INNOCENT XI 1676-1689


Errors of Michael of Molinos*


[Condemned in the decree of the Sacred Office, August 28, and in the Constitutions “Coelestis Pastor,” Nov. 20, 1687]




1221 1. It is necessary that man reduce his own powers to nothingness, and this is the interior way.


1222 2. To wish to operate actively is to offend God, who wishes to be Himself the sole agent; and therefore it is necessary to abandon oneself wholly in God and thereafter to continue in existence as an inanimate body.


1223 3. Vows about doing something are impediments to perfection.


1224 4. Natural activity is the enemy of grace, and impedes the operations of God and true perfection, because God wishes to operate in us without us.


1225 5. By doing nothing the soul annihilates itself and returns to its beginning and to its origin, which is the essence of God, in which it remains transformed and divinized, and God then remains in Himself, because then the two things are no more united, but are one alone, and in this manner God lives and reigns in us, and the soul annihilates itself in operative being.


1226 6. The interior way is that in which neither light, nor love, nor resignation is recognized, and it is not necessary to understand God, and in this way one makes progress correctly.


1227 7. A soul ought to consider neither the reward, nor punishment, nor paradise, nor hell, nor death, nor eternity.


1228 8. He ought not to wish to know whether he is progressing with the will of God, or whether or not with the same resigned will he stands still; nor is it necessary that he wish to know his own state or his own nothingness; but he ought to remain as an inanimate body.


1229 9. The soul ought not to remember either itself, or God, or anything whatsoever, and in the interior life all reflection is harmful, even reflection upon its human actions and upon its own defects.


1230 10. If one scandalizes others by one’s own defects, it is not necessary to reflect, as long as the will to scandalize is not present, and not to be able to reflect upon one’s own defects, is a grace of God.


1231 11. It is not necessary to reflect upon doubts whether one is proceeding rightly or not.


1232 12. He who gives his own free will to God should care about nothing, neither about hell, nor about heaven; neither ought he to have a desire for his own perfection, nor for virtues, nor his own sanctity, nor his own salvation, the hope of which he ought to remove.


1233 13. After our free will has been resigned to God, reflection and care about everything of our own must be left to that same God, and we ought to leave it to Him, so that He may work His divine will in us without us.


1234 14. It is not seemly that he who is resigned to the divine will, ask anything of God; because asking is an imperfection, since the act is of one’s own will and election, and this is wishing that the divine will be conformed to ours, and not that ours be conformed to the divine; and this from the Gospel: “Seek you shall find” [John 16:24], was not said by Christ for interior souls who do not wish to have free will; nay indeed, souls of this kind reach this state, that they cannot seek anything from God.


1235 15. Just as they ought not ask anything from God, so should they not give thanks to Him for anything, because either is an act of their own will.


1236 16. It is not proper to seek indulgences for punishment due to one’s own sins, because it is better to satisfy divine justice than to seek divine mercy, since the latter proceeds from pure love of God, and the former from an interested love of ourselves, and that is not a thing pleasing to God and meritorious, because it is a desire to shun the cross.


1237 17. When free will has been surrendered to God, and the care and thought of our soul left to the same God, no consideration of temptations need any longer be of concern; neither should any but a negative resistence be made to them, with the application of no energy, and if nature is aroused, one must let it be aroused, because it is nature.


1238 18. He who in his prayer uses images, figures, pretension, and his own conceptions, does not adore God “in spirit and in truth” [John 4:23].


1239 19. He who loves God in the way which reason points out or the intellect comprehends, does not love the true God.


1240 20. To assert that in prayer it is necessary to help oneself by discourse and by reflections, when God does not speak to the soul, is ignorance. God never speaks; His way of speaking is operation, and He always operates in the soul, when this soul does not impede Him by its discourses, reflections, and operations.


1241 21. In prayer it is necessary to remain m obscure and universal faith, with quiet and forgetfulness of any particular and distinct thought of the attributes of God and the Trinity, and thus to remain in the presence of God for adoring and loving Him and serving Him, but without producing acts, because God has no pleasure in these.


1242 22. This knowledge through faith is not an act produced by a creature, but it is a knowledge given by God to the creature, which the creature neither recognizes that he has, and neither later knows that he had it; and the same is said of love.


1243 23. The mystics with Saint Bernard in theScala Claustralium *(The Ladder of the Recluses) distinguished four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and infused contemplation. He who always remains in the first, never passes over to the second. He who always persists in the second, never arrives at the third, which is our acquired contemplation, in which one must persist throughout all life, provided that God does not draw the soul (without the soul expecting it) to infused contemplation; and if this ceases, the soul should turn back to the third step and remain in that, without returning again to the second or first.


1244 24. Whatever thoughts occur in prayer, even impure, or against God, the saints, faith, and the sacraments, if they are not voluntarily nourished, nor voluntarily expelled, but tolerated with indifference and resignation, do not impede the prayer of faith, indeed make it more perfect, because the soul then remains more resigned to the divine will.


