The depravity of man…

Why do you suppose that some saints are driven to scrupulosity? Some have embraced the hermetical life, others have engaged in self-denial or self-deprecation, some have been consumed by mental anguish, and some have constructed extreme theologies—what is the driving force, is it the sense that man’s depravity places him beyond Salvation or do they doubt God’s Fidelity or are they confused about what it means to enjoy intimacy with God?

I think it boils down to a skewed focus on the sin, hell and damnation aspect of Christianity and not enough attention to the love, joy and “good news” dimension of Christian teaching.

I don’t think any of the cases in your list represent “doubt”.

The reason many of the saints lived those kinds of lives was to rid themselves of attachments and to thus grow in humility.

If anything, they were far, far wiser than those who stayed ‘content’, remaining in environments that contributed nothing to their spiritual progress.

Why do you suppose that some saints are driven to scrupulosity? We have to be careful though. This is why we need spiritual directors sometimes. As many times I would think that many would think someone is being attacked by scruples, but in fact is God wanting them to do “impossible” things. I quote impossible, because the fine line can only be seen by those that God wants to give the grace so that they can see it. For us it could be about scruple, but then again it might not be,

Spirituality needs to be worked for, not just by our strength but by His grace, our strength just shows our willingness. That’s why the ones who work with saints are sent by God, so that they know this difference. You have to keep in your mind, that if one has to live by the Spirit, then you see that, saints cannot be doing what the world is doing, but do what God needs them to do, for His Spirit is working in them.

{“00:10:52: G.K. Chesterton said, “There are saints in my religion, but that just means men who know that they are sinners.“ For the great English apologist, the relevant distinction is not between sinners and non-sinners, but between those sinners who know it and those who don’t. The great heroes of our faith – the saints – are those who have ordered their lives toward God and therefore, they are most keenly aware of how far they fall short of the ideal. St. John of the Cross compared the soul to a pane of glass. As long as that pane of glass is pointed away from the light, well, it’s imperfections don’t appear. But now, turn it toward the light, now all the smudges and marks become visible. This helps to explain the high paradox that it’s precisely the saints who often say, “I’m the worst of sinners.” They have directed their lives toward the light of God. Therefore, they are more, not less aware, of their sin.”} Catholicism Episode 7 The Mystery of The Liturgy and The Eucharist

{“42:07: Thomas Aquinas’ sister asked him one time, “What must I do to be a saint?” He said, “Will it!“ And that’s a good answer. You see, part of our problem is that we accept a kind of spiritual mediocrity. “Me, a saint? I mean, come on.“ Well, I mean, there’s so many different types of saints. Great sinners who became saints, people that were a million miles from God and became saints. Part of it is to… is to want it, is to move beyond a sort of spiritual mediocrity and say, “No, I want to be a person of heroic virtue. I want to follow Christ with all my heart.“ And so, desire it, and stop playing the game of a false humility. “This is… Well, I could never do that.“ No, God can do whatever He wants. God can make a saint from any of us, but we have to desire to cooperate with it."} Catholicism Episode 8 A Vast Company Of Witnesses: The Communion Of Saints Rev. Robert E. Barron

I liked the quotes very much!

Some saints were victim souls and chose self denial and suffering to help pay for the debt of sin for the rest of us.

Hi, Meltzerboy!

…would you say that the skewed focus on sin relates more to man than to God (as in paying more attention to that which separates man from God than to God) and that Love, Joy, and Good News is the dimension that brings man into God’s intimacy (if man were to focus on the Fruits of the Good News)?

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi, Friar!

…if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the saints did not doubt God’s Promise nor their Spiritual Lives (determination to Fellowship with God); rather, that it is zealousness for an existence free of worldly attachments and their ardor to live free from sin that caused them to employ extreme measures?

…I am thinking of the hermitical experiences, the full embracing of poverty, the, by some, bodily punishments that they would inflict upon themselves…

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi, Ed!

…so what you are saying is that we should not attribute the behavior of the saints to mere scrupulosity–that in their fervor to Serve God He may be asking of them, as He did of Abraham, a certain Sacrifice… something that the world, being so far detached from God, cannot value or comprehend? …that this Sacrifice might demand that the saint give his/her all, regardless of how unattractive, repulsive, or incredible it may seem to the world?

