Duty

06. “Purgative, illuminative, unitive”

…we have the division of the spiritual life which has been adopted since the time of the Pseudo-Dionysius into the “purgative” way, the “illuminative” way, and the “unitive” way. St. Thomas well explains the reason for this division when he says: “The first duty which is incumbent on man is to give up sin and resist concupiscence, which are opposed to charity; this belongs to beginners, in whose hearts charity is to be nursed and cherished lest it be corrupted. The second duty of man is to apply his energies chiefly to advance in virtue; this belongs to those who are making progress and who are principally concerned that charity may be increased and strengthened in them. The third endeavor and pursuit of man should be to rest in God and enjoy Him; and this belongs to the perfect who desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.”

– The Catholic Encyclopedia: ‘State Or Way’, 1913, (as in the Rev. Alban Goodier’s ‘Life That Is Light’ in three volumes ’Purgative’, ‘Illuminative’ and Unitive’, published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons in 1957)

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14. “world of appearances”

…although the spiritual world is within us, it is also outside us. Just as it was enough to learn within ourselves in order to discover this world, so it is enough to learn how to outside ourselves in order to perceive the spiritual world behind the world of appearances.

– Pierre Hadot: ‘Plotinus Or the Simplicity of Vision’, 1963

Actions with attachments bind us to the world of appearances; to the continual doing of more actions. But there is another way of performing action, and this is without desire and without fear. The doer of the non-attached actions is the most conscientious of men. Freed from desire and fear, he offers everything he does as a sacrament of devotion to his duty (surrenders all his actions to the Lord). All work becomes equally and vitally important. It is only toward the results of work – success or failure, praise or blame – that he remains indifferent. When action is done in this spirit, Krishna teaches, it will lead to the knowledge of what is behind action, behind all life; the ultimate Reality. And, with the growth of this knowledge, the need for further action will gradually fall away from us. We shall realize our true nature, which is God, sat-chit-ananda.

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna’

Thus also, on account of the existence of the former (qualities), (admitted) owing to reference and so on, there is absence of contradiction, (as) Bâdarâyana (thinks). Thus also, i.e. although it be admitted that intelligence only constitutes the true nature of the Self, also the former nature, i.e. lordly power like that of Brahman, which is intimated by reference and the rest, is – with a view to the world of appearances – not rejected; and hence there is no contradiction. This is the opinion of the teacher Bâdarâyana.

– The Vedanta Sutras of Bâdarâyana, Commentary by Sankara, tr. by George Thibaut, 1896