I have been particularly struck with their love for, and their power over, the animal world. They seemed to live nearer the heart of nature than other mortals, and perceived there diviner harmonies. Perhaps this sympathetic relation sprang from the belief that, as the whole natural world participated in the fall of man, so it has its part in the fruit of our Saviour’s Passion. At least, they believed that animals, in common with man, received life from God and exist through him. “All creatures,” says Denis the Carthusian, “partake of the divine, eternal, and uncreated vol. XIII.-35
The saints respected in animals that divine wisdom which Albertus Magnus tells us, in his book on animals, is to be recognized in their instinct. Dr. Newman says: “Men of narrow reasoning may smile at the supposition that the woods and wild animals can fall into the scheme of theology and preach to the heart the all-pervading principles of religion; but they forget that God’s works have a unity of design throughout, and that the author of nature and of revealed religion is one.” Dr. Faber saw throughout creation a threefold manifestation of God,
typifying his being, the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Spirit. Sanctity seems to restore man to his primeval relation to nature, and give him back the power he possessed in Eden over the animal world. The Holy Scriptures tell us of beasts and birds sent to minister to the wants of man, and how the very lions reverenced the prophet Daniel. Animals were submissive to man before his fall, and they went obediently into the ark at the command of Noah. Such things are renewed and repeated in the lives of the Christian saints. It is not more wonderful that a raven should bring St. Paul the Hermit half a loaf every day for sixty years, and a whole one when visited by St. Anthony, than that one should feed the prophet. St. Gregory of Nazianzen relates that St. Basil’s grandmother, St. Macrina, having taken refuge with her husband in the forests of Pontus during a persecution, was miraculously fed by stags. St. Bega, when a hermitess in a cave on the Cumberland coast, lived in supernatural familiarity with the sea-birds and the wolves of Copeland forest, and they in part supplied her with food. St. Roch is usually represented with the dog that used to accompany him in his pilgrimages. When St. Roch had the plague, the dog went daily into the city and returned with a loaf of bread for his master. Among the old legends that embody the popular idea of the veneration of the animal world for holiness, is that of the Flight into Egypt. It is said the lions and leopards crept out of their lairs to lick the baby hands of the infant Jesus. When Christians, in the times of persecution under the Roman emperors, were thrown to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre, there are many examples of these usually ferocious
animals refusing to touch the holy victims, as in the well-known instances of Andronicus and Tarchus. St. Blaise is depicted surrounded by a variety of animals, such as the lion and the lamb, the leopard and the hind, who seem to have laid aside their animosity. This saint was obliged, in the persecution of the reign of Diocletian, to take refuge in a cave of the mountains. It was the haunt of wild beasts, whose ferocity he so disarmed that they came every morning, as if to ask his blessing, says the old legend. One day, he met an old woman in distress for the loss of her only earthly possession, a pig, which had been carried off by a wolf. Such power had St. Blaise over the animal world, that when he ordered the wolf to bring back the pig he obeyed. Some time after, the woman killed her pig and took a part of it to St. Blaise, who had been thrown into prison and left without any food, thereby preventing him from starv1ng. St. Jerome is represented, in Christian art, with the lion he healed, and which remained with him. The legend tells us the saint made the lion guard the ass that brought his fagots from the forest. One day, the lion went to sleep in the woods, and the ass was stolen. The lion returned home with drooping head, as if ashamed. St. Jerome made him bring the fagots in place of the ass, which he did till he discovered his old friend in a caravan of merchants, whom he so terrified that they confessed their sin to St. Jerome and restored the ass. There is a very similar legend of the Abbot Gerasimus, who lived near the river Jordan. We are told, in the lives of the fathers of the desert, of one of them who was carrying provisions across the desert to his brethren. Wearied with his burden and the long journey, he called to a wild ass he espied to come and aid him, for the love of Christ. The ass hastened to his assistance, and bore the father and his load to the cells of his brethren. St. Aphraates dispersed the army of locusts that threatened the country around Antioch. St. Martin commanded the serpents, and they obeyed him. And we read how the wolf-hounds, hungry and fierce, that were kept for the chase, respected St. Walburga when she went, late at night, to visit the dying daughter of a neighboring baron. It would almost seem as if these animals recognized, as an able writer says, the presence of Him who lulled the tempest with a word in the souls in whom he dwells. Tradition records the fondness of one of the twelve apostles—the loved apostle John—for animals. Every one has heard of the tame partridge he took pleasure in feeding. He was seen tending his bird by a passing hunter, who expressed his surprise to see the apostle, so renowned for his age and sanctity, thus employing his time. St. John asked him if he always kept his bow bent. “That would soon render it useless,” said the hunter. “So do I unbend my mind in this way for the same reason you unbend your bow—to prevent its becoming useless.” Perhaps he derived his love for animals from his ancestress Rebecca, who showed the kindness of her nature in offering to water the camels of the stranger. Eliezer saw it, and began wooing her for his master’s son. There are numerous instances in which animals instinctively betook themselves to the saints for protection. A hind, pursued by dogs, took refuge with St. Giles in his cave near
the mouth of the Rhone. The hunters, following on his track, found the wounded beast crouching beside the saint, who protected him. The hind remained with St. Giles, who fed on his milk. This saint is represented in paintings with the animal beside him. “Ane hind set up beside Sanct Geill,” says Sir David Lindsay. There is a similar legend about St. Procopius, a hermit, with whom a hunted hind took refuge. As St. Anselm was riding to the Manor of Herse, a hare, pursued by hunters, sought shelter under the housings of his mule. St. Anselm wept, but the foresters laughed, and the hounds stood around at bay. The saint said: “This poor hare reminds me of the soul of a sinner beset by fiends eager to seize their prey.” He ordered the hunters not to pursue the hare, which fled. So a deer took refuge from hunters in the cell of St. Aventin, a hermit who lived on an island in the Seine. One night a bear attacked his hut with furious cries. The saint betook himself to prayer, and at dawn found the animal, subdued and gentle, lying at his door licking his paw. The saint saw it was pierced by a thorn, and drew it out, when the beast went quietly away into the forest. When a person, who lived for a time with St. Aventin, caught some fish, the saint threw them back into the river, saying: “Go, little creatures, return to your element and food and remain there at liberty: my element and food are Jesus Christ, to whom I wish to return, that in him I may live for ever.” St. Bartholomew, a hermit of Farne, was so gentle in his movements that the wild sea-birds were not afraid of him. He allowed no one to molest them. He tamed an eider-duck, which daily fed out of his hand. One day, as St. Bartholomew was
sitting on the sea-shore, a cormorant pulled the edge of his garment with its bill. He followed the bird, and found its young had fallen into a fissure in the rocks. He rescued them from danger.