{“00:10:52: G.K. Chesterton said, “There are saints in my religion, but that just means men who know that they are sinners.“ For the great English apologist, the relevant distinction is not between sinners and non-sinners, but between those sinners who know it and those who don’t. The great heroes of our faith – the saints – are those who have ordered their lives toward God and therefore, they are most keenly aware of how far they fall short of the ideal. St. John of the Cross compared the soul to a pane of glass. As long as that pane of glass is pointed away from the light, well, it’s imperfections don’t appear. But now, turn it toward the light, now all the smudges and marks become visible. This helps to explain the high paradox that it’s precisely the saints who often say, “I’m the worst of sinners.” They have directed their lives toward the light of God. Therefore, they are more, not less aware, of their sin.”} Catholicism Episode 7 The Mystery of The Liturgy and The Eucharist

{“42:07: Thomas Aquinas’ sister asked him one time, “What must I do to be a saint?” He said, “Will it!“ And that’s a good answer. You see, part of our problem is that we accept a kind of spiritual mediocrity. “Me, a saint? I mean, come on.“ Well, I mean, there’s so many different types of saints. Great sinners who became saints, people that were a million miles from God and became saints. Part of it is to… is to want it, is to move beyond a sort of spiritual mediocrity and say, “No, I want to be a person of heroic virtue. I want to follow Christ with all my heart.“ And so, desire it, and stop playing the game of a false humility. “This is… Well, I could never do that.“ No, God can do whatever He wants. God can make a saint from any of us, but we have to desire to cooperate with it."} Catholicism Episode 8 A Vast Company Of Witnesses: The Communion Of Saints Rev. Robert E. Barron

…I find it interesting that you chose to cite these two excerpts… it seems that they are meant to go together as they address the issue of the sainthood (Be Holy, for I AM HOLY) quite completely… we are all sinners; the saints are sinners that take God on His Word (Romans 3:23 and 3:10); sinners that are not content in “knowing” their faults; sinners that seek, through God’s Guidance and Help, to move towards His Call to Holiness (Isaiah 1:16-19).

…these sinners have moved from a lukewarm religiosity and Spirituality to Christ’s Call to Worship:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]21 Jesus said: ‘Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know: for salvation comes from the Jews. 23 But the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.’

(St. John 4:21-24)
Maran atha!

Angel

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Hi!

…it seems to me that you’ve opened up an additional dimension; one of mom’s devotion was the Souls in Purgatory (as well as humanity at large); she would offer up to God all sorts of oblations on their behalf.

…do you recall any of these acts/gestures made by the saints–I know St. Francis of Assisi embraced poverty and even death as means to supply for man’s sin and estrangement from God.

Maran atha!

Angel

Indeed!

Hi. :slight_smile: I live in hope: (friard). :smiley:

…if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the saints did not doubt God’s Promise nor their Spiritual Lives (determination to Fellowship with God); rather, that it is zealousness for an existence free of worldly attachments and their ardor to live free from sin that caused them to employ extreme measures?

…I am thinking of the hermitical experiences, the full embracing of poverty, the, by some, bodily punishments that they would inflict upon themselves…

Maran atha!

Angel

I think that their main objectives would have been to do with your sentence I’ve bolded combined with the desire to live close to God and grow in humility, while also, having a deeper awareness of the acuteness of sin and its effects, including their own weaknesses; yet, this knowledge of their own nothingness, would allow them greater openness for and realisation of, God’s presence in their lives.

Some saints had doubts. I think St. Julian of Norwich was wracked with doubts to do with faith and some if not many had anxiety that they’d not make it.

Clearwater made a very important point.

In Fatima we also see that we need to pray and do penance not only for our sake, but for our brothers and sisters that live in sin, without any care for them.

But, your question is important, because we need to see the differences, or learn to see them, as we are all called to holiness.

St John of the Cross, talks about faith, and (although I haven’t finish reading, and in fact just started and have not continued) how faith is the light that we need, or the only light that we will be able to use, on the ways of God. The one who made me read him, was John Paul II, as I saw that it was part of his discernment (There is a movie named: Karol the Man who became Pope, which shows this in a small part).

I give you this quote from a program, which I liked:
{Well, It was pride that changed angels into devils, it is humility that makes men as angels, humility is the foundation of all the other virtues, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. But there’s something in humility which strangely exalts the heart this is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections, he must be emptied of that which you are full, that you may be filled with that of which you are empty.
Begin from the least. First think of the foundation of humility, the greater the building is to be, the deeper you dig your foundation, for once your foundation is set the height to which you can build has been determined. You want a tower that will pierce the clouds, lay first a foundation of humility. Humility must accompany all our actions, for as soon as we glory in our good works, they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.}St Augustine Saints Live episode 4

I will add a link that another poster gave, which is related, from the thread: How do we pray without ceasing

{There is another inward kind of prayer without ceasing, which is the desire of the heart. Whatever activity you happen to be engaged in are doing, if you only long for that Sabbath then you do not cease to pray. If you do not want to pause in prayer then never pause in your longing.

