I'm not endorsing or explaining any of this: I'm just noting that "the Perfect Life" is a common idea in mysticism, and Eliot admired the mystics who wrote of it. This does not come from Gordon but from all those mystics Eliot read and quoted.

See below: emphasis mine.


Padre Pio - The Mystic



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Mysticism In General

According to the doctrine of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the progress of growth in holiness and union with God in prayer rises together. Beginning with the most simple and human practices the person is transformed, supernaturalized, in their exterior life with man and in their interior life with God. This progress can be summarized as being emptied of self and being filled with God, or putting off the old man (Adam) and putting on the new man (Christ), or simply, conformity to Christ. It involves acts on the part of the Christian, but even more so the initiative and grace of God to raise the person to the heights of holiness, to which all are called but which few seem to achieve. Padre Pio is one who answered that call.

St. Francis

Growth in the Spiritual Life.

The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium (Ch. V) affirmed what the Church has always taught, that every Christian is called to holiness. Jesus said "be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect" (Mt 5:48), yet few seem to know how to go about that. Padre Pio, however, following the example of the saints, climbed this mystical ladder that leads to God (Gen 28:10-12).


On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 11:57 AM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The proposition, "God is perfect," is probably heretical. In all of its usages "perfect" retains some of its literal meaning, "brought to an end, completed."  And hence the word _could_ (I've never explored the matter) carry the implication that at _some point in time_ God was incomplete, but now has become what He Is.

That way madness lurks.

:-)

Carrol

P.S. I've just discovered by accident that the complete text of Canto XVI is available for download at the Poetry site. That Canto is a marvel even when pronounced by the synthetic voice of ZoomText. Il miglior fabbro indeed.