St. Helier, a hermit in the isle of Jersey, lived for years on a barren crag overlooking the sea. Attention was called to the place of his retreat by the flight of the birds who shared the rock with him, and he was beheaded by his pagan discoverers.
The marine animals would fawn on St. Cuthbert while he was praying by night on the island of Farne. The eider-ducks are called by the islanders to this day “St. Cuthbert’s ducks.”
So the nuns of Whitby “exulting told ‘
“How sea-fowls’ pinions fail, As over Whitby’s towers they sail, And sinking down, with flutterings faint, They do their homage to the saint.”
St. Serf, an old Scottish monk, had a pet ram which he had raised and used to follow him about. The laird of Tillicoultry stole the animal and “ate him up in pieces small.” Being accused of the theft, the laird declared on oath that he had neither stolen nor eaten the ram. Whereupon, so runs the old legend, the ram “bleated in his wayme”! The saint predicted that no heir born to the estate of Tillicoultry should succeed to his patrimony, which prediction has been verified down to our own time. During the last two centuries Tillicoultry has been in the possession of thirteen different families, and in no case has the heir born to it become the owner. Lord Colville, a distinguished soldier of the time of James VI., retired to his estate of Tillicoultry to spend the rest of his life in retirement. Walking on the terrace one day, he slipped while looking up at an old hawthorn tree, and fell down
the bank and was instantly killed. The estate was afterwards sold to the Earl of Stirling, at whose death it was sold to Sir Alexander Rollo, and so it has passed from one family to another down to our time. In 1837, it was bought by Mr. Stirling, who was accidentally killed. His brother, not the born heir, succeeded him, but sold it in 1842 to Mr. Anstruther, who in turn sold it to his brother, the present proprietor. St. Richard, Bishop of Winchester, through excessive tenderness for the animal world, hardly ever ate any meat. When he saw any lamb or chicken on his table, he used to say: “We are the cause of your death, ye innocent ones. What have ye done worthy of death P” He thought as Frederick Schlegel, who remarks: “The sorrows of beasts are certainly a theme for the meditations of men, and I could not agree to the justice of regarding it as a subject unworthy of reflection, or of permitting sympathy with them to be banished from the human breast.” St. Richard’s love extended to the whole natural world. In the time of his troubles he used to retire to the parsonage of a country curate, not far from Winchester, to find solace in communion with nature. His friend loved to look at him walking in the garden watching the unfolding of the flowerbuds or amusing himself by budding and grafting, forgetful of the wrath of the king and the number of his enemies. A graft which the owner regarded with great pride having died, Richard regrafted it. It lived and bore fruit. Many stories are told of the love of St. Waltheof, Abbot of Melrose, for animals, and, in particular, of his affection for the old gray horse which he constantly rode, and used playfully to call Brother Grizzle (Fraser Ferrandus). He was even known to discipline himself for having killed an insect, saying he had taken away the life of one of God’s creatures which he could not restore. His gray horse was well known in the valley of the Tweed. The humble abbot rode him, with his own luggage and that of his few attendants slung on before him, including the boots of his groom. He appeared before his kinsman, the King of Scotland, in this array. Waltheof’s brother was ashamed of him, but the king was so edified that he knelt to ask the abbot’s blessing, and granted him all his petitions, saying: “This man hath put all worldly things under his feet, but we are running after this fleeting world, losing soul and body in the pursuit.” Sophronius, writing in a more remote age, says: “Going to New Alexandria, we found Abbot John, who had spent eighty years in that monastery, so full of charity that he was pitiful also to brute animals. Early in the morning he used to give food to all the dogs that were in the monastery, and would even bring grain to the ants and the birds on the roof.” And, at a later day again, at Citeaux a great number of storks built their nests around the abbey, and, on going away for the winter, would hover over the monks working in the fields, as if to ask their blessing, which was given them. We are told in the annals of Corby that the novices had an otter which they kept for a long time in the refectory. And the success of Friar Baddo in training a dog is spoken of There was a peculiar breed of black dogs in the Abbey of St. Hubert in the Ardennes, called the dogs of St. Hubert. The birds of Croyland would feed from the hands of St. Guthlac, the hermit, and alight on his head and
shoulders, and the fish would come up out of the water for the food he gave them. So a white swan was for fifteen years in the habit of coming up from the marshes and flying around St. Hugh of Lincoln, and then alighting to eat from his hand, sometimes thrusting its bill into his bosom. This swan survived the saint many years, but, after his death, returned’ to its old wild habits, avoiding all human beings. St. Columba used to feed the seabeaten herons that alighted on the island of Iona. The sparrows would descend and eat out of St. Remi’s hand. And the birds would hover around the hermits of Montserrat and eat from their hands. Hugo of St. Victor shows his familiarity with the habits of animals by his allusions to them in his instructions. Digby relates that in 1507 there was a lamb in the convent of Muri that used to go to the choir at the sound of the bell and remain during the chanting of the divine office. When the matin bell rang, it would run around the corridors and knock its head against the door of each cell till it had roused the inmate, and, on going to the choir, if it saw one vacant stall, it would return to the dormitory and bleat for the missing one. St. Philip Neri could not bear to witness the slightest cruelty to animals, and would caution the coach. man not to run over one. And even wild animals would respond to his tenderness by their familiarity with him, and dogs would leave their masters to follow him. Seeing one of his congregation tread on a lizard as he was passing through the court, St. Philip said to him: “Cruel fellow, what has that poor little animal done to you ?” He was greatly agitated at seeing a butcher wound a dog with his knife. A boy having brought him a bird, St. Philip through pity ordered it to be let out at the window. Shortly after, he expressed regret for having given the bird its freedom, for fear it might die of hunger. Louis, one of his young penitents, had two little birds which he gave St. Philip. He accepted them on condition the giver would come every day to see after them, wishing to exert a good influence over the youth. One day Louis came and found the saint ill in bed, and one of the birds perched on his face. It then fluttered around his head, singing very sweetly. St. Philip asked Louis if he had accustomed the bird to do so. Louis replied in the negative. St. Philip tried in vain to drive the bird away, and finally had the cage brought, when it went in as if through obedience. Father Pietro Consolini, of the Oratory, tells a curious story of a good brother who worked in the kitchen. In order to satisfy his devotion for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he would put a cat upon the kitchen table, and order it to keep watch while he was absent. Then he would go off to church with a peculiar confidence in God. The cat, as if remembering the submission due to man in his primitive state of innocence, used to mount the table as desired, and remain there, as if on guard, till the good brother returned. St. Anthony of Padua also was full of love for animals, as well as of nature in general, as he showed by constant allusions in his sermons. He was always dwelling with delight upon the whiteness and gentleness of the swans, the mutual charity of the storks, the purity and fragrance of the flowers of the fields, etc., etc. When preaching once to sinners who refused to listen to him,