Your continuous desire is your continuous prayer. If you cease to desire than you will have fallen silent in your prayer. Who are those who have fallen silent? Those of whom it is said Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.}

The link is: crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/praying-always-through-the-desire-of-the-heart/

At the end it states:
“St. Paul’s command to “pray always” in I Thessalonians 5:16 has been explained in various ways in the history of the Church. Here, in an excerpt on his commentary on the Psalms (In ps. 37, 13-14; CCL 38, 391-2) Saint Augustine explains that constant prayer does not mean non-stop church services or recitation of prayers, but a ceaseless desire of the heart for union with God in heaven.”

Hi!

…this too is my concern… I’ve heard of some saints who had doubts or questioned their spirituality (their place/being accepted by God); then there are the spiritual “dry spells” or “deserts.”

…it is the reason why I began the query with the term “driven to scrupulosity;” could our human experience (our understanding of God’s Mysteries) cause us to engage in such doubt/questioning due to the leftover “depravity of man” principles?

…I’m seeing the swinging of the pendulum: depravity > uneasiness/doubt/questioning > scrupulosity… scrupulosity > questioning/doubt/depravity > depravity…

Maran atha!

Angel

If by the swinging of the pendulum a reference to Foucault is intended then may the pane of glass of souls be cleansed of the grey shades hardened to the exterior.

ClearWater did not open up a new dimension on offering up what little atonement our nothingness lives can join to The Passion. “I thirst for souls,” by receiving the living water and growing in spirit without charity, love of neighbor, we grow in size or decrease in humility, increase in self importance and our deformities become engrossed.

God allows us to blindy gobble his mercy as it is a boundless well, for one. More hopefully by swelling in our deformities we may come to recognize these sinful attachments and move toward God and victim soul identity. We are all made to be saints where martyrdom can be the quickest route. Continual offering with suffering attached not to ego and bravado but to the love Christ offers is the greater part.

Hi, M!

…yeah, after reading the definition I can see how you could find that my statement touches on the foucauldian… which goes to the saying: ‘…a little knowledge can be dangerous’–though I honestly was fully ignorant of the reference… Here’s what I was actually thinking:

…because of the influence of protestantism’s “depravity of man” many of the saints in their spiritual quest may have experienced moments/periods of dryness of faith or doubt about their place in salvation (both their personal position ‘am I doing what god wants?’] and in salvation history ‘am I doing what god wants me to do for the salvation of the world?’])… they may have had a thirst for a higher Spiritual encounter with God… which would develop into uneasiness, doubt, questioning… (the first swing of the pendulum)

…the uneasiness, doubt, and questioning may have been resolved by a particular event in their own personal experiences or through a mediation from a third party (a particular confession or sharing which would involved that third party’s Conversion or Return to God through their experience with the saints)… yet, as it often happens, when God does not seem to respond, the uneasiness, doubt, and questioning may take a turn: questioning, doubt, depravity… (the pendulum’s second swing)

…here, the saints’ preoccupation with their Spiritual status (which is usually bound to: ‘why am I not being used by God for the Greater Good?’ …which requires an immediate response and effect], ‘has He forgotten me? Am I not worthy…?’); hence, the escalation from simple uneasiness to the depravity of man–with a Catholic twist, of course!

Clearwater did not open up a new dimension on offering up what little atonement our nothingness lives can join to the passion. “i thirst for souls,” by receiving the living water and growing in spirit without charity, love of neighbor, we grow in size or decrease in humility, increase in self importance and our deformities become engrossed.

…yeah, I was not suggesting that Clearwater had somehow pioneered a new path to our Spirituality; rather, I was surmising that the motivation of the saints is not a clear cut matter of scrupulosity… that there are intertwined causes that drove/compelled them to do the things that they did (and are doing). The dimension I was referring to was that of self-denial/deprecation as a selfless offering on behalf of God’s Salvific Plan…

…this could well be seen as an overindulgence… and it lends itself (the practice) to abuse, delusion, and misconception. Yet, it is quite in line with St. Paul’s:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]10 and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:10)

24 It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. (Colossians 1:24)

God allows us to blindy gobble his mercy as it is a boundless well, for one. More hopefully by swelling in our deformities we may come to recognize these sinful attachments and move toward God and victim soul identity. We are all made to be saints where martyrdom can be the quickest route. Continual offering with suffering attached not to ego and bravado but to the love christ offers is the greater part.

Exactly! …that’s the dimension I was referencing… what is interesting about the saints and their practices is that they made huge efforts to keep them (practices) even from the awareness/knowledge of their own members of their respective religious groups… I read, after mom died, St. Francis of Assisi’s biography… he actually made painstaking efforts to remain in solitude… it reminded me of Jesus’ experience as He removed himself from even the eyes/ears of His inner circle (Cephas, John and James).

…which brings us to: ‘…give to God what is God’s…’

Maran atha!

Angel

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