Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Three Ways of the Spiritual Life

Purgative Way (413)

Illuminative Way (244)

Unitive Way (506)


Acquired contemplation (120)

Infused contemplation (120)

Meditation (317) (discursive prayer): Reflection, especially on the last 4 things, to stir the will to acts of faith, hope, and charity.

Affective Prayer (Prayer of Simplicity (394)): Affection replaces reflection. Acts of faith, hope, and charity with little or no need for reflection.

Passive Contemplation: Mystical union, prayer of union.(394)


"The principal effort ... is to quit sin and resist concupiscences which tend to destroy charity ... charity is to be nourished and fostered lest it be destroyed." (ST II-II, xxiv, 9)

"Man principally aims at progressing in good, and this endeavor belongs to proficients, who chiefly strive to strengthen charity by increasing it." (ST II-II, xxiv, 9)

"Principal attention to union with God and enjoyment of God ... desire to be dissolved and be with Christ." (ST II-II, xxiv, 8)


Begin mortification, starting with careful attention to commandments and duties in life.

"Prayer of Quiet," or full union in which God is possessed without being known. (Ascent, 194)




Dark Night of the Senses: (135) The transition from meditation to contemplation. 1. Inability to think or make acts of prayer. Distaste for spiritual "systems." 2. Temptations against chastity and faith. Soul must seek God in darkness, without even interior senses; by faith.


Dark Night of the Soul: (135) Purgative contemplation, apparent abandonment by God 1. The divine light is so strong it blinds the soul to the presence of God. 2. Preparation for "Spiritual marriage."



Mansion 1: (Cast.47) Deaf and dumb in the spiritual life.

Mansion 2: (Cast.46) Beginners at prayer. Understand need to grow. Don't avoid occasions of sin.

Mansion 3: (Cast.59) Don't want to offend God. Avoid venial sins. Love penance. Spend hours in recollection. Use time, life, and possessions well. Charity to neighbor.

Mansion 4: (Cast.72) Beginning of supernatural.

Mansion 5:

Mansion 6: (Cast.138) Spiritual betrothal; intellectual vision in which Christ promises spiritual marriage.

Mansion 7: (Cast.138) Spiritual Marriage; "Transforming Union"; complete surrender to God, desire to suffer for him, zeal for souls.

Numbers in ( ) denote Attwater, A Catholic Dictionary.

(Ascent nn.) Refers to Thomas Merton, Ascent to Truth, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch

(ST II-II xx, nn) Refers to St. Thomas Aquins, Summa Theologica

(Cast.nn) Refers to St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Garden City: Image Books

Interesting detour: Attwater (p. 120; s.v. "contemplative life") describes a general meaning of "contemplative as one who seeks ends rather than means; being rather than becoming ... apprehending the First Cause passively, immediately, and independently of reason. [A sort of holy Zen?!]


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