Degrees of Perfection

St Ignatius

St Ignatius of Loyola

1. Beginner: this person still has a strong affection for mortal sin

2. Advanced: the person who cannot abstain from venial sin; and who; because of attachment to earthly things, are still in a state of warfare

3. Perfect: the person whose heart is completely detached from the earth and given to God; and who consequently are entirely at peace within themselves

They correspond to the three stages of man’s development; childhood (the period of mental and physical weakness); adolescence (the period of development); and manhood (the period of maturity).

St. Ignatius advises the beginner to consider the four last things (death, judgement, heaven or hell); the advanced to consideration of the Passion of Our Lord; on the Perfect contemplation of the divine goodness and of heavenly joys.

Everyone is capable of being a saint no matter what their position or circumstance; because no one is incapable of loving. Pious practises should be adapted to one’s occupation and duties.

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