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The Doctrine of Spiritual Perfection

Item Number: 60762

Catalog Code: DSP-DIS

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Doctrine of Spiritual Perfection

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Universally hailed book on the mystical life and how each of us may pursue it

Central themes


  • task of the mystic
  • “the dominion of the devil”
  • the mystic in the Church
  • inauthentic mysticism
  • Aquinas on “the highest degree of contemplation in the present life,” found in St. Paul
  • St. Benedict’s “12 degrees of ascetisicm”
  • in our lives “a single spiritual victory will not suffice…there are many ups and downs”
  • “ladder to paradise”
  • the highest stage of union with God
  • “unutterable words”
  • graces of the Cross
  • “the plenitude of the Spirit” “Mysticism endures, in spite of controversies, [and] has roots deep in the life of the Church….This Benedictine theologian goes to the Fathers in search of the early doctrine of mysticism…shows admirably that psychological reactions do not necessarily belong to the mystical life. His is a work that breathes the serene air of objective Catholic spirituality.” —Commonweal

    “It is not what happens to this or that individual that is of importance in mystical experience; the essential thing is what every soul who has been justified by grace receives, since the mystical ‘has the same goal as the grace of justification’; ‘it is to be associated with the connatural and progressive unfolding of sanctifying grace.’ Hence, according to this view, ‘all Christian prayer is mystical in its foundation so far as it proceeds from union with Christ.’”—Sign

    “Maintains that mysticism…is nothing extraordinary, not a second way of holiness reserved for a few. Hence, he asserts the legitimacy of striving for and desiring the essence of mysticism, which is the experience of the Divine life. Most of the problems of mysticism are discussed and a theological explanation is offered.”—America Magazine

    “The author agrees with Father Garrigou-Lagrange that the mystical life is not to be regarded as something apart from, but rather as the consummation of, all Christian living, and that every Christian is called to the life of contemplation and mysticism…. Another important conclusion is that pagan mysticism is not true mysticism, notwithstanding its many imitations. The reason is that genuine mysticism is not merely theocentric, but also, and primarily, Christocentric, and that the true marks of the ascetic or mystic are not the stigmata in the flesh but the stigmata Jesu, which every perfect Christian bears for Christ’s sake.

    Having established the Christocentric character of genuine mysticism, the author proceeds to relate his notion of mysticism to the great dogmas of Catholic faith, laying special stress on the doctrines of redemption, sacramental grace, and future glory.” —Ecclesiastical Review

    Index: hundreds of references about the spiritual life

    Quality softcover


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