Catholics live in what may be called an un-Catholic atmosphere. What they hear said around them and what they read are things fitted to make them forget the teachings of their faith, or worse still to make them distrustful of their true Mother the Church. Thus the practice of their faith grows weak, though in theory they remain Catholics. When they judge of things or come to a decision in regard to acting this way or that, it does not occur to them that the Catholic faith should be their guide.
Now, Faith is God's great gift to man, on which depending and by which acting man may rise above the things that are and may lay hold of the things that are to be, in the better world.
It is the "substance of things to be hoped for and the evidence of things that appear not."
This does not mean that reason's work is useless, but rather that divine faith is neither its outcome nor its conclusion. Reason examines the evidence upon which a revelation is guaranteed as coming from God and when that is found to be sufficient, the understanding aided by a good will accepts the doctrine revealed, however impenetrable to the glance of reason, solely on the authority of God revealing it. [Such as the article of Faith which must be believed: One-Holy-Catholic-Apostolic]
Thus faith is a submission, an obedience, a captivity. Thus, also, we find our Blessed Lord demanding the simplicity of "little children" from those whom He invited to enter His Kingdom. It is true He gave proofs of His Mission, of His Divinity, but whenever proposed His doctrine as a matter of discussion: He taught like a master, "like one having authority," and demanded obedience.
When, therefore, we pray for firmness of faith we pray for the subduing of pride, of wilfulness, of prejudice, and for an increase of childlike simplicity and trustfulness — in order that God's revelation may shine with full clearness upon the mind and hold the
understanding and will in firm adhesion to its truth.
Messenger of the Sacred Heart ~ February 1891
The Victims of Sensuality
EVERY man has two lives: one of the senses, to eat, drink, play and enjoy, and with this he begins as a child; the other of reason, to understand his duty in life and to live up to it, uprightly and honorably, facing difficulties and keeping at peace with God and man, and, since reason is Christian, to lead the life of faith, which is that of the Saints. Some men remain children always in their love of the life of the senses; and as this is against reason, they become unreasonable, and as it is against the law of God, which faith teaches, they become filled with sensual sins. All their thoughts go out to gratifying their appetites.
There is a grave reason why sins of sensuality are become more frequent in our day. It is easy to travel and see all sides of life; and the newspapers bring to everyone's door the knowledge and frequent thought of sins that St. Paul says are not even to be named among Christians. Then comfort is now considered a necessity, and luxuries are easily obtained, while Christian mortification is little thought of. The pride and independence of life, to which men are trained from their youth up, prepare the soul for gross sins. For only the humble fear of God is the beginning and lesson and root of wisdom, even all wisdom itself.
Yet the heart of the sensual man is still open to God's grace, and grace is given to prayer. Sensuality, it is true, hardens, but the soul wearies of its slavery; and the thought of death, when the senses shall rot away in corruption, gives a loathing for the unreasonable and un-Christian life of sin. That these thoughts, and the grace of purity given by God, may have their due effect among the poor victims of sensuality. If any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God Who giveth to all men abundantly? Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God?
Messenger of the Sacred Heart ~ In the year of Our Lord 1891