Saturday, February 12, 2011

Garrigou-Lagrange: The Error of Conceiving Mysticism as "Extraordinary"

Share/Bookmark From Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Christian Perfection and Contemplation (1937), Ch. 2, Art. 2, n. 2; pp. 27-9, available from ITOPL.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent book to have on hand when arguing against schismatic easterners who now often claim that their theology is distinguished from the academic mentality of the west in that it sees mystical union as the normal end of the Christian life. Of course there are any number of other more significant debates about how exactly this union is to be understood, but the more superficial claim that says "the east is mystical, the west is bookish" is now quite common in the popular apologetics of the schismatics.

Geremia said...

This sounds like a good reason to pursue the beatification of Jacques and Raissa Maritain; it would illustrate that non-clerics can contemplate, too. It would help Catholics answer Fr. G.-L.'s question in his The Three Ages of the Interior Life: "Is the infused contemplation of the mysteries of faith and the union with God which results therefrom an intrinsically extraordinary grace, or is it, on the contrary, in the normal way of sanctity?"

Anonymous said...

But if you go on to listen to how Fr. Garrigou defines infused contemplation, you would be rather suprised that he amounts it to being awestruck at a sermon in Church, which really requires no virtue.

Same goes with his summation of Active contemplation, which he asserts that a theologian who has completed his studies, and has a synthetic vision of all his studies, has arrived at active contemplation, which again, requires no virtue. A mortal sinning theologian could then be at active contemplation? No, it is more profound than that. That you can have no virtue, and be a contemplative, I deny.

But, yes, if we define contemplation as these two things, then I agree, all are called to that, because those two things are, indeed, ordinary, and many people probably are already there, but I don't agree with Garrigou, who really didn't live in the most solidly spiritual times of the Church, as is evidenced by what happened to Her after Pius XII. If the bad fruit was born at v2, the vine withered away long before.

Don Paco said...

Dear anonymous,

You have presented a caricature of the mystical theology of Garrigou-Lagrange. You really need to read his works to understand it. Not only read him, but read him with charity.

Garrigou does not define contemplation as being awestruck during a sermon. That might be a lower manifestation of it, but not its definition.

Of course infused contemplation requires virtue! And not only acquired moral virtue, but infused moral virtue, and a fortiori the gifts of the Holy Ghost, of which it is a normal development. That is the whole point of the book: contemplation is the normal development of the virtues and gifts!

Geremia said...

Anonymous: Read at least the introduction of The Three Ages of the Interior Life, the whole work of which is available for free online.