1245 25. Even if one becomes sleepy and falls asleep, nevertheless there is prayer and actual contemplation, because prayer and resignation, resignation and prayer are the same, and while resignation endures, prayer also endures.


1246 26. The three ways: the purgative, illuminative, and unitive, are the greatest absurdity ever spoken about in mystical (theology), since there is only one way, namely, the interior way.


1247 27. He who desires and embraces sensible devotion, does not desire nor seek God, but himself; and anyone who walks by the interior way, in holy places as well as on feast days, acts badly, when he desires it and tries to possess it.


1248 28. Weariness for spiritual matters is good, if indeed by it one’s own love is purified


1249 29. As long as the interior soul disdains discourses about God, and disdains the virtues, and remains cold, feeling no fervor in himself, it is a good sign.


1250 30. Everything sensible which we experience in the spiritual life, is abominable, base, and unclean.


1251   31. No meditative person exercises true interior virtues; these should not be recognized by the senses. It is necessary to abandon the virtues.


1252 32. Neither before nor after communion is any other preparation or act of thanksgiving required for these interior souls than continuance in a customary passive resignation, because in a more perfect way it supplies all acts of virtues, which can be practiced and are practiced in the ordinary way. And, if on this occasion of communion there arise emotions of humility, of petition, or of thanksgiving, they are to be repressed, as often as it is not discerned that they are from a special impulse of God; otherwise they are impulses of nature not yet dead.


1253 33. That soul acts badly which proceeds by this interior way, if it wishes on feast days by any particular effort to excite some sensible devotion in itself, since for an interior soul all days are equal, all festal. And the same is said of holy places, because to souls of this kind all places are alike.


1254 34. To give thanks to God by words and by speech is not for interior souls which ought to remain in silence, placing no obstacle before God, because He operates in them; and the more they resign themselves to God, they discover that they cannot recite the Lord’s prayer, i.e., the Our Father.


1255 35. It is not fitting for souls of this interior life to perform works even virtuous ones, by their own choice and activity; otherwise they would not be dead. Neither should they elicit acts of love for the Blessed Virgin, saints, or the humanity of Christ, because since they are sensible objects, so, too, is their love toward them.


1256 36. No creature, neither the Blessed Virgin, nor the saints ought to abide in our heart, because God alone wishes to occupy and possess it.


1257 37. On occasion of temptations, even violent ones, the soul ought not to elicit explicit acts of opposite virtues, but should persevere in the above mentioned love and resignation.


1258 38. The voluntary cross of mortifications is a heavy weight and fruitless, and therefore to be dismissed.


1259 39. The more holy works and penances, which the saints performed, are not enough to remove from the soul even a single tie.


1260 4o. The Blessed Virgin never performed any exterior work, and nevertheless was holier than all the saints. Therefore, one can arrive at sanctity without exterior work.


1261 41. God permits and wishes to humiliate us and to conduct us to a true transformation, because in some perfect souls, even though not inspired, the demon inflicts violence on their bodies, and makes them commit carnal acts, even in wakefulness and without the bewilderment of the mind, by physically moving their hands and other members against their wills. And the same is said as far as concerns other actions sinful in themselves, in which case they are not sins, but in them (Viva: quiahis,because with these) the consent is not present.


1262 42. A case may be given, that things of this kind contrary to the will result in carnal acts at the same time on the part of two persons, for example man and woman, and on the part of both an act follows.


1263 43. God in past ages has created saints through the ministry of tyrants; now in truth He produces saints through the ministry of demons, who, by causing the aforesaid things contrary to the will, brings it about thatthey despise themselves the more and annihilate and resign themselves to God.


1264 44. Job blasphemed, and yet he did not sin with his lips because it was the result of the violence of the devil.


1265 45. Saint Paul suffered such violences of the devil in his body; thus he has written: “For the good that I will I do not do; but the evil which I will not, that I do” [ Rom. 7:19].


1266 46. Things of this kind contrary to the will are the more proportionate medium for annihilating the soul, and for leading [Viva: et eam]it to true transformation and union, nor is there any other way; and this is the easier and safer way.


1267 47. When things of this kind contrary to the will occur, it is proper to allow Satan to operate, by applying no effort and making no real attempt, but man should persist in his own nothingness; and even if pollutions follow and obscene acts by one’s own hands, and even worse, there is no need to disquiet oneself [Viva:inquietari],but scruples must be banished, as well as doubts and fears, because the mind becomes more enlightened, more confirmed, and more candid, and holy liberty is acquired. And above all there is no need to confess these matters, and one acts in a most saintly way by not confessing, because the devil is overcome by this agreement, and the treasure of peace is acquired.


1268 48. Satan, who produces violences of this kind contrary to the will, afterwards persuades that they are grave sins, so that the mind disturbsitself, lest it progress further in the interior way; hence for weakening his powers it is better not to confess them, because they are not sins, not even venial.


1269   49. Job from the violence of the devil polluted himself with his own hands at the same time as “he offered pure prayer to God” (thus interpreting the passage from chapter 16. Job) [cf. Job. 16:18 ].


