First Meditation - General Motives for Esteeming the Faith
I. It is a great boon to be a Christian. For, not least among the priceless treasures I possess in the Church is a complete science of salvation.
Any Christian with an ordinary knowledge of the Catholic Faith knows as much as is required to be known about matters of primary importance and necessity concerning human life: God, self, the immortality of the soul, the life to come.
He knows these capital truths with absolute certainty, infallibly, with greater assurance than if he perceived them with his bodily senses. It is not surprising; he is taught them by the only Person who has an essential and inalienable right to the title of Master: one is your master, Christ. (Matt. xxiii, 10)
"In old days, God spoke to our fathers in many ways, and by many means, through the prophets; now at last in these times he has spoken to us, with a Son to speak for him; a Son whom he has appointed to inherit all things, just as it was through him that he created this world of time; a Son, who is the radiance of his Father's splendour, and the full expression of his being."(Heb. i, 1-3.)And this knowledge, which is absolute, complete, immune from error, and at the same time the most human and divine; this knowledge, which, when perceived by the mind and embraced by the will and relished in action, constitutes the only real wisdom - spoken of in such lofty terms by Job and Baruch - is arrived at by faith alone. (Cfr. Job xxviii; Bar. iii)
II. Our Divine Lord turned to His disciples and said to
Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.This is the Beatitude obtained through faith, which enables us to see Christ, listen to Him and believe in Him.
For, amen, I say to you: many prophets and just men have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. (Matt. xiii, 16-17)
I thank Thee, good Jesus, because by Thy mercy alone Thou hast so readily given me access to a happiness more perfect than was ever the lot of Elias and Isaias, of Abraham and David, through my more enlightened and deeper knowledge of Thee. Trusting in Thy words, I have no desire to change places with the prophets of old, or with the most glorious kings, nor even with John the Baptist, because he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matt. xi,11)
Who am I, Lord, that Thou shouldst remember me and raise me to such a dignity?
Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. (John xx, 29)Blessed those eyes that saw Christ in mortal flesh along the roads and lanes, sitting down tired on the stones by the wayside, evangelising the poor and the little ones, like a father among his children; by His words imparting health to the sick and sorrowful, nourishment to hungering bodies and souls, new life to the dead; and dying Himself for us all. More blessed still, those eyes that beheld Him, those hands that touched Him, after He arose immortal from the tomb. Blessed were they, indeed. What should I not give to have been among their number!
Yet, I should not envy them; it is they, rather, who should envy me; because Christ has said: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.
Jesus, I believe; with every ounce of strength of every atom of my being, I believe in Thee, even though I have not seen or touched Thee; with Thomas, on bended knees I confess to Thee:
My Lord and my God.(John xx, 28.)IV. Let Thy inspiration, O Lord, teach me the real meaning of that Beatitude of Thine. Where is it to be found? What does it consist in? The Apostle St. Paul gives me the answer:
"What is faith? It is that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see." (Heb. xi, 1)St. Thomas Aquinas defines faith as
"a habit of the mind whereby eternal life begins,"By faith then, I carry in my soul a lamp of light that never fails, a day that knows no setting, perennial youth, eternal life. Of course, I know that the full effects of faith are not as yet diffused throughout my whole being; they have not yet steeped my senses and faculties in a rushing torrent of delight; but as long as I persevere in a living, active faith, death's gentle hand will one day open the flood-gates that keep the stream pent up in the summit of the soul, and the trimphant waves will leap in unrestrained cataracts unto life everlasting.
Habitus mentis quo inchoatur vita aeterna.
Lord, I am determined to lose all rather than forfeit or whittle down one iota of my faith. Let every burning desire grow cold within me, every dream be shattered, rather than quench by a single sin the life that is radiant light in the lamp of my faith.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.
Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!