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Glossary of Terms for the Spiritual Life

Numbers in parentheses refer to pages in Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP,
The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life (TAN, 1997 reprint)

Philosophy: The study of what man can know through his unaided natural reason.

Theology: The study of what man can know when natural reason is aided by God’s revelation.

God: (in the philosophical sense) the always existent omnipotent creator of all things; the True; the Good

God: (in the theological sense) the omnipotent Creator, existing in three divine Persons, who knows and loves His creations.

Angels: God’s first created rational beings, pure spirit, endowed with knowledge and free will.

Man: God’s composite creature of matter and spirit (body and soul). “Male and female He created them.” Capable of knowledge, endowed with free will.

Matter: A being limited by time, space, and the presence of other material beings; perhaps capable of being informed by a soul.

Spirit: A being capable of knowledge and will, operating independently (God, angels) or in conjunction with (man) matter.

Soul (material): The formal principle of life in creatures

Soul (spiritual or rational): The immortal, spiritual, life principle of a rational creature. Faculties of the soul are intellect and will; both of which can be used for morally good or bad purposes.

Intellect: A power of the soul, by which it knows and reasons.

Will: A power of the soul by which it seeks good and avoids evil.

Natural: The normal operations of a creature. E.g. man eats, thinks, grows, dies.

Preternatural: Operations of a creature beyond the normal, but still consistent with its basic design. E.g. man preserved from pain, or able to learn without study.

Supernatural: Operations of a creature beyond its design. E.g. man able to behold and converse with God.

Grace: (6) Infused supernatural life. “Created” or “sanctifying” grace makes us holy by participation in God’s life; “uncreated” grace is the dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the just.

Participation in God’s life: The life of grace; the lifting up of man in the natural order to an operation in the supernatural order. Sometimes called “divinization,” but never to be confused with the erroneous notion that man can become God.

Interior Life: (7) Knowledge of the True, Love of the Good.

Justification: (7) Blotting out of sin by the infusion of new life (of grace).

Original Justice: The state of grace - the infused supernatural life - of Adam and Eve before the fall.

Purgative Way: Beginning stage of the spiritual life. Meditation (discursive prayer): Reflection, especially on the last four things, to stir the will to acts of faith, hope, and charity

Illuminative Way: Middle stage of the spiritual life. Affective Prayer (Prayer of Simplicity): Affection replaces reflection. Acts of faith, hope, and charity with little or no need for reflection

Unitive Way: Final stage of the spiritual life on earth. Passive Contemplation: Mystical union, prayer of union.(394)

Contemplation: In the mystical sense, the prayer of union with God. In the general sense, a careful consideration of the matter at hand,


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