Thought for the Day – 14 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Three Grades of Perfection – One and Two
“According to St Ignatius, there are three grades of perfection.
The first consists in being ready to avoid mortal sin at all costs, even to the ultimate sacrifice.
Circumstances may require us to be martyrs for the faith by being prepared to shed our blood, rather than deny Jesus.
Circumstances may also require us to be martyrs for our Christian way of life, by being prepared to lose everything, health, fortune and friendship, rather than commit a mortal sin.
We are all obliged to reach this first grade of perfection.
If anyone refuses to recognise this, he is already in a state of mortal sin, insofar, as he is prepared to sin grievously, rather than make any real sacrifice.
Such a man loves himself and his own comfort, more than he loves God.
The second grade of perfection, consists in a state of indifference to created things, to everything except God, whether it is to health or sickness, wealth or poverty, praise or blame, success or failure.
All these things can be used equally well in the loving service of God and in the salvation of our souls.
The first grade of perfection is based on the love of God.
The second is founded on the love of God alone, so that we are indifferent to everything else, as long as we love, serve and give glory to God.
We seek other things, only insofar, as they can help us to know and love God better.
We avoid them, insofar, as they can keep us apart from Him.”