Christian Perfection

Father Frassinetti distinguishes Christian sanctity from Christian perfection. He explains that sanctity is “a simple holiness, and has its own intrinsic good without the perfection which it ought to have, as gold just taken out of the earth is true gold and precious, but is full of alloy, and has not the beautiful splendour which it afterwards acquires when purified. And therefore perfect sanctity is generally called Christian perfection, which consists not only in the possession of sanctifying grace, but also in the most perfect union of the soul’s will with the Will of God. This perfect sanctity those souls possess who, disengaging themselves from every inordinate attachment to creatures, live resolved never to commit anything displeasing to God, and in everything are ready to do whatsoever they clearly know to be pleasing to Him. For this reason they cautiously guard themselves against venial sins, and in things which are not expressly commanded or prohibited by the laws of God and the Church apply themselves always to do that which they see to be most conformable to God’s pleasure.”

“When our heart is resolved to desire nothing but what the heart of God desires, it becomes united in such a manner with the same that it forms almost one heart; and thus between us and God there is true love, and the perfection of love.”

“This perfect sanctity is without doubt what God desires in all Christians; in fact, who would dare to say that God permits us to commit venial sins, and will be contented that we should prefer our own will and pleasure to His, leaving undone what we clearly know to be His pleasure?”

“A master insists that his servant shall obey him in those things which he absolutely commands, but he also wishes him to carry out any unexpressed desire; and consequently that servant only is considered the best who takes care not to cause his master knowingly any, even the very least, displeasure, and who endeavours to satisfy his desires in all things.”

Quotations from Joseph Frassinetti, The Consolation of the Devout Soul, trans. Georgiana Lady Chatterton (London: Burns and Oates, 1876).

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