he suddenly turned away from them, and, appealing to the animal world, asked the fish of the water to hearken to him. The old legend tells how they lifted their heads in great numbers from the water to listen to his words. St. Bernard would deliver the bird from the snare of the fowler, and the wild hare from the hounds. St. Ignatius Loyola admired the beauty, wisdom, and power of the Creator in his creatures. He was often rapt in contemplation before an insect, a flower, or a blade of grass. St. Francis de Sales so constantly manifests an extraordinary love of nature in his writings that they have been compared to the sacred veil of Isis, on which was embroidered all created things. Here is an extract taken at random from his writings, which lose their rare bouquet in translating: “It had been snowing, and there was in the Court, at least, a foot of snow. Jean swept a small space in the centre, and scattered grain on the ground for the pigeons to eat. They came in a flock to take their food there with wonderful peace and quietness, and I amused myself with looking at them. You cannot imagine how much these little creatures edified me. They did not utter a sound, and those who had finished their meal immediately made room for others, and flew a short distance to see them eat. When the place was partly vacated, a quantity of birdlings that had been surveying them came up, and the pigeons that were still eating drew up in one corner to leave the more space for the little birds, who forthwith began to eat. The pigeons did not molest them. “I admired their charity, for the pigeons were so afraid of annoying the little birds that they crowded together at one end of their table. I admired, too, the discretion of the little mendicants, who only asked alms when they saw the pigeons were nearly through their meal, and that there was enough left. Altogether, I could not help shedding tears to see the charitable simplicity of the doves, and the confidence of the little birds in their charity. I do not know that a sermon would have affected me so keenly. This little picture of kindness did me good the whole day.” And again, in writing to Madame de Chantal on the repose of the heart on the divine will, he says: “I was thinking the other day of what I had read of the halcyon, a little bird that lays on the sea-shore. They make their nests perfectly round, and so compact that the water of the sea cannot penetrate them. Only on the top there is a little hole through which they can breathe. There they lodge their little ones, so if the sea rises suddenly, they can float upon the waves with no fear of being wet or submerged. The air which enters by the little hole serves as a counterpoise, and so balances these little cushions, these little barquettes, that they are never overturned.” There is in the Louvre a charming little picture by Giotto of St. Francis preaching to the birds. The saint’s face, with an earnest, loving expression, is looking up at the birds, that, with outstretched necks and half-open beaks, appear to catch his words. The old legend which this painting illustrates with all the artist’s vividness in presenting a story, is equally charming in its simplicity. It is as follows: As St. Francis was going toward Bivagno, he lifted up his eyes and saw a multitude of birds. He said to his companions: Wait for me here while I preach to
my little sisters the birds. The birds all gathered around him, and he spoke to them somewhat as follows: “My little sisters the birds, you owe much to God your Creator, and ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty, and the air to fly about in, and, though you neither spin nor sew, he has given you a covering for yourselves and your little ones. He sent two of your species into the ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world. He feeds you, though you neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers in which to quench your thirst, and trees in which to build your nests. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to praise the Lord.” As he preached, the birds opened their beaks, and stretched out their necks, and flapped their wings, and bowed their heads toward the earth. His sermon over, St. Francis made the sign of the cross, and the birds flew up into the air, singing sweetly their song of praise, and dispersed toward the four quarters of the world, as if to convey the words they had heard to all the world. The sympathy of St. Francis of Assisi with nature, both animate and inanimate, is well known. He has been styled the Orpheus of the middle ages. Like the Psalmist, he called upon all nature to praise the Lord : “Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all ye deeps; fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds which fulfil his word, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, serpents and all feathered fowls.” The very sight of a bird incited St. Francis to lift his soul to God on the wings of prayer. Crossing the lagunes of Venice on his way from Syria, he heard the birds singing, and said to his companions: “Let us go and say the divine office in the midst of our brethren the birds, who are praising God.” But finding they diverted his attention from his office, he said: “My brethren the birds, cease your song till we have fulfilled our obligations to God.” The birds ceased their song till the saint gave them permission to resume it. Preaching in the open air, in the environs of Alviano, St. Francis could not make himself heard on account of the number of swallows. He stopped and addressed them: “My sisters the swallows, you have spoken long enough. It is only right that I should have my turn. Listen to the word of God while I am preaching.” Meeting a young man who had caught a number of doves, he looked on them with eyes of pity, and said: “O good young man I entreat thee to give me those harmless birds, the scriptural emblems of pure, humble, and faithful souls, so they may not fall into cruel hands and be put to death.” The young man gave them to St. Francis, who put them in his bosom, and said to them in the sweetest of accents: “O my little sisters the doves so simple, so innocent, and so chaste, why did you allow yourselves to be caught?” He made nests for them in the convent, where they laid and hatched their young, and became as tame as hens among the friars. St. Francis was often seen employed in removing worms from the road that they might not be trampled on by travellers, remembering that our Divine Redeemer compared himself to a worm, and also having compassion on a creature of God. He revered the very stones he trod on, so that he sometimes trembled in walking over them, recalling him who is the chief corner-stone of the spiritual edifice.