1270 50. David, Jeremias, and many of the holy Prophets suffered violence of this kind, of these impure external operations contrary to the will.


1271 51. In Sacred Scripture there are many examples of violence to the will unto external sinful acts, as that of Samson, who by violence killed himself with the Philistines [ Judg. 16:29 f.], entered a marriage with a foreigner [Judg. 14:1 ff.], and committed fornication with the harlot Dalila [Judg. 16:4 ff.], which in other times were prohibited and would have been sins; that of Judith, who had lied to Holofernes, [ Judith. 2:4 ff.]; that of Elisaeus, who cursed children [ 2 Kings 2:24 ]; that of Elias, who burned the leaders with the troops of King Achab [cf. 2 Kings 1:10 ff.]. But whether violence was immediately executed by God, or by the minister of the demons, as it happens in some souls, is left in doubt.


1272 52. When such things contrary to the will, even impure, happen without confusion of the mind, then the soul can be united to God, and de factois always the more united.


1273 53. To recognize in practice, whether an operation has been violence in some persons, the rule which I have for this is not the protestations of those souls which protest that they have not consented to the said violences or cannot swear that they have consented, and cannot see that they are the souls who make progress in the interior life, but I would adopt a rule from a certain light which is superior to actual human and theological cognition, that makes me recognize for certain, with internal certitude, that such operation is violence; and I am certain that this light proceeds from God, because it comes to me joined with certitude that it comes forth from God, and it leaves in me no shadow of doubt to the contrary, in that way by which it sometimes happens that God in revealing something reassures the soul at the same time that it is He who reveals it, and the soul cannot doubt to the contrary.


1274 54. Persons who lead ordinary spiritual lives, in the hour of death will find themselves deluded and confused with all the passions to be purged in the other world.


1275 55. Through this interior life one reaches the point, although with much suffering, of purging and extinguishing all passions, so that he feels nothing more, nothing, nothing; nor is any disquietude felt, just as if the body were dead, nor does the soul permit itself to be moved any more.


1276 56. Two laws and two desires (the one of the soul, the other of self-love) endure as long as self-love endures; wherefore, when this is purged and dead, as happens through the interior way, those two laws and two desires are no longer present; nor, is any lapse incurred further, nor, is anything felt more, not even venial sin.


1277 57. Through acquired contemplation one comes to the state of not committing any more sins, neither mortal nor venial.


1278 58. One arrives at such a state by no longer reflecting on his own actions, because defects arise from reflection.


1279 59. The interior way is separated from confession, from those who confess, and from cases of conscience, from theology and from philosophy.


1280 60. For advanced souls, who begin to die from reflections, and who even arrive at the point that they are dead, God sometimes makes confession impossible, and He Himself supplies it with such great preserving grace as they receive in the sacrament; and therefore for such souls it is not good in such a case to approach the sacrament of penance, because it is impossible for them.


1281 61. When the soul arrives at mystical death, it cannot wish for anything more than what God desires, because it does no longer have a will, since God has taken it away from it.


1282 62. By the interior way it arrives at a continuous, immobile state in an imperturbable peace.


1283 63. By the internal way one even arrives at the death of the senses; moreover, it is a sign that one remains in a state of nothingness, that is, of mystical death, if the exterior senses no longer represent sensible things (from which they are) as if they did not exist, because they do not succeed in making the intellect apply itself to them.


1284 64. A theologian is less disposed than an ignorant man for the contemplative state; in the first place, because he does not have such pure faith; secondly, because he is not so humble; thirdly, because he does not care so much for his own salvation; fourthly, because he has a head full of phantasms, images, opinions, and speculations, and cannot enter into that true light.


1285 65. One must obey directors in the exterior life, and the latitude of the vow of obedience of religious extends only to the external. In the interior life the matter is different, because only God and the director enter.


1286 66. A certain new doctrine in the Church of God is worthy of ridicule, that the soul should be governed as far as its interior is concerned by a bishop; but if the bishop is not capable, the soul should go to him with his director. I speak a new doctrine; because neither Sacred Scripture, nor councils, nor bulls, nor saints, nor authors have ever transmitted it, nor can transmit it, because the Church does not judge about hidden matters, and the soul has its faculty of choosing whatsoever shall seem good to it [Viva: anima ins habet eligendi quaecumque sibi bene visums].


1287 67. To say that the interior must be manifested to the exterior tribunal of directors, and that it is a sin not to do so, is a manifest deception, because the Church does not pass judgment on hidden matters, and they prejudge their own souls by these deceptions and hypocrisies.


1288 68. In the world there is neither faculty nor jurisdiction for commanding that the letters of a director, as far as the interior direction of a soul is concerned, should be made manifest; therefore, it is necessary to assert that it is an insult of Satan, etc.


Condemned as heretical, suspect, erroneous, scandalous, blasphemous, offensive to pious ears, rash, of relaxed Christian discipline, subversive, and seditious respectively.

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