Mystical Evolution

JMJ

The Daily Office Propers for the Dominican Order contain some very interesting texts, indeed. Yesterday was the feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers. I found this reading as the 4th or 5th alternate for the Office of Readings:

From the Mystical Evolution of our brother, John Arintero.

“Through new saints and prophets in the Spirit the holiness of the Church increases.”


Mystical progress is the only true and integral progress. It is the only one in which nature really attains the fullness of its perfections at the same time that it is enriched with divine splendors. It is a continual increase in life and energies in which, growing in all things according to the true Exemplar, we can arrive at that stature of the perfect person.

Nevertheless there are some who think that, although all the members of the Church should increase in life, or what is the same, in virtue and sanctity, the Church itself cannot increase or mystically evolve, for it was holy from the very beginning and it is not to be supposed that now it would have greater saints or more abundant charisms than it had before. But then, neither can the Church be said to grow in unity and catholicity, for it was always, at least virtually, one and catholic. Nevertheless the Church does increase as she is extended and propagated and as, through great organic development, she fastens and secures the bonds of solidarity of all the members among themselves and with the Head.

This building up is effected principally in charity and, therefore, in sanctity and justice. The Christian ideal is not a limited perfection but the true deification or the greatest possible assimilation and union with God. To achieve this we must strive to be identified in a certain manner with God’s infinite sanctity, letting ourselves fully possess his Spirit of sanctification and be configured in all things to the incarnate Word.

As a greater number of the faithful are truly sanctified by realizing this sublime ideal, it is clear that the integral life and therefore the true sanctity of the whole mystical body are increased. During this development the perfection of the saints is effected more and more in the works of their ministry, and new and precious fruits of sanctification are continually appearing and ripening on this tree of life. In each new saint we can say that there appears a new form of sanctity, and in all of them together is manifested more and more clearly the treasures of virtue and life which are buried in Jesus Christ. Thus the feast of All Saints stands out in a glorious manner in as much as it manifests outwardly the hidden life of Jesus who is within. This excellence of perfection is nothing else than the overflowing of his Spirit which is poured out in them.

So it is that the entire organism of the Church is able to “grow up in him who is the head, even Christ.” It is not true to say, then, that there will never be greater saints than the early saints, and it is not enough to say that no saint can compare with Christ, the Blessed Virgin, the apostles, and the early disciples, in order to prove that the Church does not progress in holiness nor evolve mystically. This would be to reduce the whole edifice to its most solid foundations. The numerous flocks of christ, adorned with the blood of Martyrs and the virtues of so many confessors and virgins would be reduced to the little flock of the primitive Church and the whole brilliant mystical body of the Church, adult and robust, possessing various organs and a diversity of functions, would he reduced to its simple embryonic members.

Jesus Christ, the founder of the Church, was and is always the head of this mystical body which he directs and governs and keeps united. He distributes to it energies and graces; he watches over its prosperity; and with his Spirit he animates it and impels it to develop and grow in all things. He is with us today as yesterday and he will remain with us always, according to his promise: I am with you always even to the end of the world. He gave solidity to the firm cement of the apostles, but these are not the entire tower or holy house of the Lord nor even its entire foundation. Aiding them, upon the cornerstone, are all the new apostles and prophets in the Spirit.

Until this happens, the Church will ever increase and progress, strictly-speaking even more than did Jesus, in wisdom and age and grace before God day by day. He himself will direct our feet along the paths of peace, of holiness, and of perfection. In these paths we shall have no other norm, no other light, and no other power but that of the divine Master who is the way, the truth, and the life. No fixed limit will he set to our progress other than the perfection of the heavenly Father incarnate in that Exemplar who is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, whose glory we have seen, the glory of the Only-begotten, full of grace and truth and from his fullness we have all received, until the perfection of the saints is consummated in the works of their ministry and the entire body is well organized or built up in charity.

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He feeds the homeless and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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