He wished the brothers when they cut wood in the forest to leave some shoots in memory of Him who wished to die for us upon the wood of the cross. A flower reminded him of the rod of Jesse which budded and blossomed, and whose perfume is diffused throughout the world. He sometimes wished he were one of the rulers of the land, that at Christmas he might scatter grain by the wayside and in the fields, that the birds also might have occasion to rejoice on that festival of joy. Before his death, St. Francis made a great feast at Christmas, to which he invited the animals. He prepared a manger in the woods, in which there was straw, an ox, and an ass. A long procession of friars, followed by a crowd of people bearing torches and chanting hymns, descended the mountain. Mass was offered, and St. Francis preached on the birth of Christ, after which, filled with a . holy joy, he went through the fields bursting forth into a hymn, calling upon the vines, the trees, the flowers of the field, the stars of heaven, and the Sun, and all his brethren and sisters throughout nature, to rejoice with him, and to unite with him in blessing their Creator. A wolfravaged the environs of Agobio to the great terror of the people. St. Francis went forth armed with the sign of the cross, and commanded his brother the wolf, in the name of Christ, to do no more harm. The wolf, that was making furiously at the saint with distended jaws, stopped short, and lay down meek as a lamb at his feet. Then St. Francis laid before the wolf the enormity of his offence in devouring men made in the image of God, and promised that if he would henceforth abstain from his ravages he should be fed daily by the inhabitants. The wolf signi
fied his assent to the arrangement by placing his paw in that of St. Francis. Then the saint took the wolf to the market-place, and made known to the people the compact he had made. They ratified the agreement to feed the wolf daily till the end of his days, and for two years he went from door to door to get his food, harming no one, at the end of which time he died, greatly to the sorrow of all. Frederick Ozanam says in this legend, which may provoke a smile : “The animal that preys upon the spoils and lives of men is the representative of the people of the middle ages, fierce and terrible when their passions were excited, but never despaired of by the church, who took their blood-stained hands in her divine ones, and gently led them on till she succeeded in inspiring them with a horror of rapine and violence.” St. Francis would salute in a friendly manner the cattle in the pastures. Once, seeing a lamb among the goats and cattle, he was filled with pity, and said to his brethren, “So was our sweet Saviour in the midst of the Pharisees and Sadducees. A merchant that happened along bought the lamb and gave it to St. Francis. It was confided to some nuns, who carefully tended it, and of its wool spun and wove a garment for the saint, who often kissed it tenderly and showed it to his friends. Going to Rome, St. Francis took the lamb with him and, when he left, gave it
to a pious lady. The lamb followed her everywhere, even to church. If she did not rise early enough in the morning, he would strike his head against her bed till he roused her. St. Francis would weep if he saw a lamb about to be killed, recalling Him who was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and would sell his very garments to save it from death. He loved the ant less than any otherinsect, because it was so thoughtful for the morrow. Of the whole animal world, he cared the most for birds, who loved him too, and at his death joyfully sang his triumphant entry into heaven. The larks, in particular, assembled at an early hour on the roof of the cell where the dead saint lay, with songs of extraordinary sweetness that lasted for several hours. An infinite number of such examples could yet be cited, but enough have been given to show how the animal world lays aside its ferocity in proportion as man returns to his primitive state of innocence. This is quite in accordance with our idea of the millennium : The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. If, then, sanctity brings man back to his true relations to the Deity, and restores him to his primitive relations with nature, let us work our way back to Eden by our purity, fasts, vigils, and prayers.
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RELATIONS BEtween THE SUBLIMATIVE
MoMENT AND substanTIAL CREATION.
It will be the aim of this article to point out some consequences which result from the essence and properties of the supernatural term, considered respectively to the term of substantial creation. They go to establish the absolute supremacy of the supernatural term over substantial creation. We shall give them in as many propositions.
1st. In the general plan of the cosmos, the supernatural term in itself and in its application, forming that Aart of the cosmos which may be called the supernatural order, takes precedence of substantial creation, or the natural order.
This proposition is easily proven. The greater the intensity of perfection in a being, the nobler is the being; or, in other words, the greater amount of being a thing contains or exhibits, the higher is the place which it occupies in the ordinate location and harmony of the cosmos. The principle is too evident to need any proof, and we assume it as granted. Now, we have shown that the supernatural term in itself and in its application is by far more perfect than substantial creation; because it is a higher and more perfect similitude of Christ and of the Trinity; because it is the complement and the perfection of nature, and enables it to be joined with the Theanthropos, and through him to be ushered into the society of the three divine persons, communicating with their life, and thus arriving at the palingenesia
cal state. Consequently, the supernatural in the cosmic plan must take precedence of substantial creation, and in the intention and design of the creator must precede nature.
2d. The supernatural is the end of substantial creation, and third end of the exterior action of the infinite.
In a series of means co-ordinate with each other, and depending one upon another in order to attain a primary object, that which in force of the excellence and perfection of its nature precedes others, is to be considered as end in respect to those means which follow next to it in dignity of nature; otherwise the means could have no relation whatever with each other, and the primary end could not be attained. In a series of means co-ordination implies dependence, and this dependence is established by the superiority of the one, and inferiority of the other. Hence the superior means in the series becomes end respectively to inferior means in the same series. Now, we have demonstrated that the supernatural term precedes nature in excellence and intensity of perfection; it becomes, therefore, in the harmony of the cosmic plan, the end of the substantial moment; as the Theanthropic moment is end in reference to the supernatural, and as God’s manifestation of his infinite excellence and perfections is the end of the Theanthropos, and thus the primary end of the cosmic plan is obtained.
“All things are yours,” said St. Paul of those in whom the supernatural term is realized: “you are Christ’s; Christ is God’s.”
3d. The supernatural term is the A body left to itself by the ordinary
“exemplar and type of substantial creation. For it is the end which determines and shapes the nature of the means. The creative intelligence of the infinite, by contemplating the end which it has in view, and the essential laws of being residing in his nature, which is the Being, shapes and fashions mentally the nature and properties of the means. Hence it is evident that, the supernatural term being the end of substantial creation, it stands towards it as the exemplar and type to its copy. 4th. The supernatural term is the mediator between the Theanthropos and substantial creation. This last proposition is a consequence of the preceding ones. For, if the supernatural term precedes substantial creation in excellence and perfection of being, if it is its end and its type, it is evident that, in the general order and harmony of the cosmos, its natural place is between the Theanthropos and substantial creation. Consequently, it is mediator between them. Of course, the intelligent reader will easily understand that this mediatorship is not one merely of place and location, but a mediatorship of action; since the terms here in question are all agents. These four properties of the supernatural moment, which, we flatter ourselves, have been demonstrated and put beyond the possibility of doubt, will enable our readers to see the philosophy of various other truths held by Catholicity, and denied by rationalism, Pantheism, and Protestantism. And, first, the possibility of miracles follows evidently from these principles. A miracle is a sensible phenomenon superseding or contrary to the established laws of corporal creation.
