It is not a spiritual work in the sense used by many modern texts, but rather a transformation of the flesh itself. It shares in the elevation of the other human faculties and rejoices with them in communion with God, and indeed becomes the place where God dwells… Thus the whole man becomes spirit. This supposes a constant memory of God.
Marie-Joseph Le Guillou OP (1920–1990)
Bringing two points together:
- The effects of the Spirit may, by mysterious and unpredictable ways, be manifest on our mortal flesh (a significant point made repeatedly by Marie-Joseph Le Guillou OP).
- There is a fundamental, underlying “structure” or “topography” to the human spirit. There is an “innermost” or an “uppermost”. It is there that God first dwells or first showers grace like refreshing, dripping water.
These two points can become one:
- The more one is taken up into Christ interiorly, the more to the “innermost” or “uppermost” where God dwells and pours forth grace to overflow into the other parts of our life, the more definite these mysterious manifestations of the Spirit in the flesh can become.
Oh no, I didn’t think up this point all by myself. Of course, both of these points are constants on this blog. But why would I myself have thought of putting them together? For that, I read Saint Edith Stein:
For all external going-out-of-oneself perceptible in physical expressions, in sentient utterances, and words, in deeds and works, has, a a prerequisite, an internal going-out-of-oneself – whether this be voluntary or involuntary, conscious or unconscious. If it comes from the interior then something of the interior will illumine it.
Even naturally, we “go out of ourselves”. But what happens when our way of “going out of ourselves” has something of interior grace? Something of the interior will illumine the exterior. For sure!
But this [illumination by the interior] will not have sharp outlines; not be something securely and distinctly grasped, as long as one is dependent on a purely natural way and is not led through extraordinary divine illumination. Rather, it will remain something mysterious.
And – that said – what happens when our way of “going out of ourselves” becomes more and more interior, more and more originating at the “innermost” or “uppermost” point where God dwells and directs and loves and holds us tight? Surely it remains mysterious, for it is part of a will of God which we can’t quite place our finger on, but it may become more distinct, more definite, with sharper edges and clearer effects.
That’s progress in the spiritual life. Things becomes simpler.