glory and the extension of His kingdom."

11. St. Thomas (IIa IIae, q.19, a.6) clearly distinguishes between self-love which is blamable and that which is not. "Self-love," he says, "may stand in a threefold relationship to charity. In one way, it is contrary to charity, when a man places his end in the love of his own good (preferred to God). In another way, it is included in charity, when a man loves himself for the sake of God and in God (in order to glorify God here on earth and in eternity). In a third way, it is indeed distinct from charity, but is not contrary thereto, as when a man loves himself from the point of view of his own good, yet not so as to place his end in this his own good": for example, if we love ourselves naturally without thereby turning away from God or disobeying His law.

It must be remembered that, according to St. Thomas (la, q.60, a.5), every creature is naturally inclined to love more than himself the Author of his nature (i.e., God), who keeps it in existence, just as in our organism the hand spontaneously exposes itself for the sake of the whole. But this natural inclination to love God more than self is attenuated in man by original sin and by his personal sins.

12. De civitate Dei, Bk. XIV, chap. 28. Pages like those we have quoted make one think that in St. Augustine infused contemplation often directed from on high the reasoning necessary for the written or spoken exposition of divine truth.

13. St. Thomas, IIa IIae, q. 17, a.6 ad 3um. Cf. ibid., q.83, a.9: "Now our end is God toward whom our affections tend in two ways: first, by our willing the glory of God, secondly, by our willing to enjoy His glory. The first belongs to the love whereby we love God in Himself; the second belongs to the love whereby we love ourselves in God. Wherefore the first petition is expressed thus: Hallowed be Thy name; and the second thus: Thy kingdom come, by which we ask to come to the glory of His kingdom." And by an act of hope we can desire eternal life as our supreme good; and by an act of charity, desire it in order to glorify God eternally. Cf. Cajetan, In IIam IIae, q.23,a.1,no.2.

14. The Imitation, Bk. III, chap. 27.

15. St. Thomas speaks in like manner (Ia IIae, q.109, a. 2): "In the state of corrupt nature, man falls short of what he could do by his nature, so that he is unable to accomplish this good fully by his own natural powers. . . . But a man can do some particular good, such as building a house, planting a vineyard, and the like." Ibid., a. 3: "In the state of corrupt nature man falls short of this in the appetite of his rational will, which, unless it is cured by God's grace, follows its private good, on account of the corruption of nature."

Cf. IIIa, q.69, a.3: Even after baptism there remain concupiscence and the other wounds that are in the process of healing, thereby furnishing an occasion of struggle and of merit.

16. The Imitation, Bk. III, chap. 54.

17 The Dialogue, chap. 51. St. Thomas (Ia IIae, q.58, a. 5) had likewise noted, following Aristotle, that every man judges of the end that is fitting for him according to the subjective dispositions of his will and sensible appetites: "Such as a man is, such does the end seem to him." The proud man indeed finds what satisfies his pride, the humble man what preserves him in humility.

18. The Dialogue, chap. 122.

19. See especially the Theological Introduction by Father Hugueny, O.P., in the French translation, I, 71-82.

20. St. Thomas discusses at length each of these virtues and the opposing vices in IIa IIae. A profound study on the training of the will might be drawn from this part of the Summa, since all these virtues, whether acquired or infused, have their seat in that faculty.

21. Matt. 16: 24.

22. John 12: 24 f.

23 Ps. 107:2.

24. Acts 9:6.

25. Matt. 11:30.

26 Matt. 7:7.

27. Cf. Summa, IIa IIae, q.83, a.2, 16.

28. Phil. 4:13.

29 Bk. III, chaps. 15 ff.

30. Ps.61:11.

31 See I Cor. 7:29-31.

32. The Ascent Of Mount Carmel, Bk. III, chaps. 30, 32.

33. Matt. 6: 33.

34. Cf. I Cor. 13:1.

35. Luke 10: 20.

36. The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Bk. III, chap. 44.

37. St. Thomas, In Epist. ad Hebr., 10:25: "The natural movement increases in proportion as it draws near its end. The contrary is true of violent movement (e.g., of a stone cast into the air). Grace likewise moves one according to the natural mode. Therefore those who are in the state of grace ought to grow so much the more as they draw nearer the end." Cf. Ia IIae, q.35, a.6: "Every natural movement is more intense in the end."

38. The Imitation of Christ, Bk. II, chap. 12.