law of gravitation should fall to the ground. Suppose it should hover between heaven and earth without any support, it would present a phenomenon contrary to the natural law of bodies. It would be what is called miracle, from the word miror, to wonder or to be amazed, because our intellect is always astonished when it cannot see at once the cause of an effect. The possibility of such phenomena contrary to the established laws of nature has been denied by Pantheists and rationalists, both for the same reason, though each draw that reason from a different source. The Pantheist, who admits that the cosmos is nothing but that primary indefinite something which is continually developing itself by a necessary interior movement, denies the possibility of miracles on the ground that the development of the infinite being necessary, and being performed according to the necessary laws of being, the development must necessarily be uniform, and the phenomena resulting from it always the Sanne. The rationalist, though not admitting the germinal primary activity of Pantheism, asserts the absolute immutability of the laws of creation, and consequently cannot concede the possibility of any contravention to the results of those laws, without supposing their total overthrow. We hold that the possibility of miracles follows clearly from the properties of the supernatural moment; for, if the supernatural moment precedes nature in force of its intrinsic excellence and perfection of being, if it is the end and type of the natural order, it is perfectly evident that the whole natural order is dependent upon and subject to the supernatural order by the law of /hierarchy, and consequently it is evident that the laws governing the sensible order are also dependent upon and subject to the supernatural order, and must have been determined and fashioned in such a manner as to serve every purpose of that same order. Hence, if the supernatural term, in order to assert itself before created spirits, to prove its own autonomy, its necessity, requires a phenomenon contrary to the established law of sensible creation, those laws must necessarily give way before their hierarchical superior, otherwise the whole order of the cosmos would be overthrown. This consequence is absolutely inevitable; and any one who has followed us in the demonstration of the intrinsic superiority of the supernatural term over substantial creation, cannot fail to perceive it. But to make it better understood we shall enter for a moment into the very heart of the question. Let us take, as an example, the law of gravitation. Why do bodies left to themselves fall to the ground 2 The natural philosopher, with a look of profound wisdom, will answer at once, because of the law of gravitation. Now, if our philosopher claims to give no other answer but that which is within the sphere of his researches, the answer is correct; because his science of observation can carry him no further. But if by the word gravitation he should pretend to give a satisfactory ultimate reason of the phenomenon of the fall of bodies, his answer would make a metaphysician laugh. The law of gravitation | Indeed . But what is that law P Does it exist in the body, or in God? or has it an existence independent of both 2 If it exists in the body, how can it be a general law, when each body is an individuum ? If it exist in God, how is it broken or altered.
or destroyed, when the phenomenon of a miracle affects only a particular, body ? If it has an existence independent of both, what is it? Is it a god, or a Platonic idea, and, if so, whence does it derive the force to assert itself over God’s creation ? These few questions, and many more which we could bring forward, show that to account for the fall of bodies by the law of gravitation, is to give no particular or satisfactory reason for the phenomenon. We have already given one theory, the theory of the most profound metaphysicians of the world, that no finite beings can act without the aid of God; that God must really and effectively excite them to action, aid them during the action until it is accomplished; because he is necessarily the first and the universal cause. Therefore, bodies as well as higher beings are absolutely dependent upon God for their action; and that which natural philosophers call the law of gravitation, or any other law, such as attraction, repulsion, and so forth, in itself is nothing more than the action of God upon bodies. Now, God in acting in and upon bodies has certainly a plan and an order marked out in his mind, according to which he acts in and directs them. This order he has derived from the infinite laws of being, which are his very essence, and consequently, in this sense, that order is stable and immutable. But it must be borne in mind that this order marked out in the mind of God, according to which he acts in and directs bodies, is not the whole order of the cosmos. It is only a part, a moment, and the most inferior of all. Consequently, it is an order subject to and dependent upon the order of the other and higher moment, and upon the universal order of the cosmos. Hence the same divine essence, the eternal model and
type of everything, at the same time that it marks out the order for the acting in and directing of bodies, subjects it to the order of higher moments, and to the cosmological, universal order. In the application, therefore, of this eternal order marked out by his infinite essence, God acts in and directs bodies according to the stable and immutable order proper to this moment, until an exception is necessary. But when the order of higher moments and the universal order demand an exception, the order of the direction of bodies, being inferior, must necessarily yield to the superior, and the sensible order must, so to speak, be suspended for that occasion. We have said, so to speak, because even then the sensible order is not altered or broken, as rationalism imagines; it is the application of the general sensible order to a particular body which is suspended. It is not the objective order, but the subjective particular realization of it, which is superseded. Let us take as example the law so often mentioned. The general order established in the mind of God with regard to acting in bodies is to make them gravitate toward the centre of the earth. Suppose an exception of this law becomes necessary to assert the supernatural order. God, upon that particular occasion, does not apply the general law in a particular body, but acts in it contrary to that law. Is the law of gravitation broken or altered in consequence of that exception ? If the law were an essential property of bodies, a natural consequence of their essence, it would be. But the law in its general and objective essence exists in God only; it does not exist in the body; and consequently it cannot be altered by a suspension of its application in a given case. Were God to act otherwise than
to admit such exceptions in the subjective application of the order of sensible creation, he would go against reason, and act contrary to his essence; for in that case he would prefer a particular and inferior order to the general and superior order of the whole cosmos. The true principles, then, in the present matter are the following: 1st. The laws according to which bodies act and are directed do not exist in bodies, but are an order marked out in the mind of God as derived from his infinite essence. 2d. This order is an element, and an inferior one, of the universal order of the whole cosmos, and consequently, by the law of hierarchy, is subject to that same universal order. 3d. This sensible order is always stable and permanent in itself and in its objective state, but in its application to particular bodies is subject to variation when this variation is demanded by a superior order, or by the universal order of the cosmos. The reader will observe, after what we have said, how futile is the argument of rationalists that a miracle is impossible because the laws of bodies are immutable. Certainly, if the laws exist in the bodies. But the laws of bodies, as we have said, are nothing more than the order marked out in the mind of God, according to which he acts in and directs them, and, this order being universal and objective, is never changed or altered. Only its application in particular bodies on a particular occasion is not made, or made in a contrary sense, because such is the requirement of the universal order. If this be kept in view, every difficulty will vanish in reference to this matter; for this is exactly that which prevents rationalists, from understanding the possibility of miracles—their want of perception that it is God who acts in every sin
gle body. They inagine a general principle, as if it were self-existing, which pervades all the bodies, which ought to be destroyed to permit the exception. Now, this is a mere phantom. It is God, we repeat it, who applies the order marked in his mind in every single body, which in his mind only is universal and objectively immutable, but subjectively, in its application, it need not be constant, except so long as no exception is required. Our natural philosophers of the rationalistic school imagine the law of bodies to be a sort of demigod, stern and immutable, particularly loth of and averse to being disturbed, and consequently cannot see the possibility of a miracle. The second truth which follows from the attributes of the supernatural moment, is that prayer governs the tuniverse. Prayer, taken in its strictest acceptation, is the universal mode of action of spirits elevated to the supernatural moment. To understand this rightly, it is necessary to observe that every moment of the action of God, considered in its term, is possessed of a particular mode of action resulting from and befitting its essence and attributes. Thus, substantial creation, or the whole aggregate of being included in this moment, acts as it were by apprehension and volition. In spiritual beings, this manner of acting is strictly and properly so; in inferior beings, like the brutes, it is less so, but bears a great resemblance to it, for the animal has apprehensive faculties, though wanting in the power of generalization and abstraction, and confined within the concrete and in the individual; and he has also instincts and tendencies leading toward the object apprehended. The vegetable kingdom acts according to the same
manner, though more materially; for it apprehends the elements required for its growth from the earth and the atmosphere, and, assimilating them to itself by an interior force, is able to develop itself. Every one is aware that the general laws of matter are those of attraction and reful. sion, which bear a resemblance, though a faint one, to the law of apprehension and volition. Now, the particular mode of acting in persons elevated to the supernatural moment is by prayer, which is composed of various elements according to various relations under which it is considered. It may be considered in itself, its essence and nature, and in the persons to whom it has reference. The persons are the infinite and the finite. In itself, prayer is divided into two moments—a deprecatory moment, and a life-giving moment. A deprecatory moment—because the effect of the prayer, resting absolutely on the free will of the infinite, cannot be claimed by the finite as a right, but as an effect of an infinite, goodness yielding to a supplication; and in this sense it implies the following elements on the part of the finite: 1st. An acknowledgment, theoretical and practical, of the infinite as being the absolute and universal source of all good; and of the absolute dependence of the finite upon the infinite in all things; this acknowledgment arising in the finite from the consciousness and feeling of its finiteness both in the natural and the supernatural order. 2d. A gravitation, natural and supernatural, on the part of this finite toward the infinite, as the origin and the preserver of the being in both orders, as the mover of its natural and supernatural faculties, and as the final complement of both.
