INNOCENT XII 1691-1700

 

Errors Concerning the Most Pure Love of God *

 

[Condemned in the brief “Cum alias,” March 12, 1699]

 

1327 1. There is an habitual state of the love of God, which is pure charity and without any admixture of the motive of one’s personal interest. Neither fear of punishment nor desire of reward any longer has a share in it. God is no longer loved for the sake of merit, nor because of one’s own perfection, nor because of the happiness to be found in loving Him.

 

1328 2. In the state of the contemplative or unitive life, every interested motive of fear and hope is lost.

 

1329 3. That which is essential in the direction of a soul is to do nothing else than to follow grace, step by step with infinite patience, precaution, and subtlety. One should restrain himself within these limits so that God may be permitted to act, and he should never aspire to pure love, except when God by an interior unction begins to open the heart to this word, which is so hard for souls heretofore attached to self, and can therefore scandalize them or cause them confusion.

 

1330 4. In the state of holy indifference, a soul no longer has voluntary and deliberate desires for its own interest, with the exception of those occasions on which it does not faithfully cooperate with the whole of its grace

 

1331 5. In the same state of holy indifference we wish nothing for ourselves, all for God. We do not wish that we be perfect and happy for self interest, but we wish all perfection and happiness only in so far as it pleases God to bring it about that we wish for these states by the impression of His grace.

 

1332 6. In this state of holy indifference we no longer seek salvation as our own salvation, as our eternal liberation, as a reward of our merits, nor as the greatest of all our interests, but we wish it with our whole will as the glory and good pleasure of God, as the thing which He wishes, and which He wishes us to wish for His sake.

 

1333 7. Dereliction is nothing else than the abnegation or renunciation of oneself, which Jesus Christ requires of us in the Gospel, after we have left all external things. This denial of ourselves is only with regard to our own interest. . . . The extreme trials in which this abnegation or dereliction of self must be exercised are the temptations by means of which a jealous God seeks to purify love, by holding out to it no refuge, nor any hope for its welfare, even eternal.

 

1334 8. All sacrifices, which are wont to be made by souls who are as disinterested as possible about their eternal happiness, are conditional. . . . But this sacrifice cannot be absolute in the ordinary state. Only in the case of extreme trials does this sacrifice become in some manner absolute.

 

1335 9. In extreme trials a soul can be invincibly persuaded by a reflex persuasion (and this is not the deep foundation of conscience) that it has been justly rejected by God.

 

1336 10. Then a soul separated from itself expires with Christ on the Cross, saying: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” [Matt. 27:46]. In this involuntary expression of despair there is completed the absolute sacrifice of one’s own interest in so far as eternity is concerned.

 

1337 11. In this state a soul loses all hope of its own interest; but never does it lose in its higher part, that is in its direct and inner acts, a perfect hope, which is a disinterested longing for the promises.

 

1338 12. Then a director can permit this soul to acquiesce simply in the loss of its own interest, and in the just condemnation which it believes has been enjoined on it by God.

 

1339 13. The inferior part of Christ on the Cross did not communicate his involuntary disturbances to his superior part.

 

1340 14. In the extreme trials for the purification of love there takes place a certain separation of the upper part of the soul from the lower. . . . In that separation the acts of the lower part flow from a completely blind and involuntary disturbance, for, whatever is voluntary and intellectual is of the higher part.

 

1341 15. Meditation consists of discursive acts which are easily distinguished from one another. . . . The putting together of the discursive and reflex acts is the proper exercise of an interested love.

 

1342 16. There is a state of contemplation so sublime and so perfect that it becomes habitual; so that, as often as a soul actually prays, its prayer is contemplative, not discursive. Then it no longer needs to return to meditation and to its methodical acts.

 

1343 17. Contemplative souls are deprived of a distinct, sensible, and reflex vision of Jesus Christ at two different times: first, in the newborn fervor of their contemplation; secondly, when the soul loses the vision of Jesus Christ in extreme trials.

 

1344 18. In the passive state all the distinct virtues are exercised without any thought that they are virtues. At every moment no other thought is in the mind than to do that which God wishes, and a zealous love likewise brings it about that no one any longer desires virtue for himself nor is he ever so endowed with virtue as when he is no longer attached to virtue.

 

1345 19.In this sense it can be said that a soul in a passive and disinterested state no longer wishes even love itself, in so far as it is its perfection and its happiness, but only in so far as it is that which God wishes of us.

 

1346 20. In confession transformed souls must detest their sins and condemn themselves, and desire the remission of their sins not as a personal purification and liberation, but as the thing which God wills and which He wills us to will because of His glory.

 

1347 21. Holy mystics have excluded from the state of transformed souls the practices of virtues.

 

1348 22. Although this doctrine (about pure love) was designated a pure and simple evangelical perfection in universal tradition, the ancient pastors did not propose it indiscriminately to the multitude of the just, unless the practice of their interested love was proportionate to their grace.

 

1349 23. Pure love itself alone constitutes the whole interior life; and thence arises the only principle and the only motive of all acts which are deliberate and meritorious.

 

Condemned and rejected as, either in the obvious sense of these words, or in the extended meaning of the thoughts, rash, scandalous, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, pernicious, and likewise erroneous in practice.

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