The triple way (purgative, illuminative, unitive) extends to the following:
Chapter 3 Preamble
What is contemplation?
“Through contemplation our mind passes unto the heavenly Jerusalem, after whose likeness the Church is formed...” (3.1.1 2) Contemplation is the wisdom to which meditation and prayer tend. (Fehlner, footnote 99) In glory there is a threefold gift, in which consists the perfection of the reward. Each gift corresponds with a particular rung of the celestial hierarchy (3.1.1):
- Supreme eternal peace—corresponding to the choir of Thrones
- Clear vision of supreme truth—corresponding to the choir of Cherubim
- Full enjoyment of the supreme good—corresponding to the choir of Seraphim
It is necessary to attain each of the following through the three ways:
- Purgative—expulsion of sin—the goal of which, is the slumber of peace
- Illuminative—imitation of Christ—the goal of which, is the splendor of truth
- Unitive—reception of the Groom—the goal of which, is the sweetness of charity
Seven steps to achieve the slumber of peace
- Shame in recalling the seriousness of your sins: their magnitude, multitude, baseness, and your ingratitude.
- Fear in anticipating the judgment of God in view of four considerations: pointless activity, the clouding of your understanding, the hardening of your will, and your final condemnation.
- Sorrow in realizing the damage incurred: the loss of divine friendship, the destruction of innocence, the wounding of nature, and the descent into your past life.
- Cries for help to: God the Father, Christ the Redeemer, the Virgin Mary, and the Church Triumphant.
- Strength expended to calm the passions: spiritual sloth, malice, concupiscence, and vanity.
- Ardent desire for martyrdom: full forgiveness of sins, cleansing from stain, satisfaction for penalties incurred, and perfect sanctification by grace.
- Slumber—unending, restful abode under the shadow of God’s wings—you are no longer burned by concupiscence or disturbed by the fear of punishment.
Seven steps to achieve the splendor of truth
- Assent your reason to Christ who suffered for you, paying him homage and recognizing him as
the Son of God, the origin of all things.
- Unite yourself to Christ by compassionate affection such that you suffer with him.
- With wondering contemplation, consider how great the Lord is (in power, beauty, happiness, and eternity), and go out to meet him.
- In Ecstatic devotion forget yourself, for the Lord suffered for your redemption, enlightenment, sanctification and glorification.
- Put on Christ and suffer like him: suffer with willingness for your neighbor, suffer most severely to self, suffer most obediently to God, and suffer most prudently as regards your enemy.
- Embrace the cross and suffer full of injury via privation of possessions, full of vituperation via words, full of mockery via signs, and full of pain via torments.
- Enjoy the truths revealed in Christ’s passion— the admirableness God, the value of the world of intelligent spirits, the vanity of the world of the senses, the desirableness of paradise, the horribleness of hell, the praiseworthiness of virtue, and the blameworthiness of sin.
Seven steps to attain the sweetness of charity
- Watchfulness: Be ready for the groom.
- Trust: Have firm confidence in the prizes offered by the Groom.
- Desire: Long for the Lord as the hind longs for fountains of living water.
- Ecstasy: Be uplifted to the heights of the groom.
- Complacence: Be calm in light of the Groom’s beauty.
- Joy: Delight in the gifts offered by the Groom.
- Union: Be bonded to Christ so you can say, “it is good for me to cling to God.”