3d. A cry to the infinite for the satisfaction of this aspiration. 4th. A firm and unshaken reliance of being satisfied in this aspiration, founded both on the intrinsic goodness and on the personal promises of the infinite. These four elements on the part of the finite are absolutely necessary to constitute a prayer in its deprecatory sense; and they are either implicitly or explicitly to be found in every prayer. The spirit who bows before the infinite must acknowledge theoretically and practically that God is the Master and Lord of all things, the infinite eternal source of all being and all perfection; he must acknowledge and be conscious freely and deliberately that his being comes from God, and that that same divine action which created and elevated it must maintain it in existence, aid it in the development of its faculties, and bring it to its final completion. He must freely and deliberately yearn after all this, and have firm reliance that the infinite will maintain his being, aid it in its growth, and bring it to its full bloom in the palingenesia. On the part of the infinite, prayer in this same deprecatory sense implies an action of God existing and aiding the finite in producing the aforesaid four acts necessary to constitute a prayer. If we regard prayer in its lifegiving moment, it implies two elements: one on the part of the infinite, the other on the part of the finite. On the part of the infinite, it implies a real actual and personal communication, a giving of himself by a personal intercourse to the finite; and, on the part of the latter, a personal apprehension of the infinite, and an assimilation of and transformation into the infinite. We cannot refrain here from quoting a beautiful page of a French writer in explanation of this
last element: “When man’s will, lifted by an ardent desire, succeeds in putting itself in contact with the supreme will, the miracle of the divine intervention is accomplished. Prayer, which renders God present to us, * is a kind of communion by which man feeds on grace, and assimilates to himself that celestial aliment of the soul. In that ineffable communication, the divine will penetrates our will, its action is mingled with our action to produce but one and the same indivisible work, which belongs whole and entire to both ; wonderful union of grandeur and of lowliness, of a power eternally fecund, and of a created activity which is exhausted by its very duration, of an incorruptible and regenerating element with the infirm and corruptible elements of our being; union, which believed in invariably, though conceived in different manner by the savage tribes as well as by the most civilized nations, has been under different forms, and in spite of the errors which have obscured it, the immortal belief of humanity.”f Now, we maintain that prayer, understood in all its comprehension, besides the effect which it produces in its own natural sphere, is also the hierarchical superior of the action of the whole substantial creation; and that, consequently, the latter must yield to the former, whenever they should happen to come in conflict with each other; and thus, under this respect, it may be said that prayer governs the world. This may be proven by two sorts of argument; one as it were exterior, the other intrinsic to the subject. The first is drawn from the properties of the supernatural moment. For, if this moment is superior to substantial creation, if it is the end and type of it, every one can see that the mode of acting of elevated spirits—spirits in whom the supernatural moment is realized and concreted—must necessarily precede and be superior to the mode of action of substantial creation, and that the latter must necessarily be subject to the former—unless we abolish and deny the universal law of hierarchy presiding and ruling over all the moments of the exterior action of God, and founded on the intrinsic and respective value of beings. Actio sequitur esse is the old axiom of ontology. If the being of the supernatural moment is superior to the being of substantial creation, the mode of action of the first must also, in force of that axiom, be superior to the mode of action of the latter. When, therefore, a natural law, a law of substantial creation, comes in opposition with a true prayer, a prayer made with all the conditions which its nature requires, the natural law must yield and give way to prayer. The second argumentis drawn from the essence of prayer as a life-giving agent. What is prayer in this sense P It is an actual communication of the finite with the infinite, an actual participation of the infinite and his attributes; it is a possession which the finite takes of the infinite, the appropriation, the assimilation of the infinite. It is the finite transported and transformed into the infinite. For in it the mind of the finite takes hold of the mind of the infinite, and is, as it were, transformed into it; the will and energy of the finite grasps the will and the almighty power of the infinite, and is changed, as it were, into it; the person of the finite is united to the person of the infinite, and is assimilated to him. Now, it is evident that prayer understood in this sense is no longer an act of the finite alone, but an act
* Orig. De Orat. f Gerbet, Le Dogme Generateur de la Pieté Catholiyue.
of both the finite and the infinite; it is the result of the energy of both. Its efficacy and energy therefore must be as superior to the energy of all substantial creation as the infinite is superior to the finite. Consequently, it is evident that when a natural law pregnant with finite energy comes in conflict with a prayer impregnated, so to speak, with infinite energy, the former must yield to the superior force of the latter. Prayer governs the world also in a sense more general than the one we have hitherto indicated for it. The sum of all the actions of substantial creation has been so disposed, and is so ruled and governed, as to be always subject to the sum of all the actions of the supernatural moment, and this for the same reasons developed above. Here it can be seen with how much reason those philosophers who call themselves rationalists sneer and wax indignant at the fact, constant in time and place, of the importance which mankind has attached to prayer for physical reasons, as for rain, for fair weather, for a good harvest, and the like. They show evidently how far they are from understanding the sublime hierarchical harmony of the cosmos, which the simple ones of the earth, who have faith in God, instinctively feel and acknowledge. For if God did not create the cosmos at random without a plan or design, he assuredly must have followed and maintained the necessary relations of things. Now, if substantial creation and its mode of action is hierarchically—that is, in comprehension of being—inferior to the supernatural term and its mode of action, if the latter is the end and type of the former, and if they are not to be kept apart, but to be brought together into unity and harmony, and must thus harmoniously
act, it is clear to the rudest understanding that the one mode of action must be subject to the other, and that consequently, when a prayer is in opposition with the realization of natural law, the natural law must yield, and the prayer must prevail. Nor will it do to say that if such were the case the natural order would no longer enjoy any stability or permanence, because some prayer or other might come continually in opposition to it. For the whole series of actions of substantial creation is marked out eternally in the mind of the infinite. Likewise the whole series of actions of the supernatural moment is marked out in the same mind; they are brought together in beautiful harmony in the same divine intellect from all eternity. God has foreseen when and how a prayer would require the suspension of the natural law, and has willed and decreed it, so that no suspension of natural law, consequent upon a prayer, can take place which has not been foreseen and arranged harmoniously from all eternity; and if we could for a moment cast a glance into the mind of the infinite, we should see an infinite series of actions of substantial creation; an infinite series of actions of the supernatural moment; all intertwined in a most harmonious whole, and the different exceptions here and there only linking together the two orders, putting them in bolder relief, and enhancing the beauty and harmony of the whole cosmos. The theory which we have been vindicating explains also a phenomenon so frequent and so common in the history of the Catholic Church—the saint who works miracles, or the Thaumaturgus. A saint is one in whom a certain fulness of the supernatural term resides, and hence a certain fulness of the particular mode of action belongvol. XIII.-36
ing to that moment. A saint can pray well; therefore he can work miracles, and does oftentimes. Protestantism has not only denied most of the miracles not recorded in the Bible, but has gone so far as to deny the possibility of such miracles ever occurring after the establishment and propagation of Christianity, on the plea that they are no longer necessary. It was but a logical consequence of its doctrine of justification. If man is not really made holy in his justification, if he does not receive in his soul the term of the supernatural moment as really inherent in him, it is clear he cannot have or possess the mode of action of that moment, still less a certain fulness of it. Consequently, neither is he elevated above substantial creation, nor is his mode of action superior to the action of that same moment, and therefore he cannot exercise a power and an efficacy which he has not. In other words, a man justified according to the Protestant doctrine cannot be a saint intrinsically, and cannot consequently pray. And how could he work miracles P. It was natural to deny such possibility. But endow a man with the supernatural term in a certain fulness, and hence suppose him possessed of a fulness of its mode of action intrinsically superior in energy to the mode of action of substantial creation, and you may suppose he is likely to exercise it, and work miracles oftentimes. As to the plea of necessity, it is absolutely futile. A miracle would be necessary even after the establishment of Christianity in all times and places, which, by the bye, has not been accomplished yet, if for no other reason, in order to assert and vindicate from time to time the existence and the supremacy of the supernatural over the natural.
The third truth emanating from the qualities of the supernatural moment is that those created persons in whom the term of that moment is realized are essentially mediators between the Theanthropos and substantial creation.
The principle follows evidently from the fourth quality essentially belonging to the supernatural term, that of being mediator between the other moments, the hypostatic and the substantial.
For if the term of that moment in intensity of being and perfection hold a place between the other two moments, it is evident that those in whom the moment is realized must hold the same middle place and be, consequently, mediators. Hence, it appears how the Catholic doctrine of the intercession, and, by logical consequence, of the invocation, of saints, is a cosmological law, as imperative as any other law of the cosmos. For what does the word mediator mean? Limiting the question to location or space, it signifies a thing placed or located between two others; in a hierarchical sense, confining the question to being and essence, it expresses a thing in essence and nature inferior to one and superior to another; in the same sense, confining the question to action and development, it exhibits a thing in its action and development inferior to the action and development of one and superior in the same to another. The person, therefore, in whom the supernatural term is realized is mediator in the sense of being in essence, nature, attributes, action, and development, superior to the same things of substantial creation, and inferior to those of the Theanthropos. Now, as the cosmos is not governed by the law of hierarchy alone, but also by the law of unity and communion, and as these laws
imply a real and effective union and communication of being and action between the terms of the cosmos, it follows that the person in whom the supernatural term is concreted is in real and effective communication with the Theanthropos, as inferior, and in real and effective communication, as superior, with substantial creation; he is in communication with the former as subject and dependent, with the latter as superior, and with both as medium; that is, a recipient relatively to the Theanthropos, as transmitting what it receives from the Theanthropos relatively to substantial creation; both relations being exercised by the person elevated in every sense, either as receiving from the Theanthropos and transmitting to substantial creation, or as representative of substantial creation before the Theanthropos. And as we are speaking of moral persons, that is, free, intelligent agents, in what can these relations consist but in this, that elevated persons, acting as mediums, may intercede and obtain favors for created persons from the Theanthropos, and these may invoke their intercession in their behalf? The doctrine, therefore, of the intercession and the invocation of saints is a cosmological law, resulting from the law of hierarchy, unity, and communion, and governing the relation of purely created persons with those elevated to the supernatural Innonment. It must be here remarked that the mediatorship of persons elevated is not confined only to persons in their mere natural state, but it extends also to persons elevated to the supernatural moment, because the supernatural term admits of variety of degree, some persons being endowed with a certain fulness of that moment, some with much less. Those in whom the fulness is realized are
hierarchically mediators between the Theanthropos and other elevated spirits possessing a less amount of that term, and can consequently intercede for the latter. It must be remarked, in the second place, that the law governs the cosmos not only in its germinal state, but also in its state of completion and perfection; and we cannot possibly discover or imagine by what logical process Protestantism, which admits this law in the germinal and incipient state of the cosmos, denies it to exist between persons elevated to the state of palingenesia and those who are yet in the germinal state. This denial, so far as we can see, could be supported only by the supposition that as soon as an elevated person reaches its final development, every tie of union, every bond of intercourse, is immediately broken asunder between him and other persons living yet in the germinal state of the cosmos. But how false and absurd this supposition would be is evident to every one who at all understands the exterior works of God. The cosmos being measured by time, is essentially successive; in other words, all the elements of the cosmos cannot possibly reach their final completion at one and the same time, the law of variety and hierarchy necessarily forbidding it. It is absolutely necessary, then, that some elements should reach their final perfection first and some afterwards, in proportion as they come to take place in the cosmos successively. If, therefore, by one element of the cosmos reaching its final development all intercourse were to be broken between it and all other elements which have not reached so high a condition, it would follow that the cosmos would never be one, never in harmony, until all had reached their final completion and the creation of more elements
entirely ceased. It would be a continual disorder and confusion until the end of the world. Now this is absurd, since unity and harmony must always govern and adorn God’s works. Nor can we see any intrinsic reason why it should be broken. The only plea alleged by Protestants in support of this suspension of all communion between the spirits in palingenesia and those living on earth, is that there can be no possible means of communication between them. They express this idea commonly by saying that the saints in heaven cannot hear our prayers. How philosophical this plea is we leave it to the intelligent reader to determine. Suppose we had no direct answer to give to this plea, the absolute necessity of the cosmos being one and harmonious would make a true philosopher infer that the infinite must have found a means whereby to keep up this communication, though it might be unknown to us what that means actually is. But the direct answer is at hand. The Word of God is essentially the life of the cosmos. He is the type of all the essences, of all the natures, of all the personalities, of all the acts composing the cosmos. The cosmos, in all these respects, is reflected in the Word. “All that was made in him was life.” (St. John.) Now, all elevated spirits are united to and live in the Incarnate Word. The spirits or persons in the germinal state are united to his person by the supernatural essence and the supernatural faculties of intelligence and of will. This forms the essential union between them and the Theanthropos. The spirits in the final state are united to him in the same substantial sense, with the exception that their supernatural essence has reached its utmost completion, their supernatural intelligence is changed into intuition, and their supernatural will has immediate possession of God. The consequence of these principles is that the spirits in the germinal state produce acts of invocation to the spirits in the final state, and these acts are reflected or reproduced in the Theanthropos as the type and the intelligible objective life of the cosIn Os. The spirits in the final state see, by intuition, in the Theanthroposall those acts of invocation of the spirits in the germinal state, and thus come to know what the spirits on earth claim from them. As orator and audience, living in the same atmosphere, can hold intercourse with each other, because the words uttered by the orator are transmitted by the air to the ears of his audience, so the spirits on earth and the spirits in heaven hold intercourse with each other, because they live in the same medium. The spirits on earth making acts of invocation to their brethren in heaven, these acts are reflected or reproduced in the Theanthropos, and from him reverberate and reach the -eyes of the spirits in heaven living in him, and thus they come to the knowledge of the wants and prayers of their brethren on earth. But why such interposition of persons when we could go directly to the Theanthropos ? Does this not detract from the mediatorship of Christ P Why, but because the cosmos must be one P Why, but because all the elements of the cosmos must communicate with each other ? And how can this doctrine detract from the mediatorship of Christ when he is made the source, the origin, the end of everything 2 If Catholic doctrine claimed this intercourse independently of the Theanthropos, it would certainly detract from his me
diatorship. But do we not establish and centre this mediatorship of the saint entirely in the Theanthropos? The last truth which follows from the essence of the supernatural term is what is called the worship of saints. This truth is not only a cosmological law, but an ontological principle, since, considered in its simplest and most ultimate acceptation, it implies nothing more than the duty incumbent on every moral agent to acknowledge, theoretically and practically, the intrinsic value of being. Suppose a certain being is possessed of a hundred degrees of perfection, so to speak, I cannot, without a flat contradiction to my intelligence, which apprehends it, deny or ignore it; I cannot, without a flat contradiction to my expansive faculty or will, which is attracted by it, fail to appreciate it practically. Now, the worship of saints, against which Protestantism has written and said so much, is founded entirely on that ontological principle. The saint is possessed of a certain fulness of the supernatural term. The supernatural intelligence
of other elevated spirits apprehends
this fulness, and the supernatural will of the same spirits cannot fail to value it. This theoretical and practical appreciation is esteem, and when expressed outwardly is honor and praise. By the ontological principle of recognizing the value of being, therefore, it is evident that the Catholic theory of the worship of saints is not only theologically lawful, but eminently philosophical. Protestantism, in denying this worship, follows the same principle without being aware of it. It starts from its own doctrine of justification, which consists, as we have seen, not in the interior cleansing of the soul from sin and in its elevation to the supernatural moment, but in an external application to it of the merits of Christ. The example of the cloak is most appropriate. Suppose a man, all filthy and loathsome; cover him with a rich and splendid cloak, so as to hide the filth and loathsomeness, and you have an example of Protestant justification. It is all foreign, outward, unsubjective. Now, apply the ontological principle of the value of being to a saint of this calibre, and it is evident that you cannot esteem and value him because he is worth nothing subjectively, and hence the denial of the
worship of saints is a logical consequence of the Protestant doctrine of justification, and an application, in a negative sense, of the ontological principle of the value of beings. On the contrary, admit the Catholic doctrine of justification, whereby a man is not only cleansed from sin, but elevated to a supernatural moment, receiving as inherent in him a higher and nobler nature and higher and nobler faculties, and it is evident that you must acknowledge this, value, esteem, and honor it.
SAYINGS OF THE FATHERS OF THE DESERT.
So that there were in the mountain monasteries like tabernacles, full of divine choirs of men singing, reading, praying; and so great an ardor for fasting and watching had his (St. Antony’s) words enkindled in the minds of all that they labored with an avidity of hope and with unceasing zeal in works of mutual charity, and in showing mercy to those who needed it, and they seemed to inhabit a sort of heavenly country, a city shut off from worldly conversation, full of piety and justice. Who, looking at such an army of monks—who, beholding that manly and concordant company, in which there was none to do harm, no whisper of detraction, but a multitude of abstinent men and an emulation of kind offices, would not immediately break forth into the words: How beautiful are thy tabernacles, O Jacob, and thy tents, O Israel! As woody valleys, as watered gardens near the rivers, as
tabernacles which the Lord hath pitched, as cedars by the waterside (Num. xxiv. 5, 6) P
The disciple of an aged and famous monk was once assailed by temptation. And, when the old man saw him struggling, he said to him : Do you wish me to ask God to take away this trial from you ? But he answered: I see and consider, father, that though I wrestle painfully, yet out of this labor I bear fruit. But ask this of God in thy prayers, that he may give me patience to endure. And his father said to him: Now I know, my son, that thou hast made great progress, and surpassest Inc.
Let no man, when he has despised the world, think that he has left anything great.—From the Life of blessed Abbot Antony, by St. Athanasius.